The modern world has always had it in for me. Ever since they started printing news on the front page of The Times life has gone irretrievably down-hill. Now newspapers don’t look like newspapers any more (or indeed read like them); the electric typewriter took all the fun out of typing – let alone these modern contraptions connected to some kind of small cinema screen, with a keyboard unattached to it so that it can be swept by mistake into the wastepaper basket when clearing one's desk. The telephone is no longer attached to the wall, but goes off in my pocket and squeaks and gibbers inaudibly. And now a complete radio studio has turned against me. I never enter a particular studio at Fine Music (listen now: finemusicfm.com) without it conspiring to ruin whatever I’m doing, usually by making a whole programme vanish just as I’m halfway through recording it; the seat of the chair provided is at an angle which deposits me on the floor just as I am reaching the high point of commenting on the folly of recording Bach’s partitas on the harpsichord when a perfectly good piano is available; frequently by recording my voice at a level too low to be heard or so high traffic is brought to a standstill on the harbour bridge. Yesterday the computer swallowed a CD and declined to give it back until someone with advanced electronic techniques and a paperclip operated on it; it then regurgitated the CD but went into a sulk and declined to operate at all. I imagine it is as we speak quietly exchanging a perfectly good programme of music from Franz Lehar’s operettas for one entitled Singalong at Christmas with Rosemary Clooney.