Max Book.By Tim Lihoreau
It was the year we first went to infinity and beyond with the unstoppable Buzz Lightyear. The year they first predicted that ‘football’s coming home’.
(Perhaps football has no map?) It was the year of Tomb Raider, of Cool Britannia and Egg in This Life. For many a keen classical fan, though, it was the year that the Classic FM Hall of Fame burst onto the airwaves, colonizing the spring Easter break with four days of simply stunning music. Hour after hour devoted to the biggest poll of classical music tastes the UK had ever seen – and all of it voted for by the great British public.
Today, Tuesday 18th April, I’m sat in my kitchen, a slug of dodgy white by my side, only 3 different Harry Potter talking book echoing from three separate children’s cd players upstairs to disturb me, and the sense of expectation to this Friday’s start is palpable. Yes, Egg is no longer around in this 2011 life. Football…is still lost. But, with just a couple of days to go, the Classic FM Hall of Fame is very much alive and kicking – indeed…it’s bigger than ever before.
When Mark Forrest kicks it off on Good Friday morning at 9, it will signal the start of the 16th Annual Hall of Fame, it will be being propelled by the more than 180,000 votes from Classic FM listeners. This year, too, we’ve produced a couple of extra things to increase the whole H.o.F.Experience.
There’s the special site, which will kick in especially for the Easter weekend, which keep you up to date with the unfolding musical drama, via Classic FM.com. AND, for the first time ever, we’ve also produced a book. Indeed, if I might be so bold, I’d like to stop and dig in at this point.
The Classic FM Hall of Fame book was something we wrote (by we I mean Darren Henley, Programme Controller, Sam Jackson, Head of Music, and myself) based on the recent ULTIMATE Hall of Fame which happened at Christmas, but which will, nevertheless, prove, I think, a bit useful over the Easter weekend.
The blurb first. It’s a 256 page, full-colour, hard-backed book. Coffee table book, I believe they call it. Perhaps that’s because, were the leg of your coffee table to break off, the Classic FM Hall of Fame book would be more than capable of managing to keep it propped up. Yes, it’s a big, heavy, glossy book (it smells WONDERFUL, by the way, all you people who like, as I do, to smell the insides of new books). Also, as my esteemed colleague, Darren the Henley has pointed out, it contains FAR FEWER calories than an Easter egg, thus making for a far healthier Easter gift. I can’t possibly comment.
Regardless, it’s intended to be a definitive snapshot of what has become a definitive weekend for classical music.
The Classic FM Hall of Fame – the event – lasts from 9 am on Friday till 9 pm on Monday : John Suchet will, by then, have just revealed the number 1. (If he knows, by the way, he certainly wasn’t telling when I last bumped into him. The most I could get out of him was a smile and a hearty recommendation for the latest La Chambre Philharmonique recording). The Classic FM Hall of Fame – the book – is something which will hopefully last you the weekend and a lifetime beyond.
So. My stock of dodgy white has been replenished. My habit of answering the phone with the phrase “Hello, Bombay Curry House” has been replaced – by a simple refusal to answer the phone at all. My wife will have to deal with cold callers insisting that she doesn’t hang up as this is not an advert.
I’m in for the duration.