It is my tendency to enjoy the comforting sound of the radio, no, to be more specific, talk radio, whilst I am about my business. It may be a sign of increasing age, but Radio 4 is increasingly the station I turn to when driving. When, in my luckier, non-traveling days, I initiate my breakfast at home ritual of toast and espresso, I fire up the iMac (as opposed to the Quattro, if we are to be topical) and nine times out of ten I will play a podcast of my choosing (unless I fancy a drop of Steely Dan to wake me up in the morning).
The best one I have subscribed to recently is The Word – the podcast of the magazine, a publication that I think my readership might appreciate, assuming you have tolerated my ramblings for a sustained period.
The particular edition of the podcast I am currently listening to is the one featuring David Hepworth, Mark Ellen and Danny Baker talking about music and life – an enormously entertaining rant. Each edition is pretty much a ‘pub conversation’ that appears to have been recorded for posterity.
Now if, like me, you happen to have grown up in the 1970s and 80s, and count among your reference points such luminaries as Radio Caroline, the John Peel show, NME and Sounds, and later Smash Hits (Ellen’s initial foray into muso journalism), then you will either already read the Word, or you should do. It’s the natural home for middle-aged, music-obsessed and sadly balding chaps like me. The rich seams of conversation that are currently washing over me – stories about Viv Stanshall, Elton John crouching behind the counter at a 1970s record shop, and Rutland-based World Conker champions all mix with a genuine love (and an un-ironic appreciation of) what might be called ‘Classic Rock, mate’.
I have followed a number of the leading lights of The Word over the years – Hepworth from the broadsheet press, Ellen via Smash Hits to Q and now to the Word. In many ways, they encompass the musical journey of a whole generation; now, it is ok to admit that you really liked Chicago IV after all, and those King Crimson remasters on iTunes are actually rather desirable…..
And so it continues. The podcast informs us that the origin of Stephen Fry’s upper-class English diction can be explained via said Viv Stanshall. Trivia you might call it, but for those of us with a tendency towards rock facts, this is pure gold. I urge you to subscribe to it and seek out the Danny Baker edition – it is worth it for the Ian Dury on tour story.