Bureau of Lost Culture
Smells Like Teen Spirit

Smells Like Teen Spirit

September 12, 2022
*"Teenage savages go wild in a jungle of lust and lawlessness!"
 
*Countercultural commentator and writer JOHN HIGGS comes to the Bureau. We head out into the feverish febrile pheromone filled phase of self consciousness, sex drugs and rock’n’roll known as adolescence as we investigate the birth of the teenage in the late 40s and 50s.  
 
*Was it all really kicked off by Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti?    
 
*We chart the rise of youth culture on both sides of the Iron Curtain and debate that while ‘all you need is love’‘you can’t always get what you want’ as we trace counterculture through beats, mods, hippies, punks, ravers, grunge and britpop, touch down briefly on gender politics and the death of Kurt Cobain and wonder if 70 will one day be the new seventeen.
 
For more on John https://johnhiggs.com
 
The Bureau of Lost Culture https://www.bureauoflostculture.com
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#counterculture #littlerichard #teenage #rockandroll #kurtcobain #beatles #rollingstones #hippie 
Sowing the Seeds of Love

Sowing the Seeds of Love

August 15, 2022
*Timothy Leary may have wanted to cause a revolution your head with LSD, The Beatles in your heart with Love, but countercultural activist and entrepreneur CRAIG SAMS went for the Gut.
 
*After bringing himself back from death’s door by curing the amoebic dysentery and hepatitis he contracted on the Central Asia hippie trail, he embarked on a mission to change the world and raise consciousness through food.
 
*We sit down with him for a feast of of fabulous food fables from feeding the freaks at The UFO club and the first Glastonbury festival, to co-founding Seed, London's first macrobiotic restaurant and the go-to healthy eatery for John and Yoko, The Stones and many other denizens of the London underground.
 
*Also on the menu: how he went on to co-found Whole Earth foods and then Green and Black's Chocolate, how macrobiotics will improve an LSD trip, how changing the way we eat can save us - and the planet - and how, at nearly eighty, he is still living the countercultural life.
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For More on Craig: https://www.craigsams.com
 
Join us at The Bureau of Lost Culture https://linktr.ee/bureauoflostculture
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#counterculture #macrobiotic #johnandyoko  #thebeatles #greenandblacks #wholeearth #craigsams
The Birth of the Asian Underground

The Birth of the Asian Underground

August 1, 2022
*DJ and broadcaster BOBBY FRICTION drops by the Bureau to tell the tale of how, in the early 90s, a bunch of British kids from immigrant families ripped it up, mixing their traditional musical roots with drum and bass, electronic beats and urban sounds to form a new countercultural genre all their own - the Asian Underground.
 
*We hear how the scene was a kind of counterpart to the way Western counterculture adapted and was inspired by Eastern mysticism and culture.
 
*It's a rollicking personal tale by Bobby who was there at the beginning and who has been championing the scene ever since, soundtracked by some choice musical cuts.
 
We dig deep into all sorts of other stuff too: growing up in 70s London, racism on the city streets, Bhangra, 'ghazals', ABBA, Prince,  daytime gigs, Sikh culture. radical politics, why 'Black' was cool but 'Asian' was apparently not in London club culture.
 
*And Bobby makes a plea for the British to realise the vision of becoming one people celebrating their diversity rather than splitting back into tribes.
 
*For London Month of the Dead: https://www.londonmonthofthedead.com
*For Continental Drifts: https://www.continentalDrifts.co.uk
*The Bureau of Lost Culture: https://www.bureauoflostculture.com
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Women, Sex, Counterculture

Women, Sex, Counterculture

June 20, 2022
The Sexual Revolution? Yes. Liberation? Maybe. Penis Envy? NO!
 
*Youth culture in the sixties was progressive in so many ways but when it came to the relations between the sexes, it was perhaps much more traditional than it liked to admit.
 
*Sleeping around, Syd Barret, Pink Floyd, Groupies, Frigidity, the Pill, abortion, Oz magazine and of course The Female Eunuch make their appearance as we dig deep into what it was like growing up as a young woman in the underground scene of swinging sixties London.
 
*Author Jill Drower, once a member of The Exploding Galaxy experimental dance commune returns to the Bureau along with beat traveller, model and singer Jenny Spires as we ask if the story of counterculture has largely been one told by men about men.
 
 

*Sign up for The Bureau Newsletter: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

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#SydBarrett #Pink Floyd #Groupies #Frigidity #abortion #Ozmagazine #TheFemaleEunuch #germainegreer #jennyspires #theexplodinggalaxy

City of the Beast: Aleister Crowley’s London

City of the Beast: Aleister Crowley’s London

June 5, 2022
*We take a creep through dimly lit London streets populated with prostitutes, bohemians, charlatans, junkies, spiritualists, drunkards and lost souls following magician, author, occultist and drug fiend ALEISTER CROWLEY,'The Great Beast’, as he prowls Piccadilly in pursuit of pleasure, power and yet more prostitutes.

 
*'Do What Though Wilt shall be the whole of the law’
 
*Our guide is Phil Baker, author of ‘City of The Beast’, part Crowley biography, part psychogeographic odyssey and part London gazetteer. We seek the man beneath the myth, the flaneur beneath the fiend and ask why do  many still find the often deplorable Crowley so intriguing, even inspiring?
 
*Along the was we get fascinating glimpses into a lost era, a shadowy underworld of Victorian and Edwardian counterculture, Sex Magick, ether, drugs and .. snails.. 
 
 
*For the O.T.O https://oto-usa.org/

 

*Sign up for The Bureau Newsletter: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/N0ZYoFu/BOLC 

* The Bureau Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bureauoflostculture/

53386cc67a5def9492a62a50bad95924.jpg#crowley #aleistercrowley #counterculture #magick #thegoldendawn #london #prostitution #occult #ether #666 #O.T.O. 
 
The Life and Times of Dubmeister Dennis Bovell

The Life and Times of Dubmeister Dennis Bovell

April 11, 2022
* He stepped off a plane from Barbados onto a wet and windy runway at Heathrow airport in 1965 aged 12.
* Now he’s a DJ, multi-instrumentalist and producer of hundreds of records spanning reggae, lovers rock, soul, dub, punk and pop.  
 
* Dennis Bovell's life in music is populated by a countercultural cornucopia of artists as wide ranging as Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Slits, Madness, Bananarama, the Pop Group, Fela Kuti, Orange Juice, Marvin Gaye, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and most recently, Radiohead, The Animal Collective and Spoon.

* He's even got an MBE.

* We dig into all that - or as much as we can - plus Hendrix, sound systems, cutting dub plates, sound clashes with Lee Scratch Perry, police harrasment, wrongful imprisonment and the youthful joys of eating breadfruit on the beach.

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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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The Lost World of The Self-Made Record

The Lost World of The Self-Made Record

January 2, 2022
We revisit the wonderfully odd, lost culture of the coin-operated machines that allowed ordinary people to make a record of their voice long before the advent of tape or digital recording.(Jack White has been using one, The Voice O Graph, more recently to produce terrific lo- fi caught-in-the-moment records, including an album with Neil Young).
 
We are joined by oral historian and broadcaster Alan Dein to hear a selection of recordings of strange, moving ghostly voices from his 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 Alan’s award winning work

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Image courtesy Museum of London

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The Countercultural World of Iain Sinclair

The Countercultural World of Iain Sinclair

December 5, 2021
Writer, film maker, poet, flaneur, metropolitan shaman, curator of lost cultures, beat aficionado, and underground poet Iain Sinclair takes us on a walk through his life in the counterculture. 
 
We have brief encounters with Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, Peter Ackroyd, J.G.Ballard and Nicholas Hawksmoor as we hear tales of the poetry underground, life working as a Hackney council gardener, blacklegging in the London docks, cigars in Clerkenwell, an epic ancestral journey from Leadenhall Market to Peru, DIY-publishing, writing, writing, writing, and of course The City, as we circle towards hearing Iain reading selections from Lud Heat, the epic 1975 piece that was destined to become the root text of London psychogeography.
 
For more on on Iain and his work:
www.iainsinclair.org.uk
 

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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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William Burroughs and Friends

William Burroughs and Friends

August 29, 2021
The ghosts of William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, John Giorno and Bob Cobbing make an appearance at the Bureau - as curator Steve Cleary plays us a  selection of super rare  recordings from the British Library Sound Archive.
 
The Archive is one of the biggest curated resources of audio in the world and includes over 1 million discs, 185,000 tapes, and many other sound and video recordings from around the globe  Steve takes us on a wander through its unparalleled counterculture collection.
 
We also hear from the capital's foremost chronicler of the counterculture, Barry Miles, on Burroughs' life in London  - along with a live recording of the beat writer at Manchester's Hacienda, a sampling of his cutups, some deeply strange sound poems and a wonderful recording of Kerouac jazz scatting at Neal Cassidy’s house.
 
For more on the British Library Sound Archive
 

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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

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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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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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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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