I’d like to reproduce the article written about soundsfamiliar in ‘Arteast17’ the creative magazine for E17 and East London.Many thanks to Kate Tilmouth, Matthew Cook and Lloyd Park.
Up above the streets and houses, rainbow flying high. How many of you, dear readers, are now drawn back to a more innocent time of your lives? A time when you would think there was nothing sinister in watching a ménage comprising a fussy zip-mouthed puppet, a talking bear, an aging trio of hippie folk singers and a middle-aged man called Geoffrey with a natty line in dungarees, all ensconced in a house with only three windows.
Eavesdropping in on the daily routine in the Rainbow household was an appointment to view for the pre-school generation of the 70s and 80s. But, before I dragged this engram from the darker recesses of your mind, when was the last time you gave consciously gave it a second thought? Even with the ongoing resurgence of all things nostalgic, I’ll wager there must be a wealth of jingles, themes or tunes that you do not even remember that you have forgotten; or indeed you might not even know that you knew in the first place. If you want to be amazed and amused by how much you have forgotten, then log on to Sounds Familiar, courtesy of the Walthamstow-based internet broadcaster Gary Craig.
Sounds Familiar is a niche, kitsch, and camp confection of nuggets from nostalgic TV themes, film soundtracks, obscure jingles, soundbites and curios from the 1950s to the 1980s, all interspersed with tunes that will resonate with listeners and are guaranteed to get their feet tapping.
But the remit of Sounds Familiar extends far beyond children’s television themes. “There is something for everyone”, says Gary, the voice and brains behind Sounds Familiar. “A wealth of fantastic material is available, and although these tunes were composed primarily as television themes or film soundtracks or even as incidental music, they can be enjoyed as stand-alone works. Also, there are many pieces of library music that are real feel-good songs. These should not be allowed to fall into obscurity, but should be enjoyed by a wide audience.”
Radio is in Gary’s blood. Even as an adolescent, he was not content just to listen to Radio Caroline under his bedspread, and at the age of 14 he took to the airwaves with his own radio station and was compiling his own programmes on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. Gary’s formative years also coincided with a golden age of commercial television, with cult programmes, such as the Avengers, the Saint, Danger Man, and the Prisoner, and great comedies, such as On the Buses, George and Mildred and Man About the House, all having their first airings.
“These programmes are repeated constantly on television and their longevity is a testament to their quality. But they were not just fantastic television programmes; for me, the music was just as important as storylines. Many of the themes were composed by great bandleaders such as Laurie Johnson and Ronnie Hazlehurst, and their compositions define these eras as much as the programmes themselves do, yet they are for the most part unrecognised.”
Unlike his pirate radio forebears, Gary does not need to spend days on a boat in the North Sea or move to northern continental Europe. Sounds Familiar is hosted on Live 365, an end-to-end broadcast platform available over the internet that provides individuals with a voice to reach audiences around the world. This means that Sounds familiar is available to anyone with an internet radio or a computer with an internet connection. The advent of digital and internet radio has allowed an accessibility that was hitherto impossible; thanks to such access, in 2 years Sounds Familiar has become a global phenomenon, with fans around the world and regular listeners in Europe, America, South America, Australia, China and Asia.
Gary draws from his personal music library to compile the output of the station, and the abundance of the material available ensures that the playlist can be changed weekly, meaning you are guaranteed to hear something new whenever you tune in. So if you feel like listening to something a bit different or just want to cheer up your day, why not log on at www.soundsfamiliar.biz ? You can even submit a request, read Gary’s blog and leave a message in the guestbook. But best of all just log on, sit back and enjoy
Written by Lloyd Park
Finally can I wish you all the complements of the season and a prosperous 2011.
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