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More Than Words Festival - Day 1

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Clarissa Maycock 10:57, Saturday, 17 March 2012

Jamie Cullum is castaway as Bristol hosts the Radio 4 More Than Words festival.

St Georges Bristol during More Than Words

St Georges Bristol is one of the venues for the More Than Words Festival

Bristol saw the More Than Words festival open in style last night with a special edition of one of Radio 4's flagship programmes. Desert Island Discs was recorded live in front of an audience at St Georges in Bristol.

Kirsty Young's castaway was jazz singer and pianist Jamie Cullum. In a twist from the usual format, the Grammy-nominated castaway performed his selected tracks on St George's grand piano. It is only the second time Desert Island Discs has been recorded out of the studio, and the first time it has been recorded in front of a live audience. St George's was transformed for the event, with the walls decorated with photographs from the festival's "Moments of Listening" gallery. Audience members at the recording were also invited to have their photo taken while listening to a mystery piece of audio and join the gallery.

St George's piano

The piano at St George's Bristol

At 8pm Jonathan Dimbleby hosted Any Questions from Bristol's M Shed, which was also broadcast live on Radio 4. On the panel Deborah Meaden, Billy Bragg, Peter Hain and Ed Vaizey took questions from the audience. One of the issues debated was the problem of poor literacy in primary school children, following a damning report from Ofsted this week. A lively Twitter audience joined the debate using the hashtag #bbcaq. @jongilmartin1 commented "as a speech & language therapist, completely agree with @DeborahMeaden on engaging children in their education 1st" while @Old_Holborn pointed out: "German children don't start school until aged 7. And then design BMWs".

The Any Questions panel

The Any Questions panel - Peter Hain, Deborah Meaden, Billy Bragg, Ed Vaizey and Jonathan Dimbleby.

Across town at a packed Bristol Folkhouse, The Bristol Comedy Night took place featuring sketches and stand-up from Sara Pascoe, the Three Englishmen and compere Stuart Goldsmith. Stuart Goldsmith began by reminding the audience that the gig would not feature swearing because it was being recorded for the radio, then led the audience in a round of cathartic swearing before the mics were switched on. The gig will be broadcast tonight on Radio Bristol.

Wall at St George's Bristol

Wall inside St George's Bristol decorated with photographs of "moments of listening"

Today the University of Bristol's Merchant Venturers building will host a whole day of workshops inspired by the festival's theme of the "art of listening". There will also be more BBC Shows recorded - such as Loose Ends and the Wondermentalist Caberet.

To celebrate Radio 4's More Than Words Festival, I will be blogging from Bristol during the weekend. Look out for more blogs over the next few days. I work as a producer on the Radio 4 and 4 Extra Interactive team - CM


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I love the idea of exploring art and sound in Soundscapes. I am currentlyin my Fial year at The university of \nottingham and am doing a coudscape of the internal dialogue of prayer. I am using prayers that have been written by volunteers and recording them using drama students and placing the recordings in site specific areas in a large local church . I have broken them down to 4 different sound scapes .Adult , children, the whispered and music. It is very exciting and hope it will create a sensorial reaction for the viewer /listener

  • Comment number 3.

    Would someone kindly break it to the Sports Editor that Wales won the 6 Nations Grand Slam on Saturday. It was all on TV so he/she can check if you don't believe me, also there was a mention that England had beaten Ireland on one of the bulletins and it is the same competition. Aled Jones did try to add it to the Sunday Morning News, but he's biased is'nt it?


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