Word In Your Ear

Light Entertainment for Dark Times

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  • 648. Pop football chants, Reg ‘Reg’ Snipton sings Joni Mitchell & the tale of John Lennon’s watch

    The two-man tandem of curiosity wobbles its way down the rock and roll cyclepath pausing here to admire the view … … “We’re captive on the carousel of TIME-AH!!”: tuneless Northern club singer Reg “Reg” Snipton performs Ver Greats. … is going to gigs alone becoming a thing? ... why Phil Oakey was a better musician than any of ELP. … Seven Nation Army in football stadiums - and does Jack White make any money from it? … what rock stars spend their fortunes on. … people who are ‘jewellery-blind’ (eg D Hepworth). … the scariest intention a musician can announce.   … Dutch fans dancing. … the poignancy of all John Lennon’s possessions. … how to wreck the Great American Songbook (may involve xylophone solo). … from the Euros to a trip on the tube: how selfies have invaded our space. … the strange, unfinished story of John Lennon’s Patek, “the El Dorado of lost watches”. … you’re never alone with an iPhone. … and does virtuoso musicianship ruin pop music, asks birthday guest Guy Constant? (Answer: yes).Find out more about how you can help us to keep the conversation going:

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  • 647. Only Clare Grogan knows how it feels to burst onstage from a giant birthday cake

    Clare Grogan, a regular on our podcasts and rarely off the cover when we were at Smash Hits, is on tour again with Altered Images and playing festivals in the summer – indeed her fabulous description of the bus ferrying her, Midge Ure, Nik Kershaw, Kim Wilde and Living in A Box to the stage at Rewind sounds like an old Smash Hits cartoon come to life. As she points out, “the ‘80s revival has gone on longer than the decade itself.” We don’t know anyone who enjoys and appreciates being a pop star more and talk here about the first gigs she ever went to and played herself, which involves … … what she wore (aged 13) to see the Bay City Rollers at the Glasgow Apollo (includes “cork platform clogs”). … winning the Alternative school beauty pageant dressed as Debbie Harry in a bin bag. … her sister Margaret’s re-enactments of David Bowie, Leo Sayer and Roxy Music. … why the furniture at the Middlesbrough Rock Garden was screwed to the floor. … memories of 2-Tone, the Banshees, Madness, the Stranglers and the Blockheads. … the riot at a Scottish festival when they ran out of alcohol. … violence at early ‘80s gigs when your only security was “Ginge the Roadie”. … Echo & the Bunnymen and the Psychedelic Furs at the Bungalow Bar in Paisley. … do you focus on the people in the crowd who are enjoying it or the ones that need winning over? … horizontal rain when wearing a ballet dress and playing to “a sea of cagoules”. … the best way to tell the audience you’re about to play a new song. … David Hepworth’s Altered Images album review in Smash Hits: ouch! … and her daughter watching old Altered Images clips on YouTube.  ---------------- Altered Images autumn tour dates and tickets here: out more about how you can help us keep the conversation going:
  • 646. The wit and charisma of Kate Bush by Graeme Thomson: going too far makes you what you are

    Graeme is an old friend of the podcast. We’ve talked to him in the past about his books on Phil Lynott and John Martyn. ‘Under The Ivy: the Life And Music of Kate Bush’ first appeared in 2010, and was revised in 2015 after her Before the Dawn concerts and it’s now been updated again as, despite no new music or public appearances, her worldwide reputation has rocketed through the roof. We look back here at various key points in the story including ...   … why the way she made records was ahead of its time. … the ‘70s footage and recordings that were “supressed”. … the “reclusive” decade and how the press filled the vacuum. … divinely daft and humorous TV appearances eg with Delia Smith: “Waldorf Salad – that’s got waldorfs in it!” … her bohemian childhood and the powerful influence of male counterparts, particularly eldest brother and erotic poet John Carder Bush. … the unconventional Smash Hits interview of 1981. … the ‘Before the Dawn’ concerts and the reason she staged them. … her seven-year stand-off with Top Of The Pops. … her ‘70s rock group – the KT Bush Band (still going!) – and the songs they played eg The Stealer by Free, Brooklyn by Steely Dan, Shame Shame Shame by Johnny Winter. … Danny Baker’s NME review – “nothing she writes about matters”. … Pamela Stephenson’s vicious pastiche and Alan Partridge’s part in her comeback. ... Talk Talk, Blackadder, Monty Python, Powell & Pressburger, Oscar Wilde, Celtic folk, the Pre-Raphaelites and other early influences. … and the advantage of never being cool. Order 'Under The Ivy' here … out more about how you can help us keep the conversation going:
  • 645. For the love of Françoise Hardy, Ben Sidran and the TV comedy Twenty Twelve

    Among the logs tossed on the conversational bonfire this week to combat mid-June’s British winter you’ll find …… ‘I Managed Van Morrison’ and other films screaming to be made. … how it feels to watch someone play from the best seat in the house.… Françoise Hardy, her unsmiling photos and legions of besotted male admirers (ie us and everyone else). … the time she met Dylan and Nick Drake. … Juliette Greco, Edith Piaf and the handful of French stars who made it across the Channel.… the joy of small venues: “the bigger the gig, the smaller a component of the experience the actual performance is”. … Elvis Costello’s photographic memory. … Maria Muldaur with Earl Palmer and Amos Garrett. … why Twenty Twelve says more about British life than any other TV show. ... the terrible jokes of Ronnie Scott.… “Kate Bush grew up in a world without sarcasm.” … Siobhan Sharpe, Bertie Wooster, the Artful Dodger, Basil Fawlty, Edina & Patsy and other deathless British fictional stereotypes. … plus birthday guest Paul Thompson and books tracking down people who’ve played with Dexys and Dylan. And who should be next – Hawkwind, Van Morrison?Find out more about how to help us keep the conversation going:
  • 644. Stewart Lee knows the rigours of ‘animal costume work’ and why great comedy is about shock

    Stewart Lee – beloved writer, columnist and stand-up - was on the podcast in 2022 talking about the first records he bought, immensely funny and fascinating, and we’ve been praying for an excuse to get him back since. And it’s here! - he’s on tour again and his ‘Basic Lee’ show is on Sky/Now TV on July 20. This covers his first memories of live entertainment - in the audience and as a performer – and the people who influenced him and stops off at the following stations … … why the Wombles were just like Crass. … how he writes and tests new material. … why Ted Chippington inspired his stand-up career. … television comedy is now “two-screen TV” as the viewer’s always watching something else at the same time. … how Lockdown made audiences forget how to behave. … “Comedian In Bum Phone Fury”: how he stopped people filming his gigs. … deliberately using negative reaction shots in his TV edits.   … improvisation in music and comedy and why every night should be unique. … the tense protocol of comedians at other comedians’ gigs. … Mark E Smith doing things “out of necessity irrespective of how they were received” and his reaction to seeing Stewart in his audience. … why festival crowds are a challenge. … the Drifters, the Applejacks and Napalm Death and how they are related. … the music playing when his son was born. … arriving in full early Dexys rig - donkey jacket, woolly hat - to find they were now the “raggle-taggle gypsies”. … the sole performance of Peter Richardson’s Mexican bandit act. … Daniel Kitson, “the world’s greatest living stand-up”. … plus the Nightingales, Chris Spedding, Clem Cattini, Kirk Brandon, the Bevis Frond, Geddy Lee, Throbbing Gristle and Brighton Psych Fest’s Secluded Bronte – “is it music or are they just moving furniture around?”------------ All information about Stewart Lee tour dates here … ‘Basic Lee’ is on Sky/Now TV on July 20.Find out more about how to help us keep the conversation going:
  • 643. How Springsteen went “six deep”, fictional rock hacks and who’s more conservative than Liam Gallagher?

    You’ll always find us in the kitchen at parties, near the hoppy summer ale and sausage rolls and, and this week discussing … … he hasn't changed his look or sound for 30 years: is there a more conservative concept than Liam Gallagher? And how he became the one-man Oasis. … the eye-watering sum Kevin Hart made from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. … Loudermilk, Rob Gordon in High Fidelity and other Rock Snob stereotypes in fiction - “I’m a Rock Snob? It comes with the territory being right!” And how rock critics are always cast as cynical, joyless curmudgeons.  … why Courteney Cox was chosen for the Dancing In The Dark video and how Springsteen turned live performance into spectacle. … the diplomatic skills of A&R men in pursuit of hit singles. … why Born In The USA was a masterclass in branding. … the Word in Your Ear podcast and Taylor Swift, both up and running since 2006! … plus Abba, Peter ‘King Mod’ Meaden, Jon Savage’s book on LGBTQ pop culture, Liam Gallagher’s hair and Springsteen’s dancing lessons. Great clip of Steve Harley on Australian TV sent by listener Brian Nankervis … out how to help us keep the conversation going:
  • 642. Jon Savage - Dusty’s wig, Bowie’s bombshell and how gay pop culture changed music

    “I thought Dave Davies of the Kinks was a girl. When I discovered he was a boy, that’s when I got interested.” Jon’s an old friend of the podcast and the author of some highly regarded and influential books about pop and its repercussions, ‘England’s Dreaming’ and ‘1966: the Year The Decade Exploded’ among them. His latest is ‘The Secret Public: How LGBTQ Performers Shaped Popular Culture 1955-1979’ which looks at five particular moments and the pivotal people in the mix at the time. We couldn’t recommend it more highly and cover seven decades in this conversation, stopping off at … … how “homosexuality was a career-killer” until Bowie’s spectacular Melody Maker interview in 1972. … new male identities - Valentino, Nureyev, Sinatra and the “subversive” stage act of Johnnie Ray. … does pop drive change or reflect it? … Andrew Loog Oldham, Kit Lambert, Simon Napier-Bell and the supposed “gay managers mafia” and how Oldham used camp as a weapon. … Dusty Springfield and the Gateway Club. … how Brian Epstein invented a new type of manager. ... Andy Warhol at the Factory, pop art, the launch of the Velvet Underground and his jukebox time-capsule of ‘60s gay pop taste. … was Tom Robinson the first out gay British pop star? … Mary Whitehouse v the Gay Times. … the Clash (“hurt, vulnerable boys”), Siouxsie, Poly Styrene, the Slits, Vic Godard and punk’s other new stage identities. Order ‘the Secret Public’ here … … and Jon’s 2-CD soundtrack here … out more about how you can help us to keep the conversation going: