Thursday, March 08, 2007

Keeping up with contemporary culture

First, my apologies for being offline for almost three weeks because of travelling and techie problems.

A link on Richard Charkin's blog took me to an interview at Modern Mom, headed A Balancing Act, by Samantha Ettus with Jane Friedman.

In case you have never heard of her, Jane Friedman is the President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. "In 2006, Friedman was honored as Publishers Weekly Person of the Year. Here Jane takes time to reflect on her experience balancing life as a mother to Stefan, 31, Bradley, 25 and Stepkids, Dylan, 25 and Morgan, 23 with her wildly successful and demanding career."

The question I thought most interesting was, "If you had an extra hour each day how would you spend it?"

To which Jane Friedman replied, "I would read. I know this sounds strange being the CEO of a publishing company, but among reading reports, watching TV to keep up with contemporary culture, and doing emails, I have very little time to read for pleasure."

Recently I've spent several days watching BBC 1 and 2, ITV and Channel 4. If they are a reflection of contemporary culture in Britain then the country is in a bad way. The majority of the advertisements and the programmes seemed to be aimed at people with little or nothing between the ears. Presenters and reporters with pleasant voices are thin on the ground. I don't mind, indeed I like, regional accents. But they are few and far between.

Do you remember Moira Stuart who, from 1981, presented almost every news bulletin devised on BBC television? Why have pleasing voices like hers become so scarce?

There's no denying that the "BBC voices" of my youth now sound affectedly upper-class. But is there no happy medium between those laughably la-di-da accents and today's ear-jarring vowels?


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