Archives for June 2011

Gentle Stretching

Simon Mayo | 08:40 UK time, Thursday, 30 June 2011

Good morning to all, a sunny cool day here with packed lunches to sort. The perfect packed lunch for the under 12's seems to demand crisps, sandwich/bagel and something in the chocolate department. Once we move beyond early years, we get more sophisticated and add salads and the like, but I feel the kids have got it right. Prawn cocktail, cheese and pickle and a chocolate bar. Sorted.
The main terror is of course the parents' race which we have every intention of missing. It's the hayfever you see. Or the ankle, I can't remember. Maybe both. Over the years I have worked out that the best place to finish is 5th. It is apparently not cool to win, it is embarrassing to come last but 5th out of, say, 12, is just about ok. Inspiring thoughts.
Child 3 has just announced he expects me there at 10. Blimey. Better curtail this blog!
Nige does steak bavette with salady options for the principled or faint-hearted.
And songs today please for THE SEASIDE, THE PIER AND THE PROM PROM PROM. Brighton's Palace Pier is up for sale and there's enough sun to just about get away with it.
Have a day of noble striving and steely resolve. See you after 5, must dash. Ooh my leg...

What A Waste

Simon Mayo | 09:29 UK time, Wednesday, 29 June 2011

School run is done. Children happily dispensed. I'm now waiting for a screening of a new Ewan McGregor film. I've forgotten what it is called or what it is about but that is often the best way to see a film. To be ignorant of everyone else's opinion is a luxury. I now have to make my own mind up. Now this can be a bit of a drag sometimes but at least my opinion will be fresh. I'll then have to sign a disclaimer, forbidding the mentioning of the film in any media until the film is out, by which time I'll have heard everyone else's opinion and mine won't count anymore. At least I might be able to impress myself for a while.
Enjoyed Ross Kemp yesterday. Always informed and amiable conversation. And memo to self; when the time comes, don't apologise for your book. It doesn't help the sales pitch!
Today sees the first of Matt's Mid-Summer, Middle-Aged Mosh Mayhem. Or something like that. The mosh gets an extended run after 6, with 4 big rock songs, all hosted by Dr Mosh who will have reinvented the colour purple by the end.
And songs today on the theme of JUNK, RUBBISH and TRASH. The space station astronauts had to evacuate yesterday as space junk hurtled towards them. There's another clean up Britain campaign up and running, so RUBBISH it is.
Off to the movies. Have an informed and rational Wednesday, see you after 5

Radio Tau

Simon Mayo | 09:52 UK time, Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Morning to bloggers all, from the cooler, shady pastures of London town. I don't think today is a 2 shower day but you can never be too sure. A welcome drop in the temperature here but an increase elsewhere so maybe Aberdeen might enjoy something better than yesterday's 12C which was pathetic. Maybe we'll get to do heat oldies this summer but not just yet it would seem.

Child 3 brought his school report back yesterday - a much more relaxed affair these days. I remember bringing home a brown sealed envelope and waiting nervously for some kind of verdict. Now it seems quite chilled, the main points already known and discussed. Maybe there are schools where the pupils write their own now. I was never quite convinced my report writers actually remembered who I was. The art of generalisation perfected.

Ross Kemp will be on Drivetime tonight from 6. I've interviewed Ross many times and his TV shows and books on gangs and the military are always impressive. He's always struck me as happier talking about those programmes than any acting he might be up to. Now he has written his first novel called 'Devil to Pay' (don't you just love celebs who write novels? I'm hoping you can tolerate them for a while longer anyway). The plot revolves around former soldier Nick Kane who investigates the mysterious death of an old colleague, in search of 'the terrifying truth'. Because the 'truth' is always terrifying, otherwise we wouldn't read it. If the 'truth' was kind of interesting but a little dull, we wouldn't bother.

Oldies time! You might have noticed that despite being useless at maths and science at school I find them endlessly fascinating now. Today we learn that pi (repeat after me 3.14159265 etc) is wrong. School textbooks should, apparently, be replaced by tau which 6.28 which is 2pi. It's all about (bear with me here) the relationship between the circumference of a circle to its diameter and we've had it wrong all these years. So these dissident mathematicians have declared today Tau Day. On Radio Tau. So lets do NUMBERS please. All of them, some of them, Tau, pi and a quick hypotenuse if you fancy.

Have a beautifully logical and worked out day, see you after 5.

Radio Tau

Simon Mayo | 09:52 UK time, Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Morning to bloggers all, from the cooler, shady pastures of London town. I don't think today is a 2 shower day but you can never be too sure. A welcome drop in the temperature here but an increase elsewhere so maybe Aberdeen might enjoy something better than yesterday's 12C which was pathetic. Maybe we'll get to do heat oldies this summer but not just yet it would seem.

Child 3 brought his school report back yesterday - a much more relaxed affair these days. I remember bringing home a brown sealed envelope and waiting nervously for some kind of verdict. Now it seems quite chilled, the main points already known and discussed. Maybe there are schools where the pupils write their own now. I was never quite convinced my report writers actually remembered who I was. The art of generalisation perfected.

Ross Kemp will be on Drivetime tonight from 6. I've interviewed Ross many times and his TV shows and books on gangs and the military are always impressive. He's always struck me as happier talking about those programmes than any acting he might be up to. Now he has written his first novel called 'Devil to Pay' (don't you just love celebs who write novels? I'm hoping you can tolerate them for a while longer anyway). The plot revolves around former soldier Nick Kane who investigates the mysterious death of an old colleague, in search of 'the terrifying truth'. Because the 'truth' is always terrifying, otherwise we wouldn't read it. If the 'truth' was kind of interesting but a little dull, we wouldn't bother.

Oldies time! You might have noticed that despite being useless at maths and science at school I find them endlessly fascinating now. Today we learn that pi (repeat after me 3.14159265 etc) is wrong. School textbooks should, apparently, be replaced by tau which 6.28 which is 2pi. It's all about (bear with me here) the relationship between the circumference of a circle to its diameter and we've had it wrong all these years. So these dissident mathematicians have declared today Tau Day. On Radio Tau. So lets do NUMBERS please. All of them, some of them, Tau, pi and a quick hypotenuse if you fancy.

Have a beautifully logical and worked out day, see you after 5.

Boggis Bunce And Bean Ride Again

Simon Mayo | 08:51 UK time, Monday, 27 June 2011

And good morning to you too. I write this blog, for the first time I think, from my garden. In a moment I must clear up the pigeon feathers where a fox/cat/beast has met a sticky end. Then, on the recommendation of my neighbour, buy a sonic blast type of thing (it'll be a bit of a vague Internet search) to scare the foxes. He has chickens, I have turf. Quite what thrills a fox gets from digging up my turf, I have no idea - unless they are doing it on purpose. They might have rumbled my er, bathroom based deterrent and stepped their campaign of annoyance up another level. My power hose is at the ready.
I trust you had a splendid weekend. Or maybe one where nothing went wrong and everyone is still speaking to everyone else. We watched quite a bit of Glastonbury and enjoyed not being there until Paul Simon in the sun yesterday. His cold meant his voice wasn't at its best but that band! Apparently the crowd was bigger than for U2 but the weather might have something to do with that. Following the comments on Twitter during U2 and Coldplay, I got so exasperated I blurted something to the effect that if you hate them so much, try not watching. You'll be less stressed and live longer. The haters seem to take a masochistic delight in making themselves watch, just so they can tell us how terrible it is. Not interested. Stop it. Read a book.
So today we welcome Stevie Nicks to Drivetime. Her new album 'In Your Dreams' is really good I think and the collaboration with Dave Stewart, who produces here, has come up trumps. See what you think after 6.
And the songs have to be for WIMBLEDON. I was tempted to do heat but the UK map reveals enough discrepancies to make that annoying for those in cool and cloudy parts. So on another Murray day let's do all the TENNIS and assorted PARAPHERNALIA. Come on Virginia.
Have a cool and sweat-free Monday, see you after 5.
Meantime I'm not moving from this seat till Mr Fox appears.

We are experiencing high demand....

Simon Mayo | 08:09 UK time, Friday, 24 June 2011

I mean really what's the point? You get up early for no reason, then are reminded on twitter that you can apply for the Olympic tickets that no one wanted last time. So give it a go and log on, only to get the password wrong and then fail the security question. Now I won't be able to attend the Greco-Roman Wrestling with my happy and grateful family in tow.
So now I have a few hours to tackle some ironing and be useful. That self-righteous glow is unmistakeable and stays with me all day. In fact I'll read by its light at bedtime.
BTW, I am becoming a keen collector of knackered music. The cd you put on when the radio just can't fathom your mood correctly. And my latest find is the Gillian Welch album 'The Harrow and the Harvest' (when I say 'find', it was given to me and I was told I'd like it). Sir Bob played some last night and it really is beautiful. That Dave Rawlings is on guitar too. Nicky Campbell over at 5Live says knackered used to be a banned word at Radio 1, which I don't remember, but it seems pretty harmless these days. I do remember when '(Sexual) Healing' had to be introduced as just plain old 'Healing'. Tender days, the 80's.
It's a 2-show day again with some movies to review at 5 Live at midday as the tennis takes over later. Then the mighty ARF hits the airwaves and your weekend begins, courtesy of some Abba, AC/DC and Tom Jones (just guessing). Get that song in now! It's easier than getting tickets for the wrestling!
Have a cool and groovy Friday, see you after 12 and 5.

Return to Normalcy

Simon Mayo | 08:11 UK time, Thursday, 23 June 2011

That was Warren G. Harding's promise while campaigning for the US presidency in 1920. People like normal. And today we are back to normal, back in our slots and back in our boxes. All is well. The great thing about yesterday (apart from a magnificent Eggs Benedict with Jamie Cullum) was driving home and listening to Bob Harris and Mike Harding. Then playing with child 3 and listening to David Jacobs and more Bob with Ken. I enjoyed all that.

And a number one place from the public vote on the best live moment for Taylor Swift singing on Drivetime. Hooray for her, her hits and her hair.

The problem with the early starts however is food. I felt tired and hungry all day, so followed the Eggs Benedict with a pie for lunch and kebabs for tea. When you feel you 'deserve' it, those pounds will wander your way sooner or later.

Still I hope you enjoyed some of the shows yesterday. Hopefully I can play some Show of Hands, Ryan Bingham, Bellowhead et al on other, less notable occasions.

So bouncing back with Nigel, confessions, quiz of the day, Matt and Rebecca. Songs please for the start of GLASTONBURY and FESTIVALS in general. That whole festival experience in one catchy and rather brilliant tune. I'm not a huge festival goer really, I'd rather get my music in smaller doses - a middle aged thing I'm sure. There are only so many times you can complain about your back, the price of food and noisy campers before you bore yourself, never mind your fellow campers.
Have a reassuring and normal day, see you after 5.

....and relax

Simon Mayo | 09:58 UK time, Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Well that was really quite fun. I had no idea how 2Day was going to sound but we both enjoyed ourselves enormously. The response was good too (though doubtless there were many 'we want Chris back!' texts that we weren't shown). So many people went on line and bought tunes they never thought they'd like, I think 2Day will turn into something rather expensive for many. What did you think?
And breakfast with Jamie C was rather fine too. Eggs Benedict went down rather well after the early morning start. Calories yes, but when you have a sense of entitlement, I think they don't count.
Anyway, by the time Jamie and I had worked out what we were doing, it was time to stop and go home. Normal ops resume tomorrow!
Have a surprising and inspirational 2Day (gone all corporate) and see you tomorrow.

Midsummer?

Simon Mayo | 08:11 UK time, Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Morning again. Here we go with another Tuesday, usually the most rubbish day of the week. It really has nothing going for it at all so we just have to fill it with good things.We'll do what we can but by 5, the die is cast. Sparkling bloggers always help of course...
Much talk of 2 Day at work of course. You might have heard/seen the ad. We have many posters up. The whole of Radio 2 in 12 hours etc. Well Jamie Cullum will be my co-host tomorrow from 7am, an hour I believe he hasn't seen voluntarily for a while. It will certainly sound very different tomorrow! Jamie and I are being encouraged to bring a few tunes along that might not make it on the air on a normal day. We have done just that. Jazzy/folky/country/rootsy stuff will certainly make for a different sound-and that is the whole point of course. We are being filmed too, which strictly speaking isn't fair. Having a camera pointed at you at 6am really isn't wasn't a chap wants before 11am but maybe a discreet beret might distract...
Hopefully you'll love it all but if you really don't , we'll be gone by 8 and something else will be along. I think I'll blog after the show, if that's all right with you...
Today however is normal. Lynda La Plante the author and screenwriter will be with us. Still best known for "Prime Suspect", her new book is "Blood Line". It features her DCI Anna Travis taking charge of an operation for the first time and I quote "an ominous pool of blood and no vicim lead Anna on a desperate hunt for a man who has disappeared without trace." You get the picture.
Enjoyed the Rory oldies yesterday, today we have songs for the SOLSTICE please, THE LONGEST DAY is with us. Yes already. The time when when the Earth's and the moon's axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun, at its maximum of 23° 26'. But then you knew that. Time for a party.
Have a smiley, angst-free Tuesday, see you after 5. And then tomorrow at 7! Good grief.

No pressure, no diamonds

Simon Mayo | 08:14 UK time, Monday, 20 June 2011

(That was a tweet from Bear Grylls last night, in case life is full on for you at the moment...)
Morning/afternoon to bloggers all, hope that was a good weekend. My fathers day gifts involved sherbet lemons, some interesting looking chocolate with ginger bits in and a book of 1001'Beers To Drink Before You Die'. That pretty much covers it I reckon. Not exactly the healthiest weekend on record I have to confess as there were parsnip crisps involved on many occasions as well.
Now Saturday was a disappointment to me. It wasn't the weather, though that was dreadful and it wasn't the piles of washing/ironing brought on by the arrival of child 1 from university but my sedentary evening. I was happy watching Camelot-at that point, still a fully clothed edition-when I realised I should have been watching Bob Dylan in Finsbury Park. Much tweetage was coming from happy gig-goers, all trumpeting what was, by all accounts, a great gig. He even played "Tangled Up In Blue" and finished with an almost recognisable "Blowin' in The Wind". And where was I? Near horizontal on the couch that's where. I couldn't be bothered to wander the few miles to see one of music's greats. True he's been a tad average when I've seen him before and it was raining. And Guinevere was, well you know...So I renounce the TV again and will go in search of live music for the rest of my life.
Radio 2 Book Club is back today with Rosamund Lupton's "Afterwards". She made quite a splash with her debut 'Sister' and this new one is a terrific read. You can get 2 chapters for free while you are here to check it out yourself. It opens with a terrible fire at a school and sees a mother Grace, rescuing her 17 year old daughter Jenny. But they are both unconscious and it is in this state that they narrate the book. They are not spirits but they can drift hither and thither and Grace works out what had really happened at the school. Clever stuff and Rosamund will be here from 6pm.
And music today please for 22 year old RORY MCILROY whose extraordinary performance at the US Open made him the youngest champion there since Bobby Jones in 1923. I met him at Wimbledon a few years back (Rory not Bobby) and he was good company and a decent guy too. Northern Ireland now owns golf. So songs to mark his astonishing achievement please. You know how it goes.
Have a first class and smooth running Monday, see you after 5.

G'day Y'all

Simon Mayo | 08:10 UK time, Friday, 17 June 2011

Morning all. Friday at last and a very good Friday it will be too-if the Lord is willing and the creek don't rise, as they say in some parts. Though not especially these parts. It must be all the James Lee Burke I read. He's still my favourite author guest. Anyone who can come up with this as an impromptu answer to a listener deserves our gratitude.
"Never give up. I believe that talent comes from a hand outside us and that it is given to us for a reason. Never let the naysayers get you down. Write one day at a time and write for one reason only, to make the world in some fashion a better place. Eventually, every artist learns the following lesson: take pride in rejection and excoriation. The boos always come from the cheap seats. You stay on that old-time rock and roll and grin and walk the cannon smoke and let go of the world. It will drive your critics insane."
I know I've quoted it before, but these things are worth repeating. Especially as we all forget things just a little bit more these days...
Loved the American accents yesterday. If I practice enough, I'll be able to quote James Lee Burke and sound convincing. My favourite movie accent was Val Kilmer's in Tombstone. He plays Doc Holliday and speaks in a dead dialect; a southern USA aristocratic accent. It's well wort a listen, especially as it doesn't exist anymore and they only found it on an old 78 disc. Worth a listen.
Just the one show today as Dr Kermode has taken the week off somewhere which means I can be fresh and sparkly for the All Request Friday. Well, comparatively so anyway. Choose a tub-thumpng, bone-rattling, upset-the-neighbour style tune and we'll select the toppest tune we find.
Have an easy-going and incident-free Friday, seee you after 5.

10 for a pound

Simon Mayo | 09:17 UK time, Thursday, 16 June 2011

Good morning bloggers old and new. Dark wet and torrential here. However, as I might have mentioned before, I love wild and stormy weather.It always makes me want to run along the beach with gay abandon, skipping and jumping over the dunes. The problem is that North London isn't well served in that department so a walk to the car will have to suffice.
Well first of all the blog-in its collective wholeness-wishes blogger Katie a speedy recovery from her surgery and awaits her return. And secondly the conversation yesterday about other shows nicking your songs is ENTIRELY LIKELY. This is because they are jealous of the creative engine that is the Drivetime blog. So there. We'll have to block access from some accounts if this continues to be a problem. EXTRA VIGILANCE WILL BE NEEDED.
Seems most of you enjoyed hearing from Mr Maconie, he really does write in a most engaging way. And the old sociology lecturer in him has a social history of Britain up and running. As I mentioned to Stuart, if you are writing about the key moments of the last century, I'm sure the arrival of Sky and 24 hour news will come to be seen as one of the pivotal moments. Rolling news dominates the way politics is run and Sky money has transformed the Premier League and the dominance of football. But maybe I should keep that and write it myself. If I wasn't already lost in the belly of the beast anyway, I'd give it a go (I have to have my novel's second draft in by tomorrow and it's making me ONLY SLIGHTLY CRAZY).
Today is Nigel day and he has decided it is time for Peppered Duck with Elderflower Pancakes. To me that just sounds as though he's thrown a bunch of ingredients names into a hat and pulled them out at random. It could just as easily have been Stewed Sausage with Tossed Offal or Marinaded Oyster in Moist Cabbage. You play next! This could run ! I'm sure he knows what he's doing however and we will see after 6.
And oldies today for THE LADIES (yes we have been here before but they're great tunes!) because it is that ultra-modern LADIES DAY at Royal Ascot. This is where a bunch of bedraggled women compete to put more fruit and veg on their head than would appear sensible. The point is to get photographed for the papers and to give the rest of us a laugh. So LADIES please on the tunes and if any turn up on JV's or SW's show, I'll send Dr Mosh round.
Have a fruity and frisky Thursday, see you after 5.

That was Rhymin' Simon that was...

Simon Mayo | 09:01 UK time, Wednesday, 15 June 2011

So there I was finishing a wee 500 words on the delights of Paul Simon for Radio Times, when they call again (and when I say 'they' I mean the very lovely Alexis) and wonder whether I could make it 900 and interview the man himself. And could it be now please? Well I mean to say. I said yes because I've always loved his work but bang goes the prep time! I suddenly became the 15 year old at the London Palladium in 1975 (5 pounds of my own money) waving rather ludicrously at Mr Simon waiting in the wings. And he waved back! Now here I was waiting for him to call me. Well well. After a few gushing questions from me, I think it all went rather well and will be cobbling together (surely lovingly assemble?Ed) as soon as I finish here.
I have 'lived with' the album 'So Beautiful Or So What' for a few weeks now. I wasn't sure to start with. Beautifully played, with some wonderful rhythms and sounds, I couldn't get the melodies to stick. But it is worth sticking with and repays your loyalty. It reminds me most of 'Hearts and Bones' and all is well with the world.

Stuart Maconie is on Drivetime today, a show he has graced many a time. Today he brings with him 'Hope and Glory' his latest book. His colleague Mark Radcliffe's last tome took one song from each decade of his life and used it to write a lovely memoir: Stuart takes one event in each decade of the 20th century-the death of Queen Victoria, "Live Aid", the end of New Labour-and uses them to look at 'modern Britain'. Stuart is always an interesting chap, he's on from 6.

And tune-wise, we should then do songs of HOPE AND GLORY. You could do one over the other or both, whichever you fancy.

Have a gently reassuring and optimistic Wednesday, see you after 5.

With a Way And a Ho!

Simon Mayo | 09:27 UK time, Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Today in the studio we have an engineering and logistical puzzle but an musical delight. Billy Hawkins, Jeremy Brown, John Brown, John Lethbridge, John McDonnell, Jon Cleave, Julian Brown, Peter Rowe, and Trevor Grills are Port Isaac's "Fisherman's Friends". Singing together since 1995, they signed a record deal with Universal in 2010 and they won the radio 2 Folk Awards 'Good Tradition' award. They are between 50 and 77, so here comes another example of blooming creativity in er, later years. They sing, as you probably know, sea shanties and traditional songs with a lot of stomping and whooping. As such they are a THOROUGHLY GOOD THING and they are very welcome, even if they will have to budge up a bit and share microphones.
And on the subject of live music, can I recommend the red button of your digital TV remote if you have a moment? If you look at the schedules and think 'you know what, I could do with some great film music played right now by the BBC Philharmonic' the red button is there for you. There's an edited version of my show from Friday in Salford up for a week and it sounds fabulous. Turn up the Magnificent 7 to the maximum allowed and I defy you not applaud at the end.
So for today, and with our guests in mind, let's do FISHING, FISH AND FISHERMEN for our top oldie tunes. Up she rises indeed.
Have a stress free and calming Tuesday, see you at 5.

The Good Grylling

Simon Mayo | 08:29 UK time, Monday, 13 June 2011

Greetings to all bloggers, hope you had a fine weekend. Chances are it was a) a wet one and b) you missed out on a birthday honour. Unless you are Bob Harris of course and well done to him for a stunning OBE. My guess is he is now entitled to a larger portion of food on Thursdays and double votes on the country showstopper alongside new rights to drive his sheep over London Bridge or somesuch. There are some awards that can raise an eyebrow of surprise, how lovely to salute one of the great voices of British radio. Long live Whispering Bob!
Salford was fun and working alongside the 1st violins of the BBC Philharmonic was a quite something. You should be able to see it on the red button from today. The All Request side of things was essentially me, sitting in a huge drama studio, with hundreds of texts and emails. When the line went down and it all went quiet,it was a little less calm. We discovered that when the red light went on, it killed everything else. In a live studio, that was a quite a problem! So the light stayed off and intruders who stumbled into our little show just got frowned at.
The journey home was a crammed train sitting opposite a man with a plastic bag full of lager cans and peanuts. He worked his way through them, one by one, until Watford. He leapt off and disappeared into the night. He may still be looking for his way home.
Today's lovely show features Bear Grylls:adventurer, writer and TV presenter. Oh and Chief Scout and the youngest Briton to climb Everest at the age of 23. And SAS man. And good looking. And a nice guy. This has to stop. His story is called 'Mud Sweat and Tears' and he's on from 6.
So we should do BEAR GRYLLS oldies. Songs of SURVIVAL and DERRING-DO. I think so.
Well lets hope we have a rewarding and encouraging Monday, see you after 5

Diddly-dum

Simon Mayo | 10:06 UK time, Friday, 10 June 2011

Greetings from my speeding train to Manchester, where it is always puddle-wonderful. Coffee, baguette and noisy Americans all in place, wagons roll! I'm heading north, to Salford to be precise (every time I say Manchester I get someone shouting 'Salford' in my ears. These things matter obviously).
The 5 Live show is celebrating the new home of the BBC Philharmonic in Man...er, Salford, so for the first time I will be doing a show with a full orchestra. And because of that, I have decided to dress like Rick Wakeman in his King Arthur period which we relived yesterday. Gold lame (can't get the accent working-assume it's there) cape swaying in the breeze, I shall conduct with extravagant movements and a lot of pointing.
The Phil, as they won't like to be called, will play some of the greatest film music of all time as decided by our top panel of experts who squabbled a bit but have come up with some pretty good tunes Then a nice person will usher me elsewhere to a darkened room where together we will get down to some serious ARFING. Or ARFing. So let the good tunes roll and choose a mighty one for that 5.05 moment.
Have a harmonious and rhythmic Friday, see you at 2 &/or 5.

Culture corner

Simon Mayo | 06:26 UK time, Thursday, 9 June 2011

Morning all and welcome to bloggers old and new. Well done for making it this far. I love Thursdays though I have little evidence for why I should feel like this. Is it the proximity to the weekend? It's Bob Harris day? Maybe a decades old reaction to Blue Peter day(and I think Robinson Crusoe) on TV. Maybe a bit of all those. Anyway, hooray for Thursday.

Top blog contributions yesterday. What an education experience this blog is, I'm sure Lord Reith would approve. At this point I would sing you "Northern sky" by Nick Drake, our showstopper from yesterday. Then read you in Just by e e Cummings which has the line 'And it's spring, when the world is puddle-wonderful.'
A wonderful phrase no? Let's try and use it at least once today...

Here's hoping your world is 'puddle-wonderful' today...

Loved Jon Ronson yesterday, he really is a one off. No one else could write a book on psychopaths and make it as entertaining and engaging as Jon does.And as he mentioned yesterday, a movie has already been agreed. Check out "The Psychopath Test" should you get the chance.

Nige does his thing with lentils and aubergines today. Matt will not be looking forward to it but I love the aubergine so I'll happily have his portion unless Sally gets there first.

And songs today please for KING ARTHUR AND THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE. And that includes CAMELOT MERLIN, EXCALIBUR, GUINEVERE, LANCELOT, THE LADY IN THE LAKE and all that lot. New series coming on Channel 4 starring Eva Green and Joseph Feinnes. Enough already.

Have a noble and chivalrous Thursday, see you after 5.

Form an orderly queue

Post categories:

Simon Mayo | 06:24 UK time, Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Morning all, Wednesday it is and the hump almost passed. It'll be the weekend erelong and all will be well. You'll have enough sleep, your boss will have given you a pay rise and the blog will be fixed.

Thanks for all the comments yesterday. I assume they were full of song ideas, discussion points and comments about Solihull schools circa 1972. Unfortunately "Sorry, there has been a problem displaying comments, we are working to fix this." is what I'm getting.  A good start no?  Which is all very interesting as the online team are keen to hear from you. Here's what they told me yesterday-

If you experience any problems with the blog in the future please let the Radio 2 Interactive Team know, by emailing them at r2web.team@bbc.co.uk

You can also leave a message for them on our Simon Mayo Facebook page  or on the BBC Radio 2 Facebook group.

So that appears to be one way we can move toward a brave new world of blogging peace and harmony. here's hoping...

Today we welcome Jon Ronson to drivetime. Jon is an extraordinary reporter, documentary maker and writer. His last book 'The Men Who Stare At Goats' became a film starring George Clooney after the acclaimed Hollywood megastar fell in love with the book. As such there is great interest in his brand new book 'The Psychopath Test', a fascinating book about madness and what he calls the 'madness industry'. Jon after 6.


And let's do songs about RATS and RATCATCHERS. Many households are, apparently, doing their own rat catching now as councils cut pest control. So RATTUS NORVEGICUS it is.


Have a low-cost, super-efficient Wednesday, see you after 5.

Hi-Tension

Simon Mayo | 06:11 UK time, Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Morning/afternoon depending on when you have joined us and apologies for the usual 'jumping blog' and 'difficult to post' problems. Why it should be easier to blog in some places and more difficult here, I have no idea. Rest assured I pass on all your frustrations (with added emphasis) and assume someone is trying to fix it. Even if it does't feel like it.
Maybe blog and technology rage is another symptom of the middle-aged that we were talking about yesterday:that sense of powerlessness and impotence that only your computer can bring. 36-59 were the ages our expert focussed on for being middle aged and while much of what he said was true, in retrospect he seemed a tad negative to me. I prefer the Bob Geldof school of thought which suggests you are at your most settled, most creative and might just be the best time of all. Apart from your big hairy ears of course.
(Blog accompaniment today:silence. My brain is full.)
With reference to Solihull schools that were being discussed yesterday, I know it wasn't me on Suzie's bus as I never had 'Cream' written on my bag, I had 'Focus' or 'Spurs' or maybe 'T.Rex'. But Malvern girls, as far as I was able to judge these things, were classy.
Yesterday I had a Tom Hanks interview to do for 5Live. Tom is always a classy guest, in fact I'd say he's the best. Someone should film Tom doing his promotional interviews-he is extraordinary. Every time he delivers, every time he makes it sound like you are his only interview and he is thrilled to do it. There are many,many actors who should watch how Tom does it and learn. Top bloke.
At 6 today 'the Joan Collins of childcare advice' Dr Miriam Stoppard will be talking health and pregnancy. And songs today please FOR THE OVERWORKED. Songs of STRESS AND PRESSURE. And also we should do songs of RELAXATION just in case it all gets too much. And if you ask why-WE JUST ARE OK? Thanks.
Have a blissful and enlightened Tuesday. See you after 5.

Pitter patter

Simon Mayo | 06:05 UK time, Monday, 6 June 2011

Dark, gloomy and wet? Cloudy, cool and damp? Well there's a turn up, just as we were getting in the mood for summer and made that change to the summer wardrobe (or 'finding the shorts' as men call it). Looks like the spring/autumn range will have to stay put for a while yet.
Hope the weekend was a fine one. I duly completed my driving marathon to collect the contents of child 1's room with no ill effects. In fact spending the day in the car with some fine audiobooks for company was really rather pleasant. PG Wodehouse and Harlen Coben were my companions and good company they were too (I tweeted this choice on Saturday morning and on Sunday had received a tweet back from Harlen Coben saying 'thanks friend'. I'm yet to hear from PG).
Music for the early morning blog writing:Radio 3. I have rediscovered this as I slave over the editorial notes and queries for my book. I used to revise to Radio 3 and found it fantastically therapeutic, free as it was from inane presenter babble. And I should know. the music is fantastic too of course but when you just need to 'have something on to block out the sound of the world', a sort of white noise if you like, Radio 3 is working for me. And if the controller of R3 reads this blog, this is all intended to be a compliment Roger!
So for today our book club is back with a fantastic debut from Chris Morgan Jones 'An Agent of Deceit' it's a novel in the style of Le Carre. It follows the story of investigator Ben Webster's attempt to expose the huge money-laundering operations of a Russian oligarch. This was the kind of work Chris used to do himself so he knows his stuff. Read the first chapter here! Tell us what you think and we'l speak to Chris after 6.
And the tunes today please on the subject HAIR, HAIR-LOSS, WIGS WEAVES AND THATCHES. Wayne Rooney's admission that he has had a transplant is expected to lead to a surge in demand. Mr Rooney says he is delighted with the result. Let the tunes begin...
Have a smart and wise Monday, see you after 5.
So this week, back from the half-term come all our old friends

Best laid plans...

Simon Mayo | 06:13 UK time, Friday, 3 June 2011

Morning all, a sunny Friday here and a sunny Friday where you are I imagine. Looks like a lovely one for most of us. The weekend will be spent in the car driving to pick up child 1's stuff from University (but not child 1, he has things to do) and then driving back again. It is a joy and a privilege of course and I shall invest in some audiobooks to keep me company (no room for passengers of course). Might have chocolate halfway just to keep the spirits up.

(This mornings blog music:Neil Young at Massey Hall 1971 where he plays the Harvest stuff for the first time. It has some of the worst chat ever "Here's another I wrote about my ranch" but the songs are top notch. Me singing 'Old Man look at my life' etc at 6.15am is something my family respect me for.)

Well Mark K and I had great plans for today as it's the 10th anniversary show with guests, bells, whistles etc. Stephen Fry, Jason Isaacs, Michael Sheen, Paul Greengrass and David Morrissey were all lined up and ready to go. And then Andy Murray went and started playing decent tennis and got himself into the semifinals in Paris. Well done and all that Andy but really, some respect for the BBC's flagship film show would have been in order. He shimmies his way on court at 1.15 so we have moved to 12.00 and will squeeze in what we can. Which will be as much S. Fry as we can fit in and the odd review. We'll keep the rest for the 20th. Ho hum.

So that leaves the immovable, untouchable ALL REQUEST FRIDAY and all the calls, texts emails and tweets to inform the nation of your weekend hopes and plans. `choose your opening tune wisely, the ARF crown could be yours for the week.

Have a well supported and crease-free Friday, see you at 12 and/or 5.

Bird. Worm. Again

Simon Mayo | 06:25 UK time, Thursday, 2 June 2011

This sun business is doing my head in. Basically what happens is the sun comes up and so do I. I cant sleep beyond the sunrise even with heavy blackout curtains. I'm all for early rising, best time of the day etc but there are limits.
So to work.
By the time Family Mayo arise I intend to have blogged, breakfasted and written words of genius. The novel which I mentioned a few weeks back needs to be all nailed down by August, so I'm chiselling and glueing most mornings. And the chisel is weaker than the glue it seems, as the word count moves higher and higher...
Enjoyed the drive home with Mike Harding for company. My favourite tune was from the Brock McGuire Band and an album called "Green Grass Blue Grass". It is roots music from the States and Ireland and has vast numbers of guests (including Ricky Skaggs). I downloaded it with undue haste. It's easing my early hours with reels and assorted trad. As Mike would say, great stuff.
(Is 6.45 too early for a first coffee? I fear so. Wait till 7 at least. I try to keep to 2 a day and if I start now I'll be all done by elevenses)
If I can avoid eating nonsense before 5, I will be leaving space for Nigel's Banoffee Pie. I always thought this was an American thing but it seems it is British and dated from only 1972. Ian Dowding and Nigel Mackenzie at The Hungry Monk restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex take the credit and Nige will explain more tonight.
And let's do songs of DRYNESS and DROUGHT. This spring has been the driest in England and Wales since the great drought of 1893 (couldn't sleep then either). Across the country the average spring temperature was 9.1C equalling the record from of 2007. East Anglia is summer-brown already. So any tunes about an ABSENCE OF WATER would be lovely.
Have a stimulating and perky Thursday, see you after 5.

On your knees

Simon Mayo | 07:23 UK time, Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Made it to London on time yesterday (that whole rammed commuter thing is something I am happy to avoid-so many interesting aromas!) to get to see the new Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts movie 'Larry Crowne' at 10.30. It's a comedy drama where Larry (Tom) reinvents himself by going back to college where Julia is teaching but in a doomed marriage. Who can guess what happens?
Then to 5 Live for a brief appearance with Mark K on Richard Bacon's programme to talk 10 years of film shows. A strange experience to be a guest on your old show. We have another show on this theme on Friday with Stephen Fry, Jason Isaacs, Michael Sheen and gang. We record the chat with Mr Fry tomorrow and is always something to look forward too. Then there's the small matter of a show with all of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra but that can wait till next week...
Today we welcome Annie Nightingale to Drivetime. Annie has been at Radio 1 for more than 40 years, is its longest serving presenter and was its first female DJ. She's done a fascinating film for BBC4 on her life 'Bird On The Wireless' and she'll tell you about it today after 6.
And as a football club chaplain says it makes a difference if you pray for your team how about PRAYING&PRAYERS for some interesting tunes on the show today...
Have a stress-free and smile-filled Wednesday. See you after 5.

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