Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Songs from Home, Sunday, August 26th

Two very different sounds this week.

First up, is Sticks and Stones by Pint Shot Riot. It's the B side to their new single, Hazy Days... which might explain why I can't find a video of it to embed... but if I've got things right, you should be able to hear it below:
Sticks And Stones

Next up: When I Believe by The Robbie Boyd Band:

I first played The Robbie Boyd Band back in June and they were very well received. This is brand new and was released on Monday.

August seems to have whizzed by. It's been the first time in a while where I haven't had a load of other work commitments to concern me... it's just been the radio show and I've had a ball. Of course it hasn't been business as normal because Michael and Danielle have both been away - at the Fringe in Edinburgh - but Annabel and Andy - and for this week, Bob - have all been brilliant and made it really easy for me to enjoy myself.

Normal service resumes next week. Not that Michael and Danielle are normal.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Songs From Home - Sunday August 19

First up... something new from the brilliant Jens Lekman who's always a delight. 
This is called I Know What Love Isn't:

And then this from an Aussie band called The Triangles... this song - Let's Replace The Cityscapes put me in mind of the wonderful The Boy Least Likely To, which is no bad thing.

I've really enjoyed having Andy Zaltzman on the show these last few weeks - and of course, I heartily recommend his regular podcast, The Bugle - but we could only get him for three weeks as he had a holiday booked and for reasons I don't fully understand, he simply wasn't prepared to explain to his children that our radio show is more important than them. Some people!

However... next week Annabel and I'll be joined by Bob Golding who's done the show a fair few times in the past and is always a joyous presence.

Oh... did I mention that we had Bonnie Langford on the show this week? We did. She was bloomin' lovely. You can get the podcast here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last Sunday's Songs...

The songs I brought in this last week were:

A Not Quite Perfect Film by Lousy Robot:
 if you want to know more about them, their website is lousyrobot.com


Walking With Giants by The Prostitutes
 It had been bugging me that I couldn't remember what this reminded me of. I knew there was a specific 80s song that it put me in mind of, but I couldn't for the life of me nail it down. Of course, if you mention that kind of thing on air, the answer is always going to come. It's Pretty In Pink by The Psychedelic Furs. It's not a soundalike or a rip off... but it's definitely that song that I was thinking of.

You probably don't want to be leaving a google search for "the prostitutes" behind on your computer... so let me save you the trouble and tell you that if you want to know more about them they have a Myspace page, and it's here: http://www.myspace.com/theprostitutes

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Tea Lady

Damon Albarn, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.
So Blur were amazing last night. The whole day - indeed the whole weekend - has been amazing. It's impossible to contextualise it all in one blog, so instead I'll focus on one small, oddity and maybe other parts of the weekend will seep out over the week ahead.

If you were at the gig, you might have been confused as to why Harry Enfield turned up on stage dressed as a tea lady.

I wasn't confused. Or rather, my confusion was of a slightly different hue. I wasn't thinking, "why is Harry Enfield on stage dressed as a tea lady?"

I was thinking, "Am I - even in some tiny way - just a little bit responsible for Harry Enfield being on stage dressed as a tea lady? Did I make this happen?"

Here's the thing. I mentioned in my last blog post that my interview with Damon Albarn would feature in this Sunday's show

We played it in, in three chunks.

In the first, we talked - amongst other things - about Worzel Gummidge. In the second, we talked about the way the internet gives people creative opportunities (as well as opportunities to embarrass themselves) and in the third we talked about the Great British institution of the tea lady.

Now, it was Damon who introduced the subject. And it's possible that he did so knowing that they had already arranged for this odd onstage moment to occur. (The interview was done about 10 days ago)

But listening back... I don't think that's what's going on. But then I might be imagining things.

He talks about how the tea lady connected the office junior with the top brass of an organisation and that, when he first signed for EMI - the tealady was the first person they felt comfortable around.

We discuss the humanising effect of the tea lady, the ritual and the way in which modern tea making has been compromised by the polystyrene cup and the teabag.

And when Damon says that he misses the lost institution of the tea lady and proper tea, I agree and say...

DG: "we all miss that. But luckily there is something that connects us to it. And as you say, it's Blur. You can listen to Blur and in your heart, tea ladies still exist."

DA: "I think we do have our own tea set as well."

DG: "I think you need to introduce it on stage."

DA: "... the tea lady"

DG: "just have a little pause. At Hyde Park."

DA: "Yes. Well. That's a very good idea and now that we've talked about it I do feel like maybe I should bring a tea lady on."

DG: "You know there's..."

DA: "It'd be nice to make everyone a cup of tea."

DG: "This is a real Jesus-complex moment isn't it?"

DA: "But unfortunately Westminster Council would prohibit me making everyone a cup of tea."

DG: "I would love it. When you get to the encore moment. You've left the stage. The crowd are cheering for more. You know you're going to come on. We all know there's going to be the encore. Just come on. Have a cup of tea. And then do the encore."

DA: "Okay"

DG: "I think that would elate Hyde Park."

DA: "I can see it."

DG: "I can see it. And I'd like to see it for real."

Seriously. Listen to it. (The relevant conversation starts about an hour in... although, obviously I recommend the whole podcast). Do you think he knew it was going to happen... or am I, in some small way, responsible for the appearance of Harry Enfield, on stage with Blur... dressed as a tea lady?

What do you think?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Blur Sunday!

photo by Inner Circle Photography
This Sunday's show will be a bit different. It's going to be three hours long instead of the usual two and we'll be broadcasting live from Hyde Park - which later that day will be hosting the BT London Live Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert featuring The Specials, New Order and Blur.

The gigs sold out... but we do have two tickets to give away to some lucky soul.

I'll be joined by Andy and Annabel again - who were both great last week - and as well as the usual blather, there'll be an interview with me and Damon Albarn in the mix. We'll be on air from 10.

While I'm here... I forgot to blog the two tracks I brought in from home for the radio show last Sunday... here you go. First up, the fantastic, Battleships by I'm From Barcelona who are from Sweden:

And a brand new track from a band who are new to me. Yippie Yeah by The Diamond Noise:

More Spiking

Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Somewhat ridiculously I had a third consecutive day of watching live Olympic action yesterday. A friend called with an offer of a spare ticket for the Women's Beach Volleyball finals. You know. The way they do. How could I refuse.

It didn't seem as well organised as the other two venues I've visited (I asked 15 different volunteers if they knew where the secure bicycle parking was and none of them even knew there was such a thing, for example) but once we were in it was great fun and the two matches were ace with Brazil taking a bronze medal from their game with China and the USA taking the gold from their game with, um, the USA who had to console themselves with silver. Poor old The USA.

Anyway... here's another photo... it's not really 6 aside... but I think this explains the anatomy of a single point:

Beach Volleyball

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I bought my tickets for the jumping on a whim the day before. But the venue I most wanted to attend was the velodrome. I live in east London. I cycle past the Olympic site all the time. I've seen these buildings as they go up... and I'd have been really annoyed if I hadn't had a chance to see them in action.

I didn't get any cycling tickets in the ballot - or any other tickets for that matter - but I did manage to get one when more were released. And my, what tickets they were. Row three. In a section of the stand that had no row one. So, um, row two then.

Hoy celebrates gold
Hoy Celebrates Gold

Pendleton says goodbye after winning silver
Pendleton Says Goodbye

Trott does a lap of honour after winning gold
Trott's Lap Of Honour

As you can see, I picked a good day. In two days I've seen four gold medals decided. Great Britain and Northern Ireland have won three of them and picked up a silver in the other.

If anyone involved in Team GB(&NI) would like to invite me along to other events as some kind of good luck charm I'd be more than happy to oblige.

I got dozens of tweets yesterday from people telling me they'd seen me in the crowd. Lots of people sent pictures they'd taken of their telly as proof. My thanks to @el_saundero for this picture of me looking at a Belgian bum.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I went to Greenwich Park yesterday to watch my first, live, Olympic action. Horses. Jumping. Over fences and stuff.

This what a complete round entails:

A Complete Round

I've never seen it before. I've never wanted to. I bought the ticket on a whim on Sunday and went along for the hell of it. I was hugely impressed by the organisation of the whole thing. The volunteers are amazing and really do set the tone for a great day out.

Of course the fact that Team Great Britain & Northern Ireland won a gold medal added to the excitement.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Absolutely July 29th

Montreal felt like a bit of a bubble... and music - especially new music - wasn't much of a focus, which is why my two songs-from-home on my first show back, weren't exactly new releases.

First there was Action & Drama by Bis:
Bis seem to be one of those bands that fall through the cracks when people look back over the 90s but they were really influential and it's always a pleasure to go back for more.

And my second choice was Are You Trying To Be Lonely by Andy Lewis & Paul Weller:
Which just doesn't get played much on the wireless because, presumably, there are so many better known Paul Weller tracks that get ahead of it in the queue for airplay... but still, a great tune.

I think the show went well on Sunday morning... which seems like some kind of minor miracle given how tired I was. On Friday night I'd done my final show in Montreal... and then done my packing... but I hadn't gone to bed because I was being picked up from the hotel at 3.15am.

Air Canada
I had an early morning flight to Toronto first. There are direct flights from Montreal... but if I'd taken one of those I wouldn't have been able to make the radio show on Sunday morning... so a no-sleep-Friday it was...

My flight then landed at Heathrow around 10pm, UK time. I was expecting to find the airport - and London - in a state of Olympichaos but in actual fact I was through the airport in remarkably swift time and home in East London before midnight.

But even so... it made for a confused and discombobulated host on Sunday morning. Fun though.

If you'd like to double check, you could always get the podcast... it's here... y'know... under July 29th.

Incidentally... as both Danielle and Michael are off to the Edinburgh Fringe for August we will be without their company for the next few weeks. (But hey, if you're heading for the Fringe, why not take in their shows... Danielle's doing stand-up on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and a comic play on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while Michael's taken the lazy route and is just doing a stand up show.)

But we've got top notch people coming in to replace them... we have Annabel Port who many of you will know from Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show and Andy Zaltzman - a comic who you might well know from the sublime, The Bugle.