Bureau of Lost Culture
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..
* Image credit: Andy Cotterill
* For More on Johnny: https://johnnymarr.com
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.

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
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
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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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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


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