Tag Archives: Radio

➤ Ziggy’s 40 fabulous years of being not alone, cos you’re won-der-ful

Ziggy Stardust,Spiders from Mars,David Bowie,albums,anniversary,

Backside of the album that inspired generations: Bowie as the alien Ziggy about to call home from a phone box in Heddon Street, London. (Photography © Brian Ward)

❚ THE KING OF UK POP HITS HIS 40th ANNIVERSARY, just as HM The Queen completes her sixth decade on the throne, but we don’t imagine she planned it that way. The most famous Martian in history landed on Earth on June 6 1972 with the release of his album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars. He created a new breed of quintessentially British pop star and expanded the realm of rock-and-roll by injecting melodrama, fantasy and glitz.

A wistful older generation was yearning for the energy of the 60s. A teen generation faced a paranoid future threatened by nuclear apocalypse. The playfully androgynous Ziggy Stardust astonished both audiences by introducing a knowing sense of decadence rooted in individual style and a repertoire of life-skills to see us through whatever adversity. Laying down a bunch of wonderful melodies, the vocals enunciate the manifesto with clarity throughout — Five Years, Moonage Daydream, Suffragette City especially.

It was a bravura, theatrical strategy for pursuing what you wanted to get out of life, and capitalised on the iconoclasm of the 60s which had subverted society’s traditions of role play and “knowing your place”.

Ziggy himself was an entirely invented persona, an outsider rock-star created by the not-then-famous David Bowie who expressed through Ziggy a grand vision and through the Spiders consummate musicianship — not a note out of place, and Mick Ronson at his most snarlingly brilliant. The album is a pinnacle of arch originality like few others, and its fierce riffs and hooks have influenced almost every innovative performer since.

➢ Review of the album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust etc at BBC Music — “It sounds like a cliché, but to an entire generation this album has become a yardstick by which to measure all others. Why the hyperbole?

David Bowie, Starman, 1972, Top of the Pops, tipping point, BBC

The moment the earth tilted July 6, 1972: During Starman on Top of the Pops, David Bowie drapes his arm around the shoulder of Mick Ronson. Video © BBC

The 40th-anniversary celebrations and media activity are not entirely industry hype, but genuine tributes to an artist of undoubted genius. None the less, EMI is releasing a compilation of brilliantly remastered tracks on Monday June 4 on both CD and vinyl, and all are available to stream free at the NME which is trailing special features in next week’s issue…

♫ LISTEN at the NME — David Bowie streams a remastered
Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust in full


Nick Rhodes, Gary Kemp,  Ziggy Changed My Life, 6Music, Radio2,

A picture they once said could never be taken: Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran at the home of Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, brought together by the radio documentary Ziggy Changed My Life

❏ Not for nothing do the next week’s highlights come from the Ten Alps stable, one of the UK’s leading factual programme-makers. From midnight tomorrow BBC 6 Music kicks off with a two-hour assessment of Ziggy as the Pied Piper who shaped the dreams of Gary Kemp, Nick Rhodes and others. This thoroughly researched doc tells tales from a host of their peers and is recycled in a couple of other slots of more manageable duration…

Click to read Kemp’s article in The Times

➢ Ziggy Changed My Life: full two-hour radio documentary on BBC 6 Music, midnight BST June 2–3 — Songwriter Gary Kemp explains how David Bowie created Ziggy, how the album changed his life and influenced a generation of performers. Guests include: Trevor Bolder, bass player for The Spiders from Mars; Woody Woodmansey, drummer for The Spiders from Mars, Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran, Suzi Ronson, Leee Black Childers, Lindsay Kemp, Kevin Cann, Kris Needs, Ken Scott, Terry Pastor, George Underwood and Anya Wilson.

➢ Ziggy Played Guitar on BBC Radio 2, at 10pm June 6 — Reduced one-hour version of Ziggy Changed My Life

➢ Ziggy Changed My Life — Abridged 23-minute version broadcast last month on BBC World Service and available online at iPlayer “until 1 Jan, 2099”

➢ Inspirational Bowie: clip from 65th birthday broadcast last January on Radio 2 — His influences on Boy George, Peter Hook, Marc Almond, Annie Lennox, Debbie Harry, Guy Garvey, Jarvis Cocker

➢ David Bowie Archive concert (2000) on BBC radio iPlayer — Live in concert at Glastonbury in 2000.


David Bowie, Starman,

“After Starman, everything changed” — Woody Woodmansey, drummer and Spider

➢ Pushing Ahead of the Dame: David Bowie, song by song — incomparable blog by Chris O’Leary


Man Who Sold the World,David Bowie ,Peter Doggett,books ➢ The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s by Peter Doggett (Bodley Head 2011)

A song-by-song analysis shows how David Bowie embodied a decade. A work of impeccable scholarly exegesis, The Man Who Sold the World is about as far removed from conventional biography as its subject is from run-of-the-mill rock’n’roll. Still, it is hard to imagine another book telling you more of what really matters about David Bowie than this one … / Continued online

Strange Fascination,David Bowie, David Buckley, books ➢ Strange Fascination: David Bowie, The Definitive Story by David Buckley (Virgin 2005)

Written by the only biographer to get his PhD with a thesis on David Bowie, Strange Fascination is an exhaustive chronicle of Bowie’s career as one of rock’s most influential stars. In a combination of interviews, exclusive photographic material and academic analysis, Buckley examines Bowie’s life and music with an unparalleled level of detail. It’s a book written by an unapologetic fan. Buckley is a better writer than any of those to have tackled Bowie to date. If you read only one Bowie book ever, this should be it … / Continued online

Any Day Now, David Bowie,books, Kevin Cann ➢ Any Day Now: David Bowie The London Years (1947–1974) by Kevin Cann (Adelita 2010)

A feast of Bowie-ana served up like La Grande Bouffe, in ever more tempting waffeur-thin slices… It is impossible adequately to acknowledge the trainspotterish, yet deeply rewarding scope of this sheer labour of love that has amassed 850 pictures — friends, lovers, costumes, contracts, doodles, laundry bills, performances, candid snaps — on 336 pages … / Continued at Shapersofthe80s

Starman, David Bowie , Paul Trynka ,books ➢ Starman: David Bowie by Paul Trynka (Sphere 2011)

As befits an erstwhile editor of Mojo, Trynka is good on the musical development of a pop star whose early albums, David Bowie (1967) and Space Oddity (1969), were both little more than confused collections of ill-matched songs, and showed little hint of the confidence and brilliance that was to follow. Beginning with Bowie’s childhood as plain David Jones in post-war Brixton, Trynka tells a tale that has perhaps been told too often to surprise any more, but that nevertheless intrigues in its mixture of ruthlessness, shifting loyalties, monumental drug taking, decadent behaviour and, for a while, undiminished musical invention … / Continued online


➢ 65 crazy facts and bizarre myths about Bowie at the Daily Mirror — Did Bowie help start the credit crunch? He certainly says he was moonwalking years before Michael Jackson…

 Kansai Yamamoto ,V&A ,exhibition, British Design, Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie,costumes

Ziggy stage costume: the Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto described Bowie in 1972 as “neither man nor woman”. This outfit, similar to one worn with a boa in Ziggy’s last performance at Hammersmith Odeon, is currently on show until August 12 in the V&A exhibition, British Design 1948–2012


➢ Where to draw a line between glitter and glam

➢ If David Jones hadn’t become Bowie what would have become of the rest of us?

➢ Behind Bowie’s “lost” Jean Genie video


➤ Morrissey detonates bidding war for his memoirs

❚ A NEAT OUTCOME RESULTED from last week’s Radio 4 interview with Morrissey, former singer with The Smiths, the UK’s leading indie band of the 80s, who broke up in 1987. After the reluctant interviewee said that he was “very very surprised to be making music today” he added that, had his music career failed, “I would have become a novelist”. He then revealed that he had written his memoirs and was in the progess of redrafting his 660-page manuscript. He dared to suggest: “I’d like it to go to Penguin, but only if they published it as a classic. I can’t see why not — a contemporary Penguin Classic — within the next year or so.”

Very Best of Morrissey,CD,download, vinyl,Radio 4, Front RowBy Good Friday Penguin Books, creators of the modern paperback, were trying to head off a bidding war between rival publishers by announcing that it is indeed willing to publish his autobiography. A spokeswoman told The Independent: “There is a natural fit between Morrissey’s sensibility, his artistic achievements and Penguin Classics. A book could be published as a Penguin Classic because it is a classic in the making. It’s something we would like to discuss with Morrissey.”

There is no minimum time limit before a book can be considered a Penguin Classic, but the list embraces people or works that have “caused scandal and political change, broken down barriers, social and sexual”. However, a leading article in the same day’s paper pours cold water on the mighty ego of the singer they call Bigmouth: “Sadly for Morrissey, it’s the accumulated judgement of posterity, rather than authors, which determines what literature survives and what gets pulped.”

Nevertheless, according to The Independent report: “Morrissey is not short of suitors. The publishing director of Faber and Faber sent the singer an open letter begging him to join the ‘house of Eliot’, a reference to T S Eliot, the giant of 20th-century poetry. Lee Brackstone wrote: ‘We feel very strongly that you belong in this company. You deserve Faber and the love we can give you. History demands it; destiny commands it’.”

These events coincide with today’s UK release of a new album, Very Best of Morrissey, a 20-track download and CD of remastered solo classics (also as 18 tracks on vinyl, EMI/Major Minor). A bonus DVD, which includes eleven remastered videos (three of which are previously unavailable on DVD) including Boxers, Sunny, and The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get, plus I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty taken from the Jonathan Ross TV show in December 1990.

As from tomorrow the 12-minute interview with R4’s Front Row is available on iPlayer. Morrissey deals briskly with pressing issues such as ageing (“many of the early songs were like mating calls and I have to think seriously about singing them now”), the problem of having the prime minister as a fan (“no I’ve never met him”) and, inevitably, a Smiths reunion (this is not the place for spoilers). And yes, Johnny Marr gets a mention.

Dermot O’Leary,Morrissey, interview,Very Best OfUpdate: Listen to favourably selected highlights from a frankly tiresome interview between a cranky Morrissey and a very patient Dermot O’Leary (BBC R2 on April 30, 2011) as the evasive singer winds him up while discussing their Irish roots and musical idols, a UK and Scandinavian tour, an album of new material and the “mutants” of Coronation Street. We hear two clips from his Very Best Of CD, Girl Least Likely To, and Interlude: The next day Moz told True To You why he had been so cantankerous: “I’m sorry I made the O’Leary radio interview so difficult but I was in a foul mood, having spent a full week surrounded by the royal dreading. England may very well be a Windsor dictatorship, but, PR weddings aside, it is usually quite bearable.” He also complains about his familiar views on the British monarchy being cut from the earlier R4 interview.


➢ Listed at True-to-you.net — Morrissey’s nine-date UK summer tour runs from Perth June 15–Plymouth June 30, plus Glastonbury Festival on June 24, and Hop Farm Music Festival July 2.


➢ Morrissey’s handwriting free from searchfreefonts
Morrissey,handwriting , font, download


2010 ➤ Index of posts for July-Aug

Kylie Minogue, Heaven,London,live,All The Lovers

All The Lovers, live: photograph © Christie Goodwin

➢ A big wink to i-D on its 30th birthday

➢ For one year only, £75m deal reunites Take That dormice with mega-millionaire Robbie Williams

➢ Kylie dazzles London with laser-love

➢ Cheers to Peter and Chris – two nice unassuming radio listeners (among the many) who clinched the rescue of 6Music

➢ Vince Clarke on how to make the perfect pop song

Save 6Music, 6Music, BBC, demonstration, Alison Gibbs

Too, too British: Save 6Music demonstrators outside Broadcasting House. Picture © Alison Gibbs


2010 ➤ Cheers to Peter and Chris – two nice unassuming radio listeners (among the many*) who clinched the rescue of 6Music

* Added to the heading to reflect protests by Peter and Chris

What do we want? – We’d quite like our rather good 6Music station not to be axed by the BBC, please.
When do we want it? – After our jolly nice picnic and a couple of flutes of champagne, if that’s OK with you.

Save 6Music, 6Music, BBC, picnic, Claire Cant, Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph,Tim Davie,Sir Michael Lyons ,Steve Hewlett,,

Militant picnickers: Save 6Music campaigners plot their strategy – somewhere amid the champagne drinkers Peter Crocker is lurking. Picture © Claire Cant


❚ TODAY IT WAS REVEALED TO RADIO 4’s AUDIENCE that the BBC decided not to axe its digital music station 6Music as the result of a thoroughly British campaign strategy hatched over a couple of drinks and the odd outdoor picnic. 6Music campaigners like to boast that a bunch of marketeers called the CoolBrands Council (yes, seriously!) have dubbed it the coolest radio station in the land – easier perhaps to think of it as “rhythms for thinking persons”. Since March some “quite lively” street protests have surrounded Broadcasting House in London where the more strident slogans included “More 6 please, we’re British” … “Lord Reith would be vexed” … “Down With This Sort of Thing” and “6 into 2 doesn’t go” (a reference to merging with mainstream Radio 2). But afterwards, heads were put together to come up with a seriously cunning plan.

Peter Crocker told the tale on today’s Feedback, the Radio 4 listener soapbox. He describes himself as a “video restorer and member of the Doctor Who Restoration Team”. Also a Belle and Sebastian fan, he is passionate about 6Music and became incandescent in March when he heard of the BBC management’s threat to shut it down in a strategic review of BBC services.

He wrote to Feedback and was invited onto the weekly programme in March when he declared: “As with Radio 3, 6Music is unique. We need a serious modern non-orchestral music station.” This kick-started a process which ended up with him having a breakfast meeting with the chairman of the BBC Trust Sir Michael Lyons, who was tasked with considering the management proposals.

Crocker modestly insists his role was minor and points out that many, many others were involved in the campaign to save 6Music. The Facebook protest group, for example, is the “modern equivalent of a village hall”, he says, and it attracted 180,000 supporters.

Save 6Music, 6Music, BBC, demonstration

Too, too British: Save 6Music demonstrators outside Broadcasting House

What he did do after turning up to a demo was to meet up for occasional drinks with some of the other committed protesters “in hostelries around west London”. Here he met Chris Wiper, a Pixies fan (according to his Facebook profile), who proposed conducting a survey of 6Music listeners and 655 responses from adults yielded one eye-opening claim. As Crocker reported today: “For every £1 the BBC spent on 6Music, the station generated £13 for the UK economy”!

From Wiper’s survey the purchasing activity of the station’s listeners was analysed by Matt Forman and Colin Hammond who showed that 58% of their music purchasing in the previous year had been influenced by 6Music, resulting in an average spend of £134 that year on albums and singles. In other words, when extrapolated against the one-million weekly audience reached by the station, this amounted to a significant contribution towards the music industry’s coffers. (Further modest mutterings have ensued from Wiper, too: “My contribution was a very small part.”)

6Music, age distribution, listeners, ILF, survey, BBC

6Music listener ages: Mean 32.2, median 31, according to online petition data commissioned by ILF

Hence the bending of the Trust chairman’s ear and a reversal this week of the decision to axe the station.

Hammond has since offered further insights: “Sir Michael Lyons said that the cultural value argument had to be made. Alan Yentob made a speech that stated that the BBC yardstick was £2 of economic activity for £1 of BBC spend. We had had already several conversations about how many CDs etc we had bought solely from 6, Chris Wiper had set up a Facebook group and then his website. At my hunch that there was something in this, Matt Foreman did the maths for the initial ILF submission which the Trust were most interested in and so we encouraged more people to come forward, which gave the great final survey number.”

Result – even BBC director-general Mark Thompson declared on April 20: “It’s become clear to me that the station is completely unique and has significant cultural worth.”

As a successful campaigner, cheer-leading substantially through the web, Crocker today offered four golden rules: (1) don’t shout into a vacuum; (2) research your subject; (3) stick to facts not personal opinion; (4) enlist teamwork by meeting up in real life.

Let’s be on guard for the next round, however. Announcing 6Music’s reprieve on the BBC News Channel last Monday, Sir Michael Lyons also said: “It [6 Music] has opened up a much bigger debate about the need, first, to sort out the greater distinctiveness about the very popular Radios 1 and 2 and to make sure they are more different from each other and different from what’s available in the commercial sector. And even more important, to actually develop a coherent strategy for digital radio, which the BBC can’t do in isolation. It needs to do (that) with government and the commercial sector.”

A can of worms is about to be opened in the radio marketplace. In her weekly column in the Daily Telegraph, Gillian Reynolds was later to conclude: “ ‘Stick to facts.’ Please remember that when the dreaded BBC Director of Audio and Music Tim Davie returns, fully strategised.” The Facebook group cannily reminds us of future trends. Listen to 6Music online, it urges, so the powers-that-be can measure how many are listening. “BBC6 was not designed to be linear.”

➢➢ Listen to today’s Feedback and read presenter Roger Bolton at the Radio 4 blog

➢➢ Independent Listeners Forum – Final Submission to the BBC Trust, May 22 – Search sidebar for ILF Evidence, then click Economic Value Update

➢➢ Gillian Reynolds in the Daily Telegraph, July 12 – “The present digital delay, I think, is more a failure of markets than management”

Save 6Music, campaign,6Music, BBC, demonstration,Steve Ransome

Thinking music persons: Save 6Music protestors show their strength outside Broadcasting House. Picture © Steve Ransome