There’s two things about music which I refrain from: the video and the interview. For that reason I probably couldn’t tell if I ran into someone who’s music I’ve played and loved. I’ve no idea what Sigur Ros or Damien Rice look like. I only saw a picture (not on the artwork) of Scott Matthews yesterday and for years I’d only the vaguest idea of what Becker and Fagen looked like. (thank God!)
There’s a recent exception to this: Beth Ditto from The Gossip. My favourite single of the last few months has been “Standing in the way of control.” It sounds like all records you really love; a wonderful stew of familiar component parts rounded off with a vocal to die for. Do I know what The Gossip look like? Oh yeah, baby…well I certainly know what Beth looks like. She’s all over papers that have no idea what her music sounds like but know that she’s dead trendy. I know a little more than this thanks to the BBC. Someone in the music dept leaves a few-weeks-old copy of NME on their desk which feature Beth in the buff on the front cover; oh I feel I know her so well.
I suppose that’s what I’ve always loved about the radio. You, some words and music and your imagination. The video is finally dying and it’s not before time. Bruce Springsteen famously said it was like painting a moustache on the mona lisa and he was dead right. Now music channels can only survive if they make up daft youth programmes …nothing wrong with that – Jackass was one of my favourites….but 24 hour music tv is a gonner.
I like this because I’m now old enough to see trends come and go. I’m delighted that so many predictions have been proved wrong. Video didn’t kill the radio star, bingo lost to the cinema and also the most basic form of music entertainment the live gig survives stronger than it ever was and more popular than ever.
I know from your great blogs, texts and e mails that the warm glow that draws us together round the magic of the wireless still burns away. Sometimes it’s just enough to do no more than listen.
Since there have been no witching hour stories for a while… what was your worst or most embarrassing experience of shooting a pop video?
With all due respect to her, I could probably lead a happy and fulfilling life without seeing Beth Ditto in the buff, but I don’t think I’d ever want to see the video disappear from our screens entirely. It suits some artists and styles more than others, and when done well the visuals can complement and//or enhance a song very effectively, transmuting it into a whole other experience. Some of the best of Bjork, U2, Muse and George Michael spring immediately to mind. That said, audio only is how I listen to the vast majority of my music and first and foremost it has to do something for me on this level alone.
Moreover, there’s certainly something about the radio format that has an enduring appeal for me, and especially so late at night. I’m not entirely sure how or why that is, but I think it is indeed the way it stokes the imagination, as well as the comforting vibe it offers as the night creeps in. That extra little undefinable magical quality helps too.
I was once told I had a great voice for radio, and I’m fairly certain it was meant as a complement! I’ve never tested the theory, although I am contemplating writing or co-writing an audio drama at present and the creative challenges that brings with it are, I think, far outweighed by the possiblities the format offers. Long may it reign, and for the next couple or so weeks yet it’s good to have you on the dial, Ricky.
I should also add a resounding thumbs up to The Gossip’s “Standing in the Way of Control” and alongside that an honourable mention, given you’ve played him on the show, to the video for Jose Gonzalez’s cover of “Hand on Your Heart” as an example of the merit of video. (Then again, I have a soft spot for Kylie’s orginal too — just how did her dress colour magically keep changing like that? — so you might want to take any and all of my comments here under advisory.) Both of these were introduced and then played to me over and over such that I grew to love and appreciate them in turn.
Did we not used to get the first sighting of our favourite band from seeing them on an large album sleeve, then the smaller CD booklet and now……………download.
With the download market outstripping every other media type, where are we going to catch a glimpse of the musicians.
The sad demise of the album artwork, possibly another topic?
I don’t care much for video, but feel as other bloggers have said it has it’s place (probably mid to early 80’s).
Radio is still the best place for music always will be, with all that is new being played. Without the good old tranny (not Danny LaRue) I would be lost when it comes to new music.
Long live Radio Ga Ga.
Radio Rules! And I bet that I am older than all of you! Not that old! Marconi was long gone by the time I arrived!
Worked in radio way back….well, way back. Having watched its’ popularity come and go, and participating in many changes from records and reel to reel tape all the way to automation and downloading (ask Mr. Currie about automation and then Ricky should bring in his son to show them all how to do it), and having to be your own engineeer and boardman….I still love the magic of radio.
Video has it’s place, but it is brief in comparison to the radio which can go anywhere, anytime.
Take this all with a grain of salt, children, ’cause I am streaming Late Lounge over every computer I come into contact with because I can’t get BBC Scotland on the radio!
Took a laptop on assignment with me yesterday to cover a big, and growing bigger brush fire in the desert…….alas, it was all business, the helicopter could not accommodate my addiction to BBC Scotland and Late Lounge. We tried.
Advancements in technology bring with them evolution everywhere, and for music formats will I’m sure continue to rise and fall. We can but hope radio will continue to survive the fads, and of course it’s technology itself that allows The Late Lounge to reach so far and wide, be it just down here in London or all the way across the Pond. Downloads may lose us album artwork, but videos can be downloaded to portable devices so I’m not sure that it’s just the fact that radio is so portable that ensures its abiding allure. Like I say, I think it’s somethign far less definable that ensures its abiding allure, and I’m content to leave it that way.
the witching hour
another snippet from the killin hotel.(Ricky the sands was that aspiring
nicht club on the ferry esplenade)
i also used to own the Barracuda, or the BIG FISH to many a dundonian of
this is a few years back now (99) its the depth of winter, the bars
empty,the hills are white and we are all hibernating waiting on santa
coming,when i get the call, how many rooms u have,i reply eh well loads,
the posh voice says, ill take them, there will be a number of people
arriving tonight and please bill V2 PRODUCTIONS, bla bla bla, well we
dont do invoices, we do like to operate on a strictly traditional pound
note basis but we will take credit cards if pushed, anyway night arrives
early about 3 o clock at that time of year, and the tumble down is
blowing through the high street.
to cut down on the bills i dont have many staff, 3 managers living in, a
couple of chefs and some straggler kiwis who run out of dosh about
november, anyway a BUS turns up with bodies everywhere and out pops the
most eclectic mix of humans you have ever seen, youve got to realise
that we were on shut down with no heating on , all the lights off and no
staff, in they all troop, long legged birds with mini skirts on and tiny
tops, lots of cool dudes with rastafarian hairdos,and a number of very
very large security gaurd type blokes, all braun, you know the type.
they took over the whole hotel 42 bedrooms ! and it all came to pass
that arriving later was the STEREOPHONICS and DEL AMITRI, all signed to
Virgin records and up here to film pop videos that required snow on them
thar hills.talk about demanding ! that was only the film crews, the real
celebs were just a bunch of great guys, they invited us to every days
filming and i have some fantastic pics of the stereophonics who looked
after my 2 yr old daughter for hours, one of them was called Kelly
something and he was a real charmer, the best pic i have was when they
drove an xj6 jag into loch tay, Standing watching was the local
shepherd, complete with balaclava and dungarees, standing next to a
scantily clad lap dancer, i snapped him ogling her all over and when i
showed him the pics later on in the bar,he said that he “didnae realise
that a lassies leg could be that lang ! the stereophonics ran up a huge
bar bill and the kelly one gave my missus the number plate of the jag,
AND got all the band to sign it and it is on my garage wall to this
day !, the jag was crashed through a wall and down a steep hill and into
the depths of loch tay, (with the stereophonics inside) it was the video
from a hit single,cocktails and something, anyway, the shepherd got the
last laugh coz the v2 money man paid him a grand to ensure that the car
was recovered and disposed of safely and i swear to this day its still
there, its only in 6 feet of water and i take my kids there in the
summer and tell them the story !
I have just recently sold my hotels and im relaxing now, but you know
this, i miss the craic.
Thank God for wireless!
A friend and I left Arizona to deliver a stocked emergency service van to New Orleans on Wed. at 6 p.m. My friend is a retired long haul trucker, who with her late husband, owned their own “big rig” and transported exotic automobiles for 17 years. She is 69 and knows how to handle these vehicles….MORE IMPORTANTLY………..we were able to set up the computer in this thing, it is a command center van, and picked up BBC Scotland all the way to New Orleans.
Loud and clear through Eastern Arizona and New Mexico, interference in Northwest Texas, then clear all the way to New Orleans.
Thank you Late Lounge you travel well.
i have been a huge radio fan for years.
i grew up in scotland and get my radio fix down in luton over the net and digital.
i am also a great fan of yours as you must know by now. i’ve been asking james for ages to photograph you.
anyhow i listen in and it’s great.
my biggest love affair started as young as five.
as i said we lived in scotland in fintry and no central heating. i would lie in bed in the dark and cold. i would always sneek my radio into bed and listen. i used to love the grown ups chatting though i seldom new what they were actually talking about. oh and the late night shipping forecast. blissful memories.
it has been with me in the car.
it has woke me in the morning so i would’nt be late. now in the digital age it keeps me company whilst i work away in the studio or at the computer. it was always a passport, a window to the world i could look through.
as for videos what can i say. r.i.p
about time. i often thought videos weakend the artist and at times degraded the integrity of an artist or band. seldom did the video ever represent or do justice to the song. i blame the videographers and the channels.
thankfully with the internet and blogs etc. i think the singles market will eventually die.
now there is a thing i never understood.
what made a single was it’s air play.
regardless of the things that were done to try and promote it. videos etc
it still boiled down too wither or not it got the airplay. the biggest dictator of that being radio one. comercial stations having similar copycat playlists to radio 1 to try and pick up a share of the listeners.
so radio1 was a powerful tool more often than not miss used. i have never been a fan of radio1.
one other point i would love to ask who decides
a record release on an album.
is it producer label manager or artist.
i am surprised even an artist like yourself have missed a few gems.
take hippy chick. what a sucsessful single that would have been.