The Adventures of Andy Kershaw: UK Tour'

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The Adventures of Andy Kershaw: UK Tour'

The Adventures of Andy Kershaw: An Evening With The Legendary Broadcaster and Foreign Correspondent

Andy Kershaw's ‘No Off Switch’ is sensational. An amazing read. An amazing man." – Stephen Fry.

Andy Kershaw, one of the UK’s most decorated broadcasters, will be appearing in conversation about his life and widely acclaimed autobiography ‘No Off Switch’ at venues across the UK from February 9th 2012.

Having already lived 10 lives to everyone else's one, Andy Kershaw truly has no off switch. As a teenager he was promoting major rock gigs. He was Billy Bragg's driver and roadie one day and presenting Whistle Test and Live Aid the next. Andy has won numerous awards throughout his career working for Radio 4 and for 15 years Radio 1, where he shared an office with John Peel. More recently a presenter on Radio 3, he has also worked for the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. His record collection weighs seven tons!

Rochdale, where he was born in 1959, triggered in Andy a curiosity he has never lost. Musically, his horizons were opened up by an early obsession with Bob Dylan. Tracing Dylan's influences led Andy towards folk, blues, country, soul and gospel.

He went to Leeds University, partly to study politics in the half-hope of becoming a journalist, but chiefly because the student union at Leeds put on the biggest college concerts in the country.

In his second year he seized power of the job of Entertainments Secretary in a bloodless coup and ran the concerts for two and a half years. His line-ups were a who's who of early 80s music - concerts by The Clash, Elvis Costello and Black Uhuru, among others, were regular occurrences. Naturally, he failed his degree.

Andy came to London in 1984 to work as Billy Bragg's driver and roadie. It was while he was chaperoning Billy to BBC2's "Whistle Test" that he was spotted by a producer as a potential new presenter. He began his broadcasting career in September 1984 with a baptism by fire - a report for Whistle Test from the Monsters of Rock heavy metal festival.

In 1985, Andy was invited by Radio 1 to present his own show with a free choice of music. As his tastes evolved so did the content of the radio show. Meeting the musicologist and Radio 3 presenter Lucy Duran - now an old friend - and the first appearance of Zimbabwe's Bhundu Boys in the UK tipped Andy heavily into African music.

Andy presented his Radio 1 show for 15 years until he was sacked in May 2000 to be replaced by another dance music programme. He realised Radio 3 was his spiritual new home when Controller Roger Wright told him that what he liked about Andy's Radio 1 programme was that he never knew what was coming next. He joined Radio 3 in April 2001 and continued to ignore categories and mix it all up.

In his spare time Andy enjoys motorcycles (particularly racing) and travels to extreme countries. He has thrice holidayed in North Korea and, for Channel 4, made the very first film inside the secretive country.

A journalist at heart, he has often reinvented himself as a foreign correspondent for BBC radio news and occasionally made travel documentaries for Channel 4. He reported for the BBC from the midst of a volcanic eruption in Montserrat, where he had taken his partner for "a quiet Caribbean holiday" (the island blew up the day after they arrived) and, most memorably, from Rwanda during the horrors of 1994.

Tour dates:

February 2012

9th – Penzance Acorn Arts Centre 01736 365520
- Torrington Plough 01805 624 624
- Dartmouth Flavel 01803 839 530~
- Bristol Colston Hall 2 0117 922 3782
- Swindon Arts Centre 01793 614837
- Banbury Mill Arts 01295 279002
- Derby Darwin 01332 255800
- Goole Junction 01405 763 652
– Barnsley Civic 01226 327 000
- Bromsgrove Artrix 01527 577330
- Newark Palace 01636 655755
- Bradford Alhambra Studio 01274 432000
rd - Durham Gala 0191 332 4041
- Inverness One Touch 01463 234234
- Glasgow Arches 0141 565 1000
- Stirling Tollbooth 01786 274000

March 2012
1st - Darlington Civic Theatre 01325 486555
- Barrow Forum 28 01229 82 00 00
- Blackburn Thwaites Empire 01254 685 500
- Wimborne Tivoli 01202 885566
- Andover The Lights 01264 368368
- Great Bardfield High Barn 01371 811291
- Margate Theatre Royal 0845 130 1786
- Haverhill Arts Centre 01440 714140
- Exeter Corn Exchange 01392 665866
- Brighton Komedia 0845 293 8480
- Birmingham Glee 0871 472 0400
- Oxford Glee Club 0871 472 0400
- Cardigan Theatre Mwldan 01239 621200
17th -
Caernarfon Galeri Creative Enterprise Centre 01286 685 222
18th -
Cardiff Glee 0871 472 0400
- Nottingham Glee 0871 472 0400

April 2012
12th - Bishops Stortford Rhodes Centre 01279 651 746

Andy Kershaw will be available for interview. For further information please contact Dave Clarke at:
Tel:+44 (0) 7966 557774 or E-Mail:

Notes to Editors:

No Off Switch’ – An At-A-Glance Guide:

Andy Kershaw...

  • has visited 97 of the world's 193 countries.
  • owns an LP and CD collection weighing seven tons.
  • is a freelance broadcaster, journalist and foreign correspondent.
  • was an eyewitness to the Rwandan genocide and reported it for the Today programme.
  • worked for the Rolling Stones in 1982.
  • is a BBC Radio 3 presenter, with a recent major series - Music Planet.
  • was a Radio 1 DJ for fifteen years - without ever having any ambition to become one.
  • shared a cramped, chaotic office with John Peel for twelve years.
  • was the first – and is still the only – journalist to use the word “fuck” on BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent.
  • presented Live Aid on BBC television.
  • was banned from Malawi under the dictatorship of Dr Hastings Banda.
  • ran away from university, on his first day there, to go to see BB King.
  • has seen his own intestines.
  • once got the better of Lou Reed - gloriously.
  • went on holiday to North Korea with Christopher Hitchens. And Francis Wheen.
  • has won more Sony Radio Awards than any other broadcaster.
  • was promoting major rock concerts by the age of twenty.
  • discovered Ali Farka Toure, the great Saharan bluesman.
  • has reported for the BBC from three civil wars and one volcanic eruption.
  • went on a blind date with a then unknown Courtney Love – to see Motorhead.
  • became a presenter of the BBC2 rock music programme, Whistle Test, by accident.
  • suspects he is being stalked by Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the former President of Zambia.
  • was Billy Bragg's driver, roadie and tour manager.
  • covered the 2010 Red Shirt Revolution in Bangkok for The Independent.
  • has been awarded two honorary doctorates – by the University of East Anglia and Leeds University.
  • was supported by an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons when he was dropped by Radio 1 in 2000.
  • ran out of his Economics A Level exam, halfway through, to go to see Bob Dylan. (And got a Grade A).
  • was - implausibly - photographed for Vogue by David Bailey.
  • once had to rescue Mike Tyson.
  • spent much of the 1990s hanging around in, and reporting from, Haiti.
  • was the central figure in the popularisation of World Music.
  • has made BBC radio documentaries in all three “Axis of Evil” countries.
  • masterminded the return of The Who to Leeds University, in 2006, for Live At Leeds Again.
  • spent a week riding out with Sonny Barger and the Oakland Hell's Angels.
  • was immortalised by Nick Hornby in High Fidelity.
  • secured the first ever British television interview with Bob Dylan - by giving Bob a jar of jam.
  • made trailblazing travel programmes for Channel 4.
  • was once invited by the then Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock, to advise him “on what young people want”.
  • worked for Bruce Springsteen in 1985.
  • has made four visits to North Korea, the world's most secretive country.
  • is the only broadcaster to have had a programme transmitted simultaneously on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 1.
  • has been propositioned by Frankie Howerd and Little Richard.
  • paid Duran Duran £50 to support Hazel O'Connor at Leeds University.
  • offered his opinion of Simple Minds to Nelson Mandela, just out of jail, in an accidental meeting.
  • was radio critic of The Independent – and the scourge of Birtism - while still a BBC Radio 1 DJ. (“The most suicidal column in the history of journalism” - Francis Wheen).
  • played The Ramones Blitkrieg Bop as his first record on Radio 3, the BBC's classical music station.
  • tracked down and unmasked, 32 years after the event, the man who - infamously - shouted “Judas!” at Bob Dylan in 1966.
  • was asked to be a presenter of Songs of Praise, the BBC's Sunday evening televised hymn singing.
  • is an atheist.
  • turned down an invitation (and £50,000) to appear on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
  • interviewed John Hurt, at Live Aid, before a television audience of more than a billion, without knowing, at the time, who he was. (He does now).
  • followed the firefighting teams of Red Adair and Boots Hansen to the burning oil well-heads of Kuwait at the end of the first Gulf War, 1991.

 Press quotes and endorsements

"I make it a rule not to puff books but Andy Kershaw's NO OFF SWITCH is sensational. An amazing read. An amazing man." - Stephen Fry tweet, 21 December 2011 -!/stephenfry/status/149481984119406592

"Andy Kershaw has led an extraordinary life. His unrivalled role in bringing World Music to the ears of the west is just part of the story of this man whose zest for life, music, people, experience and travel made him the finest British broadcaster bar none. That his life has had its ups and downs is to say that the Alps have snowy peaks, but throughout this dizzyingly paced and often wildly hilarious book he brings alive his matchless career, and the cultural life of a Britain that seems to be vanishing. Forget Media Studies and a life of student debt: read NO OFF SWITCH and learn what it is to be a real broadcast journalist, a real achiever. A real someone." - Stephen Fry

"Andy Kershaw is such an enthusiast. He made me travel a little further than I normally do. He has an ability to do things first and ask questions afterwards. Not a recipe for a safe, secure life, maybe, but it makes things a lot more interesting for the rest of us!" - Michael Palin

"A handbook for these times that demand activism with a light heart. Andy Kershaw is a BBC workhorse and Ace-Face who throughout his career has straddled the uneasy world of pop music and political action with energy and passion. If anyone wants to know how to be a radical within the establishment, and remain a gloriously cheeky bastard, read this book." - Pete Townshend

"Passionate and furiously funny - Andy Kershaw is unfailingly fearless, whether infuriating Elvis fans by denouncing their god as merely 'a competent easy-listening crooner', or dealing with war criminals and victims in blood-drenched places like Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Haiti. Kershaw is a Marmite personality and so is his book: you either love him and it - or you loathe them both. I love them." - Dame Ann Leslie

"Andy Kershaw's memoir zooms along with the high-velocity recklessness of a TT racer. It's impossible not to cheer him on as he accelerates round the hairpin bends of his life, yelling hilarious defiance at anyone who tries to stop him." - Francis Wheen

"A staggeringly good read. It takes a lot for me to laugh heartily. I'll be stealing openly from it. This book is magnificent." Nigel Blackwell, Half Man Half Biscuit

"He's always wired himself up to the action. A very entertaining book. Keep it goin', Andy!" Ralph Steadman

"Fabulously well-written - the wit, the brimming enthusiasm and the outrage all come direct from the broadcasting voice." - James Medd, Word Magazine

Intrepid to the point of lunacy, the boy wonder has survived it all. Kershaw has escaped ambushes, landmines and guns being pushed in his face. This thoroughly absorbing journal bears witness to that. His integrity and humility shines throughout. I couldn't put this down." - Blues & Soul

"It's his ability to convey a sense of moment-by-moment aliveness that makes Andy Kershaw, the greatest living English-language broadcaster." - Toby Litt, New Statesman

'Kershaw has had one hell of a life... strange and comic.' - The Independent on Sunday

"Confirms what a fine travel writer he is, with a particularly sharp eye for the telling detail. Andy Kershaw will always be something of a hero."The Daily Mail

"Hilariously opinionated." - The Independent

"This sparky autobiography captures with exuberance his pioneering career as a music broadcaster who opened our ears, and still does." - I newspaper

"Kershaw has had a fascinating life." - Metro