Simon Smith

Episode 187,   Feb 06, 05:38 PM

It was a great pleasure for this week’s Nostalgia Interviews podcast to meet Simon Smith who was at Lampeter from 1988-91, where he studied Religious Studies, and then stayed on for the Interfaith Studies MA.

Simon worked in a bank for six years before going to university, and we find out why he chose Lampeter of all places, and he reflects on the shape of the department of Theology and Religious in those days. He talks about how he could never have expected to write an essay on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy before embarking on his course.

We talk about the perennial question ‘Are you religious?’ and why it is important to study religion without having to subscribe to a particular tradition.

Simon explains why he enjoyed the interactive element of MA teaching, and we learn about his work at the Philosophical and Religious Studies Study Centre in Leeds.

Simon was born in Chester, moved to Hull and then near Birmingham, and we talk about Simon’s music interests including the blog he writes. He was nine years old when he bought his first single, and we learn that his mother had the Light Programme on during the day when he was very young. His father was a BP tanker driver and Simon remembers once picking out a jukebox single while on one of the journeys.

We find out too about Simon’s radio memories including John Peel’s shows, and listening to the charts on Tuesday lunchtimes when he would write down the Top 40 as it was being broadcast and would then share it with his friends at school. It was the centre of the week. Simon also used to create his own charts.

Simon shares his thoughts on the music press and seeing John Peel and Gary Numan on Top of the Pops, and hearing the news of the death of John Lennon on Radio 1. We discuss the role of cultural memories and the death of cultural icons, as well as the seminal role played by Miles Davis and seeing The Damned perform on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

We talk about quasi-memories and whether we can remember the memories of other people, and at the end of the interview Simon discusses the ways in which bad and good memories have affected him, and he reveals the lesson that he would impart to his younger self.