Category Archives: Music

Matt Monro: Singing London Bus Driver

Born Free, Softly As I Leave You, From Russia with Love and Walk Away were just some of the big hits from silken-voiced Londoner Matt Monro (1930-85). His admirers included such stars as Frank Sinatra and Shirley Bassey.

But before stardom called, Matt graced the capital’s roads as a bus driver! Monro expert Mark Hemmings tells this fascinating story from roads to riches on top of a real-life London bus. And before he and interviewer Adrian Lacey take their return journey, hear from bass player Martin Elliott about his experience performing live with Matt Monro, not long before Matt’s untimely death.

Have your ticket ready for inspection before this engaging edition and enjoy the journey – from rush hour with love!

Mark Hemmings (top) and Martin Elliott
Your conductor Mark Hemmings (top) joins bassist Martin Elliott in telling Matt’s story

Here’s an excerpt from Mark’s tribute show Polka Dots and Moonbeams: the Story of Matt Monro in Words and Music.

And there’s more on bassist Martin here¬†including a play-along demo!

Thanks to acoustic band Arcelia and to The Duke of Cumberland.

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Produced and presented by Adrian Lacey ©2018

Twitter: @AdrianLacey01


Instagram: lacey.adrian

Facebook: @theLondonPodcast

Main theme: Super Bubbly by Jesse Spillane (edited for timing)

Incidental music: What Have You Done by Lee Rosevere

Music used, mixed with speech, with thanks under the Creative Commons CC BY licence

Rock Legend: Norman Castle

Spoof rock’n’roll documentary starring Russell Thomas with guest appearances by Kim Cattrall and Gavin Alexander. From the pop high of Sugar ‘n’ Spice to the breathtaking ambition of rock opera The Tanktop Mikado, Norman Castle – former frontman of the Broadwicks – occupies a unique place in British musical life.

This profile hears how he got into the business due to a misunderstanding and how his foray into rap was electrifying… almost literally.

You’ll also hear from former Broadwicks bassist Peggy Babcock on touring with the boys, plus lead guitarist Neville Rice on Prince and plumbing.

Broadwicks bassist Peggy Babcock (right) with personal assistant
Photos (at Broadwicks bassist Peggy Babcock (Kim Cattrall) with personal assistant
Guitarist Neville Rice models NHS designer headgear
Guitarist Neville Rice (Gavin Alexander) models NHS designer headgear
Norman Castle as he likes to think others see him
Norman Castle (Russell Thomas) as he likes to think others see him

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Produced and presented by Adrian Lacey ©2017

Twitter: @AdrianLacey01

Email your reaction & suggestions:

Facebook: @theLondonPodcast


Main theme: Super Bubbly by Jesse Spillane (edited for timing)

NotDrunk-stem-bass by the Joy Drops (short excerpt)

A Man Approaches with Bowed Sitar, Rishikesh by Samuel Corwin (mixed with spoken word)

used with thanks under the Creative Commons CC BY licence

George Michael: Greek Londoner Bearing Gifts

George Michael,¬†singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer died on Christmas Day 2016. Here Adrian reflects on¬†Michael’s¬†work and their shared London roots, together with a couple of occasions when their paths crossed.

From his odd-jobbing in Watford to his stadium-filling stardom, the sweep of Michael’s¬†career, and the nature of fame itself is examined in this audio essay.

Share your memories too: email the show at, tweet Adrian @AdrianLacey01, or leave a comment at, where you can also subscribe to the podcast.

George Michael's death covered in the UK press
Photo (at George Michael’s death makes the front pages of the UK press

Rational Anthems? A Song for London

What makes a good national anthem? Are they more head or heart? And what would make a great song for London? Alex Marshall, London journalist and author of Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems, joins Adrian, as well as visiting his roots in the ‘burbs. The people of London get their say, too!

The show is linked from the oldest theatre site in the UK capital to still be in theatrical use, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. This links to two national anthems with the same tune – those of the UK and Lichtenstein.

Writer and journalist Alex Marshall
Photo (at Alex Marshall anthem singing in Nashville

Bertoni & Bob: Marley in London

Visit Bob Marley’s London home, and prepare to swoon at a great voice as Bertoni Mowatt brings his lilting Jamaican tones to a special exotic show.

From Bloomsbury’s swish Ridgmount Gardens to a recent very personal tragedy, Bertoni reflects on life in London as a black guy from the Caribbean.

Also, with our London blogger Samuel Pepys having left the 17th century, we hear from the love he’s left behind – hear Mrs Pepy’s Diary, starring Sarah Kempton.

Thanks to Simon Foster for sound editing help. Presented and produced by Adrian Lacey.

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Bertoni outside Bob Marley's London home showing its blue plaque
Photos at Bertoni’s lightning bolt pointing to Bob Marley’s blue plaque and (below) Sarah Kempton stars as Elizabeth Pepys

Sarah Kempton stars as Elizabeth Pepys