The Way We Roll

A few good interpreters - sign language and Deaf jurors, poor transport customer service, drugs and AI

April 23, 2021 Phil Friend and Simon Minty
A few good interpreters - sign language and Deaf jurors, poor transport customer service, drugs and AI
The Way We Roll
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The Way We Roll
A few good interpreters - sign language and Deaf jurors, poor transport customer service, drugs and AI
Apr 23, 2021
Phil Friend and Simon Minty

Finally, Deaf people have to endure jury duty… ahem, can fulfil their civic duty like everyone else. After many years of campaigning Deaf people who use sign language, will be able to serve on juries. Common law rules ban the presence of a “stranger” in the jury deliberation room, but this will now be changed, allowing a BSL interpreter in. 

Wow, last month’s show was popular! We heard from so many of you so we bumped Listeners Corner to the middle of the show so you might get to hear it for a change.

We start the show with travel. In the UK, a disabled woman who was left stranded on trains and station platforms more than 30 times by a rail company, has been awarded compensation of £17,000. Meanwhile in the USA, Uber has been ordered to pay $1.1m (£795,000) to a blind woman who was refused rides on 14 occasions. We discuss both the tiresome lack of inclusion of disabled people on transport as well as the disparity between compensation awards in the UK and the USA. 

Can Artificial intelligence think, and feel, and one day replace humans? What is the journey a bag of drugs takes from source to user? Both questions are asked in our Cultural Corner with Geoff. 


Uber payout, class action, blind people. 

Train payment for bad service 

Deaf Jurors allowed 

Electric Vehicles Charging Points Disability Survey

Cultural corner 

Klara & The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro





IMDB Listing 

Amazon Prime / Sky Atlantic / Now TV

Paperback book 

Audio book

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Finally, Deaf people have to endure jury duty… ahem, can fulfil their civic duty like everyone else. After many years of campaigning Deaf people who use sign language, will be able to serve on juries. Common law rules ban the presence of a “stranger” in the jury deliberation room, but this will now be changed, allowing a BSL interpreter in. 

Wow, last month’s show was popular! We heard from so many of you so we bumped Listeners Corner to the middle of the show so you might get to hear it for a change.

We start the show with travel. In the UK, a disabled woman who was left stranded on trains and station platforms more than 30 times by a rail company, has been awarded compensation of £17,000. Meanwhile in the USA, Uber has been ordered to pay $1.1m (£795,000) to a blind woman who was refused rides on 14 occasions. We discuss both the tiresome lack of inclusion of disabled people on transport as well as the disparity between compensation awards in the UK and the USA. 

Can Artificial intelligence think, and feel, and one day replace humans? What is the journey a bag of drugs takes from source to user? Both questions are asked in our Cultural Corner with Geoff. 


Uber payout, class action, blind people. 

Train payment for bad service 

Deaf Jurors allowed 

Electric Vehicles Charging Points Disability Survey

Cultural corner 

Klara & The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro





IMDB Listing 

Amazon Prime / Sky Atlantic / Now TV

Paperback book 

Audio book

Announcer  0:00  
Welcome to The Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:15  
Hello and welcome to The Way We Roll with me Simon Minty.

Phil Friend  0:19  
And me Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:20  
Welcome, Mr. Friend you well,

Phil Friend  0:23  
I'm not bad not bad at all. Mr Minty The weather is getting warmer. I'm feeling better because of it. How are you?

Simon Minty  0:28  
Yes, pretty good to a packed show. But we're going to be tight. We're talking about transport and fines and cases, we're going to do a bumper Listeners Corner. We've got Geoff coming up with some culture. And we're going to be talking about deaf jurors maybe a couple of other stories.

Phil Friend  0:46  
Indeed, indeed, let's crack on. As they say

Simon Minty  0:50  
I'm going to kick off with two stories which are both transport organisations that have paid fines for refusing or not providing the appropriate services to disabled passengers. First one is Uber, they've been ordered to pay $1.1 million to a blind woman who was refused 14 different rides on different occasions. Sometimes drivers were abusive. This is in the US, by the way. Sometimes they cut her trip short, saying they'd already arrived at the station, Uber said we're not liable. They're not employees. They're contractors that also this happened in San Francisco. And that is one of the centres of disability rights. So under the Americans with Disability Act. Yeah, she got the case. And she's got this 1.1 million jumping straight on.

Phil Friend  1:39  
Sorry just to clarify, so she had a guide dog didn't she an assistance dog?

Simon Minty  1:44  

Phil Friend  1:45  
And that was the seat of the problem so to speak

Simon Minty  1:48  
Yeah, the bottom line is under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a guide dog should be able to go anywhere that a blind person can go. We know this with friends, like people like Damon Rose from the BBC. But we'll come back to it big picture. A train company in the UK, which is from our friends at Disability News has paid £17,000 after repeatedly leaving a disabled woman stranded. She was left stranded more than 30 times. So twice as many as Uber person, but £17,000. And this person, Sam Jennings and even had senior managers from Southern rail, go to the House Lords is to meet Tanni Grey Thompson. This was in January 2020. So there was so much going on about it. And still, they screwed up. She is a wheelchair user. I, I'm gonna throw open to you but the bit. I suppose I'm struck by is weirdly the difference in the UK in the US. But I'm really pleased to see that transport companies getting slapped on wrists and fined what are your thoughts, Mr. Friend?

Phil Friend  2:57  
Well, like you I was struck by the differences a million dollars as opposed to 17,000 quid. The million dollars, I believe is about 790,000 pounds, so its massive. It's a massive fine. I don't know how massive it is to an organisation like Uber, but it's a lot of money, isn't it? 17k what we're all bust over here anyway. So 17k is probably quite a lot of money too for the rail companies to pay. I mean, I suppose my reaction is how is this possible? How are people being so stupid, that they just keep on? They think they've got a hole so they just keep on digging? Instead of, you know, saying to somebody like the woman in the UK? Well, look, we're really sorry, we've obviously mucked up. Here's some, you know, here's some compensation or here's something to make up for it. And that that would be the end of it, wouldn't it? 

Simon Minty  3:53  
Well, also you know, we I occasionally get an email from someone said, I've been treated terribly. What should I do? And I say go to the service provider. Tell them what's happened, make sure that they change it and they don't do it again. But this woman with Southern Rail did that she even got a meeting with her and they will promise you we're going to change we're gonna change I think that Clapham Junction, and yet it just kept happening and kept happening. I suppose the bit that sort of gets me as well as the difference is that feeling of humiliation or pure frustration, whether you're left on a train or you're not allowed to get on the train because I haven't got the ramp. Or if you're a disabled person, I have that anticipation when the Uber car is coming along. I'm gonna have to negotiate with them about my scooter, or whether they're going to help me or are they going to be a bit gruff and fed up about it? They're going to get out the car. There is one called Uber Assist, and I know they will do something because they're happy to help me. But they take 15 minutes longer than the one who just rocks up. I know Damon Rose's gone to court a few times I think a couple of drivers, I'm speculating on this, but have had have lost their licences because they refused Damon. And everyone what everyone's doing now is filming it, because they just get their mobile phones to film it. But it's this pure and utter frustration as a disabled person when you are ignored or not dealt with properly. And we know things go wrong. But there's a human factor. And that just puts you off using any public transport.

Phil Friend  5:27  
I think it's interesting, isn't it? First of all well done to the woman. I mean, how persistent Do you want to be? I mean, she just kept on going, didn't she? Most of us. And I think service providers often work on the basis that we'll go away, if they keep resisting we'll go away. So admire her hugely for that her tenacity and resilience is extraordinary. But secondly, there's this kind of tension between the bit of me that's rights and angry about not getting my service. And this other bit of me, which is in the background going, Don't make a fuss. Don't draw attention to yourself, you know, there are other people you'll delay you know, so you're part of you is going I don't want to keep the queue waiting longer than necessary. But I've also at the same time writing my placard saying, you know, fascist scum or something. I mean, just feels this, this is what's going on inside you, isn't it? I agree with you, whenever I've travelled on trains, and so on, is almost a kind of feeling of absolute relief, when I see the chap jogging along the platform with the ramp. Because sometimes he jogs right past my carriage goes somewhere else. But it shouldn't be like that. And with modern technology now with all the apps we've got and everything else. And I know to be fair to the rail companies, they are trialling ways of improving the services using apps. But this woman's story is too common.

Simon Minty  6:55  
I ever saw your bit about do I hoist my placard? Or do I apologise to the rest of the queue? Did I'm calm, calm, calm, calm. And then it because it boils up in explodes. And then I'm, I'm furious or I'm tearful. Yeah, there's the end of the emotion. I've just remembered I've done work recently via Sarah Rennie the consultant working for a couple of train lines, and particularly around customer service. It is the loveliest training because every human being I've met wants to get it right for us. So it's very rare that the individual is screwing up or is rude or is it's the process or the system that fails. And so messages aren't passed on, people don't realise detail isn't added or it's difficult for us to give it across. And that's where it all starts to fall to bits.

Phil Friend  7:45  
I suppose the other side of this story is 17,000 pounds compensation, will it change anything? Will it make people go? Oh, I better be careful. I think a million dollars. Yeah, well, yeah, but a million dollars to you. But that's worth You know, I think you and I've been around a very long time Simon talking about the Disability Discrimination Act when it came out. It had no teeth, you know, the customer service angles of that act. You had to go through county courts and all that kind of stuff, you couldnt get legal aid. But there's no doubt that that fine to Uber will make their shareholders sit up and take notice. And it's often the shareholders and the the executive of the organisation that need to go hang on a minute wait while we're blowing million dollars on not getting that service. Right. 

Simon Minty  8:33  
And it could be more of PR I think that then it doesn't look good and for Southern it doesn't look very good for them. You know, I'm thinking moving and considerations are one will be near Clapham Junction that really excites me. Another is that there's pier and I could use the London taxi river bus thing really excites me. But I know parking my car near my flat is my number one, because that will be the thing that I will probably use most because I know I'm not dependent but people like diamond or blind people or people who might be able to drive for some sort of reason. This transport particularly things like Uber, this should be a liberation for them. Because it's so easy to do now, it shouldn't then be difficult because someone's faffing about a guide dog. 

Phil Friend  9:19  
Moving on to talking about electric vehicles. But just before we do, here's a nostalgic sound. (Racing car sound) First of all want to declare an interest. I am the Chair of the research institute for disabled consumers. And we recently did a major piece of research around electric charging points. And the reason I'm linking the two stories is that the feedback from disabled people is not good when it comes to The current provision, the current technology, and I think what worries me, and I'm now speaking personally, what worries me is that we are again, going to end up in a situation where, I don't know, I don't know how many wheelchair users, for example, are on the motability scheme, for example. But what's going to happen is, we're going to mass produce something, stick it on all the pavements, and then we're going to realise that 2 or 3 or 400,000 motorists can't use them. And they're going to have to go and retrofit it. And off we go again. Now they're getting fair warning at the moment that this is the the systems they're looking at. Now, to be fair, they're being trialled and all that kind of stuff are not going to work for a lot of people. So are they going to listen, change it and then implement something that does? Because that would make so much sense, don't you think?

Simon Minty  10:59  
Ye ah, you remind me of the all the apps disruptors, all the tech and the ones that are mainstream and amazing. Do they forget disability or don't do well, and then there's ones that target disability, but they haven't got quite enough traction to keep going. So we really, this needs to be mainstream, electric charging points must be accessible. That's the essence of it. And I can see there's this classic issue that they put them just on the pavement. So unless there's a dropped kerb right next to it, you can't do it.

Phil Friend  11:29  
You got it. 

Simon Minty  11:30  
I one place I looked at did have a charging point. But it was, you know, 10 spaces along. So when I have to get a super long cable, how do you do that? I couldn't quite work out the physical limitations. So these numbers in the research of the research institute for disabled consumers was saying we like the idea, but we're not sure we're going to use it? 

Phil Friend  11:52  
Part of the theme from the disabled people was we want to play our part in climate change, preventing climate change, helping the planet, we want to play our part, we are being prevented from doing that, because we won't be able to buy electric vehicles. It's also because we won't be able to charge them.

Simon Minty  12:11  
It's not gonna be an option much longer. 

Phil Friend  12:14  
Well, it's only seven years away, isn't it? Yeah, seven years from now, there will be no petrol or diesel cars, theoretically, at least being made. And there may be old ones on the road still, but there won't be new ones. So at that point, I'm a Motability Scheme member. And I'm not asking you to comment here because I know there might be a conflict for you too. It's

Simon Minty  12:34  
There's conflicts all through this conversation.

Phil Friend  12:36  
Conflict ridden, conflict ridden This is but Motability scheme of which I'm a member and delighted to be so I have a problem which is I drive a WAV a wheelchair accessible vehicle. I don't know of any WAVS that are electric powered, that may come in the next few years. That'd be fantastic question then is can I charge the bloomin thing. So Motability will do all it can to make sure I'm on the road Well, at least for 293 miles until the charge runs out and then I just park and get another WAV do I? But there's this point about we're being excluded from playing our part. Why shouldn't disabled people be as concerned about the planet as anybody else?

Simon Minty  13:18  
And I take that I'm back to the basic bit if you come up with all these whiz bang brilliant ideas for everybody include us that's all  I think we need to all move to where Eddie Grant used to live (Simon sings) Electric Avenue

Phil Friend  13:32  
Oh for goodness sake I think we've exhausted this subject exhausted. Do you see what I did there? Car exhausts

Simon Minty  13:39  
Transport a subject we will return to many a time I'm sure. We will. Thanks for listening. 

Announcer  13:46  
This is The Way We Roll hosted by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. 

Simon Minty  13:51  
It's a new topic Abbi this is Listeners Corner. Last month's show where we talked about European Space Agency or goodness me and Walthamstow, there was something else we talked about was hugely popular. So I'm gonna bounce through it. We're doing the Listeners Corner early. If you haven't heard this before, it's because you normally give up on our show early which I get that for one reason many people anyway, let's get Adams Stevens, Phil and I have a chat to this chap who is an actor and he's become disabled and is saying it's quite tough to get jobs. So we had a lovely chat with him. He started listening to our shows in chronological order. Is it show seven? A poor chap is got another 30 to go I've seen just give you the five best and jumped to it. But he says it's been a real education he's learned and he's adapted any likes the cut of our jib. Robert Ryan who also is a disabled human being. He said the last show is absolutely superb. He said all your shows are always thought-provoking. And this podcast is he absolutely loved it. Do you remember our brilliant PHD Canadian Mel? 

Phil Friend  15:01  
I do. I learned a lot from her. It has to be said I'm still studying what she wrote.

Simon Minty  15:07  
She is quoting us now someone had said, Oh, putting together a Disability Justice plus mad pride 101 syllabus, what must be included? And Mel said, Well, I would put on BBC x broadcast and I put on The Way We Roll with Phil and Simon. Thank you Now, Paul Willgoss. You know, I

Phil Friend  15:26  
Is he still in his bath, Paul Willgoss, he used to listen to us in his bath. 

Simon Minty  15:29  
I decided not to say that because he's probably fed up with it. He said it once and we've never let him say well, I talked about buying the stores in the pound store. Paul Willgoss has showed me a shop in Bootle, in Liverpool called the BBM shop, which has quite a range of stores. David Trott knows the shop but I went to in Walthamstow opposite the Pret. And he said he got the receipt now to doubletake as the receipt was completely different to the name of the shop and someone and I'm so sorry he wrote to me and said it was it the name of this shop and he knows it's been there.

Phil Friend  16:04  
Do you think do you think we could be given the freedom of Walthamstow we aint half doing some good advertising for them out my dear old Walthamstow they used to have a dog track there you know, I used to go get a nice meal and have a few little flutter on the dogs very good place Walthamstow.

Simon Minty  16:20  
Our lovely old friend, former Member of Parliament, Stephen Lloyd in Eastbourne said, Great show enjoyed the enthusiasm for Walthamstow he's obviously gonna become the MP for that area now.

Phil Friend  16:32  
With luck, but that's what we need. We need Stephen Lloyd in Walthamstow

Simon Minty  16:36  
 Last one. But you know, we put a big button so if you're on our mailing list, if you're not we can put you on there. Just send us your email. We send an email out the new show and there's a big button in the middle it says click here. And bush or Bosh. The show starts straight away. Alex Cowan and a regular listener said I love this button. It's just saves so much hassle. We did it for another reason, actually, didn't we but just click one button and you're straightaway listening to our show.

Phil Friend  17:01  
And finally, one of our old chums, John Gillman, who I've known for years and years. And John's a good friend too, for all sorts of good reason. And mainly because he does great things for charitable stuff and whatever good bloke anyway, John came across Crip Camp, the film about the early sort of disability rights movement in the United States wondered if I'd seen it. I said that I had seen it he watched it he said it was amazing. He He said he didn't expect to laugh as much. He found it in parts very funny. I think it was the sort of sheer determinism of the people. Anyway, he's now made it his business to tell everyone he knows to watch it. He thinks it's a great, great show

Simon Minty  17:48  
Phil you missed a trick Mr Friend so I occasionally get a family member or friend who says have you ever seen this thing called crip camp? And I wrote back and go, Well, here is Phil and I interviewing Judy Huemann on our show. And here is the video. Phil and I are reviewing it, which is one of our most popular videos on our YouTube channel. Have you sent this to Mr. Gilman?

Phil Friend  18:07  
I told John to listen to our podcasts. Because um, but that to be fair to John does listen to our podcasts. So I think you know, to be fair, I didn't have I was pushing at an open door Simon. I didn't have to convince him.

Simon Minty  18:21  
You have to make it very easy for people to extend it with one big button. And then they'll click it and listen. But it's a joy, and you're already ahead of it. But thank you for all of you who've written in commented, as I said that last year was a corker. We had so many listens and feedback.

Phil Friend  18:39  
I'm convinced it's the it's the space thing. It's the idea of you in space. I I've had all sorts of thoughts about that sense

Simon Minty  18:49  
in me as you come up with a decent reason why you're no

Phil Friend  18:52  
Nothing decent. But I've been working out how they would make a space suit for you. Because I remember you when you were a world traveller, and one of your great joys was going to Hong Kong and buying a suit made to measure that day, coming home because for listeners who don't know Simon is a short person, so getting suits is not easy. He used to come back and show off this new wardrobe he got and I transmogrified that into a space suit and wondered if Hong Kong but Hong Kong has changed a bit since you were going there. But I wondered about how you will get measured up for and would would those with amputations need the leg bits in them would that be my mind has been a whirl since we did that show.

Simon Minty  19:35  
Still not sleeping?

Phil Friend  19:36  
No not sleeping! Two reasons. I'm gonna give a name check here online chat here. I know Geoff's gonna join us soon for the cultural bit of this programme. But I've been following on on Netflix a show called Call my agent. It's a French series we it is it is just a delight. It is very good. Now I've completely forgotten. Oh, yes. And the reason I'm staying awake at night is because there are so many bits of drama going on in it. I can't sleep I can't um, what is going to happen to Camille? I mean, please tell me. I'm in episode I think five series two Camille has just pushed her trolley down the road and he's leaving to go home to her mother. Now what is going to happen next? Please tell me because I'm very worried

Simon Minty  20:26  
I think we need to get you out of retirement back working. So do we have time for another subject?

Phil Friend  20:36  
We have time to be quick with another subject. Before we say hello to Geoff, I think this is something that I first came across a long time ago. And I came across it in two different ways. It's about the fact that the law is about to change to allow Deaf jurors after decades of campaigning. So basically, you may not know this listeners, but a sign language interpreter was not allowed to be present in the jury room and that kind of thing. So if you have a deaf juror, they couldn't participate. So therefore Deaf jurors were excluded. This links to some work Simon and I did a long time ago for the National Blood Transfusion unit, where deaf people were not allowed to take sign language interpreters into the confidential conversation about your private life, particularly. Now there were good reasons why that happened. And Simon and I campaigned quite hard at that time to allow that to change. Interestingly, the jury thing has just come up and and also been changed. It's taken a long time. And I don't know why. Because sign language interpreters, those of us who've worked with them, no, a) they're incredibly professional people, b) they are working in all sorts of ways which are so confidential, why wouldn't they be able to do that in the jury room? So at long last sense has prevailed, and we will begin to see deaf people in the jury box or in the jury rooms. And I for one, I'm really delighted about that. 

Simon Minty  22:12  
And there is nothing more fun than getting a sign language interpreter a little bit tipsy and get them to share all the secrets. They know I love them. Oh, hang on. No, they've never but no I'm deliberately undermining it.

Phil Friend  22:23  
We did. We did once.

Simon Minty  22:25  
Oh blimey, don't undermine it.

Phil Friend  22:28  
No, I do remember once we had a PDP course where the deaf person on the PDP and they were supported by sign language interpreters. The deaf person wanted to do karaoke. Brilliant, so that so they get a song up and the sign language interpreter has to interpret what's being said. And then then something magical happened. And that was the sign language interpreter was a trained opera singer. So not only did she sign, but she's sang and it was amazing. The whole bar at the management training centre in in Solihull stopped what they were doing, and listened. And it was a magical because if you've seen signed performances, you know, musically, it's a wonderful thing to watch. just spectacular. So yeah, you've just reminded me of that.

Simon Minty  23:22  
Just to clarify, did the deaf person sing and the signer signed it? They stopped, and then the signer as an individual then got up and started singing. 

Phil Friend  23:34  
No they sang together. So the deaf person was singing. The woman was seeing the sign language interpreter was singing as well and signing it.

Simon Minty  23:47  
So I can be in one way, she's very unprofessional, because she shouldn't have been doing that.

Phil Friend  23:55  
Well, you mentioned drink. I mentioned alcohol earlier.

Simon Minty  23:58  
Now clearly, they were friends and I'm sure a deaf person but I mean, if I'd been the deaf person. I would have been furious because there's me warbling away really badly. And then my bloody interpreter starts singing with an operatic hold up!

Phil Friend  24:12  
there was none of that there were no egos involved Simon none at all Just mates having a good night out. 

Simon Minty  24:16  
I'm doing my grumpy Disability Rights bit and then I'll go with it just sounds like a lovely human moment. And that's amazing. The thread of the I did smile because I kind of thought, are there gonna be some deaf people going oh blast. I had a reason to get out of jury service for years because it sucked me in. The idea was that it was the 13th person and they were saying the interpreter is a 13th person as part of the jury, but they're not they're an independent translator. Here's the question. If they had a Serbian person who needed interpreter do they say you can't be part of it too. I'm trying to work out now. 

Phil Friend  24:18  
Now that's that's very different. So for example, you're right. If you have a non English speaker who's been say, is a witness, or maybe is the accused, for example, then they would have a sign. Sorry, they would have an interpreter present to assist with that. But they're not in the jury room. They're not part of that bit. So yes, jurors, I mean, it's a fascinating  sign language interpreters when you sit and talk to them, some of the work they do is phenomenally interesting, because they go everywhere. I accept the jury room up until now. 

Simon Minty  25:36  
And that is a distinction. So they're allowed in court but I did the jury service two or three years ago, and you were you have the jury room, which is just you and the jurors, and then you all go out cos you want a break, have a cup of tea and a cigarette. And we weren't allowed to talk about it. You can't talk unless you're all present. So I'm interested, again, okay, but they are not they're there to facilitate they're not they're

Phil Friend  26:04  
All they are, they do not offer any opinions. I mean, we've just talked about the role of sign language interpreters. They are very professional, they don't offer opinions, they don't decide what they will and won't interpret. They are just there to to enable the deaf person, the person using sign language to understand what is going on. And nothing else

Simon Minty  26:25  
I've heard they start singing is a bit annoying, 

Phil Friend  26:29  
Not in a jury room I don't think that's happened.

Simon Minty  26:31  
This does seem way overdue. There's a particular individual, I think he's been campaigning for years doing this, and we should give him a name check, but that's great stuff.

Phil Friend  26:40  
David Buxton, his name, thank you spent a decade campaigning and lobbying ministers and other parliamentarians. And I think there was a guy was it McWhinney who years and years ago was also very involved in this, it can't be right can it but a large Jeff McWhinney. That's right. He was his predecessor at the BDA, the British Deaf Association. He kicked this off, he was the guy I first met over this subject. And obviously, David has taken on the challenge since and, at last somebody heard or listened

Simon Minty  27:14  
it, it does link back to the transport does link back to a technology it's back to we want to be used in the same way as everybody else, if it's a civic duty to be a juror don't exclude us because of a disability or deafness. And similarly, we want to be able to use public transport like everybody else we want to be treated for it. Is that just the intrinsic bit of being part of society now some people love jury service. I enjoyed it, but not everyone does. But that's not the point is the fact that you will be invited and you should do it and you should serve like everybody else. 

Announcer  27:48  
This is The Way We Roll hosted by Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Phil Friend  27:52  
Now we're going to our cultural corner as we now do regularly, and I'm delighted to welcome back. Geoff Adams-Spink Geoff, what's on the agenda this week? 

Geoff Adams-Spink  28:04  
Well, I've got a couple of treats for you really, and I have to confess the first recommendation, which is a book by the latest book by Kazuo Ishiguro I haven't quite quite finished it. So unlike most reviewers who never read the books, I have to say I've read only about 95% of this book, I've got the rest to enjoy later on. It's an amazing dystopian novel, it's got a disability twist because it's written for actually from the perspective of an AI robot called Clara spelt with a K. And Clara is the A F. Now when I see the initials AF I always think of something a bit shall we say? A bit fruity you know, handsome A f but actually a F in in Kazuo Ishiguro dystopian future world  stands for artificial friend. So Clara is the artificial friend of Josie, who has some kind of wasting condition, I think never specified, but I think she's going to die. And Clara is basically looking after Josie. But as with all of his work, you know, there are layers within layers within layers within layers and it becomes increasingly more complex, it becomes increasingly dark. And you you get to see his vision of, you know, or his exploration of what are the limits of artificial intelligence? Because at one point Clara is asked by Josie father, look, if Josie dies and you you know, we want you to become her. But could you be Could you take on her heart could you could you love us the way that she loves us? You know, could Can you simulate all of that. So it's a it's it's it's really powerful stuff. If ever there's a movie, you're going to need a box of tissues to hand i think

Simon Minty  29:59  
I love everything you've been recommending this particularly I spoke to our friend Susan Scott Parker because he's writing a book on AI and the limits of it in terms of recruitment and disabled people being left out and so on. She's read the book as well. She said there was a bit at the beginning where I think Clara is looking at people hoping that one of them will become her friend, and you're thinking, Oh, my goodness, it's, it's a bit like Toy Story, or you start empathising with the, the artificial intelligence sounds a lovely story. But as you say, you've got a way much more complex complexity to it.

Geoff Adams-Spink  30:32  
It does. And you know, Kazuo Ishiguro he's not a Nobel laureate for nothing is  he writes incredibly well, people will remember the Remains of the Day in the Merchant Ivory production starring Anthony Hopkins that the film of the book, then Never Let Me Go, which was a film about a film sorry, it failed. And the book actually, about young people who were sort of growing up together and they were they were sort of being grown, sort of clone like to have their organs harvested. There's always  something very, very sort of sinister, and unsettling, you don't read Kazuo Ishiguro, if you want to sort of lie in a warm bath and be soothed, something that makes you slightly on edge and slightly worried and, and very perturbed. But it just really, I think it's it's an amazing exploration of how far artificial intelligence could potentially go because it is narrated in the first person by the AI, the artificial friend, Clara. And she says, sometimes, I worried about this, or I felt tension in the room. And that concerned me. When you think about our our speakers, our AI speakers that we sometimes yell at every now and again? They don't get anywhere near that? Do they?

Phil Friend  31:50  
How long is this read? or listen? Do you think Geoff got a feel for how long it is?

Geoff Adams-Spink  31:55  
I've got a feel for how long it is, I reckon the paperback would probably be a couple 100 pages, it's 10 hours of an audio book, it's very nicely read.

Simon Minty  32:07  
Perhaps we need to be a little bit more friendly to our AI speakers, because when they don't do what I want, I start swearing at them or being sarcastic,  I'm hurting them. I'm upsetting them.

Phil Friend  32:15  
I've noticed that when when I say a certain command at night, it always says to Sue when she says it. Sleep well and have pleasant dreams when I say the lights just go out. I never get anything, or get any feedback. And so what's next, Geoff, what else have you got for us?

Geoff Adams-Spink  32:32  
Well, I've got something else for you from TV Land. This is this is it. This is on Sky, Atlantic, or Now TV if you don't want to be bothered with the Sky subscription. It's by an Italian author called Roberto Saviano. It's called 000. All those words are sort of if one word 000. All one word. It's all about the international cocaine trafficking, distribution business, and the amount of damage it causes to society. Now Saviano is a very brave gentleman, he has documented very closely all of the comings and goings of the mafia families and who's in and who's out. And as a result of that, he's permanently on the move. And he's permanently surrounded by a guard of police officers. I think about a dozen of them are protecting him around the clock because he's had lots of threats against his life. He wrote the book 000 about a sort of factual explanation of how the drugs economy and the global economy are becoming one and the same thing. But the TV production of this rather than trying to replicate what was in the book just decided, Okay, let's take one consignment of cocaine from its origin with the Mexican drug cartel, through the shipping broker in New Orleans, Louisiana, and over the Atlantic Ocean across West Africa, and up across the Mediterranean to Calabria where the Calabrian mafia, the Undine Getta, control cocaine in large parts of Europe, and throughout these programmes throughout these dramas as they evolve, you see the fallout that one consignment of cocaine causes the amount of death, the amount of injury, the amount of misery, the lives wrecked, and I thought it was a particularly thoughtful way of trying to encapsulate all of the factual stuff that's in Savianos book because you couldn't come close to doing that.

Phil Friend  34:42  
No. And how long is each episode? I mean, and how many episodes are there? Do you know?

Geoff Adams-Spink  34:47  
I think there are I think there are eight or 10 episodes and the usual one hour drama, you know, so

Phil Friend  34:53  
just that one issue, over eight, eight or so episodes, that sounds ,

Geoff Adams-Spink  34:57  
Yes the consignment you know, starts in Mexico, and then you see them doing the deal with the shipping broker. And then the, the shipping broker has problems in New Orleans and then the ship set sail, and then problems on the ship. I don't want to ruin it for everybody. But you know, and then the of course of consignment has to travel through overland in Africa, in Mali, and Senegal, and get to Morocco and then get on to another ship. And at each stage of the journey, there are more and more problems.

Phil Friend  35:26  
You've got a brilliant memory. You remembered all of that, including the journey across Africa thats phenomenal.

Simon Minty  35:33  
Poor old Geoff can't just read or watch anything the start make notes now waiting for me and you to pepper him. I like the fact that all your questions Phil are about how long? Tell me how long to get through this bloomin' book. How many programmes are there

Phil Friend  35:49  
Geoff and I are both avid audiobook fans. And I've learned as I think he has to to judge a book by how many hours I'm gonna have to listen to it. And I have to say, generally, they're very good that sound but I think busy people have limited time. So you know, how easy is it to fit in with your schedules?

Simon Minty  36:08  
Thank you. I will. I havent  got Sky Atlantic, but

Phil Friend  36:12  
I'm gonna do what Geoff suggested, which is the Now route. I don't have SKY

Simon Minty  36:16  
How long will you have that subscriptionfor then Phil 

Geoff Adams-Spink  36:20  
you'll do on a seven day free trial? 

Phil Friend  36:22  
I will of course do that Geoff, of course I will. I might manage to fit in a football match that might be shown as well. Who knows 

Geoff Adams-Spink  36:29  
I have to say the, the the book, which I've also read, it starts you know, an extremely powerful way. And it starts Saviano start by saying, okay, folks, readers, you think there's the legitimate economy that you're part of. And then there's the narco economy, which is all the legal stuff that you don't really want to even think about. But actually, I'm here to tell you that the real economy and the drugs economy are becoming one economy. So if you think it doesn't affect you, you're wrong.

Phil Friend  37:01  
So on that cheerful note,

Simon Minty  37:04  
and just say your pronunciation is impeccable. And I believe you're off to an Italian lesson right now.

Geoff Adams-Spink  37:11  
Grassimoto. Okay.

Phil Friend  37:13  
Thanks. As always, yeah, Bella, brilliant. I'm not even going to try and compete with all that. Thank you very much, Geoff. And we'll see you next time. 

Geoff Adams-Spink  37:21  
Your welcome

Simon Minty  37:21  
 Thanks, Geoff.

Phil Friend  37:22  
Have a great day.

Simon Minty  37:23  
We have got to the end of the show. Thank you very much for listening.

Phil Friend  37:27  
Yes, I really enjoyed today's show. So thank you very much. We as always, we look forward to hearing from you, as you saw our listeners corner was a joy. We'd like loads more of that. So if you want to drop us a note at any point, our email address ss We're also on Twitter and Facebook. And Simon's got something a bit newer to tell us a bit about.

Simon Minty  37:50  
I have one quick favour. We love hearing from you saying that you like our show. But we also we'd love you to sort of spread the word tell other people's their maybe pick your favourite show of ours and say to somebody, have a listen to this because we just want to spread the word literally that. One good way of doing it is through Beacons. We're catching up with the kids this I saw this on Tick Tock. If you go to Beacons.Page, and then The Way We Roll, it is a single web page brilliant on the mobile or iPad. And basically there's little boxes and you can click and you go to our YouTube page or you go to the latest show or you go to our homepage. Or you can go to our Twitter feed whatever you want. You can go to our latest video. So it's just a little click buttons to save you time because we know Phil, me with very like you we're very busy people

Phil Friend  38:38  
very very busy. In fact, I'm so busy. I've got to go.

Simon Minty  38:41  
Yeah, you're lucky to even get us here now.

Phil Friend  38:45  
Take it easy, everybody. See you soon.

Simon Minty  38:47  
Take care Bye.

Announcer  38:50  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend You can email us at mintyand

Transcribed by

Transport Fines
Electric Charging Points
Listener's Corner
Deaf Jurors
Cultural Corner with Geoff Adams-Spink