Bureau of Lost Culture
The Cabaret of the Nameless

The Cabaret of the Nameless

September 25, 2022
*Performance artist, actor and underground cabaret star Madame LePustra leads us on a journey back in time in search of the Berlin Cabaret and Kabarett of Weimar Republic era Berlin.
 
*We learn of the strange and progressive Golden Years of the 1920s when queer and trans identiities were accepted, even feted, within an underground culture that briefly flowered in the city between the wars.
 
*We meet some of the extraordinary women performers who pushed artistic, theatrical and social boundaries before the Nazis jackbooted the doors of the clubs and theatres and brought the era to a tragic close.
 
*And we hear of Madame Le Pustra’s work to remember and reinterpret the times through their re-imagined ‘Cabaret of the Nameless’.
 
For more on Madame Le Pustrhttps://madamelepustra.com 
The Bureau of Lost Culture https://www.bureauoflostculture.com
Image courtesy Madame Le Pustra  / Michel Dierickx 
 
#berlincabaret #weimarcabaret #madamelepustra #cabaretofthenameless #counterculture
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Smells Like Teen Spirit

Smells Like Teen Spirit

September 12, 2022
*"Teenage savages go wild in a jungle of lust and lawlessness!"
 
*Countercultural commentator and writer JOHN HIGGS comes to the Bureau. We head out into the feverish febrile pheromone filled phase of self consciousness, sex drugs and rock’n’roll known as adolescence as we investigate the birth of the teenage in the late 40s and 50s.  
 
*Was it all really kicked off by Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti?    
 
*We chart the rise of youth culture on both sides of the Iron Curtain and debate that while ‘all you need is love’‘you can’t always get what you want’ as we trace counterculture through beats, mods, hippies, punks, ravers, grunge and britpop, touch down briefly on gender politics and the death of Kurt Cobain and wonder if 70 will one day be the new seventeen.
 
For more on John https://johnhiggs.com
 
The Bureau of Lost Culture https://www.bureauoflostculture.com
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#counterculture #littlerichard #teenage #rockandroll #kurtcobain #beatles #rollingstones #hippie 
Song Noir: The Low Down LA Life of Tom Waits

Song Noir: The Low Down LA Life of Tom Waits

August 29, 2022
*Musician and actor TOM WAITS is one of the great countercultural artists of our time, His '70s albums documented low life America in an LA that no longer exists
 
*Filmmaker Alex Harvey, author of 'Song Noir: Tom Waits and the Spirit of Los Angeles’ comes to the Bureau to tell how Waits mined a rich seam of the city’s low-life locations and characters, letting the place feed his dark imagination.
 
*We hear how Tom blended real life with the mythic, turning autobiographical details into songs that were both romantic and disturbing -  and created a vision of LA as the warped, narcotic heart of his nocturnal explorations.
 
*For more on Alex http://alexanderharvey.org/
*For more on Tom Waits: http://www.tomwaits.com/
*For The Bureau of Lost Culture https://www.bureauoflostculture.com 
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#counterculture #tomwaits #rickieleejones  #thetropicana #LA #kathleenbrenan 
Sowing the Seeds of Love

Sowing the Seeds of Love

August 15, 2022
*Timothy Leary may have wanted to cause a revolution your head with LSD, The Beatles in your heart with Love, but countercultural activist and entrepreneur CRAIG SAMS went for the Gut.
 
*After bringing himself back from death’s door by curing the amoebic dysentery and hepatitis he contracted on the Central Asia hippie trail, he embarked on a mission to change the world and raise consciousness through food.
 
*We sit down with him for a feast of of fabulous food fables from feeding the freaks at The UFO club and the first Glastonbury festival, to co-founding Seed, London's first macrobiotic restaurant and the go-to healthy eatery for John and Yoko, The Stones and many other denizens of the London underground.
 
*Also on the menu: how he went on to co-found Whole Earth foods and then Green and Black's Chocolate, how macrobiotics will improve an LSD trip, how changing the way we eat can save us - and the planet - and how, at nearly eighty, he is still living the countercultural life.
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For More on Craig: https://www.craigsams.com
 
Join us at The Bureau of Lost Culture https://linktr.ee/bureauoflostculture
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#counterculture #macrobiotic #johnandyoko  #thebeatles #greenandblacks #wholeearth #craigsams
The Birth of the Asian Underground

The Birth of the Asian Underground

August 1, 2022
*DJ and broadcaster BOBBY FRICTION drops by the Bureau to tell the tale of how, in the early 90s, a bunch of British kids from immigrant families ripped it up, mixing their traditional musical roots with drum and bass, electronic beats and urban sounds to form a new countercultural genre all their own - the Asian Underground.
 
*We hear how the scene was a kind of counterpart to the way Western counterculture adapted and was inspired by Eastern mysticism and culture.
 
*It's a rollicking personal tale by Bobby who was there at the beginning and who has been championing the scene ever since, soundtracked by some choice musical cuts.
 
We dig deep into all sorts of other stuff too: growing up in 70s London, racism on the city streets, Bhangra, 'ghazals', ABBA, Prince,  daytime gigs, Sikh culture. radical politics, why 'Black' was cool but 'Asian' was apparently not in London club culture.
 
*And Bobby makes a plea for the British to realise the vision of becoming one people celebrating their diversity rather than splitting back into tribes.
 
*For London Month of the Dead: https://www.londonmonthofthedead.com
*For Continental Drifts: https://www.continentalDrifts.co.uk
*The Bureau of Lost Culture: https://www.bureauoflostculture.com
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Alan Moore on Counterculture

Alan Moore on Counterculture

July 18, 2022
*He is widely recognised as one of the best comic book writers in the English language with works like From Hell, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Killing Joke, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Swamp Thing. He's the author of modern literary classics, including Jerusalem, a 1,266-page experimental epic novel, that have led to his legendary status and critical acclaim.

*He is also an occultist, a ceremonial magician and an anarchist.

 
*ALAN MOORE beamed into the Bureau for an afternoon  conversation about counterculture - in his own life and work and in the past, the present and in the future.
 
*We also dig deep into the 60s, the 70s, Thatcherism, Britpop, the power of The Arts Lab, why he doesn’t watch the adaptions of his work, the power of limitations to foster creativity and much much more.
 
*Alan’s storytelling course on BBC Maestro:  https://www.bbcmaestro.com
LONDON MONTH OF THE DEAD http://www.londonmonthofthedead.com
THE REAL TUESDAY WELD
Join us and support our wild endeavours https://www.bureauoflostculture.com
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#alanmoore #michaelmoorcock #counterculture #artslab #london #malcolmmclaren 
Birth, Death - and Frestonia

Birth, Death - and Frestonia

July 4, 2022
The People's Republic of Frestonia, a countercultural micronation, was formed in three streets in North Kensington in the heady years of late seventies London.
 
*Long before the Occupy movement, a group of squatters, radicals, artists and activists decided to fight back against a local authority bent on evicting them from their homes and declared the area independent of the UK. Drawing huge media interest, some derision and lot of goodwill, they had their own passports, stamps and theatre and even applied to join the United Nations.
 
One of them, the psychotherapist Josefine Speyer, Frestonia's minister of Culture, comes to visit the Bureau for an hour or so to tell us what it was all about - and all about the countercultural journey she made to live there from her youth in Germany. We hear of communes in Berlin and Scotland, travelling in a gypsy caravan in Wales, home births and hash cookies in a cow shed and of some of the many alternative projects initiated by her radical activist husband Nicholas Albery.
 
*And we learn how they came to found the Natural Death Centre, blowing the lid on the secretive cabal that controlled the funeral industry and returning death and dying back to where it belongs - with the people..
 
For more about Frestonia:  http://www.frestonia.org
For the Natural Death Centre: http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk
 
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Women, Sex, Counterculture

Women, Sex, Counterculture

June 20, 2022
The Sexual Revolution? Yes. Liberation? Maybe. Penis Envy? NO!
 
*Youth culture in the sixties was progressive in so many ways but when it came to the relations between the sexes, it was perhaps much more traditional than it liked to admit.
 
*Sleeping around, Syd Barret, Pink Floyd, Groupies, Frigidity, the Pill, abortion, Oz magazine and of course The Female Eunuch make their appearance as we dig deep into what it was like growing up as a young woman in the underground scene of swinging sixties London.
 
*Author Jill Drower, once a member of The Exploding Galaxy experimental dance commune returns to the Bureau along with beat traveller, model and singer Jenny Spires as we ask if the story of counterculture has largely been one told by men about men.
 
 

*Sign up for The Bureau Newsletter: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

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#SydBarrett #Pink Floyd #Groupies #Frigidity #abortion #Ozmagazine #TheFemaleEunuch #germainegreer #jennyspires #theexplodinggalaxy

City of the Beast: Aleister Crowley’s London

City of the Beast: Aleister Crowley’s London

June 5, 2022
*We take a creep through dimly lit London streets populated with prostitutes, bohemians, charlatans, junkies, spiritualists, drunkards and lost souls following magician, author, occultist and drug fiend ALEISTER CROWLEY,'The Great Beast’, as he prowls Piccadilly in pursuit of pleasure, power and yet more prostitutes.

 
*'Do What Though Wilt shall be the whole of the law’
 
*Our guide is Phil Baker, author of ‘City of The Beast’, part Crowley biography, part psychogeographic odyssey and part London gazetteer. We seek the man beneath the myth, the flaneur beneath the fiend and ask why do  many still find the often deplorable Crowley so intriguing, even inspiring?
 
*Along the was we get fascinating glimpses into a lost era, a shadowy underworld of Victorian and Edwardian counterculture, Sex Magick, ether, drugs and .. snails.. 
 
 
*For the O.T.O https://oto-usa.org/

 

*Sign up for The Bureau Newsletter: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

* The Bureau Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bureauoflostculture/

53386cc67a5def9492a62a50bad95924.jpg#crowley #aleistercrowley #counterculture #magick #thegoldendawn #london #prostitution #occult #ether #666 #O.T.O. 
 
On the Farm with Allen Ginsberg

On the Farm with Allen Ginsberg

May 23, 2022
*In 1969, the poet, Beat generation godfather, countercultural guru and political activist ALLEN GINSBERG bought a farm in upstate New York to provide a creative hub and rehab refuge for his friends - a collection of poets, artists, washed-up drunks, strung-out junkies, ne’er do wells and exhausted underground figures, all reeling after the intensity of the 60s.
 
*One, his lifelong friend and biographer Barry Miles, chronicler of the counterculture, returns to the Bureau to tell of a bucolic summer he spent with Ginsberg and an assortment of crazy characters on the farm, archiving the poet's vast collection of tape recordings.
 
*We also visit The Chelsea Hotel and meet some the equally crazy characters who lived and loved there in 1970s Manhattan including Janis Joplin, Arthur Miller and Leonard Cohen - and along the way we discuss The Beats, Buddhism, Burroughs - and beards.
 
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*Thanks to Stephen Cleary and The British Library Sound Archive for providing the recordings of Allen and to Peter Hale of The Ginsberg Estate for permission to use them.
 
*The Allen Ginsberg Project: https://allenginsberg.org

*Sign up for The Bureau Newsletter: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

* The Bureau Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bureauoflostculture/

*The British Library Sound Archive:
 
#ginsberg #kerouac #williamburroughs #beatpoets #beatgeneration #counterculture
 
Albion Dreaming - A Brief Trip Through the History of British LSD

Albion Dreaming - A Brief Trip Through the History of British LSD

May 9, 2022
*Experimental treatment of the insane, secret tests by MI5 with volunteers thinking they were helping find a cure for the common cold, Cold War weapon research by the Ministry of defence on unsuspecting troops -  the early history of LSD in the UK was rather inauspicious.
 
*And then all hell - or heaven - broke loose..
 
*Britain's foremost psychedelic historian ANDY ROBERTS returns to the Bureau to take us on a trip through the revolutions in the head caused by Acid from the 1950s to now.
 
*Along the way we meet some of the characters who experimented, manufactured, dealt, swallowed and were transformed by it - as well as those who tried to stop them  - including an unlikely Breaking Bad style pharmacist in Islington, The Microdot Gang and even the Kray Twins..
 
*So sit back, relax, blow out the candles and kick off your sandals … (thanks The Lilac Time), tune in,  turn and ...
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* Sign up for The Bureau Newsletter to get countercultural treats https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

* The Bureau Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bureauoflostculture/

*The Real Tuesday Weld https://www.tuesdayweld.com
On the Road … with Johnny Marr

On the Road … with Johnny Marr

April 24, 2022
* From Colin Wilson to Tony Wilson, Patti Smith to Mark E Smith, what was it like coming of age in the counterculture of Manchester in the 60s, 70s and 80s?
 
* Johnny Marr has just released his latest record and his band's on tour with Blondie. He's worked with Billie Eilish on the Academy award winning theme for the Bond blockbuster No Time to Die and with all sorts of other artists including Hans Zimmer, Modest Mouse, The The and The Pretenders.
 
* He’s had chart hits with Electronic, and, oh yeah, he co-piloted one of the best loved and influential British bands of all time - The Smiths.
 
* We don’t really talk about that - but we do dig deep into archetypal psychology, northern peak experience, clothes, records, books, youth culture and reading the road signs along the way to your destiny..
 
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* Image credit: Andy Cotterill
 
* For More on Johnny: https://johnnymarr.com
 
The Life and Times of Dubmeister Dennis Bovell

The Life and Times of Dubmeister Dennis Bovell

April 11, 2022
* He stepped off a plane from Barbados onto a wet and windy runway at Heathrow airport in 1965 aged 12.
* Now he’s a DJ, multi-instrumentalist and producer of hundreds of records spanning reggae, lovers rock, soul, dub, punk and pop.  
 
* Dennis Bovell's life in music is populated by a countercultural cornucopia of artists as wide ranging as Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Slits, Madness, Bananarama, the Pop Group, Fela Kuti, Orange Juice, Marvin Gaye, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and most recently, Radiohead, The Animal Collective and Spoon.

* He's even got an MBE.

* We dig into all that - or as much as we can - plus Hendrix, sound systems, cutting dub plates, sound clashes with Lee Scratch Perry, police harrasment, wrongful imprisonment and the youthful joys of eating breadfruit on the beach.

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The Exploding Galaxy

The Exploding Galaxy

March 28, 2022
* In 1967 and and 1968, an ordinary north London house contained an Exploding Galaxy - a psychedelic commune and carnival of theatrical performers, artists and performance poets bent on transforming the city through spontaneous happenings, countercultural interventions and street activism..
 
* One of them was only 15 years old. Now all grown up, JILL DROWER comes to the Bureau to talk about her time at 99 Balls Pond Road as a Galaxy member - how the whole crazy endeavour came about - and how it exploded into and out of existence
 
Alson the way we visit The UFO club, The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream, hear about  ‘scrudging’ , bent coppers intent on busting hippies for being hippies and the lost dream of peace, love and understanding that once might have changed everything.
 
 
* For More on The Exploding Galaxy http://www.djfood.org/category/bureau-of-lost-culture/
 
 
* For Kev's amazing psychedelic DJ FOOD archive https://djfood/org
 

* The Bureau Home https://www.bureauoflostculture.com

* The Bureau Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bureauoflostculture/

* The Bureau Newsletter  https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

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A Countercultural History of Camden Town

A Countercultural History of Camden Town

March 13, 2022
* Withnail and I, Poets, Spiritualists, Irish, Spanish and Hugenot immigrants, Serial Killers, Artists, Railway workers, William Blake, Rimbaud and Verlaine, Walter Sickert, Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’Roll, Music Hall, Folk, Britpop, Levitation, The Roundhouse, Cecil Sharp House, The New Jerusalem, Markets, Markets, Markets..
 
* Writer, researcher and walker of Lost Rivers Tom Bolton leads us up and out of The Bureau to wander through the streets and stories of the London Borough of Camden - for decades, the down and dirty end of the countercultural city - in search of the strange spirits that still pervade its highways and byways.
 
* For more on Tom and his work https://tombolton.co.uk

 

* Bureau Home www.bureauoflostculture.com

* Bureau Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bureauoflostculture/

* The Bureau Newsletter  https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

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Countercultural Broadcasting: Urban Pirate Radio

Countercultural Broadcasting: Urban Pirate Radio

February 27, 2022

* Ninja Tune head honcho and Coldcut co-pirate Jonathan More returns to the Bureau to talk about his adventures hi-jinxing and hi-jacking the airwaves in the Wild West of South London. 

* For the second in our trilogy on illicit broadcasting, we hear tales of DJ derring-do during the birth Of Kiss Fm, once one of the coolest of the urban pirate radio stations and its transition to the commercial mainstream.
 

* And in the mix, we debate how the mainstream is dependent on the underground, the culture feeds on the counterculture, and along the way go crate-digging into how Jon caught the disease of collecting vinyl, putting on warehouse parties, life-changing meetings in London taxis, pirate TV, Coldcut's Solid Steel show - and nuclear power station ephemera..
 

* For Jon and Coldcut http://coldcut.net

* Jon’s Soho Radio show Out to Lunch https://sohoradiolondon.com/profile/jon-more/ 

Thanks for audio samples and info:

* DJ Food https://www.djfood.org/

* The Pirate Radio Archive https://www.thepiratearchive.net/

* AMFM.0rg https://www.amfm.org.uk/

* Death is Not the End https://deathisnot.bandcamp.com/album/london-pirate-radio-adverts-1984-1993-vol-1 

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The Man Who Drilled a Hole in his Head

The Man Who Drilled a Hole in his Head

February 13, 2022
Cannabis, psilocybin, mescaline and LSD were not enough to fulfil Joey Mellen’s quest to expand his consciousness to the furthest limits 'in search of the miraculous'. So in 1968 he used an electric drill to self-trepan himself by boring a hole into his skull.
 
Now a delightful and very lively 82, Joey visits the Bureau to tell how an upper middle class English public schoolboy tuned in, turned on and dropped out, became a psychonautic beatnik and carried out the act of self surgery that made him infamous in countercultural London.  Along the way we dig deep into acid evangelism, how to avoid bad trips, the blood chemistry of the ego and the strange life of Bart Hughes, the dutchman whose theories inspired Joey, Amanda Fielding and various others to seek enlightenment through trepanation.  
 
And we ask Joey if he acheived his goal of getting high and never coming down.
 
This episode was sponsored by the artist known as The Real Tuesday Weld 
 
 
 
 
 
A Soundtrack for a City

A Soundtrack for a City

January 30, 2022
The last violet seller in Piccadilly Circus, the Canvey Island Oil refinery, the bascule chamber of Tower Bridge, the song of The Muffin Man. In the twelve years before his early death in 2021, Ian Rawes engaged in a Quixotic endeavour to capture - and collect - the sound of London. 
 
With over 2000 field recordings, historical audio pieces, sound maps, writings and images, The London Sound Survey he created is an idiosyncratic but wonderfully accessible, evocative and often arresting series of sonic snapshots that aim to track a changing city.
 
Tony Herrington of The Wire magazine comes to the Bureau to remember Ian and celebrate his work. We hear various selections from the Sound Survey and talk counterculture, field-recording, bells, anarcho-punk activism - and of course, independent music publishing, along the way.
 
 
 
 

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The Lives and Times of Michael Moorcock - Part 1

The Lives and Times of Michael Moorcock - Part 1

January 18, 2022
Multi-award winning writer, musician, editor, essayist and inventor of the multiverse, Michael Moorcock, beams into the Bureau for the first episode exploring his deeply countercultural life in literature and London
 
It’s an action-packed hour involving The Beats, William Burroughs, Soho, J G Ballard, Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, anarchists, a Rolls Royce, myth, skiffle, fanzines, comics and books, books books.
 
We hear how a precocious teenage Michael sets out on a career that led to the writing of over a hundred books and the creation of the well-loved characters including Elric and Jerry Cornelius who inhabit them, and we hear a revelation that will surprise even die-hard Moorcock afficionados..
 
For more on Michael
 

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The Lost World of The Self-Made Record

The Lost World of The Self-Made Record

January 2, 2022
We revisit the wonderfully odd, lost culture of the coin-operated machines that allowed ordinary people to make a record of their voice long before the advent of tape or digital recording.(Jack White has been using one, The Voice O Graph, more recently to produce terrific lo- fi caught-in-the-moment records, including an album with Neil Young).
 
We are joined by oral historian and broadcaster Alan Dein to hear a selection of recordings of strange, moving ghostly voices from his collection and learn how the records were used to send messages home from the war, record visits to tourist destinations or to capture the sounds of loved ones in a way that had never been possible before.
 
For more on Alan’s award winning work

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Image courtesy Museum of London

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Ms. Freedom: From Counterculture to Counter-couture

Ms. Freedom: From Counterculture to Counter-couture

December 19, 2021
DIANA CRAWSHAW's countercultural journey took her from a small north Yorkshire town to the centre of swinging London and the glamour of St Tropez; from selling, designing and making clothes in 60s London's hippest boutiques Lord Kitchener's Valet, Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage,to reading palms at the Holland Park office of Richard Branson.
 
One of our most modest and delightful guests, Diana tells tales of her times with the designers that dressed the great the good and the glitterati, including David Hockney, Picasso, Rock Hudson, The Beatles, Elton John and Freddie Mercury. We hear how she set out to find herself, how she made Dennis Hopper cry and how she fixed Raquel Welch’s hot pants.
 
Diana reads palms at Wilde Ones in the Kings Road
https://wildeones.com/tarot-readings/
 
Thanks to Paul Gorman
 

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The Countercultural World of Iain Sinclair

The Countercultural World of Iain Sinclair

December 5, 2021
Writer, film maker, poet, flaneur, metropolitan shaman, curator of lost cultures, beat aficionado, and underground poet Iain Sinclair takes us on a walk through his life in the counterculture. 
 
We have brief encounters with Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, Peter Ackroyd, J.G.Ballard and Nicholas Hawksmoor as we hear tales of the poetry underground, life working as a Hackney council gardener, blacklegging in the London docks, cigars in Clerkenwell, an epic ancestral journey from Leadenhall Market to Peru, DIY-publishing, writing, writing, writing, and of course The City, as we circle towards hearing Iain reading selections from Lud Heat, the epic 1975 piece that was destined to become the root text of London psychogeography.
 
For more on on Iain and his work:
www.iainsinclair.org.uk
 

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Blondie, The Bowery and The Blank Generation

Blondie, The Bowery and The Blank Generation

November 21, 2021
Gary Lachman, the original bass player of Blondie (as Gary Valentine)returns to the Bureau to tell of his time in the New York underground music scene of the 1970s.
 
Now the UK’s foremost writer on the esoteric, with 24 books under his belt including works on Aleister, Crowley, Jung, Gurdjieff, Magick and the occult, Gary was once deep in the heart of New York's 'Blank Generation'.
 
We hear about living with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in a loft on The Bowery, playing CBGB and Gotham's underground clubs, hanging with The Ramones and Patti Smith, touring with Television and Iggy Pop and living the countercultural life on the Lower East side in the years before and beyond new wave.
 
For more on Gary
 

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Raving Upon Thames

Raving Upon Thames

November 8, 2021
Soho and Chelsea have always been hailed as the epicentres of swinging London.
 
But there was a third, and now rather forgotten place which gave birth to The Cool - a place that was the home to one of the most influential jazz clubs of the 50s before providing a launchpad for The Rolling Stones and the bourgeoning British R+B and psychedelic scenes of the 60s. It was a place that went onto to host an extraordinary roster of artists including Cream, The Yardbirds, pre-Bowie David Jones, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Jimmy Page, Genesis, Yes and many, many others before morphing into a hippy commune in the 70s.
 
Author Andrew Humphreys comes to the Bureau to tell the strange story of Eel Pie Island - a bucolic bit of London in the middle of the river Thames - an island which for 15 years played an essential role in the history of British counterculture.
 
For more on Andrew and his book Raving Upon Thames
 

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The Art and Craftiness of Sampling

The Art and Craftiness of Sampling

October 25, 2021
Jon More, one half of cut-and-paste collage kings Coldcut and co-founder with Matt Black of Ninja Tune record label, joins turntablist, crate digger Strictly Kev of  DJ Food as we dig deep into the wild and wonky world of sampling - the borrowing, plundering, adapting and re-imagining of existing audio, songs and sounds to create new audio, songs and sounds.
 
Sampling  might have started off as a countercultural underground cut-and-paste technique used by experimental artists but it ended up powering a huge amount of hip-hop tunes and some very big hit records.
 
We hear some of Jon and Kev's favourite sampling selections, learn about the creative use of the tape recorder pause button, and delve into sound art, musique concrète and pop cultural pick-pocketing down the ages.
 
For more on Jon and Coldcut
 
For more on DJ Food / Strictly Kev
 

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The Rise and Fall of the Bootleg Record

The Rise and Fall of the Bootleg Record

October 12, 2021
The bootleg record was a phenomena that emerged in the heady days of the late 60s and survived to the early 80s - a kind of countercultural entrepreneurial activity that was rendered completely obsolete by the internet.  Bootleggers, often a cross between music fans and black marketeers, were practitioners of ‘disorganised crime’ distributing music illicitly on vinyl, cassette and cd whilst being pursued by record labels around the world from Compton to Camden.

In this episode (a reboot of a Soho Radio show from 2018), we are joined by cultural commentator and lover of all things vinyl, Travis Elborough, to dig deep into the wild world of the dodgy pirates, counterfeits, unsanctioned outtakes, demos and live recordings that included the music of artists from Judy Garland through to the Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and from The Sex Pistols and Television and to Elliot Smith.

For more on Travis 

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Women Against The Bomb

Women Against The Bomb

October 4, 2021

Forty years ago, in the late summer of 1981, a group of women walked from Wales for over a hundred miles carrying a hand-made banner proclaiming their protest against American nuclear cruise  missiles that were to be sationed in the UK. Their march to the US military base at Greenham Common led to the establishment of a camp that, for nearly two decades, drew women from all over the world to make their voices heard in the name of peace - and inspired fellow protestors internationally

Artist, activist and banner maker Thalia Cambpell one of the original marchers and founders of the camp, visits the Bureau to tell tales of dancing on nuclear silos, clashes with the authorities and the creation of vibrant protest art amongst the mud and mayhem.

And we are joined by historian Charlotte Dew, author of 'Women For Peace: Banners From Greenham Common’, a book published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the protests that presents image of the amazing banners made by Thalia and her fellows celebrating the collective power of women, women’s art and the history of peace campaigning. 

For more on the book, the banners and the bomb
www.fourcornersbooks.co.uk/books/women-for-peace-banners-from-greenham-common/

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Child of the Counterculture

Child of the Counterculture

September 13, 2021

A Zelig, a holy fool, a trickster, a black magician, a sociopath, a charlatan, a genius, a fabulist, a junkie, an alcoholic, a secret agent, a police informer, a disruptor, an often loveable preacher of Love who didn't actually seem to know what it meant?

LSD evangelist Michael Hollingshead might or might not have been all of these, but he was certainly a father. 

What is it like to be the child of such a person?

Comedian Vanessa Hollingshead and writer Jeannie Hilton tell the dark and intense story of Vanessa’s tumultuous life with Michael, the working class Englishman who, according to his own claim, 'turned on the world' - or at least, many of those who did - including Timothy Leary and The Beatles - and who, like many who have advocated universal love and cosmic enlightenment, led a tragic and toxic personal life.

It's a wild and crazy trip, at times funny, at times disturbing. Be warned!

To find out more about The Divine Rascal film project
www.thedivinerascal.com

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William Burroughs and Friends

William Burroughs and Friends

August 29, 2021
The ghosts of William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, John Giorno and Bob Cobbing make an appearance at the Bureau - as curator Steve Cleary plays us a  selection of super rare  recordings from the British Library Sound Archive.
 
The Archive is one of the biggest curated resources of audio in the world and includes over 1 million discs, 185,000 tapes, and many other sound and video recordings from around the globe  Steve takes us on a wander through its unparalleled counterculture collection.
 
We also hear from the capital's foremost chronicler of the counterculture, Barry Miles, on Burroughs' life in London  - along with a live recording of the beat writer at Manchester's Hacienda, a sampling of his cutups, some deeply strange sound poems and a wonderful recording of Kerouac jazz scatting at Neal Cassidy’s house.
 
For more on the British Library Sound Archive
 

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Stories and Sounds of Central Asia

Stories and Sounds of Central Asia

August 19, 2021
Bird markets, sacred springs, border crossings, silk weavers, street drummers, games with headless goats, anti-aircraft rockets, courtyard songs and refugee choirs..
 
Documentary maker Monica Whitlock returns to the Bureau to paint an evocative sonic picture of the people and places she encountered whilst working in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan as the BBC’s foreign correspondent for Central Asia.
 
We hear some of the extraordinary archive of field recordings, conversations and music she collected whilst living and travelling in Tashkent, Samarkand and Andujan and while crossing the borders between a family of ancient states. And we learn something of these regions with their deep rooted tribal loyalties as they were being reborn and reformed in the ruins of the Soviet empire.
 
For more on Monica:
 

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The Lost World of Pirate Radio - Part One

The Lost World of Pirate Radio - Part One

August 2, 2021

PIRATE RADIO first erupted in the UK in the early 1960s when stations such as Radio Caroline and Radio London started to broadcast from ships moored offshore or disused WW2 forts in the north sea. They were set up by wildcat entrepreneurs and music enthusiasts to meet the growing demand for the pop, rock and underground music not catered for by the BBC who had a monopoly on the airwaves.

Music writer ROB CHAPMAN returns to the Bureau to tell the story of this first golden age of illicit broadcasting.  We hear of the extraordinary life of pirate-in-chief Ronan O’Rahilly anarchist founder of Radio Caroline, of legendary broadcaster John Peel and his ground breaking show ‘The Perfumed Garden’, and of the oddities of life aboard the radio ships precariously sailing the airwaves.

Initially, the stations got round the law because they were broadcasting from international waters to delighted young people across the country before they ran foul of the authorities and were shut down in 1967. But their impact lived on: the government caved into youth demand for pop music with the creation of Radio 1 and many of the pirate radio DJs including Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett, Johnnie Walker, Emperor Rosko went on to mainstream success with the BBC and commercial stations of the seventies and beyond.

For more on Rob
http://www.rob-chapman.com

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The Acid Techno Squat Party

The Acid Techno Squat Party

July 19, 2021
In these days of constantly CCTV-surveilled, property over-developed London patrolled by health and safety wonks and paranoid private security forces, the wild world of the inner city squat party seems an impossibility. 
 
DJ, veteran of a thousand festivals and squat party promoter WILL  WILES comes to the Bureau to tell tales of acid house daring do, breaking into a variety of buildings (including Newcastle's 19th century Tyne Bridge), rigging up electricity and lights and installing sound systems for DJs to thrill and delight a community of underground ravers dusk 'til dawn before vanishing again on Monday morning.
 
We hear of cooking up ketamine in the kitchen, police raids, psychic dance floor camaraderie and the exploits of tech-savvy wily, piratical, psychedelic pioneers carrying on their subversive activities right under the noses of the authorities and bemused neighbours - motivated by music, madness and a deep belief in the counter-cultural spirit.
 

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Cancelled! The Counterculture of Ideas

Cancelled! The Counterculture of Ideas

July 6, 2021
Forbidden! Taboo! Shouldn’t be allowed!
 
Do you ever find yourself censoring yourself? Not saying quite what you think, feel or believe in case it is disapproved of?
 
Human rights lawyer ERIC BERKOWITZ comes to the Bureau to talk about his epic new book 'Dangerous Ideas: A History of Censorship from Ancient Times to Fake News.
 
It's a thrilling read, full of sometimes comical, often alarming and always thought-provoking human stories - from that of the ancient Chinese emperor who destroyed any works implying there had ever been a better era than his own, to the current Chinese leader's attempts to have Winnie the Pooh banned (after his and the bear's resemblance was pointed out). The UK and the US don’t fare too well either.
 
Why have books, films, images words and ideas always been censored by those in power? Are there times when they should be? Does censorship ever work? 
 
Eric digs deep into the touchiness of tyrants, into our current issues around blame, shame and cancel culture and why he thinks that almost nothing should be censored. We explore why countercultural ideas are so necessary for the culture and why they are only really dangerous when denied expression.
 
For more on Eric and the book
 

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The Life and Times of a Foreign Correspondent

The Life and Times of a Foreign Correspondent

June 22, 2021
The Cold War is ending, the Soviet Empire is crumbling.
In Central Asia, new countries are being born - or built - in the ruins: Kazakstan, Krygystan, Tajakstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
 
Allegiances and borders are shifting, overshadowed by the ghosts of ancient kingdoms. Exciting times. New histories in the making. And it all needs reporting.
 
Documentary maker MONICA WHITLOCK visits the Bureau to tell tales of her times as the Central Asian foreign correspondent for the BBC.
 
And what tales they are: lost treasure; Polish cemeteries in the Uzbek desert; tiny paintings on matchboxes smuggled from gulags; state murder and a last desperate dash across the runway, fleeing Tashkent after being accused of abetting terrorists. 
 
This episode features some of Monica's collection of field recordings.
 

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London’s Lost World of Yiddisher Jazz

London’s Lost World of Yiddisher Jazz

June 7, 2021
London’s East End and Soho were the centres of a unique musical culture in the years between the 20s and the 50s.
 
Award wining oral historian and radio producer ALAN DEIN returns to the Bureau to tell stories of songs that soundtracked that world and feature on ‘Music is the Most Beautiful Language in the World', the album of super rare tunes by London jewish jazz artists he has unearthed.
 
We hear tales of poverty and glamour, Soho gangsters, ghettos, vaudeville swing, comedy, cuisine and cabaret - and of some of the musicians who escaped the squalid streets of Whitechapel to become international stars. And we discuss what it means to be an oral historian, the power of story and how much radio still matters.

For more on Alan’s work

For the ‘Music is the Most Beautiful Language in the World’ album

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The UFO Club

The UFO Club

May 27, 2021

Journalist and counterculture commentator Peter Watts joins us to talk about The UFO Club, the massively influential short-lived London club of the late 1960s established by Joe Boyd and John "Hoppy” Hopkins.

It featured light shows, poetry readings, avant-garde art by Yoko Ono and many rock acts (Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Procul Harem) who later became massive.

For a brief two year period, it acted as the epicentre of the whirligig of summer of love underground London with a 'who's who of the counterculture' guest list and set the standards for psychedelic fashion and design.

Peter’s blog on London and counterculture:

www.greatwen.com 

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The English Underground with Nick Laird Clowes - Part 2

The English Underground with Nick Laird Clowes - Part 2

May 27, 2021

We return for Part 2 of a trip through the English Underground scene of the 1960s and 1970s led by musician and pied piper Nick Laird Clowes of The Dream Academy.

Nick tells of his extraordinary youth deeply immersed in the political, musical and alternative scenes of West London. We hear about meeting Iggy Pop in a toilet, Nick Drake's guitar, the demise of Syd Barrett and dinner with Andy Warhol amongst many other terrific tales of living the countercultural life.

For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
www.bureauoflostculture.com

For more on Nick
www.nicklairdclowes.com

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The English Underground with Nick Laird Clowes - Part 1

The English Underground with Nick Laird Clowes - Part 1

May 27, 2021

We take a romp through the underground alternative and music scene of the 1960s in the first half of a two part episode. Our guide is musician and Nick Laird Clowes who regales us with stories of running away to the Isle of Wight festival, dj-ing at The Roundhouse, meeting John Lennon amongst many countercultural characters of the day and much, much more.

All this before an age when most of us had even smoked a cigarette - and all before his days of pop stardom with The Dream Academy.

For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
www.bureauoflostculture.com

For more on Nick
https://www.nicklairdclowes.com

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Tales from The Flamingo Club

Tales from The Flamingo Club

May 27, 2021
Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday Dizzy Gillespie, Rod Stewart, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Eric Clapton, the Moody Blues, Mick Fleetwood, Pink Floyd, Georgie Fame, Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, the Small Faces … the roll call of those who played in the Soho basement called The Flamingo is a who's who of 50s and 60s cool. 
 
Journalist and author Pete Watts takes us on a trip through time and down the stairs of 33 Wardour Street to hear stories of one of London's most important lost and legendary venues.
 
We hear how the Flamingo was hugely influential on up and coming musical stars of the 60s like Pete Townsend and The Rolling Stones, how it played an influential roll in the history of black music in the city and how you can perhaps still catch its spirit in the gents’ loos of the Irish theme pub that now occupies the site..
 
For more on Pete Watts:
 
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Comics, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Comics, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

May 23, 2021

He has published Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Robert Crumb, J G BallardHunt Emerson, Eddie Campbell, Brian Bolland, Dave McKean, Martin Rowson and Melinda Gebbie amongst others. 

His publishing house Knockabout Comics has put out books on marijuana, magic mushrooms and many other aspects of alternative living from West Wales to Ladbroke Grove. And he's fought the law (though the law has frequently won).

With special guest DJ Food / Kev Foakes, we flick through the pages of the countercultural life of Tony Bennett hearing tales from the wild world of underground publishing, radical bookshops, obscenity trials, censorship, customs busts - and, of course  a crazy cornucopia of comics, including Gilbert Shelton’s hippy-slacker masterwork The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.

For more on Tony and Knockabout Comics
https://www.knockaboutcomics.com

For more on DJ Food
https://www.djfood.org

For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
www.bureauoflostculture.com

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Blinded by The Light - A Countercultural History of Spectacles

Blinded by The Light - A Countercultural History of Spectacles

May 11, 2021
What do Morrissey, Dorothy Parker, Le Corbusier, Harold Lloyd, Janis Joplin, Andy Warhol, Alan Ginsberg, Michael Caine, Gloria Steinem, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Jarvis Cocker have in common?
 
Like around 65% of the British population they needed some sort of vision correction - aka glasses.
 
Writer and cultural commentator  Travis Elborough returns to the Bureau to talk about his forthcoming book: 'Through the Looking Glasses: The Spectacular Life of Spectacles’ (Little Brown).
 
We take a long look at the wonderful and wonky world of glasses from the Middle Ages to the present - along with a cast of spec. wearing monks, artisans, foppish dandies, wonks, nerds, bohemians, bands, spies and film stars as we examine the story of eyewear through the lens of the counterculture. 
 
For more on Travis and his work
 
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How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin

April 25, 2021
Cold War Spy meets The Fab Four in the USSR
 
When Leslie Woodhead was asked by Granada TV to film a new young music group in a club in Liverpool in 1962, he had no idea what he was in for - and neither had the rest of the world. He was witnessing the birth of a phenomenon that was about to have a huge impact on both the culture and the counterculture. But by then he had already had another extraordinary experience - serving a stint as a cold war spy, learning Russian on a remote Scottish pig farm and spending time eavesdropping on Soviet pilots from West Berlin.
 
These experiences continued to influence his life as a multi-award winning film maker, finally coalescing in his documentary ‘How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin’.
 
In this episode, we trace the almost unbelievable transformational effect the Fab Four had on young Russians in the 60s and 70s - an effect that many believed was more significant than all the cold war western propaganda and the threat of nuclear attack combined, in helping to bring about perestroika and the fall of the Soviet empire. 
 
For more on Leslie and his work
 
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NICO - You are Beautiful and You are Alone

NICO - You are Beautiful and You are Alone

April 12, 2021
She was a singer, songwriter, musician, muse, model, actress and artist. She had roles in several films, including Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls, fronted The Velvet Underground, made many albums solo and toured for over two decades. She inspired many other artists including Bjork, Siousxie, Iggy Pop and Morrissey. Yet NICO’s life has often been reduced to a series of myths about junkiedom, decay, difficult behaviour and wasted talent.

 
Rock ’n’ Roll historian Jennifer Otter Bickerdike comes to the Bureau to set matters straight and talk about her upcoming book 'You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone: The Biography of Nico’(Faber).  We dig into fandom, fables and why female musicians, junkies and artists in the counterculture have been treated differently, even mythologised differently, than their male counterparts; and why Iggy Pop is still so cool and why Nico still matters.
 
For more on Jen and the book
 
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Skinhead: The Counter-Counterculture

Skinhead: The Counter-Counterculture

April 1, 2021
Beatniks, Bootboys, Black GIs; Suedehead, Ska, Subculture; Rude Boys, Reggae, Racism; Football Hooliganism and Fashion. 
 
Artist, film maker, writer and activist STEWART HOME comes into the Bureau to talk about Skinhead, an enduring subculture that generally gets left out of the countercultural history.
 
We also dip into overlapping areas of mod, punk, politics, northern soul, two tone - and doctor marten boots - as we explore the complex contradictions, roots and evolution of Skin style.
 
For more on Stewart Home and his work
 
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Memories of a Free Festival

Memories of a Free Festival

February 28, 2021
"The Sun Machine is Coming Down and We’re Gonna Have a Party"
 
CHRIS TOFU artistic director of Continental Drifts, lies down on the Bureau’s couch for a session of psycho(delic)analysis. We take a rambling trip through the British free festival scene of the 70s, 80s and 90s  - with deviations into the lost worlds of Europe’s squatting scene, the new age travellers and guerilla gigs. And we hear about Chris’s crazy countercultural life getting lost at Stonehenge as a wide-eyed 15 year old from Devon, being 'Bez’ in anarcho-punk-celtic-squattng band Tofu Love Frogs and gigging in a thousand fields along the way.
 

The image is courtesy the incomparable ALAN LODGE
To see his extraordinary archive of images of festivals and alternative culture: www.alanlodge.co.uk

For more on Continental Drifts
 
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Image Courtesy of Alan Lodge https://alanlodge.co.uk  
The Legend, Legacy and Lyrics of Syd Barrett

The Legend, Legacy and Lyrics of Syd Barrett

February 15, 2021
The story of SYD BARRETT, the doomed original founder of Pink Floyd has fascinated, obsessed and mystified generations of fans for decades.
 
The tragic trajectory of the psychedelic poster boy who had it all and ’lost it’ has all the hallmarks of an icarus myth. Yet, as our guest writer ROB CHAPMAN tells us, the myth has totally eclipsed the man, the legend obscured the legacy.  Rob's 2010 biography ‘A Very Irregular Head’ - the first to be authorised by Syd's family - set out to right the balance, to tell the human truths about a tragic but talented artist.
 
Rob joins us to talk about the new book he has edited: ‘The Lyrics of Syd Barrett’ (Omnibus Press) that gives a wonderful insight into the mind and art of someone who was yes, a crazy diamond but also a countercultural experimenter, an innovator and a psychedelic poet.
 
Along the way we did into the meaning of counterculture and fandom and hear about a newly resurrected poem of Syd's
 
For more on Rob Chapman
 
For the official Syd Barrett site
 
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The Lost History of Skiffle - with Billy Bragg

The Lost History of Skiffle - with Billy Bragg

February 2, 2021
BILLY BRAGG pays a visit to the Bureau to lead us on an extraordinary whirlwind tour through the music that the counterculture forgot.
 
Along the way we hear about the emergence of The Teenager in post-war Britain, the massive impact of Rock Around the Clock, the Soho espresso bar culture of the 50s and the birth of British youth culture.
 
We explore why Skiffle, which soundtracked that youth culture for a few intense years and was the inspiration for musicians in The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Rolling Stones, has been oddly forgotten.  And Billy explains why, as the first British DIY musical revolution, Skiffle provided the template for the Punk movement of the 70s that was to inspire him.
 
Along the way, we get educated about the post war 'trad jazz' movement, the cultural stranglehold of the BBC - and the terrific transformatory power of a guy - or a girl - with a guitar.
 
For more on Billy and his book Roots, Radicals and Rockers:
 
Billy's Top Five Skiffle Tunes
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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Soviet Hippies

Soviet Hippies

February 1, 2021

Forget California, swinging sixties London or the Paris riots for a moment, Estonian filmmaker Terje Toomistu joins us to talk about the hippie movement of the Soviet Union.

It had all the characteristics of Western hippiedom: long hair, groovy music, esoteric spirituality and drugs. The only thing missing perhaps was the radical public politics that would have pushed the repressive Soviet authorities into drastic, brutal  action  

Terji’s film, with its super groovy soundtrack of rare tunes, provides a fascinating glimpse into a moving, daring subculture that flourished east of the Iron Curtain. 

More about the Soviet Hippies film and Terje www.soviethippies.com

For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture:

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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The Roxy Club -100 Nights of Punk Madness

The Roxy Club -100 Nights of Punk Madness

January 17, 2021
45 years ago, two working class South Londoners took over a decrepit seedy gay bar in Neal Street, then a rather desolate and deserted part of central London. At a time when the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK antics had resulted in a virtual blanket ban on venues hosting anything associated with the word ’Punk’, they provided a home for an astonishing array of bands including The Clash, The Police, The Jam, Wire, XTC, The Damned, Generation X, The Stranglers, Siouxie and the Banshees and many, many more. Their tenure lasted for just 100 intense, crazed nights before they were kicked out, but The Roxy became a punk legend.
 
Susan Carrington and Andrew Czezowski enter the Bureau to talk about their life in music, clubs and the counterculture - from meeting at a mod night at the Locarno Ballroom in Streatham in the 60s to opening The Fridge, one the of the longest running and most influential clubs of the 80s, 90s and 00s. We will return to the latter in a future episode, but today we hear their tales of The Roxy, of managing The Damned and Generation X and of the DIY can-do punk spirit that has infused all their adventures in the underground.
 
For more on Susan and Andrew and their book about The Roxy check out  www.roxyclub.co.uk 
 
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Days of the Underground: The Life and Times of Hawkwind

Days of the Underground: The Life and Times of Hawkwind

January 3, 2021
Hawkwind: Never in fashion but never out of it, piratical pagan proto-punks, avatars of the underground, figureheads of the free festival scene, innovative heralds of the rave generation, cosmic space rockers with street fighter spirit  - there is no one like them.
 
We meet with Joe Banks author of “Hawkwind: Days Of The Underground – Radical Escapism In The Age Of Paranoia” (Strange Attractor Press) to explore the story of a much loved band that have gradually come to win the respect of many of the most cynical of critics - perhaps partly just by virtue of still being around, but mainly by sticking to their fiercely independent, idiosyncratc, anti-corporate, psychedelic ethos.
 
And we return to the West London musical, social melting pot we have previously explored with Nick Laird Clowes to uncover the fertile countercultural ground that gave birth to Hawkwind and in which they played such an important role.
 
For more on Joe Banks
 
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