Friday, 06 May 2016

Radio Review: 6 May

Observing life from today’s city streets can be tricky

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176A long-departed and much-missed friend of mine, the jazz writer Kevin Henriques, used to describe himself on his business cards as a ‘boulevardier’. I thought it an enviable status and, ever since, I’ve fancied myself as a bit of a boulevardier, although boulevards are in short supply here on the edge of the Cotswolds. Instead, I opted to become a flâneur.

Unfortunately, if last week’s Thinking Allowed (R4, Wednesdays, 4pm) is reliable, I’m not sure I’m one of those either. In Baudelaire’s definition, the flâneur is a man of the crowd, exploring, loitering and observing on the city streets, usually finding material for essays they can flog. As we don’t have many crowds in the small market town where I live, I prefer to loiter and observe in the pub, and I get my essay material from the wireless.

Academic Keith Tester, editor of a collection of essays called The Flâneur, said that in the traditional sense, flâneurs were solitary creatures, and always men. Fortunately, Lauren Elkin, author of a book called Flâneuse, was on hand to challenge this view. It might have been frowned upon for women to saunter around town, particularly at night, peak flâneur-ing time, but nobody can deny that women were there, she argues, and we should try to understand how they interacted with the city, rather than try and make them fit the male concept of interaction. Presenter Laurie Taylor suggested that, social mores apart, one of the problems faced by the flâneuse was that she tended to become the subject of observation rather than the observer. Elkin cited cases where women dressed as men to achieve invisibility.

Finally, Tester wondered if anybody can be a flâneur any more? If you don’t pay attention to the traffic, you’ll probably get run over. A sad and sobering thought. I’m off for a walk.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net



Forgot your password?
Click to read our digital edition
Place-Classified-advert-336
TLR-advert-May2014-336

Boarders Dormitory Master-Mistress
We are looking to appoint a Dormitory Mistress/Master for 5 nights per week, weekday evenings and nights only, term time. (35 weeks). [...]

APPLY NOW


Housekeeper to Headmaster
We have an opportunity for an experienced live-out housekeeper. You will provide a cleaning and hospitality service for the Headmaster and his guests and help to ensure the household runs efficiently. [...]

APPLY NOW


Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
We are looking for a full time, live-out housekeeper/nanny. We are a relaxed young couple living in a large country house, and will have one newborn baby. [...]

APPLY NOW


Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
Our elderly mother needs a live in carer/companion on a part time basis. Must be warm hearted, calm & compassionate, with a good sense of humour. [...]

APPLY NOW


Cook, Housekeeper wanted
Good cooking skills required to cater for light meals for the Principal and a small staff, as well as occasional lunch/dinner parties. [...]

APPLY NOW



MORE JOBS LIKE THESE

Horoscopes

What the stars have in store for you this week.2017

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter