Tag Archives: #radio

Hear Here 6: World Radio Day

I’ve discovered February 13th is World Radio Day, and I’d like to celebrate a medium that has been a lifelong friend, an ever present companion, and a source of connection between millions around the world. Radio has certainly shaped and influenced my life from a very young age, so in honour of this, I’d like to share some of my personal radio memories.

My earliest recollection is the sound of music emanating from the family “radiogram”, a wooden piece of furniture standing on four legs, with a built in radio receiver and a record player cabinet.  I distinctly remember hearing Tony Blackburn’s voice and “Arnold” the barking dog on Radio 1, and I’ve loved Tony ever since. Radio Luxembourg a pirate station had a regular bingo broadcast which my mammy listened to? I thought this was a rogue piece of imagination on my part, but my husband (a pirate radio buff himself) assures me this did happen! This would have been around 1971-73 before commercial radio began in the UK.

When the commercial Radio Clyde was born on 31st December 1973 broadcasting to Glasgow and West Central Scotland, my radio experience grew, especially when a tape recorder machine and small microphone were purchased not long after. Before a year had passed, and I still hadn’t started school, I had graduated from being the Hogmanay DJ playing records, to an adept “radio producer” creating tapes of music and chat for a beloved uncle in Australia. Mammy’s record collection was my main source of material, and I practiced hard, because birthday requests for Uncle Harry were sent to Radio Clyde and I was responsible for recording the greetings. Many years were spent listening to Frank Skerritt and Sydney Devine Saturday morning shows, capturing these missives, so the tape could be sent to Australia in time for 11th November. So long before January 1975 when I turned five years old, I was well accustomed to having headphones on, listening to the radio voices and capturing big moments.

Aged around 7 I got my very own radio cassette recorder machine inherited from a work colleague of my Dad’s, as he was upgrading his music system. The radio had a short-wave band, a new encounter, which literally opened up the world for me to explore from my bedroom in a small Scottish village. Turning the dial slowly, different music styles and foreign voices speaking unknown languages would come through between areas of static noise and interference. Then people with beautiful English and the hint of an accent were discovered, and I was introduced to the English language broadcasts from several countries around the world, predominantly Europe. The Cold War between West and East European ideologies was at its height, and so the likes of Radio Moscow and Radio Tirana could easily be picked up loud and proud. I know they had an agenda (who doesn’t if we are honest) but hearing such a different approach to the news was a real eye opener to my younger self. It broadened my mind to other cultures with different ideas, and made me realise that despite the differences, we were all essentially the same.

I recall searching for the American Forces Network broadcasts of baseball matches to service personnel based in Europe. Something about Friday night’s listening to a game springs to mind, even though I didn’t fully understand the terminology of the sport. For over a decade, an hour was spent with Radio Moscow’s English program early on Saturday mornings. Sunday afternoons, before the Top 40 show and after attending my Baptist Sunday School, were spent in the company of Vatican Radio’s Latin Mass. The ultimate blend of Ying & Yang, West verses East, Protestant verses Catholic, and emblematic of my refusal to be stereotyped in any way.

I kept a radio logbook which alas disappeared years ago, but when I met my husband, I delighted in seeing his radio memorabilia instead. He had also been an avid listener as a child/teenager and we discovered a shared love for short-wave radio. Over the years we have bought some very nice SW radios with ever greater range capabilities. To this day, and I’m fifty years old now, I’ve never lost that wondrous thrill I experienced as a seven year old, on hearing something different from an unexpected distant place.

Sadly, especially in the last decade, my SW radio hobby has got harder to sustain. Many SW stations have ceased broadcasting completely, and the internet age seems to have created a nightmare listening scenario, with household Wi-Fi connections causing hideous interference. Living in a ground floor flat probably exacerbates this problem, even though we don’t have an internet home connection ourselves. Before widespread personal internet connectivity and mobile phone use, my handheld SW radios could provide excellent to moderately interfered sound quality, making the listening experience enjoyable. Just switching them on today finds your ears assaulted by white noise that seems almost impenetrable, however hard you try and tune into a station. Going 21stC I’ve discovered a mobile app called Radio Garden that allows you to find radio stations worldwide. This has soothed my aching heart a little, although they are regular broadcast outputs, rather than the distinct programs made for a global audience that SW radio specialised in.

For the last 16 years I’ve been involved in hospital radio and enjoy the freedom to play a wide and varied selection of music. Many of the UK’s domestic radio stations seem to be networked these days, and the music output in particular seems to be quite formulaic as a result. Hospital radio provides a unique environment to communicate with and entertain patients, and the limits are defined by your music collection sources and the presenter’s imagination. In a way, this platform has enabled me to return to my childhood radio roots.

         Celebrating World Radio Day. Image credit abmj

Off The Beaten Track 6

BBC Radio 4 has a morning Book of the Week slot on week days, it’s not my usual listen, but due to intriguing descriptions in the Radio Times I’ve recently tuned in.  I’ve been enthralled by the stories concerning two remarkable women, one trying to escape Nazi occupied France, the other honestly chronicling the effects of living with early onset Alzheimer’s. Both have deeply touched me and I will definitely be buying the books, although I admit that the subject matter are areas I would normally shy away from, finding them upsetting to think about. But the indomitable spirit of both these women shone through the readings, and I found myself eagerly awaiting the next episode, in a kind of “wondering way”. Those ten 15 minute slots taught me more about life, survival, history and compassion than anything I’ve seen on TV.  The books are as follows:

NO PLACE TO LAY ONE’S HEAD Francoise Frenkell (Pushkin Press, £16.99)

My interest was caught when the Radio Times commented the book was initially published in Geneva 1945, and then seemingly forgotten until discovered in a French attic in 2010. A second edition was issued in French and now an English translation has been made. A firsthand account of a Jewish woman’s survival and escape from the Nazi’s in France, printed perhaps in the first few weeks of Europe peacetime in 1945, and then untouched until re-discovered in a modern day world.  Wow!

Frenkell came from a Polish Jewish family, was highly educated to degree level (I believe) having studied in Paris, and ended up opening a French bookshop in Berlin on discovering no such facility existed. Her clientele was illustrious, business brisk and successful and the future looked bright in early 1930s Berlin. Then the rule of Hitler and the effect of his policies kicked in. I listened as her beloved bookshop managed to avoid destruction as it wasn’t on an official destroy list. How she had to leave it behind and flee in the night, traversing through Europe from city to city, always somehow avoiding major crackdowns, or invasion, by a matter of days. Her skirmishes with authority and her escape attempts to reach Switzerland, finally successful. Frenkell’s words seem to be beautifully translated into an eloquent yet matter of fact way, and I listened with my “heart in my mouth” most of the time. I punched the air when her escape was successful and breathed a sigh of relief. My overall feeling was one of admiration for Francoise and her determined nature to survive in an intolerable society. But there was anger as well at the same society for its blinkered rule of law. It seemed to conveniently ignore, no doubt because of her Jewish ethnicity,  the fact Frenkell had all the necessary documentation (residency papers, visa) to live peacefully in France and to travel with ease to Switzerland.  My listening ended with Francoise setting foot in Switzerland where she survived the war to write her memoir, about her life before Nazi rule in Europe and her escape from it. The French publishing company Gallimard discovered Frenkell passed away in Nice in 1975 at the ripe age of 86 but could find no relatives.

SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW Wendy Mitchell (Bloomsbury £9.99)

My listening journey with Wendy began with her describing a “fog in her head” and inexplicable falls whilst she was out running. Doctors suggested she could have had a stroke, having discovered a heart condition that was fixed through surgery. The fog continued and eventually a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s was made after a seemingly painfully slow series of visits with health clinicians. Her description of looking at online videos of people living with the condition was searing, the initial thought of “but these are old people nearing the end of their lives” before finding one of a man in his late 50s like herself, who described his experiences in a mirror like fashion to her own.

Wendy worked as a NHS administrator known for her powers of recall and organisation skills. Slowly she had become aware that her grasp on things wasn’t the same. When she told management of her diagnosis the only thing offered was early retirement, there was no procedure to try and enable her to work within her remaining mental capabilities, which were still considerable. Her co-workers brilliantly rallied around to make tasks less stressful and more easy to deal with, enabling Wendy to continue in her job as long as possible. With unexpected early retirement foisted upon her Wendy decided to use her time attending conferences, doing speaking engagements and becoming a leading advocate for those living with Alzheimer’s & Dementia. Through this work she hopes to educate people to have a better understanding of the condition. I was certainly educated as I listened to excerpts from Mitchell’s book. Hearing how familiar things can suddenly seem strange and confusing, city living becoming too noisy to deal with, the use of technology to help try and trick her condition, the coping strategies Wendy uses to deal with the sudden onset of panic. It was illuminating to literally “see the world through Wendy’s eyes” and to hear how her condition is slowly taking over her mind. Her articulation is heartfelt, honest and at times perhaps unconsciously funny with a wry humour, like her wonderment at experiencing a gliding session and how quiet the flight was, whilst knowing she wouldn’t remember a thing about the safety video if disaster struck. The realisation “if you don’t use it you will lose it” after taking a three week break from her work and finding the computer keyboard incomprehensible for a few hours. How the person she is today is someone she doesn’t really recognise anymore, yet for the joys she has lost (like TV shows, long novels, cooking) an appreciation for new joys (short stories, poetry, old familiar films). I shared Mitchell’s sadness and resigned acceptance when her extra income from government support was removed, having been deemed fit enough to function on a daily basis.  Much of the “medical tests” used depended on the person remembering how they were before, a ludicrous concept when you consider the nature of an Alzheimer’s condition. Wendy’s resilience and determination to live life to the full for as long as possible was utterly compelling. Once again I had found a woman living in a difficult situation, making the best of it and triumphing in a way against the odds. Somehow both Francoise and Wendy made me feel empowered too.

In closing, I will mention a book that has been on my bookshelf since 2001. It’s called HAPPY TIMES by Lee Radziwill (sister of Jackie Kennedy Onassis). I read about it in a Sunday newspaper supplement, and asked my husband to look for it in America when he visited a few weeks later. There is little dialogue in it and is mainly a gorgeous photo book, rather like a family album. I’ve delved into it many a time, but only really read the dialogue this week. I’ve been happily updating my photo album with recent activity pictures, and from Wendy Mitchell’s book there is a strong element of how important photo’s can be for memories. We live in such uncertain times; I’ve chosen to look for the joy in things as much as possible. Photography is a passion and a joy, and my husband suggested I look at Happy Times again and actually read it. A quote in the introduction says it all for me: “I believe that without memories there is no life, and that our memories should be of happy times. That’s my choice”.

Summer Festival at Radio Leighton

7.37-8.37pm: Duration 1hr 1m 17s

My show includes a musical reference related to a major news item, three birthday artists spanning a wide range of music genres, a new song from Neil Diamond’s latest album Melody Road and a current top ten hit from the UK charts.



Linking Lyrics Theme: Pluto (news)


Rarity Record of the Week: 3. TORNADOS with TRIP TO PLUTO

The New Horizons mission successfully made a fly past Pluto at lunchtime on Tuesday 14th July. The close encounter with the dwarf planet came within about 8000 miles of Pluto’s surface as New Horizons hurtled past at approximately 31,000 mph. The first message sent back from the craft took 4 hrs 25 mins to traverse 4.7 billion kilometres of space. The arrival of this data indicated that the New Horizons craft had survived the encounter intact. Other mission data will take even longer to arrive as New Horizons continues its journey away from Pluto. New Horizons is the fastest craft to have left the Earth’s orbit and has travelled the furthest distance across space.

Birthday: Professor DAME JOCELYN BELL BURNELL astronomer & astrophysicist 72

  2. NEIL DIAMOND with (OOO) DO I WANNA BE YOURS (from new album Melody Road)

Birthday: TREVOR HORN 66 record producer-co-writer, vocalist, percussionist for…


Birthday: LINDA RONSTADT 69 country singer


Birthday: JULIAN BREAM 82 guitarist & lute player

  2. BIRDY with WINGS (UK chart no. 8 on 12th July 2015)

You can listen to the show here: https://soundcloud.com/angies_allsorts/summer-festival-radio-leighton

Off The Beaten Track 5: FA Carlsberg Trophy Final 2015

On Sunday March 29th at 1330 North Ferriby United faced Wrexham on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium to contest the FA Carlsberg Trophy final. Both teams started brightly but Wrexham quickly imposed their league supremacy, when Louis Moult opened the score line in the eleventh minute. From what I could ascertain from the BBC Radio Wales commentary, Wrexham remained dominant at least until half time with the score remaining at 0-1. The game appeared to be beyond North Ferriby’s reach when Jay Harris scored on 59 minutes, or at least that was the impression given by the Radio Wales commentary team who implied Wrexham were in “cruise control”. However, that did not take into account the heart and guts displayed by the “little men” from the East Ridings of Yorkshire.

The critical point of the game seems to have been the 72nd minute substitution of Dean Keates the Wrexham captain, when my audio feed began to describe the Welsh side as disappearing! North Ferriby Utd also seemed to have altered their formation to 4-4-2 compared to Wrexham’s 4-3-3. Suddenly the two front men for North Ferriby were causing trouble and Wrexham were struggling without a natural sitting midfielder, as all three on the pitch were inclined to go forward. Under this resurgence North Ferriby forced Wrexham’s keeper Coughlin to concede a penalty and captain Liam King slotted home to bring his team back into the game. It was now 1-2 with 76 minutes on the clock. With new found confidence North Ferriby (known as The Villagers) put increasing pressure on their opponents and were rewarded, when substitute Ryan Kendall scored to equalise four minutes from time. At 90 minutes the score was 2-2 with four added minutes on the clock. North Ferriby still pressing hard could have pulled off another goal to seal victory before regulation time was called, when Clarke’s last gasp effort produced a fantastic over the bar save from Coughlin. This ended a catastrophic fifteen minute period for Wrexham where they failed to peg back their opponents. At the 90+ minute boos rang out from the Wrexham fans end of the stadium.


I wondered if the better fitness of the Wrexham team (known as The Dragons) would play a part in extra time, especially with the Welshmen having fresher players on the pitch. And although The Villagers appeared to be dead on their feet they kept running none the less. Wrexham’s right-back Steve Tomassen had no real support from the second half onwards, and endured a particularly torrid time from the pace of Jason St Juste. It was from this area that St Juste supplied the cross into the box for Kendall to head in North Ferriby’s third goal. A bit of a fluke with the ball having taken a wicked deflection, but a downward glancing header from Kendall ensured Coughlin picked the ball out of The Dragons net. For the first time North Ferriby were in the lead at 3-2 on 101 minutes. Just before the first fifteen minutes were indicated, Wrexham’s Manny Smith just missed connecting with a toe poke to equalise. Despite coming agonisingly close to scoring Wrexham fans once again indicated their displeasure at the team.

During the second period North Ferriby heroically soaked up the pressure from Wrexham who had all their team in the opposition half for much of the time, with as many as seven players in the box at one point. The Villagers Nathan Peat cleared off the line and Danny Hone put in a brave sliding tackle just before Wrexham’s Bishop pulled the trigger. It was inevitable though that this Welsh onslaught could not be repelled forever. On 118 minutes a vicious half volley from Louis Moult gave Wrexham an equaliser to make the game at 3-3 after 120+ minutes.


Here is a breakdown of how the penalty shootout panned out with each team having to take SEVEN penalties to find the winner. Which keeper would turn out to be the hero of the hour Wrexham’s Andy Coughlin or North Ferriby’s Adam Nicklin?

North Ferriby went first.                                 Wrexham went second

Liam King SCORED 1-0                                    Wes York SCORED 1-1

Nathan Jarman SCORED 2-1                        Andy Bishop SCORED 2-2

Ryan Kendall SCORED 3-2                             Conor Jennings SAVED 3-2

Jason St Juste SAVED 3-2                               Neil Ashton SAVED 3-2

Tom Denton SAVED 3-2                                   Louis Moult SCORED 3-3

Matt Wilson SCORED 4-3                              Blaine Hudson SCORED 4-4

Nathan Peat SCORED 5-4                              Steve Tomassen SAVED 5-4

FA TROPHY WINNER North Ferriby United: 0-1 ht; 2-2 ft; 3-3 aet; 5-4 pens.

Going into this match North Ferriby were in ninth position in the Conference North Division and Wrexham fifteenth in the Conference Premiership Division. Never before until now had a Conference North side beaten a Conference Premier one. North Ferriby certainly punched way above their weight but deservedly won the trophy. It was Wrexham’s accolade for the taking but they inexplicably conceded their advantage.

North Ferriby is a community in the Kingston-upon-Hull area with a population of just under 4000. No doubt many of them were in the 14585 crowd at Wembley where they witnessed a dream come true. I’m sure Jason St Juste was happy to live the dream and receive a winner’s medal, having given up the opportunity of representing St Kitts & Nevis in an international qualifier against Turks and Caicos Islands, to appear at Wembley.

I heard all the action unfold using a battery operated analogue AM radio because I was out of range for the Welsh DAB radio service, and I had no reception for my phone so was unable to use the BBC Radio player app. Thank goodness for old technology, as it was certainly an unforgettable experience listening to the commentary as The Villagers won the FA Carlsberg Trophy. Well done lads and many congratulations on your wonderful achievement.


21st May 2014 Leighton Hospital Radio Studio

This is the second (and final) instalment of my Leighton Live Virtual Concerts featuring artists I have had the good fortune to see on stage at least once. There is an exception to this statement but the anomaly will be rectified after May 29th this year. Find out who topped the bill at Wembley the night the pop world was rocked by a tragic loss, which song convinced my fellow concert goers I was fluent in a foreign language, and who allowed me to say a private farewell to a dear friend. So welcome to the show…..

Playlist Leighton Live Part 2

1. CHER with BELIEVE (Birthday Jukebox artist 20/05/46-68 yrs)– ever since I heard Sonny & Cher singing I Got You Babe on a 45rpm record in my Mammy’s collection, I have loved Cher’s voice. Her song Believe with its electronic voice manipulation was both innovative, brilliant and showed how Cher had truly moved with the times. She was one of the artists on a “must-see” list my husband and I made many years ago.
2. KEANE with EVERYBODY’S CHANGING-Tom Chaplin’s soulful voice singing amazing lyrics and the wonderful musicianship in this first Keane album made it stand out. The group’s sound has changed over the years, and not quite to my taste, but the fresh breath taking quality of the Hopes & Fears album will always stay with me.
3. JEAN-MICHEL JARRE with RENDEZ-VOUS 4-mesmerised by a broadcast on BBC2 (I think) of Jarre’s Rendezvous Houston concert in 1986, where he used the skyline of the city as a canvas for a laser light show. Another amazing TV show came from a London Docklands concert. So when the opportunity came to be part of a concert audience at Wembley on May 22nd 2009 I had to be there. The whole experience was as thrilling and joyful as I had hoped.
4. CELINE DION with IF THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES-Celine sang these beautiful lyrics in French during her concert at the MEN Arena. As soon as the music began I recognised the song as one I had with English words, and I knew them all. So I was happily singing along with Celine when I became aware that people around me were intently listening to my voice. When Celine finished I was about to say “sorry if my rotten singing spoiled that for you, but I couldn’t resist joining in”. However before I got the chance I was thanked for my translation, and told how nice it had been to have a fluent French speaker around so that people were able to understand the meaning of the song!!! I didn’t have the heart to tell them otherwise, but quietly chuckled inside.
5. NEIL DIAMOND with CRACKLIN’ ROSIE-I’ve been very lucky to see this wonderful artist five times, and this song is just a lovely cheery tune guaranteed to put a smile on the face,
6. THE SEEKERS with THE CARNIVAL IS OVER (first time concert May 29th 2014-50th anniversary show)-I can’t wait to see this group who were known to both my Mammy AND my Granny. So a bit of a nostalgia fest is in store I should think.
7. DANIEL O’DONNELL with HOW GREAT THOU ART-my first concert was in 2002 when I got a great photo of Daniel and my Mammy after the show. I didn’t get to another O’Donnell concert until May 8th this year. It was absolutely brilliant, with a bit of dancing, personal chat, fun stories and great singing. At the end Daniel finished with How Great Thou Art, the audience rose to their feet as one and joined him in singing, as the lighting turned the ceiling into a star filled sky. As I sang along with this congregation, I felt able to say a private goodbye to a dear friend whose funeral I wasn’t able to attend the next day. I’d had this song at my Mammy’s funeral and my friend Pastor Archie Ferguson had conducted the service. Because I had booked this concert months in advance, and had promised a Leighton patient a copy of a Daniel O’Donnell photo to cheer her up, I wasn’t able to be in Scotland to say farewell to Archie. This finale to a great show gave me that opportunity.
8. FOSTER & ALLEN with A PLACE IN THE CHOIR-I’ve seen this group twice, and at the second show in Glasgow I heard this song for the first time since I was at my Mammy’s knee. Memories.
9. LULU with TO SIR WITH LOVE-there were two big male influences in my formative years, Archie who passed away on May 1st, and my old maths teacher Mr Brown, sadly no longer with us either. This song is for him.
10. TINA TURNER with I DON’T WANNA FIGHT (written by Lulu and her brother Billy Lawrie)-the lyrics in this song are amazing. The full force of its meaning hit home to me when I saw the theatre show Soul Sister, telling the story of Tina Turner’s life through her music. This particular song spoke to me on so many levels. And Tina was another “must-see” artist who proved during her concert she was “Simply the Best”.
11. ACKER BILK with STRANGER ON THE SHORE-when I had the chance to see this wonderful clarinettist perform at Keele University I just had to attend.
Request: 12. COLDPLAY with FIX YOU-my husband and I heard this group at the SECC in Glasgow. However, neither of us realised that there would be two warm-up acts on before Coldplay, and that there would be long intervals between them. Our seats were placed so high up the stand we were near the roof, and the sheer drop to floor level was a bit nauseating for my husband. Although we were seated before the 7.30pm start time we had to leave the auditorium at 9.15pm. When Coldplay eventually took to the stage at 9.30pm I was cooling down the “fevered brow” of Rob, standing outside the seating area. The acoustics were great and the band sounded just as good as on CD, if not better. But they had finished their set & encore by 10.25 and the whole experience left us feeling a bit put off.
13. MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS with DANCING IN THE STREET-I adore the Motown “Wall of Sound” and never thought I would see such iconic groups live on stage. I was attending a Motown Legend’s show at Wembley Arena on 25th June 2009 when news began filtering through that Michael Jackson had been taken to hospital. I didn’t have a mobile phone with internet connectivity at the time, and didn’t even switch it on at the interval. But all around me there was a palpable change in the mood of the audience, some people insisting they had to go because they were too distraught (I was baffled by this), others crying and many more making frantic calls demanding more news. I was utterly oblivious to any of this and just lapped up the terrific music in the second half. There was reference to little Michael Jackson and his brothers when they recorded on the Motown label, and how thoughts were with them all. So I knew something was amiss in the Jackson world as I left the arena. still buzzing from seeing Martha Reeves belt out her iconic song. As I took the short walk to my hotel I switched on my phone, and it pinged away with texts from my husband telling me the latest news. When I reached the foyer of my hotel, the announcements display was showing the BBC news and the confirmation that Michael Jackson King of Pop was dead.

Every one of these artists has given me enormous pleasure and I thank them all for their talent, energy, enthusiasm and professionalism.

I hope that by sharing some of my musical memories and stories, I’ve helped bring a little joy and sunshine to your day.

Unfortunately my attempt to upload my show to SoundCloud failed this time, but the first part of the show is still there, at https://soundcloud.com/angies_allsorts/leightonlive-part-1-300414. Enjoy!


30th April 2014 Leighton Hospital Radio Studio

Over the last ten years I have always tried to come up with some good ideas for my radio show (Angie’s Allsorts) at Leighton Hospital in Crewe. Recently I’ve been thinking about all the artists I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen live on stage. This gave me the idea of playing a couple of virtual concerts comprising of artists and songs with special meaning to me. The only condition was that I’d seen them in concert at least once, although several have had repeat attendances. For tonight’s show you will discover which musical has a great significance for me, find out the artist I’ve listened to my whole life and seen over 20 times, and see why one song has me beaming with delight when I hear it. So welcome to the show….

Playlist Leighton Live Part 1

1. DAVID ESSEX with BEAUTIFUL DAY-the intro song for my first David Essex concert at the Victoria Hall Hanley in 2006. I went back for more in 2008, and have seen David act on stage as well.

2. BUCKS FIZZ with MAKING YOUR MIND UP (no. 1 in UK from 12/4-2/5 1981). I was delighted to see three of the four original members perform as The Real Bucks Fizz.

3. JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER with JACKIE’S SONG (announced his retiral this week, last concert at Malvern this Friday (May 2nd). With the sudden announcement on Monday regarding Julian’s unfortunate injury (herniated disc in his neck) forcing his retirement I had to play something from the great man. Thankfully I witnessed a mesmerising performance from Julian in 2009 as a birthday treat.

4. WHITNEY HOUSTON with MILLION DOLLAR BILL-the concert was initially cancelled and rearranged due to her suffering a respiratory tract infection. Although nowhere near her prowess of twenty years ago, she still packed a punch, although with a much huskier, deeper, and jazz like voice. Clearly struggling at times the whole audience joined her in singing Greatest Love of All, and the hairs on the back of my neck literally stood on end. A magical memory.

Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is a musical that resonates throughout my life and is very dear to my heart. My first encounter with the concept of such a coat came from my Mammy’s favourite song from Dolly Parton. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing Dolly three times so far, and have a ticket for a show in June. She is clearly a woman of deep faith and my most vivid memory from a Dolly concert was during her Backwoods Barbie Tour. At the end of the show the entire audience rose to their feet to sing/clap and rejoice with Dolly singing Jesus & Gravity. Everyone (with or without a faith) were united in the sheer power and joy that Dolly exuded. It was like being at a spiritualist revival, absolutely amazing. But for my Mammy I’m playing tonight…


I knew about Dolly’s coat, and I learned about Joseph’s coat at Sunday school. Then in the summer of 1981 our finale show at Cleland Primary; (before moving to high school); was Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. We must have been taught well because to this day I know all the music and most of the dialogue we used, so I was more than able to join Jason Donovan singing


Although I’ve seen Jason act on stage in other shows (Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Sound of Music) I didn’t see his Joseph. But I thoroughly enjoyed the music concert I seen him do in Dec 2008. When I finally did manage to see Joseph on stage, none other than DONNY OSMOND had the lead role. Somehow my honeymoon (Amtrak New York-San Francisco in 1994) coincided with him performing the role in Chicago! I was only passing through the city for one night but my husband and I managed to get tickets. I’ve heard Donny sing alongside his brothers & sister since then.

7. THE OSMONDS with LET ME IN-the boys appearance on the Andy Williams US TV show made them stars.

8. ANDY WILLIAMS with CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU-a favourite artist of my Granny & Mammy so when I seen the poster outside the Royal Albert Hall I had to get a ticket.

9. OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN with PHYSICAL-toured last year for the first time in twenty years. I managed to get the cheapest ticket available, standing in the gallery. I was given the impression that not much else was available, and the higher prices were eye watering anyway. On the night I was told by the usherette that I’d been re-allocated to a better seat. Having climbed the heights of the RAH I trudged all the way down again, to find myself in one of the boxes close to the stage. These seats were the most expensive in the house, and judging by the clientele in the next booth; (champagne on ice, canapés, finger food buffet, cutlery, china plate settings, and designer clothing); I could well believe it. But I scrub up quite well and had dressed smartly so I didn’t feel out of place. Anyway, one of my personal traditions is to take a little soft teddy to a show when I can. Having over 70 of them, it’s a fun and harmless trait that makes me smile. For Olivia I had taken my Sooty glove puppet, and he showed his prowess at PE when Olivia sang Physical. Sooty never missed a beat and was happily bopping along when I spotted the thunderous glare from the people in the next booth. That picture in my head is priceless and I just grin inanely at the thought, they must have felt that barmy squatters had invaded the palace gardens. A good friend of Olivia is of course Cliff Richard.

10. CLIFF RICHARD with SOME PEOPLE– I’ve managed to see him four times but I was a late comer to his concerts, my first being in 2006. At this show I realised how much of Cliff’s repertoire I knew, but he performed songs from his “Nashville” album Something’s Goin’ On, which I’d never heard before. These songs were utterly astounding to me particularly “For Life”, the words, emotion, setting etc. all spoke to me in a way few songs ever had. Another spell-binding concert moment freeze-framed in my mind. Some People still remains one of my favourite Cliff songs. I managed to see The Shadows on stage during their reunion tour with Cliff.

11. THE SHADOWS with WONDERFUL LAND (no.1 in UK from 16/3-10/5 1962)

12.   SYDNEY DEVINE MEDLEY with TINY BUBBLES, PEARLY SHELLS, STAND BESIDE ME-I’ve grew up listening to this artist since I was in a pram. Due to hearing Sydney records for all these years, I’ve amassed a wide knowledge of songs, lyrics & artists from several genres of music, easy listening, country, rock n’ roll etc. I may never have known otherwise. I’m eternally grateful for this musical grounding, but Sydney Devine in Scotland is usually either loved or loathed in equal measure-a bit like marmite. But to me he is Absolutely Devine and I will see him for the 24th time in November (all being well, considering he is 74 with almost 60 years in professional showbiz behind him).

This song was played at the end of our request show: 13. JOE McCELDREY with THE CLIMB

I’ve attended the X-Factor shows four times and Joe’s was the last one in 2010. To me the show couldn’t be beaten, because I was seated in the middle of the front row at Wembley Arena!!!!

Every one of these artists has given me enormous pleasure and I thank them all for their talent, energy, enthusiasm and professionalism.

If you would like to hear my playlist (with no chatter, this blog is my voice) you will find it at