Sunday, 7 September 2008
Maps and Music: Why Stuart Maconie is Better Than Musical Sat Nav
The other week there as a bit of a sat nav spat over the quality of sat nav mapping compared to Ordnance Survey maps. Apparently sat nav, is a bit poor when it comes to taking in the full richness of the environment you are passing through and I must say, I think they had a point. I am one for the meandering path with many an interesting diversion on route, rather than the crow-fly route that considers anything other than the direct path, a distraction.
Since the demise of Andy Kershaw, I had, until recently, been a bit lost in the 'off the beaten track' areas of the musical world. Radio 2 and most of the commercial music world is much like sat nav - it takes you along the safe well trodden paths. Then I started to listen to the Radcliffe and Maconie show each evening and discovered a witty mix of banter and music that, whilst staying pretty much on the A and B roads, does take the odd detour. This was promising.
Then I discovered Maconie's BBC 6 Music show The Freak Zone. I have found my Cedric Robinson to guide me through the Morecambe Bay of music's rarely explored regions. What is great though, is that some of the places McConie takes you are places you had been before but forgotten about. A bit like St Ives in Cornwall: you went there as a kid but only discovered its true delights many years later when you returned for a mucky weekend as an adult.
This weekend for example - not that it was a mucky one - we went from a Stan Tracey track I had never heard: Starless and Bible Black to the track of the same name I hadn't heard in years by King Crimson. Both left me breathless and wanting to dig out the whole King Crimson collection from under the stairs (something that really would require me to get my breath back before attempting). And then there was an unmentioned link between a fabulous Brian Eno track and King Crimson - my first guitar hero Robert Fripp, played with both of them.
So, my musical life is once again whole, I can enjoy a weekly musical journey into unfamiliar reaches without the need for a degree in musical geography to prevent me getting lost. Thank you Stuart Maconie.