Thursday, 16 September 2010

and I love the PRS cheques that you bring*

image via

I'm currently involved in the setting up and organising of a book festival in the village. On the whole it's been an interesting and rewarding process, though the committee structure and the two-and-a-half-hour meetings are beginning to grate now.

We've got some great stuff happening. The most eagerly anticipated - by me at any rate - is certainly our "Evening of Uisge Beatha" featuring the oft-mentioned (on this blog) Tom Morton presenting his Malt & Barley revue, a whisky tasting with an Islay, Speyside and a Lowland malt and a showing of the 1949 classic "Whisky Galore!"

Having finished all of Ian Rankin's books (obviously those would be the ones he's written, I've not been and ransacked his shelves or anything) some weeks ago now I've recently discovered the joys of a further two Caledonian crime writers: book festival guests Allan Guthrie and Stuart MacBride and they're both appearing at the festival, reading and leading a writers workshop so that's all to the good...

I've landed (albeit at my own suggestion) what - for me - is the plum job: choosing the music to play in the background. Great stuff. Regular visitors to the blog and my Twitter feed will be aware of my fairly catholic tastes but, as a former hospital radio presenter, I know that personal proclivities must oft be subserviant to the tastes of the people. Why else would self respecting DJ's play Michael Buble?

So it is that I'm tasked with setting the mood, creating - if you will - a suitably literary ambience. I'm thinking that The Vaselines "Rory Ride Me Raw" might not quite set the right tone.

Obviously the sweary words are out, which kind of puts half my record collection in the Family Fortunes "uhh uhh" bin. But I'll try to be as obscure as possible.

At hospital radio (and when I'm playing stuff in the house for one of our Deuchars IPA fuelled dancing about sessions) I like to try to get from song to song as subtly as possible - not in a Fatboy Slim mixing style or in an obviously linked way like Maconie&Radcliffe's Chain. Though I do love how the Chain can get you from, say, Fools Gold by the Stone Roses to California Girls by Dave Lee Roth.

Gold-Aztecs were big on it-Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera brilliantly covered Van Halen's Jump on an early EP-Dave Lee Roth sang the original version, since you asked...

I digress, as is often the way.

Yeah, getting from song to song subtly isn't necessarily of the utmost importance here. No; what I'm looking for is more of a vibe - a sense that all of the songs are right and that it doesn't matter where in the sequence of songs you come in, or indeed zone out.

That philosophy is the kind that might get me from, say Thirteen by Big Star to Nina Simone covering Leonard Cohen's Suzanne: two tracks and artists with, apparently, little in common but on closer inspection both carrying the same languid, leisurely, thoughtful delivery which - I hope - will mark the whole "set" at the book festival.

I, for one, am looking forward to the challenge. Now, how do I segue into NWA's F*** Tha' Police...?

*The Beautiful South, Song for Whoever

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