Has the world gone a little bonkers? That’s certainly the impression a lot of us have got right now.
Jeremy Vine will help shine a little light on it all when he offers What The Hell Is Going On?! – an evening he brings to the Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead on Friday, May 3 at 7.30pm.
In more than 30 years at the BBC, Jeremy Vine has presented Newsnight, Panorama, Crimewatch, Eggheads and Points Of View — as well as his daily Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2, the UK's most listened-to radio news programme.
Now he senses that something has changed massively.
“I think it is all to do with a massive change in the way everything works. It is partly the digital world. People feel that they are completely powerless in the face of events, but individuals in fact have been empowered.”
All the old certainties have been falling apart.
As Jeremy says, there was a time when he would go on his Radio 2 show and tell people what was happening. Now, people call in to tell Jeremy what is happening.
“There has been a turbo charge in the first-person story,” Jeremy believes – and it is the experts that have taken a battering. Once upon a time an expert would come on the show and say that statins are completely safe. Now you get someone calling in to say that statins made their mother suicidal.
“Experts are really struggling now. We need to protect them.”
Jeremy cites a tweet he saw, someone saying he knew more about his condition than a doctor did. His argument was that the doctor studied it for 45 minutes in a lecture theatre while he, the patient, had lived with it for 30 years.
“And that’s a difficult one to answer!”
Politics is inevitably hugely affected too. Jeremy cites the defence minister who resigned after touching a radio presenter's knee.
“The person whose knee he touched is more powerful than him and he has got an army!”
Celebrity has changed too. Jeremy admits to nostalgia for his childhood when there were “only six celebrities – and one of those was Bruce Forsyth: now there are 600,000.”
It all leads to a fragmentation, a situation where someone can idolise online a performer their partner has never heard of.
“The digital world has created its own microcosms.”
But there is a reaction, Jeremy believes: “We long for shared experience. We long for something like a champions league final.”
A royal death has a similar effect: “Diana’s death was a big moment when you look back when we all came together…”
Tickets on 01342 302000 or online: http://www.chequermead.co.uk.