;_______‘-. ___. 70 The List IS November-I December I994

trump-II Beat goes on

Peter Easton

like John Peel’s distinguished and vital Radio 1 reign on a microcosmic scale, Radio Scotland’s Beat Patrol is a modest institution - paradoxically an old taithiul playing new music. When the station shook up its schedules last year in a drive towards speech-based output, Beat Patrol was the only survivor of the pop music order. This month the show blows out the candles on its tenth birthday cake with 40,000 guests listening in.

Starting life as a pilot series Rock On Scotland in 1980 (coinciding with the halcyon days of Postcard Records and New Scottish Pop) it was revived

permanently four years later with the same briet - to give Scottish records and demos the airing they couldn’t get elsewhere.

‘We intended to create a showcase,’ says presenter Peter Easton, ‘but it’s never slavishly been the aim to play something just because it was new and Scottish.’

The programme has managed to balance consistent support for international maverick bands and homegrown acts like The Shamen and

i The Pastels (who staged the Rock On Radio Scotland gig last year when

Beat Patrol’s tuture looked shaky)

s with a degree or talent scouting -

Teenage Fanclub and The Jesus and

Mary Chain are among those who got

their first airplay on the show. It now plans to move further into the area of recording gigs and one-ott sessions.

‘What Beat Patrol discovers others then steal and claim for their own,’ says Ac Acoustics’ Paul Campion. ‘It also gives many new musicians the opportunity to hear themselves on the radio, and as everyone knows, there’s nothing an artist finds more motivating than the sound of his own voice.’

‘I think what we’re doing is making people feel there is a living music culture and that they can be part of ' it,’ says Easton. ‘They don’t have to live within a bus ride or the groovy Glasgow and Edinburgh city centre in order to take part in it.’ (Fiona Shepherd)

Beat Patrol’s 500th show is on Radio Scotland on Sun 20 Nov at 5pm. The playlist will include listeners’ favourites and important Scottish releases of the past decade.


I Frank Zappa: Air Sculpture (Radio I) Sunday 20 Nov, 7pm. Strangeness. brilliance and naming his two children Moonunit and Dweezil are the things that made Frank Zappa the legendary figure of music history he is today. Radio I has been storing tip this interview for over a year and releases it now on the anniversary of his death in a special Zappa slot running over two programmes. Part two. I'T'UIIk Zappa: The Social Arttlrro/m/ogrst is at the same time next week.

I The Real Thing (Radio 3) Monday 21 Nov. 9.15pm. To most modern American citizens Coca Cola. Baseball. Madonna and Disneyworld are just part of their everyday lives. To cultural commentators like Camille Paglia and Thomas Molnar. they are 20th century icons akin to ancient Pagan gods. This live-part series investigates a growing body of theory which strggests that this ‘new paganism‘ is the religion of modern America.

I Bush (Radio 4) Tuesday 22 Nov. 6.30pm. lirom the team who brought you many a character from Spitting Image and Harry linfield‘s ‘Tim riice-but~(liin' comes the first ever television-style mini-series. a blockbusting comedy soap of an oil saga called (iris/i. Ian llislop and Nick Newman take us to the liastern ‘Transworld ()il Conference’. where the future of Western Civilisation hangs in the balance and dodgy deals. drunken debs and ruthless cads abound.

I Stewart White with the Radio Two arts programme (Radio 2) l‘riday 25 Nov. 10.03pm. It was back in 1942 that the sleepy plains of liast Anglia first played host to American-run airbases. Since then the area has become known to many as the ‘ftelds of Little America’. Stewart

White looks back at the cultural impact on the region of over 50 years of American Gls and their families and celebrates the musical influences ofjazz. country arid swing they've brought to this quiet corner of lingland.

I The Essential Mix (Radio I) Saturday 2o Nov, midnight. ‘The Ministry of Sound' with Cl tvlackintosh. master mixer of Whitney Houston. Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross. mixes live into the wee small hours of Sunday morning.

I On The Line (Radio 5) Sunday 27 Nov. 1.05pm. I)r Jamie Astaphan. seen by many as the mart behind the downfall of Olympic athlete Bert Johnson. currently stands trial in the US for his alleged part in the illegal steroids trade. From the inside of his cell in a Floridajail he gives Radio 5 his counter-claim that he’s the victim of an intemational set-up involving American drug agents. corrupt Caribbean politicians and the Canadian mafia.

I 0perama: Thirty Minute Theatre: Lunchtime oi the Gods (Radio 4) Tuesday 2‘) Nov. 2pm. Over the next two months BBC Radio 3 and 4 will be pooling their airtime to present ()perumu a season of

new drama. features. stories and readings ' inspired by the great operas. Lunchtime of . the Gods is Perry Pontac’s new comedy.

starring Prunella ‘Sybil' Scales irt a 30- minute version of Wagner‘s twenty-hour epic The Ring.

I Positive Voices (Radio 2) Thursday 1 Dec. 7.03pm. As a tribute to World AIDS Day. Radio 2 brings together six young

people who have ltave found positive

ways of dealing with the way AIDS and HIV has affected their lives. Ian McKeIlen. Anita Dobson. Pam St Clement. Simon Callow and Julian Clary read poems written by ordinary people as a response to their personal experience of HIV/AIDS. (Ellie Carr)

Let's get the gripes over early because on the evidence of the first episode. Crocodile Shoes (BBCI) is shaping up

to be a canny television series. like. But '

whatever else Jimmy Nail has. it ain‘t a country and western voice.

Whenjaded A&R man Ade Lynn. played with blonde abandon by James Whilby. slots a demo tape into the office cassette player. it‘s difficult to believe Nail‘s white soul warble would convince anyone they‘d heard the future of British country. ‘(Track-ah-dal shoo-oh-ohs.‘ he croons rnanfully in a four Tennessee twang. btrt what you h an are echoes of an earlier out— pouring from a love—torn Nail: ‘Why aye pet. you've abandoned me —- love don't live here anymore.‘ There is a saying about the wisdom of carrying coals to Newcastle: maybe the same rule applies to taking country to Nashville . . .

So much for the singer. btit what about the actor? Well. he might be rangy but Nail doesn‘t have rnuclt range. Jed. Spender. ()7. you can swap the names all you like. btrt this man simply doesn't do characters. Nail as bedroom balladeer Jed Shepperd is still the same gangling Geordie grouch that women find attractive and men never understand why.

It’s Nail the scriptwriter who‘s really


The Animals‘ lirie Bordon aml Brian Johnson. the cloth-capped singer irt AC/IX‘.

What will bring this ill-trtateltcd pair

. together is the tape of songs Jed's sister

on song. In Crocodile Shoes he‘s used a .

favourite theme the north-south divide to quickly sketch otrt a couple of characters who live poles apart but are heading for a collision. Jed becomes the working man‘s Newcastle. while Ade stands for the London of urban professionals.

Up north it‘s always raining as Jed and the rest of the early shift factory workers head for the satanic steel mill. while in London the morning strn filters through as Ade returns from a hard

night's ligging. All day Jed is welded to

his lathe: Adrian does a couple of meets before taking the afternoon off to score some coke.

What gets Jed‘s workmates through the daily grind is plenty ofGeordie banter. It‘s Nail's finely tuned ear for this kind of dialogue that gives Crocodile Shoes most of its humour. ()ne of the funniest moments comes when the factory‘s resident philosopher tries to convince Jed that a place in Newcastle's musical heritage is rightfully his because he works at a magic lathe. previously occupied by

sends to Ade’s employer. Tomboy Records. When it arrives. Ade‘s in trouble 7 ‘everybody's ears get tired. even the best ears in the business.‘ his

_ boss tells him A and he badly needs a

hit to get back on track. When he hears Jed Shepperd sing. Ade decides this is a

meal ticket he‘s going to keep to

himself. The big problem is finding a

way to sign the talent without [angling with 'l‘omboy. l-‘orttmatcly his girlfriend . is a lawyer: unfortunately she is

sleeping with his boss. That's yuppies for yott. is Nail's unwritten pay-off line. The north-south divide ntakes an unscripted appearance in Dawn l‘rertclt's new sitcom The Vicar of Bibley (BB(‘I). In Iingland (though possibly not Newcastle). where sherry and church fetes and village greens have some resonance. the show was given a prime 'I'hursday sitcom slot. In Scotland. where these staples of West Iind farce have little currency. it was tucked away at I()pm on a I’riday. when it‘s assumed decent folk are in the pub. You'd have to be a pretty big Dawn French fan to bother setting the video. despite a script by ‘hot' writer Richard ‘l’our Weddings' Curtis. There are signs that this an ironic take on the sitcom form we‘re asked to laugh at terrible jokes because we know they‘re terrible. Brit ('uitis hasn‘t sustained the idea. frequently lapsing into formula routines of the ‘l‘vc seen better Ilower arranging on a compost heap' variety. The book is that the new vicar of I)ibley is. wait for it. a woman much bluster and quivering ol'jow Is on the parish council. French is ftmny as the jolly shepherd ofa llock that has dwindled to fotrr but she's going to have work hard to carry this congregation of stock sitcom

characters. For me. the funniest moment was a joke recounted by French in Ariieriean-stylc after-the- eredits scene. It goes something like this: Nun in bath. Knock on door. ‘Who‘s there." says ntrn. ‘The blind mart —< cart I come in'." comes the answer. ‘I suppose so.‘ Blind man enters. ‘Lovely tits. now where do want these blinds put." llere endeth today‘s lesson. (liddie Gibb)