Two Cities Radio, 25 March 2012
The third in a series of monthly readings by this group of talented writers,
dramatists and poets, who meet every Monday at the local library, focused on the theme of 'Challenge.'
The topic might have seemed anodyne; the work that I listened to certainly wasn't.
One writer interpreted the term politically; at a time of economic austerity, with a government whose motives seem questionable,
to say the least (especially towards the less well-off), individuals are now faced with the challenge of eking out an existence.
Another writer looked back to their childhood when they were subject to the kind of ritual humiliation meted out to
every new entrant into school. I always wondered what the point of such rituals were: did they make the perpetrators feel
secure, that they no longer had to endure them, or was it just another manifestation of the neo-colonial master-and-servant
relationship, where the new learners had to 'fag' for their peers? The poem itself posed that question in the form of a challenge:
how does a young person cope with such stresses?
Another piece looked at the daily challenges facing anyone living on their own, especially
when they are getting on a little. Even the act of getting up can become a bit of strain, especially when there is a
nice cup of tea steaming by one's bedside.
To get the full flavour of the programme, I think it's worthwhile taking the time
to listen to all of it. I have to say that this edition had an edge that was not present in the Holmfirth Writers Group's
last broadcasts; maybe this was due to recent events (especially reaction to George Osborne's Budget), which seemed to pose
more challenges for those on modest or low incomes. Whatever the reason, I really liked listening to the readings - as ever
- linked in this instance by extracts from Debussy's "Prelude de l'apres-midi d'un faune."