26 December 2012

Fired By The Ring

A real gem ripped from the T_ape archives this is, even if I say so myself. Archive On 4: Fired By The Ring (2002) is a feature length look at how all kinds of artists from different disciplines have remade Tolkien's epic, with Brian Sibley, Philip Pullman, Peter Jackson and many other luminaries. Being originally broadcast on BBC Radio Four it's only fitting that the programme features heavily on the superlative 1981 BBC radio series and is thus  peppered with quotes, interviews and out-takes from the production that cannot be found anywhere else to my knowledge. I have also included in the download, scans of an old SFX Magazine article covering the history and making of the radio series. Well worth your time I reckon.


Further reading: Microphones In Middle Earth

23 December 2012

Tolkien In Love

Luthien Tinuviel by Alan Lee
"Novelist Helen Cross, who herself lives in Birmingham, uncovers the story of the young J.R.R. Tolkien, falling in love with Edith Bratt.
The love story of Beren and Luthien at the heart of his novel The Silmarillion was inspired by their relationship. They were both orphans, living in a boarding house in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The teenagers would talk out of their respective bedroom windows until dawn, and go for cycle rides to the Lickey Hills. However, when their romance was discovered, Tolkien's guardian, Father Francis Morgan, forbade Tolkien to see Edith until he came of age.Tolkien won an Exhibition to Oxford and Edith went to live in Cheltenham. But at midnight, as he turned 21, Tolkien wrote to Edith saying his feelings were unchanged. Unfortunately, in the intervening years, Edith had got engaged to someone else. 
Tolkien got on a train and she met him at Cheltenham station. They walked out to the nearby countryside and Tolkien persuaded her to break off her engagement and marry him instead. But the First World War was about to intervene, and Tolkien volunteered and was sent to the Somme.
Helen Cross visits key locations in Birmingham, Cheltenham and Oxford, to tell the story of Tolkien's young life and the love story at the heart of it.
 The readings are by the never not great David Warner as Tolkien and Ed Sear as the young Tolkien.

22 December 2012

The Aragorn Ballroom Orcestra

Boogie... Beyond Your Imagination! A bonkers disco version of Leonard Rosenman's Main Theme & Helm's Deep cues from the score of Ralph Bakshi's animated version of The Lord Of The Rings. Well, it was 1978 after all...

14 December 2012

The Hobbit, The Musical

"Actor Billy Boyd, who played a hobbit in the films of The Lord Of The Rings, narrates the story of the first ever stage production of J.R.R.Tolkien's The Hobbit, at New College School in Oxford in 1967. It was written by Humphrey Carpenter, with music by composer, Paul Drayton, then Director of Music at the school. We hear from the boys who performed it, who were choristers at the time and who are now renowned in the musical world: Choral conductor Simon Halsey, Martin Pickard Head of Music at Opera North, artist's agent Stephen Lumsden and composer Howard Goodall- who watched his older brother Ashley, now a marketing professional, perform. They talk about their memories and about Tolkien's presence in the audience on the last night.
The present-day Chamber choir at New College School sing some of the original songs, and we also play a never before broadcast recording of the production as it happened in 1967.

"You wait. Time passes..."

13 December 2012

Rare Books, Rare People: The Hobbit

Another from the T_ape Archives - Rare Books, Rare People: The Hobbit (2004) in which writer, broadcaster and antiquarian book dealer Rick Gekoski recounts the time he, as a student, had rooms in Oxford above none other than J.R.R. Tolkien, who was by then an old man. Every day Gekoski would see the sacks full of fan mail arrive for Tolkien and crowds of colourful, hairy fans, looking much like hobbits themselves, hanging around trying to catch sight of their hero. If only, Gekoski reflects, he'd got his elderly neighbour to sign a copy of the book...

10 December 2012

"Here Be Dragons"

"Last year Janet Ellis examined why mermaids continue to hold such a fascination; now she turns her attention to a figure every bit as resonant with audiences down the generations - the dragon. From the earliest days of story-telling the dragon has appeared across international cultures, occasionally a benign presence, as in the Chinese tradition, though most often a ferocious beast that lays waste to its enemies without a moment's hesitation. More recently the dragon has become a favourite of children's programmes and books from Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog to the How to Train your Dragon series of books - now turned into a major Hollywood film. Its close resemblance to real life creatures and formerly dinosaurs lends the dragon a particularly interesting position among mythological beasts, and Janet hears from poet Simon Armitage who says that those reading medieval stories including those about dragons would most likely have believed in the real possibility of meeting up with the beasts out on the crusades - lending them a special degree of excitement. She also speaks to Cressida Cowell the author behind the "How to Train..." books, as well as the co-creator of TV's Merlin which contains one of the most impressive dragon characters to appear in recent years, played with such relish by John Hurt.
"Here be Dragons" is a lively and informative ride on the back of one of the great stalwarts of the imaginative landscape.


20 November 2012

2 November 2012

James Bond Stories

BBC Ian Fleming's James Bond Stories (2008)Damian Lewis reads The Living Daylights, From A View To A Kill, The Property Of A Lady and For Your Eyes Only.

1 November 2012

The James Bond Dossier

Amis, Amis and Bond (2007). Martin Amis explores his father's obsessive interest in James Bond and the writing of Ian Fleming, with fellow Bond enthusiast Charlie Higson.

Forty years ago, Kingsley Amis undertook an unusual project, analysing in detail all of Ian Fleming's James Bond books and compiling a guide to being James Bond for prospective spies, based entirely on Fleming's writing.

31 October 2012

Electric Hell!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate tonight's festivities than by spending an hour listening to Gibbet Of The Damned; a mixtape courtesy of the never not brilliant Cottage Of Electric Hell. The mix was originally created for Six Ton Armor and if psych is your thing you should head over there right away. Check out their Soundcloud too, it's chock full o' nuggets.

Goodnight... if you can!

30 October 2012

The Bond Correspondence

The Bond Correspondence (2008)Lucy Fleming embarks upon a quest to discover more about her mysterious uncle Ian, creator of James Bond. Sir Roger Moore plays Ian Fleming's voice.

29 October 2012

Kissy Suzuki

Illustration by Michael Gillette.
You only live twice:
Once when you’re born
And once when you look death in the face.

You Only Live Twice (1990). Adapted by Michael Bakewell; Performed by a full cast with  Michael Jayston as Bond.


28 October 2012

Ready When You Are, J.B.

"John Barry: The Lost Tapes (2012). One of Britain's premier film composers, John Barry was renowned for his scores for the early James Bond films as well as Midnight Cowboy, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves. The winner of five Oscars, Barry who passed away last year was a private man - but 'John Barry - The Lost Tapes offers a revealing insight into his working life

Author and broadcaster Eddi Fiegel, during the course of many extensive interviews with John for her biography, also recorded a conversation for BBC radio, which was never broadcast and considered lost - until now.

Barry is a vivid raconteur and recounted the first decade of his career, from fledgling pop musician and producer to Oscar winning-composer. He also gave me some rare insights into his song writing craft.

He talked fondly about his early days with his instrumental group The John Barry Seven, his recordings with Adam Faith, the first venture into film and his remarkable recordings on the James Bond movies. With the success of Goldfinger in 1964, barely a week seemed to go by without John receiving a new film commission. It was a prolific time for him and, over the next two years, his scores included Thunderball, Richard Lester's The Knack and The Ipcress File starring a young Michael Caine. The pair became firm friends.

John's Oscar winning score for Born Free made him an international figure and the royal screening of the film saw a leading British actor 'throw a fit' when upstaged in front of the Royal family.

27 October 2012

Pussy Galore

Illustration by Michael Gillette.
...Goldfinger could not have known that high tension was Bond's natural way of life and that pressure and danger relaxed him.

Sir Ian McKellenToby Stephens and Rosamund Pike lead this full-cast adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1959 novel Goldfinger faithfully dramatised by Archie Scottney and directed by Martin Jarvis (2010). 


26 October 2012

Tatiana Romanova

Illustration by Michael Gillette

"Red wine with fish. Well that should have told me something.

Toby Stephens reprises his role as Bond with Mark Gatiss and John Sessions in From Russia With Love (2012).

25 October 2012

The Last Englishman

"James Bond, the Last Englishman (2008). As part of the Ian Fleming centenary, Prof. David Cannadine sets James Bond and his creator in their historical context. He suggests that Bond was popular not just because he was sexy and suave - he was seen as a consoling fantasy for a country that had lost an Empire but not yet found a role in the world.

24 October 2012

Honey Rider

Illustration by Michael Gillette.
"All the greatest men are maniacs. They are possessed by a mania which drives them forward towards their goal. The great scientists, the philosophers, the religious leaders - all maniacs. What else but a blind singleness of purpose could have given focus to their genius, would have kept them in the groove of purpose. Mania ... is as priceless as genius.

Toby Stephens as Bond and David Suchet as Dr No (2008). 


23 October 2012

Vesper Lynd

Illustration by Michael Gillette.
A dry Martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.' ...Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?

Alex Jennings reads Ian Fleming's Casino Royale (2009).

Illustration by Jeff Chapman.


OST: BBC Records and Tapes Special

Here's a great way to while away a couple of hours. Robin The Fog took over hosting duties on Jonny Trunk's OST show this week on London's Resonance FM. The theme was BBC Records and the show includes a few radiophonic favourites you can still find at Ripping Yarns, along with plenty more oddities to keep things interesting. I love the bits there BBC Sound Effects Vol.13 pops in and out of the mix. Full description, tracklist and HQ mp3 download can be obtained from Robin's blog here.

17 October 2012

KPM All Stars: Grandstand

I witnessed of the greatest gigs in my gig going career this summer, all the way up there with Ennio Morricone at The Barbican, Man or Astroman? at the Highbury Garage, or AC/DC at Castle Donnington. This clip is part of the encore, with Keith Mansfield, Alan Hawkshaw, John Cameron, James Clarke, Duncan Lamont and Brian Bennett all on stage together. So much love in the room. Thanks to Funky Frolic for spotting the clip and to Herr Döktor for grabbing our tickets.

9 October 2012

Monkey Magic

Monkey Magic: Music From BBC TV Series Monkey by Godiego. Auntie Beeb released two singles of the Monkey theme with different tracks on the B-side. I decided to stick them both together along with a rip of the broadcast version with that ever quotable voice over. If I can ever get my sweaty mitts on the full soundtrack lp you can be sure I'll be posting that too. For more on this classic show go here and here. Then go watch some Monkey, it's fab, not to mention wicked, skill and indeed ace.

dl: HQ mp3 or FLAC

4 October 2012

Children Of The Stones

This time in the Ripping Yarns recommended listening corner it's a bit of a no-brainer. In Happy Days: Children Of The Stones comedian Stuart Lee returns to Radio 4 to give a highly enjoyable overview of the classic HTV show made for children in 1977. I was a tad too young to catch it the first time around, but managed to get caught up by the time of the recent dvd release and can happily confirm Children Of The Stones remains every bit as powerful as 'they' say it is.
"Writer and comedian Stewart Lee explores the ground breaking television series Children of the Stones and examines its special place in the memories of those children who watched it on its initial transmission in a state of excitement and terror.
In 1977 HTV launched the revolutionary children's television drama telling the story of an astrophysicist and his son who arrive in the village of Milbury to study ancient stones. The residents greet each other with the phrase "Happy day", and the community is held in a strange captivity by the psychic forces generated by the circle of giant Neolithic stones which surround it.
Filmed at Avebury in Wiltshire, it is a strangely atmospheric production with the baleful, discordant wailing voices of the incidental music increasing the tension.
The story, involving a temporal paradox and issues of individuality and community assimilation thematically challenged the after-school audience, which included Stewart Lee.
In this documentary Lee returns to Avebury to discuss the serial's impact, examine its influence on him and explore the history and secrets of the ancient stones. 
1970s kids may have dived behind the sofa during Doctor Who, but it was Children of the Stones that gave them nightmares. The series is frequently cited by those who remember it as one of the scariest things they saw as children.
The programme includes contributions from series co-creator Jeremy Burnham, cast members and fans.

26 September 2012

More Fog Signals

Recommended listening: The Outer Church currently hosts Robin The Fog's rather lovely Foggy Nightshift Mix “to be enjoyed at some point between midnight and 6am" complete with track commentary. The Ghosts Of Bush limited edition vinyl has now sold out, but you can still find the digital version on good ol' Bandcamp.

13 September 2012

The New Radiophonic Workshop

Fantastic news! It appears that The BBC Radiophonic Workshop is back from the dead in a new virtual guise. Can't wait to see what they create. Find out more for yourself by following/getting on the mailing list and so forth:

The Space (click on the "Listen To The Space" link at the top of the page)

I found out all about these developments thanks to this post on Robin The Fog's blog. Whilst you're there, be sure to investigate his The Ghosts Of Bush project, a beautifully atmospheric piece of radiophonics which puts me in mind of Delia Derbyshire's Dreams -  inventions for radio.

10 September 2012

Apocalypse War

Judge Dredd - The Original Adventures: Apocalypse War (1995). The follow up to The Day The Law Died as featured on the Mark Goodier show at the time. This adaptation also includes elements from another classic tale, Block Mania a prologue to Apocalypse War. Once again Maggs fills your ears with wall-to-wall sonic adventure in a way and at a pace no other radio producer seems capable of. The file quality is not as good here I'm afraid - unlike the previous post it's not my rip - but still quite listenable. Get yourself a plate of "delicious" munce, sit back and enjoy... the audio adventure that is, you probably wouldn't enjoy the munce.

All credit to the original uploader: dl

Back To School

5 September 2012

The Day The Law Died

Judge Dredd - The Original Adventures: The Day The Law Died (1995). Another sumptuous OTT audio movie production from Dirk Maggs. Read all about the production of both series one and two here.

dl1 & dl2

3 September 2012

Age of Steampunk

This week's listening recommendations are once again twofold:

An Herr Döktor original, earlier.

"If you've ever encountered a person with flying goggles, clad in tweeds and clutching a mahogany laptop or brass smartphone on a chain, what's the explanation? Phill Jupitus steps into an era where the 19th and 21st centuries charmingly collide, to investigate the time travelling cult known as Steampunk.
Travelling back to the steam-powered future, Phill discovers a cast of modern characters - engineers, scientists, writers, artists and inventors - taking their inspiration from the Victorian and Edwardian arts and sciences, and from the fiction of H.G. Wells.
"It's still the early twenty-first century. The Victorian world, the Edwardian world carried on", explains Ian Crichton aka Herr Doktor amongst an array of fantastical homemade devices: digital camera modified with rivets, brass-etched ray gun, steam pistol and a space helmet like that worn by Lionel Jeffries in The First Men on The Moon. "We've got steam-powered cars on the streets. We've got huge dirigibles flying to Japan".
Steampunk speculates on an imaginary overlap between the 19th century and the present day. Phill investigates at a Steampunk convivial, The Houses of Parliament, on an x-ray ward, at a punk gig and in a shed in suburban Surrey.
You can catch up with a couple more of Mr Jupitus' exceedingly interesting past radio programmes via this very blog, here and here.

Ever since reading Ellis Peters' Cadfael stories and seeing Sean Connery in Umberto Eco's The Name Of The Rose I've always been rather partial to period crime/mystery tales set in and around monasteries. After all they do seem to make for the perfect setting for a good whodunnit peppered with eccentric characters and plenty of intrigue. The new serial in the 15 Minute Drama slot sounds like it could turn out be something worth sticking with for the next two weeks.

"London, 1537. As he plots to bring down the Abbeys, Thomas Cromwell sends his trusted lawyer-detective, Matthew Shardlake, to investigate the murder of a King's Commissioner in a monastery on the south coast of Kent. Which of the terrified monks is the murderer - and can Shardlake catch him before he strikes again? C J Sansom's bestselling Tudor crime novel, adapted for radio by Colin MacDonald.

2 September 2012

Judge Dredd Pinball

Dateline: 2105
Location: Mega-City 1, Sector 44
Nickname: The Core
Square Miles: 320
Population: 50 Million
Pop. Density: 156,00/Sq. Mile
Law Enforcement: THE JUDGES

31 August 2012

My Life As A Dalek

From the murky depths of the Ripping Yarns t_ape archive comes My Life As A Dalek, just in time to mark the fascistic pepper-pots triumphant return to our screens this weekend. This half hour programme was originally broadcast in 2003, towards the end of the Doctor Who dark ages. It's all a bit of a luvvie-in and quite right too.
"Mark Gatiss peeks below the skirts of Dr Who's most feared adversary to celebrate their 40-year reign of galactic tea-time terror. It is an affectionate tribute on the 40th anniversary of the first appearance of the Daleks, Dr Who's celebrated pepper-pot adversaries.

Mark talks to the many men and women who donned the tin headgear and those who created and styled the arch-enemy of the man from Gallifrey. My Life As A Dalek traces their history. Mark hears from actors, designers, creators, fans and enemies of the Daleks who reveal inside stories about their monstrous appearances from the planet Skaro.

Ridley Scott was originally commissioned to design the Dalek but he turned the job down and went on to become a blockbuster film director. Writer Terry Nation's original notion was to see the Daleks as "futuristic slave traders" crossing the galaxy and capturing other creatures to act as their agents.

Roy Skelton was the voice of the Daleks for 20 years and employed numerous radiophonic tricks to make the "exterminate" the perfect grating cry.

Producer Verity Lambert talks about the moment when BBC executives nearly turned the Dalek design down on the grounds that it was "just another bug-eyed monster" and sci-fi writer Kim Newman talks about its fascist overtones.

There are interviews with actors Terry Malloy who played the role of Davros, Dalek operators John Scott-Martin and Cy Town, Frazer Hines, Alexei Sayle and Rula Lenska.

29 August 2012

The Lost Episodes

Archive On 4: Doctor Who, The Lost Episodes. "Shaun Ley investigates what happened to 108 missing episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s, why the tapes were wiped and how dedicated fans hunted down copies of other episodes in film collections from Cyprus to New Zealand. And while we may have lost those early programmes, Shaun hears how home recordings ensured all the audio survived." 

This fascinating radio feature includes interviews and conversations with '60's era Doctor's assistants Peter Purves, Pauline Collins and composer/sound designer/Radiophonic Workshop archivist Mark Ayres amongst other familiar voices.

26 August 2012

"There can be no great accomplishment without risk."

Neil Alden Armstrong (1930 - 2012)

Do your blood pressure a good turn and please refrain clicking on all that pathetic "faked moon landing" conspiracy nonsense linking from this clip.

19 August 2012

The Bermuda Triangle Incident

The Bermuda Triangle Incident is an X-Files era boys own adventure story. It's about an incident that takes place in the... where was it again? Not saying any more, wouldn't want to spoil it. Written by Doctor Who script writer/editor and popular childrens author in his own right, Terrance Dicks. I recall being in quarantine with the chicken pox and whiling away the hours with a stack of Terrance Dicks' Target Doctor Who novelizations from the library. Good times, if more than a little itchy. 

This post comes courtesy long-time friend of the blog Herr Döktor, who sent this audio-book my way for the ripping thereof.

15 August 2012

Harry Harrison's The Technicolor Time Machine

Very sad to read of the passing of yet another SF hero today, but what a fantastic and enjoyable body of work he has left us. As a young reader I loved such stories as The Men From P.I.G and R.O.B.O.T, Bill The Galactic Hero and of course Slippery Jim DiGriz aka The Stainless Steel Rat. Currently on the "to read" shelf I've a copy of Harrison's A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! (aka Tunnel Through The Deeps) a steampunk/alt. history novel published a good 20 years or so before the sub-genre was first pigeonholed.

Technicolor Time Machine cover art by the great Bruce Pennington

The Saturday Play: The Technicolour Time Machine (1981). Harry Harrison's fun tale of desperate movie moguls, airheaded Hollywood starlets, brawny Vikings and the time machine that brings them all together.

All credit to the original uploader. dl

You can also listen to the rather excellent, BBC Radiophonic LP version of Bill The Galactic Hero here.

14 August 2012

A Sound British Adventure

This week's listening recommendations are twofold:

1:A Sound British Adventure.

"Comedian Stewart Lee is passionate about electronic music and he takes us on a remarkable musical journey. We discover how, after the Second World War, a small group of electronic pioneers began tinkering with their army surplus kit to create new sounds and music.
Tristram Cary started the first electronic music studio in Britain but, while France, Germany, Italy and the USA had lavishly funded research centres, British electronic music remained the preserve of boffins on a budget.
As the programme reveals, this make do and mend approach prevailed long after austerity Britain had given way to the swinging 60s, with Peter Zinovieff developing EMS synthesizers from a shed at the bottom of his garden in Putney. (Paul McCartney put on his wellies and took a look). Zinovieff is interviewed about his experiments in sound.
Unsurprisingly, the electronic community in Britain was a small, intimate group and joining Cary and Zinovieff was Daphne Oram, who devoted decades to developing a 'drawn sound' electronic composition system that never really quite worked.
Brian Hodgson tells us about 1960s experimental and electronic festivals, including The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave (1967) at which The Beatles' electronic piece Carnival Of Light had its only public airing. We shall also hear how the radiophonic workshop broke new musical ground with Dr. Who.
Experts in the history of electronic music, including author and musician Mark Ayres and Goldsmith College lecturer in computer studies Dr. Michael Grierson give the boffins' view and Portishead's Adrian Utley explains why the early forays in electronics are still relevant today.

2:Book at Bedtime: The Greatcoat.

"A new ghost story from Helen Dunmore set during and after the Second World War, about the power of the past to imprint itself on the present, and possess it.