Monday, 14 December 2015

Pop pioneer and radio queen: Ruth Barnes

Broadcaster Ruth Barnes is a certified selector. After a career spent largely in music radio – she knows how to pick a tracklist. With an all-female playlist on her Amazing Radio show The Other Woman and through work with everyone from BBC 6Music to Resonance FM, Ruth has adeptly curated choice cuts for years.

She’s achieved an absolute shedload – working as a continuity announcer for BBC One and Two, voicing long reads for the Guardian and Economist and creating documentaries for Radio 4. She’s also worked hard to further the cause of women in the male-dominated radio industry. The Independent described her as a "pop pioneer who knows what women want".

Over a pint of Guinness, she talks women in radio, her most interesting interviewees and what she wants to do next. And all with a special guest – her daughter Roisin! Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Acast or stream it on Mixcloud.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Musician and designer: Rob Yunioshi

As the frontman of caketronica starlets Yunioshi, Mr Rob Garner has toured everywhere from festivals in Canada and Iceland to local gigs when he's been living in Nottingham or London, where he's from.  

A designer by day and an axe wielder by night, he's also played in other bands including Spaceships are Cool and the ridiculously weird Revenge of Calculon. I was very happy to host him on the podcast as his love of music has massively influenced me and his eclectic choices don't disappoint!  Hear him talk schoolyard rapping and reveal something rather surprising about his nan's taste in music.  (Extra bonus: Some rather special guests). Download the podcast or iTunes by typing in Desert Isolation Discs or stream it on Mixcloud here.

Alex welcomes Rob to the hi-tech home studio (inc dinner tray)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Radio station head honcho and DJ: Gordon Mac

Gordon Mac (Photo by Scott Miller)
Gordon 'Mac' McNamee has played a crucial role in the way the UK has consumed soulful music - from reggae to house - over the last four decades. As founder of Kiss FM, he - along with the likes of Norman Jay, Trevor Nelson and Paul 'Trouble' Anderson - helped bring black music to London's rapidly evolving 80s club scene. He took the pirate station on to FM and continued to manage it when taken over by Emap. 

Now at the helm of new station Mi Soul - which has just landed on DAB radio - Mac retains the relentless passion and unique humour which trademarked his most triumphant years. 

Whether it's playing out at the Margate Soul Weekend or getting behind the decks of Mastermind's sound system at Carnival, he's still got it. Here he talks me through his life - from hearing Valerie Singleton swear and the euphoric atmosphere at the pirate station to coping with managing creatives and bosses and his subsequent years away from the limelight. A true gent and a gleeful music fan, this is one to give a spin. Stream below or download and subscribe as a podcast here

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The People's Champion: Journalist Simon Read

Hair-raising: Simon Read in younger days
Simon Read is one of a kind: comfortable sipping Sidecars and talking shop or banging in the goals on a pre-season European footy tour. Known as The People's Champion, he's the fire fighter of personal finance - solving the problems of his readers in The Independent and Evening Standard.

The sunglasses-touting journalist boasts a lengthy career in national newspapers and has also appeared on a raft of radio and TV programmes as an expert guest. An ardent Chelsea supporter, Southender-turned west Londoner and, above all, a massive music fan. Sit back and enjoy his anecdotes. Download the podcast here or stream it below. 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Author, professor and photographer: Teal Triggs

As author of Fanzines: The DIY RevolutionTeal Triggs has been on the Desert Isolation Discs wish list for some time. Her study of publishing's finest form is an excellent examination of their loudmouth birth (titles includes Crap Hound and Beer Can Fanzine) and cultural influence. The American living in London has enjoyed a lengthy career as first a photographer and then an academic, teaching graphic design.

Meeting up at the Royal College of Art in Kensington, Teal talks me through the eight songs still in her suitcase, explains why she's not a typical Texan and reveals which zine she couldn't live without. Stream below or subscribe to the podcast here

Monday, 16 March 2015

BBC 6 Music producer, lecturer and DJ: Tom Whalley

Mr Tom Whalley is used to making difficult choices where music is concerned. As producer of The Huey Show, fronted by Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin' Criminals, on BBC Radio 6 Music, Nottingham's finest flatcap wearer is a master selector. A London resident, he is also known for lecturing in radio at the University of Westminster, tutoring for youth station Reprezent 107.3FM and co-founding his record label, Hello Thor.  His masterful features - including the eponymous Where's Whalley? - which made his name at BBC Radio Nottingham and the Not in Nottingham podcast have also caught the ear. 

Here Tom talks us through the eight tunes he couldn't live without, explains the allure of lycra wearing and handles some surprise interruptions. Stream the show via Mixcloud below, download it here and subscribe to the podcast here or by typing 'shadowplayboys' into iTunes or equivalent.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Journalist, recipe developer and hat enthusiast: Liz O'Keefe

The Hats of Liz O'Keefe is a musical that has never been written. But it if had, it would've doubtless have gone a little like this. This show has the variety to switch from Trilby chic to peak cap capriciousness. Which of course means nothing. But  here, in typically colourful manner Liz discusses the records that influenced her and, more importantly, made her dance around. She is a fresh produce journalist supreme, a trained chef and recipe developer. A Worcester native, she now lives in leafy north London.

With only one slight snag, we got drunk. Yes, contained within is a combination of carefully considered musical chat and a couple of cheeky boozehounds sampling the delights of Kilburn. The result is either a charming collection of banter or, um, two annoying drunkards. Stream the show via Mixcloud below, download it here and subscribe to the podcast by typing 'shadowplayboys' into iTunes or equivalent.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Music critic and musician Everett True

Jerry Thackray, or rather his pen name Everett True, is a name synonymous with quality music journalism and rock'n'roll spirit. The Chelmsford-born music journalist's life is a stream of guitar music's biggest names from performing the first single released by Alan McGee's Creation to pushing Kurt Cobain - whom he is rumoured to have introduced to Courtney Love - on stage in a wheelchair before Nirvana's seminal 1992 Reading Festival performance. 

Jerry and Kurt Cobain, Reading
His ability to weave leftfield yarns into interviews or reviews - in his fanzine and the NME to Melody Maker and The Guardian - have given his work a unique and ever-engaging style. He's written books on numerous bands including Nirvana, The White Stripes and the Ramones. With Careless Talk Costs Lives and later Plan B magazines he gave over meaty space to cult bands and emerging heroes. He now lives in Australia with his wife and three children, teaches and writes for his excellent website

Here, he picks the eight tunes he couldn't live without when thrust into the lonesome desert and talks me through his early years, the changing face of music journalism, why he was sacked from NME, his relationship with Nirvana and which bands he has started fights over. Stream the show here or download it as a podcast here and subscribe to the podcast by typing 'shadowplayboys' into iTunes or equivalent.