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A Point of View
A Point of View
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qng8

Weekly reflections on topical issues from a range of contributors including historian Lisa Jardine, novelist Sarah Dunant and writer Alain de Botton.


After Grenfell
June 2017

Will Self gives a very personal view of high-rise buildings in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

"As a commentator on the built environment", Will writes, "I've been too wry, too cynical and too disengaged over the past twenty years".

"Grenfell Tower", he says, "was the bonfire of any remaining civic vanity in London ".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



Get Over It
June 2017

Howard Jacobson reflects on the political ironies that are emerging following the election. What should our response be to losing politically?


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



A new politics?
June 2017

"The election has left many people wondering if politics has morphed into a wholly new condition" writes John Gray. He reflects on whether politics really has been turned upside down by a momentous election.

He argues that the situation is not unprecedented but says "the election has punctured what was the ruling illusion of our age - the belief that we'd left behind the ideological antagonisms of the past".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



Renouncing Middlemarch
June 2017

"It's late in the year to be making a resolution I'm probably going to break, but the words have to be spoken" writes Howard Jacobson. "I hereby renounce Middlemarch".

Howard reveals what lies behind his obsession for George Eliot's greatest novel and why he can't stop hymning its praises and quoting chunks of it from memory.


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



After Manchester
May 2017

Howard Jacobson reflects on his home city's response to the Manchester attack. What confronts the city now, he says, is dealing with the fact that the perpetrator came from within itself.

"All our cities shelter the same boy", he writes, "studiously immersed in the same story. And if we didn't know it before, stories can kill".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



The Fearsome Nature of Literary Festivals
May 2017

As the season of literary festivals gets underway, Howard Jacobson tells us not to be lured by their appearance of being civilized.

"The prevailing tone of sweet concord shouldn't be allowed to disguise the violent nature of creativity", he says.

They're a fiercely competitive business for writers, he believes. "To write is to reconceive the world and only a God, or someone acting like a God, can do that...You don't want some other two-bit deity coming along and bagging the credit for what you've done".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



In praise of the elite
May 2017

Howard Jacobson speaks up in defense of the metropolitan liberal elite. He ponders why the word "elitist" has acquired such negative connotations in some fields - but not in others.

"It makes no sense to me to love the best when they are footballers or the SAS, but not when they are thinkers or even politicians".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



On robots
May 2017

Howard Jacobson argues that talk of the dangers of artificial intelligence is premature.

"The idea that if we feed enough lines of literature into a computer it will eventually be able to write its own Iliad", he writes, "is as preposterous as the old fancy that if a sufficient number of monkeys were given a sufficient number of Olivettis they would eventually hammer out a monkey Macbeth".


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



Trust in Voices
April 2017

A L Kennedy commends paying attention to voices as a way to discern truth telling.

"Listening to our media, our public voices, as if we're listening to people in our everyday lives, holding them to that standard and not their own can help us to know when we're being driven towards the sound of a faked emotion or spun a tale."


An audio podcast in MP3 format.



The Past in the Present
April 2017

A L Kennedy reflects on the way our past shapes our present and our future.

"As groups we get trapped in our pasts, not quite repeating them, but sometimes forcing our futures out of shape for the sake of their ghosts."


An audio podcast in MP3 format.


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