NO swearing and NO politics

I had fun yesterday, I got invited on to Chris Evans morning show on BBC Radio 2 to talk about hedgehogs (why did I even bother to say what it was about?) – the resulting 4 minutes is, at least for the moment, available HERE. I long ago realised that if one pauses for breath then the interviewer will tend to interrupt and ask questions. So Chris does not say much, but he does allow me to plug Hedgehog Awareness Week – a very good thing.

I am NOT allowed to mention politics, which is a shame as every other damn programme on the radio mentions politics. But balance is important and it is well known that a sway in the hedgehog vote could change things dramatically. If only they got up early enough … we all know that hedgehogs vote green.

I also got to advertise my up-coming show at the Brighton Fringe where I am sharing the stage with Jules Howard and we are cooking up a show called ‘Sex and the animal kingdom.’

Jules interviewed me for his book, ‘Sex on Earth’. It was fascinating to be on the receiving end for once – so often I have turned up in people’s lives and tried to capture a little of them in print.

“…he is largely as I imagined him – erudite, energetic and wonderfully passionate about everyday nature, especially his beloved hogs. He invites me through the door and into his world: a crowded living room, littered with hedgehog souvenirs, pictures, posters and bookshelf after bookshelf of interesting books, many of which, unsurprisingly, are about hedgehogs. Within minutes he has me standing outside in his garden, holding up a bit of cheese in my hand for a robin he has habituated…”

Before I had got on air the producer of the show had said to me ‘there is to be no searing and no politics’ – so when Chris Evans closed our chat by asking me for a joke I was immediately caught … all the funny in Brighton is going to be terribly rude featuring the likes of George the Hedgehog or Bogor!

Luckily I had a joke I had stolen from a chicken …

Why did the hedgehog cross the road, jump up and down in a muddy puddle and run back again?

Because she was a dirty double crossing hedgehog!

See you in Brighton, I hope!

Catalyst is coming

I am friends with a wonderful woman, Polly, who has a wonderful home in East Oxford – Grove House.

Polly’s home has an addition, the Rotunda. This, unsurprisingly round, building was where Vivien Greene (wife of Graham) had her doll’s house museum and is now a space for eclectic performances from around the world (as well as much else – have a look at the website).

And on Thursday July 7th there is going to be one of those eclectic, eccentric and hopefully downright entertaining evenings of performance. The Catalyst Club is coming to Oxford.

The Catalyst Club hails from Brighton where it has been hearing from passionate communicators for the past seven years. It draws on the old traditions of French Salon and debating societies with three guest speakers taking to the stage for 15 minutes during which they talk on a subject close to their hearts. Previous contributions in Brighton have included: Bees – Emergence Theory – Hitler’s Moustache – Victorian Lantern Shows – Cunnillingus – The Exciting World of Slime Mould – Giant Squid – The Dawn of Civilisation.

And what should I talk about, now I have been asked to join such exulted company? I have been considering this long and hard. Topics that spring to mind: Ultimate Frisbee; Love; Wildness; The Importance of Dangling Small Children by their Ankles Over Muddy Puddles in the Woods; The Global Height Conspiracy; Why does Music Make us Cry …

Yet, despite proffering all of these fascinating opportunities, I have been asked to talk on: Why Hedgehogs are Crucial for the Survival of Humanity…

I am joined by renegade potter Carrie Reichardt who, among many other extraordinary things, travelled to Texas to say farewell to her friend, Ash, on death row; and after he was killed, took a death mask of his face to be exhibited around the world, highlighting the brutality of the American penal system.

And the third leg of this veritable stool of pleasure is David Bramwell – founder of the Catalyst Club – who has forsworn modern media for the last ten years and done more stuff than I care to think about.

In fact both of these contributors are ever so slightly intimidating, so this is a plea to my friends – come and support a small spiny mammal as he does his best at the Catalyst Club in Oxford on July 7th. You can buy tickets via here.