Feminism and me

As a young man, I got my feminism from three sources: first, mum and dad. Not radicals, not even feminists. Working class trade unionists who lived the struggle. Second, the academic stuff I soaked up at college: bracing, mind-altering stuff from Laura Mulvey, Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous; teachers and artists like Marie Yates, Mitra Tabrizian,… Continue reading Feminism and me

Seven gems from Radio 3’s ‘Sound of Cinema’ season

It’s over. The ‘Sound of Cinema‘ season finshed last week. Most of the music has expired but there’s a ton of stuff that’s still available: 1. These really gripping Sound of Cinema downloads from Neil Brand (learn things, like just how badly Visconti carved up Mahler’s Adagietto for Death in Venice). 2. This glorious film… Continue reading Seven gems from Radio 3’s ‘Sound of Cinema’ season

What should really modern music radio sound like?

You hope it’ll be seamlessly social: a nice, natural flow from online to on-air and back again, with social features that are as confidently crafted as the on-air stuff. Not endless shout-outs and retweets, no ‘in the next hour’ or ‘how was your weekend?’ updates. No blather, no cheesy vanity activity from presenters. You probably… Continue reading What should really modern music radio sound like?

Tension and release. My Bloody Valentine and building radio excitement without exclusives

Music radio’s all tension and release. Building anticipation – highs and lows strung together to keep things moving and bring listeners along with you. Mary Anne Hobbs’ breakfast show on 6 Music this morning was built around a classic music radio high – the long-awaited record release. My Bloody Valentine have a new record out… Continue reading Tension and release. My Bloody Valentine and building radio excitement without exclusives

Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

The Pussy Riot case is an affront to humanity, a miserable, dispiriting state-sponsored kicking for three angry free spirits. It’s so depressingly like the kind of relentless, malevolent crucifiction handed out to non-compliant creative people across the decades of Soviet rule it’s as if the country has lost its memory (Hari Kunzru has a post… Continue reading Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

Igor Stravinsky, Tupac Shakur and the uncanny

The Player Piano was the Tupac Hologram of its day. The most thrilling of our inventions are the ones that return to us a person we’ve lost or that recall a scene from the past that we couldn’t have experienced or a place we couldn’t have known. There’s a rush, a kind of zipwire effect.… Continue reading Igor Stravinsky, Tupac Shakur and the uncanny

Noisy beds

I love a bed. I should leave it to a radio production expert to explain what I mean by a bed, but since I don’t have one to hand, a ‘bed’ is the radio term for sound (usually music) played under the presenter’s voice during a link. In music radio it stops things going dead,… Continue reading Noisy beds

Total radio – six reasons BBC Radio 3’s ‘Spirit of Schubert’ was awesome

The ‘Spirit of Schubert’ finished a week ago. It was Radio 3’s biggest ‘takeover’ yet – over 200 hours of output devoted exclusively to the work of Franz Schubert. Every one of his ‘performable works’ was played, many in brand new versions, some for the first time ever. It was a remarkable thing – and… Continue reading Total radio – six reasons BBC Radio 3’s ‘Spirit of Schubert’ was awesome

The second-best book about twentieth century music

Everybody knows the best book about Twentieth Century music is Alex Ross’s The Rest is Noise but there’s another brilliant book set in the same period – Wilfrid Sheed’s The House That George Built, a history of the golden age of American popular music. It’s about the generations of American songwriters, starting at the turn… Continue reading The second-best book about twentieth century music