I know I promised that I wouldn’t pester you again until 2013, but in wishing you all the best and winding up my affairs until the close of the year, I completely forgot to mention one final appearance on the national media, namely this week’s edition of Radio 3’s ‘Between The Ears’, Saturday 29/12 at 21.15, looking back one final time at my adoptive home until last summer, Bush House.
I’m rather proud to reveal it’s my second visit to this hallowed channel in the space of a couple of months, as a recent edition of highly-regarded alternative music programme Late Junction very kindly broadcast an entire side of ‘Ghosts of Bush’! How could I have neglected to mention this before now? I really must hire a publicist in the new year. In the meantime, here’s the programme information that I’ve lazily copied and pasted from the Radio 3 website in order to bulk out this post:
Bush House, once the buzzing home of the BBC World Service, now stands empty and silent, stripped of fixtures and fittings. Shortly before the building was handed back to its landlords, Between the Ears invited former Bush House broadcasters to revisit their offices and studios, for a final glimpse at significant spaces in their lives.
Yuri Goligorsky, formerly of the Russian Service, returns to the site of the Bush House dormitory, where night-shift presenters were offered a bed – although Yuri found the snoring unbearable. He also remembers one of the landmark programmes he produced – a phone-in with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, broadcast live to the Soviet Union.
Hamid Ismailov takes one last look at the small office where he was once the first and – at that time – only Uzbek in the building, and Michael Goldfarb recalls the unique sound-world of the building, with its many languages, signature tunes, and hardened smokers.
Between the Ears also hears Bush House memories from correspondent Mark Tully, Irini Roumboglou of the Greek Service, which was closed in 2005, and Najiba Kasraee, once of the Pashto Service. Bush House studio manager Robin [The Fog] reveals how he captured and mixed the sounds of the building’s marble stairwells, and composer and musician Matthew Herbert, now director of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, reflects on Bush’s unique sound world – and why it’s vital to record it.
The bounder! Once again I am pipped to the post by that dastardly Mr. Herbert! I might actually have to start referring to him as my ARCH-NEMESIS. Particularly as that whole Today Programme Incident back in the autumn proved to be the most incredible blessing in disguise. I must say, though, I do think I’m slightly more at an advantage to discuss the ‘sound world’ of Bush, having spent six months preserving it (rather than 10 minutes – Ooh, I’m a bitch)!
As for my own contribution, I was interviewed for the programme and put a nice high-quality WAV file of the Ghost Of Bush album at the disposal or producer John Goudie; but I have no idea how much or how little of either actually made the final cut.
Why not tune in here on Saturday 29th at 21.15 to find out?
Those of you wondering why Mr. Chris Weaver and I were forced to cancel our recently-mooted ‘Ghosts Of Bush Live’ extravaganza please take note:
During four days of frenetic scrubbing and spooling, our equipment came to the attention of Chris’ cat ‘Missy’, who appears to consider herself something of an expert in tape manipulation. Sadly, even her finest efforts (documented above) were not enough to get the machines match-fit in time for our planned show on the 21st, and so to our great regret we were forced to cancel and spend several hours sulking. I mean, honestly: of the eleven reel-to-reels we had managed to accumulate, including two from Bush House; not a single machine was found to be in a state coherent enough to guarantee a decent performance. What are the chances of that, I wonder? The four that simply refused to work from the outset were at least reliably consistent in that fact, but the remainder teasingly kept us guessing throughout with an annoying game of try-and-guess-if-we’re-still-working-cat-and-mouse (no pun intended). Thoroughly tiresome. However, a spot of internet trawling has turned up a chap somewhere in Sussex who reputedly services elderly machines while demonstrating their mechanics and serving tea, which certainly sounds like my idea of a day out. Let’s hope he can be of some assistance before our next proposed gig in February. Fingers and paws crossed…
On a more definitive note I can confirm that the third pressing of ‘The Ghosts Of Bush’ is now available and looking better than ever, with a spine sleeve and gorgeously appropriate white vinyl, the colour of ghosts, snow and all things wintry. It’s available now from Boomkat.com and indeed has made their much-admired end-of-year charts and their best-sellers list! I’m also flattered to reveal they’ve asked me to supply an end-of-year chart of my own. 2012 having being such an amazing year for music (though not, it must be said, for the universe at large), I was delighted to oblige and you can peruse my top ten here. It was a real effort to compile and I was forced to leave a lot of great records out, but I can assure you that everything here is an instant classic. And I promise I didn’t just put Chips For The Poor in at number two because I remixed them, although that was one of the more pleasurable activities I engaged in over the past twelve months.
Anyway, I’m writing this up north ensconced in the bosom of the family pile and using an increasingly temperamental internet connection, so this will probably be my last post of the year, and before we all give ourselves up to excessive seasonal festivity I wanted to thank you all so much for the huge amount of support I’ve received in 2012, from crate-diggers, sound fanatics, DJs, writers and bloggers as well as friends new and old. It’s been an embarrassment of riches and I’d like to wish every single man-jack of you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully see you for more fun and games in 2013, where I’m looking forward to unleashing a recently-completed new series for Resonance FM, and a second Howlround album, provided the cat can get our spools up and running in time. Get cracking, Missy….
In the recent dramatic whirlwind of trips to Brighton, clandestine visits to the bowels of the British Library, finishing my new series for Resonance FM (coming soon) and of course my current day job of pretending to be a tree, teapot or set of creaking bedsprings at the behest of Radio 4; I totally forgot to mention the very exciting development in this month’s Record Collector magazine:
A very complimentary review by Mark Brend, who praises the album’s ‘aural ectoplasm’ and awards it FOUR STARS! That’s one more than Flying Lotus and two more than Mick Hucknall! An accolade that, according to the other reviews in the issue puts me on an equal footing for the first and quite possibly final time with such luminaries as 10cc and Cradle of Filth. Praise indeed.
Mark also has a new book out ‘The Sound Of Tomorrow: How Electronic Music Was Smuggled Into The Mainstream’, recently published by Bloomsbury. Currently essential bedtime reading here at Foggy Mansions, I highly recommend you click here and get your order in. Actually, finish reading this bit first. Then click.
I should also say a huge thank you to Joseph Stannard, Kemper Norton and Silver Pyre for making last week’s Outer Church event in Brighton such a great night. I have taken the liberty of uploading my rustic and bucolic DJ set, which has been gaining some admiring glances from the late-comers, the stragglers and of course those poor fools who neglected to drop everything else and jump on a train:
In other news, my sources tell me that the third and quite possibly final pressing of ‘The Ghosts Of Bush‘ is almost upon us – I’m just waiting for the delivery. All being well, those of you who blinked while the first two pressings went on sale will be able to get a special delivery in time for the festive season and therefore enjoy a white Christmas, that being the colour of this edition’s vinyl. Almost as if I planned it. Which of course I didn’t.
I can also confirm that plans are currently afoot for a live ‘Ghosts’ performance during the festive season, in collaboration with Resonance FM’s Chris Weaver. For those of you who might be tempted to enquire how the bloody hell that’s going to work, the simple answer is: ‘At this stage I have absolutely no idea’. All I can tell you is that I spent most of this weekend locked in a studio in Eltham surrounded by a number of tape machines in varying states of decay, including one particular unit that, in a decidedly spooky twist, started running entirely by itself and then caught started smoking. Not to mention the tumultuous death of Isaac Newton. Very sad, and really very confusing…
…And the really crazy thing is that I found an ancient apple core trapped in the poor machine’s spools. What a nightmare of symbolism. Perhaps someone’s trying to tell me that it’s time to knock all this ghostly tape action on the head?
Well, apologies to the spirit world, but I have a deadline to meet. Though I realise that’s a poor choice of words…