Huge congratulations to Rich Dent who is year’s winner of the Graham S Brand Award. The award is given to the student on the University of Westminster’s Media Course who is judged to have written and directed the best radio feature in each year’s radio module.
The award is given every autumn in memory of Graham S. Brand, a much-loved former student of the University and my late writing partner. Mrs Brand, Graham’s mother, and I visited the University a few weeks ago. I gave a talk about life as a working writer and Mrs Brand spoke about Graham, his happy time on the course and the award given in his name.
This year’s winning entry was a ten minute radio feature by Rich Dent entitled “The Life and Times of Joe Meek.” It was a fascinating piece telling the story of 60’s pop writer and producer, Joe Meek.
It was a pleasure to meet Rich again and I asked him how he came to pick the doomed musical master as the subject of his radio piece. Rich told me: “Joe Meek was always someone whose story really intrigued me. His life had massively contrasting peaks and troughs. It was also played out in a relatively short time span, his most creative period lasted around 6 years. When I was asked to make a 10 minute documentary I knew that his story would be one that would fit perfectly. The highs and lows created a natural story arc.”
Where had Rich first heard of Joe Meek? “My interest in Joe Meek began when I was about 17. Around that time me and my friends were starting to looking backwards at music, going back to the 1960s in the hope of finding some exciting stuff. I remember that hearing Telstar for the first time, it really intrigued me because even though at that point it was 50 years old, it still sounded completely alien.”
Rich’s advice for this year’s Year 2’s was to chose a subject that they were really enthusiastic about. Rich used his radio piece as an excuse to meet a few of his musical heroes and took great pleasure in interviewing them and teasing out their memories of the late Joe Meek..
Now he has the Graham S Brand Award under his belt, what would Rich like to do next? “My main aim is to get more involved in making features based around the lives and works of people like Joe. Being a musician myself, I find it fascinating to find out the stories behind such creative geniuses. The thrill of meeting my heroes, as I got to do with musician Clem Cattini, also is a big motivator. I’ve always wanted to make something about the legendary musicians of the 1960s, people like Mike Bloomfield or Tim Hardin. Talents that struggled to cope with everyday life.”
Many congratulations to Rich from myself and Mrs Brand for a great piece of radio and for winning the Graham S Brand Award. You can hear Rich’s radio feature below at the bottom of this post.
Thank you as always to radio course leader, Dr Matthew Linfoot, who organises the award so well.
Find the award winning Rich Dent on twitter: @canned_rich
Course organiser Matthew is on twitter: @WestminsterRadio