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Ian McMillan Ian McMillan | 10:20 UK Time, Sunday, 6 November 2011

Photo of The Sage Gateshead and Millennium Bridge

Morning view of The Sage Gateshead and Millennium Bridge

It's a bright blue morning in Gateshead and there was a chill in the air when I went for my morning stroll. When I told my grandson I was coming to a festival of ideas he said 'bring me a few ideas back, grandad' and I will, I'm sure. I'll just have to unwrap them first and have a closer look before I pass them on.

Last night on The Verb we had the world premiere of a new poem jointly written by Sean O'Brien, Jackie Kay and W N Herbert; it was an amazing allusive, elusive and apocalyptic piece that seemed to mirror the times we're in but when I suggested to Sean that poets might make a better job of the crisis than politicians he said that the last couple of weeks had increased his admiration for politicians; after all, they're just human beings doing an impossible job. The Verb is on on Friday night... have a listen and unwrap some ideas.

I always come away from these weekends determined to think harder, determined to talk to more people, to listen more, to engage with the world more. I'll tell my grandson that: he'll be impressed. Then I'll give him a bar of hotel soap and a hotel pen and he'll be even more impressed!

Off to the Young Ranters soon, then 'Speed Dating with a Thinker'. The blurb says it's 'A Free Thinking annual blockbuster that proves the brain is still the sexiest organ.' I'm going to have to buy a new bag for all those ideas...


Ian McMillan presents BBC Radio 3's The Verb and is omnipresent at Free Thinking ... 



  • Comment number 1.

    A Politician's Promise

    When I was young and spotty, and my ears were somewhat wet,
    If told "the Moon is made of cheese!" wide eyed was what I'd get.
    But now that I am ancient and much wiser, I suppose,
    A revelation of this type I treat with more repose.
    A sceptic is what I've become; a classic Pyrrhonist.
    Unless it's witnessed with my eyes, it's usually dismissed.
    I don't believe in fairies, Peter Pan can sling his hook,
    At ev'ry rainbow's end all that you'll find's a crock of muck.
    We haven't had a visit from beyond the stratosphere;
    All talk of small green aliens is idle chat I fear.
    Intelligent design's a dodgy concept with much fault.
    The idea of omnipotence I take with pinch of salt.
    And when a politician signs a pledge before 'The Press',
    And says with great sincerity: "To remedy this mess,
    I promise the electorate, without a word of lie ..."
    ... An image jumps into my mind wherein a pig might fly.



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