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Radio listener: Celtic Connections | The Essay | Book at Bedtime: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

This month’s 20th anniversary of Glasgow’s roots music juggernaut, Celtic Connections, continues to permeate the airwaves, with Radio Scotland broadcasting four of its regular music programmes from the festival this week under the rather cumbersome title of Celtic Connections Live on BbC Radio Scotland.

• Celtic Connections Live on BBC Radio Scotland: Mon-Thu, Radio Scotland, 8pm

• The Essay: Mon-Fri, Radio 3, 10:45pm

• Book at Bedtime: The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie: Mon-Fri, Radio 4, 10:45pm

Vic Galloway kicks off on Monday with contemporary sounds from the Tulsa-based J D MacPherson, New York electric folk-rockers Washington Irving and Glasgow-based alternative-folk singer-songwriter Jo Mango.

Tuesday to Thursday sees Bruce MacGregor, Stephen Duffy and Mary Ann Kennedy presenting their own particular takes on the festival, but amid this boundless effervescence of Celtic-consciousness – whatever that may be, spare a thought for those rather less trendy Anglo-Saxons, as Radio 3 resumes its major series in THE ESSAY: ANGLO-SAXON PORTRAITS.

Pointing up the impact of the Germanic tribes who settled in south and east Britain at the beginning of the fifth century and shaped cultural, political and religious life for several centuries, the next ten essays will present portraits of 30 key men and women from the period between 550 and 1066, after which those pesky Normans changed everything. Contributors will include Nobel-prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney introducing the Beowulf epic and its writer, as well as discussing the importance of the scop, as the old English court bards were known.

Other essayists through the week include author David Almond discussing Caedmon, the oldest English poet whose work survives today, Michael Wood examining that old cake-burner, King Alfred, while Helena Hamerow considers the lot of the peasant farmer.

To middle-class, pre-war Edinburgh now as Gerda Stevenson reads from THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE. Muriel Spark’s ageless classic evokes the unabashedly elitist schoolma’am who cultivates her “crème de la crème”, acquainting her girls with everything from the Italian renaissance to Mussolini – until, that is, things start to go rather badly awry.

 

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