Radio Review: The baby's coming! Boil water and pass the canapés!
Woman's Hour, Radio 4, Tuesday / Technicolour, Radio 4, Monday-Friday
At the births of my children I was certainly there, but I can't pretend I was in any way central to proceedings. I did what I could, did what I was told and tried not to get in the way. But for some dads that's not enough.
Part of Tuesday's Woman's Hour was devoted to fathers and childbirth. Jane Garvey spoke to a dad who'd found it all slightly unsettling. He'd dutifully done the classes and thought he was all set, but when it came to the crunch he was weirded out. "At the key moment, my wife is on all fours making very strange sounds … she's not screaming, it's not like TV, she's mooing, in rhythm."
But what really got to him was the feeling of helplessness, a common experience according to Dean Beaumont, founder of the support group DaddyNatal. As the sociologist Professor Tina Miller observed, it's all to do with men wanting to be in control of circumstances. We take inward responsibility for everything going smoothly, and when the birth plan goes out of the window we don't know what to do. One listener tweeted that her husband served canapés to the midwives, and that gave him a role. "I'm almost speechless, but not quite," said Garvey.
If I had to name my favourite Radio 4 time slot, right up there would be the 15 minutes between World At One and The Archers. It's usually home to a five-parter, Monday to Friday, with a dizzying range of subjects. In Technicolour, Tracey Logan explored the many facets of how we perceive and react to colour. On Tuesday, she explored how language affects colour perception, kicking off with the fact that where we see blue, Russians see one of two colours, goluboy or siniy, light blue or dark blue. Not two shades of the same colour; two different colours.
Logan took part in an experiment at Sussex University alongside Russian speakers which demonstrated that brains perceive a colour more quickly if there's a specific name for it. Other studies, meanwhile, indicate that babies distinguish colours before they acquire language. So, colour perception: hardwired or blank slate? Like every nature/nurture question I've ever heard, the answer is clear: it's a bit of both. QED.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up