It’s not often you could draw a Venn diagram between Woman’s Hour (Radio 4) and Bernard Manning, but this week’s phone-in special on mothers-in-law veered into some pretty dubious territory. One caller began her story with “I’m not an interfering mother-in-law”, the unsaid “but” left hanging, before going on to reveal a series of estrangements from her children. Another admitted to being hard work, but claimed to have a fantastic relationship with her son’s French partner.
Sadder were the accounts from the other side, such as the son-in-law simmering with rage as he moaned about “that woman”. Credit to Jenni Murray for her patience; Woman’s Hour listeners had plenty of petty grievances ready for broadcast – or perhaps more it would be more accurate to call it therapy. The few women praising their mothers-in-law were the ones who no longer had them, suggesting that the best sort were the dead ones. Manning would be pleased.
Which brings us, not so obviously, to The Official Asian Download Chart (Asian Network). At the time of writing, I’m on day four of my brother’s wedding, which in true Pakistani style is going on for several knackering days. Tasked with “sorting out the music” for a couple of the events, I failed to compile any playlists – my Punjabi pop references being five years out of date and my knowledge of classic Bollywood wedding songs having stalled in 1995. Thank you, Suzi Mann’s New Year’s Eve chart, a rundown of 2012’s biggest downloads, for maintaining a semblance of the wedding DJ credibility. What did I learn? That Qawwali singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (who features five times) is now huge in Bollywood; former child prodigy Shreya Ghosal has done an Adele in 2012; bhangra producers seem to have taken a shine to Calvin Harris-style synths; and One Pound Fish Man was the year’s second biggest seller. Proof that novelty value is universally appealing.