Bureau of Lost Culture
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  
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