Saturday, 23 July 2011

Reeling in the Years: Interviewing Bob Marley

In 1978 I interviewed Bob Marley. Yup, the Bob Marley. Face to face. Now, before Marley fans get too excited, I must state here and now that it really wasn’t a great piece of work. I did it backstage: never my favourite place to conduct an interview. Backstage is a working area, definitely not DJ territory.  And Marley was… somewhere else. He really didn’t have that much to say to an impressionable Brit rock jock. Island Records were pumping up the Bob Marley mystique as hard as they could. That meant preposterous backstage faffery and ego-trips between promoter, pr people, tour managers, jocks and journos. I was really quite nervous, being a callow young honky and all, and Marley’s security was, shall we say, forbidding.

Job done and interview broadcast, I forgot all about it. For decades. Until yesterday, when I was contacted by a film company who wanted to use some of the material. How’s that for something echoing down the years and smacking you in the face?

I think this is a fascinating turn of affairs. There’s a whole bunch of things you can draw from this, none of them are about me and my interview.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

In the Treehouse with Paul Murphy and friends

A documentary  about the Songwriter's Cafe, a Birmingham institution

Songwriters Cafe 1 hr version part 1 by Radio To Go

Two files: a two-part documentary. This one's on Soundcloud, the other, after the jump, is on MixCloud (I'm running short of space). I try to tell the story of a 2011 summer evening at Paul Murphy's Songwriter's Cafe. Paul organises this lovely event most weeks during the summer months, in his treehouse venue in South Birmingham. It is a platform for the oft-neglected art of the singer-songwriter. Performers are allowed to flourish and develop in front of a warm and receptive audience. I always feel wholly privileged to be at one of these events. And since Paul, pictured above (thank you, Richard Shakespeare), asked me to get involved, adding short interviews to his web feed - the event is streamed live at and - I thought I should try to tell a slightly more detailed story.