Entertainment Radio

Wednesday 16 October 2019

What are the odds of having your mind blown?


Jonathan McCrea
Jonathan McCrea
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

"Imparting meaning to things is very important to us," Jonathan McCrea says. "Without it, we'd be paralysed." He's introducing a discussion about coincidence on Futureproof (Newstalk, Sat 12pm), and seems sceptical enough of the whole concept, even after producer Aidan McKelvey tells his own story of unlikely events.

Still: McCrea adds, "Every once in a while, we come across an occurrence that seems so unlikely, so unexpected and improbable, that even if you don't believe in magic or destiny - it's hard not to see a signal in the noise."

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It certainly is, particularly when you hear a story like that of listener John, a Scotsman living in Tipperary for 12 years. On a trip to Glasgow for a match, he got on well with one man in the group; they swapped numbers.

Driving home with his wife and kids that night, miles from the airport, John noticed something small lying in the road. Being "curious", he stopped. It was this other man's wallet.

Now, as we heard from contributors Dr Michael Salter-Townshend, who teaches Statistics at UCD, and psychologist Brian Hughes of NUIG, there are some explanations for these seemingly random occurrences. But only, it seems, up to a point.

The coincidence may not be quite as mind-blowingly implausible as it first appears - but it's still pretty damn unlikely. One woman in England, we heard, was convicted of murdering her children because two cot deaths were seen as too great a coincidence. It turned out that's precisely what it was, nothing more and nothing less.

It's no coincidence - ahem - that Movies and Music is celebrating 20 years on Lyric (Sun 1pm). It's three hours of great tunes, sweet movie memories and lots of interesting little titbits about the silver screen.

There are also bursts of film news with Garret Daly - recently, for instance, he reported from Cannes and looked at cinema 20 years ago. Presenter Aedín Gormley is a pleasure to listen to: knowledgeable, engaged, chilled-out and, as is generally par for the course across Lyric, possessed of a beautiful speaking voice.

The show itself continues to run weekly, while Radio 1 is airing a retrospective on Sundays at 7pm, featuring classic interviews from the vaults. This week we heard the legendary Julie Andrews: an equally beautiful voice, and a cheerful, chatty interviewee.

The Euro elections, meanwhile, limped to their end. Was there ever such a dreary, uneventful campaign? And that's saying something.

Radio covered the election (and various referendums) in, I felt, a fairly half-hearted way: as if done out of a stoical sense of duty more than any special enthusiasm. We'll listen to the results and analysis from today; hopefully that will be a little livelier.

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