yesterday Cat," someone told me.
"Letter on 5RPH again?" I asked.
"No, snippet of an interview from way back. I've never listened to 5RPH."
We don't, somewhat to my good friend Roger's horror, listen to radio at all. (Horror because Roger is, it seems, a keen radio man. He is the host of several sessions each week on Vintage Radio which broadcasts from Liverpool in England. I have heard him and he's good.)
I intensely dislike having radio noises chattering at me in the background, especially if I am trying to concentrate on a piece of work. The Senior Cat is the same. We prefer silence. We have a small radio which we would use in the height of summer if we happened to believe that there was the danger of fire reaching the suburb in which we live and that we might need to evacuate.
But, if I had to listen to radio, then it might well be 5RPH. The "RPH" stands for Radio for the Print Handicapped". It was initially intended as a radio station for people who are, for one reason or another, unable to read print. It is now used by all manner of people who claim they "do not have time" to read the papers. Volunteer readers will read the main articles and things like the letters to the editor.
I know people who were on the first management committee for the station and our friend Polly reads for them.
I am also aware that any "letter to the editor" I write for the state newspaper will be read on air - although the one I wrote for the local cat (a fun piece) apparently had the reader laughing so much they almost did not manage it. It has gained me a sort of notoriety I think I could do without. I get accosted by strangers because other people point me out. I overhear whispered comments "...writes to the paper" and I have been shouted at in the aisles of the local supermarkets. People will stop me to talk (or argue) about something I have written and, if I am short of time - as I often am, then this can be irritating. I always need to be polite when sometimes I want to tell them they are being impolite.
I know it is nothing like being a celebrity and being recognised wherever you go. I know it is nothing like always needing security and not being able to prowl out your front door without planning, and informing more than one other person. It is really just an irritation and, some would say, I have brought it on myself. (That is a little unfair as I do not prowl around with a label and my photograph does not appear along with the letters. I am also asked to write letters.)
But it all makes me sympathise with people who are "celebrities" because other people have decided that they are "celebrities". All the "privilege" in the world would not make up for the lack of privacy. What on earth is life like if, when you are only a day old, you are already being asked to wave to your adoring public?