tPresenter Elisabeth Alker was born in Rochdale in 1982 and grew up in a musical household. As a child she learned the clarinet, recorder and piano. she English lesson at the University of Leeds and wrote on music for They are dazed and confused Before joining the BBC as a researcher in 2005. Alker now hosts unclassified and Saturday breakfast Shown on BBC Radio 3. Her first book, All we do is musicIt will be published by Faber next year. The second series of northern driftAlker’s BBC Radio 3 programme, which showcases the best poetry and new music from the North of England, comes out on Mondays at 9.15pm and is on BBC Sounds.
Hinako Omori is one of the most interesting producers. She has worked with the likes of Kae Tempest and Ed O’Brien from Radiohead. I especially love the way she plays with the effects on her vocals, giving voice to all parts of her personality. Her music explores the relationship between technology and what makes us human. This was an amazing 2019 EP Aurelia. She was having such a headache, and the voices were so robotic and hurt-sounding, but really impactful. Her album is 2022 a trip… He was lighter and happier.
Dark days of musicReykjavik, Iceland
I’ve been to this wonderful annual music festival three times, and hope to go again at the end of this month. It is held at venues all over Reykjavík. I saw a Lithuanian analogue installation artist in the basement of a tavern, and some experimental dancing in the back of an old theater on the lake. Or you can watch the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra play their full orchestral works to hundreds of people. There is a nice contrast across the spectrum. And I saw Björk in the audience, too. It’s nice to have the winter.
Penderecki ParkLuslawice, Poland
Krzysztof Penderecki was a great composer and pioneer of the Polish avant-garde. He bought a manor house in Loslawieczy, southeast of Kraków, for writing, but then set out to create a 30-hectare park. It’s an amazing blend of nature and human design – he designed it as if he designed many of his compositions. It is very special yet very beautiful. She spoke to one of the gardeners and said she felt he was still alive in the garden. I would recommend him to anyone, even if you don’t know his music.
I discovered Jen Orpin’s work at modernist shop in Manchester, where they held an exhibition of her paintings of highway bridges. There are a lot of them around the North and Northwest, so I got to know a few. She paints them very lovingly, in a completely dreamlike manner. It’s a celebration of those things that are a quiet part of our lives, that you see every day but don’t pay much attention to. There is humor too. On one of the bridges, someone had painted “Pancakes” in huge letters. I have a copy of that.
England Green by Zafar Kunal
My husband and I recently moved to Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. Zafar Konyal is originally from Birmingham but lives in this area. I’ve never met him, but when we got here a lot of people recommended his work. So I got on green in England And one of my favorite finds was in this new home. I love the way he spins everyday words around and around to reveal what they really mean to us. There is a sense of loss in some of his works but he fills them beautifully with memories of people and images of nature.
6. The place
The Golden Lion Pub is a magical place: a large, mobile establishment with a great bar, Thai food and a pool table. You can bring your dog, which I appreciate. It’s a music venue too, and you might catch an acid house party or heavy metal music all night long. Even their pub quiz is a little surreal – they have a round of limerick games. The landlady, whom we call Gig, is fearless with the way she runs the place and pays off. It’s great to have such a unique place in a small town.