Once upon a time, when Lena Friesen (the Yang to Marcello Carlin’s Yin at Then Play Long) included me on a #FF one Friday) she said “Somebody give that man a radio show” and that planted a seed in my mind. Because everyone secretly dreams of being a DJ, playing their coolest records, being praised for helping people discover new music. Or in a slightly less big headed way they dream of just turning people on to music.
It took a little while to sort out but after some experimentation with my son’s tablet, some freeware studio software and lots of talking into my phone (it turns out my phone has a better microphone than the tablet, so all my links are recorded onto the phone then extracted as wav files…oh sorry am I boring you?) the first podcast of Goldfish Radio was ready by the start of July. It seemed to go well so I’ve done a few more since and they also have been well received. But I’ve only promoted them on Twitter, not linking them to the blog itself. Now it’s time to change that so there’s a dedicated page now on Goldfish about Goldfish Radio. Well you know that because you’re reading it, aren’t you?
So, here are links to the six shows of Goldfish Radio and a little information about each one
Show #1 was an experiment to see if I could create a podcast off a tablet and a phone. I spent some time trying to find songs which worked well together – whether they were linked by a theme like a ticking clock or metronome, or a song ending with a sitar fading into a song starting a tabla. It was just a bit of fun, and it seemed to work. I tried a set format – start with an album opener, close with an album closer, do ‘brackets’ of three songs in one go, and see what happens. It worked. Songs on Show #1 include “Now is now” by Band Of Susans, “See Red” by Eyeless In Gaza, “(Please) Lose yourself in me” by My Bloody Valentine and of course “Another side to Mrs Quill” by Yeah Yeah Noh, the song which gave A Goldfish Called Regret its name.
Second verse, same as the first – as Herman’s Hermits once sang. More of the same, similar format to the first show. Some highlights for me included “Come and play in the milky night” by Stereolab merging into “Ping Pong”, an old song from 1961 showcasing Stereo Action, plus one of my favourite songs by Scott 4 (still haven’t finished the post on them yet…) Deep cuts, obscurities and the occasional pop song – this time I included some categories so it reached the Mixcloud charts..
“Yeah yeah, all very clever but what about pop music huh?” So said the little voice in my head when I put together #2 so I decided #3 would be a Singles Special. Not all the songs would be pop, but they would all be singles. So bye bye format of album opener to start etc (and advert in the middle – shame!) but hello to populism, of a kind. “Eight miles highb by Husker Du divided opinion, but generally listeners loved it. A couple of Factory and Sarah Records sweetened the mix, but plenty to enjoy. Psych, post-punk, indie and more. A longer show than previous ones.
More often than not I can be found tweeting “But the b-side is better”, particularly towards @Indieover40, so I decided to theme show #4 on the b-sides or EP tracks I love. The Pretty Things manage to appear in two consecutive shows, which I hadn’t noticed until now. Again the usual mix of indie, psych and electronica and the mood darkening and slowing down towards the end, just so I could include “All that love and maths can do” by The Durutti Column.
A show I had planned for a while, I thought this would be esoteric and weird but hell no it was just more music, just without words. The Simple Minds / Seefeel / Field Mice mix was a recreation of a live mix I had committed to a mix tape twenty years previously. A wider brief than usual, throwing in Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Vince Guaraldi Trio and more but still much loved. Ideal listening for writing, so I’m told.
This show concentrated on a style of music I love – crunchy guitars, harmonies and timeless melodies. Covering everything from the sixties to the present day, this was an absolute pleasure to put together and is probably my favourite of the six podcasts. Thanks are due.to Wally at The Beautiful Music and Ray at Country Mile for the Dot Dash and Burning Ferns records which added greatly.to the mix. And it’s 78 minutes long, so it would fit on a CD. As long as you didn’t mind me drivelling on between songs.
Typically, the Goldfish Radio Summer Special arrived in September, just a little too late. The theme for this show was songs which reminded me of Summers past – from 1983 to 1991. Highlights for this show include "Triangle" by Quando Quango (one of my favourite songs ever), "Suzanne" by Moose (what a song!) and, y'know… everything else.
After Summer comes Autumn, so this was a soundtrack for shorter days and darker nights, watching the leaves turn brown and picking up conkers. Or is that just me? So slightly melancholy and mid tempo and minor chord abound. A favourite show of mine, including “Harvest time” by The Clientele, “Laughing” by David Crosby and “This is a low” by Blur. That gives you an idea of how it will go. Nice.
And then I thought I would do a show about shoegazing….
This show looks at the roots of shoegazing and dream pop, from the Jesus and Mary Chain to Cocteau Twins and AR Kane, through My Bloody Valentine and the birth of the shoegazing scene – so it covers the years 1985 to 1990 with early songs by Lush, Pale Saints and Chapterhouse. Sure there’s a few surprises in there, but it gives an idea of how the genre progressed. At this point it looked like there might be one more show on shoegazing. How wrong was I?
Of course it wasn’t just shoegazing in 1991, but this was the high point of the genre, albums and EPs by Moose, Slowdive, MBV, Chapterhouse and more. Over two hours of music in this one, taking the year in chronological order so it progresses nicely. Lots of surprises, lots of feedback and noise. A popular show.
More shoegazing? Yes more shoegazing. Here the genre goes global, including bands from the US (Medicine, Swirlies, Lorelei), Australia (Afterglow, Autohaze) and the Czech Republic (Ecstasy of St Theresa). Meanwhile shoegazing goes top 10 with Ride, bands go off in great directions like Moose and Slowdive and generally the scene runs out of steam. Enough bloody shoegazing.
A return to the original idea of Goldfish Radio being a bunch of songs I like. There’s a few recent discoveries like The Feelies and Fjord Rowboat, a track from the marvellous new album by The Autumn Stones and some pop and psychedelia and indie and just a bunch of cool sounds.
To celebrate the launch of “Popkiss”, Michael White’s book on the Bristol indie label Sarah Records, plus “My Secret World” being issued on DVD, here’s over two and a half hours of Sarah Records, with me chatting too. A very popular show, actually reaching #1 in the Mixcloud Indie Pop charts! ! Wow! All your Sarah favourites are here – The Sea Urchins, The Field Mice, The Orchids and more.
A personal journey through the record collection of my parents, so all songs I grew up with – Elvis, Beatles, Andy Williams, Steeleye Span, Colin Blunstone…. 60s pop, 50s rock’n’roll, 70s singer songwriters – it’s my past in two hours. Probably more enjoyable for me than you.
A concept show – songs with either “water” or “rain” in the title. A lot of fun to put together and lots of cracking tunes. The Everly Brothers make a second appearance with “Crying in the rain”, New Musik provide the title track and there’s a promise of a second water related show to come – I postponed it due to nationwide flooding in the Autumn of 2015. It will happen soon.
Celebrating the music of 1985, which was thirty years ago when I created it. Imagine a Festive Fifty for 1985 only (slightly) more varied. I’d actually forgotten this one so the track listing is interesting – The Everly Brothers appear again and there’s a few surprises but mainly this is the music that seeped out of my bedroom door as a stroppy sixteen year old who thought Peel was God.
The first of two shows devoted to seventies music, so lots of Krautrock and punk and Eno and odd stuff. My favourite part is “Novelty” by Joy Division merging into “Mystery Song” by Status Quo. This went down so well I did another one..
Subtitled “In Bod We Trust” because there’s a section of the music from Bod in the middle of the show. I think I prefer this 70s show, more of the same but even more so. I know, I’m not really selling these very well, am I?
An interesting one, this. I concentrate on the number three, so there’s three songs by some artists, three songs on Creation Records, three songs by trios, songs from albums with 3 in the title. I like this one…. I must admit that once I’ve done these shows I tend to forget them so looking back on them is a bit of a surprise… “Oh I included that Julian Cope song?”
So I bought an exercise bike and wanted a good mix of uptempo music to listen to while I worked off the pounds. A nice one, lots of variety, a mix of styles and eras right up to the present day (sort of). Doesn’t include the Boards Of Canada song of the same title.
An interesting thought – making a radio show from songs that are less than two minutes. Some are really short too. So I pack 53 songs into 90 minutes. Includes all kinds of things, some adverts, some jokes and too many songs by Wire for its own good – nobody noticed that, did they? And even better, I don’t speak much.
Following on from the 70s show, this is an 80s show – post punk, disco, techno, acid house, Factory and Creation Records, plus some favourites from 1983, the greatest year for pop. Only kidding, slightly. There will be another 80s show soon.
There’s a few more shows in the pipeline – The A To Z of Goldfish (27 songs, including a band whose name starts with a number), a show choosing music from my Toppermost articles, a collaborative effort with David Shaw called “Music For Librarians” and the second water show. “And when are you going to do that connections show?” asks my father… it will happen eventually. Keep your eyes peeled. Or follow the Goldfish Radio Twitter account here
Thanks to everyone who has listened and commented and shared – especially Esther and Josh and Adam and Steve who have been super supportive throughout the shows. Special thanks also to Darren Riley for drawing the goldfish avatar for me – it’s beautiful!