Andy Kershaw comes to Croydon

By - Tuesday 24th June, 2014

Paul Dennis talks to globe trotting, multi-talented broadcaster Andy Kershaw before his gig at Matthews Yard

After a history of ‘just passing through’ Andy Kershaw will be making a stop in Croydon when he visits Matthews Yard to share some of his adventures.
Image from Neil Woodcock and used with permission

I was present when an old journalist crushed a bright eyed female student’s expectation of the profession, with the words: “journalism is not about meeting interesting people. It’s about meeting boring people – then making them interesting.” However, it’s clear that the ancient scribe had never had the opportunity to speak to Andy Kershaw, because by any definition, Andy Kershaw is ‘interesting people’.

In fact, the prospect of telephoning him, then having to talk to him once he had picked up the phone, rendered me at first nervous and then ludicrously garrulous. I wasn’t helped by the fact that he confessed that he was driving, but the phone was hands free so no problem.

I had visions of being the part author of his untimely demise by posing some literally swerve-making question on behalf of the Citizen. Hearing the screech of tyres and then…

I had to remind myself that I was talking to a guy who had faced bullets and landmines in Rwanda. He subsequently wrote with a passion, sadness and ultimately anger about what he had witnessed, in a manner and attitude that bears favourable comparison to Michael Herr’s towering account of the Vietnam war – Dispatches.

I didn’t discover this until I delved into his autobiography No Off Switch. It turns out that he’s not only a superb broadcaster, but also someone who has been everywhere and done everything and can write about it in such a talented fashion that you want to slap his legs. Presenter of Live Aid, winner of more Sony Radio Awards than any other broadcaster, worked for the Rolling Stones, got the better of Lou Reed, has seen his own intestines (were these last two connected I wondered?). That’s only a tiny part of an enviable CV.

As a writer I feel how musicians must do when they review the career to date of Dave Grohl – one of the hardest hitting drummers in Christendom, and a top singer, songwriter, guitarist, bandleader, and renowned as one of the nicest guys in rock too.

Give us mortals a break guys!

Image provided by Neil Woodcock and used with permission.

Anyway, I’m talking to Andy Kershaw because he is coming to Croydon on 17th July when Matthews Yard will be hosting The Adventures of Andy Kershaw.

“It’s an audio-visual show: film, sound clips, me talking, with the main focus on adventure,” explained Andy, who surprisingly confessed to never having been to a gig at any of Croydon’s legendary past and present music venues.

“Sorry, no, when I lived down here (London) I only passed through Croydon on the way to Gatwick airport,” he added.

Travel, though, has been a huge part of his career portfolio, taking him to half of the world’s 194 countries, and it is the music that drives him on.

“I don’t pretend to like it, I do like it. I actually do it because I like to explore and find little known music in little known countries. There’s still a lot of music to be found and when I hear something new it just takes my breath away. It’s a huge privilege to hear it,” explained Andy, which prompted me to recall a radio broadcast of his that I’d heard years ago.

It featured music from the nomadic peoples of Mauritania and it was spell binding both in terms of the music and of the enthusiasm of its presenter.

Andy Kershaw has picked up the musical baton passed on by the late John Peel (who he once shared an office with), whilst avoiding becoming a national institution.

As achievements go that’s pretty cool in my estimation.

Don’t forget – 17th July Matthews Yard – The Adventures of Andy Kershaw. Don’t miss it!

Paul Dennis

Paul Dennis

An award-winning journalist, Paul has worked on angling titles for much of his career, including 16 years as deputy editor of Angler's Mail and 4 years as editor of Total Sea Fishing magazine. He is a regular freelance contributor for a wide array of non-angling-related titles, author of two books on angling and a widely-followed authority on the subject.

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