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The Body Electric
Cathy FitzGerald considers what we can learn about the body by experiencing it through the senses of artists. Imagine you're experiencing the human body for the very first time. Look at the spiderweb of lines on a palm, the delicacy of the skin at the pulse-point on the wrist. Feel the squishy warmth of an ear lobe, the dry honeycomb of elbow skin. What does it sound like when a hand brushes a cheek? Do the shoulders smell different to the back? We're surrounded by images of the body - and yet perhaps less in touch with our own fleshy selves than at any time in history. Many of us know our bodies only in terms of illness or deficiency - how they let us down. Cathy FitzGerald explores the surface of the body as a terra incognita in the company of three artists, who each work with a different sense - sound-artist Matthew Herbert (who creates an 'audio-nude'); Wolfgang Georgsdorf who works with smell; and the Scottish painter, Alison Watt. She also attends a life-drawing class at the National Gallery, led by drawing tutor and art-historian, Karly Allen. Produced and Presented by Cathy FitzGerald A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4.
It's My Baby Too
How are men affected by abortion? There are around 200,000 legal abortions carried out in England, Scotland and Wales every year and it's estimated that 1 in 3 women will have a termination at some point in their lifetime. Women are offered support and counselling through the process - but do we do enough to help the many men affected by the experience? Aasmah Mir talks to men who have gone through the experience and to women about how they feel men cope with abortion. She hears from abortion service providers about the current process, academics about the limited research conducted into the impact abortion has on men, and experts working in the field of relationship counselling. Fifty years after abortion was decriminalised in most of the UK, Aasmah discovers there's still a lot of stigma around it and the experience of men is often a closed topic. One man, who has supported three partners through terminations, tells Aasmah, "'I've not spoken to anybody about this ever. I did bring it up once recently but people just seem to want to sweep it under the carpet with me. They were embarrassed that I brought it up. It's a taboo. You can't really talk about it." US psychologist Michael Simon says, for some men, the experience can have a serious long term impact on how they deal in particular with sex and relationships. But others don't feel men should be offered any extra support at all. UK newspaper columnist Sarah Ditum says, "The more you involve men, the more you take the focus away from women. You're suddenly allowing this other person in, who in a physical sense is very much the junior partner in the whole baby making process." A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4.
Butterbeer and Grootcakes
Aleks Krotoski takes her seat at the table to explore the amazing world of fictional food made real. Food is not a new force in fiction, but increasingly fictional food is finding its way onto the table. And fan communities from the new breed of modern cultural canon aren't just nibbling on Laura Esquivel's devastating quail in rose petal sauce from Like Water for Chocolate, but also tucking in to fried squirrel and raccoon from The Hunger Games, Sansa's lemon cakes from Game of Thrones, or downing a frothy glass of butterbeer from Harry Potter. Now Aleks gathers together three people who know a lot about fictional food to discuss its appeal for fans, authors and food creators alike. Together, they will make, and eat, a meal of food from fiction, and discuss some of the interesting questions it raises. Joanne Harris is author of several novels where food is almost a character in its own right - most famously Chocolat, which was turned into a film of the same name; she also co-created a cookbook, The Little Book of Chocolat, for the many fans desperate to make the concoctions they had read about in her novels. Sam Bompas is co-founder of creative food studio Bompas & Parr, who recently helped create Dinner At The Twits, inspired by Roald Dahl's book. And Kate Young brings together her passion for food and literature in her blog The Little Library Café, where she creates recipes for food found in fiction, and many of them will be included in her first cookbook, The Little Library Cookbook. The programme also includes music played on the flavour conductor - a working cocktail organ, conceived by Sam Bompas for Johnnie Walker. The music is composed by Simon Little. Producer: Giles Edwards.
When Women Wore the Trousers
Laura Barton explores the little known story of a pioneering group of women who unknowingly challenged conventional notions of femininity and their working roles. The Pit Brow Lasses worked within the collieries of 19th century Wigan, Lancashire. Their unique re-appropriation of men's 'breeches' worn underneath hitched up skirts was originally adopted as a functional response to working within mines. These early adopters of trousers reached a similar degrees of notoriety that street-style stars do today. When Women Wore the Trousers explores the history of trousers in the workplace and in fashion and discusses the impact that this every day garment had on society. Women were liberated by their work in the munitions factories and on the land during both World Wars but there was a fear that these 'new men' would continue donning trousers and become too independent. Coco Chanel famously appropriated sailors tops and trousers to create work-wear in its most elevated form and the fashion for utilitarian clothing continues to thrive today as discussed by fashion designers Faye and Erica Toogood. What do modern working women wear in the work place in the 21st Century? Chef Angela Harnett wears a uniform of a white shift and baggy trousers in her restaurant kitchen but it is a look that could be seen as fashionable in a different context. With readings from the actor Maxine Peake, a discussion with Pit Brow Lass, Rita Culshaw about her choice of clothing in the pits and interviews with fashion curators Amy de la Haye and Fiona McKay and Wigan historian Alan Davies, we discover how women have worn trousers as a means of empowerment and the enduring appeal of work-wear in contemporary fashion. Producer: Belinda Naylor.
The Voices of... Ane Brun
The Norwegian singer Ane Brun talks about her life in music. Ane Brun has lived and worked in Stockholm for most of her professional life. Much of her music is sung in English - collaborating with British and American artists such as Peter Gabriel and Ron Sexsmith, or re-imagining songs by Beyonce and the music of Monteverdi and Purcell. It's as if she spends her life in a kind of musical translation, between artists and languages, cultures and history. But her solo albums - including A Temporary Dive and It All Starts With One - reveal an artist rooted in her own sense of musical expression, alternately melancholy and playful. As she muses in Changing of the Seasons, "I guess I'm too Scandinavian." Alan Hall visits Ane Brun at her studio in Stockholm and shares a walk through the old city, discussing Shakespeare, her family at home in Norway and the particular qualities of her distinctive voice. Produced by Alan Hall A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.