It’s 7.15am and Vanessa Feltz is talking. Of course she’s talking. Feltz is always talking. She’s on the radio, challenging the deputy leader of Southwark council, which has just announced it will “decant” residents from its tower blocks because of the risk of a gas explosion. “You’ve chosen a very odd verb here, haven’t you? To decant residents. People know the word decant when it’s appended to a decanter which normally has sherry or brandy in it. I don’t understand the word decant as applied to human beings, and I don’t think the human beings it refers to do either. They don’t know if you’re going to pour them all out at once as you would with a large tumbler of brandy or whether you’re going to pour a drop into a shot glass …”
It’s Feltz at her best – passionate, clever, combative. She makes her point effectively – the council needs to learn how to talk human. Which is something she has always done well. Feltz can talk for England on any subject – from the political to the poetic (she loves to fling a verse of Pope at us), the inane (nothing like a good debate about pantaloons), the domestic (marmalade and its many virtues), the daft/offensive (are white girls more attractive than black girls or vice versa?) and the surreal (asking a bemused Madonna whether, like Feltz, she had struggled with breastfeeding and stopped strangers in the street to see if they would help her baby latch on to the nipple).
Feltz used to talk on television five days a week until she got caught up in a scandal (researchers had hired actors as “guests” without her knowledge) and The Vanessa Show was pulled. Now she talks on radio five days a week – 5am–6.30am on Radio 2’s Early Breakfast, then she runs across the road to a different studio and is back on air for BBC Radio London from 7am-10am. Sometimes she also stands in for Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 (12pm-2pm).
In the past few weeks, Feltz has also been the subject of much talk. There…