Sunday, 12 February 2012

bill heine, goridebus, papers, andrew, nelle davy, raúl, benedict, david

An interesting and enjoyable start to the day, appearing on the Bill Heine programme on BBC Oxford.

I and another guest Danny Douglas were on during the first hour of the show, discussing news stories we picked out in the Sunday papers.

I'd not met Bill before, although I've come across him from time to time during my years in Oxford. He's the guy with the shark embedded in the roof of his terraced house in Headington.

I first saw Bill when I was queuing to see Duncan Campbell's banned Zircon spy satellite film at the Not the Moulin Rouge cinema, which Bill owned. I'd cycled up Headington Hill from Keble on a cold night in 1987, eager to see what all the fuss was about and to be part of the controversy. Before we were let in, Bill sauntered up and posed for the cameras.

More recently I saw Bill at the Kennington Literary Festival last October, where he was reading from his book, Hunting the Shark. I was at the event reading from Invisible--though not in the main hall, where Bill was.

The other guest on today's programme, Danny, has a community transport company called Go Ride, which is running a new evening and Sunday bus service between Watlington and Oxford and is applying for Big Society funding (see

During the programme we talked about a number of issues, including:
  • The tragic death of Whitney Houston
  • The state of publishing in the era of the e-book
  • Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's plan to coax brewers into lowering the strength of beers in an attempt to reduce binge drinking--part of the government's sensible drinking campaign
  • The rise of internet dating, which now accounts for one-in-five UK relationships (as the Sunday Times piece put it: "Once derided as the resort of the romantically inept, online dating has lost its stigma..."
  • Nelle Davy's debut novel, The Legacy of Eden, written while working as a PA at literary agent PFD, which is set on a farm in Iowa and is a reimagining of Robert Graves' I Claudius
  • Raúl Castro's reforms in Cuba, including oil exploration, mass tourism, private enterprise and organised religion (Pope Benedict XVI visits the island next month)
  • David Miliband's six-point plan to reduce the number of long-term unemployed young people.
If you'd like to listen to the programme, it's on the iPlayer till next Sunday.

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