Radio review: Pacing ourselves as we go through life

Nuala McCann

Hurry Slowly Podcast

Desert Island Discs Neil Gaiman

Hurry Slowly is a podcast about pacing yourself.

Jocelyn K Glei helps us to move forward at a measured pace even as we seek to make sense of the pandemic and what it has taught us.

Among her guests is Oliver Burkeman who wrote a column in the Guardian called “This Column Will Change Your Life”.

It started out tongue-in-cheek, a kind of mocking of charlatans in the world of self help, but it ended up with the author realising that there was, indeed, something in it.

“The biggest surprise was that there was a lot of value in this world,” he told Glei.

In turn, Glei told him that she was very fond of an expression of his: “Take my advice, I'm not using it.”

Burkeman has a new book out: Four thousand weeks: Time and How to Use it.

The number of weeks is what we get in an average lifespan … and from the beginning you have to realise that you'll never empty your inbox and that there will always be too many demands on your time.

The joke of the book, Burkeman confessed, is that it took him five years to write – but he did become a father in between.

His editors and agent found it amusing to make remarks about how many weeks it was taking him to write the book.

But there is wisdom here – a meditation on life and time allotted.

Have a listen … and hey, take my advice, I'm not using it.

Writer Neil Gaiman featured on Desert Island Discs.

He is famous for novels including American Gods, children's stories such as Coraline and the comic book The Sandman.

He has about 45 million fans and his work has been presented on stage, film and tv.

Look up his poem: All I Know About Love… it's rather beautiful.

Gaiman was a bookish comic loving cuckoo kid, he told Lauren Laverne on this episode of Desert Island Discs.

When he was taken to family functions, his father used to frisk him at the door because he'd inevitably have a book hidden up his jumper and disappear into a corner to read it.

Like all great storytellers, he had plenty of funny and beautiful tales to tell.

When his daughter Holly was at college, she was talking about all the songs they used to play together when they'd go for a drive when she was a little girl.

What about Walk on the Wild Side, she suggested.

“Yes, in fact, you were named after that,” he told her.

He played her Walk on the Wild Side and afterwards she said: “So hang on. I'm named after a trans person in a Lou Reed song?”

And he said “Yes, you are”.

To which she replied: “Oh dad, I love you.”

Bet that prompted a few smiles.

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