Hmmm, where do you start? Overflow has always been an enigma and one which goes back many years. My contributions to it have often been accidental - particuarly idents and jingles which I had a lot of fun playing around with. Classics include the 'Deep space starship overflow' ident which seemed to run on for ages and the better known deep growling voice that simply said 'Overflow' and derivatives of. In fact few knew the origins of that jingle or even that it was my voice until one night I did a live version through someones letterbox and the voice the other side said "Its you!!!". Not only can I still do it, so can my eldest son. I once obtained an recording of a steam organ (for reasons I cannot fathom now) and made a jingle out of it - much to Garry Lee's annoyance and "Not that bloody barrel organ again"
In any event, Overflow, despite my increasing years, holds a special place in my head and did more to increase my knowledge of music (and possibly me to it at various times in its evolution) than I can even describe. Arguably I had a jolting start from Shaun Donovan through early introductions to the likes of Brian Eno and Vincent Crane but my musical interests have progressed into a mish-mash of sounds and there can be few in this world that can drive around a busy city like Coventry playing Steve Reich at full blast. Some will tell you its not even music but to my mind the city provides a perfect canvas to what I consider one of the best avant-garde composers of all time. - albeit akin to syncopated hiccups.
Perhaps my years bounding about to the Sex Pistols and then later contemplating the depth of Allen's 'Gong' were some kind of prequel to a more eccentric music collection too but Overflow did much to accelerate it. The most innovative Album I have EVER heard is Morgan Fisher's 'Miniatures' album (Cherry Red Records) with some 57 one minute tracks all by totally unrelated artistes. Even the late great Ivor Cutler is on that one. Thankfully Fisher produced a sequel but told me that a third album was unlikely as it had taken him so long to put those two together. If you've never heard of it, I HIGHLY recommend you buy it. Those that have will tell you it is their most prized posession.
Despite this bizarre relationship with the more offbeat sounds, The Who still feature heavily in my list of essentials. Due in part to the fact that songs that had less or little meaning when I was younger suddenly make sense as I work my way through my middle years and whilst the Quadrophenia part of my youth is becoming a distant memory now, I see new generations around me, dealing with their own sense of identity in what is becoming a much tougher world. I can also now appreciate the fragility of it all. As kids the days stretch endlessly in front of us but life is indeed very short. I was never a mod and as a fairly rational youth, never understood the superficial divides anyway. I was more freak than rocker, and the only divides I felt were those between the masses that had no concept of anything beyond chart music and those that were at least more receptive. Overflowees were more interesting people by far. I hope I've stayed true to form by keeping an open mind to all music even if the ravages of time have not been overly kind to me.
In 1995 I won the top prize (bizarrely) at the British Radio Awards for a 7 minute feature. This prestigious event, funded (at that time) by the Radio Academy was actually a great day and I had the opportunity to go work for British Forces Radio, but somehow I just felt it wasn't something that I would have fitted into with a 'Peelesque' style of presentation, so instead taugh Radio for five years to aspiring media students. I'm now a journalist and photographer and have more recently redesigned the Starship Overflow web site as well as contributing a new batch of disjointed jingles.
As for the Overflow, it keeps on going under the enthusiastic control of Captain Garry Lee. These days you can hear the extraordinary evolutionary result of some 20-odd years of madcap mayhem - these days on Radio Seagull amongst others and whilst Overflow has become part of a collection of styles from Seagull, it remains very true to itself (even down to it's idents and jingles) and you can't help feeling proud that all that hard work on Garry's part has paid off in terms of his recognition on the radio DJ circuit - globally. Whatever his influences, his style is very much his own and perhaps more than that, he has remained a life long friend of mine.
There are just too many amusing moments in Overflow's history to pick out any in particular but like the very best Radio, Overflow never lost sight of the value of being able to paint the most vivid pictures - albeit surreal. It is only when you understand that and can work with it that you can put together a show that listeners will want to hear again. The memories of Zippy & George heaving into a sink after having consumed far too many snowballs for their own good, lingers on - as does that number 93.9. Its wedged in there for life I expect.
Stuff I listen to these days in my VW Camper:
The late and technically brilliant 'Michael Hedges', Steve Reich, Pete Townsend, OMD (still think they were great tunesmiths), Debussy, Hawkwind, 60s plastic lift music (hard to find now except on 60s stereo test records in junk shops but 'The Fantastic Plastic Machine' and the 'Pizzicatto Five' are the more modern equivalent), and on very odd days a blast of 70s flare stopping disco jive groove stuff.
Affected by Overflow? Undoubtedly.
Anyway Ricettes, keep in touch!.
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