Three Sheffield favourites: a music selection featuring Cabaret Voltaire, Forgemasters and Chakk

The Favourite Three slot on BBC Radio Merseyside’s BBC Introducing show has a simple remit: invite listeners onto the programme to play their three favourite tunes. But when it was my turn, in September 2011, I couldn’t help adding an extra conceptual twist of my own.

Every Sunday evening, a guest appears on BBC Radio Merseyside’s local music show and introduces three of their favourite records. The spot runs for just over ten minutes, and includes the music plus a little chat – a well worn radio combination. Imagine Desert Island Discs, but for nobodies.

I say nobodies. I mean members of local bands, bloggers, listeners – the people who animate the current city scene. They’re people who have a story to tell, who have something to say – like anyone – but of whom you probably haven’t heard.

In that context, I reckoned I’d fit in just fine.

So in September 2011 I emailed Dave Monks, the programme’s presenter, and asked if I could have a go for myself. I had long since concluded that the famous original – the autobiographical gramophone show beside which all others are judged – was unlikely to cast me away, and thus this would probably be the only chance I ever got to go on the radio – the actual BBC! – to talk about the music I liked. And when he assented, saying I was welcome, I still couldn’t help but think of the opportunity in terms of Roy Plomley’s classic eight-record format: “This is brilliant!” I thought, “I’m doing 37.5% of Desert Island Discs!”

My three favourite tunes though? Three records, plucked from all eras, and spun together in a ten-minute slot? I couldn’t help feeling that even if I could come up with the definitive triumvirate, the results would be scatter-gun, too eclectic to do justice to my moment on the airwaves. So I rewrote my own brief: instead of my favourite three, I would choose three favourites – the difference being that this selection wouldn’t pretend to be the melodic summary of my life. And not only that, they would be three Sheffield favourites, which would narrow down the field quite significantly, allowing me to be both autobiographical and objectively informative too. This radio station was in Liverpool remember; this was my chance to land a jackhammer blow in the land of the scousedelic guitar.

Here, then, in the Soundcloud clip that follows, are three of my favourite Sheffield tracks – Nag Nag Nag by Cabaret Voltaire, Timebomb by Chakk, and Forgemasters’ Track With No Name – as told to BBC Radio Merseyside on 25 September 2011. While the “umms” and “errs” mark me out as a broadcasting amateur, one kind soul did tell me afterwards that she thought I sounded “unnervingly professional”. And while I was flattered, and not entirely convinced, I couldn’t help answering that it was hardly a surprise.

It might be just 13 minutes and 23 seconds of radio. But I’d been planning it all of my record-playing life.

Text © Damon Fairclough 2013

This piece was originally broadcast on BBC Introducing in Merseyside, BBC Radio Merseyside, 25 September 2011.

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