One Song: For love is strong as death

Years ago at this time of year we would vote between us for our favourite things. We being me, Sarah and my daughter Clare. Looking back on the year nearly gone we’d remember and vote on various categories like our “shop of the year, best film, top book and one song.” And I was particularly …

All Things Are Quite Silent: Anna Lapwood

It begins with a low hum, no words and a whooshing sound like a wind from somewhere, through leaves in a forest perhaps. Before the choirs fully enter for an hour of music that has charmed my whole day, since Elizabeth Alker played some of it on the early Saturday morning programme that’s always one …

Since the Late Days of March

Since the late days of March to this early OctoberWe have sat here, you and I listening to Elizabeth Alker, on Saturday mornings,Play her Saturday sounds, the known and unknown.And even once sending her the rain on our polytunnel,That sound of the lockdown, one Saturday morning.Elizabeth Alker playing some Erland Cooper,Vivaldi, Anna Meredith and so …

We’re so easily called away: Appreciating Ram

When Paul and Linda McCartney’s ‘Ram’ album came out in May 1971 I was seventeen years old and had hardly any money. But my Saturday job in a supermarket meant I’d have just enough to get the bus to town and go up to Probe Records in Clarence Street to buy it the morning it …

The Sounds That Heaven Makes: Music to Write By

Making up playlists while listening to BBC Radio 3. For nearly all of my days I’ve loved music, virtually all music. Vast amounts of it have defined whole periods of my life. After the obvious Beatles days of growing up there was Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue to Héjira’ period, succeeded by David Bowie’s ‘Berlin Trilogy’ then …

My Little Richard Moment

Here in May 2020 we’ve had the news that Little Richard has just died. And in grieving him and commemorating his importance many have mentioned John Lennon’s “I couldn’t even speak” memory of the drama of first hearing him. Compiling my own ‘without whom’ list of his musical descendants brought me very quickly to Prince, …