Q&A October 2012, Part II
11/4/2012 (updated 2/11/2013)

And, back to Cropredy - is there any chance of a DVD of Fairport's stupendous career-spanning set with yourself, Swarb, Ashley Hutchings and the rest ? The television coverage on Sky Arts amounted to just two and a half songs taken from a three and a half hour show, which didn't quite capture it all for me (!) James Howard

Shame on Sky Arts - I hope the rest will emerge. Not anything I have any say or control over.

One of my treasured experiences - among many - at F&R was listening and discussing recorded music with you during classtime. Would I love doing more of that. If you would, please share with us here, one or two of the most notable and exciting discoveries you've made in your lifetime of listening to great music. Would you consider hosting an online "Listening Club" with a "Pick-of-the Month" to discuss? Better yet, create a radio show with special guests commenting on a selected piece each show. Happy listening. Bruce Young - Santa Cruz, CA

I enjoyed those interchanges at camp as much as you. I was trying to create a show on the BBC some years back along very similar lines to your proposal - a kind of round table musical appreciation of 4 or 5 songs. Perhaps I can get Sirius/XM interested. I like the idea of the listening club - I'll look into that.

I'm not sure how interesting my stories would be about discovering music - you go round someone's house, they say, "You've got to hear this!" and they play something that changes your life - that's often the way it happens. Here's a couple of anecdotes without great punch lines:

Myself and a couple of schoolfriends (including Hugh Cornwell) go to see the Chuck Berry show at the Finsbury Park Astoria, 1964. On the bill are the Animals, playing one of their first London shows. They play 'House Of The Rising Sun' to great applause - this is a week before it is released on record - and we are all knocked out. One week later, I'm at home after school when the phone rings. It's my friend Brian Wyvill, who had been with me at the show. He says, "Listen to this!" and I hear HOTRS coming down the phone. He is in the record shop in Muswell Hill, and it's released that day. I cast my homework aside (Physics? Who needs it?) and rush to my local retailer, purchase a copy, dash home and play it at least 35 times straight. Now that's a far more practical application of Physics - sound waves travelling through the air, reaching the human ear, the eardrum vibrates, the brain goes into ecstatic spasms, QED.

It's 1967, and I'm visiting my friends, the band Eclection. They are rehearsing in the Electra warehouse in London. It's after hours, and there are no Electra employees around. There is a good amount of space at the front of the warehouse for the band to set up, and then there are rows of shelves going all the way back. The shelves are lined with LPs. After rehearsal, I comment on the number of interesting records I can spot without moving too far from my seat. Trevor Lucas, who was known to have a small larcenous streak, suggests I borrow a few titles, adding that the band themselves have been liberating quite a few during the weeks they've been using the space. I proceed to load up. I'm particularly interested in the Nonsuch label, and grab as many of those as I can carry on the bus. When I get home, I work through the pile. On top is something I thought might be fun, but it's pretty turgid - a record of the signs of the zodiac, given bad orchestrations and cheesy narration. I work through the pile, and at about 6 in the morning, I get to the bottom - something called 'Music Of Bulgaria'. Santa Cleopatra! What voices! What arrangements! What tunes! My life, once again, is altered.

Re: American Election
Any thoughts on the upcoming election? Tim Whitney

Just two observations from an 'outsider':

The billions and billions spent on campaign funding, TV advertising, etc., could surely be better spent feeding the hungry, or sheltering the homeless, or educating kids. Other countries limit funding by law.

The religious right has thrown its weight behind Romney. I absolutely support Mitt's right to practice whichever religion he chooses, and I've never met a Mormon I didn't like (including Donny Osmond), but it is far from orthodox Christianity. The Bible is one of 4 Mormon books. I would propose (heretically, some might say) that Judaism or Islam are closer to Christianity than Mormonism. They certainly share a closer cosmology and view of the afterlife. Obama is a practicing orthodox Christian, and should clearly be receiving support from the churches of America. He is of course a Democrat, and black - could that have anything to do with it?