Funny isn’t it, how little things turn up, often unexpected, and link on to others.
You may recall I had given up my one weekly concession to the printed newspaper, after the book reviews were somewhat curtailed, wondering where to go next. Well for some weeks now I’ve been enjoying the regular online books blogs at The Guardian, exchanging views and reading suggestions with like-minded souls, so that seemed a reasonable place to start for my Saturday morning time out.
Good decision; for it comes with a whole supplement devoted to published works and authors. And the TV Guide, another bone of contention, also surpassed expectations. For it gives BBC4 full and equal billing to the big boys, and for the radio we get a full and detailed listing for Radio 4 Extra. So I’ll buy that again, despite the hefty cover price.
And it so happened that an email arrived from Radio 4, details of this week’s book programmes to be found on the airwaves. On air this very week, serialised over five days, is The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Lovecraft! How long has it been?
Not too many months ago I expanded the car audio facilities with digital radio – Pure Highway is highly recommended – the only way these days to listen to Test Match Special when out and about, for car radios seem to have dispensed with LW. Anyway, as well as the cricket I get loads more to entertain me, Jazz FM, Smooth 70s, and Radio 4 Extra, to name but a few. The latter is full of stories and book readings. It’s been taking over the daytime listening in house and office.
So H P Lovecraft on the radio. I pulled a volume from the shelf and dipped in. It must be 35 years since I was introduced to the very strange world of Lovecraft, and August Derleth, William Hope Hodgson too. There are several tattered paperbacks lurking in the dark. And it’s time I think for an escape into another world.
But I’m wondering if there’s room on that bedside table for a digital radio and a set of headphones. Heavy lids may close quicker, or if Lovecraft’s on may remain wide through the hours of darkness. But at least I won’t be jumping as a weighty tome crashes down on the bridge of the nose, the bookmark lost till morning by which time the cat may have found a new plaything. Some of my bookmarks are important to me.
And it all brings to mind old friends. The Queen of Hearts it was who gave the nod in the direction of R4, and we see her all too rarely these days since she moved away from the cycle routes. But Lovecraft; that goes back a long way to an old friend, and years slip by, becoming decades. It must be a couple of them since I last shared a pint of the black stuff with JK. It’s far too easy to lose touch as we spiral into our own busy lives. And that’s a real shame.
Time to make that call; and it’s all down to little connections that get you from one thing to another. It’s time – oh go on, have that song again: