Sunday, October 23, 2016

Beatcroft Social, 22 October - Mixcloud audio & Facebook Live with video

Here's last night's very slightly slicker analogue-meets-digital collision - no Spotify playlist as much of the material was played from vinyl album and cassette.

Still up on Facebook if you scroll down my timeline: here.

For the interest of anyone, ah, interested, the tape deck is an old Sony Walkman Pro portable, the legendary WM-D6C which is built solidly from metal and was standard issue to broadcast hacks at the BBC. I took one around South Africa on a motorbike and also used one for the radio series Hell's Golfer, riding around Scotland on a Kawasaki Z650 with a set of golf clubs. It is reputed to be the equal of top-end Nakamichi hi-fi decks in terms of sound and good used ones can sell on eBay for up to £500.

The record deck is brand new - an Audio Technica ATLP120USB USB turntable. Don't know what the cartridge is but it's a professional one you can reverse/backtrack for cueing up the track. Something I admit to never having done until now. When I was playing in my own tracks on the afternoon Tom Morton Show, it was all CDs and Minidiscs.

The software being used (last night for the first time) for playing out digital material is Algoriddim's DJay Pro running on a Mac Mini, which is really, really good - you can create playlists from any digital source including iTunes and Spotify. It is far, far better (at least for me, in terms of ease of use) than the playout system used at the BBC.

All of this runs through a host of digital gubbins I don't understand, masterminded by Andy Steven, Iain Waddell and Bo Anderson, who are the three folk you see in the background on the studio webcam.

Next week's show is pre-recorded so WON'T go out on Facebook Live - it will be available at

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Analogue special! Cassette, vinyl and digital Beatcroft Social on 60N Radio, 15 October

This is the fairly ramshackle (my fault!) Beatcroft Social from 15 October, the first to use vinyl and cassette as well as digital files. As I write, still available on Facebook Live with all the webcam action, but also, as below on Mixcloud, audio only.

Worth saying a couple of things: I had never, in a quarter century of broadcasting, actually played a cassette or vinyl record out on air myself until last night. At the BBC there were either people to do such things or I used CDs, minidiscs or files.

And so, when I arrived at the Market Street 6.00pm last night, Iain was still installing the Audio-Technica turntable 60N had just acquired (indeed, he was wiring up the cartridge). There was a great deal of level-sorting to work out, too as everything was either too loud or too quiet.

I had spent the morning sorting out cue points for the cassettes (despite its legendary quality and reliability, the Sony Walkman Pro we were using is a fairly (very!) primitive device). But I just hadn't thought through the vinyl. OF COURSE we needed to be able to cue up the beginning of each track. OF COURSE we therefore needed to what's called pre-fade the signal from the turntable (hear it eithout broadcasting it). And could we manage that? Nope, despite strenuous efforts and the technological fact that it should have worked. So the start of records was guesswork. Hence the Oxbow Lake Band 33 rpm single starting at 45...among other things.

Anyway, steep learning curve and all that. One thing for other DJs and radio stations using Facebook Live: They're using an algorithm to detect 'unlicensed' music and will take the stream down if it finds something it doesn't like. Last night said algorithm claimed we played a version of Tainted Love by a band I'd never heard of without permission (we didn't: scratchy vinyl Gloria Jones). As I say every week on Facebook, and have told them directly, we have gone out of our way to obtain EVERY semi-relevant licence for net 'broadcasting' we could find, most of which are, of course, bought from organisations still living in the very early 20th Century, and who probably use goose quill pens and pigeon post. Fortunately, you can resist and simply tell them you DO have permission and stick the stream back up. Which is what I do every week.

I'm assuming that the BBC, indie broadcasters and everyone in broadcasting are trying to negotiate deals with the Zuckerbergians even as we speak. But FB will have to get the licensing thing sorted out, a la Mixcloud. FB Live is, potentially, a true killer app, in that it could kill aspects of YouTube, all of Periscope and a lot of traditional radio. Or, it could reinforce and benefit at least one of those. Guess which?

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Beatcroft Social, 8 October - Facebook, Mixcloud and Spotify

This show was broadcast live from the 60 North Radio studios at 4 Market Street, Lerwick, and if the Facebook Live video is still up, contains a host of webcam and Instagram shots to illustrate the wonder of Shetland life.

The music has a loose New Jersey/Springsteen influence, as I had just got hold of the Springsteen autobiography Born to Run, kicking off with his wife Patti Scialfa's Lucky Girl from her excellent album Rumble Doll. We have Shawn Colvin doing I'm on Fire, Greg Kihn's definitive, I think, version of Rendezvous, and of course Bruce himself doing 4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy). Plus some unlikely references points: fellow Jersey rockers Bon Jovi and other more obscure links.

Next week we're going analogue. Engineer Iain Waddell has lent me his Sony Walkman Pro cassette recorder, rescued from the loft, and it's working well. I have some serious obscurities to play, including some which may never have been heard on radio before...and Andy is promising a record turntable, so there may be vinyl as well.

Meanwhile, here are the various ways you can get Saturday's show:

The entire Facebook Live video and soundtrack is still up as of this moment, so go to my timeline if you desire, scroll down and see/hear the whole two hours, here.

You can go direct to the Mixcloud and Spotify audio-only (and in Spotify's case, music only) versions from this page. Just click on the links below. The Spotify playlist is here too.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

For National Poetry Day: The Brothers Corbyn - An Historical Tribute In Verse

They lived at Yew Tree Manor
An aristocratic name
So the Yew Tree Guesthouse
It became

David and Naomi 
Jeremy and Piers
Did bed and breakfast
For years and years

Bohemian and radical
Naomi rode a scooter
And used old Guardians
As draft excluders

Piers became an expert
In meteorology
But the world of politics 
Called him and Jeremy

In the Labour Party
Jeremy had sympathy
For his brother, his friend Tariq
And other members of the IMG

That’s the International Marxist Group
By the way
Jeremy was never a member
Or so they say

Jeremy became an MP
For North Islington in London
Waitroses. Marxists.
They have an abundance

Piers bet against
The Met Office. His predictions
Were sometimes accurate
Sometimes fiction

Skipping ahead: Now
Jeremy’s Labour leader
“Theresa May?” He snorts
“I will defeat her.” 

Climate change, meanwhile
Piers denies
All contra-indications
Are mistakes or lies

They were brought up believing
Evidence and proof
Are always deceiving 

So Piers and Jeremy
Still battle the class enemy
One predicts the weather

One predicts the future
One has a beard
And that would be Jeremy
These days. Not Piers

Copyright Scar Quilse 2016. All rights reserved

Sunday, October 02, 2016

October 1st - Beatcroft Social on Facebook, Mixcloud and Spotify.

After a bit of a hiatus due to Facebook suspending my account due to 'suspicious activity', here's last night's Beatcroft Social in various formats - there's the Facebook Live (video recording) with all the webcam and studio action, plus music, but in mono - very noticeable during Pink Floyd's Money. In glorious full-on stereo, there's the Mixcloud audio version, and then there's the not-quite complete Spotify playlist, which gives you an idea of what went out - though we were taking requests last night and there were quite a few last-minute variations.

And remember, is functioning 24-hours a day, seven days a week with webcam action this week promising some possibly spectacular auroras.

So, Facebook. That would be here, though there is always the chance that FB will take it down. I'll say it again - we have taken out every licence we can to try and ensure this is legal and that copyright holders get their just rewards!

The Mixcloud audio stream is here:

...and the Spotify playlist is here: