Dylan Jones: 'If you care about the lyrics to ‘Star Trek’ or Captain Beefheart’s influence on Tom Waits, this is the place for you'

Saturday 05 March 2011 01:00

At about four thirty on a Saturday afternoon, there are few things better than a very deep, slightly too hot bath, the sort of bath that will steam up your glasses so much that it makes it nigh-on impossible to read. Especially if said bath is accompanied by a bucket of robust tea. Or indeed your favourite radio show. Which, these days, will almost certainly come in the form of a podcast; namely, The Word podcast.

I've been a fan of The Word since it launched eight years ago, but the delights of its regular podcasts escaped me, until now, that is, and having discovered them, I now find myself incapable of slipping beneath the scented bubbles in my tub – sorry, is this overshare? – without the dulcet tones of Mark Ellen and David Hepworth in the background, offering up yet another oddly fascinating piece of rock'n'roll trivia, or waffling on about nothing in particular: men walking on to tube trains carrying tubas, the minutiae of children's television in the 1950s, the provenance of R&B chord structures etc... sort of like radio, actually, but without any of the boring bits. If you're remotely interested in the lyrics to the Star Trek theme, if you care about Captain Beefheart's influence on Tom Waits, or take an unhealthy interest in the interviewing techniques of music journalists of a certain age, then this is the place for you. Indeed, if you're vaguely aware of the phrase "I and I step forward for a sandwich," then you will soon be treating this podcast like your new home.

They have guests, too, people like Danny Baker, Jac Holzman, Phill Jupitus and Wilko Johnson, all of whom tend to use the opportunity to share rather than show off. I was in a hotel room in New York last week and the collected insights of session guitarist Darrell Scott, radio producer Trevor Dann and fellow Word scribe Kate Mossman kept me entertained during those jet-lagged hours when I should have been asleep, dreaming of hot baths on a Saturday afternoon.

I have to go now, as I've just found some more... on the smell of old record shops, Brian Eno's a capella evenings and the etiquette of demo tapes.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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