MATT BEARD

I grew up in Forest Row in house where the radio was always on and I owe much of how I listen to and appreciate music to my parents. Some of the earliest memories of my childhood growing up in the seventies are of the radio. From a young age I was familiar with the Archer’s theme, the whistle of Just a Minute and the horns and brass that heralded the start of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. There was music radio too. Even today I can still remember the Radio 1 (275m/285m MW) and Capital Radio (194m MW) jingles and the radio going off when the power cuts struck.

That love of radio and music has stayed with me throughout my life. But little did I expect that one day I would end up presenting a show on the radio. So what started as an on-air interview with James Stenning talking about Morris dancing with a couple of other members of Ashdown Forest Morris Men, has seen me become the other half of the presenter line up for The Folk Shed, Meridian FM’s monthly folk dance and music programme. There can’t be too many radio stations that can boast to having not one but two Morris dancers on its roster. I wouldn’t class myself as a musician although I did take up the Violin at the age of 40. Grade 1 with distinction I might have but you won’t be hearing me play on the radio.

Between my parents no musical genre was excluded and that ethos has stayed with me. As well as folk music I listen to most other genres of music and take the view that generally there is no such thing as bad music. It may not be to your taste, it may not be your listening choice but you can’t call it bad.

With my wife and three children I still live in Forest Row. The children mean I get to keep up with the latest chart music whilst BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and internet radio caters for my listening requirements.

I’m an engineer by profession working in the space industry which makes for somewhat of a contrast between the high tech nature of my work and the traditional roots of folk music and dance.