Monday, 24 September 2018


Last week I was thinking about time and space.  Today I just want to consider time and why it can make us so angry. Take Martha Kearney, a quite annoying Radio 4 Today presenter who has made me shout at the radio a few times – it’s her patronising good humour which is getting to me. But nothing like Thursday when an earlier than usual start to the day  and Martha collided.

5.45. Not much birdsong yet. Just darkness,  street lights and a sense of disorientation. I creep downstairs and go through a personal ritual of opening the house – curtains open , lights on, kettle boiling, radio tuned in. Martha Kearney. And she says “It’s 7 o’clock”. No it isn’t … my watch says 6am, the wall clock in the kitchen says 6am but Martha repeats the time “7 o’clock”.

And something quite odd happens. I am conditioned to believe the BBC. Martha patronising though she might be would not tangle with something as serious as the time. Brexit maybe but the time never. So I have 20 minutes, not a relaxed 80 minutes, to shower, shave, breakfast, dress, get the paper and so on. I hurl myself into the boiling shower cursing the malign spirit that has put all our clocks back. I slash the razor over my chin. I drink my coffee…too hot … and I hear the irritated self-justificatory voice of Martha Kearney who sounds really angry “It is ten past seven”. The time is the news. Has Kearney gone mad or am I living in a parallel universe that’s an hour earlier?  I even wonder if I might have been consistently an hour late for meetings all week and everyone has been too kind to say anything. “Poor old Richard…late again…don’t upset him…bless him.” 

As I hurriedly finish getting dressed a BBC male voice calmly says “it’s twenty past six. Martha Kearney has been speaking to us from Salzburg” – no “sorry” just calm. I feel relief and rage in equal measure. But I wonder if I’ll ever trust the BBC again. Part of my rage was caused by sleep shortage something affecting lots of people nowadays. This is often due to sleeping on a knackered mattress. Bed experts say you should change your mattress every 5 - 8 years.

I was talking to a friend recently who looked tired. She confessed to sleeping badly and needing to change the mattress but the kind she and her husband wanted was £12,000 which seemed a lot.

Imagine sleeping really well” I said “Eight hours undisturbed a night – like Jeff Bezos does and look at what he’s achieved”. She had a dreamy look in her eyes by now. “Well would you pay around £3 a night to achieve that?” “Of course I would” she murmured. “Well wake up to the fact that’s what a £12,000 mattress costs each of you over 5 years”.

You know I should be back in advertising with an argument like that.

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