Category Archives: Music

Oh Boy! Why certain Radio 1 DJs are missing believed wiped

If you sat down to watch a night of lost pop music TV shows from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, what would you expect to find?  Fun, nostalgia, eye popping colour and experimentation, some great music. What I didn’t expect … Continue reading

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The making of The Stars of Sergeant Pepper

What are Mae West and Diana Dors doing on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’ Lonely Hearts Club band? If you feel you’ve heard too much already about the 50th anniversary of  the record, then fear not. Producer Luke Doran (who … Continue reading

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How to win the coming culture war in 2017

A version of this article first appeared in The Big Issue magazine in January 2017. Journalism worth paying for. Available weekly from street vendors or subscriptions here. History rarely falls into neat numerical decades. I would assert the 1980s (yuppies, … Continue reading

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I Dressed Ziggy Stardust – revisited

I Dressed Ziggy Stardust is getting a re-broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a bit about why: When I pitched I Dressed Ziggy Stardust to Radio 4 back in 2012 there was nothing more to it than a … Continue reading

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Ice, ash and fury: A meditation on eruptions from Mt St Helens to the Temple of St Paul’s Cathedral

Since I made The White North Has Thy Bones a year ago about our obsession with the Arctic and the North West Passage I’ve realised January has become a favourite time of the year. For this Something Understood the starting … Continue reading

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The Teen Within…

This week’s Something Understood gives voice to people who I reckon are rarely heard on radio. Teenagers. The readings are all done by young actors and much of the music and poetry you’ll hear was written by them, or about … Continue reading

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Bye Bye Baby: The Bay City Rollers & the lost innocence of the 70s

Three ageing rockers are holding up big glasses of milk in a toast. There’s always something poignant about seeing how teen stars have aged, but the Bay City Rollers really were angelic faced teeny boppers, and I am stung by … Continue reading

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Leaving home: The 60s and getting out

The roots of this Sunday’s Something Understood for Radio 4 are in one song – The Beatles’ She’s Leaving Home and one time: the 1960s. Over the course of the decade young people found greater opportunity through a huge growth … Continue reading

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Plankton of the midsummer air

This week’s Something Understood takes its title Inebriate of the Air, from an Emily Dickinson poem about the insect heavy honeyed thickness of midsummer light and air. And insect and bird sounds (swifts) dominate this programme. Entomologist Ross Piper helps us … Continue reading

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We gotta get out of this place: Small town boys & the curse of pop stardom

“I used to scrump apples in the grounds here here,” says Jim Dale, smiling that boyish smile as we sit for our interview in a grand medieval manor house. Now a country house hotel it used to be a school … Continue reading

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