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Starfish and Coffee

Starfish and Coffee

By Sion Smith
Starfish and Coffee is a pop-culture podcast hosted by writer, Sion Smith. Expect chat related to music, books and a whole host of other stuff: the supernatural, endangered species, noir crime shows... those kind of things.
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#010: Andrew Kaufman - Author, Radio Producer.

Starfish and Coffee

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#012: Phil Lewis - Frontman/Vocalist/Songwriter; L.A. Guns, Tormé and Girl.
Hanging on the other side of the Z-Phone this week, is the inimitable Mr Phil Lewis. To most, he is the frontman of L.A. Guns but to me, he will always be the face of one of my favourite bands: Girl. Across this fine, fine hour we spent together, we discuss both of these bands and do our best to mention all of those that came between as well - side projects and mis-steps included. (Worth noting here if Girl passed you by, the ‘guitarist’ called Phil who joins the band is Phil Collen of Def Leppard). Anyway: Tormé, New Torpedos, London Cowboys, Filthy Lucre, the music business, the highs and lows of having a record deal, touring, London vs L.A. - it’s all here along with a truckload of extras - or as much as either of us could remember anyway. As luck and good timing would have it, L.A. Guns also have a new album out in a few weeks (12 November). It’s called Checkered Past and it sounds fantastic - I’d say out loud if it didn’t but it truly does. The single Cannonball is up on YouTube already and it will give you a good idea of what’s coming down the line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17yeOHG4TZ4 For those of you interested in a deeper dive, here’s some added glitter: That first Girl promo video for My Number: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR8lvRqCatM If you were into Girl back then (or are interested now) and failed to notice, apparently there was a third album in the can (though it may be simply a collection of demos) which was never released (which I forgot to ask about - maybe I’ll fix that one day) but subsequent re-releases of the Girl catalogue now have it included. It’s apparently called Killing Time and features as the second disc of the six (six!) CD set re-release of Wasted Youth. You can find it on amazon, but if you want to do an ex-member curator a favour - Gerry Laffy - he’d probably appreciate it more if you picked it up direct from Cherry Red Records here: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/girl-wasted-youth-6cd-expanded-box-set/ Sheer Greed is currently unavailable on streaming services but there is an anthology out there called My Number which covers all the bases and has a whole bunch of other goodies on board too - or again, you can pick it up at Cherry Red. You can find the mentioned broadcast of Tormé performing on ECT here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDgXhZJMg1w I also found this great clip of Bernie Tormé joining L.A. Guns to perform Rip and Tear at the Camden Underworld back in 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNWaZqhGpUw Finally - just a repeat mention of that Filthy Lucre album, PopSmear. In my opinion, it’s absolutely worth the effort to track it down. That’s all folks. Huge tip of the hat to Phil for giving up his time for me - I hope we did the past (and the future) justice. I can’t help any of you relive All Those Wasted Years but I hope you get as much of a kick out of all this as I did. You can find my review of Checkered Past right here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/6FqbHNWMRmllq/ •• Be Cool To Each Other. S.
01:06:29
October 2, 2021
#011: Jodie Rummer - Shark Expert, Associate Professor at PhysioShark/James Cook University.
Episode 11 Show Notes: This week, I’m taking a detour to talk about one of my passions: sharks! We’re going to file this one under ‘pseudo pop culture’ because if talking about our oceans, the planet and climate change isn’t the biggest part of the new pop culture, I don’t now what is. Enter Jodie Rummer. Jodie is an Associate Professor at PhysioShark from James Cook University in Australia, who was game enough to take some time at the beginning of her day (as I got to the end of mine) to indulge my curiosity about these Kings of the Oceans. It didn’t take long for us to also get into the guts of what life is like for our oceanic friends right now - but we also got into: the responsibility of humans in the bigger picture of ocean life, climate change, global warming, fish habitats, adapting human technology for the ocean and extensively about Women in Ocean Science and how things are changing on that front. Jodie’s list of achievements is long. If you’re interested in digging deeper… knock yourself out: Theres’s a PhysioShark documentary right here. You can watch a partial of a Discovery Channel doc with her here on twitter. There’s a hyper-detailed (or at least it is for me) article UNESCO article here. You can find the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies here. Other than that, Jodie has her own web page here. And you can follow her on twitter here. •••• •••• •••• I think that’s everything. Here’s the official stuff: Starfish and Coffee is available on all podcast hosting platforms. It would help me out a lot if you were a subscriber/leave a review wherever that may be and even more so by nudging a friend and their ears in that direction. Subscribe wherever you listen for notifications of new episodes. Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith If you’re into what I’m doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith Finally, my site is here: sionsmith.co.uk where things happen with pens and paper. Be cool to each other…. S
56:03
August 30, 2021
#010: Andrew Kaufman - Author, Radio Producer.
Episode 10 Show Notes: My guest today is Andrew Kaufman. He's the (magical realism) author of The Tiny Wife (one of the greatest novels ever written in my opinion), Born Weird, All My Friends Are Superheroes, Small Claims, The Waterproof Bible and, most recently, The Ticking Heart. This is our second time of meeting. The first was just after publication of The Tiny Wife - you can read that here if you're of such a mind. In those short ten years (because it really does seem like yesterday) a lot of water has disappeared under the bridge. I think we cover most of it in this episode. Alongside of touching the important bases and talking about The Ticking Heart (available from all good amazon stores wherever you may be), we also manage to stuff the hour with chat about: magical realism, print culture, fanzines, analogue subculture, literary awards (and why they suck when as readers, we just want to be entertained), Richard Brautigan and why he loves Watermelon Sugar and I don't, divorce, the concept of hope and a whole lot of other jazz as it crawls across the table in front of us. You can find Mr Kaufman on twitter at: https://twitter.com/severalmoments ••• Here’s the official stuff: Starfish and Coffee is available on all podcast hosting platforms. It would help me out a lot if you were a subscriber wherever that may be and even more so by nudging even just one friend and their ears in that direction. My website is here: sionsmith.co.uk  Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith  And if you’re into what I’m doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith As always, be cool to each other. Thanks for listening. S
54:41
August 22, 2021
#009: Jon Spira - Documentary FilmMaker, Video Store Owner and Author
Today’s guest is Jon Spira - a film-maker, ex-video shop owner and an all-round digger of things that only exist in your peripheral vision. His most recent documentary is called Hollywood Bulldogs. If you’re in the U.K. you can watch it on BritBox (I believe there’s a 7 day free trial available for that and you too can complain to nobody who cares that they have renamed The Avengers as Steed & Peel on there). It documents the rise and many falls of the unsung heroes of the movie industry - the humble stuntman.  Dig around on his site - https://www.jonspira.co.uk - and you’ll also find some great samples of his other work including BFI (British Film Institute) interviews with the mighty Roger Corman, Dario Argento, Neil Gaiman, trailer docs and all sorts of goodies. Across the hour we discuss (my first career choice in life) being a stuntman, being well paid to fall down a flight of stairs in a wheelchair as an 80 year old woman (true story), Radiohead, the Oxford music scene, video shops, how - despite there apparently being everything available all the time - you can no longer watch Mr. Holland's Opus nor Three Men And A Baby anywhere, pre-code cinema, crying at movies and much more. This one was great fun… hope you get as much of a kick out of it as I did. ••• Here’s the official stuff: Starfish and Coffee is available on all podcast hosting platforms. It would help me out a lot if you were a subscriber wherever that may be and even more so by nudging a friend and their ears in that direction. My website is here: sionsmith.co.uk  Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith  And if you’re into what I’m doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith As always, be cool to each other… S
54:50
August 17, 2021
#008: Ross Allison: Ghost Hunter Extraordinaire
Today’s guest on Starfish & Coffee is Ross Allison. Based in Seattle, Ross is a ghost hunter - one of the best in the world. Aside from his interest in a subject (surely) everybody on the planet has been curious about at some point in their life, he’s also one of the most scientific and takes his quest seriously. For once, we managed to stick closely to the subject in hand. This is a small miracle from beyond the grave in itself, but what you’ll find is exactly what you need in a ghost hunter interview. For all his passion, Ross is well aware of the pitfalls of gathering enough scientific evidence (aka: data) to give 100% proof to what he has witnessed many times first hand.  Across this hour we touch on ghosts (natch), shadow people, demons, exorcism, scientific equipment, spirituality vs religion and I also win a £10 bet because I sneaked in mention of Scooby Doo. I should have gone for the £20 option because I also mention Sam & Dean Winchester. You can't win 'em all. In a world that will accept nothing short of an event straight out of The Conjuring as proof of the paranormal, being a serious ghost hunter is a Herculean task of the highest order… listen, see for yourself and make your own mind up. You can find Ross online right here, where his website speaks for itself: https://www.aghost.org ••• Extra Notes: The house I mention part way through - Plas Teg - conveniently has its own website here: https://plasteg.com ••• I think that’s everything. Here’s the official stuff: Starfish and Coffee is available on all podcast hosting platforms. It would help me out a lot if you were a subscriber wherever that may be and even more so by nudging a friend and their ears in that direction. If you’re into what I’m doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith Follow me on twitter.com/StarfishPodcast As always, be cool to each other…  S
59:43
August 13, 2021
#007: Jim DeRogatis: Biographer of Lester Bangs and music critic
My guest this week is the mighty Jim DeRogatis. He is the biographer of Lester Bangs, a long-time music critic, journalist and podcast host over at Sound Opinions. Jim has strong opinions on almost everything we touch upon. I must confess to not even having considered some of the topics he comments upon, so if I sound vague now and again, it’s because I am. I hardly follow any political stories in the U.K. never mind anywhere else. His Sound Opinions podcast (co-hosted with Greg Kot) is a treasure trove of findings - if you've never listened before, you've got months of listening ahead of you. His latest book - Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly - is available now in both hardback and as an audiobook. Not content with talking solely about Lester, we also wander into territories such as Woodward and Bernstein (the Watergate journalists/please go watch All The President's Men if you never have), investigative journalism, rock criticism, fanzines vs blogs, the death of magazines, R. Kelly, Marilyn Manson, Generation X vs Baby Boomers, ABBA, Kiss vs The Beatles... you get the picture.  All references made to 'Sam' are to Sam Weller previous podcast guest on #006 who has an office across the hall from Jim - small world!) ••• I think that’s everything. Here’s the official stuff: Starfish and Coffee is available on all podcast hosting platforms. It would help me out a lot if you were a subscriber wherever that may be and even more so by nudging a friend and their ears in that direction.  If you’re into what I’m doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith Follow me on twitter.com/StarfishPodcast Finally, I have built a new online home here: sionsmith.co.uk where things happen with pens and paper and there are links to 'everything'. Be cool to each other…. S
01:04:03
July 24, 2021
#006: Sam Weller: Ray Bradbury biographer and author.
Episode 6 Show Notes: My guest this week is Sam Weller. He is the biographer of the mighty Ray Bradbury, an author in his own right and a serious Kiss fan (which we try very hard not to dwell on but temptation is always there, so please forgive us). He’s also as knee deep in pop culture as I am, making this week an easy ride, which is always a bonus. Talking of bonus features, check out the occasional Chicago PD sirens in the background. Got to love it when that happens. Sam currently has a book of short stories in the world called Dark Black which I can’t rain praise on enough without it becoming embarrassing - if you’re in the market to support him, you can buy a copy directly from the publisher, Hat and Beard, right here: https://hatandbeard.com/products/dark-black Alongside of Ray Bradbury, across the Starfish table, somehow we also managed to cram in (in no particular order) Stephen King, Hugh Hefner, magazine publishing, Jim Henson and The Muppets, ABBA, Marvel Comics, David Bowie, Peter Benchley, The Wildhearts, pulp fiction, freelancing, Ed McBain, The Hardy Boys, The Twilight Zone, Neil Gaiman, Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister, Lester Bangs, Kiss (natch) and Hoover (yep, the vacuum cleaner company). You can find Sam at: http://www.samweller.net You can also find him on twitter: https://twitter.com/Sam__Weller For those of you with time on your hands, the episode of Alice Cooper on The Muppet Show I refer to (all of which can now be found on Disney Plus) is Season Three, Episode Seven - which is a good point at which to correct myself - the songs he actually performs are Welcome to my Nightmare, You and Me (not, I Never Cry) and School's Out. I can’t find any reference whatsoever to Kiss being on Sesame Street but that’s how I recall it… maybe it was edited into the show before broadcast. The article Sam wrote about Kiss for PopMatters can be found here: https://www.popmatters.com/kiss-should-end-it-all I think that’s everything. Here’s the official stuff: Starfish and Coffee is available on all podcast hosting platforms. It would help me out a lot if you were a subscriber wherever that may be and even more so by nudging a friend and their ears in that direction. Please subscribe wherever you listen for notifications of new episodes. If you’re into what I’m doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith or twitter.com/StarfishPodcast - I should probably kill one of those off but it stands for now. Finally, I have built a new online home here: sionsmith.co.uk where things happen with pens and paper. Be cool to each other…. S
01:16:17
July 16, 2021
It’s A Long Way To The Top... (Part 2)
Episode 5 Show Notes:  Back in the late 80s/early 90s, my buddy JJ and myself used to spend a crazy amount of time together at club gigs, in the record store and most importantly, in each other’s kitchen throwing rock n roll philosophy at each other. It’s something we’ve kept up for over thirty years and so it continues except now, we're recording them. In episode five, we lovingly present part two on our thoughts of what it takes to move up the ladder as an emerging artist or band by throwing around some of the things we’ve learned, some of the things we’ve seen and more importantly perhaps, some things that we haven’t seen and should have. As always, it’s more food for thought than concrete answers but you know what… I think that’s OK. That’s the way it should be because you’re all smart enough to figure it out.  If you’re into what we’re doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith  Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith  Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith  You can find JJ at twitter.com/jjkrazy  The show is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcasts and just about every other podcast host you care to use, so you can help us out by subscribing and even more so by nudging a friend in that direction. It would mean a lot.
01:00:57
March 8, 2021
It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock n Roll (Part 1)
Episode 4 Show Notes: Back in the late 80s/early 90s, my buddy JJ and myself used to spend a crazy amount of time together at club gigs, in the record store and most importantly, in each other’s kitchen throwing rock n roll philosophy at each other. It’s something we’ve kept up for over thirty years and so it continues except now, we're recording them. In episode four, we dig into what it takes to move up the ladder as an emerging artist or band by throwing around some of the things we’ve learned, some of the things we’ve seen and more importantly perhaps, some things that we haven’t seen and should have. As always, it’s more food for thought than concrete answers but you know what… I think that’s OK. That’s the way it should be. If you’re into what we’re doing, you can support the podcast by ‘buying me a coffee’ at www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith  Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith  Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith  You can find JJ at twitter.com/jjkrazy The show is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcasts and just about every other podcast host you care to use, so you can help us out by subscribing and even more so by nudging a friend in that direction. It would mean a lot. And if you’re looking for that YouTube video link I mentioned at the end of the show, you can find that right here: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhitq-pqlNA&t=250s
01:00:20
March 1, 2021
Radio Killed The Video Star
Episode 3 Show Notes: Back in the late 80s/early 90s, my buddy JJ and myself used to spend a crazy amount of time together at club gigs, in the record store and most importantly, in each other’s kitchen throwing rock n roll philosophy at each other. It’s something we’ve kept up for over thirty years and so it continues except now, we're recording them. In episode three, we lock and load on a subject close to both our hearts and that’s radio. Back in the day, MTV had a good stab at killing it off and inevitably perhaps, just killed itself instead, whilst radio adapted and surged forwards with DAB and digital channels... an adaptation which is still taking place today. Where to from here? Is YouTube the new MTV? The answer as ever, is multi- faceted as we discovered when we started twiddling the dial. If you’re into what we’re doing, you can support the podcast by buying me a coffee and keeping it ad/sponsor free: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith  Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith/  Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith  Website: sionsmith.co.uk  You can find JJ at twitter.com/jjkrazy Don’t forget to subscribe. We're officially available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor and just about every other podcast host you care to use.
55:48
February 8, 2021
A Relevant Magazine Should Be A Sound, Not An Echo
Episode 2 Show Notes: Back in the late 80s/early 90s, my buddy JJ and myself used to spend a crazy amount of time together at club gigs, in the record store and most importantly, in each other’s kitchen throwing rock n roll philosophy at each other. It’s something we’ve kept up for over thirty years and so it continues except now, we're recording them. In episode two of Starfish and Coffee, we chew away at something we both grew up hard on - music magazines (from both sides of the Atlantic and even Japan). Do they have a future in a digital age of supremacy? What do they offer readers and artists alike when there's a much faster way to get your news into the wallets of your fans? I think we are harsh but fair in this conversation and we both really hope you dig it.  If you Really Dig It, you can support the podcast by buying me a coffee and keeping it ad/sponsor free: www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith  Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith/  Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith  Website: sionsmith.co.uk  And you can find JJ at twitter.com/jjkrazy Oh... and don't forget to subscribe. We're officially available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor and as I sit and write this, just about every other podcast host you care to use.
55:08
January 31, 2021
Did You Have A Good Life? Enough To Base A Movie On When You Die?
Back in the late 80s/early 90s, JJ and myself used to spend a crazy amount of time together at club gigs, in the record store and most importantly, in each other’s kitchen throwing rock n roll philosophy at each other. It’s something we’ve kept up for over thirty years - so what better way to kick-start this podcast (and test the technology) than to go public with something we’re both very comfortable with. In episode one of Starfish and Coffee, the intention was to chew over why we listen to rock musicians more after they’ve died. As usual, we went off-road but if you enjoy what we have to throw on the table, give the podcast a like, share it with your friends and don’t forget to subscribe... we’re just getting started. If you Really Dig It, you can support the podcast by buying me a coffee and keeping it ad/ sponsor free: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/sionsmith Follow me on instagram.com/mrsionsmith/ Follow me on twitter.com/mrsionsmith Website: https://sionsmith.co.uk And you can find JJ at twitter.com/jjkrazy
51:18
January 21, 2021