Friday, 10 June 2016

Radio review: 10 June

The wine box, that is – our columnist follows his nose

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176Writing a decent intro isn’t always easy. Some weeks writing this column, the opening paragraph is written last. So, I have a lot of tolerance when a clunker gets through. However, I cannot permit the monstrosity I heard on You And Yours (Radio 4, weekdays, 12.15pm) last week to pass without comment.

‘People of a certain age,’ said Winifred Robinson, introducing a feature on booze packaging, ‘will remember the wine box. Along with Blue Nun, they were considered the thing to have back in the day. If you don’t remember them, they were a plastic bag of wine inside a cardboard box with a tap sticking out of the side.’

Even if I have trouble remembering specific wine boxes, I have no bother bringing the concept to mind because, every time I’m in a supermarket, there’s usually a wall of them. Quite often, I find myself slipping one into my trolley, first checking that it’s a full 3-litre job, not a 2.25-litre pretender. Apparently this is ‘retro’.

I doubt playwright and director David Greig has any time for wine boxes. Facing his mortality 15 years ago, he began a health kick, running 10k races and marathons. In the new series of One To One (Tuesdays, Radio 4, 9.30am), he’s asking fellow runners about why they did it, kicking off with Ben Smith, who is trying to run a record-breaking 401 marathons in 401 days. Smith talked about having to eat 6,000 calories a day, even when not hungry.

Like Greig, Smith began running because of health issues – he suffered a minor stroke at 29 – but the reason for the extremes seems to be a quest to stave off suicidal depression. There’s also an element of ‘because he can’. I probably could too. Not just yet, though. I’m happy offsetting my wine boxes with dog walking.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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