Friday, 24 February 2017

Radio Review: 24 February

Louis finds illumination with Radio Gloucestershire

Written by Louis Barfe
Stumbling across a good radio programme by accident is a fine feeling. Trying to find BBC Hereford and Worcester on the bathroom radio to accompany a Sunday soak, I Louis-Barfe-colour-176found myself tuned to BBC Radio Gloucestershire. It’s my local station, but I prefer H&W for numerous reasons, not least the warm, funny, idiosyncratic Malcolm Boyden.

I stuck with it, though, because I’d come in midway through Pete Wilson’s programme (Sundays, noon, available on iPlayer) commemorating the great Telstar record producer Joe Meek on the 50th anniversary of him murdering his landlady then killing himself.

Meek was a Gloucestershire boy, born and raised in the Forest of Dean town of Newent, honing his electronic skills as a repairman for the Midlands Electricity Board. His life has been well covered in books, documentaries and even a rather good feature film, so Wilson did superbly well to find fresh material.

The highlight was his chat with Meek’s MEB colleague Derek Davis, a willing helper in meek’s early recording experiments. Meek was paranoid about his trade secrets being stolen, but he trusted Davis with all of the pioneering equipment he’d built.

Wilson also spoke to Meek’s nieces and members of The Foresters, a Gloucestershire band who never made it big, despite recording for Meek in London. Their tapes are likely to be among several tea chests of recordings left behind after his death, still extant but uncatalogued and unheard for 50 years.

These small, local-interest stories of a world-famous figure do much to illuminate, and it was a good hour. I’m off to listen with great interest to Wilson’s two- parter on the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, which built some of London’s first Tube trains. This is what local radio should be all about.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: 

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