Listening without prejudice

In the aftermath of his much publicised last broadcast with the TMS team during the final test match of the summer one couldn’t move for articles and pieces discussing the career of Henry Blofeld on the radio. As is the case in the media driven world in which we now live there was an instant plethora of opinion and comment. Understandably, there were plenty extolling his talents in commentary but many also chose to focus on Blowers’ privileged, class dominated background and elected to utilise this as a platform on which to question and criticise. One finds that this is a sad development in a modern world that sees fit to cast doubt and aspersions on anything deemed successful or pleasing, perhaps for no better reason than to create an angle for a spot of tub-thumping or a throwaway headline. Plenty no doubt enjoyed Blowers’ exploits because they were entertaining, frivolous and a little different to most others. They weren’t laced with the sort of meaningless statistics or obsequious sycophancies that are utilised by other media outlets in order to cover over commentary shortcomings or attempt to wow listeners / viewers with shiny fripperies. Rather, a stint featured a charming spell of raconteuring and badinage that made listening to Blofeld that little bit different. He provided a modicum of eccentricity and frivolity in a media world which is seemingly forcing all newcomers to fit a very narrow formula which prescribes bland, savvy, slick coverage in contrast to the smallest iota of character.

Unfortunately, Blofeld’s modus operandi has provided opportunities aplenty for those with an agenda. Hence, doubt and aspersions are cast because Blofeld enjoyed a privileged upbringing rather than suffering or toiling in some inner city, working class dystopia. Apparently this may have afforded him a little more slack than may have been permitted to others had they been employed during this present day when tolerances on error and inaccuracy seem so stringent. Does a commentator’s background really matter in the grand scheme of things though? Can listeners not be allowed to enjoy a practitioner’s offerings simply for what they are without adding an undercurrent or judging according to a prejudiced agenda? Or must lines be drawn and one be forced to take a position amongst such futilities? Henry Blofeld may not prove everyone’s cup of tea (or whatever is deemed to be the public school educated, privileged upbringing equivalent) but he provided much entertainment down the years for many a listener. Is that not enough even in this cynical, modern world that we now inhabit or must everything be analysed to the point where any joy, pleasure and sense of escapism is stripped out to leave a bland, soulless, charmless alternative?

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