My academic work is top priority at the moment as I’ve gone into research lock-down in order to get my long-delayed second book drafted by Christmas. But it’s been a pleasure to treat myself to a break from the book to take part for the second year in BBC Radio 3’s Proms Extra events: live discussions that take place before the Prom and are then cut for broadcast during the interval of the evening’s concert. On Saturday 6th August 2016 I’ll be joining eminent science fiction novelist Stephen Baxter to talk with fellow New Generation Thinker Will Abberley about H. G. Wells and the lasting relevance of his work, especially The War of the Worlds. Then on Thursday 18th August I’ll be back in the presenter seat – a role I now enjoy even more than being a contributor – to interview the great Michael Pennington about what it’s like to perform Shakespeare and how the Bard himself portrayed the profession he knew best. All events are free and there’s one before every Prom, so plenty to choose from – if you can’t make it in person, both the Wells and the Pennington discussions will be available on Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas section of the BBCiplayer after broadcast. While you’re online, check out the new addition to the Proms season, fantastic comedian Vikki Stone‘s new behind the scenes podcast, Proms Unplucked.
The Proms season is upon is and it’s been my pleasure to try my hand at the presenting game. It’s a very different experience asking the questions to being the one answering them, but I enjoyed it just as much, if not more. To be fair, my first gig could not have been easier since my interviewee, Steven Price, may well be an Oscar winner for his score for Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity but he’s also a very lovely guy who’s retained the down-to-earthness of our shared Northern roots. Steven and I talked about film music, Holst and the anxiety of influence in a Proms Extra live audience event which is then produced for broadcast in the interval of that evening’s Proms Concert. With my presenter appetite whetted, I’m looking forward to my next Proms Extra event on Monday 31st August when I’ll be interviewing the great Hermione Lee about Willia Cather, on the centenary of the publication of The Song of the Lark. If you’re free, come and join us at the Royal College of Music, or tune in that evening for the interval broadcast.