Have you ever said to yourself, "Why is there never enough BBC drama about middle-class people with young children living in north London?" No? Me neither. I know Outnumbered was very successful on TV, but sometimes feels like the whole of north London is squabbling, parenting and getting a divorce right here in my (south London) kitchen.
What do you want at five o'clock in the morning? Ideally deep slumber between silken sheets, of course, but if you have to be awake, is Vanessa Feltz the answer? For most radio networks, getting-up time is the most intimate part of the day, the time when listeners are at their most irascible. Annoy them at your peril. Sarah Kennedy, who departed the Radio 2 early morning show abruptly last year, had, to say the least, a distinctive style. She was Bunty Bagshaw, listeners were the Dawn Patrollers. There was cosy giggling and in-jokes. How will three million listeners take to Vanessa, a crisp, no-nonsense Cambridge First? And how will Feltz cope with a 3.30am start, as well as hosting her daily Radio London show, a new Channel 5 show, and deputising for Jeremy Vine?
Ed Miliband admitted yesterday that he had to improve the way he got his message across to voters as he pleaded for more time during an uncomfortable radio phone-in.
It's a fine art, presenting a phone-in. Like politicians, presenters face the daunting occupational hazard of having actual contact with the public, however chatty, deranged or boring they may be. It was Peter Cook who first realised that you could call in and say just about anything you liked, live on air, as long as you weren't obviously obscene. He spent many happy evenings between 1988 and 1992 calling Clive Bull's late-night LBC phone-in, posing as Sven from Swiss Cottage, a bipolar Norwegian fisherman engaged in a fruitless search for his estranged wife and talking about fish. You can still hear some of these meanderings on YouTube. "You sound a bit depressed," says Clive, unnecessarily.
A controversial rise in capital gains tax to pay for an increase in the income tax threshold will be announced in next week's Budget, David Cameron confirmed yesterday.
After insult is caught on microphone, PM is forced to embark on apology dash
There are times when the whole of BBC radio seems in the grip of one vast, unstoppable wave of reminiscence, like some garrulous granny of the airwaves whom no one likes to interrupt. Nostalgia is the order of the day. Here's just a small list of things people have been nostalgic about this week. The Berlin Wall. The M1 motorway. The BBC's Maida Vale studios. Victorian photography. Izal lavatory paper. Yes, lavatory paper! The nasty, hard, shiny kind. Incredibly there was an entire programme about this on Radio 4, Now Wash Your Hands, which examined how Izal was made, how it was good for writing on and playing with a comb. What it actually felt like on the skin. What feelings were aroused by its coal tar aroma. You can keep your madeleines, Marcel Proust. Here in Britain, we get misty-eyed over medicated loo roll.
He is the working-class hero, the champion of the underdog, the everyman in search of the American Dream. His place in the pop canon is irrefutable, his name mentioned in the same breath as Tom Waits, Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. He's a born showman, a consummate storyteller, a principled poet. So why is it that Bruce Springsteen leaves me cold?