The Week in Radio: A debate that's full of sound and fury

It's non-stop, it's unrelenting, it has a single, unvarying tone. No, it's not the vuvuzela. It's the sound of people complaining about it.

Nicky Campbell on World Cup Breakfast on Five Live devoted a whole programme to the issue of the moment, and the results divided predictably on national lines. The English hated it, "Completely inappropriate", but the Africans were pretty unanimous. The vuvuzela is "our national culture".

Well, talking about football is our national culture, and given that the African national instrument has rendered it unbearable actually to watch, talking, or rather pontificating, expounding and whingeing, attains ever greater importance. Even a novice can pick up the armchair basics, though the approach varies, depending on who you're listening to. TalkSport does exactly what it says on the tin, with occasional, fascinating insights such as the specialised psychology required by goalkeepers who need to "prepare for trauma". Radio 2 tried comedy with Never Write off the Germans, described as "the Theo Walcott of panel games, fast, lots of potential, and we didn't go to the World Cup either", but in the event it was not that much funnier than drawing with the USA.

Sing When You're Winning focused on that aspect of football that expresses "something fundamental from our evolutionary past, a complex, sophisticated cultural activity and an almost spiritual feeling". By which Professor Steven Mithen meant the football chant. A history of this neglected art form was undertaken by Ian McMillan, resident poet at Barnsley FC, though why a football club needs a resident poet is a mystery when some of the wittiest instant poetry emanates from the stands. A documentary about football chants throws up similar challenges to programmes about, say, the history of cursing. None of the good stuff can be repeated on radio, so all those brilliant, rude chants my brothers came back singing, simply didn't feature. There were some beguiling snippets, however, such as how "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" was adopted by West Ham because the Pears soap factory was in Canning Town, and how Elgar was inspired to create the first football chant for Wolverhampton Wanderers. It was called "He Banged the Leather for Goal", and proved less catchy than his later composition, "Land of Hope and Glory", more popularly known to millions as "We hate Nottingham Forest".

The ultimate England/Germany match was still pending 70 odd years ago when numerous well-born young women flocked to Germany to finish their education and as often as not found themselves fraternising with storm-troopers, if not taking tea with the Führer himself. Dancing with the Devil was a riveting slice of history in which Rachel Johnson coaxed unguarded, eyewitness accounts from nonagenarians with quavery, cut-glass accents, among them her own grandmother and mother-in-law. "It was fairyland, Germany, everybody had a purpose!" said Margaret Budd, who admired the Hitler Youth and cheerfully sang the Horst Wessel song from memory. Strikingly, almost all these women said they had seen nothing to alarm them. Margaret Budd recalled seeing a sign at the swimming pool saying "Jews Not Welcome", but how could she know what it meant? "I'd never met any Jews." When one girl kept a notebook of all the nice German boys she'd met, with a cross by the ones she liked, the Gestapo turned up, assuming she was a spy.

This programme was an invaluable addition to the oral history of the period. Given the force of hindsight, you couldn't help but acknowledge these women's honesty in not revising their recollections. As one lady who accompanied Unity to dinner with Hitler at his favourite Munich eatery said, "Hitler and Hess were full of charm and very good mannered, praising the royal family and saying what a beautiful country England was." But all the time she was thinking, "what an awful, squalid little place to take a girlfriend to supper!"

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
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.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee