Saturday, 27 August 2011

Radcliffe and Maconie

As you know I am an avid Radio 2 fan.  I listen on and off all day, but my particular favourite time has been the mid evening slot, which was taken by Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie for 4 years. 



I loved their intellectual blokish style.  I loved the music they played and their northern accents!  They are both incredibly knowledgeable about music, so I loved all their anecdotes.  I used to listen to them between 8 and 9pm while in my craft room, usually scrapbooking. Sadly they have relocated to an afternoon slot at BBC 6 Music, which is a digital station and not so easy for me to listen to as I only have a cheap old digital radio and I can’t seem to tune it in.  I tried to listen to their programme on the iplayer on my computer, but they have gone a little less mainstream and I don’t know any of the music they play now.


Anyway, I heard an interview with Stuart Maconie recently about a book he had written called ‘Hope and Glory’.  It sounded really good so I ordered it straight away.  And I can confirm that it is a really good read.  Stuart takes each decade of the last century and picks a UK event to base that chapter on.  He then writes around the subject, the history behind the event, the culture of the time, and he visits the place where the event took place, and the book becomes a travelogue.  In his own words: “ it’s a travel book with a historical dimension, or maybe a history book with a travel element. Or maybe something different, a social and cultural wander through a century of British history and its town and cities. “ 

I loved his travel writing.  Often his thoughts and opinions would ring true!  At one point he visits a small village (one of the thankful villages – so called after WW1 because all their soldiers came home, not one was killed) and picks up the village newsletter.  That’s just what I like to do!

I found it a really interesting read, with some great insights into British culture and history.  His writing is brilliant, oh how I wish I could write like that!  I have one of his other books in my pile to read next.


During the interview it was mentioned that his radio partner, Mark Radcliffe had written a  similar book called ‘Reelin’ in the years’.  Well of course I had to read this one too!  Mark chooses a song for each year of his life and writes a chapter – sometimes about the music, sometimes more about what he was doing in that year, sometimes what was happening generally.  So another book about culture, autobiography and music all rolled into one.  I recognised many of the early songs, but the more recent ones not so much.  I’m not really into all the different genres of popular music, like indie rock, garage etc.  I love the northern-ness of Mark Radcliffe.  I love his chatty style, and how much he knows about the music he writes about.

2 great reads that I highly recommend.

One thing I have realised – partly through reading these books, partly through listening to their radio shows is that the music I like is pretty mainstream!  I always liked to think that I preferred something with a bit more to it than mainstream.  OK so I’m not really into Kylie, Rhianna and boy bands particularly.  But I don’t know much about the different genres.  Maybe it’s time to experiment a bit more!


Alison said...

Thanks for this Linda...these sound just like the kind of books DH would off to check Amazon and decide whether to order for his Birthday or Christmas!
Alison xx

scrappysue said...

They both sound like great books Linda, a bit like Bill Bryson without the music parts. I must add these to my wish list, I love books like this, thanks for such a great review! x