Bureau of Lost Culture
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
 
Fro more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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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
 
Fro more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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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
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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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 

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

For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture and our previous episodes on Hollingshead with psychedelic historian Andy Roberts:
www.bureauoflostculture.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
 
The Bureau of Lost Culture is dedicated to collecting and recollecting lost, half-forgotten or just rare stories, oral testimonies and sounds.
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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:
 
The Bureau of Lost Culture is dedicated to collecting and recollecting lost, half-forgotten or just rare stories, oral testimonies and sounds.
 
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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 Reilly, 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

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

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

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:
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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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
 
For more on Bureau of Lost Culture
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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
 
For more on Bureau of Lost Culture
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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
 
For more on Bureau of Lost Culture
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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
 
For more on Bureau of Lost Culture
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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
 
For more on Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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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 
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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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
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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The British Folk Underground - with Stephen Duffy

The British Folk Underground - with Stephen Duffy

December 21, 2020
Various musicians have started out in the underground and left it behind for commercial mainstream success. Few have deliberately taken the opposite route back into the counterculture - and rarely as repeatedly as our guest Stephen Duffy.
 
Stephen formed, and left, Duran Duran, had chart success in both the 80s and the 90s as a solo artist and then again in the 00s as songwriter / producer for Robbie Williams - with whom he toured the enormodromes of the world. But each time, he turned around and returned to the folk underground roots of his early inspirations with his band The Lilac Time.
 
We take a gentle personal trip through the counterculture soundtracked by some of those inspirations. And we hear how the folk underground  - and The Lilac Time - have quietly kept going whilst musical genres have come and gone. And we wonder if the counterculture is still alive and twitching, or if it was killed in the 80s .. by Gary Numan..
 
For more on Stephen and The Lilac Time including their recent and upcoming releases
 
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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Which One’s Pink? Managing the Counterculture

Which One’s Pink? Managing the Counterculture

December 1, 2020
One afternoon in the mid 1960s, Pete Jenner left off marking exam papers at the London School of Economics and popped into the Marquee club. There was a band playing, They changed his life - and he changed theirs. 
 
Pete enters the Bureau of Lost Culture to tell us about discovering The Pink Floyd, the band he and Andrew King guided from darlings of the underground to early commercial success.  
 
But that was just the beginning. We hear about Pete' early life as the son of a radical vicar and how politics and music blended in his involvement in the early days of the West London Underground scene: The London Free School, The Tabernacle, The UFO club and the start of the Hyde Park festivals.
 
We learn about the tragic disintegration of Syd Barrett who Pete and Andrew King chose to back whilst Pink Floyd went onto to global stardom, and we learn something about the ins and outs of a life spent in music, fostering the careers of Marc Bolan, Roy Harper, Ian Drury, The Clash and Billy Bragg amongst many others..
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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Rebel Threads: Dressing the Counterculture

Rebel Threads: Dressing the Counterculture

November 17, 2020
ROGER BURTON started out working on a farm and ended up running a Horse Hospital. No, he’s not a vet but has spent most of his life clothing, collecting and curating the counterculture.  Along the way, he has designed shops for Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, provided the clothes for Quadrophenia, and Absolute Beginners, dressed the New Romantics, styled 100s of pop videos and given a leg up to many fringe artists (inc. me).
 
We dig deep into Rebel Threads, his amazing book and collection of youth culture clothing from the 1920s - 1980s, hear about the birth of Mod, selling gear to the Kings Road boutiques of the 60s and 70s and how the actual 18th century Horse Hospital he runs has provided a venue for 27 years worth of unparalleled radical, fringe gigs, film, exhibitions and happenings in central London. And how, despite wide support across both the mainstream culture and the counterculture, it is facing closure due to the usual sad London story of property developer greed.)
 
For more on Roger, Rebel Threads and The Horse Hospital
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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Days in the Life: The Language of Counterculture

Days in the Life: The Language of Counterculture

November 1, 2020
Chick.Trip.Dope, Pad. Heavy. Cool. Scene. Man. Beat. Freak. Weed. Bang. Square. Blast. Cat. Gas!
 
In an action packed episode, we spend a Soho afternoon with 'Mr Slang’ Jonathon Green discussing his amazing life in the counterculture, writing for Rolling Stone and the underground magazines including IT, OZ and Friends. 
 
Then we dig deep into his ground breaking catalogue of the counterculture: ‘Days in the Life: Voices from the English Underground' with its interviews of over a hundred figures involved in the counterculture including Paul McCartney, Barry Miles and Jenny Fabian.
 
And, as Jonathon is our foremost lexicographer of slang, he takes us on wander into the weird and wonderful world of countercultural language, exploring where all those hippie and beatnik words came from and discovering why ‘Fuck' is not in fact a swear word.
 
For more on Jonathon’s books
 
For more on Jonathon’s Slang Dictionaries
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London: The Films of Peter Whitehead

Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London: The Films of Peter Whitehead

October 19, 2020
Peter Whitehead was an innovative English writer and filmmaker who documented the counterculture in London and New York in the late 1960s.
 
His film Wholly Communion captured The International Poetry Incarnation, a groundbreaking event at The Royal Albert Hall in 1965 that was to prove pivotal in the evolution of the underground  scene. The film featured poetry readings by Beat poets including Allen Ginsberg, Michael Horovitz, Adrian Mitchell and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and established Whitehead as the London counterculture’s 'Man With a Movie Camera’.
 
Film event producer Marek Pytel walks us through Whtehead's life and work including the iconic 'Tonite Let's All Make Love in London’ documentary that helped define the "swinging London" scene of the sixties with psychedelic performances and interviewees including Pink Floyd, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, Vanessa Redgrave, Lee Marvin, Julie Christie, Allen Ginsberg, Eric Burdon, Michael Caine and many others.
 
We hear how Whitehead went onto film with The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix and to make provocative work about the countercultural protest movement in late 60s New York before making an extraordinary career swerve.
 
For More on Marek Pytel's work see www.realityfilm.co.uk
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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The Mysteries of T. C. Lethbridge

The Mysteries of T. C. Lethbridge

October 13, 2020
One our foremost living writers on the esoteric, Gary Lachman, enters the Bureau purportedly to talk about one of our most important, if rather forgotten, dead  writers on the esoteric, T C Lethbridge.
 
We do get around to exploring Lethbridges's various incarnations as a rogue psychic archaeologist, dowser and parapsychologist but only after some serious digressions into Gary’s various incarnations including his time playing bass for Blondie in mid 70s New York.  We hear how he was escorted out of David Bowie’s loft apartment by two glamorous bodyguards after a disagreement over Lethbridge, delve into the meaning of ‘Counterculture’ and dip into the subject of precognitive dreaming before finishing up with a story about a hedgehog.
 
In other words, there’s something for everyone..
 
For more on Gary Lachman and his work
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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Helter Skelter: Charles Manson and the CIA

Helter Skelter: Charles Manson and the CIA

October 7, 2020
Journalist Tom O Neill, author of 'Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties’, joins us to reveal the truths, untruths, secrets and conspiracies behind the most famous crime of the 60s.
 
The Tate-Labianca murders and the subsequent trial of 'The Manson Family' were among the events that marked the turning of the countercultural tide and the darkening of the hippy dream.
 
Tom tells how a straightforward 1999 magazine commission to write an anniversary piece on the murders turned into a 20 year investigative odyssey that revealed a devastating story of corruption, deception, lying and abuse - and that was just from the authorities.
 
Was Manson a CIA asset gone rogue?
We are not fans of conspiracy theories but Tom's research reveals an extraordinary and deeply worrying web involving the CIA, the Beach Boys, LSD, hypnotism, doctors, psychologists and bent lawyers.
 
For more on Tom and the book:
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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The Divine Rascal - Hollingshead Pt.2

The Divine Rascal - Hollingshead Pt.2

October 7, 2020
We return for the second part of our trip through the terrific, tortuous and terrible times of Michael Hollings(acid)head with psychedelic historian Andy Roberts.
 
We reconnect with Hollingshead as he is returning to England to set up the London Psychedelic Centre in Chelsea. He has introduced Timothy Leary to LSD and thus played a momentous part in the history of the counterculture in the USA.
 
But that was just one event in a picaresque life involving 'turning on' various celebrities including Paul McCartney, Donovon and a cold war spy, living in Scottish communes, the back-stabbing of various friends, being beastly to women and taking more and more LSD.
 
Hollingshead goes on the run - on acid. Hollingshead defends himself in court - on acid. Hollingshead serves a prison sentence - on acid. 
 
Andy, whose biography, Divine Rascal, is the first full account of the man, leads us to the end of the labyrinthine life of a character who was one part psychedelic, one part psychopathic.
 
For more on Andy Roberts and ‘Divine Rascal'
 
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
 
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The Man Who Turned On the World - Hollingshead Pt.1

The Man Who Turned On the World - Hollingshead Pt.1

September 16, 2020
In the first of an occasional series of broadcasts around the subject of LSD, psychedelic historian Andy Roberts takes us on the first part of a trip through the extraordinary life and times of Michael Hollingshead.
 
Hollingshead's assertion that he ‘turned on the world’ may be wildly immodest, but he did introduce Timothy Leary (and many others) to acid and thus played an essential role in the evolution of the counterculture in the USA and the UK.
 
He remains relatively forgotten - and his home town of Darlington does not figure in the topography of Acid culture - despite his tremendous consciousness changing exploits.
 
But he was no saint. Andy, whose book Divine Rascal is the first biography of Hollingshead, charts the idiosyncracies and rise and fall of a man variously described as a Zelig, holy fool, trickster, black magician, sociopath, charlatan, genius, fabulist, junkie, alcoholic, secret agent, police informer, disruptor and sex mad preacher of Love who didn't actually understand love.
 
To be continued.
 
For more on Andy and ‘Divine Rascal'
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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Barney Bubbles: Designing the Counterculture

Barney Bubbles: Designing the Counterculture

September 16, 2020
Writer and cultural commentator Paul Gorman takes us on an exploration of the countercultural designer Barney Bubbles. It is an extraordinary story, magic and tragic by turn.
 
Bubbles, who, despite his effervescent alias, was so modest that he declined to have his name included on the many extraordinary album covers he designed, has rather faded from public awareness since his untimely suicide. But he remains much admired by lovers of album cover art and has influenced a growing coterie of graphic designers. 
 
Paul, who has championed him with a biography and three exhibitions, traces his life and work from the hard boiled world of advertising and commercial graphics in the 60s, through the psychedelic West London underground scene of the early 70s, to the post punk era of Stiff Records and beyond. Along the way we hear of some of the outpourings of the cornucopia that was Bubbles’ mind, including the designs of Frendz magazine, the Hawkwind Tarot, The Specials' Ghost Town video - and those album covers..
 
And we hear about Paul’s own journey and, as usual, speculate on the nature of this creature called ‘counterculture’.
 
For more on Paul Gorman
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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Arthur Machen and The London Labyrinth

Arthur Machen and The London Labyrinth

September 16, 2020
Enter the labyrinth. Perambulator and psycho-geographer Robert Kingham leads us down the twisting, turning tunnels and lost highways of the London labyrinth to meet author, mystic and cockney visionary Arthur Machen.
 
We explore Machen’s odd life and books - and some  strange parts of the city - as we uncover the ways he was to influence the folk horror movement and countercultural cult authors H P Lovecraft and Alan Moore.
 
We ask:
Was Machen the first London psycho-geographer?
Did he really take a packet of currant biscuits with him on his epic perambulations through the sleeping city?
Where is the labyrinth?  
 
For more on Robert and Minimum Labyrinth
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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High Weirdness: Psychedelic Visions in 70s America

High Weirdness: Psychedelic Visions in 70s America

September 16, 2020

‘America’s leading scholar of High Strangeness’ Dr.Erik Davis, enters the Bureau.

We hear about Erik’s career charting the highs and lows of counterculture, esoterica and psychedelia in America and meet three of the most influential radical psychedelic characters of 1970s - the writers / thinkers / lunatics Philip K Dick, Terence McKenna and Robert Anton Wilson.

Each had extraordinary mystical experiences in the heady days of early 1970 countercultures which kickstarted an incredible outpouring of radical theories, fiction, speculations, conspiracy theories and consciousness exploration.

We hear about radical politics, drugs, strange new religions, environmentalism, cults and the darkening of the psychedelic dream as the sunny uplands of the 1960s turn into the confused melting pot of the 1970s.

For more on Erik Davis:

www.techgnosis.com

For more on Bureau Of Lost Culture

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www.bureauoflostculture.com

The Secret History of Mescaline

The Secret History of Mescaline

September 16, 2020

Mike Jay, the UK’s foremost historian of psychoactive plants, joins us to talk about the deeply strange hallucinogen/drug/medicine/sacrament mescaline - a substance derived from the peyote cactus.

Whilst other psychedelic compounds are more popular - and much more in the news - Mike tells us why mescaline was actually the very first psychedelic.

We hear strange stories of drug use in 19th century London, Native American medicine ceremonies - and Bovril..

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

More about Mike's work

www.mikejay.net

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The History of the Self - Made Record

The History of the Self - Made Record

September 14, 2020

We are joined by oral historian and broadcaster Alan Dein.

We discuss the history, culture and technology of the coin-operated machines that allowed ordinary people to make a record of themselves in the West (and, in adapted bootlegged form, to create records of forbidden music in the Soviet Union) long before the advent of tape or digital recording.

We hear a selection of extraordinary recordings of strange, moving voices from Alan’s 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 X-Ray Audio

www.x-rayaudio.com

For More on Bureau of Lost Culture

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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The Strange Story of Soviet Bone Music

The Strange Story of Soviet Bone Music

September 14, 2020

We tell the story of the music fans and bootleggers who ran the risks of imprisonment to defy the Soviet censor for the sake of the songs they loved.

We learn how they made records of forbidden tunes by building home-made recording machines and re-purposing x-rays illegally obtained from Soviet hospitals.

We hear how they did it with selections of music drawn from various x-ray records and hear the words of a surviving bootlegger - and we explore what it actually takes to cut music onto x-ray film.

For More on X-Ray Audio

www.x-rayaudio.com

For More on Bureau of Lost Culture

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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The Soviet ‘Punk Frank Zappa’

The Soviet ‘Punk Frank Zappa’

September 14, 2020

We meet with film director Olivia Litchenstein and BBC Russian Arts presenter Alexander Kan to hear about the extraordinary musician Sergey Kuryokhin, ‘the Soviet Punk Frank Zappa’ who with his underground cohorts in Leningrad tried to soundtrack perestroika as the cold war crumbled around them.

Olivia tells of the strange circumstances of the making of the BBC TV series Comrades during the twilight of the Soviet Empire, with tales of tapes smuggled in diplomatic bags and a bizarre intervention by Ronald Reagan.

Alex tells of his friendship with Kuryokhin, an incredibly talented, charming musical provocateur whose live performances astonished Russian audiences.  And we learn of the bizarre prank Kuryokhin played on National TV claiming Lenin was a magic mushroom, just one of many dadaist interventions he made before his tragically early death.

The Comrades program featuring Sergey Kuryokhin: https://youtu.be/ibY2lXdgdnM

For more on The Bureau of Lost Culture:

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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The Invisible Battle of the Cold War Airwaves

The Invisible Battle of the Cold War Airwaves

September 14, 2020

This Episode explore three stories of cold war era radio in the USSR: Soviet Radio Jammers, the Russian ‘Woodpecker’ and the Soviet Radio Hooligans

We meet with Russian broadcaster Vladimir Raevsky to talk about radio jamming in cold war era Soviet Union.

As East and West super powers square up to each with nuclear weapons, a parallel invisible war is being fought in the airwaves.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on broadcasting propaganda and music into the Soviet Union - and on attempting to block them from being heard.

Stephen tells the strange story of the ‘Russian Woodpecker’, a dystopian broadcasting station near the Chernobyl nuclear reactor and alleged attempts to brainwash the West using radar.

BBC Russian Arts correspondant Alex Kan, sits in a London cafe and tells of the brave young ‘Radio hooligans' who broadcast their own individual pirate radio shows during his youth in the USSR.

For More on the Bureau of Lost Culture:

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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The Smallest Country in the World

The Smallest Country in the World

September 14, 2020
For the first, and probably the last, time the bureau are joined by a member of royalty - Prince Michael of Sealand
 
The Principality of Sealand claims  a population of 27, is around 4500 m2 and lies 7.5 miles off the coast of the UK - it is situated on a World War Two Maunsell fort and claims to be an independent sovereign state.
 
It is one of several micro-nations dotted around the globe and its history is an extraordinary David and Goliath narrative worthy of a Bond movie.
 
Sealand's ruler, Prince Michael, regales us with tales of his extraordinary father, nautical derring do and astonishing childhood adventures on the high seas. 
 
We hear about the early days of pirate radio, abductions, kidnappings, sawn-off shotguns, invasions by helicopter and how to become a citizen - or even a lord or lady - of the The Smallest Country in the World.
 
For more on Sealand
 
For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture
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A Short History of Soviet Counterculture

A Short History of Soviet Counterculture

September 13, 2020

Was counterculture possible in the oppressive, repressive circumstances of the Soviet Union?

Join us as we meet with broadcaster, author and cultural commentator Artemyi Troistsky - the 'Russian John Peel’ - to find out.

We hear some entertaining, comical, tragic, moving and frankly strange stories including tales of the ‘Stilyagi' Soviet Hipsters, the first disco in Moscow, Che Guevara and Lenin as a mushroom.

And we hear how rock music evolved in secret before breaking into the light as perestroika transformed Soviet society.

For more on Art:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemy_Troitsky

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

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1977 - Year of Punk

1977 - Year of Punk

September 13, 2020

We meet with writer Barry Cain, punk correspondent for Record Mirror during the incendiary years 1977 - 1979.

Barry tells of his London journey from a Kings Cross council estate to touring with the Sex Pistols, The Clash and the greatest bands of the punk generation.

We hear of early meetings with The Stranglers, Sid Vicious and John Lydon, a fantatsical financial fraud perpetrated on a transatlantic flight with The Damend’s Rat Scabies and evenings recording Malcolm McLaren’s secret memoirs

Barry Cain is journalist and author of ’77 Sulphate Strip: An Eyewitness Account of the Year that changed everything’ amongst other books.

He co-founded the influential Flexi Pop magazine and has written extensively on pop music.

For more on Bureau of Lost Culture

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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Drugs, Doctors and Rock ‘n Roll

Drugs, Doctors and Rock ‘n Roll

September 13, 2020

In this episode, we meet with radical doctor Sam Hutt who ministered to countercultural London in the 1960s and with Hank Wangford, English Country and Western singer par excellence.

Sam tells us about growing up in a 1950s communist household in a posh part of London. We hear stories of sixties Soho and psychedelic marmite, about buying heroin from Boots and about prescribing cannabis for some very famous musicians.

We learn how Sam frequented underground clubs like The Flamingo, dropped acid, made one of the greatest psychedelic singles of all time, hung out with rock stars and witnessed the tragic decline of Syd Barrett

Hank tells how Sam Hutt became Hank Wangford after a broken love affair. We hear how he and Keith Richards were turned onto country music by Gram Parsons and about his days as part of the Red Wedge anti-Thatcher movement in the 1980s - all along with two tunes recorded live at Soho Radio.

For more on Hank Wangford

www.hankwangford.com

For more on Bureau of Lost Culture

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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Sweat, Drums and Rock ‘n Roll - with Twink

Sweat, Drums and Rock ‘n Roll - with Twink

September 13, 2020

We meet with legendary drummer and songwriter John Alder / Mohammed Abdullah, best known as Twink, who played for the In Crowd, Tomorrow, The Pink Fairies, The Pretty Things, Hawkwind, The Aquarian Age, Pink Wind and Stars - amongst others legendary acts.

One of the foremost figures of the late sixties London music scene, he tells us what it was like - from the inside.

We hear what Jimi Hendrix said to him when they jammed at The UFO club, about Syd Barrett’s tragic last gig and about a life beating out the rhythm of the counterculture from Colchester to Morocco and back again.

You can find out more about Twink’s legacy at www.thinkpink50th.com

For more on the Bureau of Lost Culture

www.bureauoflostculture.com

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