The BBC have this wonderful system for finding audiences for radio shows, which is that all you have to do is to fill out a form on their website for anything you’d like to attend – it’s free of charge. A couple of days later you hear if you’ve got tickets, and more often than not you do. I went to see Edwyn Collins this way, but more recently was overjoyed to get a ticket for the R4 “Mastertapes” recording of a conversation with music featuring Jimmy Webb, and trotted up to Maida Vale where I was 8th in the queue to get in (the BBC overticket these events so you need to be sure of an early place in line).
If you don’t know why Jimmy Webb is a massively important part of Sproutology, you probably shouldn’t be reading this, but a quick search in the box above will put you right. And what struck me during the course of a two and a half hour session during which I stopped grinning only to wipe a tear from my eye, was how similar he is to Paddy in outlook, charm and honesty. To be only ten feet away from someone who knew Sinatra and Streisand was the most unbelievable treat, especially when he can tell the stories so well and never ducks a question.
The programme will air in November or December and I don’t want to pre-empt that, but suffice to say there were a few great stories, including on about how Glen Campbell asked for and then prematurely cut “Wichita Lineman”, and the Pimms fuelled debauchery with Richard Harris around the recording of “A Tramp Shining”. Plus a fantastic description of the rush a songwriter feels when it all comes together.
And you can’t help wishing in all futility that Paddy could be persuaded down to London to record this show too. Such a perfect format for him. It’ll never happen. Very sad.