Category Archives: Ben Yagoda

Remembering George

George Romansic

As we were putting this edition of Life Elsewhere together, news came in that George Romansicpioneer 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.

Frank Tovey aka Fad GadgetThis 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.

Tin Pan Alley, Crosswords & A Tribute

On the next edition of Life Elsewhere, 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 almost forgot about.

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.

Sadly, as we were putting this edition of Life Elsewhere together, news came in that George Romansic, a man who played a significant part in how Life Elsewhere began, had succumbed to brain cancer. George was a pioneer of the alternative music scene in Seattle, playing drums with effortless verve in now cult favorites, The Beakers, 3 Swimmers and Danger Bunny, Noman B will pay tribute to his long-time friend.

Coincidences, coincidences…Norman saw George Romansic for the last time in April, 2014, in Seattle. George had just returned from a cancer treatment, when they met up; instead of bemoaning his disconcerting condition, he prefered to quizz Norman on which Killing Joke record was the best. Undoubtedly, George would be eager to read Norman B’s interview with Martin “Youth” Glover, legendary Killing Joke  bassist and producer… just published one day ago at the excellent Trebuchet Magazine.

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.

Next On Life Elsewhere

Apparently promo 1.20

The number of listeners who checked out Life Elsewhere in December reached an all-time high, according to the official stats. More people listened to our show about Art, Media and Culture as we neared the end of the year than ever before. We’d like to think all those new listeners to Life Elsewhere agree with this accolade from acclaimed New York-based Creative Director, Robert Newman: “I’ve been a fan of Norman B for over 25 years. He is a master radio host, voice talent, interviewer, media critic, and a creator of important culture and cultural events. As the host and producer of Life Elsewhere, Norman B has created one of the most intelligent, engaging, diverse, and entertaining radio programs in recent memory. It’s a pure delight from beginning to end. Norman’s ability to combine a diverse array of interviews, news, reviews, music, and much more showcases his talents as a producer and cultural mixmaster. And of course it’s his personality and voice that is the masterful centerpiece of it all, as he weaves an audio mosaic that is in turns playful, serious, engaging, colorful, authoritative, and always entertaining. Norman B reminds me of CNN news host Anderson Cooper with his ability to range through topics with a tone that conveys authority, but still keep a sense of friendly engagement. Norman B is one of the most exciting and brilliant talents and is deserving of a wide audience in any field.”

It could be a coincidence of course, but just as more listeners discover Life Elsewhere, we are moving the show to a new air-time and a new delivery platform. Beginning Sunday, January 26, Life Elsewhere will broadcast live at 12 noon on The Source WMNF HD3. You can listen on a digital radio, online or your smart phone. Plus, Life Elsewhere as a Podcast will be available at Stitcher.com.

We are excited about these changes and have and incredible line-up of guests scheduled, including Rebecca Scherm, whose debut novel Unbecoming has caused Norman B to predict “This book will be on my best-book-of-the-year list, but also on many other best-of-lists.” Ben Yagoda will talk about his new book, The B-Side, The Death Of Tim Pan Alley And The Rebirth Of The Great American Song. We’ll explore an hilarious take on modern family life, parenthood, and marriage with Tim Dowling author of How To Be A Husband. Best-selling author David J. Linden will join the program to talk about examining how our sense of touch and emotion are interconnected in his new book Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind. And, Norman Doidge, M.D. unravels Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity in The Brain’s Way of Healing.

Become part of the program by sending us your selection for The Hit That Never Was. Tell us about a piece of music you believe should have been heard by enough people to be a Hit. Also, we would like to hear about who you are, let us know and jot down a few details about yourself. Send your info to: hitthatneverwas@lifeelsewhere.co

Life Elsewhere airs Sundays at 12 noon

The Source WMNF HD3

Stitcher.com

photograph by Norman B,  2005