26 December 2015

26 December 2015

A new year blog, well almost. On December 15th, I went on Pete Paphides show on Soho Radio. http://www.sohoradiolondon.com/member/pete-paphides This is a fabulous little outfit, next door to the Soho Primary School on Great Windmill Street. We almost sent our son, Theo, to that school but the Riding House Street one was just around the corner. It would have been a great place for him to learn Mandarin at a young age as it caters very much to Chinatown and many of the kids have Chinese parents. The radio station is in a tiny room behind an even tinier café: you reach it by ducking under the counter. There’s just room for the DJ or presenter at the desk, a producer and two guests. I love free form radio, ever since I first went to the States and heard the late night FM stations there, where the presenters could play anything they liked, take phone calls and have friends in as guests.

I was in Berkeley, California, in 1971, at Fantasy Records, finishing the mastering of a ten-volume album box set of the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, featuring the best recording I could find of each of his published poems (it was never released though many of the selections appeared on a later CD box set). I took over my friend Mike Aldridge’s late night show on KPFA-FM and used it as a way of getting good recordings of some of the poems that Allen Ginsberg had not previously read to an audience, so for three or four nights running Allen was the main guest. I liked the fact that I could continue as late as I liked, and when I felt like going home, all I had to do was call the guy at the transmitter and tell him to close down, turn off the Pultec compressor that was used to punch the signal out over the Bay, and lock up, after first encouraging the listeners – if there still were any – to listen to a few minutes of radio static and imagine how far it had travelled – some of it, at least, from the stars – to reach us.

I was at Soho Radio to promote my latest book, The Zapple Diaries, but our conversation was not confined to that, in fact it ranged all over the place, the Beatles, the sixties, America, psychedelic music and so on. It was a fun hour. I hope to do it again soon.

The 23rd was goose day, time to pick up the bird from the man from Layer-Marney who drove his van up to town and parked in the same position in the Marylebone car park where he usually has his stall on Sunday mornings. It was delicious, with plenty left over for another meal and also to make rillettes which are usually made with duck or pork but are even better made from goose.

2016 looms. What’s to look forward to? The Pompidou Beat Generation show promises to be good next summer, as does the V&A counter-culture show, also for the summer. Meantime happy new year to one and all.

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