For this announcer spotlight, Emma Peel visited Paul Kidney and his wig and record collection.


Seen this before? It was first published in our biannual member magazine, Easey Mag, December 2014 edition. We know you'll enjoy reading about PBS announcer, Paul Kidney of Ear of the Behearer.

Recently, as I was cursing the shambolic state of my music room and not being able to find a record I wanted to play on the show, I thought to myself: I wonder if other PBS announcers are as disorganised as me with their show preparation? And I don’t suppose they’ve got any records as embarrassing as that Wiggle and Sweat 1991 LP I just found that has so much rubbish on it, apart from Ya Kid K’s ‘Spin That Wheel’, which appeared in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie – that’s a great track. Wait – did I really just say that? To cut a long story short, my inquisitive nature got the better of me and I decided to pay a visit to a couple of my favourite PBS announcers to see what lies within the depths of their record collections…. and to get some tips on being tidy.  

The first time I met Paul Kidney, he was wearing an orange jumpsuit with green fur trim. It was a cold evening back in 2003 and I was hosting an event at the Old Bar. He set the floor on fire with his freak-out dancing and before he left, he sidled up to the stage and handed me a cassette full of his favourite psychedelic tunes. On both sides he’d written in biro: ‘Paul Kidney Loves You.’ It was the beginning of a long and very funny friendship. In 2005 he began a graveyard show – Ear of the Behearer – on PBS playing all manner of wigflipping, mind-altering music. Today, Paul has become something of a psychedelic sage – not just through his show, but as the front man for experimental band The Paul Kidney Experience. 

Being accustomed to Paul’s eccentric tastes in music and clothes, I thought that a visit to his house would be time well spent. I was right. The colour scheme is bright orange and purple, and an array of mannequins wearing wigs lines the picture rails in each room (‘It’s real hair!’ Paul exclaims). Importantly, the two main living spaces are crammed full of records and CDs, so I asked Paul to pull out some of them for me. 

The first album he ever bought as a teenager was The Beatles’ Rock & Roll Music from the record bar at Kmart. He didn’t dig it that much. Unperturbed, he went on to buy Sgt. Peppers and ‘listened to ‘Within You Without You’ over and over again until it seeped into me.’ Over time, his music interests became more ‘out-there.’ These days you can find Paul sitting on his shagpile listening to everything from early electronic sounds from the likes of Pierre Henry and Bernard Parmegiani to psychedelia, noise music and free-jazz artists such as British band Earthling Society. According to Mr Kidney, their version of Alice Coltrane’s ‘Journey in Satchadinanda’ is tops. 

This is all very nice, but I wondered whether Paul had any embarrassing records in his collection that he didn’t want me to know about. It turns out there were quite a few of them. One that stood out as being particularly offensive was Cat Steven’s Teaser and the Firecat. I suggested he might put it aside for this year’s hard rubbish collection. He agreed. 

After this low point we moved on to discussing what record he likes to dance to when he’s alone in the crib. He picked out the Spencer Davis Group’s ‘I’m A Man.’ We put it on and flopped around the lounge room for a while before retiring for a Teddy Bear biscuit. To see my full interview with Paul, watch below or visit the PBS YouTube channel.

Record Peeking with Emma Peel


Paul Kidney presents Ear of the Beaherer every Tuesday 12 to 2am on PBS.

Emma Peel presents Switched On every Saturday 1 to 3pm on PBS.