The shed window – a Lapwing and Pen y Ghent
LIFE AFTER AUNTY
When the BBC decided they no longer wanted the kind of show I did I was faced with two alternatives: I could either retire ungracefully and go off fly fishing and playing my banjo, or I could carry on making the show, that more than 800,000 people seemed to have liked, in another way. So many friends suggested that I could simply produce my own show and Podcast it, that eventually I set about looking at the possibility. I was already used to working with digital audio (back in the days I used to run a sound studio in Manchester with my good friend Colin Goddard) and I knew that Spike, who looked after all my IT stuff, could sort out a folk show website and the nuts and bolts of streaming a show out into cyberspace.
After that, it was simply a matter of buying the necessary licences, buying space on a server, uprating some of the hardware and software in the studio and settling down to making the show – without incongruous trails and without having to worry about “crashing the pips”. I went a bit mental at first and the show has ended up as a fairly unkempt beast and doesn’t yet know what length it should settle down to – but it will eventually. At the moment I’m letting the “feel” dictate how the show ends up. It’s all about content, not style.
Lots more work to do – but we’re getting there – I think.
CHOOSING THE TRACKS
A listener wrote in asking how I chose the tracks – here’s what I wrote in reply…
I sit down and look at the shelves of CDs – think about who is on tour, what festivals are coming up etc.
Then I think about classic stuff from the past and also what great new music I’ve heard…
Then I think about some of the unusual and different sounds I’ve heard – such as complete albums of Jews Harp music or Gypsy Brass Bands from Hungary…
I put it in the pot, stir it about a bit, cut it all down to an hour and a bit then sit and gibber while I play the tracks in.
I don’t claim to get it spot on every time – nobody ever can. But I won’t be lobbied – if I don’t think it’s right for the show then I don’t play it. But I’m always ready to listen to suggestions and to new stuff.
We’ve set up a PO Box for CDs ‘n’ stuff – you can send them to:
The Mike Harding Folk Show, PO Box 92, Settle BD24 5AG
You can also post suggestions in the guest book.
Hope this answers your question.