A Problem of Waking up to Radio 4

Waking up to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 can sometimes be an upsetting business. I woke up suddenly this morning gripped with what felt like fear and with tears in my eyes. Could I have heard the news correctly: that comedian Jeremy Hardy had died, having drowned in the River Thames??! Jeremy Hardy is one of my all-time favourite comedians.

I staggered downstairs to my study and booted up my PC while I went for a pee. I had to reboot it again when I returned as some integral Windows service hadn’t started and was giving me errors galore. Oh, for goodness sake! It was for MSI Live Update — my motherboard monitoring program. Uninstall and another reboot. I was getting quite concerned and upset by this point.

I heard the ‘news’ on the BBC, so I headed straight over to the BBC News website and tapped ‘Jeremy Hardy’ into the search box … nothing. Well, nothing to indicate that he’d died. Hmmm… Google search next. Nothing. Was I imagining this? How sick am I that I imagine my favourite comedians drowning in the Thames?!

Back to BBC News and I widened my search: comedian drown — nothing. Comedian + Thames returned what I had actually heard:

Comedian’s body found in Thames
The body of comedian Malcolm Hardee has been found in the Thames near his home …

Malcolm Hardee! Not Jeremy Hardy. Now, it’s hard at this point not to feel some relief that Jeremy Hardy hasn’t died, when it’s clear that another talented comedian — hailed by his website, and presumably also those who wrote it, as the ‘Father of British Alternative Comedy’ — with a not too dissimilar-sounding surname has. But, I am.

I’m now a little hesitant about listening to the news in my sleep again. Who knows what I’ll pick up next time: that they’ve put a man on the moon!? or that scientists have invented a radio-like contraption for viewing moving pictures with sound!? or that otters are now eligible for housing benefit!? or …

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 49 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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