In our time

Why In Our Time remains the best thing on radio

In Our Time is the best thing on Radio 4, possibly the best thing on the radio full stop. It is broadcast regularly from a parallel universe where everyone is interesting, everything is worth knowing and anyone can know it if they want to. It gets the best out of its medium by being somewhat contemptuous of it. It understands that the overproduced trimmings of modern radio are entirely extraneous. There will be no sound effects, no music and no catchphrases. All that we need by way of introduction is the word ‘hello’. After that, there’s no telling what will follow. ‘Hello. In 541 AD, in the realm of Justinian,

My love affair with Hannah Arendt

The three of us — me, Catriona and her daughter Skye — were having a wash and brush-up before going out for a meal ata restaurant in the village, when we learnt that President Macron’s smooth dishonest face had just addressed the nation on TV and told it that he had ordered bars, cafés and restaurants and all places of entertainment to be closed until further notice. The news both exhilarated and disappointed: real life had begun in earnest but the bars were shut. Skye assembled a round of gin and tonics and we three settled down in a row with our feet on the coffee table to make our