News, events etc.

Forthcoming events, book news

END OF THE ROAD FESTIVAL Q&A with Ben Wheatley, visionary director of A Field In England, The Kill List, Sightseers. Saturday 31 September, 5.30pm, following a screening of A Field In England, 4pm.

ALBUMS CLUB: FOREVER CHANGES BY LOVE Come and celebrate Valentine's Day with the 1967 classic by Love, which is the only album that could soothe the wrath of every girlfriend (and wife) I've had. I'll be talking about how a group of strung-out LA hippie misfits made this tender gem, while Sean O'Hagan will be recalling his own experiences of making music with Love's terrifying genius madman, the late Arthur Lee. It will be very romantic. Wine and chocolates all part of the evening. Book here: http://idler.co.uk

BERT: A PERSONAL TRIBUTE TO BERT JANSCH End Of The Road Festival, Friday 31 Aug, 11am Bert Jansch, who died in October 2011, was my musical mentor and the inspiration behind Guitar Man. Through that, he also guided Song Man and The Ballad Of Britain. I've been wanting to pay tribute to him somehow for a while, so when I was asked to do a talk at End Of The Road it seemed like a perfect opportunity. I'll be doing a short reading from Guitar Man, but also celebrating the unique characters of Bert and his wife Loren, who died a few weeks after him, following the great love of her life to the grave. They are buried next to each other in Highgate Cemetery, London.

THE SONG OF THE WICKER MAN AT SXSW 2012 Friday 5pm, Room 11AB: The truth behind the myths of The Wicker Man, with a panel talk and performances of Willow's Song and Gently Johnny by the amazing Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray For The Riff Raff. I'm hosting, while Crispin Parry of British Underground, Matt Sullivan of Light In The Attic and Nigel Adams of Full Time Hobby talk about the influence of the greatest pagan horror comedy of all time. If you are going to SXSW, make sure you come to this one-off event.

THIS IS MOD at SXSW 2011 Thursday 17, Austin Convention Centre, 2pm: I'm hosting a panel talk on the worldwide influence of mod culture at this year's SXSW. Ian McLagan of The Small Faces, David Fricke of Rolling Stone, Phil Alexander of MOJO and Terry Attack of Danish band Thee Attacks are all on board to argue over who is the ace face. If you're in town for the festival, please come along.

SWN FESTIVAL Cardiff, Chapter Arts Centre, Saturday 23 October The Ballad Of Britain, Welsh Chapter, featuring Richard James, H Hawkline, and Alex and Lavinia from Trembling Bells (OK they're not Welsh but they're still great) and me anecdotalising adventures in Wales during The Ballad Of Britain road trip.

Port Eliot, Cornwall, 23-25 July The Ballad Of Britain returns (sort of) at 4pm Sunday at this very picturesque festival, to talk about Cornish mythology and folk music and revive CORNWALL ON THE COB, my and Michael Tyack's tribute to totally obscure Cornish acid folk legends, Cob. Please come along - it's part of my brother's IDLER academy tent.

Glastonbury, Saturday 28 June, 12.30pm The Ballad Of Britain at The Park Stage, featuring a handful of the people on the field recordings representing the multi-layered spirit of British folk music in 2010. Looking likely: a medieval psychedelic garage rock fantasy with Trembling Bells, The Princes In The Tower and foxy Morris troupe The Belles Of London performing a passion play of mindblowing proportions, with a special guest spot from everybody's favourite mediocre garage duo, as featured in Guitar Man.... Double Fantasy!

Wednesday 18 November: Herne Hill Books opening, a short reading from The Ballad Of Britain with The Boycott Coca Cola Experience doing songs about South London. It's by Herne Hill station.

Saturday 20 November, Review Bookshop, 131 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4QY: A reading from The Ballad Of Britain at this very nice bookshop, to coincide with Peckham Literarary Festival.

Songbook Series 3: Ray Davies, Brett Anderson and many more talking about the art of songwriting and the stories behind their songs. On Sky Arts.

22 October, Cecil Sharp House, London: The Ballad Of Britain concert featuring The Watersons, Gruff Rhys, Stephanie Hladowski and Sam Lee, all who feature in the book and who graciously allowed me to make field recordings of them. Buy tickets for the concert here: http://folkshop.efdss.org/

Thursday 5 February: Songbook, Series 2, Sky Arts songwriting, featuring acoustic performances from all involved - apart from Duran Duran, who don't really go unplugged. They did a full set with a full band.

15 December 2008: Davy Graham. The guitarist Davy Graham died from cancer today, aged 68. He was the original inspiration for Guitar Man: I picked up guitar after being astounded by the simple beauty of his acoustic classic Anji. Davy was a transcendent guitarist, a sharp dresser and a bohemian free spirit who constantly searched for new worlds on the guitar, whether that was inventing the tuning DADGAD or combining Eastern devotional music with Irish melodies. The day before he died, he was wearing a fez and jalaba around the wards of the hospital. He was a genius and he will be missed.

SUMMER-AUTUMN 2008: THE BALLAD OF BRITAIN What is British music? Attempting to answer that question is the premise of the new book, for which I'm traveling around Britain making field recordings and finding out about the relationship the British have with music on a grass roots level. This is currently still in the travelling stages but will be out on Portico in May 2009. Everyone from Jarvis Cocker in an industrial estate in Sheffield to a group of Romany gypsies in a wood in deepest Sussex have contributed to the adventure.

SONGBOOK, SERIES 2 This starts filming some time in September and will go out early 2009. See below for details of the first series.

An eight-part series of one-hour interviews with top pop songwriters including Phil Collins, Mick Hucknall, Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen and Difford & Tilbrook of Squeeze. I'm presenting, and listening with intense interest as Phil Collins explains how, despite the press abuse he gets in the UK, he's a bit of a player on the US hip-hop scene. All of those interviewed were thoughtful and unguarded, and they perform acoustic, unaccompanied - and sometimes unrehearses - versions of their most famous hits. On Sky Arts.

The Guitar Man Radio Show is back after a summer hiatus. Mondays, 7pm, Resonance 104.4fm or www.resonancefm.com Dec 17: Indigo Moss - South London bluegrass/religious cult Dec 10: Directing Hand - folk noise Dec 2: Gruff Rhys, Super Furry Animals Nov 19: London-born, New York-based early 70s folk-rock legend Bridget St John Nov 27: Pete Molinari

Dec 3: Gruff Rhys, Super Furry Animals

Readings: Sunday Dec 2, 1pm: Burnsong Festival at The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Friday Nov 16, 8pm at The Review Bookshop, Bellenden Road, Peckham. Small Wonder festival at Charleston, Sunday 23 September. Please come to the historic farmhouse where Virginia Woolf once hung out with Lytton Strachey to hear a reading from Song Man, a discussion on the art of the song, and a performance by the impeccable Mara Carlyle plus a song or to by the dulcet-toned NJ with myself on guitar.

The Green Man festival, Saturday 18 August: I'm doing a reading of Song Man, and duetting on a rare performance by Double Fantasy, at the Literature Tent, Saturday 2pm. Song Man is now published (Bloomsbury, �12.99). The one-man empire that is Barry Stilwell of Tapestry plays a few tunes on his guitar, talks about his reasons for putting on medieval biker folk rock hog-roast Tapestry Goes West, and explains his policy for booking bands (he likes the ones that can't help themselves). Monday, 9.30pm, Resonance 104.4fm or www.resonancefm.com Then there will be a three-week break as Resonance moves offices and I'm off to France. x Will

Forthcoming readings: Friday July 13: Latitude Festival, Suffolk, 5pm Vox'n'roll tent Friday July 20: Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall Saturday August 18: The Green Man Festival, Wales

45 of Bad Part Of Town/Ask Me No Questions by Double Fantasy: I have a few left of this hallowed object, the end product of spending a year trying to write a song for Song Man. Double Fantasy features the main characters in the book doing their best to lay down a garage punk classic. It didn't turn out quite as expected. Contact me if you would like a copy for the low price of �4 (inc. P).

March 19: Guitar Man is published in paperback (Bloomsbury, �7.99) with a great new cover and lots of quotes from the great minds of our day.

The Guitar Man Radio Show on Resonance FM (104.4fm and the web). Mondays 9.30pm. More amateur guitar-related chat and a few murderings of much-loved classics with Will and a special guest each week, plus favourite guitar-heavy records, phone-ins and more from the wonderful world of the guitar. Monday July 2: Colin Midson, one quarter of Double Fantasy, returns to the fold. Monday July 9: Barry Stilwell, organiser of Tapestry Goes West festival, reveals his guitar inspirations.

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