The Boring Talks-logo

The Boring Talks

BBC

Behind every boring subject is another layer of boringness you could have never imagined. Presenter: James Ward Updated: Weekly

Behind every boring subject is another layer of boringness you could have never imagined. Presenter: James Ward Updated: Weekly

Location:

United Kingdom

Networks:

BBC

Description:

Behind every boring subject is another layer of boringness you could have never imagined. Presenter: James Ward Updated: Weekly

Language:

English


Episodes

#54 - Jigsaws

7/6/2020
It started with a 'Regency Wedding Scene' puzzle purchased for £2 in a charity shop. Now Anya Driscoll is a jigsaw junkie. In this edition of The Boring Talks she discussions her obsession, and pieces together the history of jigsaws, the art of jigsaws and whether or not they could save your life (spoiler – they can't really). James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting... maybe.

Duration:00:21:14

#53 - Car Boots

6/1/2020
From Anglo-American differences, to escaping kidnappers and celebrating the classic car boot sale. In this Boring Talk, Auto Express journalist Hugo Griffiths climbs inside the 'space of temporariness' that is the car boot. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe.

Duration:00:18:26

#52 - Breakfast Cereals

5/4/2020
Family holidays for the artist Louise Ashcroft meant one thing - variety pack cereals. Would it be Cornflakes? Or Frosties? Coco Pops or Ricicles? Through this multi-grain multiple choice Louise realised she could be anyone..... kind of. Join her for a creative, personal journey through her favourite corn syrup-infused inflated grain. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe.

Duration:00:22:27

#51 - Oboe Reeds

4/20/2020
Gouging, scraping and chopping. The reporter Chloe Veltman shows us the painstaking art of making an oboe reed, and how it can be the difference between sounding like a singing nightingale, or a belligerent duck. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe.

Duration:00:18:02

#50 - Windows

4/6/2020
Where does the word 'Window' derive from? And what does it have to do with a Norwegian architectural historian and a bohemian Austrian poet? On a lyrical journey from death to inspiration, Anne Ulrikke Andersen takes a look through the windows in the life of Christian Norberg-Schulz. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe.

Duration:00:20:29

#49 - Coal Holes

3/30/2020
They are either 12, 14 or 16 inches wide, they live just outside our doors, and they come in a variety of striking designs. So why has no one heard of coal holes? Local historian Amir Dotan explores the streets of London to find the small metal discs you may not have noticed before, but may well have stepped over thousands of times. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe.

Duration:00:22:40

#48 - Data Centres

3/23/2020
What do we all use, but never visit? The sound artist Matt Parker takes us inside the bizarre world of remote Data Centres, where our wireless world is powered by rows and rows of computers running all day, everyday. But what is the true cost of these centres to our planet? What do they sound like? And why does one have an empty white room with an executive leather armchair and a faceless portrait hanging on the wall? James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem...

Duration:00:25:35

#47 - Crinoline Ladies

3/16/2020
It began as an image of Victorian femininity, became a 1920s style icon, and perhaps ended as a 1970s toilet roll cover. Dr Kathryn Ferry looks at the curious history of the Crinoline Lady, exploring the growth of suburbia, Gone With The Wind and 'crinolinemania'. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe.

Duration:00:16:35

# 46 - Teletext

3/9/2020
James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe. From Bamboozle, to being switched off, and now being salvaged for the digital age. James O'Malley looks at the life, death and resurrection of Teletext.

Duration:00:18:23

#45 - Box Certificates

3/2/2020
One day while breaking down a box in a corridor, Joyce Smith noticed a box certificate. Quickly followed by a second one. Now Joyce had 2 of them, and 2 of anything is the start of a collection. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe.

Duration:00:19:27

# 44 - Swearing: a personal cross-cultural comparative study of Hindi and English

2/24/2020
If you hit your thumb with a hammer, what swear word would you immediately scream? Charvy Narain asked her friends and family this question, which lead to a personal journey from the 'buffalo's eye' to New York City cops and the her surprising Mausi. In this edition of The Boring Talks Charvy Narain takes a very foul mouthed and personal look at swearing in Hindi and English. James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.......

Duration:00:14:05

# 43 - The Sounds of Computer Games Loading

2/17/2020
James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe. The clunk and click of the datasette machine. The white noise of the tape loading. The strange and compelling soundtrack of the loading music. The author and video games journalist Keith Stuart remembers the forgotten whirrs and clicks that made up the soundtrack of his youth. Presenter: James Ward Contributor: Keith Stuart Producer: Luke Doran

Duration:00:14:13

#42 - The Lexicon Of Breakups

2/10/2020
James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe. In 2011, comedian Rosie Wilby was dumped by email. (Though she did feel better about it after correcting her ex’s spelling and punctuation). Obsessing ever since about whether technology has enabled abrupt endings to relationships, she discovered an entire new language. But what are ghosting, breadcrumbing, submarining, pocketing, benching and curving? Rosie Wilby is a...

Duration:00:15:53

#41 - Pencils

2/10/2020
James Ward introduces another curious talk about a subject that may seem boring, but is actually very interesting.... maybe. Brian Mackenwells is passionate about pencils. In this Boring Talk he shares his passion for good pencils. He talks us through their history, and explains why having a good pencil gives you a pleasurable 'small pivot point that can change your whole mind set'. He also talks us through his favourite pencils, and shares the very personal reason that he can't part with...

Duration:00:27:44

#40 - Thank You (again)

2/27/2019
James Ward says thank you for listening to series two and chooses the best numbers from each of the talks. Presenter: James Ward Producer: Luke Doran

Duration:00:01:57

#39 - Doormats

2/25/2019
Can a doormat actually increase the value of your property by £30k? Alex Baxevanis explains all in his study of the doormats from his block of flats. Presenter: James Ward Contributor: Alex Baxevanis Producer: Luke Doran

Duration:00:13:20

#38 - Markham Moor Roof

2/18/2019
Just off the Markham Exit on the A1 motorway lies an architectural wonder. Ed Carter shares his love for an unusual roadside roof, with help from a whistle or two. Presenter: James Ward Contributor: Ed Carter Producer: Luke Doran

Duration:00:15:06

#37 - Watergate Tape 'Silence'

2/11/2019
The neuroscientist Sophie Scott takes a close listen to the long 'silent' gap on the Watergate Tapes. Buzz. Click. Buzz. Click. Buzz. Presenter: James Ward Contributor: Sophie Scott Producer: Luke Doran

Duration:00:25:08

#36 - Shanghai Architecture

2/4/2019
From the 'eye of Sauron' building, to a deserted London town. The designer Hannah Cameron takes a walk back through the buildings that shaped her time living in China's biggest city. Presenter: James Ward Contributor: Hannah Cameron Producer: Luke Doran

Duration:00:18:58

#35 - How Tall Are Celebrities?

1/28/2019
Who is taller, Robbie Williams, David Duchovny or the chef James Martin? And what does being ‘solid tall’ actually mean? The writer Greg Stekelman (same height as Emilio Estevez) explores the world of online celebrity measurements. Presenter: James Ward Contributor: Greg Stekelman Producer: Luke Doran

Duration:00:17:21