Tuesday 24 January 2012


...Of course it isn't.

You are right, but I decided it would be a good idea and only fair to attack the large pile of CD's that have arrived since the new year. Record companies are now sending me stuff that will be released in March so it can easily be the case that some gems could be lost if I didn't buckle down and get a-listening!

When faced with a huge pile of records, I know that it will be impossible to listen to everything and every track so a selection process has to take place.

This is not science, I will admit, and I will also admit to certain personal prejudices that occur when faced with a huge pile.

A quick scan of the cover and the press release that accompanies the track gives me a first inkling.

Artists I recognise and like get put on one side. Artists that I know are core Radio 2 artists also, even if I am not necessarily a huge fan of their work - ditto.

The show is not about me, it’s about playing the music you like and hopefully introducing a few more musicians and singers into your repertoire via "Lesters Library".

Does it picture smiling kids leaping in the air?

Yup? Sorry that's for the teen market, not us.

Does the press release contain the words:

"Has received airplay on the Hoppy Hopson show on 105 The Glove, West Bromwich"

PR guys: this is not a big selling point. They are probably friends and so were played as a favour

"Got a huge reaction after being played on Radio 1"

Wrong demographic again and I know from experience if I play a track and get a "huge reaction" this is an online campaign from Facebook and Twitter "friends". We know how many people are listening and the level of appreciation we get from you for new tracks.

(Unless it was Bjork in which case ignore the above and all bets are off. Only Dr Strangelove and I liked that record; we are big enough to admit we don't always get it right.)

I have had to email the record companies or the artists themselves in the past to tell them to pass the word along to their fans that all this does is ensure that any future releases go to the back of the pile.

Does the CD arrive with a gimmick such as a picture of me on the sleeve? (this has happened). Or an enclosure like a bag of sweets or a plastic whistle?

Put to one side; the music is probably poor so has to be bolstered by a "free gift". Rather like teen magazines.

Does the artists come from a TV talent show?

Back of the pile although they may end up on the Radio 2 playlist so there is no need for me to feature them as part of the Library. This is my personal prejudice showing through.

Does the artist have a "tragic back story"?

"She was crushed by a piano at Primary school and when she was recovering she took up the zither"

Back of the pile. It’s the music, stupid!

Charity records.

This is a very sensitive area. I regard this as a form of blackmail.

"You must play this record!! It’s for charity!!!!"

I have only ever heard a couple of charity songs that I liked and it can be argued that Children in Need aside (which is the official BBC charity) if you play one charity single should play them all. There are certainly enough of them going round.

A sub-genre to the above is the artist who sends you a song with the accompanying letter:

"I'll donate any proceeds from the sales of this disc to charity"

Sorry, Buster, I'm too old and cynical for this ploy. You just want to get your music played on the radio!

When all those have been weeded out there are still quite a lot left.

Thrash Metal. Gregorian Chants. Tuvan Throat Singing and Religious music.

(Talking Hymns here rather than Gospel as - despite being an atheist - I like the noise it makes.)

Again, see "not exactly science".

Back of the pile. Hey PR guys, have you actually listened to the show? Do you know the sort of music we play?

Whilst I have been typing this blog and having cups of tea, doing some laundry and generally tidying the flat, I have managed to wade through about 50 CD's and listened to just over half of them.

There are some gems coming your way over the next few days for Lesters Library.

Starting tomorrow with Strictly X Come runners-up those lovable nine year-old Orphans, "Disturbing Moppets" with their charity single, "It’s Awful But Buy It" in aid of "Feed the Hamster".

If you would like to make a suggestion of your own for Listener's Library (see, it's not all about me!) then do so here. I look forward to hearing and possibly playing your suggestions!

1 comment:

Slyppery Syd said...

Rather you than me having to plough through all that rubbish in hope of a good-un being spotted.
But sorting through them sounds easy. Just chuck the charity CDs and all gimmicks in the bin. That should reduce the pile to 10%. Easy.