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

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
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.

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence