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Darragh McManus on radio: These are strange days indeed... but we're all still coping



Newstalk's Sean Moncrieff

Newstalk's Sean Moncrieff

Damien Eagers

Newstalk's Sean Moncrieff

So how's everyone coping with being stuck inside, or at least close to, their house, day after day? With social distancing and constant handwashing? With the surreal, "sci-fi movie" experience that has become the workaday chore of shopping?

Moncrieff (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 2pm) sent roving reporter Henry McKean - complete, we were assured, with a mike stuck to the end of a broom handle - to find out. I'm unsure as to the worth of vox-pops in general. One part of me thinks: "The voice of the people is the voice of God." Another part thinks: "People are idiots."

In this case, at least, McKean's mike captured a pretty representative sample of how the country is feeling right now. I'll let a random selection of comments speak for themselves.

"We've stocked up so it's all good." "It's strange but we're coping." "It's sad but what can you do?" "A bit of fresh air does you good." "Just keep your distance and do what you're told." "Keeping fit running after a toddler." "If everybody plays by the rules, we'll be grand." "It's a bit stressful but we'll get through it." "We haven't fallen out just yet." "The weather has been excellent, and that has made a major difference."

Jonathan McCrea introduced Futureproof (Newstalk, Sat noon) with the hope it would offer "some escape from the weirdness of everything at the moment". And the ultimate escape, for the human race, is right off the planet and into space.

Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond is a new book by Christopher Wanjek, a genial and informative American science writer, who's worked with Nasa. On potential settlement of Mars, he declared, "It will happen" - though success depends on gravity. The Red Planet's gravity is only 39pc of what we have on Earth, which might be enough to live with, but whether it's enough for children to gestate is the key question.

As for interstellar travel, Chris brought us the "ingenious idea" of hollowing out an asteroid. Because distances are so great between solar systems, you have to travel incredibly fast - but the faster you go, the harder the impact of tiny particles crashing into your vehicle. "Inside an asteroid," he said, "all that crust serves as protective material."

Meanwhile Brendan O'Connor (Radio 1, Sat-Sun 11am) has settled into his new show with predictable smoothness; he'd substituted for the late Marian Finucane, regularly and more than capably, for years.

Kay Sheehy and Eoin Sweeney looked at the cultural events and moments "that brought us together" in the 1990s. Girl Power, Thelma and Louise, The Commitments, Italia 90 and 'Put 'Em Under Pressure', Trainspotting, so-called "Lad Culture"… in these bizarre times, nostalgia is more powerful than ever.

Indo Review