- Jonathan Franzen: Farther Away
Because I’m a geek at heart, visiting the Austrian National Library was one of the highlights of the summer 2014 for me.
There is a very ambitious plan in Helsinki, Finland, to create a revolutionary “mobility on demand” system by 2025. The system would enable all “shared and public transport” to be paid for with a single payment network available via smartphones.
Very much in favour of this although it should be noted that the Helsinki city centre is quite small and densely populated, relatively few residents even own a car because the distances are not great. However, if this plan is extended to the neighbouring cities of Espoo and Vantaa the benefits will be more noticiable.
In Riga, the KGB set up its head office in a building dubbed by the Latvians as “Stūra māja” - the Corner House. For decades, the KGB imprisoned, tortured, killed and morally suffocated its so-called opponents and adversaries in these premises.The building now hosts six exhibitions exploring the relationship between people and authority.
We all have a role to play in standing up, stepping in, and shattering the illusion that this (and the related sexual harassment women all too often face in public spaces) is somehow a ‘normal’ part of our society.
Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie spin some of their favourite tracks.
Today, BBC Radio 6 Music.
Kate Tempest - ‘The Beigeness’
The are some great textures in amongst the music of ‘The Beigeness’ -crunchy bass, subdued sirens - but, really, it’s all about the lyrics with Kate Tempest (unsurprisingly given her esteemed poetry and theatre background). “Life is huge, but we have shrunk it”; “Everybody say nothing, stay bland”; “We’re kissing the coshes that cripple us / Enjoying the beigeness” - her glare on society is razor-sharp and unrelenting.