GLR – Where are they now?

It’s a well-known fact that GLR was probably the best radio station that there has ever been. Ever. It went off the air in March 2000 but its memory lingers on. Here’s a quick update on some of the old GLR presenters: where are they now? Most of the updates come from Twitter.

David Hepworth has announced this week that the music magaize The Word will publish its final edition next month. It’s been going for nine years, and I feel slightly guilty that I haven’t bought every edition nor subscribed to it. But then, I haven’t been buying or subscribing to other music magazines either. There’s just too much other stuff going on, I haven’t got the time. It’s one of those magazines that I really enjoy when I do dig into it. Crikey, it takes all week for me to get through Saturday’s Guardian newspaper.

Danny Baker usually broadcasts on BBC London 94.9 on weekday afternoons and on 5 Live on Saturday mornings. But he’s taking a couple of months off as he is working with Jim Henson’s company writing the scripts for their new project, “No Strings Attached“. And we mustn’t forget, his long-awaited autobiography will be published… eventually.

Gary Crowley has been sitting in on BBC London for the last couple of weeks and continues to present his Saturday 1970s/1980s show there.

Jeremy Nicholas continues to speak after dinner and to present some funny items for the BBC East Midland local news. His main job is to be the stadium announcer for West Ham. But just last night, he was the announcer at a Twenty20 cricket match at Trent Bridge. His book “Mr Moon Has Left the Building” is a fantastic read, very funny, even for a non-football fan such as me.

Emma Freud is currently working on the latest Richard Curtis movie “About Time” which I have traveled into the future to watch, and I can highly recommend it. She is also a regular contributo to Radio 4’s Loose Ends, and her recent interview with Simon Le Bon was fantastic, very funny and one that I, unusually, listenedto a second time. And I’m not even that big a Duran Duran fan.

Not to be outdone, Gideon Coe recently reported that he is to be the DJ at his son’s school’s Summer fair. Oh, OK, he still presents a great show on 6 Music at 9pm Monday to Thursday.

Listening to the radio at work

In case you missed it, I am a postman. I start work at 6 am and get home any time between about 12 noon and 2 pm, very rarely earlier, even more rarely later.

The first 3 hours (more or less) is spent indoors, in the office, preparing mail for delivery. The soundtrack to this activity is the office radio. There is some sort of precedence over who is allowed to touch this radio, and change the station that we listen to.

All I can say is that of the radio stations we tune in to on a regular basis, there are only a couple that I might tune into at home.

These two are Absolute FM (formerly Virgin) and Radio Jackie.

Permission to choose a radio station is a special treated, awarded on the occasion of someone’s birthday. They can choose a different one, or play a CD brought in from home. Woe betide anyone who brings in a CD which is in anyway unusual, that doesn’t preatty much represent what we have to endure most days anyway.

So, Absolute Radio, Absolute FM might be chosen two or three times each year. Genuinely, a birthday treat.

Radio Jackie is on more frequently. It is our local station for south-west London and north Surrey. The breakfast show presenters are nothing special (the fairly ubiquitous bloke with ditzy girl combo) and the travel news might be of local interest, but at least their choice of music is better than most.

The other stations often listened to are Heart FM, Magic FM and Smooth FM. Their playlists are all dire, displaying no imagination whatsoever. The adverts are repetitive and annoying.

A couple of people in the office listen to their own entertainment, putting on headphones and listening to their iPod, or whatever. I tried that, but it didn’t really work for.

More rarely (thank goodness), as mentioned before, we are subjected to Capital FM or Kiss FM. Not my cup of tea at all.

But, when I’m out on delivery, when I’m on a street where there’s not a lot of loud traffic, I listen to my MP3 player. I used to wear a headset and listen to the radio, but the cable gets caught on things, the plug gets yanked from my ear and, probably worse, I can’t hear members of the public when they address me.

So now, I download recorded radio programmes and listen to those as I walk around. These are mostly music programmes from BBC Radio 2 or 6 Music but sometimes shows from Radio 4. Ironically, some of the best music documentaries are on the speech station Radio 4, so I’ll take those too.

So (and I’ve commented on this before) in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to Gideon Coe (6 Music), Bob Harris (Radio 2 Saturday/Sunday show and his Country programme), Desert Island Discs (Radio 4), Cerys Matthews (6 Music).

So far, I haven’t tried listening to recorded, serious talk shows, such as a drama or a political documentary: I suspect they would need deeper concentration that I can manage whilst walking around the streets, trying to avoid obstacles and to deliver at least most of the mail to the right place.


Elbow at Manchester Cathedral

A week ago, Elbow played a concert in Manchester Cathedral. This was a bit of a homecoming for them after world tours and a fantastic Glastonbury Festival this year. The show was broadcast live on Jo Whiley’s BBC Radio 2 ‘In Concert’ and on the ‘Red Button’ channel on TV. The encore was broadcast during Gideon Coe’s show on DAB digital station BBC 6 Music.

I am listening to the show now, a week later, on BBC iPlayer, and it will be available there for just a few more hours. Until it’s replaced by tonight’s show.

I suspect that readers outside the UK might struggle to access BBC iPlayer but I’ve heard that there are ways around this geographical restriction.

I don’t know how to form links here, yet, but since this is only valid for a short while:

Cheers, Mick