Satchmo by Satchmo, Radio 2, Wednesday
British, More or Less, Radio 4, Wednesday
Louis in his own words – so good, you don't want music
Sunday 31 July 2011
Were he around now, I bet that, like Bob Dylan, Guy Garvey, Jarvis Cocker and Ronnie Wood, Louis Armstrong would have his own radio show, and it would be fantastic.
Satchmo by Satchmo explored the miles of reel-to-reel tapes he amassed over the decades at home in Corona, Queens. It was a life-enhancing delight.
There were meetings with the great and good: "The Pope was such a fine little old feller, you know? He said, 'Do you have any children?' and I said, 'No, daddy, but we're working on it.'" There was similar pressure from the visiting English guitarist Sidney Gross, who urged parenthood on him. "Well, I keep putting my nickel in the machine ..." he told him.
He also had nice things to say about some new kids in town: "The Beatles? They're great – they've got a new beat there." I'm not usually one to say this – the more music in music documentaries the better, generally, and Armstrong the musician was undeniably, swingingly great – but I could have done with less music and more from the tapes. The last one we heard was from 1970, not long before Satchmo died: "I never wanted to be any more than I am," he reflected, "and what I don't have, I don't need it. I've always loved and always lived a normal life. Well folks, that was my life and I enjoyed all of it."
As Britain fills up with people, the immigration debate won't go away. In fact, given that during the last Ice Age Britain was empty of humankind, we're all immigrants, and in British, More or Less Tracey Logan explored the genetic side of Britishness. What would the Scots think, for example, if they found out that they're not at all genetically distinct from the English? (I'd quite like to see their faces when they're told.)
The fact is, differences between peoples have little to do with chromosomes and far more to do with cultures that have developed over thousands of years. Logan spoke to a chieftain of the Clan McClean, who aren't at all keen on DNA tests. "We don't quite see how it will help us as a family," he said – i.e. it might lead to the conclusion that there's nothing scientific to distinguish the McCleans from the McClouds.
Logan underwent a DNA test which uncovered a maternal gene most commonly found in Basques and Lapps. As the population geneticist Jim Wilson pointed out, we're just at the start of all this: the first human genome map cost $3bn; soon they'll be about £100. What will it do to us as a species when we accept that we're all very closely related? Depressingly, not that much, I'd wager.
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Avengers: Age of Ultron set to make box office history with $84.5m US opening
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
New on Netflix UK May 2015: From Fast & Furious 6 to World War Z and Grace and Frankie
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds