Driving time

by Louis Barber

The other morning, I had to be up at the crack of sparrow fart to drive to London for a thing. A TV thing celebrating the great Stanley Baxter, as it happens. Despite some time ago having vowed to avoid Radio 4’s Today programme, I tuned in for a bit to hear how much worse the world had got since I’d gone to bed the previous evening.

I was rewarded by the assistant political editor Norman Smith getting splendidly muddled reporting on the PM addressing the 1922 committee. He said that one MP had emerged from the meeting suggesting that the PM was ‘set fair to lead the party into the 1922 election’. Of course, I’m assuming this was Smith making a mistake. He could have been reporting the MP entirely accurately.

Knowing it would only be downhill from there, I returned. On the way back, I caught a little of Robert Elms’ BBC radio london show (Monday- Saturday, 10am). It was his regular ‘cover to cover’ feature that piqued my interest, in which he asked listeners to say which was best: Stevie Wonder’s I Was Made to Love Her, or Chaka Khan’s I Was Made to Love Him.

Elms surprised me by saying that he didn’t realise anyone had covered the song. In fact, Khan – whose version is ace – is not alone. The Beach Boys did it on their album Wild Honey, a matter of months after Wonder released his original.

Proving my rule that people who call into radio shows should have their telephones confiscated, a drab, smug chap called Adrian said that he didn’t regard Wonder as ‘a proper singer’, while another drab, smug chap said Khan was given to ‘screeching’. Both are wrong. I would have called in to say so, but that would make me as bad as them.