The Week in Radio: Relief from the silly season with a startling slice of life on Woman's Hour

 

We're now into week two of the mid-summer period known as "the radio doldrums." If you need to know more about this annual event, may I please refer you to last week's column in which I whined at length about holidaying presenters leaving their shows in the hands of imbeciles, and about all the dreadful-sounding programmes I had declined to listen to for fear that I might slip into a radio-induced coma.

For the most part, the purgatory has continued. Wagner has lost none of his charm for Radio 3 schedulers while Radio 1 has seemingly moved its entire operation to a beach bar in Ibiza. But then I discovered something unusual going on over at Radio 4.

In the midst of what is often called "the silly season", a time when apparitions of the Virgin Mary on grilled halloumi are all the rage, and when the British public are giddily throwing bathing suits into wheelie bags and cranking "Get Lucky" up on the stereo, on Woman's Hour Jenni Murray was gleefully introducing audio of a man having the snip.

As Geoff Bird made his way to the clinic in Macclesfield with his wife, Sarah, he sounded unexpectedly chipper. "It's your average Saturday morning," he beamed. "We've taken the dog for a walk, made waffles for the children and now we're off for a vasectomy." It was only when he passed a café near his house called Plum's Kitchen, bearing an enlarged picture of the titular fruit on the door, that he let out a little whimper.

As he arrived at the clinic, and it became clear that, yes, we really were going to hear a man getting his nadgers fixed, I briefly wondered whether this might be a good time to switch channels. I was reminded of the time I visited my local maternity ward while eight months pregnant in order to get a feel of the place. Everything was going swimmingly until I heard the bone-chilling howl of a woman in labour. For the first time, the reality of what lay ahead hit me and – moving as fast as a woman the shape of a Weeble can move – I fled the building in terror.

For Geoff – and, yes, I feel Geoff and me are now on first-name terms given what we've shared – the fear really kicked in when the doctor appeared with a needle destined for the underside of his testicles. "AAAARRRGH.... Hmmmm.... YEAAAAAAHHEEUUUARGHHH.. that's... not... a good... sensation," he puffed, at which point millions of men across the nation simultaneously crossed their legs. As Geoff lost all feeling in his nether regions, the real work began. There was pinching, and then burning, then a little more pinching and a little more burning. I would have paid closer attention to the medical details but the "burning" part overwhelmed everything for me. He was essentially having his balls seared from the inside, like scallops in a pan.

There are those who might suggest that Woman's Hour, a show listened to by myriad women who have endured the pain of childbirth, was delighting a little too much in the travails of a man having his privates charred. But what followed the footage was a sensible discussion on contraceptive responsibility and the pros and cons of vasectomy.

A week on from the procedure and Geoff was sitting in the studio without the aid of a cushion and outlining his reasons for having the procedure. Since neither he nor his wife wanted more children, he said, he was "taking one for the team". The fact that his wife hooted with laughter during the length of the op was, apparently, neither here nor there.

twitter.com/FionaSturges

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'