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Apr. 13th, 2017

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One of the items sent to auction on yesterday's edition of Bargain Hunt was a pop-eyed, red faced doll in a ragged shirt with a die stuck in its froggy mouth. David Harper called it a voodoo puppet but I don't know where he got his information from. "Don't worry," he said, "I don't get any bad feelings from it," but nobody much wanted to handle it. The saleroom was similarly unenthused- and it went for half of what he'd paid. Had I been there my bidding finger might have twitched- because I like grotesquerie- but that would have been all. Something like that- of uncertain provenance- who knows what attachments it might have...
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It's funny, I can watch politicians going through their motions on TV without turning a hair but as soon as their voices come crawling out of the radio I punch the off button.

By politicians I particularly mean D Trump, T May and B Johnson.

Why the difference?

Because with TV I've got them contained. Its magic rectangle frames them like a picture; it keeps them in and confines them to one corner of the room. Secondly the artifice of the medium- close-up, cut-away and zoom- makes it plain there's a filter between us. Thirdly, quite simply, I can see they're someplace else- in a studio or the Oval Office or outside the Houses of Parliament. Finally the visual stimuli- body language, things I can see going on in the background, all the lovely colours- means I'm not having to give my full attention to what's coming out of their mouths.

But if they're on the radio they're right there in the room with me- invisible, riding the air waves, not limited to any one spot- and because the sound of them is all I've got to work with I'm considerably more sensitive to the verbal tricks, the insincerity, the false intonations, the bad acting...

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