Thursday, 10 January 2013

At the Mouth of the Walbrook

Tom Bolton is a writer, geographer and charter of lost rivers. Here is a short interview with him, about his work and the hidden waterways that course beneath London.

Thanks to Tom - here is a link to his blog, and to make sure you have a look at his book, London's Lost Rivers. It is a fascinating read. He's also working on a second volume at the moment, so do keep your eye out for that.

If you want to visit the mouth of the Walbrook, from Cannon St Station, turn left down Dowgate Hill, cross the busy road at the bottom and across to Cousin Lane. At the end, by a pub called The Banker, jump up the steps that lead over the embankment wall, and then down to the shore.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Nobody Knows What You've Left Out

Christine Doughan is a City of London Guide, and has spent years charting the history of the capital’s streets. We join her for a short walk around All Hallows by the Tower.

Many thanks to Christine for speaking to me. All Hallows is a fascinating place and I would heartily recommend a visit there. It is an intriguing feast of historical layers and also has lots of wonderful model ships. It is just next to the Tower of London. Check out their website.

This is the first of a series of pieces I, Sean, am making as part of an MA in Radio at Goldsmiths College. More to follow.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Good Ship

The City of Adelaide in Irvine

Listen to this piece, The Good Ship, here.

A couple of months ago, I made a trip down to Irvine on the Ayrshire coast to visit Peter Maddison, from Sunderland, who at the time was camped out in protest on the 150-year-old clipper ship the City of Adelaide.

The Adelaide was built in Sunderland and used to sail between Britain and Australia, carrying immigrants to the other side of the world and back. Peter spent a total of one month on board, and I spoke to him about his experiences staying on the ship and why he was doing it.

The ship has been lying by the side of the river there for over a decade, slowly rotting away because there was neither the money nor the political will to save it. Then, earlier this year, a group from Australia succeeded in a bid to the Scottish Government to have it towed over the seas to Adelaide in South Australia, where it will be restored and become a tourist attraction. Peter passionately believes the City of Adelaide's rightful home is in Sunderland, the place of its birth, and that its return there would mean a lot for the town, both symbolically and in terms of jobs and economic benefits.

Peter in the bowels of the ship

Thanks to Peter for speaking to me, and also to the Australian campaign for allowing me to use excerpts from diaries of passengers on the Adelaide. You can visit both campaigns' websites here: the Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Foundation, and the Australian site, the Clipper Ship "City of Adelaide". Both have a wealth of information and pictures.

Thanks to Roddy Wallace, Suzie Wyllie, Mhari Baxter and Roger Young for reading the diary excerpts used in the piece, and to the trusty David McCallum for help with sound recording, and to Hebrides for use of the wonderful pictures you see in this post.

The piece is just under 16 minutes long, so make yourself a cup of tea, grab yourself a ship's biscuit, pop your headphones in and let yourself drift out on the tide... Enjoy!

"I thought I heard the creaking of an ancient ship: ropes and timbers straining to hold it all together. An awful chorus of discordant screeching and scraping, it was, before some final coming-apart. But the sound came not from beyond the windows, nor even the bed where I failed to sleep. I was sickened to discover that the sound came from me, and that I was that creaking ship."

Mick Jackson, from The Underground Man

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Dear friends, as you may or may not have noticed, The Co-operative Programme is sitting on its creative laurels and taking something of a respite. We have been offered an exciting new opportunity which one day will enable us to bring you exquisite information from new frontiers. But we may be some time.

Remember, our full shows are available to listen to on the Subcity website and we now have a SoundCloud account where you can listen to our interviews. These have also been embedded in our blog entries, and there is a little gadget just to the right where you can see all of them together. Wonderful!

See you in space.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Click here to listen to the show.
See the playlist here.

A spooky time of it this week, with some excellent and haunting folk songs. Here is a link to the English translation of Edith Edwards' Song Of The Spectres. See if you can get those "ffoldi ridldi rai"s rolling off your tongue.

I think old voice recordings have a ghostly quality, especially if the sound is a bit ropey and scratchy - listening to the voice of one long departed but still ethereally present through sound. At the British Library Sound Archive you can listen to all sorts of recordings, from oral histories to music to early spoken word recordings. You might also be interested in the Poetry Archive, a wonderful resource set up by Andrew Motion, which has a fantastic collection of historic recordings.

Here is a link to Esopus as promised, and another to Jonny Trunk's programme on library music.

Here is a video from Norman McLaren called Spook Sport. It was a collaboration with Mary Ellen Bute. It is scored to the atmospheric Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens, and is a "film-ballet" in red and green. I never thought a chevron could be so menacing.

Join us next time.