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Stephen Pennell ©

My eyes widened and my heart raced when I opened my inbox a few months ago and saw an email from the BBC asking me to get in touch. My first thought was a six-part TV adaptation of Gangsters, Geezers & Mods, screenplay by Jimmy McGovern, directed by Danny Boyle, followed by my inevitable move to a Georgian townhouse in Edgbaston. The reality wasn’t quite as exciting but still quite gratifying.

They wanted me to participate in a Radio 4 documentary about Birmingham music - Music Made in the Middle. I would need some grasp of technology, so my beautiful and clever wife Kerri’s input was vital in setting up the zoom call, recording my voice, formatting it and sending it to them. Honestly, I’d have been lost without her, just like I would be whenever I need to upload an article on here. I would also need some knowledge of the local music scene, which I think I have covered, but you can be the judge of that by clicking on the link at the bottom.

The show’s producer Ashley Byrne and sound editor Mark Burrows interviewed me, and having been warned it could last an hour, we enjoyed chatting about Brummie music so much we ended up rambling on for at least double that, me in my kitchen in the salubrious Bosworth Drive area of the North Solihull stockbroker belt, those two somewhere in the grim north. It was a privilege to contribute alongside Jez Collins, distinguished champion of Brummie musical excellence through his Birmingham Music Archive, and also the talented and lovely Jamelia. Sadly I didn’t get to speak to her in person, but that’s probably for the best - I doubt I’d have been able to string a coherent sentence together!

Click here to listen to Made In The Middle on BBC Sounds





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