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.

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Loose Ends, Desert Island Discs, Cerys Matthews

Well that was a strange Sunday morning. I heard Broadcasting House OK but a long, long-distance phone call to my daughter, newly arrived in Sydney, meant that I missed both Cerys Matthews on 6 Music and Desert Island Discs on Radio 4. I usually hear one or the other, but this week, I shall look forward to hearing both while at work.

Desert Island Discs – this week’s guest is Tim Minchin.

Cerys Matthews – 6 Music – this week, Cerys celebrates the written word with Trembling Bells and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy live. And next week, her guest is Anaïs Mitchell, who as I’ve mentioned before, we saw in concert a couple of years ago so I look forward to that too.

But I am listening to last night’s Loose Ends mainly to hear Alison Steadman. We saw her just last week on stage at Kingston’s Rose Theatre in the newly revived (and revised?) Michael Frayn play called ‘Here’. I found it hard to watch, I couldn’t emapathise with the characters, but there’s nothing wrong with some challenging theatre once in a while. It’s on at The Rose until next Saturday, 12th May, so buy some tickets now.

Also on the current Loose Ends is actor Richard Wilson and top mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, both of whom are sort of heroes of mine.

Loose Ends – Radio 4.

Saturday Live, Bob Harris Country, Cerys Matthews, Mahalia Jackson

Saturday Live is growing. From the coming weekend, it will be 90 minutes each week, so it’s not only more of the same but also it will include what used to be Excess Baggage, which is no longer a separate entity.

As explained before, I usually listen to the programme a while after the broadcast, sometimes maybe weeks after. The benefit of this is that I can fast forward through those segments that I’m not particularly interested in. It has to be said, though, that this is a very rare occurrence.

Right, this week’s first long-lengtyh, extended Saturday Live will include the usual features: this week’s Poet is Luke Wright and the Inheritance Tracks are those of Cilla Black. Guests include David Cassidy and Patrick Duffy, ideal for those (like me) who were around in and still have affection for the 1970s. Presenter Richard Coles will be joined by Sian Williams.

Saturday Live on Radio 4.

My workday experience was enormously enhanced yesterday and today by listening to Bob Harris Country. I’m a little bit behind with the show, so I’ve only just caught up with his 1960s Special. And to use one of Bob’s own favourite words, it was ‘amazing’! At several points during the show, I thought he’d been cherry-picking from my parents’ own (albeit limited) record collection. Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash were all available at home during my childhood.

Usually, Radio 2 shows are up on the iPlayer for 7 days, until replaced by the following week’s show. But the good news is: as I write, there are many previous programmes up there. Which is good news for me. Bob alluded to a previous programme from a few months ago, a 1950s special. Well, I missed that at the time, but I now look forward to hearing it. (That one was 27/10/2011, by the way.)

Bob Harris Country on Radio 2.

On last week’s Loose Ends, Cerys Matthews poke about the documentary she’d made for Radio 4, called ‘Conjuring Halie’, about the delightful gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. I can’t recommend this documentary enough. I’ve often said that despite being the nation’s major speech station, Radio 4 does come up with some of the best music documentaries.

Conjuring Halie is repeated on Radio 4 tomorrow, Saturday 5th May at 3.30pm, and will be on the iPlater for a week after that.

Conjuring Halie – Mahalia Jackson – on Radio 4.

Loose Ends on Radio 4.

And finally: if you donated material to the national archive and then, thirty-odd years later, find one of the items up for sale on eBay, you’d be a bit miffed, right? Well, this happened to J. David Goldin, from Connecticut. But he did the right thing: he tracked down the thief, who is now serving time.

Read the full, heart-warming story here in the Washington Post.

Loose Ends on Radio 4

Loose Ends has been broadcast on Saturday evenings since 1998. It’s the kind of programme I ought to love, and, to be fair, I often do. But there’s something about it that doesn’t quite work for me.

The original presenter, Ned Sherrin, was someone I didn’t quite get on with. Whether his humour went over my head, or if he and I were on different wavelengths, I don’t know. I did meet him once, briefly, at a charity bike ride and he seemed like a nice, decent bloke in real life.

The programme is now hosted by Clive Anderson. Sadly, he’s someone else I don’t really get along with. Even on  TV, he annoys me. And to this day, when he turns up as a panellist on, for instance, QI, I groan inwardly. Can I put my finger on why I am not a Clive fan? No, not really. But being so rude to The Bee Gees in that infamous interview doesn’t help. And I generally dislike being negative about anyone. After all, I couldn’t do that job. As I said before: the format of this programme should make it unmissable listening for me.

But when I do tune in, I usually love the rest of the show. The guests are entertaining and/or informative.

Last week, for instance, there were Jack Davenport, Rufus Wainwright, Amy Lamé and Brenda Blethyn.

Tonight’s edition includes Anna Chancellor, Cerys Matthews, Richard Bacon and Claire Sweeney.

Loose Ends is sometimes presented by Peter Curran while semi-regular interviewers include Emma Freud and Gideon Coe. In the past we’ve heard Robert Elms too. What’s special about this motley crew is that they were all, at one time, presenters on the late, lamented GLR. See? Another reason why this show should be in my top ten.

Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4.