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Nocturnal yodelling on the island of Mljet


Lord Byron’s legacy to Montenegro
Brian Aldiss Writer
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In the harbour of Montenegro [sic], there was a little church. I visited the church and in the church there was something that looked very much like a space helmet which enclosed the head of a saint, well preserved in this glass case. And also there, to one side, there were two valued items. What one was, I've forgotten, what the other one was, I remember. It was a silver spoon, and by the spoon was a card, which said in English, 'Lord Byron used this spoon to stir his coffee with'. Wasn't that lovely? Good old Lord Byron, I say! Worth the loss of a silver spoon.

Anyhow, we then found it actually rather disappointing, because on that coast we were not exactly home, but we were accosted by British people on holiday, or German people, or all kinds… French people, yes, and we didn't like that quite as much. But, we'd served the term and so eventually, we drove out through… through the mountains and through that very gate by which we had entered so long ago.

And Margaret said, 'Oh goodness me, now we can get some nice little cakes to eat'. And so we did in Austria, driving through Austria.

Brian Aldiss (1925-2017) was an English writer and anthologies editor, best known for his science fiction novels and short stories. He was educated at Framlingham College, Suffolk, and West Buckland School, Devon, and served in the Royal Signals between 1943-1947. After leaving the army, Aldiss worked as a bookseller in Oxford, an experience which provided the setting for his first book, 'The Brightfount Diaries' (1955). His first science fiction novel, 'Non-Stop', was published in 1958 while he was working as literary editor of the 'Oxford Mail'. His many prize-winning science fiction titles include 'Hothouse' (1962), which won the Hugo Award, 'The Saliva Tree' (1966), which was awarded the Nebula, and 'Helliconia Spring' (1982), which won both the British Science Fiction Association Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award. Several of his books have been adapted for the cinema. His story, 'Supertoys Last All Summer Long', was adapted and released as the film 'AI' in 2001. His book 'Jocasta' (2005), is a reworking of Sophocles' classic Theban plays, 'Oedipus Rex' and 'Antigone'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Montenegro, Austria, Lord Byron

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015