Where to start? This is what it says on your show web page today:
The Jeremy Vine show is live from Mumbai - the commercial and entertainment capital of India, that's packed with stories, as well as a multitude of connections to the UK.
We'll reflect on the shared history, look at why Britain is home to one of the biggest populations of Indians outside India and discuss the cultural links, from curry to Bollywood.
We'll go into slums that co-exist alongside a rocketing economy which is growing so fast it's luring Britons to go and work there. We'll visit a call centre that services British companies. And we'll look at Tata, the giant Indian firm that owns iconic British brands from tea to steel.
Jeremy also asks if the world belongs to India, considering whether we're the past and India is the future.
I can recall two occasions in the past year where you have chosen to do a show from somewhere other than London:
The first was on 8th December 2010 when you did the show from Birmingham. You'll remember that one as it was when you told us all that members of Slade came from that city ... oh, how we laughed ... as they come from Wolverhampton and Devon. The topics discussed that day were Julian Assange of Wikileaks, a murder somewhere (I don't have any more details), regional accents (during which discussion you highlighted the Brummie accent, while conveniently forgetting that Londoners have their own too), and tuition fees. To this day I am left wondering why the show moved to Birmingham that day as it added nothing at all to the programme, in my opinion.
The second was on 23rd June 2011 when you did the show from Iceland. Topics that day were the Icelandic banks, banning (yay!) strip clubs, whaling, the "ash" volcano, and Scotland's relationship with Iceland. I still maintain my view that the trip to Iceland was pointless and all of this could have been discussed from London. My subsequent Freedom Of Information request to find out your travel arrangements was rejected by the BBC's FOI Department. Transparency? Who needs it?
Now you are in Mumbai. There has already been some discussion of this on my blog, and it was valued contributor Stonyground who wrote on Friday: "I think that it may be a little unfair to imply that JV's foreign trip is some kind of junket especially as it is so short. My job occasionally involves foreign travel and when it does there is not a great deal of fun involved.". He has a point, and I too used to do trips abroad on behalf of my employer, as did many of my colleagues at that time. Sadly, though, these trips always involved leaving home in the middle of the night, catching an 07:something cheapest-possible flight to somewhere, a taxi ride to an office, a day slaving over a desk and a computer with a crappy sandwich for lunch, a taxi back to the airport, and an arrival home around 10pm completely knackered, and topped off by a bollocking for being late in to the office the next day. On the rare occasions that we stayed overnight there was the added bonus of more taxi rides, seeing the inside of a hotel room and dining alone in a restaurant (I always hated that). It was work, and the chances of seeing the sights - or even the inside of a cafe - were virtually nil.
Your trip to India seems to be much more leisurely. You flew out on Thursday (according to your Twitter feed), so you had some of Friday and then Saturday, Sunday and Monday to produce a 2-hour radio programme.
The question in my mind now is: Why was the same amount of effort not expended on your trip to Birmingham? Birmingham has many things in common with Mumbai (the rich vs poor divide, poor housing, a vibrant commercial centre, a history based on engineering for the world, etc.), and it is even the Balti capital of the UK! All of this was conveniently ignored. Too close to home, maybe? Does it take a trip abroad to make some proper investigative journalism worthwhile these days? And surely the best place to take a "look at why Britain is home to one of the biggest populations of Indians outside India" is Britain, not India?
As for me, I will be listening to 6 Music and, while the BBC continue to remain secretive about how my licence fee is spent, I will continue to consider your trip to India as nothing more than a "jolly" until proved otherwise.
The Jeremy Vine Show - radio journalism at its best, but only from outside the UK