Saturday, 19 January 2008

Mining for Gold

I stayed up to listen to Helen McCookerybook live on Resonance FM's 'Mining for Gold'. It went on long past my bedtime and then I dreamt of sheds, so today I feel wrecked, but it was worth it. The presenter, whose name escaped me, had a splendidly 1970s persona, giving it a lot of reverent 'Wows' after performances, like Bob Harris on Whistle Test. I don't think it can have been Bob though, unless he has a voice portrait in the attic in an advanced state of decay.

Helen sang a number of songs, familiar and unfamiliar, and was marvellously assured for a live performance on air. Even talking to friends over dinner I often have to do a retake. It drove home what a professional and subtle performer she is.

Also performing was a poet, Louise Levi. She played, amongst other things, a serangi. At least, I think that's what she said. That's a sort of Afghan lute, and made a 'Ravi Shankar meets the High Level Ranters' noise. Like a cello with a streptococcal infection, crossed with Northumbrian pipes.

The third guest was another singer/songwriter, Bonelli. This might have been the Federico Bonelli who dances with the Royal Ballet, but then again it might not. I am a stranger in the world of avant garde acoustic folk rock. His set was good, although I thought at one point he cheated by welding two songs together, which (as they were taking turns to do their pieces) ought to break the live wireless performers' code of conduct.

At intervals young Bob Harris interposed recorded tracks which bore no relation to the live content and got the polarised twin spermatozoa on Windows Media Player wildly overexcited, chasing spiralling fractal eggs in a kaleidoscopic frenzy. At times he was almost carried away in his enthusiasm. I think I heard him say, possibly after playing 'Stranded'; 'Probably the best record ever made'. Which it obviously isn't although we're all entitled to our opinions. He wound up saying something like:

"That was the Finnish band Tarvasjokiskogfunken from 1971, recently re-released by Thieving Bandicoot in a ludicrously small edition of 50. I'll play you out with some electronic cosmo-grunt from Two Bit Guinea and the Telstars. And if that sounds fun to you, get down to Stoke Newington for 26th January..."

1 comment:

  1. Well, better to listen to Helen McCookerybook than mining gold these days, especially in SA. Powercuts and load-shedding is the norm in our mines nowadays and I think we need more light-shedding in this very dark-dark hour...