If the producers of Through the Keyhole were really scraping the barrel, and decided to send whoever it is that has taken over from Lloyd Grossman through the unpaid bills and discarded record mailers blocking my front-door, it’d be all too obvious who I am.
My house is full of records. They lurk on all flat surfaces like a tide of sound washed up every time I go to one of those musty-smelling shops a couple of rows back from the high street. The kind of shops frequented by 38” men, with James May hair, or - increasingly, and happily - hipster boys and girls who are disillusioned by the MP3 mirage and want something they can clutch and finger while they’re soaking up sounds that weren’t voted into existence by Saturday night TV shows.
And if you think my house is sonically over-populated, you should see my radio compadre Ben Hayes’ pad.
Ben and I will use any excuse to gather together records from both of our houses and share them with people. As long as they’re not going to demand Robin Thicke or One Dimension.
Last Saturday was just such an opportunity.
“Can you do something special to celebrate St David’s Day?” asked producer Jeremy.
Of course we can.
Shelves, worktops, obscured coffee tables, settees, behind the cushions of settees, downstairs loos were all scoured for fascinating sounds of Welsh origin, on vinyl, to be strung together on the patron saint’s airwaves.
We didn’t give ourselves any more of a specific remit than that, really. But there was an unspoken desire to celebrate records that perhaps aren’t shouted about all that frequently, from artists who rarely figure in conversations about The Best Welsh Artists Ever.
Equally our remit wasn’t to play obscure things just because they’re obscure. I’d rather play One Dimension than entirely disappear up my own sonic black-hole.
These records were chosen because they’re great records.
For example, Dr Phibes & the House of Equations’ Hazy Lazy Hologram is a great, great record, from a part of Wales - Connah’s Quay - that doesn’t make much of a song or dance about itself, generally. Dr Phibes were hugely influential on a lot of musical minds in early 90s northeast Wales, mine included.
Sunshine Theatre’s Mountain is a great record. A lost psych classic. Something so collectable, you wonder if some cad destroyed a boxful back in the day just to make their own copy more valuable.
You can see the full track listing here, but I’d implore you to listen to the show first. We’re so used to getting the list of ingredients for any musical concoction, these days, that it’s become all too easy to dismiss something if we see something we don’t think we’ll like.
But these two hours are bursting at the seams with sounds that deserve to be loved. It’s one of the most satisfying radio shows I’ve ever had the pleasure to be involved with.
I hope you enjoy it, too.
That, after all, is the whole point.
The satellite benefit is that, having shifted so many records on Saturday morning, I’ve now discovered a pouf and a guinea pig I’d forgotten I owned.
Yours in sound.