Bureau of Lost Culture
On the Farm with Allen Ginsberg

On the Farm with Allen Ginsberg

May 23, 2022
*In 1969, the poet, Beat generation godfather, countercultural guru and political activist ALLEN GINSBERG bought a farm in upstate New York to provide a creative hub and rehab refuge for his friends - a collection of poets, artists, washed-up drunks, strung-out junkies, ne’er do wells and exhausted underground figures, all reeling after the intensity of the 60s.
 
*One, his lifelong friend and biographer Barry Miles, chronicler of the counterculture, returns to the Bureau to tell of a bucolic summer he spent with Ginsberg and an assortment of crazy characters on the farm, archiving the poet's vast collection of tape recordings.
 
*We also visit The Chelsea Hotel and meet some the equally crazy characters who lived and loved there in 1970s Manhattan including Janis Joplin, Arthur Miller and Leonard Cohen - and along the way we discuss The Beats, Buddhism, Burroughs - and beards.
 
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*Thanks to Stephen Cleary and The British Library Sound Archive for providing the recordings of Allen and to Peter Hale of The Ginsberg Estate for permission to use them.
 
*The Allen Ginsberg Project: https://allenginsberg.org

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*The British Library Sound Archive:
 
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Albion Dreaming - A Brief Trip Through the History of British LSD

Albion Dreaming - A Brief Trip Through the History of British LSD

May 9, 2022
*Experimental treatment of the insane, secret tests by MI5 with volunteers thinking they were helping find a cure for the common cold, Cold War weapon research by the Ministry of defence on unsuspecting troops -  the early history of LSD in the UK was rather inauspicious.
 
*And then all hell - or heaven - broke loose..
 
*Britain's foremost psychedelic historian ANDY ROBERTS returns to the Bureau to take us on a trip through the revolutions in the head caused by Acid from the 1950s to now.
 
*Along the way we meet some of the characters who experimented, manufactured, dealt, swallowed and were transformed by it - as well as those who tried to stop them  - including an unlikely Breaking Bad style pharmacist in Islington, The Microdot Gang and even the Kray Twins..
 
*So sit back, relax, blow out the candles and kick off your sandals … (thanks The Lilac Time), tune in,  turn and ...
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* Sign up for The Bureau Newsletter to get countercultural treats https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

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*The Real Tuesday Weld https://www.tuesdayweld.com
On the Road … with Johnny Marr

On the Road … with Johnny Marr

April 24, 2022
* From Colin Wilson to Tony Wilson, Patti Smith to Mark E Smith, what was it like coming of age in the counterculture of Manchester in the 60s, 70s and 80s?
 
* Johnny Marr has just released his latest record and his band's on tour with Blondie. He's worked with Billie Eilish on the Academy award winning theme for the Bond blockbuster No Time to Die and with all sorts of other artists including Hans Zimmer, Modest Mouse, The The and The Pretenders.
 
* He’s had chart hits with Electronic, and, oh yeah, he co-piloted one of the best loved and influential British bands of all time - The Smiths.
 
* We don’t really talk about that - but we do dig deep into archetypal psychology, northern peak experience, clothes, records, books, youth culture and reading the road signs along the way to your destiny..
 
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* Image credit: Andy Cotterill
 
* For More on Johnny: https://johnnymarr.com
 
The Exploding Galaxy

The Exploding Galaxy

March 28, 2022
* In 1967 and and 1968, an ordinary north London house contained an Exploding Galaxy - a psychedelic commune and carnival of theatrical performers, artists and performance poets bent on transforming the city through spontaneous happenings, countercultural interventions and street activism..
 
* One of them was only 15 years old. Now all grown up, JILL DROWER comes to the Bureau to talk about her time at 99 Balls Pond Road as a Galaxy member - how the whole crazy endeavour came about - and how it exploded into and out of existence
 
Alson the way we visit The UFO club, The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream, hear about  ‘scrudging’ , bent coppers intent on busting hippies for being hippies and the lost dream of peace, love and understanding that once might have changed everything.
 
 
* For More on The Exploding Galaxy http://www.djfood.org/category/bureau-of-lost-culture/
 
 
* For Kev's amazing psychedelic DJ FOOD archive https://djfood/org
 

* The Bureau Home https://www.bureauoflostculture.com

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A Countercultural History of Camden Town

A Countercultural History of Camden Town

March 13, 2022
* Withnail and I, Poets, Spiritualists, Irish, Spanish and Hugenot immigrants, Serial Killers, Artists, Railway workers, William Blake, Rimbaud and Verlaine, Walter Sickert, Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’Roll, Music Hall, Folk, Britpop, Levitation, The Roundhouse, Cecil Sharp House, The New Jerusalem, Markets, Markets, Markets..
 
* Writer, researcher and walker of Lost Rivers Tom Bolton leads us up and out of The Bureau to wander through the streets and stories of the London Borough of Camden - for decades, the down and dirty end of the countercultural city - in search of the strange spirits that still pervade its highways and byways.
 
* For more on Tom and his work https://tombolton.co.uk

 

* Bureau Home www.bureauoflostculture.com

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The Man Who Drilled a Hole in his Head

The Man Who Drilled a Hole in his Head

February 13, 2022
Cannabis, psilocybin, mescaline and LSD were not enough to fulfil Joey Mellen’s quest to expand his consciousness to the furthest limits 'in search of the miraculous'. So in 1968 he used an electric drill to self-trepan himself by boring a hole into his skull.
 
Now a delightful and very lively 82, Joey visits the Bureau to tell how an upper middle class English public schoolboy tuned in, turned on and dropped out, became a psychonautic beatnik and carried out the act of self surgery that made him infamous in countercultural London.  Along the way we dig deep into acid evangelism, how to avoid bad trips, the blood chemistry of the ego and the strange life of Bart Hughes, the dutchman whose theories inspired Joey, Amanda Fielding and various others to seek enlightenment through trepanation.  
 
And we ask Joey if he acheived his goal of getting high and never coming down.
 
This episode was sponsored by the artist known as The Real Tuesday Weld 
 
 
 
 
 
The Lives and Times of Michael Moorcock - Part 1

The Lives and Times of Michael Moorcock - Part 1

January 18, 2022
Multi-award winning writer, musician, editor, essayist and inventor of the multiverse, Michael Moorcock, beams into the Bureau for the first episode exploring his deeply countercultural life in literature and London
 
It’s an action-packed hour involving The Beats, William Burroughs, Soho, J G Ballard, Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, anarchists, a Rolls Royce, myth, skiffle, fanzines, comics and books, books books.
 
We hear how a precocious teenage Michael sets out on a career that led to the writing of over a hundred books and the creation of the well-loved characters including Elric and Jerry Cornelius who inhabit them, and we hear a revelation that will surprise even die-hard Moorcock afficionados..
 
For more on Michael
 

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Raving Upon Thames

Raving Upon Thames

November 8, 2021
Soho and Chelsea have always been hailed as the epicentres of swinging London.
 
But there was a third, and now rather forgotten place which gave birth to The Cool - a place that was the home to one of the most influential jazz clubs of the 50s before providing a launchpad for The Rolling Stones and the bourgeoning British R+B and psychedelic scenes of the 60s. It was a place that went onto to host an extraordinary roster of artists including Cream, The Yardbirds, pre-Bowie David Jones, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Jimmy Page, Genesis, Yes and many, many others before morphing into a hippy commune in the 70s.
 
Author Andrew Humphreys comes to the Bureau to tell the strange story of Eel Pie Island - a bucolic bit of London in the middle of the river Thames - an island which for 15 years played an essential role in the history of British counterculture.
 
For more on Andrew and his book Raving Upon Thames
 

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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.

Peter’s blog on London and counterculture:

www.greatwen.com 

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Go on - follow, rate and review us - or be in touch directly
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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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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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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
 
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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.
 
For more on Andy and ‘Divine Rascal'
 
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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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

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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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