One to One, Radio 4, Tuesday
Punk Britainnia: John Lydon's Playlist, 6 Music, Saturday

When killing is all in a day's work

Could you kill? You may think not – but what if it was you or him (or her)? I suspect that might concentrate the mind. It certainly had that effect on Chantelle Taylor, and as a result she's gone down in history.

In the first of three One to One programmes talking to people who've taken a life, Independent columnist Mary Ann Sieghart met Taylor, a former army medic who was revealed last year as the first British woman known to have killed in combat. She remains unruffled, and her very dispassion made it compelling listening.

Caught in a Taliban ambush, she took cover in a Land Rover: "There was a guy firing from my side of the vehicle ... and that was it – I engaged him and moved on to the next thing." You could almost hear Sieghart suppressing a double take. "You 'engaged' him?" she said. "You shot him."

"Yeah, I shot him. It took me seven shots – I was really disgusted." And does it haunt her? Does she relive it?

"No, not that one," she said. "The sorts of thing that gets me are the child combatants I saw in Sierra Leone or guys I know who have lost limbs."

Which sounds fair enough. Now bodyguard to a Middle East potentate, she doesn't think gender matters when it comes to killing: "It's a matter of training." And how does she feel about making history? "You have to suck it up and get on with it." If I were in the trenches, I'd definitely want Chantelle Taylor by my side.

Whereas that Johnny Rotten's an old softie. He assembled some of his favourite songs in John Lydon's Playlist, part of the BBC's Punk Britannia season – and as he predicted, it was mostly surprises: Jim Reeves, Noël Coward, Abba, Pete Seeger, Petula Clark. His plan was to say as little as possible – "Yippee!", after "Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington" was typical – and it did mean he could cram in more music.

I could have done with more self-indulgence. There was one 24-carat memory: he played "I'm Eighteen" by Alice Cooper – which was the record on the jukebox in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's shop SEX to which he auditioned for the Sex Pistols. More like that would have been great. After all, that karaoke spot is as much a part of history as Sgt Taylor seeing off a terrorist.

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