As we were putting this edition of Life Elsewhere together, news came in that George Romansic, a pioneer of the alternative music scene in Seattle had died after a long battle with brain cancer. George, played drums with a gusto that belied his unobtrusive, placid demeanour. He will be remembered for his crucial part in now cult favorites, The Beakers, 3 Swimmers and Danger Bunny. What is not so widely known is the significant part George played in how Life Elsewhere came about. Noman B will pay tribute to his long-time friend in the next edition of Life Elsewhere.
Also in the program, author and journalism professor Ben Yagoda, will talk about his new book, The B-Side, The Death Of Tin Pan Alley And The Rebirth Of The Great American Song. The acclaimed cultural historian has written an entertaining, well-researched exploration of America’s songwriting history. The story has many twists and turns, but the reality of why and how the great American songbook almost vanished is not as straightforward as you may think. Make sure you listen in to catch samples of music you may have almost forgotten.
Alan Connor, London-based author and TV producer joins the program to talk about his new book, The Crossword Century: 100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief. You’ll hear about the colorful characters who make up the interesting and often bizarre subculture of crossword constructors and competitive solvers. The A-list names of some of the more well-known among the puzzle solvers, may surprise you. Connor even explains how your character is revealed by the implement you use.
This week, in the portion of the program where a listener takes over and selects The Hit That Never Was, we’ll play the first single released on the innovative Mute records in 1979, Fad Gadget with Back To Nature. The late Francis John “Frank” Tovey, was a British avant-garde electronic musician and vocalist. He was a proponent of both new wave and early industrial music, fusing together a unique blend of pop structured songs mixed with mechanised experimentation. As Fad Gadget, his music was characterised by the use of synthesizers in conjunction with sounds of found objects, including drills and electric razors. His bleak, sarcastic and darkly humorous lyrics were filled with biting social commentary toward subjects such as machinery, industrialisation, consumerism, human sexuality, mass media, religion, domestic violence and dehumanization while often being sung in a deadpan voice.
Make sure you take notice of our new live broadcast time and place: 12 noon ET, every Sunday at WMNF The Source HD3. It’s easy to listen, click here in your browser. And, you can listen on your iPhone or iPad, get the new WMNF player here. Life Elsewhere can also be heard at NWCZ Radio, every Monday at 5.00pm Pacific Time.