Bureau of Lost Culture
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.
 
For more on Chris 
 
For more on Continental Drifts
 
For more on Bureau of Lost Culture
 
stonehenge1984solstice.jpg
 
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
 
71aa_r34IOL7g4qz.jpg
 
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
 
mw70718.jpg
 
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

attachment.jpeg

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
 
The_ROXY_OUR_STORY_coverbqla8.jpg
 
 
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
p01bqgrh.jpg
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
 
The-Lilac-Time-resize-2.jpg
 
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
 
Unknown.jpeg
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
hh.jpg
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
 
dil.jpg
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
 
pw.jpeg
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
 
Thomas_Charles_Lethbridge.jpg
 
 
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
 
charles-manson-photo-by-michael-ochs-archivesgetty-images.jpg
 
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
 
hollingshead.jpeg
 
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
divine_rascal_michael_hollingshead_1571417350.jpg
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
unnamed.jpg
 
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
download.jpg
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

erikdavis.jpg

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

Screen_Shot_2020-09-14_at_1029126uiqc.png

 

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

32_voice-o-graph_machine9qo6a.jpg

 

Play this podcast on Podbean App