GUILTY PLEASURES: NO 12. JOHN BIRD ON `WOMAN'S HOUR'

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I'VE NEVER really spoken to anyone about Woman's Hour on Radio 4 before, because it deals with things that men like me generally don't get involved in, like health, dieting and fashion.

But I love it. I probably know more about cellulite now than most women, and if I ever get it then I know the potions to take. I always find myself telling people I'm in the middle of really important, death-defying negotiations, but then sneak off to listen to the show.

If I were honest I would like Woman's Hour to take over the BBC, and I am also of the opinion that the world will only make sense when women run it. Men shoot guns in the air and women always want to know where the bullets fall. And more than that, they worry if they have hit a bird.

I started listening when I was a printer. Because I let everyone else listen to Jimmy Young, Terry Wogan and all that rubbish, they would allow me my Woman's Hour. Unfortunately the women didn't like it because they thought it was posh, and my fellow male printers thought I was, well, a homosexual.

The show reminds me of the 1950s, in the best sense of the word; it's not rushed and has a meditative quality. It's a kind of easy listening, but more than that it's like drifting off to sleep and waking up in the middle of a Women's Institute meeting.

Most other radio shows try and convince you that you are taking your life in your hands if you don't listen, and my wife is always too busy listening to those programmes where you feel you are going to have a heart attack. I guess I am just well in touch with my feminine side. We're not feeling very feminine at The Big Issue at the moment, but we're working on it.

John Bird is editor-in-chief of `The Big Issue'

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