Here am I, struggling to work at home in what is universally recognised to be the most miserable week of the year, and wishing I were somewhere completely different. So I turn on the radio for a spot of light relief, and my ears are immediately assaulted by the mindless drivel that is today’s BBC Radio 4 afternoon play (a cultural institution beloved of George Szirtes).


The Nearside, by Jeff Young:

“On an apparently normal day in Tenby, the domestic and the universal collide when a small part of the planet is temporary changed by cosmic events. Local loser Martin Lockheed must juggle calls from NASA, demands from his girlfriend and the sticky subject of paddling-pool party etiquette as he tries to save the planet from being plunged into eternal darkness.”

Actually, it’s not nearly as involved as the blurb above would have us believe. The plot is little more than the “local losers” of Welsh seaside town Dinbych-y-Pysgod (Little town of the fishes) shagging each other with wild abandon. Well, I suppose there’s little else to do in Tenby, but I do wish these South Walians would keep their lewd behaviour to themselves, lest it frighten the animals. The resident feline here is currently displaying a look of abject horror.

Glossary: cnuchio – v. to copulate; fuck