Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rare audio docs on Speechification

Like most possessed fans and collectors, the first thing I want to do when I find a trove of really top-notch material is to share it. Thus, I offer a bunch of links here to a new site I love, called Speechification.

**UPDATE: I found out today (10/20/10) that this site has been taken down by its owners. I leave this post up as a bookmark/gravestone that such a great archive existed for a few years. Thanks to its owners for all their hard work.**

The site contains literally hundreds of complete recent-vintage documentary radio shows as MP3 files, most of the programs having aired on the BBC. There are a few stray American NPR items (we do have pathetic radio over here, and NYC radio is absolutely abysmal), but the bulk of the material comes from England, and the shows are absolutely terrific “101” introductions to the artists being profiled.

I’m only at the beginning of my “dumpster dive” through Speechification’s collection, but I’ve liked all I’ve heard to date. I offer a list of the titles I think will be of most interest to the readers of this blog.

Filmmaker portraits and interviews:
-A Withnail and I reunion
-Mike Leigh interviewed

Portraits of authors:
-Philip K. Dick
-Jorge Luis Borges
-William Blake
-Another Blake profile

Music-related shows:
-Kraftwerk profile
-Patti Smith on songwriting
-Flight of the Conchords
-A tribute to Malcolm McLaren’s radio work
-”Jarvis Cocker’s Musical Map of Sheffield”
-A docu on The Ed Sullivan Show, hosted by Joan Rivers
"Killer Bs" (A great discussion of B-sides; awesome BBC production, but I spotted two factual errors – yes, I’m a geek)

Next, comedy and uncategorizable specialty docus:

-“The Life and Crimes of Lenny Bruce”

-“Great Lives: Groucho Marx”
-“I Was Dudley Moore’s First Bandleader”
-Comedian Tommy Cooper profiled
-“Stephen Fry’s English Delights”
-Comedian Josie Long talks about plants
-On Chaplin and the creation of the concept of celebrity
-“I Was Douglas Adams’ Flatmate”
-A show on museums which includes a contribution from Ken Nordine
-A weirdly obscure docu that helped explain to me one of my fave-ever Alan Partridge moments: Telly Savalas hypes the city of Birmingham
-Stephen Merchant (of The Office and Extras) offers a history of HBO
-A documentary on Columbo!
-British pro wrestling
-George Harrison and George Formby
-Moondog profiled

And lastly, three portraits of a trio of great eccentric artists from the UK:

-Scottish poet Ivor Cutler
-Painter-poet-rocker Billy Childish
-Spoken-word god John Cooper Clarke

Enjoy and recommend anything great *you* might find.

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