I love the USA. I love it's music. It's cities lend their names to some wonderfully iconic music: Sinatra explaining that "Chicago" is his kind of town; Scott MacKenzie going to "San Francisco" and weaving 'flowers in his hair'; and "New York, New York", by anyone, conjures up the image of the Big Apple within a quaver or two. What do we get? Ralph McTell encouraging us to slash our wrists about the gloom that is "The Streets of London" And who ever penned a memorable melody about Croydon or Barnet? The Kink's "Waterloo Sunset" is as good as it gets, I think.
So it was to New York that we dispatched the naturally tuneful LVJ - he's Welsh, you know - and he came back with a fresh theory about communicable diseases, so virulent that they even cross the Atlantic. Why, he asked, if America sneezes, do we catch a cold... economically? As if to ease his passage, along comes American Bernard Madoff who promptly disappears with $50 billion in a fraud to make the South Sea Bubble look like commercial cheer-leaders to the Great Depression. He has more in the following days but tonight's is worth ever moment you have to spare at 6.
Ken is in charge tonight, de-stressed from the rigours of another weekend supporting West Ham - a point at Stamford Bridge is a point to cherish. He has commissioned a report on the state of play with the London Olympic aquadrome. In Beijing it was a magnificent water cube that lit up the Chimnese sky-line and accommodated even the ego of Michael Phelps and could have made the feet of Ian Thorpe look like "lickle flippers".
Again, and I am not one of life's pessimists, what do we have? Well, according to the very optimistic Ken, a place better suited to mud-wrestling that the four by four hundred metre free-style.
Piers "Mr Speedos" Hopkirk takes the plunge for you. Ladies, avert your gaze but hang on his every word - all of you.
Talking of words, some final words occupy a special place in our folk-lore. In Royal histroy, (and former Buck House press secretary Dicky Arbiter just passed by and said "Hi",) "Bugger Bognor ! " is one of my favourites. The Oz likes "Which way round is this helmet supposed to go?", uttered by Ned Kelly seconds before being felled in a hail of police bullets. He didn't have eyes in the back of his head, where he'd slithered the eye-slits to be, according to the Melbourne Museum of Fine Arts and Dead Gangsters. The celebrated reference to an angel getting its wings every time a bell rings is, of course, the closing tear jerker in a particularly seasonal movie, made many moons ago. The little girl who uttered them is now a grande dame and she joins us in the studio. Got it yet? You will. By the way, it has, over the years, also led to a rather large number of would-be cherubs and seraphim loitering, wingless, outside London's fire stations, only to waft away in celebratory fashion every time a semi or a bungalow goes up in flames. Odd, these Heavenly creatures.
We ring a bell, one more time, for our spelndid mobile phone search in aid of missing people and we hear , one more time, from the weepy wonder who won Saturday's "X Factor Final". Lucy sits with her, clutching the Kleenex. I voted for Lewis Hamilton so am still disappointed. What? A different show? Oh, sorry.
Finally, all the news that's fit to print in our news-belt and the latest on the trial of the family accused of keeping a stampede's worth of horses in conditions that beggar belief. They deny all charges. The RSPCA have some video they think may help the jury decide. It is not an easy ride, I warn you, but it matters so we'll run it.
Papers, if we have time, and certainly some weather from the lovely Chrissie who is coming in in increasingly thick jumpers, longer scarves and now a whole selection of gloves. I fear for communicable diseases but have put a fiver on a white Christmas. The Oz still thinks we're talking the colour of beach-sand, here. She'll learn - lovely, and quick witted - a beaut' combination.
We'll see you at 6 - in hope and not a little expectation.
Alastair and Alex.
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