Popular BBC radio DJ takes us behind the scenes
My day begins because I've got kids, I have to get up quite early in the morning. So I'll get up at seven and I'll do my whole kind of Jo's life sort of thing, rushing around shopping, all that sort of stuff. And then I'll head into work for about three, four o'clock and start to get my show together. This'll vary. Sometimes we have sessions. For example, this week we have sessions with the Foo Fighters, which meant that I had to get to Maida Vale. So spend the whole day there, which obviously was a real chore, interviewing the band and then watching them record five tracks. And then I went to do my show. After that today I was for example, interviewing Robert Plant. So I had to go again to meet and did an interview with him and then moved on to do my show in the evening.
Um, I'll get to my desk and I'll talk to my producer. There are two other people working on my show. So it's a small team. It doesn't really take that many people to make a radio show. Um, and we just chat. So I'll get in there and they'll say, Oh, this new song came in today. It's from Alt Jay. Um, listen to it. So we'll listen to songs and I'll say which ones I really like, which ones I think we should be playing in the show. I will have read about something and I'll ask my team to track it down. So we just sit and kind of work out what order the songs should go in. We do try and plan this in advance, but a much, much prefer making radio when it's fairly spontaneous. So we have a loose playlist, so I'll have a bit of paper and it will have list of all my songs that I'm going to play.
And I'll always know what songs are going to start off with, but then it will change and it will evolve. And I think that makes for much more energetic and fun show, really because I'll be playing a song and all of a sudden it just won't feel right to play the song that I'm scheduled to play straight afterwards. So I'll just go quick. Can you get me Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell? And then we'll find that. And within literally a whisker within a second of there being dead air and nothing going out the radio, I'll suddenly have meatloaf in front of me and I'd press the button and then butter of hell will start. And that's fun. That's really good. There's a real energy. When you do a show like that. And the program I do is really very varied. So I will play the likes of the Food Fighters, all the Killers I'll play Coldplay. Um, but then I'll also play really great old disco classics. I'll play some Bowie or play Stevie Wonder, and then some of the crooners as well. So, you know, we'll play Elvis and we'll play Frank Sinatra. And then I love just having those, those curve balls, you know, maybe a Bonnie Tyler, Total Eclipse of the Heart, people just go, Oh no, that's a terrible song. Actually. It sounds really great every so often, right?
And my day winds up when the show finishes at 10 o'clock, I sometimes have bands playing live on the show. Generally once a week, we have a live band had Jessie Ware couple of weeks ago now. Um, and she was fantastic. So that just involves her doing a couple of songs, me chatting, everybody, getting to know them a little bit better, these artists, and, um, it's always really terrifying for them cause they're doing live radio and you can see the relief on their face when it's finished. They just I'm really, really happy that they haven't messed up. And it's a really fun show to do so I finish at 10 o'clock. I probably get home about 12 o'clock I'll get into bed and I'll sit and watch the Great British Bake Off, or I'll listen to some music just to drift myself off into sleep and then get up in the morning and it will start all over again. Sometimes an early morning run. Very rarely though.
BBC radio DJ and festival style icon talks about Bowie, full version in Music Now
Hi I’m Jo Whiley and I’m a huge fan of the man that we’re going to talk about today and that is David Bowie. 1969 is remembered by most of humanity for one thing; the first time man landed on the Moon. The Apollo space mission was a very big deal. At schools across the land children had their lessons cancelled so that they could watch the Moon landings; people stayed home from work and everyone gathered around televisions to witness this monumental first for humanity.
* Moon landing
David Bowie was born David Jones, in Brixton, South London. He changed his surname to Bowie and in his early career was a folksy type, strumming his acoustic guitar whilst sitting cross-legged on stage. In 1969 he released an album which included Space Oddity, a track which was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi film classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, which you can find out about in our Film book. It was released as a single to coincide with the televising of the Moon landings but was slow to take off in the pop charts due to the refusal of the BBC to play it until the crew of Apollo 11 were safely back on Earth. It’s about an astronaut called Major Tom who was being launched into space. The words are quite odd, but strangely poetic. The original version of the song is very different to the sound clip that you've just heard. The orchestration is much sparser so his voice seems to float as if through space.
* Music: original Space Oddity by David Bowie
Lauren Laverne, BBC DJ shares her day
Hello I’m Lauren Laverne. A day in the life of a DJ. Well my day starts very early because em I’m on air at ten so I try and get to work a couple of hours before that and I go through a mountain of post that I get sent. People still send me physical music, CDs and I get quite a lot of vinyl because 6Music is kind of an alternative radio station and so vinyl is still very much a big deal for serious music fans. I love a bit of vinyl. So I er I spend an hour maybe more just going through post every day. I listen to probably about a 150, 200 records a week, maybe more. Em it’s a big post bag to keep a track of and that takes up quite a lot of my week to be honest! As well as that though, of course, I’ve got guests on the programme so I research and write questions to think about what I want to talk to them about and er I kind of like to research quite a lot in advance so that when we have a conversation then we can just be a bit more spontaneous so I always have got an idea of what I want to talk about but you’ve got to always be able to listen – that’s the most important thing I think when you’re a presenter – listen to what they’re saying to you don’t just kind of wait and then just ask the next thing that you want to ask on your list which you hear and see people doing all the time on TV and radio it’s really annoying. I do kind of a fair bit of research before the show, write a menu and then at ten we are on air until one. And I think that a lot of people think that the video must be a lot of sitting around while you listen to music playing out but actually it’s not really like that at all it’s really busy in between times – there’s a lot of kind of rushing around and em everything has to be run to time. Obviously you don’t want your audience to get the sense that you are dropping tracks and switching things around to make everything come in on time em you want it to sound like a bit seamless sweep of music though that is enjoyable and all kind of fits together. We come off air about one o clock and then I usually head out and do other work, I do lots of other jobs or if not then I kind of head home. I kind of catch up with more music in the evening. I have a huge post file to work through so do a bit more of that though, of course, I really love it so it’s a real pleasurable experience and I think if you’d have gone back to me when I was fourteen and told me that I was going to get free records for a living and also money on top of that for doing my job I would have thought you were just lying and ridiculous. It’s a pretty good job – I like it.
The ever stylish broadcaster radio DJ on the decade for music and fashion inspired influence
Hello, I'm Lauren Laverne. My favourite decade for style is now because it's always now because I am as a person, very future focused. I'm not into nostalgia. Um, but what I also like about now is that, uh, the new kind of landscape, whether it comes to fashion or music or any kind of culture really is lateral. The internet has made everything completely available all the time forever. So whether you're into, um, I dunno, uh, hip hop, like nineties hip hop, and you like that kind of maximal super glam kind of bling thing, that still exists over there somewhere. Or if you're a kind of retro soul loving Amy Winehouse fan, who wants to dress in a bit of Westwood and wear big flicky, eyeliner that exists too. That's over here. And then, you know, there's people my age, who are for some reason stuff still buying records and dressing like we did when we were teenagers and that still exists. The internet landscape has kind of spread everything out, but allowed everything to be allowed, things to continue to exist in a way that they didn't before. You know, you had these big kind of peaks and troughs, you had these singular movements coming through and dominating everything and then just suddenly disappearing. That's not what the landscape's like now and that's because of the internet. And I find that very interesting. I think people are still working that out and still come to terms with it and kind of understanding what that means for the future. And definitely what it means for industries like the music industry and the fashion industry. But I think it's incredibly exciting so my favourite decade is now.
An insight into an iconic British designer
Alexander McQueen studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and cut his teeth, making suits at the centre of gentlemen's tailoring, Savile Row. Soon McQueen was designing his own collections and wowing everyone with his elaborate fashion shows. In one of the most memorable moments at McQueen's shows, robots spray painted a dress worn by the model Shalom Harlow. We've depicted this iconic moment in fashion history on tactile picture number seven, next to the picture of Kate Moss. Feel over the top left of the tactile picture. British supermodel Shalom Harlow is standing up and facing us. Her body's slightly turned to the left and she's holding her arms gracefully up and out to the sides. In his spring summer show of 1999, McQueen created a visual spectacle that was more like theatre - Shalom wearing a white cotton strapless dress and heels walked down the catwalk and stood on a circular platform. This platform then rotated whilst two robotic guns positioned on either side of Shalom gracefully sprayed her and her white dress in yellow and black paint. Let's explore this scene. From the top left of the picture, trace down to feel Shalom's head. Her black hair is in a loose bun at the nape of her neck, but you can feel her fringe and a longer length of hair hanging loose to the right of her face. Now trace down to feel her bare shoulders. She's wearing a strapless white cotton muslin dress. Well, it's more like a long full circle of material cinched above the bust with a brown leather belt. Feel the thin raised shape of the leather belt. Trace down over the smooth white cotton fabric of the dress, which has been splattered and is literally dripping with colour. The areas of yellow and black are indicated by the raised areas on the dress. This sprayed effect is graffiti in style and look, echoing McQueen's love of mixing punk and high art. Trace below the smooth hem of the dress to feel a textured area, showing layers of white synthetic tule. These layers of netting, give the dress volume. Shalom is wearing black and white slip on sandals with a high wooden heel. However, there's a twist, as the heel of the shoe is in the middle of the sole. After a few minutes, the mechanical guns stopped spraying and the platforms stopped rotating. In an interview about the experience Shalom said:
‘And when their guns were finished, this sort of receded. And I walked almost staggered up to the audience and sprayed myself in front of them with complete abandonment and surrender. The audience was left in shock and awe.’
Now that’s trailblazing fashion, with echoes of 1970s punk, maybe. You can watch this iconic moment in fashion history on YouTube search for Alexander McQueen spray gun dress.
DJ, writer and broadcaster Steve Lamacq shares his top 3 grunge tracks
Hi, I'm Steve. Lamacq the first journalist to interview Nirvana for a feature in the New Musical Express. An interview conducted in the bedroom, of a tiny B&B in Shepherds Bush.
To help you find your way through mud and discover some grunge gold. Here are my top three album recommendations. Obviously you have to start with Nirvana and Nevermind, which is the big record, the one which changed the movement and changed the shape of radio in America. It helped rock music have an alternative style onto the tailor. It really was a radical record, but listen to it. It's an amazingly tuneful record it. It wasn't just about how distorted the guitars were, how fantastically dark some of the lyrics were. It was also inspired, the band once told me, by the music of REM. They loved melodies did Nirvana. And in Nevermind they perfectly captured just the anger, aggression, but also the understanding of youth, which makes the record so special. Add to that. Here's a couple more Piece of Cake by Mudhoney. Mudhoney if anything, were the bands who set the whole scene rolling and were an incredible live experience. The tracks on Piece of Cake, really showed what they were capable of. And strangely, some people wouldn't say this was a grunge record, but the bands who helped Nirvana gets signed by Gaffen -Sonic Youth. Everyone needs a Sonic youth album, but definitely try Goo. Goo was a record, which has both a haunting side, slightly malevolent in places, but really positive too. It was a great album.