JOE Strummer, it seems, hated Tom Robinson. Unlike the other members of The Clash who were pretty friendly towards the singer of the Tom Robinson Band back in the day (that day being the high watermark of punk towards the end of the 1970s), Strummer was always rude and standoffish.

Talking to Vic Galloway on Radio Scotland on Monday night, Robinson said he had an idea as to why.

“My theory is that he was the son of a diplomat,” Robinson suggested. “He’d successfully reinvented himself. And I’m not saying this in a derogatory way. He really was Joe Strummer, he was a new person and he was totally authentic. 

"But I think seeing me - I was middle class and inauthentically trying to put on cockney accents and trying to be part of this whole new wave punk thing - it reminded him too uncomfortably of where he’d come from. And I think he might not have liked that.”

Robinson who was a half-decent singer and is now a really good broadcaster made an excellent interviewee for this hour-long programme recorded during the Fringe last month. Now 73, Robinson was funny and honest about his life and times as a singer, activist and now 6 Music presenter. 

He was always both a show-off and a campaigner; a combination which led to both commercial success  - 2-4-6-8 Motorway was a huge hit - and his willingness to nail his colours to the mast with his role in Rock Against Racism and releasing a song like Glad To Be Gay.

And yet when Galloway asked him if pop music was a force for change, Robinson wasn’t so sure.

“Well, you don’t know if pop music really is a force for change, to be honest. I mean you could argue that although we took part in Rock Against Racism with the Clash and we managed to get black bands and white bands together in the late seventies to counter the National Front and have big rallies, I don’t honestly know if any National Front skinheads turned up at any of those shows and went, 'Oh God, I’ve been so stupid.'

“I don’t think it changes minds. But I think it acts as a fantastic tonic for the troops. So, if you already believe what the person onstage is singing and you see yourself with another few thousand other people doing the same thing, you go out of there energised.”

This was an energising hour of conversation and music. Robinson was open about his failings. When his band fell apart he admitted: “I had to flee the country because I owed so much money to so many people. So I had to sell off everything that wasn’t nailed down.”

He found his way back and these days is one of life’s great enthusiasts. It’s why he’s one of 6 Music’s most reliable presenters.

What else did we learn? That when he dies Robinson wants Tinsel Town in the Rain by The Blue Nile played at his funeral. Fine choice.

“One of the things that people probably don’t realise about frogs is that they are a candidate for nature’s best dad,” zoologist Lucy Cooke told Radio 4 listeners in the final episode of Political Animals on Tuesday.

Cooke was in Costa Rica with Brian Kubicki of the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center in search of glass frogs (so-called because you can see through them). When they found one, Kubicki told Cooke just how seriously these creatures took their parental duties.

“This little male will sleep next to the eggs. He will even hydrate the eggs if they’re a little bit drier.”

“How does he do that?” Cooke asked.

“By urinating on them.

“Oh, that’s loving.”

Cooke’s programme was an intriguing take on evolution, one that set out to challenge Darwinian notions of the binary in nature.

“The latest biological studies take us beyond the binary, investigating species that illustrate the fluidity of sex, sexuality and sex behaviour in the animal kingdom,” Cooke stated.

What followed was a programme that included albatross sperm donors, female albatross couples and anemone fish which change sex as a matter of course. 

Turns out, nature is really woke, it seems.


Listen Out For: Sportsound Rugby, Radio Scotland, 4pm, tomorrow; 5 Live Sport, 4.45pm, tomorrow

You have a choice of where to listen to Scotland’s clash with South Africa in this year’s Rugby World Cup tomorrow. I fear the result will be the same on both though.