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Gemma Atkinson and Pedram Shojai

Gemma Atkinson fills us in on Strictly Come Dancing in Blackpool and we learn about the art of stopping time from former monk Pedram Shojai.

Gemma Atkinson fills us in on all the action from Strictly Come Dancing in Blackpool and how she felt stepping out to perform the American Smooth with Alijaz in the iconic ballroom. We get top tips for making the most of your heartbeats from former monk Pedram Shojai who has written a book on The Art of Stopping Time. It's International Radio 2 Calling on a Monday, with you telling us where you are listening around the world from Australia to Sweden! Rugby commentator Chris Jones reflects on the weekend's matches with Vassos in The Sport Locker. There's a 1960's Californian Top Tenuous inspired by Pedram, plus writer and Vicar Dave Tomlinson provides the daily Pause For Thought.

2 hours, 59 minutes

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Simply Red


    • Simply Red Greatest Hits.
    • East West Records.
  • Pete Tong & Heritage Orchestra

    Sing It Back (feat. Becky Hill)

    • Ibiza Classics.
    • UMG.
    • 5.
  • Annie Lennox & Al Green

    Put a Little Love in Your Heart

    • Scrooged O.S.T. (Various Artists).
    • A&M.
  • Frankie Valli


    • Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons - Ve.
    • Polygram Tv.
    • 18.
  • Blossoms


    • (CD Single).
    • Virgin EMI.
  • Cyndi Lauper

    Girls Just Want To Have Fun

    • Fantastic 80's Disc 1 (Various Artis.
    • Columbia.
  • Leading Ladies

    One Night Only

    • Songs From The Stage.
    • EastWest.
  • Michael Jackson

    P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

    • Thriller.
    • Epic.
    • 6.
  • Dickie Valentine

    Christmas Alphabet

    • It's Christmas.
    • Not Now Music.
    • 8.
  • P!nk

    Beautiful Trauma

    • (CD Single).
    • RCA.
  • Coldplay

    Hymn For The Weekend (feat. Beyoncé)

    • A Head Full Of Dreams.
    • Parlophone.
  • Rita Ora

    Your Song

    • (CD Single).
    • Atlantic.
  • Jamiroquai

    Canned Heat

    • (CD Single).
    • Sony.
  • Harry Belafonte

    Jump In The Line

    • The Best Of.
    • Camden.
    • 16.
  • Tears for Fears

    I Love You But I'm Lost

    • Rule The World: The Greatest Hits.
    • Virgin EMI Records.
  • Petula Clark


    • The Ivor Novello Winners.
    • EMI.
  • The Kinks

    All Day And All Of The Night

    • The Kinks - The Definitive Collection.
    • Polygram Tv.
    • 23.
  • Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon

    Breakin' Down The Walls Of Heartache

    • The Best Northern Soul All-Nighter (V.
    • BMG.
  • Toploader

    Time Of My Life

    • (CD Single).
    • Sony.
  • Plan B


    • (CD Single).
    • Atlantic.
  • ABC

    The Flames Of Desire

    • (CD Single).
    • EMI.
    • 001.
  • Mink DeVille

    Spanish Stroll

    • The Greatest Hits Of 1977 (Various).
    • Premier.
  • Gibson Brothers


    • Latin Fever (Various Artists).
    • Universal Music.
  • Stormzy

    Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2 (feat. MNEK)

    • Gang Sings & Prayer.
    • Merky Records.
  • Elvis Presley

    Return To Sender

    • Presley - The All Time Greatest Hits.
    • RCA.
  • Chuck Berry

    Johnny B. Goode

    • That's Rock'n'Roll (Various Artists).
    • EMI.

Pause for Thought

Pause for Thought

From Dave Tomlinson, writer and Vicar of St Luke’s Holloway in London:

 Last week, I spent several days in Yorkshire leading a retreat which I entitled, ‘I Believe in Poetry, Art and Rock ‘n’ Roll – did God write any good tunes lately?’

 Retreats tend to have an image of being rather earnest and abstemious – good for the soul, maybe, but not exactly a barrel of laughs. Levity and irreverence were basic requirements at ours! We stared at beautiful paintings by the likes of Van Gogh, watched films, read poignant and amusing poems and looked at music videos by artists from Nick Cave to Moby, from Adele to Jay-Z – all in the magnificent setting of Upper Wharfedale.

Despite being a vicar, some of my best encounters with God have not been in churches or in religious activities but in art galleries, theatres, cinemas, concerts, and poetry books.

 One of my greatest spiritual experiences was at a Moby concert in Camden. I go to a lot of gigs. But that night, Moby’s music and the crowd’s engagement and delight with it transported me. I felt a magical oneness with the music and with 2000 people in a ‘cathedral’ of sound and spirit. I’m quite sure we all left with smiling souls.

 The word ‘God’ is problematic. For some people, it’s clichéd and meaningless; for others, dangerous, toxic even. But ‘God’ is just a way of pointing to a mystery we are all familiar with – the sense that there is something beyond the world of outward objects, of mundane reality. It doesn’t matter what we call this, but once we pause to notice it, to sense the wonder of things – the undeserved smile of a child, a glass of wine with friends, a good belly laugh, a warm hug, the sound of a blackbird singing at dusk – then we feel more fully alive.

 We don’t need to be religious. ‘Earth’s crammed with heaven’, the poet says. God is writing good tunes all the time, everywhere. Whether in city or countryside, in art, music or science, in love, pain, laughter and tears, our lives are framed with mystery. The important thing, I keep telling myself, is to live each moment, to give my life the attention it deserves, to look and listen, and relish every breath.... even on Mondays!


500 Words 2018

Catch up on highlights from BBC Radio 2's story-writing competition for kids.