I’d not recommend you open up your airwaves to any guest for 90 minutes, least of all a man with a banjolele in his hand, a flood of tales about sweet-making, refugees and music hall, AND a new tour and album to sell. But that’s exactly what the mighty Dan Carrier did last Friday with his 5pm Friday slot on Boogaloo Radio. It got serious. It got silly. It went other places too. And you can hear it here (I emerge after 26 minutes).
Dan’s a brilliant man: a journalist on the world’s best local paper – the Camden New Journal – a DJ with the Dig It Sound System, and a font of good stories about the world. He’s a massive fan of reggae, with some treats you’ll enjoy throughout this show. Plus some songs from the Transports which I got him to play.
Boogaloo Radio beams out of a pub garden in North London, 24 hours a day. There’s a comfy shed, housing all you need to broadcast chat and toons. People in the pub can listen while they drink (and sometimes you can hear them back during the show). It was a very pleasant place to spend an early Friday evening.
We chatted about my book The Trebor Story, then The Transports, Human Cargo and music hall. I sang bits of some songs, including The Press Gang, Riley-O, New York Gals and, later, a full version of Your Baby Has Gone Down the Plughole. Dan’s folks used to perform with The Lissenden Players, where I got my first break in Music Hall, so he shared a few choruses from distant memory. Then, before it all got a bit too nostalgic, Dan rushed off to perform at a gig, and I trudged back through the streets of Highgate, banjolele in my hand and a faint fear of ‘Did I really say that?’ Ah, live radio.
All that’s missing from this lovely recent article on my book Human Cargo by RnR Magazine – thanks Ian Croft – is the headline STOCKING FILLER. Yes folks, this Christmas give them the gift of human suffering. Well, why not? Human Cargo makes an excellent present for the folkie/politico in your life. Plus, it’s a cunning device for infiltrating those of a Brexit/anti-immigration persuasion – for it’s about history, and everyone’s partial to an old story. It’s £9.99 and best to buy via Amazon (sorry, it’s hard for small publishers to supply bookshops) or message me direct if you’d like signed copies. And you can read lots more about it at humancargo.co.uk
Here’s a short video of me telling stories of Parallel Lives to the huge crowd who came to see The Transports at Shrewsbury Folk Festival. (And a glimpse of the great song Dark Water by The Young’uns).The Parallel Lives project gathers true stories, town by town across Britain, of people who’ve been forced to leave that place in past centuries and people who’ve come to live there in recent decades. People go, people come – migration is part of life. That’s the message. Parallel Lives always goes down well at performances of The Transports, for audiences love local tales – and it’s a fresh, human way to talk about the centrality of migration to human life. Plus, in each town we link with a local refugee or migrant support group. I’m now starting to gather stories for our next tour of The Transports in January, where we’ll be reaching places like Cheltenham, Yeovil, Manchester, Preston, Bromsgrove, Bury St Edmunds, Southampton, Guildford, Chesterfield, Leeds, Durham, Berwick and Norwich. Then I’ll share more stories when I tour Human Cargo next Spring with the great Jeff Warner We’ll soon be giving Parallel Lives a smart, new website. But, for now, you can read the tales I’ve gathered at http://www.thetransportsproduction.co.uk/ Do get in touch if you’ve got any stories or ideas. And thanks as ever to the wonderful Refugee Council for their help.