I heard it on the radio

This morning it was the first anniversary of Ken Bruce doing his Radio 2 show from home. He was mentioning it as I tuned in just after the start. I do like Ken Bruce, such a lovely voice and manner, a real gentleman. His music quiz PopMaster is a highlight of the morning, it gives me a reason to be out of bed before half past ten; I very rarely hear anything of Zoe Ball these days (the breakfast show until half past nine). Each day two contestants answer ten questions on pop music, the winner goes on to play Three-In-Ten (three UK chart hits by a particular band in ten seconds) to win a digital radio. Failure in this latter endeavour gets them a Bluetooth speaker; the runner-up gets a consolation prize of a One Year Out t-shirt, so called as one of the ten questions is to give the year that three singles charted, answers given often lead Ken Bruce to commiserate “One year out!” – said so often they made a t shirt of it!

About an hour later Tracks Of My Years can be interesting, depending on who’s choosing! Each week a celebrity picks two tracks every day and chats with Ken about their relevance between the two being played. This week it’s Sanjeev Bhaskar, so I’m paying attention, I’ve liked him since I first heard Good Gracious Me on Radio 4 in 1996 (yes, it’s another show that was on Radio 4 before going to BBC Two). A few weeks ago it was Adam Hills choosing his tracks, that was very entertaining and informative. Great to hear The Goodies’ Funky Gibbon in there with a really lovely anecdote about meeting two of them at the Edinburgh Fringe (a quick squirrel through my Fringe timetables showed it was in 2006, I saw both his and the Goodies show).

Tracks Of My Years is like the Radio 2 cousin of Desert Island Discs. I’ve spent plenty of time pondering on this and have decided it would be easier to pick my TOMYs than my DIDs. Why? Well, the TOMYs are more fixed it seems to me, those are the tracks you pick as having particular relevance to your life at various points, they are what they are from your history. DIDs are significant moments too, but chosen as the only eight tunes you’ll have to listen to for a long time, music for company, to keep your spirits up, to help keep you sane. See that’s why there’s a lot more pressure on those choices, TOMYs is just a bit of reminiscing with Ken!

There’s also the Inheritance Tracks feature on Saturday Live on Radio 4; a small feature that has grown legs and now has a podcast of it’s own. Every Saturday morning a celebrity shares two tracks, one they’ve inherited from a previous generation (often something a parent listened to a lot) and then one that they would pass on to the next generation. I’m not sure what I’d pass on but probably my inherited track would be Mockingbird Hill, I don’t remember who by (oh, I’ve trawled through Google, trying to find the version we had, to no avail!). It was one in a stack of 78 rpm records from our parents’ youthful days; as I recall it, they were just gathering dust in a cupboard (the records not our parents) until my siblings and I happened upon them, claimed them as ours and relocated them to beside the old Bush record player in our playroom. Oh, how we loved playing them and singing along with the likes of Frankie and Johnny or The Three Caballeros. Hmm, we were easily entertained young mooses!

I paused there for my tea. A dozen distractions later……the train of thought has been seriously derailed. Bugger! The kitchen needed cleaning after an interesting reaction when red wine met hot lamb fat and juices. I had to drink the rest of the wine to recover and got sucked into watching the telly. Oo yeah, something did occur to me while I was cleaning up – a track that would be a TOMY and a DID, even possibly my Inheritance track to pass on, Logan Close’s Listen To Your Mother, it ticks all the boxes. I do hope the lads play it on Saturday night, yes, that’s right, this coming Saturday night (27th March) the lads are doing a live stream event on Facebook! Yay! News good enough to make a moose smile!!

G’night! Sweet dreams!

When the fun of wintry walks wears off….

January is marching on a pace, I myself, less so. It’s cold out there and has been quite miserable (Storm Christoph was not a pleasant chap even though we, in Edinburgh, only caught a glancing blow from him) with plenty of rain, sleet and snow, and now slushy slippiness underfoot. It’s one thing to slip on ice, another to slip on slush – a slip in slush leaves one very soggy! It adds insult to injury!

I’ve only been round Holyrood Park once this week and then it drizzled most of the way round, yuk. Crow Hill and Arthur’s Seat had low misty clouds swirling round them, but despite the cold and damp and rapidly darkening dusk there were people up near the summit!! Why?! My mind went back to Barry Ferns, he who climbed to the top to perform his free Fringe show every day for a number of Fringes, even in the worst of weathers just in case a reviewer turned up on the one day he gave it a miss. Yeah, he had a point.

Rather than battling the wintry elements I’ve been staying warm indoors listening to favourite Radio 4 bits. It started with Desert Island Discs, a friend had previously mentioned their enjoyment from delving through the back catalogue that’s now available, a few weeks later I found myself having a dig around (yes, that’s how long the idea took to percolate through my brain). There’s a lot to go through, though some of the older ones only have five or ten minutes extracts available, and I was so delighted to spot Vincent Price in the list – it was just a four minute clip!

One wallowy afternoon I listened to Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle, I’d missed it on Boxing Day, so glad I caught it. Well, Mr Gaiman does write a good tale and this one was dramatised with Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) and Penelope Wilton (tons of stuff) playing the leads. Marvellous it was! Staying on the Neil Gaiman theme Anansi Boys was next up; this six part series was first on late night R4 over Christmas in 2017, I only caught about have of it at the time but huzzah, Anansi Boys was repeated this Christmas, thereby making it also available to binge at a more reasonable hour online. Yay!

Anansi Boys is a great read but this radio dramatisation over 197 minutes is definitely one time I’d recommend the audio version over the book! It’s a feast for the ears, don’t have it on whilst doing chores, it’s one for wallowing on the sofa or soaking in a long hot bath. This is the fifth time Dirk Maggs has dramatised a Neil Gaiman book for Radio 4, he knows what he’s doing and he has the cast to do it justice. Just the Anansi boys themselves are a pleasure to listen to, Anansi is played by Lenny Henry (which is quite fitting as it was a conversation with him that gave Gaiman the idea, also Henry helped him with the Caribbean dialect and syntax in the book), Spider is played by Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits) and Fat Charlie is Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm in Game of Thrones). Jacob Anderson sings a song he composed himself for the show, and he plays it on a ukulele, yay, my man!

Oh cripes, I did not realise how late it is, very. I did pause to watch the new Russell T Davies series It’s A Sin (great first episode) and then later The Graham Norton Show. I shall leave you with another snowman I suspect of malevolent intent…..

He’s just waiting for back up to arrive, then they’ll storm the castle!