24 February, 2008

Say the Word - and Be Like Me

Nick Cave on the cover of The Word magazineI've been a reader of The Word magazine ever since it first launched and my flatmate bought a copy to read on a long train journey. Back then it used to promote itself with the phrase 'At last - something to read', which was a marketing idea I stole for my related links section over there > and was as wonderfully reassuring as The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy's 'Don't Panic'. I like this mag, partly because of the people who write it - all ex-Smash Hits, Old Grey Whistle Test and NME (back when it had something to, um, read in it). I also like the mix of people the mag thinks I might want to know more about. I don't think I'd actively look to know more about broadcaster Mark Lawson, but I enjoyed their interview with him and every now and again they mention a band or a song that I never knew I'd always liked.

One such ditty is the them from the 1968 drama Take Three Girls - a mad folk song with an irregular time sig that rejoices under the name of 'Light Flight' and comes from a band called Pentangle. Now, it just so happens that Pentangle or a major obsession of The Word's editor, Mark Ellen, so it's strange to discover such a random song and then open a mag that week and discover an article about its creators.

Recently - well, I say 'recently', but as I've lost track of time, this could have been a year ago - I started to listen to the magazine's podcasts, where Mark Ellen, David Hepworth and one or two of the other writers chat for about 40 minutes about whatever comes to mind. The podcasts went weekly a while back, so thanks to iTunes, I get a new chat-track delivered to me each Wednesday or Thursday.

I'm not a huge rock fan, but I enjoy hearing people talk about stuff knowledgeably and with passion and wit. Hearing last week's edition, where Mark Ellen described the time he interviewed country singer Lucinda Williams, ended up going for dinner with her and only when it was too late did they realise they were out at a restaurant on Valentine's Day. This was the latest of the HORA - the 'hoary old rock anecdote' that closes each show and must surely skirt incredibly closely to libel on many occasions.

This particular podcast also has the power to enrich our vocabulary in hitherto unimagined directions. Where else could I have heard a room described as being so quiet 'you could hear a mouse piss on velvet' or hear someone exclaim that they are so hungry they could 'eat the arse off a low-flying duck'.

You can subscribe to The Word podcast via the website link at the top of this entry, via Facebook or through iTunes. Go on, what are you waiting for? New edition - world safe!

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