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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Talking about music is the new writing about music

Somebody came up to me at Monday night's Word In Your Ear show at the Betsey Trotwood, which was billed as A Night Playing Records And Talking With Richard Williams and Kate Mossman, and asked if there was any chance of The Word coming back. I think I surprised him with the certainty with which I said "over my dead body".

I might miss the working environment but I don't miss the work involved in putting together a monthly magazine. Richard Williams said that one of the pleasures of doing his blog The Blue Moment was that he wrote what he felt like and nobody told him it was 200 words too long or spoiled it with an inappropriate headline.

I value lots of the things the magazine provided but a lot of the time I think it may work better through conversation. This is what I like about the Word In Your Ear format. This stuff's best dealt with by talking about rather than reading about.

I don't mean dry discussions about what ought to be in the shortlist for the Mercury Music Prize or whatever happened to the protest song. Life's too short for all of that. There were a few things touched on in Monday night which nobody's ever going to write 3,000 words about that I find a lot more interesting than the things people do write 3,000 words about.

Things such as: why you get so few pop songs about Saturday night nowadays; how come the best disco singers have a hint of sadness in their voices; how Spitting Image used to make current affairs intelligible to a five year-old; why 1965 was the annus mirabilis of the pop single; what the inside of your head sounded like when you were fifteen; how pop singers might still function with Alzheimer's and why the greatest dance records by-pass your defences and speak to your true self.

I love all this stuff. It's the kind of stuff I used to love talking about on the Word podcast. It's something I hope we can keep alive through Word In Your Ear.

The next one, which is on October 9th at the Old Queens Head in Essex Road, features Mark Lewisohn, the world's foremost expert on The Beatles, talking about Tune In, the first volume of his mammoth trilogy about the band. We've also got Bob Stanley who's publishing Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop. That's in addition to the genuinely inimitable chap hop sounds of Mr B The Gentlemen Rhymer. Tickets are on sale here.  If you liked the Word Podcast or True Stories Told Live you might like this too. In fact if you go to this page and put the word "banjolele" where it says "enter promotional code" you can get tickets for just £10.

And don't forget our motto: it starts early; it finishes soon afterwards.