Celebrating David Bowie

Lots of David Bowie around at the moment. A new album, ‘The Next Day’, and exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, ‘David Bowie Is’ and to cap it all, a big celebration over the Easter weekend on BBC 6 Music and Radio 2.

Already during the last week, I’ve heard two Bowie tracks that I don’t think I’ve heard played on radio before, despite one being 40 years old: Lady Grinning Soul and Repitition.

I don’t know if this list is complete so please let me know if I’ve missed anything big, important, major, unmissable.

Celebrating Bowie.

David Bowie on 6 Music.

From the Media Centre: 6 Music.

From the Media Centre: BBC 2 (in May).

Sunday is a brilliant day for radio

I realised that Sunday is quite probably the single best day of the week on BBC radio. Here is a list of what I listened to yesterday ‘live’ and what I’ve recorded for future enjoyment.

12.00 midnight Radio 2 – Bob Harris

9.00am Radio 4 – Broadcasting House

A topical news-based magazine programme with a competition that I enetr once in a blue moon, when i know the answer. It would be wrong to say that I only listen, waiting for the return of Fi Glover.

10.00am 6 Music – Cerys Matthews

11.15am Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs

This week, the guest was Jonathan Agnew. For a 70-year old programme, it’s doing very well, going form strength to strength. Dare I say it: I think Kirsty Young is the best ever presenter.

1.00pm Radio 2 – Elaine Paige

Much of the programme is predictable, Lloyd-Webber, Les Mis, common or garden songs from musicals, but now and then, a great tune turns up. But if not, hearing Elaine’s unique chuckle/chortle brightens up even the dullest, greyest Sunday.

1.30pm Radio 4 – Lyrical Journey

This week, the subject was Eddi Reader’s song ‘Patience of Angels’, written by Boo Hewerdine. I remember when the record first came out in 1994(?): I’m sure Eddi Reader appeared on GLR many times to promite the record, though sadly, I have no such recordings.

3.00pm Radio 4 – The Real George Orwell

‘A journey exploring the man Eric Blair and the writer George Orwell’ – drama and stories written by and about George Orwell.

3.00pm Radio 2 – Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the ’70s

4.00pm 6 Music – Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service

6.15pm Radio 4 – Pick of the Week

A good way of finnding some interesting programmes that I would have missed otherwise. I usually hear it in time to get something off the iPlayer, but there have been several misses over the years. They have played one of my suggestions, once. Although I suspect many listeners nominated the same item.

8.00pm Radio 4 – Feedback

Though I usually try to catch this programme on its first outing on friday evening. It’s the radio version of ‘Points of View’ only much better. Ancompliants about (or indeed praise for) the BBC and its output is welcome here.

10.00pm 6 Music – Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour

He read out one of my emails once and so immediately became my number one topmost favourite radio presenter DJ of all time, ever. But apart from that, this, along with all the other 6 Music shows today, quite easily ticks the box that says ‘they place the music you don’t know you want to listen to’.

11.00pm Radio 2 – The David Jacobs Collection

Old time records, most of the songs predate even my parents’ era, but every now and then there’s a real gem, and the fact that it’s 60 years old really doesn’t matter. I met hime once, at Kingston Readers’ Festival. He asked for directions to the lav.

I also caught bits of Paul O’Grady, Clare Balding, Michael Ball, Russell Davis, Mary Anne Hobbs and 1.5 seconds of the Archers theme tune, that being how long it takes to jump across the room the switch to 6 Music.

BBC Radio 6 Music – New Trail

Wow this has got to be the most exciting news today. The BBC have produced a new trail for BBC 6 Music. Well that’s terrific. The complaint a few years ago was that 6 Music wasn’t being given the publicity it deserved. Well, now that’s it has been ‘saved’ by us, its audience, and it’s going from strength to strength, does it really need these glossy adverts?

I was alerted to it by a tweet from Lauren Laverne, which is why I have chosen this link:
BBC Radio 6 Music – Lauren Laverne

I have no idea how much these things cost. But it does make me wonder how much spare cash there is sloshing around the BBC. One  day, they have to save money by running down all the local radio stations. Hence, we no longer have Danny Baker on BBC London, for example. Then this ‘cross-promotional’ budget seems to be a bottomles pit of our licence money.

And not only trails. I read the other day that following Mark Thompson’s ‘Delivering Quality First’ initiative, the number of ‘executives’ and ‘managers’ on six-figure salaries has increased rather than  gone down as was, I believe, intended.

Well, that’s my rant for the day. I’ll be back with something more positive later.

Meanwhile, I trust you like the new trail.

Some that I missed

Despite my best efforts, I sometimes miss programmes that are on my mental playlist and sometimes I only find out after the event. Most of them will be repeated at some point, but that relies on me being fully on the ball.

I’m glad to say that the BBC does send out several email newsletters each week. But reading them all fully and remembering to act on the contents is a major project in itself.

Recently I missed a documentary on Radio 4 about the development of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. It was on before Christmas and has long since fallen off the iPlayer.

…But Still they Come.

I try to keep up with desert Island Discs but managed to miss the one with Dawn French. i’m not her biggest fan, but by all accounts, this was an especially moving edition of the long-running series. This was also first broadcast before Christmas.

But lo! Of course: Desert Island Discs is on the iPlayer for far longer than the usual 7 days. So I haven’t mised it after all!

Desert Island Discs wth Dawn French.

Talking about Desert Island Discs: Guy Garvey usually plays an excerpt from an old programme during the course of his weekly show on BBC 6 Music. In particualr, in tribute to the late Sir Patrick, he played a small snippet from Patrick Moore’s desert island selection, when he was interviewed by the programme’s originator, Roy Plomley. The programme was originally broadcast in 1963 so I doubt that I heard it then. I thought it might be online with the whole Desert Island Discs archive, but this edition is, as I write, not listed.

Desert Island Discs with Patrick Moore.

Desert Island Discs Archives.

And speaking of Guy Garvey, his weekly show on 6 Music is highly recommended by me. Another of those shows that plays music you didn’t know you wanted to hear.

Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour BBC 6 Music, Sunday 10pm to midnight.

The latest news

I’ll be going through the listings soon to plan my Christmas-time radio listening. I do know that Tour de France and Olympic Time Trial Champion (not to mention Sports Personality of 2012) Bradley Wiggins will be on 6 Music with Paul Weller.

Danny Baker is the new Elaine Paige. Yes, together with Baylen Leonard, the Candyman will be playing music from the shows on Radio 2, sometime over Christmas.

Mike Harding’s final show on Radio 2 will be broadcast on December 26. But then, just a few days later, he’ll be producing a weekly one-hour long podcast online – there’s not much information as I write, but I anticipate this will be very similar to his RAdio 2 show: music, chats and gig lists. But no trails. And no news. Might as well bookmark the site.

And finally for now, it was announced today that in the new year, Jon Holmes will be presenting the Breakfast Show on Xfm.

Here’s the full story.

That’s it for now: I thought I’d drop in and see how the old blog’s holding up, I’ve been away for a while.

 

BBC News – Record ratings for digital radio stations

Here’s the news article straight from the horse’s mouth:
BBC News – Record ratings for digital radio stations.

But in summary, BBC 6 Music, the Asian Network and Radio 4 Extra have all gained more listeners during the last three months.

Absolute Radio has the highest proportion of listeners tuning in via digital means rather than analogue, FM.

In London, Capital Radio beat RAdio 1 at breakfast time. Chris Moyles’s final quarter saw a continuing decline in his audience.

Overall, it appears that radio continues to attract more listeners and for longer periods each week.

I’ve never been asked but I know my listening habits are well above average. As I’ve said before, there is literally not enough time for me to listen to everything I want to. Yes, I still find time to watch TV, but that is seldom as satisfying. Homeland is great, though, very intense.

But given the time constraints, I’m afarid I didn’t even try to listen to Radio 2’s collection of Beatles programmes broadcast during October. As big a Beatles fan as I am, after all this time, i think I’d rather listen to their music than listen to even more people talking about them and their stories and their influences.

Last weekend’s Bob Harris show was brilliant, from my point of view. He played records by so many of my favourites: Frank Zappa, The Shadows, Steely Dan, Ruarri Joseph, Sam Cook, Tasmin Archer, John Lee Hooker, not to mention studio guests Robert Cray and Martin Stephenson. Here’s the playlist. Never let it be said that Bob Harris doesn’t play folk music! As I write, there is a day and a half to listen to the programme on the iPlayer.

 

Radio 4 (etc) – Ziggy Stardust Memories and Ulysses

We’ve been away for a while. Up in the Lake District, since you ask. Absolutely stunning scenery, of course. Sunshine helps but we had some rain too. Sorry I didn’t send a postcard, but I hope this will make up for it.

Ullswater

There’s a lot of catching up to do as far as this blog is concerned.

I’m still listening to, and enjoying, Ulysses as broadcast of Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago. It seems to have been well-received by most, going by newspaper reviews and the Feedback programme. (Apart from it disrupted the usual Radio 4 schedule.) And so, far, I’m enjoying it too. Am I more likely to go and read the book now? Hmmm, who knows.

It’s the 40th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s top album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The album is, of course, being remastered, remixed and re-released. But I’ll stick with my original 12″ vinyl album for now, thanks! Played at maximum volume, of course.

There are at least two documentaries on radio about the album. The latest was on Radio 4 at the weekend. Midge Ure explores the story behind the ground-breaking album.

BBC – BBC Radio 4 Programmes – The Stardust Memories.

Previously, there was a documentary presented by Gary Kemp. It was broadcast in three formats: a half-hour version on the World Service, an hour long version on Radio 2 but the longest, two-hour  version was on BBC 6 Music. In it, Gary explores the story behind the ground-breaking album.

Radio 2 – Ziggy Played Guitar (not availble to re-play)

World Service – Ziggy Changed my Life (still available to listen again)

6 Music – Ziggy Changed my Life (not available)

Plus there was a Ziggy Stardust evening on BBC 4 last Friday. I nearly missed it, being, as I was, otherwise occupied up in the Lakes. But a quick check reveals the following still on the iPlayer:

David Bowie at the BBC – in concert at the Radio Theatre (2001 I think)

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – Ziggy’s last ever show, July 1973

David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust – Jarvis Cocker explores the story behind the ground-breaking album

The Genius of David Bowie – his songs performed by others

That’s enough TV I think: you’ll be getting square eyes, as my Mum used to say.