Well you can see how busy that was just from the title.
Firstly I had Edson Burton in the studio to talk about the Afrofuturism season at the Watershed. Well, I should have done anyway. What actually happened was that Edson fell through a warp in the space-time continuum and was a bit late. Fortunately my colleague, Tommy Popcorn, had been at the screening of the George Clinton film and was able to talk about George for a while. My thanks to Tommy for filling in so ably. Also I related the story about the Playtex seamstresses who made the Apollo spacesuits (which I got from Hannu Rajaniemi’s Guest of Honor speech at Finncon).
Edson finally made it to the studio and previewed some of the up-coming Afrofuturism material. The item on black superheroes on Saturday sounds good, and obviously I’m looking forward to next Wednesday when they’ll be showing Pumzi, followed by a film about black science fiction writers, including interviews with Chip Delany, Octavia Butler and Steven Barnes. The later will be introduced by Ytasha Womack (live via Skype from Chicago), and I’ve just been writing a web article to go with it.
The second half hour was given over to a young lady called Vanessa from Bristol University who is studying Caribbean men who have had prostate cancer. I discovered the scary fact that as many as 1 in 4 Caribbean men in the UK can expect to be diagnosed with the disease, a much higher percentage than for white or Asian men. No one knows why, and Vanessa’s research is an important part of trying to find an answer so that something can be done about it.
I note in passing that most trans women will have prostates and can therefore get prostate cancer. Most GPs have no idea about that.
You can listen to the first hour of the show here.
For the second hour I handed the mic over to Paulette who had some more political material. First up were a couple of ladies from the City Council who help run a scheme to regulate private landlords. This is obviously great for tenants, but it can also be good for landlords too because going through an approved City Council scheme can be cheaper than using a letting agency.
In the process of doing the interview Paulette and I discovered, to our horror, that it is now mandatory for private landlords to check that anyone they let property to has the right to be resident in the UK.
For the final half hour we welcomed three young people from the Bristol Somali Youth Network. Many of you will have heard the story of Yusra Hussien, the 15-year-old Bristol girl who is believed to have flown to Turkey. The tabloid newspapers have been spinning this as “radicalized Muslim girl flies to join IS”. The story we get from the Somali community in Bristol is very different. The young people of BSYN have been trying hard to give their fellow teenagers a sense of community and belonging, but that must be very hard when so much of the British media is so openly hostile.
Talking of BSYN, they have a wonderful project going at the moment to collect unwanted books and ship them to the library in Mogadishu. Hopefully I will have them back to talk about this in a couple of weeks.
You can listen to the second hour of the show here.
The play list for the show was as follows:
- Dance Apocalyptic – Janelle Monae
- Alphabet Street – Prince
- Children of Productions – Funkadelic
- Clouds – Prince
- Our House – Madness
- Burning Down the House – Talking Heads
- I Feel Alone – Maryam Mursal
- Welcome – Maryam Mursal
The track “Clouds” comes from Prince’s new album, Art Official Age. My thanks to Edson and Charlie Jane Anders, both of whom enthused about the album to me. It is a very Afrofutrist piece, telling the story of a Mr. Nelson who is awakened after being in suspended animation for 45 years. One of Prince’s collaborators on the album is Lianne La Havas, a Jamaican-British musician whom Karen Lord tells me I need to listen to. And hey, if Prince thinks she’s good, and so does Karen, that’s good enough for me.
Maryam Mursal is Somalia’s best known musician. Both of the tracks I chose come from her album, The Journey, which tells the tale of the seven-month trek she and her five children undertook to escape from the Somali civil war and find a new home in Europe. The album is co-produced by Simon Emmerson and Martin Russell of Afro-Celt Sound System, and is available from Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. Peter plays, and sings backing vocals, on it. To find out more about Maryam and the record, go here.