Bureau of Lost Culture
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
 
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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
 
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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.
 
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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’.
 
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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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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.

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