radiofreemidwich is *ahem* ‘hiring’

December 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Posted in blog info, musings | Leave a comment

It causes me great sadness to announce that Sof Cooper is no longer on the ‘staff’ here at RFM. Alas, she has decided to turn her awesomeness in other directions. We wish her well and her contribution has been celebrated here with a gigantic bonfire of sweet incense and unheard tapes. RFM insiders know that her letter of resignation has been on my exquisitely carved marble desk for some time but I had been IN DENIAL about its contents. However, once I came to terms with the news (by throwing a Kylo-Ren-style office-trashing fit) the thought occurred to me: Ah, could this tragedy prove an opportunity?

The fact is I cannot keep up. Nowhere near. As I type, the review pile contains scores of items, some received as far back as last Spring, and much as I’d like to do nothing but lounge about on a fluffy cloud of downloads I’m afraid ‘real life’ has had other ideas. I admit it is an enviable problem to have – damn all this amazing free stuff, the clamour for our opinion! – and running RFM is largely a joyous experience, but I am left glum by the thought that WE COULD DO MORE.

This is not to cast aspersions on the efforts of the remaining RFM squad, of course. Without them I suspect the whole enterprise would have folded in on itself, like the haunted house at the end of Poltergeist, sometime in the Summer. Joe continues to produce the best writing on music to be found anywhere – the gonzo rapidity of his prose slyly hiding a wit as sharp as shards of broken mirror and a breakdancing phenomenologist’s understanding of what music feels like. Chrissie hand-carves her occasional posts, carefully detailing her appreciation with an even-handed patience, a refreshing openness and an infectious enthusiasm. Luke and marlo have recently been standing by their beds forlornly waiting on orders from their editor whilst I just grin sheepishly and mutter.

You can see where this is going can’t you? Anyone fancy stepping up to help? Here’s the job spec, number of positions available still to be decided:

Firstly only those identifying as women are invited to apply. Odd music, and reporting on odd music, remains male-dominated and I want to do a little to redress that balance.  Secondly, and the only other essential qualification, is I’d like you to be able to convey your enthusiasm for this music with an entertaining writing style.

Regarding that writing, the ideal candidate would be able to commit to, say, at least half a dozen articles a year (hopefully more) with at least half of those taking stuff from the review pile as subject matter (the rest can be at your discretion).  Posts generally run 750-1500 words for reviews or 2000-4000 words for ‘think pieces’ or festival write-ups.  Whilst RFM’s main concern is recorded music I’d be open to suggestions – anyone up for conducting and transcribing interviews, for example?  I’m not interested in bad reviews – this blog is almost entirely positive as a matter of editorial policy – nor does a dry or academic approach much appeal.  We ain’t big on footnotes.

I guess being part of the ‘no-audience underground’ scene (see link below) – punter, participant, whatever – and/or D.I.Y. culture would be handy but isn’t strictly necessary (at least to begin with – gabba, gabba, we accept you!).  Anyone who could help with proofreading and/or formatting submissions for WordPress would likely have their hand bitten off.

Unfortunately, there is no payment available.  RFM attracts about 30,000 visits a year so your writing will be read by an appreciative and knowledgeable crowd but the budget is less-than-zero.  I offer no subscriptions, invite no donations and actually pay WordPress a premium so as to not carry adverts (punk as fuck, me).  There may be the odd freebie review copy posted your way (or download codes emailed if you are outside the UK) but that is it.  We’re all for love.

So, if this appeals and you aren’t already a reader please acquaint yourself with the blog’s style and content – as well as dipping into a handful of reviews I’d advise getting some biscuits and settling down with my last big piece on the ‘no-audience underground’ as that really explains what we are all about.  If you are still interested after that then feel free to contact me via email or Twitter and we’ll talk turkey.

A reshuffle of the ‘about us’ page, a (painfully polite) cull of the review pile and a tightening of the review submission guidelines will follow in due course but I wanted to get this, most exciting, aspect of the coming changes up and running first…

With love,

Rob H


position filled: three new writers join radiofreemidwich

January 16, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Posted in blog info | Leave a comment
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The review pile yesterday, time to get to work...

The review pile yesterday, time to get to work…

Comrades!  Further to the ‘situation vacant’ post immediately below, I am delighted to announce that not one, not two but three new writers have joined Radio Free Midwich today: Sophie Cooper, Chrissie Caulfield and Marlo Eggplant.

Given three immediate and appropriate expressions of interest I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get all these voices on board.  It also levels the gender balance here in one graceful movement and consigns all sexism and misogyny to the dustbin of history!  Wait, what?  It doesn’t?  Oh, for fucks sake… Well, it’s a step in the right direction I hope…

Our new contributors are compelling and original musicians themselves and between them have a (rather daunting, awe inspiring) wealth of hands-on experience in getting creative things done.  Just click on the links above or a spend a few minutes with Google.  Basically, I can’t believe my luck.

So, before anyone gets cold feet, let me officially announce that RFM is now Sof, Chrissie, Marlo, Luke, Joe and me.  There: carved into stone, no way out now.  Hopefully this will mean that the range of music covered here can be widened and deepened but without losing our focus on the unheralded edges of noise and experimental music.  I’m so stoked by this I’m going to buy a van and paint it with psychedelic patterns so we can drive around in the Summer months solving noise-mysteries.  Luke will have to dress as a dog, of course.

OK, no need for any more now.  We’ll see how this pans out over the next few months.

Exciting times!


radiofreemidwich seeks new staff writer, condition applies

January 12, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Posted in blog info, musings | Leave a comment
Currently at RFM...

The RFM offices yesterday…

Radio Free Midwich is not an explicitly political place. Given that my own views are a deeply felt but jumbled mix of hard left, anarchist and libertarian sentiments tailored to make my own hypocrisies comfortable (in summary: ‘aging punk’) that is probably for the best, but I recognize that any pretence of ‘neutrality’ is merely tacit support for the status quo. In particular, whilst remaining proud of our achievements, I am shamed by the fact that, like much of ‘noise’, RFM is and has always been a bit of a boys’ club. I consider myself a feminist, despite a shameful lack of book-learning on the subject, but what that seems to amount to ’round here is tutting at the porn/horror imagery favoured by people like Lee Stokoe and donating a few quid to the hairdryer excommunication #TeamHarpy fund before sheepishly backing away from the wider discussion Kev hoped to boot up. Not very impressive is it?

However, I intend to move things in the right direction a little. Scott McKeating has retired from his position as RFM staff writer to focus on the refurbishment of his undersea lair and I would like his replacement to be a woman. I would be interested to read, and happy to publish, feminist think-pieces on the nature of the ‘scene’ and a woman’s experiences within it but the new incumbent will not necessarily be expected to be a torch-bearer for her sex. What I am mainly after is an enthusiastic female voice, able to turn a decent phrase, that I can offload some of this bloody review pile onto.

Here’s the spec:


RFM requires a female writer to produce essay-reviews of roughly 800-2000 words covering between 1 and 5 releases each on at least, say, a monthly basis (though there are no deadlines here). Whilst there will be review copies provided occasionally, the writer will be encouraged to present her own ideas for review topics.

The style at RFM is enthusiastic, anecdotal, whimsical, storytelling but deadly serious in its heartfelt sincerity. RFM has no interest in ironic distance and does not publish bad reviews (well…). Ideally, our new writer will already be a regular reader of RFM and thus have some idea of what goes on but if not, may I recommend tasting the articles linked to in the Zellaby Awards top-ten album of the year chart to get a flavour. A wide range of styles within experimental/noise music is covered, the majority of which is produced in very short runs, or as downloads, and can be gathered under the leaky umbrella term ‘the no-audience underground‘.

There will be no reward other than the odd freebie tape/CD-r/download code and the warm glow of positive karma. Joe, Luke and I write about this stuff for the same reason the artists create it: we have no choice, we are driven to. Hopefully any new staffer will feel the same way. RFM is moderately successful, despite its subject matter, so your work will at least be appreciated by a loyal and knowledgeable readership.

Fair warning: I can be an intrusive editor and as well as correcting typos and punctuation I may change words and even shift whole chunks of text about in my quest for the semi-mythical ‘flow’ that Joe and Luke are sick of me harping on about.


OK, if this sounds enticing then get in touch via email to r dot w dot hayler at leeds dot ac dot uk with an idea or two or, if you like, an example of your writing and we’ll talk.

EDIT: POSITION FILLED!  More details to follow…

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