Talk In Colour in the Metro

I actually squealed out loud when I opened the Metro on the tube and saw that Talk In Colour’s new single Bones was one of the Singles Of The Week. I don’t normally get the tube, so it was a real surprise. Our Bones/Radiophonic EP is available now to download from Amazon.

Check us out, sandwiched between the Killers and Bruno Mars:

Talk In Colour - Metro Nov12

“A subtly stripped but soulful number from this London combo, finely dressed with electronics and a rootsy vocal”


Naked Scientists to be axed by BBC local radio

I never thought I’d have much in common with Danny Baker, but now I do. The Naked Scientists BBC Radio show, which I’ve helped to present for the best part of a decade, is being axed by BBC East for (what seems to me to be) no good reason.

Here’s what Chris Smith has to say on the Naked Scientists facebook page – please read and take action by contacting Feedback or the BBC Trust (email addresses below). And especially if you live in the Eastern region, email the regional head of programming Mick Rawsthorne

BBC HEAD OF EASTERN REGION GRILLED on national radio (Radio 4, Feedback…rammes/b01nq3lx) over proposed culling of the Naked Scientists.

Owing to significant listener protest regarding the BBC’s intended removal of the Naked Scientists from the Eastern Region’s Sunday schedules from January 2013, the BBC Radio 4 Feedback programme interviewed the regional head, Mick Rawsthorne, about his decision.

In the interview, in which Rawsthorne was forced to admit that the Naked Scientists is “a very good programme”, and that it is based in a very science and technology-centric part of the country, Cambridge, he then claimed that the programme is not sufficiently local.

Unfortunately, Mick seems to be suffering from ill-acquaintance with his own radio schedule, a touch of amnesia, or a poor background knowledge of geography.

Because a glance at Sunday’s regional line up – or tuning in on a Sunday afternoon – confirms that, for several hours immediately before the Naked Scientists, the airwaves are filled with American country music. Very nice for people who like that kind of thing, but not terrible local. Whoops!

Next, Mick overlooks that, from January, his radio stations will be linking up with every other local radio station in the country to form “Radio England” for 3 hours every night of the week.

Hhmm. That doesn’t sound very local either. So how is this justified, but an hour of science is not?

Next we hear that apparently Mick “doesn’t do” specialist shows.

Yet again the schedule disagrees, revealing quite a few gardening programmes scattered through the week. And having listened to them, they’re great – Peter Jackson and Ken Crowther are brilliant – but they’re also very specialist, not to mention non-inclusive for people that live in flats or apartments without gardens. Then there are the specialist shows on various musical genres, then specialist faith programmes, and then specialist sport programmes. So what exactly does “specialist” mean? Clearly just “science” in this instance.

Mick’s proposed solution to the impending removal of the Naked Scientists – and he’s assured us that Cambridge has a specific remit to deliver specialist science coverage – is to weave coverage of locally relevant science stories into existing programming. In other words, reading between the lines, to reduce science to a series of short commentaries and soundbites dotted amongst the pop-songs.

So no opportunity for (local) audiences to interact, no incisive interviews with scientists by science-specialist interviewers, and no way for science-interested parties being able to make an appointment with a programme at a dedicated time to listen to it.

We know of school teachers who set listening to our programme as part of the homework for their classes. They won’t be able to do that if the reports are dotted all over the place.

Overall, we felt that the explanation offered for the removal of the Naked Scientists was weak and unimaginative and little more than “box ticking”.

Mick Rawsthorne appears to be remaining faithful to his intention to remove the Naked Scientists from January 2013, and we’ve certainly received no offers, either from the region or another network, to continue our involvement or contributions, yet.

We urge you to listen to the episode of feedback containing his explanations (you’ve got about 3 days until it expires), and then please contact feedback – – as well as the BBC Trust – to tell them whether you agree or disagree and are satisfied and convinced by the arguments put forward…

Thank you, Chris Smith and the Naked Scientists team.

Music on Mondays: The Waves – Villagers

Bloody loving this track right now:

It’s out at the end of October. Cannot wait.

(warning – the video is very flashy and strobey, so not good for epileptics or people who go a bit wonky with flashing lights)

New Sunday Driver video – Mechanical Angel

Check out this utterly awesome and beautiful video for Mechanical Angel by Sunday Driver, made by the lovely Gareth at Zenith Films.

Here’s a couple of sneaky behind-the-scenes pics. Chandy and I filmed our parts in front of a green screen. You’ll have to look hard to spot us in the video but we’re definitely there!

Chandy rocks the corsetry:

Chandy Nath

The harp and I enjoying our moment in the spotlight:

Kat Arney

Another Radio 4 documentary – Whatever Happened to the Chemistry Set?

Chemistry sets

Old chemistry sets at the Whipple Museum for the History of Science in Cambridge

Yet another thing keeping me busy has been making my second BBC Radio 4 documentary, following last year’s Fighting the Power of Pink.

This time producer Julian Mayers and I set out to answer the question “Whatever happened to the chemistry set?”

The programme is going out on BBC Radio 4 at 9pm tonight (Wednesday 1st August) and will be on iPlayer for a week after that. I’ve also written a short piece about it for the Guardian’s Science Blog, and there’s a nice article in the BBC Magazine.

Perhaps most excitingly of all, it was featured in the Radio Times! (I’ll scan in the paper copy when I get home…)

Have a listen, let me know what you think:


Huge thanks to Julian Mayers at Testbed Productions for actually doing the hard work, while I just chatted to people and played with the chemicals 🙂

New project alert! The Naked Genetics podcast, from the Naked Scientists

Naked GeneticsAnother thing that’s been keeping me busy lately is producing, presenting and launching a brand new monthly series of podcasts for the Naked Scientists. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… *drum roll*…

Naked Genetics – taking a look inside your genes.

From plants to pathogens, fruit flies to fungi and hamsters to humans, the Naked Genetics podcast takes a look at the science of genes – the blueprint of life. With in-depth interviews with leading scientists, the latest news from the world of genetics, answers to your burning questions, and (my favourite bit) gene of the month. So far we’ve got five episodes up:

The next show, due out on 14th August, is all about epigenetics – a subject that’s very dear to my heart. Listen, download and subscribe from the Naked Scientists website.

The Naked Genetics podcast is produced in association with the Genetics Society.

Talk In Colour – Colliderscope, out now!

Most people will probably know about this already, because I’ve been banging on about it for weeks but the Talk In Colour album ColliderScope is out now as a digital download and real-life CDs in the actual shops, thanks to the lovely people at ShellShock Distribution:

Talk in Colour - ColliderScope

OMG! We made a thing! And it’s in the shops! Thanks to Ryan for taking the photo.

It’s a childhood dream come true for me to have a CD in the shops by one of my own bands that I helped to write, not just one I’ve played on as a session musician.

We’ve had some rave review for it already, including four stars (and a namecheck!) from David Honigman in the Financial Times:

Talk In Colour FT Review


Not quite sure what he means by commercial overexposure though – one remix in an online ad and the soundtrack of an indie Brit-flick doesn’t exactly make us Moby…

More lovely things about it:

“…faultless production … rich and mesmeric”   Drowned In Sound

“One of the most original, mesmerizing and enthralling acts around. Their debut album intrigues and draws you into their multi-layered sound where electronics, guitar, harp and vocals collide.”   Dom Servini (Wah Wah 45s)

“ColliderScope” delivers an enticing wave of experimental sound, gilded by shimmering juxtaposed shades of light and dark.”   Shout 4 Music

“… had us hooked from the very first minute”  No Fear Of Pop

Listen to the mini-mashup on Soundcloud: