Still two hours of the finest radio you’ll hear any time, anywhere. A beautiful start to the Finest Hour in its new Sunday afternoon slot. Nina Simone, Jolie Holland, Rufus Wainwright, Tom Waits, Joan as Policewoman, Etta James, Diane Cluck and Little Dragon. And Guy, lovely Guy.
Josie Long presents a sequence of mini-documentaries about unusual journeys on BBC Radio 4. From searching for teenage misadventure through to finding yourself, we travel from the British seaside to the freezing landscape of Minnesota altering minds and bodies along the way.
Theme and Variations: What We Value
Between the Ears at 20 - BBC Radio 3
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow.
The words of TS Eliot provide a cue for this playful, challenging and touching anniversary series celebrating 20 years of Between the Ears.
(Picture credit: Mathieu Struck, Creative Commons)
I had a wonderful day in Devon recording the amazing Satish Kumar for this Radio 4 programme about Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech.
Click through the image above to listen to the programme in full or listen to Satish’s personal recollections of Dr King here:
A Spring Clean Symphony
Beautiful new composed feature by Nina Perry for BBC Radio 4 (Loftus Media). Go Nina!
A gorgeous episode of Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour in which he and Mrs Badger take the train to Coney Island. Train songs and other music from Tom Waits, Neil Young, Aretha Franklin and Elvis. Click through to listen.
Picture from the book Coney Island 40 Years © Harvey Stein 2011
Nice programme for the Radio 3 Between the Ears strand, Produced by Peter Meanwell
First broadcast earlier this year, available to listen now online.
“Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, three times a day local radio station WPAQ 740AM proudly broadcasts obituaries of local people. Established by Ralph Epperson in 1948, WPAQ was founded to preserve a wholesome way of life on the airwaves, broadcasting local Old Time and Gospel music, firebrand local preachers, and the daily reporting of obituary notices. Today, to an outsider it seems a morbid anachronism, yet people across the town of Mt Airy tune in on a daily basis, especially to catch news of those who have died.”
After the Gold Rush - The Poetry of California (BBC Radio 3)
This is just one of those programmes I wish I had made! Fascinating and beautifully put together. I think Julian May is one of the best producers we have and poet Dana Gioia is a warm, generous voice as presenter.
Readings from some of the best Californian poets of past and present and music from Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and John Adams.
I love Dana’s ideas about how the epic scale of California’s landscape has informed its poetry - “the overpowering presence of nature, raw and untameable on the western edge of North America: the dramatic Pacific coastline, the vast mountain ranges, the towering redwoods, enormous deserts and gentle valleys where humanity, constantly arriving in greater numbers, is the interloper.”
This week’s Book of the Week on Radio 4, Tim Winton’s Land’s End - A Coastal Memoir, brought childhood memories flooding back for me. Beautiful, evocative writing. While my body was making coffee in my cold kitchen my mind was miles and years away remembering salt water dried to a crust on downy bleached arm hair, damp sand clinging to over-browned feet and whole afternoons spent floating in the sea, ducking under waves as they crashed in.
Really looking forward to the More than Words Listening Festival in Bristol, my home town, in March.
Tickets for workshops and events available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/events/more_than_words_workshops
Nina Garthwaite’s ‘Short Cuts’ series on Radio 4 continued yesterday with a collection of stories on the comfort of strangers.
Wonderful, intimate radio - bringing us true stories from Jack and Jeffrey Lewis, a Danish legionnaire and the writer Deborah Moggach.
The final story - of a stranger’s act of kindness in a moment of tragedy is beautiful.
Click photo to listen!
Supermarket Symphony by Nina Perry (Falling Tree)
“Nina Perry’s composed feature ‘Supermarket Symphony’ reveals the beauty, musicality and personal stories found in supermarkets over a day. Specially composed music and the sounds of the supermarket are interwoven with some of the human encounters to be discovered along with the weekly shop.
Amongst stories and rituals of shoppers and supermarket workers, we hear from Michael, a theatrical cheese counter assistant, who now in his 70’s reveals his many past lives, and the happiness he finds serving people with cheese; Father Pat, a priest who enjoys the chance to connect with his local community whilst wheeling his trolley down the aisles and Julie who works on the tills, and has a gift for turning a frown into laughter.”
It was such a joy to hear Aung San Suu Kyi on the radio this morning delivering her Reith Lecture on Liberty.
I feel that when someone like her has the courage to speak we must all do our small part and listen.
The latest doc from Loftus - Taboo Be Do Part 1 - aired on Saturday on BBC Radio 4 and is a great listen.
Musician and writer Terence Blacker looks at politically incorrect music and asks how the music that offends us has changed over time.
Click on the photo to listen.
The latest programme in the ‘An Interior Life’ series aired last night on Radio 4 - an intimate portrait of a hospital consultant’s struggle with alcoholism. The doctor spoke candidly and movingly about his childhood in the West Country and the series of stressful events that led to his drink problem.
Click the photo to listen on iPlayer.
I so admire the work of Laurence Grisell - the BBC producer behind ‘An Interior Life’ - who is surely one of life’s great listeners and shapes his pieces so beautifully. If you haven’t heard the earlier ‘Interior Life’, about Bernard, an 86-year old gay man alone since the death of his partner, I urge you to seek it out. You can listen to it on the Third Coast website.