Monday, 30 November -0001

Radio Review: 23 January

Archive interviews with David Bowie and Frank Zappa are not to be missed

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-portrait-176Certain key phrases have me rushing for the off -switch. I couldn’t get to it fast enough listening to You & Yours, when Winifred Robinson announced Kelvin MacKenzie would be on the show. I can’t understand why the BBC gives house room to a ghastly little man who despises the Corporation and all it stands for. That’s without taking The Sun’s shameful behaviour over Hillsborough into account.

Marc Riley has the opposite effect, and his new series, Marc Riley’s Musical Time Machine, is well worth a listen. Starting next Tuesday at 11.30am, the former Hapless Boy Lard tops and tails choice archive interviews with rock legends. Nothing groundbreaking about it, other than it’s on Radio 4, rather than 6 Music.

The first show leads with a 1977 chat between Stuart Grundy and ‘Dame’ David Bowie. The Dame refers affectionately to his producer Brian Eno as an ‘empathetic git’ and talks enthusiastically about the cut-up technique he used to write lyrics. He thought the random nature could result in greater profundity. Grundy seemed unconvinced, as was I.

Bowie had spent most of the previous few years overseas, but Grundy noted that he seemed to be seen more on British soil again. Bowie replied that he flew everywhere and moved around a lot, so his presence was largely an illusion. Superficially, he was keeping up a degree of mystique, but I suspect it was more to do with foxing the Inland Revenue.

In show two, Riley features a 1990 interview with Frank Zappa in which the great man declares politics ‘a charade’, and the world is really run by big business. A quarter of a century on, this seems a mainstream view, but Zappa was always way ahead of the curve.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net



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