Sunday, 11 August 2013

Psst! Anyone know where I can score some dum-di-dum-di-dum-di-dum?

My name is Mark Clough, I am an Archers addict. This is my story.

When I started using The Archers I didn't think much about it. Just occasionally after a long day it helped me to relax on the way home from the office. The timing was often perfect, leave the office in a frazzled state, get in the car, put on the radio and it just seemed the natural thing to do. Fifteen minutes or so of goings on down Ambridge way.

I was a very irregular user. I could handle it. And when I changed jobs and my frazzledness was massively reduced I often didn't bother. I could take it or leave it.

Strangely enough what has increased my addiction to The Archers is moving from the UK to Greece. Here in the land of olive trees, ouzo and a family of four on a moped I thought I'd just try The Archers again. What harm could it do? But then I made a dangerous mistake - I started mixing The Archers with Twitter. Let me warn you now it is an incredibly potent combination and there are thousands of Archers addicts out there who find themselves unable to resist the temptations of the Tweetalong. We are all in a hell of our own creation.

All right, enough of the "Archers addiction" schtick, but you get my drift. I like to listen to Radio 4's popular daily radio drama The Archers and while doing so I like to Tweet my comments on the characters and what they are getting up to. And, I'm glad to say, because it means that I am not alone in this recherché taste, so do many other people. It is a wonderful combination, a radio drama and a micro-blogging site. Something old, something new.

It works well for me. Fire up my computer so I can listen to each evening's broadcast (7pm in the UK is 9pm here in Greece) and then blast out a few smart Alec comments on Twitter as I listen. The headmaster of my secondary school once took me outside the classroom to give me a bit of a ticking off. "The trouble with you," he told me, "is that you like to play to the gallery." Spot on. I do find it difficult to resist making smart arse remarks if the opportunity presents itself. It's a failing I am guilty of at even the most inappropriate occasions. I should add here that I do actually like The Archers for what it is - a daily radio drama set in a rural county - and I admire the skill and hard work of the script writers. But there is no escaping the fact that my enjoyment is increased by taking part in the Tweetalong.

However, lately something has intervened, namely the hot Greek summer. I like to listen and Tweet "live" and 9pm here is just too hot to sit with headphones on (my wife does not appreciate The Archers). That time in the evening is a good time to be out watching the world go by while sipping on a cold beer or enjoying an ice cream. As proof of this I should admit to starting to write this posting in July and we are now almost two weeks in to August.

Despite this, I endeavour to keep up by listening to broadcasts when I can, but it's not the same if I don't mix it with Twitter. Even so, I'm sure I'll revisit my "addiction", even in Greece summers don't last for ever, and by the time I do get back to my habit my need to fulfil my headmaster's prediction will be even greater. Watch out Sausage Boy, Titchynob and Fagash Lil, I'll be gunning for you.

"You are listening to the Home Service."

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