‘If music be the food of love, play on…’ The relationship between music and human emotions has been explored since at least as long ago as Shakespeare’s time. In this series of events we welcome musicians who have put down their instrument and picked up a pen to record the pleasure and pain of their experiences. Their stories reflect the cultural revolutions that have rocked our worlds. From 60s hip hop and Motown to the punk and metal of the 70s, from the heady days of the 90s indie scene to the dance and grime culture of today, our programme features stories from every generation.
A PUNK’S MEMOIR GOES DARK
Saturday 11 August 20:45 - 21:45
Following on from her first fascinating and quick-witted memoir Clothes Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys, post punk legend Viv Albertine brings us a second. With To Throw Away Unopened, she delves deeply into her own history and in unflinching detail portrays why she’s so passionate about the truth. Although Albertine journeys to dark places, her trademark humour leavens the pain. She talks to Scottish broadcaster Cathy Macdonald. This event will be recorded for BBC Radio Scotland.
Music Room Favourites
Tuesday 14 August 18:30 - 19:30
From Jane Austen to P G Wodehouse, music rooms have been the setting for the blossoming of partnerships and the thickening of plots. But in the memoirs of William Fiennes and Namita Devidayal the music room is a place of calm. Join Ruthanne Baxter, Museums Services Manager at the University of Edinburgh for an exploration of music rooms between book covers and across centuries.
COD LIVER OIL AND THE ORANGE JUICE
Thursday 16 August 20:45 - 21:45
Rip it Up tells the story of Scottish pop music from the 1950s to now, taking in Lonnie Donegan, Simple Minds, Cocteau Twins and Franz Ferdinand. BBC Radio broadcaster, journalist, author and all-round music devotee (as well as musician) Vic Galloway shares his material in the enthusiastic and informed manner which has beguiled listeners for many years, and considers whether musically we’ve punched well above our weight.
A MUSICAL ALBUM THAT’S A NOVEL
Friday 17 August 20:45 - 21:45
A MUSICAL ALBUM THAT’S A NOVEL
Is it possible to imagine what an album would sound like? Award-winning musician Matthew Herbert provides an eloquent answer in his groundbreaking debut novel. In The Music, which he discusses today, Herbert evokes startling, shifting sonic landscapes such as the sound of insects hitting number plates followed by a drill striking oil beneath the earth’s surface. The result is surprising and unforgettable.
Alexander McCall Smith
AN OPERA FOR HUMANITY
Saturday 18 August 17:00 - 18:00
As well as being a bestselling novelist, Alexander McCall Smith has a passion for music. He set up the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera House in Botswana to give local singers a chance to perform; plus he’s written several operas and song cycles including Silver Darlings and Fergus of Galloway. Today he discusses books, music and opera, the ways they influence one another and his love for each form.
WRITING WITH AN IRON FIST
Saturday 18 August 20:30 - 21:30
Bruce Dickinson is frontman of one of the world’s iconic heavy metal bands; but he has plenty more strings to his guitar. The Iron Maiden leader is also an aviation entrepreneur, beer brewer and fencing enthusiast. His bestselling memoir, What Does This Button Do?, reflects on an eccentric childhood, his meteoric rise to fame, and his recent encounter with cancer. Hear from one of music's most multitalented men.
THAT'S A RAP
Saturday 18 August 20:45 - 21:45
Arguably the most divisive music genre since punk, hip hop can court controversy and at the same time nurture artists to become legends in the pantheon of modern music. With Hip Hop Raised Me, the host of BBC Radio 1‘s flagship hip hop programme DJ Semtex sheds light on the genre and its context, discussing everything from the cult of Kanye to MCs, DJs and B-boys.
IT’S GRIME TIME
Sunday 19 August 21:45 - 22:45
BBC Radio 1’s go-to guy for the latest sounds from the grime scene, DJ Target recalls how it all started in Grime Kids. Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Stormzy and others have brought the genre into the mainstream, hitting the news when the #Grime4Corbyn movement was launched, and DJ Target has been there from the beginning. While grime seems to be at the peak of its powers now, where does DJ Target think it’s headed?
CAN MUSIC SAVE LIVES?
Tuesday 21 August 20:45 - 21:45
As a journalist who’s reported from countless war zones, Ed Vulliamy has spent time listening; not only to people waging war, but also to music. When Words Fail is his account of 16 life-changing gigs, featuring interviews with B B King, Patti Smith and others, at the frontier between music and politics. His big question is: does music have the power to stop war? Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
The Last Poets
THE GODFATHERS OF HIP HOP
Thursday 23 August 20:30 - 21:30
Formed in 1960s New York, the era of the Black Panthers, The Last Poets dared people to hope. Their music and poetry has influenced generations of musicians, earning them the title ‘the godfathers of hip hop’. The poets, Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole and Baba Donn Babatunde, return to the Book Festival after last year’s barnstorming visit. This time, they perform tracks from their first album in 20 years, Understand What Black Is, alongside some classics. They’ve never sounded so relevant.
REFLECTIONS OF A BRITPOP FRONTMAN
Saturday 25 August 20:30 - 21:30
When the NME was still a major force in the early 90s, Brett Anderson was one of the paper’s poster boys. The Suede frontman had it all – attitude, looks, that voice and a sexual identity which caused endless debate. With his recent memoir Coal Black Mornings, Anderson ponders not only the heady days of Britpop, but also an upbringing that never suggested the wild success to come. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
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