Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
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Kathryn Williams On Sylvia Plath20170515Singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams describes how Sylvia Plath inspired an entire album.

My Muse: in the first of a 3 part series artists describe the artists that inspire them. The award winning singer songwriter Kathryn Williams was motivated to write an entire album, Hypoxia, by the work of the poet Sylvia Plath.

Kathryn was commissioned to write some songs for the Durham Book Festival to mark the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's death and the publication of her novel, The Bell Jar. She wanted to write something that got away from the popular tragic image of Sylvia Plath who killed herself at the age of just 30. Instead Kathryn wanted to focus on the writing. Plath is considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.

Once the commission was over Kathryn couldn't stop writing and decided these songs would be her next album. She got stuck and called on the singer songwriter and producer Ed Harcourt for help, who we hear from in the programme. Kathryn also speaks to Andrew Wilson author of Mad Girl's Love Song, a biography of Plath's early life. They meet at Parliament Hill Fields, one of the many places in England that inspired Plath. Another is Hardcastle Crags in West Yorkshire where Kathryn goes on a walk with the poet Sarah Corbett, author of And She Was. For the first time - and amidst cracking thunder - Kathryn visits the grave of Sylvia Plath along with Gail Crowther, author of The Haunted Reader and Sylvia Plath.

Kathryn wants to concentrate on Plath's work, not her death, so ends with Deryn Rees-Jones, also a poet and a critic and Professor of Poetry at Liverpool University, where a collection of some of Plath's manuscripts are held.

Producer: Nicola Swords, BBC Radio Production North.

"Singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams describes how Sylvia Plath inspired an entire album.

Producer: Nicola Swords, BBC Radio Production North."

Lemn Sissay On Bob Marley20170516Poet Lemn Sissay explains why Bob Marley is his artistic, personal and political muse.

Lemn's reverence for Bob Marley is rooted in his own childhood in care, his feeling that both Marley and himself were born as outsiders. Lemn Sissay was fostered up until the age of 12, but was then abandoned by that family and placed him in care. A series of children's homes followed. Lemn didn't know any black people, but the music of Bob Marley gave him a sense of hope and of identity. As an adult Lemn traced his birth parents - both were from Ethiopia, a place of deep spiritual significance to Bob Marley.

For Lemn, Marley seemed to cross all boundaries speaking to people around the world, whatever colour they were, with a message of self-empowerment, through the new sound of reggae music, which he played a great hand in creating. As Lemn says - a muse inspires urgency. 'What must be written, must be written'.

Lemn speaks with the poet and reggae star Linton Kwesi Johnson, to the photographer Denis Morris who's taken some of the most iconic pictures of Bob Marley. Lemn meets Chris Salewicz, author of Bob Marley, The Untold Story and two people from his, past Adele Jones who knew him as a young burgeoning poet and Linden - the man Lemn credits with introducing him to Marley all those years ago.

Producer: Nicola Swords, Radio Production North, Salford.

"Poet Lemn Sissay explains why Bob Marley is his artistic, personal and political muse.

Producer: Nicola Swords, Radio Production North, Salford."

Lisa Dwan On Samuel Beckett20170517Lisa Dwan, renowned performer of works by Samuel Beckett, on Beckett, Dante and exile.

"Lisa Dwan, renowned performer of works by Samuel Beckett, on Beckett, Dante and exile."

01Lisa Dwan On Samuel Beckett2016090520170517 (R4)Lisa Dwan, renowned performer of works by Samuel Beckett, on Beckett, Dante and exile.

Series in which artists describe the artists that inspire them.

0101Kathryn Williams On Sylvia Plath2016082220170515
20170515 (R4)
Singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams describes how Sylvia Plath inspired an entire album.

Series in which artists describe the artists that inspire them.

My Muse: in the first of a 3 part series artists describe the artists that inspire them. The award winning singer songwriter Kathryn Williams was motivated to write an entire album, Hypoxia, by the work of the poet Sylvia Plath.

Kathryn was commissioned to write some songs for the Durham Book Festival to mark the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's death and the publication of her novel, The Bell Jar. She wanted to write something that got away from the popular tragic image of Sylvia Plath who killed herself at the age of just 30. Instead Kathryn wanted to focus on the writing. Plath is considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.

Once the commission was over Kathryn couldn't stop writing and decided these songs would be her next album. She got stuck and called on the singer songwriter and producer Ed Harcourt for help, who we hear from in the programme. Kathryn also speaks to Andrew Wilson author of Mad Girl's Love Song, a biography of Plath's early life. They meet at Parliament Hill Fields, one of the many places in England that inspired Plath. Another is Hardcastle Crags in West Yorkshire where Kathryn goes on a walk with the poet Sarah Corbett, author of And She Was. For the first time - and amidst cracking thunder - Kathryn visits the grave of Sylvia Plath along with Gail Crowther, author of The Haunted Reader and Sylvia Plath.

Kathryn wants to concentrate on Plath's work, not her death, so ends with Deryn Rees-Jones, also a poet and a critic and Professor of Poetry at Liverpool University, where a collection of some of Plath's manuscripts are held.

Producer: Nicola Swords, BBC Radio Production North.

"My Muse: in the first of a 3 part series artists describe the artists that inspire them. The award winning singer songwriter Kathryn Williams was motivated to write an entire album, Hypoxia, by the work of the poet Sylvia Plath.

"

Kathryn wants to concentrate on Plath's work, not her death, so ends with Deryn Rees-Jones, also a poet and a critic and Professor of Poetry at Liverpool UniverMy Muse

0102Lemn Sissay On Bob Marley2016082920170516
20170516 (R4)
Poet Lemn Sissay explains why Bob Marley is his artistic, personal and political muse.

Series in which artists describe the artists that inspire them.

Lemn's reverence for Bob Marley is rooted in his own childhood in care, his feeling that both Marley and himself were born as outsiders. Lemn Sissay was fostered up until the age of 12, but was then abandoned by that family and placed him in care. A series of children's homes followed. Lemn didn't know any black people, but the music of Bob Marley gave him a sense of hope and of identity. As an adult Lemn traced his birth parents - both were from Ethiopia, a place of deep spiritual significance to Bob Marley.

For Lemn, Marley seemed to cross all boundaries speaking to people around the world, whatever colour they were, with a message of self-empowerment, through the new sound of reggae music, which he played a great hand in creating. As Lemn says - a muse inspires urgency. 'What must be written, must be written'.

Lemn speaks with the poet and reggae star Linton Kwesi Johnson, to the photographer Denis Morris who's taken some of the most iconic pictures of Bob Marley. Lemn meets Chris Salewicz, author of Bob Marley, The Untold Story and two people from his, past Adele Jones who knew him as a young burgeoning poet and Linden - the man Lemn credits with introducing him to Marley all those years ago.

Producer: Nicola Swords, Radio Production North, Salford.

"Poet Lemn Sissay explains why Bob Marley is his artistic, personal and political muse.

"

"Lemn's reverence for Bob Marley is rooted in his own childhood in care, his feeling that both Marley and himself were born as outsiders. Lemn Sissay was fostered up until the age of 12, but was then abandoned by that family and placed him in care. A series of children's homes followed. Lemn didn't know any black people, but the music of Bob Marley gave him a sense of hope and of identity. As an adult Lemn traced his birth parents - both were from Ethiopia, a place of deep spiritual significance to Bob Marley.

02Lynne Truss On Joni Mitchell2017091820201004 (R4)
20201010 (R4)
Journalist and author Lynne Truss on why Joni Mitchell is her Muse.

Not everyone appreciates the tonalities, lyrics or even the shrieky voice of Canadian artist and musician Joni Mitchell but in a dusty class room in 1971 Lynne Truss decided she loved the writer of Woodstock, Big Yellow Taxi and Both Sides Now. It was a bond forged in the face of the frosty indifference of fellow pupils in Miss Cheverton's music class at the Tiffin Girls School in Kingston Upon Thames.

Even Lynne is slightly mystified when she was asked who was her muse that, as a person mostly famous for writing a book on punctuation, she replied; Joni Mitchell. Lynne explores why a series of albums from Ladies of the Canyon to Heijra taking in Blue, Court and Spark and The Hissing of Summer lawns' has wrought such influence over so many.

For her aficionados Joni Mitchell is more than a song writer. Lynne observes that for some the attachment goes beyond the personal; its a complete identification with the struggles of dealing with high emotion and how to cope.

In the programme she speaks to the poet and playwright Liz Lochhead, the author Linda Grant, Elbow's front man Guy Garvey, her latest biographer the Syracuse University academic David Yaffe and Gina Foster the singer with the UK act Joni's Soul, which she insists is not a tribute but a celebration act.

Lynne contends that despite at the time being overshadowed in favour of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and others Joni Mitchell will come to be regarded as the greatest exponent of the art of singer-song writer from that era and concludes that what makes her a muse can be found less in the brilliant lyrical summations of eternal questions like love, loss and freedom but more in her absolute commitment never to compromise her art - to remain true, above all else, to her own muse.

"Journalist and author Lynne Truss on why Joni Mitchell is her Muse.

Lynne contends that despite at the time being overshadowed in favour of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and others Joni Mitchell will come to be regarded as the greatest exponent of the art of singer-song writer from that era and concludes that what makes her a muse can be found less in the brilliant lyrical summations of eternal questions like love, loss and freedom but more in her absolute commitment never to compromise her art - to remain true, above all else, to her own muse."

"""Journalist and author Lynne Truss on why Joni Mitchell is her Muse.

Lynne contends that despite at the time being overshadowed in favour of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and others Joni Mitchell will come to be regarded as the greatest exponent of the art of singer-song writer from that era and concludes that what makes her a muse can be found less in the brilliant lyrical summations of eternal questions like love, loss and freedom but more in her absolute commitment never to compromise her art - to remain true, above all else, to her own muse."""

Series in which artists describe the artists that inspire them.

Not everyone appreciates the tonalities, lyrics or even the shrieky voice of Canadian artist and musician Joni Mitchell but in a dusty class room in 1971 Lynne Truss decided she loved the writer of Woodstock, Big Yellow Taxi and Both Sides Now. It was a bond forged in the face of the frosty indifference of fellow pupils in Miss Cheverton's music class at the Tiffin Girls School in Kingston Upon Thames.

Even Lynne is slightly mystified when she was asked who was her muse that, as a person mostly famous for writing a book on punctuation, she replied; Joni Mitchell. Lynne explores why a series of albums from Ladies of the Canyon to Heijra taking in Blue, Court and Spark and The Hissing of Summer lawns' has wrought such influence over so many.

For her aficionados Joni Mitchell is more than a song writer. Lynne observes that for some the attachment goes beyond the personal; its a complete identification with the struggles of dealing with high emotion and how to cope.

In the programme she speaks to the poet and playwright Liz Lochhead, the author Linda Grant, Elbow's front man Guy Garvey, her latest biographer the Syracuse University academic David Yaffe and Gina Foster the singer with the UK act Joni's Soul, which she insists is not a tribute but a celebration act.

Lynne contends that despite at the time being overshadowed in favour of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and others Joni Mitchell will come to be regarded as the greatest exponent of the art of singer-song writer from that era and concludes that what makes her a muse can be found less in the brilliant lyrical summations of eternal questions like love, loss and freedom but more in her absolute commitment never to compromise her art - to remain true, above all else, to her own muse.

Journalist and author Lynne Truss on why Joni Mitchell is her Muse.

Lynne contends that despite at the time being overshadowed in favour of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and others Joni Mitchell will come to be regarded as the greatest exponent of the art of singer-song writer from that era and concludes that what makes her a muse can be found less in the brilliant lyrical summations of eternal questions like love, loss and freedom but more in her absolute commitment never to compromise her art - to remain true, above all else, to her own muse.

02Mark Billingham On Hank Williams2017092520201018 (R4)
20201024 (R4)
Crime writer Mark Billingham chooses country singer Hank Williams as his muse.

The crime novelist Mark Billingham believes there's more to the country icon Hank Williams than catchy melodies and a white suit.

Recorded on location during a promotional tour of the UK, Mark has chosen Hank as his muse because he believes the singer confronted an eternal artistic dilemma head on: how do you please a crowd and still please yourself? As the author of a popular, long-running crime series, it's a question which fascinates him. Crime fiction fans demand a book a year - but the challenge for any artist is to keep pushing their own creativity - so how did Hank manage it?

Mark meets Michael Weston-King of the band My Darling Clementine to discuss how the country singer's raw, brutal lyrics mined his own tumultuous life. He asks fellow crime novelist Christopher Brookmyre how he manages to balance the demands of commerce with the need to enjoy writing. And there are insights from the author MJ Hyland about the dangerous route taken by authors who decide to make a radical change in their writing. There's an unexpected detour into artistic motivation with Mark Radcliffe on 6Music and a chat on the streets of Liverpool about the dangers of "series fatigue" with the author Luca Veste. Having explored the real-life conflicts and tragedies which became fuel for Hank's art - Mark explores a step taken by Hank which is as radical as any by David Bowie or Bob Dylan - he became someone else - developing his Luke the Drifter alter ego which spurred him on to even greater creativity.

On a publicity dash across the UK - our presenter hears of the obsessions which made his muse a unique - if short-lived legend. As Mark Billingham discovers - Hank Williams can change your creative life.

Presenter: Mark Billingham
Producer: Kev Core.

"Crime writer Mark Billingham chooses country singer Hank Williams as his muse.

Presenter: Mark Billingham
Producer: Kev Core."

"""Crime writer Mark Billingham chooses country singer Hank Williams as his muse.

Presenter: Mark Billingham
Producer: Kev Core."""

Series in which artists describe the artists that inspire them.

Presenter: Mark Billingham
Producer: Kev Core.

02The Young'uns On Graeme Miles2017100220201108 (R4)
20201114 (R4)
Award-winning folk group The Young'uns discuss the north-east songwriter Graeme Miles.

"The terraced streets were my Grand Canyons, the shipyard cranes my redwood trees, those steelwork tips were my mountain ranges and the brickyard ponds were my seven seas".

These are the words of the songwriter Graeme Miles that inspired Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes of the Teesside folk group The Young'uns - Radio 2's Folk Band of the Year Award winners in 2015 and 2016. Stumbling across a folk club at the age of 17, school friends Sean, David and Michael first heard the songs of Graeme Miles - songs about their local area - songs that resonated. They realised that there was beauty to be found in a place they had been brought up to believe was "deprived" and "unromantic", and that Graeme's songs instilled a sense of pride.

For years now the band have been singing Graeme's songs, and, in this programme, they find out more about the man and his work. Featuring interviews with Graeme's widow Annie, and discussion and performances from esteemed musicians from the folk world, including the critically-acclaimed band The Unthanks, this programme highlights some of Graeme's finest songs. From an emotive performance of 'Waiting For The Ferry' on the banks of the River Tees, to a stirring rendition of 'Ring of Iron' accompanied by the legendary Billingham group The Wilson Family, The Young'uns discover more about their muse, and present the programme in their unique and humorous way.

Produced by Elizabeth Foster.

These are the words of the songwriter Graeme Miles that inspired Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes of the Teesside folk group The Young'uns - Radio 2's Folk Band of the Year Award winners in 2015 & 2016. Stumbling across a folk club at the age of 17, school friends Sean, David & Michael first heard the songs of Graeme Miles - songs about their local area - songs that resonated. They realised that there was beauty to be found in a place they had been brought up to believe was "deprived" and "unromantic", and that Graeme's songs instilled a sense of pride.

"Award-winning folk group The Young'uns discuss the north-east songwriter Graeme Miles.

Produced by Elizabeth Foster."

"""Award-winning folk group The Young'uns discuss the north-east songwriter Graeme Miles.

Produced by Elizabeth Foster."""

Series in which artists describe the artists that inspire them.