The Suitcase Man on the Air
When I was young I can remember seeing a programme on TV about the Vikings arriving in Iceland. A man rode a horse up a black lava slope and disappeared over the crest. I saw that the world had an edge and you could go beyond it, and the edge was in Iceland.
The next time I consciously thought about Iceland was on hearing Sigur Rós, which blew me away.
I now wanted to vist Iceland. I also wondered what other bands Iceland might be harbouring if it could produce a band as wonderful as Sigur Rós. So I booked a trip to Iceland, going right round it clockwise, and searched the internet for information on Icelandic bands. When I got to Reykjavik I filled a suitcase up with cds. And every trip to Reykjavik since I’ve filled a suitcase with cds.
Croydon Radio started as a response to the riots in South London in the summer of 2011. Parts of Croydon were badly affected by the rioting. As part of the regeneration Tim Longhurst and Tracey Rabbets set up a community internet radio station HYPERLINK “http://www.croydonradio.com” www.croydonradio.com.
I organise a poetry group in Croydon, Poets Anonymous – HYPERLINK “http://www.poetsanon.org.uk” www.poetsanon.org.uk . Poets Anonymous presented an idea for a programme, broadcasting in the first couple of weeks Croydon radio went live.
There was plenty of spare studio time at the very begining, and as I was going to sleep one night I had the bright idea that I could do a programme of Icelandic music – so no sleep but a playlist worked out for the first IceStation programme instead.
And Tim gave me the chance to broadcast IceStation. He sat in on the first programme, as well as to make sure I was operating the equipment correctly, I think it was so he could pull the plug if these bands he had never heard of were too awful. Two tracks in he was converted.
And IceStation is the best excuse to listen to music, go to gigs, and make trips to Reykjavik.
I went to Airwaves for the first time last year. It was magical. The best gig I went to was at Gamli Gaukurinn – great sets from Legend followed by Agent Fresco. I had wanted to see Agent Fresco for a long time – I did once get a ticket to a gig they were doing in Reykjavik as a birthday present to myself, but couldn’t get a flight.
I interviewed Arnór Dan for IceStation when he was performing with Ólafur Arnalds ‘For Now I am Winter’ in London. We were in a quiet corner of a bar – until the fire alarm went off three times, staff kept coming to apologise for the false alarms, a pile of plates was dropped, followed by cutlery. An interview that took a lot of editing.
IceStation is a programme made by a fan of Icelandic music. A fan who rejoices in meeting his musical heroes, and loves the opportunity to create programmes of music he loves. And is going to Airwaves again this year.
Podcasts of IceStation are available at the following links: