4 1/2 years ago, back in a world that feels at once both distant and close, 8 hours of live music was broadcast overnight from the British Library, scoring the soundtrack to a nation’s dreams as they slept.
Easter Saturday / Sunday 2020 – Max Richter’s ‘Lullaby for a frenetic world’ was repated for a UK in lockdown from Covid 19:
A nation clapping every Thursday for the NHS, the carers and the key workers
A nation needing a lullaby now more than ever to comfort it while it sleeps
A nation holding its breath
Waiting to see what kind of country emerges the other side.
As a producer, I’m used to being on one side of the microphone. But during the course of BBC Music Get Playing, an opportunity presented itself for me to do a live radio interview.
I met Miranda Rae through Sound Women. Miranda presents her own show called The Word on Ujima Radio in Bristol. Her programme goes out live every Friday from 1400 to 1600 and is a wonderfully varied mix of art, culture and music.
The Virtual Orchestra deadline was fast approaching and I was trying to get as many people as possible to upload their videos of themselves playing Bizet’s Toreador Song. Miranda asked me if I’d like to go onto the programme to invite her listeners to join the Virtual Orchestra.
At first, I must confess I was was tempted to ask for a pre-recorded interview but soon decided to go for it.
Miranda has interviewed many people during her career including Massive Attack, Roni Size, Neneh Cherry…and now me.
I really enjoyed my first live radio experience and you can hear the interview here.
And you can follow Miranda on Mixcloud and hear more interviews here.
Last night, I went on a spellbinding trip to the moon – while staying in South East London.
I was sat inside the lovely old theatre The Coronet, watching Woman in the Moon (Frau im Mond, Fritz Lang’s futuristic silent movie from 1929) while listening to techno DJ Jeff Mills live mixing his stunning soundtrack.
It was an incredible fusion of the past, the present and the future. Women in the Moon was produced 40 years before the moon landings, and the rocket launch sequences were eerily prescient. Jeff Mills’ sound track underscored the shifting dynamics between the characters as well as underlining the dangers that lie in the overwhelming love of money.
From January 2017, another beautiful venue will be lost in London. The Coronet has been in the Elephant and Castle since 1879 – but will be disappearing next year as the developers move in.
While I understand the need for progress, I wish gentrification didn’t so often signify the destroying of history, of buildings that made an area special, the universal conformity that seems to follow inevitably in its wake. Look to your left, there’s your luxury new developments. Look to your right – whether you are in Elephant or Castle or Ealing- there’s your Pret, your Starbucks, your Pizza Express.
Woman in the Moon at the Coronet – a nod towards the future and another ending.
February 2016 was a month packed with music.
6 Music Festival
Savages, John Grant and Laura Marling were just some of my personal highlights from the 6 Music Festival in Bristol.
I spent a great weekend working with the web team back in London. I was photo-editing, deciding which images should be used where on the website – including the single track image, 30 minute set image and the main promotional hero image. I also curated article pages, selecting the best photos which I then used to produce the Highlights article page in Isite2 -for example, Sunday Night’s Best Photos.
The Monday after the 6 Music Festival, I was in the Pop Hub (which covers Radio 1, 1Xtra, 2, 6 Music and the Asian Network).
I wrote my first article for Radio 1 – One Love at Radio 1 – which included dating advice from A-List celebrities Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.
On Friday, Ant and Dec were on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. I listened to the broadcast then selected the most shareable clip. As The BRITS are next Wednesday, I chose Ant and Dec’s memories of The BRITS 2015 – which included missing Madonna falling off the stage. I put Ant and Dec’s clip in the Radio 1 Guests Collection and got it featured on the BBC Homepage on Sunday 21 February.
Last night, my dreams had a haunting, beautiful soundtrack.
Max Richter’s SLEEP: at 8 hours long, it is the longest ever continuous broadcast by the BBC.
From midnight until 8am, I was huddled under the duvet as haunting strings and deep bass (so deep I felt rather than heard it) scored my subconscious thoughts.
As I drifted between sleep and wakefulness, it felt like a real shared experience. I thought of everybody else listening in the same way and of the musicians creating the nocturnal magic. Then I was asleep – but I could still hear the music throughout.
I woke at 8am to the sunshine streaming through the window, feeling very emotional. Last night had been a real journey for me – I felt like I had lived many lives in 8 hours.
SLEEP is the centrepiece of the BBC’s Why Music weekend and is a wonderfully reflective counterpoint to a frantic world.
Max Richter says, “I think of SLEEP as an experiment into how music and the mind can interact in this other state of consciousness, one we all spend decades of our lives completely immersed in, but which is so far rather poorly understood. I consulted with the neuroscientist David Eagleman on how music can relate to the sleep state and have incorporated our conversations in the compositional process of the work.”
Read the full article: Max Richter explains what drove him to compose SLEEP.
The BBC’s Make it Digital Campaign is inspiring a new generation of coders, programmers and digital producers.
The season launched on 8th September 2015 with bespoke content from TV, Radio and Online.
One of the new digital platforms is mixital. Aimed at teenagers, mixital provides the tools and the users the imagination. EastEnders, Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing are just some of the big BBC brands waiting to see what people will create.
BBC Introducing and Vizii
Vizii is the music strand of mixital where users produce their own music videos.
I helped Jon Howard, Executive Producer of the team behind mixital and Manish Pradhan, Senior Content Producer, Radio Multiplatform with the final touches.
BBC Introducing specially selected the tracks they thought would work the best and I managed the relationships with the bands, checking they were happy to be involved and collecting their biographies, assets and logos that they wanted to be included.
BBC Introducing have set down this week’s challenge: ‘Make some visuals that feel like a live gig’.
It’s fantastic to see so much creativity in such a short space of time and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops over the next few months.
I don’t know that much about classical music.
Symphinity is a gorgeous way to learn. Its various playlists take me on many musical journeys; introducing me to various composers and the worlds in which they lived.
The carefully curated playlists by Chris Barstow consist of recently recorded music for Radio 3 – including selections from this year’s Proms.
I have been helping spread the word about Symphinity: Radio 3 Breakfast presenter Martin Handley talked about it, BBC Arts have featured it on their homepage and various social media channels have shared the URL along with with specially created bespoke assets.
Symphinity will run for another month on BBC Taster and feedback so far has been very positive.