Bureau of Lost Culture
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'
 
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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
 
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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
 
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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

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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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Soviet Hippies

Soviet Hippies

September 16, 2020

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 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

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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

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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
 
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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

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