Bureau of Lost Culture
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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