Tales From Bush House is a collection of short narratives about working lives, mostly real and comic, sometimes poignant or apocryphal, gifted to the editors by former and current BBC World Service employees. They are tales from inside Bush House - the home of the World Service since 1941 - escaping through its marble-clad walls at a time when its staff begin their departure to new premises in Portland Place. In July 2012, the grand doors of this imposing building will close on a vibrant chapter in the history of Britain's most cosmopolitan organisation. So this is a timely book. In its collective authorship, it documents the cultural diversity of the organisation, showing how the extraordinary people who worked there, and the magnificent, chaotic building they shared, shaped one another. We use the word "tales" to signal that this is a book that mixes genres - ethnographic and folkloric stories, oral histories and jokes. Recounting tales involves an intricate relationship between talking and telling - as in the working life of a broadcaster. A book of tales, written as if recorded viva voce, seemed appropriate for an international organisation that has, for most of its history, been dedicated to radio broadcasting, where the spoken and written word have long wrestled.

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