Thursday, 14 February 2013

Nessun Dorma


I didn’t sleep at all last night. I kept needing to go into the sitting room to watch the television, just to drive a host of busy thoughts out of my mind. It’s amazing the little snippets of television that you see when you’re having a restless night; shows about strange parasites that people end up with after going abroad and little bits of news, like the extraordinary story that Oscar Pistorius, the darling of the London Paralympic games, has been charged with the murder of his wife. At one point in the night I woke Nathan up, temporarily convinced that I was actually losing my mind. It was so full of little stubs of conversation, and half-formed thoughts, that all I felt I wanted to do was open up the top of my head and allow all the nonsense to pour out like the pieces of a jigsaw.  As a result of all this nocturnal activity, I found myself in something of a surreal haze all day. I’m staring at the telly, but have no idea what’s actually on!

I had a meeting at New Broadcasting House earlier, which is the BBC’s hugely impressive atrium-building behind Old Broadcasting House just up from Oxford Circus. The building reminded me very much of the BBC’s Salford Quays development; an extraordinary amount of natural light pouring down from the glass ceiling, countless floors of activity, lots splashes of reds and oranges in the shape of enormous lampshades and ergonomic chairs.  There was a buzz; lots of people huddling together, discussing news developments, and little pieces of internal BBC gossip. Every day brings more changes in that institution.

After my meeting, I went next door to old Broadcasting House to have a cup of tea and a natter with Ellie in her Radio 3 office. As you’d probably imagine, it was all very sedate, quiet and grown up in there. In newsrooms, everyone rushes around like ants in a spilt glass of Ribena, but at Radio 3 they waltz around the office as though dancing to a silent Mahler symphony.

Of course there’s nothing else to say. There’s another documentary series about trains on the telly tonight. Sometimes I think it’s the only subject the BBC is capable of programming. “People love trains,” says the commissioning editor with her finger on the pulse, “you can never have too many trains on telly...” She is, of course, wrong.

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