Saturday 29 September 2018


Album cover from 1970

(Almost) away from questions of bias...

BBC Radio 3 has been building up all week to a BBC Symphony Orchestra performance tonight of Holst's The Planets, first performed 100 years ago this very day.

Now, please guess (if you want to) just who BBC Radio 3 has invited to guest host the performance tonight?

Go on, go on, go on, have a guess!...

(Clue: It's surely the choice you'd expect the predictable BBC to make if it's a classical piece vaguely connected to 'space' and 'planets', even if the piece is actually far more astrology than astronomy - not that that's the kind of thing that would bother the BBC! - and even if the presenter in question is far more closely associated with Blairite pop music).

So it's surely got to be?...

Further Clue: His name is an anagram of 'Cox Brian'.)

Personal blogger moment:

While other late 80s teenagers were cheerfully singing along to Kylie and the rappy disco stuff emerging at the time I, having joyously enjoyed the Golden Era of Pop Music (1981-1986), was now disenchanted with pop and clinging on to Holst's The Planets instead

That, along with Copland's Appalachian Spring, Chopin's Etudes Op. 10 and Bach's Happy Chappy Clavier (played on a harpsichord by Wanda Landowska - and broadcast on Radio 3 before 7am, when every other '80s student was asleep) - was the very thing which really hooked me on classical music.

But, yes, it was The Planets, beyond all of those, that particularly obsessed me at university, long, long ago. I'd write endless pieces of coursework to The Planets, only pausing to rewind my cassette tape back to the beginning every fifty minutes or so. It was my muse. I'm sure I listened to the piece well over a hundred times over a year.

And I still like it. And it still never grows stale for me.

And this was the very version I kept listening to. It was performed by my Morecambe friend Eric's musical accomplice Andrew Preview and a non-BBC London orchestra...

...and it still sounds worth listening too at least a hundred times more:


  1. I guessed wrong! I thought it was going to be Maggie Aderin-Pocock - the Sky at Night presenter...that would surely have earned more PC points!

    The Planets suite was great but Holst never really climbed any other summits did he? I think his contemporary Sibelius is way ahead in the breadth of his achievement.

    BTW I really hate the way the BBC racialise sport and music - things that used to be simple pleasures where you'd listen to something as music with out a thought about the racial origin of the performer. But now the BBC want us to think about race before music. It's horrible what they are doing to our culture.

    Which reminds me...we've had a whole week of bogus extremo-feminist "Women in Music" nonsense from the 100 and all that...of course they couldn't leave it to the public in case Suzy Quatro came top followed closely by Mariah Carey... all a load of mendacious nonsense. There really has been nothing in the way of women succeeding at music...some of our greatest pop songs have come from female writers like Carole King... I noted that the BBC were promoting some horrendous extremo-feminist who wants to police festivals and bring in legislation requiring there to be an exactly equal number of performers from the male and female genders (hmmm...what about the TGs?)...When this came up, no one asked how are you going to define performer? Backing singers? Dancers? Gospel choir? If not, why are you being so elitist about these supporting artistes?

    The BBC are officially insane.

  2. Craig! Everyone knows the Golden Era of Pop was the 60s. FACT!!

    1. Agreed! That's a FACT which has been checked by the Anti-BBC Fact Checking Trust and found to be 100% true.
      If anyone wants to put up a song against Strawberry Fields or Whiter Shade of Pale, make my day...

  3. I don't think there is such a thing as a pop decade, most fads only last five years at the most. Perhaps it is related to how long people are teenagers?

    1. Some remain teenagers for ever.
      Look at the Labour Conference.......


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