Pieces for the Radio: Volume 1


Stan’s Cafe was always envisaged as a vehical for producing exciting new art works in whatever art form (or blend of forms) seemed most appropriate; hence it has never called itself Stan’s Cafe Theatre Company.

In the early 1990s the company’s friend and collaborator Jon Ward got a job at the BBC World Service. This provoked a conversation about the inadequacies of contemporary radio drama and an agreement that they should collaborate on something that would be fiction, but not radio drama, something that could be best described by the catch all title Pieces for the Radio.

Pieces For The Radio – Track Listing

Bleak Heart Driver (1995): Takes an idea of phasing text, inspired by the early recordings of Steve Reich and deployed in Voodoo City,and sets the result in a musical landscape.

Subsequently Jon created a piece of software that mechanises the process of writing versions of Bleak Heart Driver. It can be found here.

Stenorette 2000 (man) (1999): Sets the recording of abusinessman dictating thank you letters to music by Ross Carter and Jon Ward. The text and its deliver is so extraordinary most listeners imagine it is fictional, our response is that it is too extraordinary to be fictional – it was the voice found on the tape in the Stenorette 2000 Dictation Machine was purchased second hand.

Blank Retina (1998): Is half poem, half spell; the sound of a viruscolonising a brain. It is written be the poet by Alan Hay and read by Amanda Hadingue.

Some Questions Tell Their Own Lies (1998): Is as close as the disc comes to a radio drama. Recorded ‘on location’ inlong takes it attempts to sound like a field recording in a police interrogation room – the official record of what took place in a strange interview scenario. Inspired by Donald Barthelme’s “Concerning the Bodyguard”, it was also an early sketch for Good and True

Love List (2001): One track was missing from set. All inspiration had dried up. As happened many evenings The Guiness Book of Hit Singles was out and being leafed through. Then the idea came, pure and simple, read out all the songs that have ever been in the charts whose title starts with the word Love and set the result to music.

Lots more about all the tracks can be found on Jon Ward’s website Angelica’s Grott


All Music: Ross Carter & Jon Ward
Recording Engineer: Jon Ward
Text for Blank Retina: Alan Hay
Voice for Blank Retina: Amanda Hadingue
Text for Bleak Heart Driver: James Yarker
Voice for Bleak Heart Driver: Ross Carter
Text for Some Questions Tell Their Own Lives: James Yarker
Voices for Some Questions Tell Their Own Lives: Sarah Archdeacon, Amanda Hadingue, Nick Walker & Craig Stephens,
Voices for Love List: Sarah Archdeacon, Anna Wright, Robert Shaw, Geoff Sims, Hannah Roberts, Harry Wilson & Craig Stephens

Graphic Design: Simon Ford
Photography: Ed Dimsdale

Administration: Paulette Brien
Venue thanks to:
West Midlands Arts & BBC World Service