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Eddie Mair | 11:57 UK time, Saturday, 12 May 2007

there was a sense of national disappointment yesterday afternoon that I didn't do another Trainblog en route to Manchester. I shared the disappointment. I'd gone along with all my computer stuff, camera, videocamera, notebook, satellite dish etc...but it turns out, a certain train company doesn't do internet access on board.

We'll just have to try to get on with our lives.


  1. At 12:32 PM on 12 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    How was it for you, Mr. Mair? Speaking for myself and the man who shares my home, we both enjoyed last night's programme and have added another notch to your chairman's seat. But - dare I say it - didn't you all find Ms Baird just a wee bit tedious?

    As to the 'train blogging', I rather imagined you might have shared your journey with one or other of the guests (I do hope it wasn't Ms Baird, for your sake!) and had an entertaining journey a la Dimbleby. Failing that, a good book.

    Did I get the picture right, by the way? And just how does the chaplaincy look since its revamp?

  2. At 12:39 PM on 12 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Yes it was a great shame - perhaps next week then Eddie :-)

    I thought you were using your phone to give you internet access?

    Hope AA brings you all you deserve.

  3. At 12:40 PM on 12 May 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Well are you not going to name & shame? In the national interest? So many Friday afternoons must have been ruined as a result.

    Cracking AQ show last night btw. And I hope you were flattered that the 9 year old paid complete attention till about the last 10 mins when, (during one of Vera Baird's more rhapsodic interludes) she asked if she could read the book she'd brought along as boredom insurance. The title? "Lizzie Zipmouth". Hmmm.

    Sorry Manchester wasn't showing itself at its best yesterday. It's sunny now - honest!

  4. At 01:12 PM on 12 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I think I may have been modded for adding a note of criticism about one of your guests yesterday, Eddie. However, Annasee's post makes the point quite effectively. Like her daugher, I turned my ear away during the rhapsodies to which she referred.

    Enjoy AAs!

  5. At 02:11 PM on 12 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Oh here we go -- just heard Anne on Any Answers and then that other guy from Norwich - let's have a go at all those horrid homosexuals. Should you (you should?) have 'challenged' the word sodomites Eddie?

    Are these callers escaping from the LBC Radio switchboard?

    It sounds like it!

  6. At 02:24 PM on 12 May 2007, Electric Dragon wrote:

    Which train were you on, Eddie? I was on the 1505 from Euston but didn't see you (no doubt you'd have been in First Class anyway...)

    Just Googled Vera Baird - my gods, her website ( http://www.verabaird.com/ ) is like epilepsy in HTML form. It's as though she's still stuck in 1997. Frames! Red background! Serif font! Microsoft FrontPage! My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

  7. At 02:32 PM on 12 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Haha -- was just doing the same Electric Dragon. Couldn't stick it for long though.

  8. At 04:11 PM on 12 May 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I have just listened to the repeat on Saturday.

    What IS that woman ON? What deluded fool booked her? She's Nytol in human form!

    As for the chairing, I will say this: Dimbleby never makes me laugh during AQ the way Eddie does. The neatly-framed supplementary question, the merest hint of irony, the audibly twinkling eye...

    More! More!


  9. At 11:31 PM on 12 May 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Dragon and jonnie, I took one look and, for the sake of my eyesight, clicked the 'back' button.

    Why, I wonder, are people in the public eye so behindhand with their on-line presence?

    Eric, I do sympathise with your attempts to blog onrail (as twere). Kind thought. But we'll imagine; after all, the best pictures are onblog.

  10. At 11:40 PM on 12 May 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Gosh I'm glad I missed Ms Baird, has she never had a life? However just to make you all feel better, if you go to her website, click on maiden speech, and scroll down to the bottom couple of lines you will see she has used the wrong spelling of compliment for her context. Yay!

  11. At 01:27 AM on 13 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Oh and Frances :-)

    Thursday 8th March : From Vera'a diary:-

    The WIN have asked me to talk about - Myself!

    I don’t need a script..

    It is intended to be inspiring and to describe my journey into public life. In fact, it is full of stories. My diary secretary John starts to look troubled and then gets up. I wind it up and check if we have five minutes left for questions. We have to go now, he insists - and I think he is right. I can’t be late for the major event of the day, namely opening the International Women’s Day debate in the Commons.

  12. At 01:32 AM on 13 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    I have to say it's such tranquility clicking back from Vera's site to Eddies Blog. - The wonders of colour eh ?

  13. At 09:41 PM on 13 May 2007, stewart M wrote:

    What has Mr Dimbleby got about the the north? First eddie went to Lancaster then to leeds and now mancehster. There seems to be an its the north so lets send eddie pattern!

  14. At 10:55 PM on 13 May 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Hmm... now what if they get REALLY north and cross the Scottish border?

  15. At 11:17 PM on 13 May 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Stewart - well if there is a pattern, it is to the North's benefit. You should have been there. Funniest evening I've spent in ages. Although I did notice that the photo advertising AQ outside the auditorium in Manchester on Friday was of Mr D, not Mr M. If I'd been Mr M I would have stamped my foot in outrage.

    Now gather round, chaps, & I'll tell you something you couldn't have got from listening to AQ on the radio. Or even "Listen Again". The warm-up question (so not broadcast) was "Is Britain the best nation on earth?"- in reference to Tony's speech on Thursday. Vera was well into her first fulsome praise of all things governmental, and looked able to continue at some length. Possibly all evening. At that point the Chairman gently reminded her that they hadn't actually started broadcasting the programme yet, (to general laughter). I'm afraid that set the tone for the whole evening.

    It was absolutely fascinating observing the body language of the participants. Alan Duncan & Simon Hughes sat together, & seemed at one point in danger of turning into a comedy double act. (Thank goodness I listened to Any Answers yesterday. I had no idea they were s*d*m*tes - I just thought Alan was a very natty dresser. Did a great Tony Blair imitation too. Thank Heavens the Reverend pointed out the scandalous fact.)

    Clare Short & Ms Baird were placed next to each other, & didn't seem to have much in common! Clare S, being unfettered by any party allegiances was obviously able to make much franker observations, & win much more sympathy from the audience for her views. She also had a knack for the pithy observation - as in "You're crawling" during another one of Vera's love-fests with the government's policies. By the end I actually felt rather sorry for Ms Baird, as she so totally failed to relate to the audience (mostly young, probably cynical,very well-informed, & a lot of Lib Dems in the row in front of us.) The G Brown birthday story really sealed her fate!

  16. At 11:33 PM on 13 May 2007, Val P wrote:

    We'd welcome them with open arms FranO, and a solicitous "You'll have had your tea?" :o)

  17. At 01:03 AM on 14 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Although I've mentioned this on the Beach - some of you will not have ventured to the calming shores it offers us in times of heated debate.

    Anyhoo - I got wound up about this man, claiming to be a Reverend - on 'Any Answers' on Saturday


    (MP3 file Fearless and others)

    What an example he makes for decreasing attendance numbers on a Sunday morning?

  18. At 09:25 AM on 14 May 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Jonnie, thanks for the link. I wanted to reply yesterday, but was so taken aback I was lost for words. What a poor example of humanity the Reverend is.

  19. At 10:03 AM on 14 May 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Yes Jonnie, he was vile. And I too was surprised that such offensive language was tolerated.

    Would we be so understanding if he'd been spouting bile about another religious group, or race? I think not.

    I don't think Eddie was at fault in not trying to stem the flow of vitriol: with types like that it's usually counterproductive in any case.

    But it does highlight how frightened we British have become of facing up to some areas of bigotry more than others.

    I don't blame you for not letting it lie, Jonnie. I'm struggling very hard to find 'endearing' Patrick Moore's oft-repeated rant against women in any sort of position of authority or influence in modern society...


  20. At 10:48 AM on 14 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    And another part of Radio 4's output has left a mark on me over the weekend.

    Lucy Ash and her programme 'A world in your ear' is to be axed by Mark Damazar, half way through the series. I think it's a great shame - but won't bore you to the reasons why.

    However this story about how Radio Digila Iraq's first independent talk Radio station was seiged is very powerful radio.

    It is also quite shocking - perhaps PM could review the situation in a few weeks time?


  21. At 11:01 AM on 14 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Ahh yes Fifi :-(


  22. At 11:40 AM on 14 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Sorry to be unpopular (or consider me vile if you wish) but I agreed with most of what "The reverend" said. Not sure about his assessment of the panel membership, though.

    Very rarely do I hear all of AA, but as I was painting a bedroom on Saturday I made a point of listening.

  23. At 12:30 PM on 14 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Vyle - I accept that's your viewpont and the main thing that I objected to was referring to half of the panel as being 'Sodomites' - at least you expressed doubt in that summing up. Does this also mean that you class sex education in schools as immoral filth?

    AA is not long enough - it needs to be at least an hour - which would allow some feedback.

  24. At 12:43 PM on 14 May 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Electric (8) I WAS on the 15.05. I looked high and low for you but...

  25. At 10:19 AM on 15 May 2007, Annasee wrote:

    I expect Electric was in 1st Class, Eddie. Were you having to save the AQ budget by hiding in the toilets every time the Train Manager came past?

  26. At 11:15 AM on 15 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Jonnie (23)

    I have a suspicion that I often fail to respond to comments on the blog because there are so many [up with which I cannot keep]. If I have disappointed you in this regard previously, my apologies.
    You are right about using the term "Sodomites", though I believe S H did say he had indulged in the past.

    WRT sex education in schools, I have heard several accounts of immoral filth being taught in schools. They would probably describe it as amoral information. For example, it seems to me that using a root vegetable to demonstrate how to use a protective is not just disgusting, but also an insult to the intelligence of the pupils, since the instructions are printed clearly on the packet. Sadly, the perception that contraception is available has proved to be the cause of much unprotected sex, with unwanted consequences.
    (Just been bounced with this!)

  27. At 12:51 AM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Vyle (above)

    Fair point - and yes it's very difficult to keep up with the threads. - I'm probably the worlds worest.

    Sadly, the perception that contraception is available has proved to be the cause of much unprotected sex, with unwanted consequences.

    - Absolutely - So we agree 100% on that ;-)

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