I’ve just finished a Mark Radcliffe novel, ‘Northern Sky’, an undemanding yet reasonably enjoyable read all about the loves, aspirations and interactions of a group of musicians from a north of England folk club named after the plaintive Nick Drake song. As befits a first-rate broadcaster, Radcliffe scatters the text with wit, humour and sharp observations while his characters are rounded enough and possess sufficient depth to make one believe in them. It was a decent read but hasn’t changed my life. Radcliffe’s own band, The Family Mahone, make a cameo appearance towards the end of the novel when they have their backstage passes to a folk festival taken. Nice touch. I’m sure that Radcliffe has snuck in a few favourite song titles into the writing too: ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’ both snuggle cosily into the middle of sentences. As someone who attempted, as a wan undergraduate, to include every R.E.M. album title into an essay, I can appreciate that kind of caper.