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.


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.

BBC World Service celebrates 80th birthday

This is becoming a very interesting year for anniversaries and special events.

Never mind the Olympics in London later on, nor the Queen’s diamond jubilee. They’ll be great in their own way, I’m sure. But there are a few much more significant anniversaries from the point of view of this particular blog!

I’ve already mentioned the 10th birthday of BBC 6 Music, and the concert I’ve been unable to acquire tickets for. More here, straight from the horse’s mouth.

And it’s also the 70th anniversary of Desert Island Discs, which was celebrated earlier when each of the BBC local radio stations broadcast a special programme featuring Desert Island Discs from some of their listeners, along with, in some cases, some heart-breaking stories. Some more here. In particular, you may recall the anniversary guest was Sir David Attenborough.

Next up is the BBC World Service, which is 80 years old this year. There is some interesting special programming on February 29th, described here: BBC World Service celebrates 80th birthday.

The World Service will be moving out of Bush House at the end of the year and will join radio colleagues in the equally iconic Broadcasting House.

I have been inside Bush House a couple of times. Once was when GLR were temporarily based there while its Marylebone High Street studios were being refurbished for the benefit of GLR’s replacement, BBC London Live. And then there was a Radio Academy event at which luminaries such as Nick Ferrari and Nick Higham discussed radio phone-ins.

Oh, and one day, I was walking by and spotted through the window the top band Busted being interviewed for a TV show. (Whatever happened to Busted?!)

Busted being interviewed for a 'Celebrity Chat Show'PS It’s Fi Glover’s birthday on February 27th, she’s 21 again, so send her a suitable message 😉

Nile Rodgers – Outlook, 14/11/2011

This wasn’t the first time that Nile Rodgers has assaulted my ears this year. I heard the programme on BBC World Service this morning. ‘Outlook’ features ‘Extraordinary personal stories from around the world.’ And this week’s subject was Nile Rodgers. It is available here for a week: BBC World Service Programmes – Outlook, 14/11/2011.

He  is interviewed by Matthew Bannister on the occasion of the publication of his autobiography entitled ‘Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny’. He did indeed have a very difficult upbringing which makes it all the more surprising, perhaps, that he could write fantastic, uplifting songs such as ‘Good Times’.

Previously, in September 2011, my wife and I attended the Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park Concert, billed as ‘a festival in a day’. And amongst the artistes playing were Chic, featuring Nile Rodgers and his very distinctive guitar sound. Although the Sun was going down by the time they appeared on stage, they brought their own sunshine.

Chic at Hyde Park, September 11, 2011And finally, here is Nile Rodgers again being interviewed by Lauren Laverne.