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Boredom, Restlessness, Killing Time

An exploration of boredom, as a spur to action or an opportunity for contemplation, in Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Jane Austen's Emma and the songs of Cole Porter and Debussy.

An exploration of the experience of boredom. Whether it's an idle moment or a life sentence, a spur to action or opportunity for contemplation, it's provided writers and musicians with a rich area to explore: Flaubert's Madame Bovary is driven to a disastrous affair, Jane Austen's Emma scorns a boring acquaintance, and Saul Bellow asks, what would boredom be without terror? For Cole Porter, "practically everything leaves me totally cold"; and the Buzzcocks are "waiting for the phone to ring"....
With readings by Pip Carter and Skye Hallam.

1 hour, 14 minutes

Last on

Sun 5 Jan 2020 17:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    Neil Innes & Vivian Stanshall

    I’m Bored

    Performer: The Bonzo Dog Band.
    • EMI 0946 3 87889 2.
    • 14.
  • Saul Bellow

    thoughts on boredom from Humboldt’s Gift, read by Pip Carter

  • 00:00

    Philip Glass

    Contrary Motion

    Performer: Philip Glass (organ).
    • Elektra Nonesuch 7559793262.
    • 2.
  • John Cage

    a zen view of boredom, read by Skye Hallam

  • 00:00

    Buzzcocks

    Boredom

    Performer: Buzzcocks.
    • Mute/The Grey Area scratch1cd.
    • 3.
  • William Shakespeare

    Macbeth is bored with life, read by Pip Carter

  • 00:01

    Neil Innes & Vivian Stanshall

    I’m Bored

    Performer: The Bonzo Dog Band.
    • EMI 0946 3 87889 2.
    • 14.
  • Wendy Cope

    Mr Strugnell – a poem satirising Philip Larkin’s verse and life, read by Skye Hallam

  • 00:02

    Cole Porter

    I get a kick out of you

    Performer: Ella Fitzgerald.
    • Essential Jazz Classics EJC554454.
    • 6.
  • 00:06

    Julius Fucik

    The Grouchy Old Bear (Der alte Brummbar)

    Performer: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vaclav Neumann.
    • Teldec 8.42337.
    • 5.
  • H.G. Wells

    Mr Polly is feeling obscurely irritated with his life – or perhaps he is bored…(from The History of Mr Polly), read by Pip Carter

  • 00:10

    Julius Fucik

    The Grouchy Old Bear (Der alte Brummbar)

    Performer: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vaclav Neumann.
    • Teldec 8.42337.
    • 5.
  • William Makepeace Thackeray

    Becky Sharp is initially delighted to be moving in fashionable 18th C circles, but then after a while she finds that it’s all rather tedious – she’d rather be performing at a fair (from Vanity Fair), read by Skye Hallam

  • 00:16

    Igor Stravinsky

    The Shrovetide Fair (from Petrushka)

    Performer: The Philharmonia conducted by Eliahu Inbal.
    • Teldec 229246327-2.
  • Charles Dickens

    Lord and Lady Dedlock visit Paris, but despite the many attractions and distractions of the city, Lady Dedlock is bored to death (from Bleak House), read by Pip Carter

  • 00:23

    Claude Debussy

    Recueillement

    Performer: Felicity Lott (soprano) Graham Johnson (piano).
    • Harmonia Mundi HM901219.
    • 14.
  • Margaret Atwood

    in this poem called Bored, a girl remembers how bored she was, living with her father, read by Skye Hallam

  • 00:30

    Scott Joplin

    Real Slow Drag

    Performer: Philip Dyson (piano).
    • ASV CDWHL2120.
    • 12.
  • Friedrich Engels

    a description of the stupefying effects of factory work (from the Condition of Working Class in England), read by Pip Carter

  • 00:33

    Mosolov

    The Iron Foundry

    Performer: Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink.
    • Decca 4366402.
    • 1.
  • Saul Bellow

    the power of totalitarianism explained as boredom combined with terror (from the novel, Humboldt’s Gift), read by Pip Carter

  • 00:39

    Dmitry Shostakovich

    String Quartet no.8, 2nd movement

    Performer: Borodin Quartet.
    • Decca 425541-2.
  • 00:43

    Aaron Copland

    Quiet City

    Performer: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
    • DG 4273352.
    • 5.
  • Leroi Jones

    Epistrophe for Yoda, read by Pip Carter (a Beat Poet stares out of his window in New York, wishing for something to happen)

  • 00:47

    Boyce

    Gavotte from Symphony no.4

    Performer: Brandenburg Consort conducted by Roy Goodman.
    • Hyperion CDA66600.
    • 8.
  • Jane Austen

    a picnic at Box Hill and Emma makes fun of Miss Bates for being a bore. From the novel Emma, read by Skye Hallam

  • 00:52

    William Walton

    Scapino (Comedy Overture)

    Performer: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Groves.
    • EMI 7 63369 2.
    • 2.
  • 00:55

    Arthur Honegger

    Pastorale d’Ete

    Performer: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos.
    • Virgin Classics VC 791486-2.
    • 1.
  • Gustave Flaubert

    Emma Bovary is desperately bored with her life as the wife of a country doctor (from the novel Madame Bovary), read by Skye Hallam

  • 01:01

    Arthur Honegger

    Pastorale d’Ete

    Performer: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos.
    • Virgin Classics VC 791486-2.
    • 1.
  • Fernando Pessoa

    a Portuguese man compares his boss with life – monotonous and banal, but necessary (from The Book Of Disquiet), read by Pip Carter

  • 01:10

    Procol Harum

    Boredom

    Performer: Procol Harum.
    • Dojo EARLD6.
    • 4.

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