Wednesday 20 May 2009

Words on a Wednesday Morning

Listening to audio is such a pleasure for me yet often I do it as something secondary. It’s on the background as I write or work on paperwork, or else I’m listening to it on my MP3 player as I travel. This morning I found myself just sitting and listening to a radio program, it was so fascinating that it alone held my attention.

The program was called Midweek, on BBC Radio 4, and is basically a round-the-table chat show. The host, Libby Purves, invites a group of people on and they chat for 45 minutes. What makes this program so interesting is Libby Purves’ skill at getting her guests to talk. This isn’t the usual format of question and answer, she actually manages to get an interesting conversation running.

Today her guests were the actress Penelope Wilton, Colm O'Gorman (founder of One in Four charity, ), Donald Reeves (Rector of St James's, Piccadilly and whom Margaret Thatcher call “a Very Dangerous Man”) and Bradley and Soren Stauffer Kruse, the Sugar Dandies.

Penelope Wilton is an amazing actor; her performance on Doctor Who, as Harriet Jones, stood out, amongst so many excellent performances. Her character went from hero to villain and back to hero again, finally sacrificing herself to save the Earth. So much of her character’s arc was down to her own performance. But, over the years, I’ve seen her deliver many standout performances on the stage.

The highlight of the program was Colm O'Gorman. As a child he was abused by a catholic priest in Ireland, which left such deep scares with him especially because no one would believe him. He was one of the first people to speak out publically about what had happened to him. He successfully sued Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns for allowing the abuse to occur (in light of the Catholic Church’s shameful practice of covering up an abuse by priests) and won. He later tried to sue the Pope, for the worldwide cover-up of abuse by priests. He failed but I deeply admire his courage in doing so. (In a previous blog I have written about what happened to me as teenager at the hands of Christians, ). He spoke so passionately about the wall of silence around the abuse he suffered, something I recognised, that blind reluctance by Christians to admit that they can cause harm or that other Christians do. (Colm O'Gorman’s own website is and the Irish branch of One in Four is ).

Donald Reeves talked about the way he has been marginalised by the Anglican Church, especially the Evangelical branch, for his political stance. He also talked about the way religion wants to keep people in a very childish state, to be very reliant on their leaders for their intellectual answers and needs, how this perpetuates the power of religion. I have seen this a lot in religious leaders, people who are addicted to the power of their position.

Lastly came Bradley and Soren Stauffer Kruse. As the Sugar Dandies they are a gay male ballroom dance act. I have never been a fan of ballroom dancing. I find it soulless, their dances in no way reflecting the music they dance to, instead being far too concerned with performing the “perfect” step. After listening to Midweek I watched a clip of the Sugar Dandies dancing ( ) and was so impressed. They were opposite of all the things I hate about ballroom dancing. They were joyous, fun and intentionally camp; they could have only danced that dance to that piece of music.

BBC webpage about that episode of midweek:

Listen Again to that episode at: