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:
 
#ginsberg #kerouac #williamburroughs #beatpoets #beatgeneration #counterculture
 
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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*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 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 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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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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Blondie, The Bowery and The Blank Generation

Blondie, The Bowery and The Blank Generation

November 21, 2021
Gary Lachman, the original bass player of Blondie (as Gary Valentine)returns to the Bureau to tell of his time in the New York underground music scene of the 1970s.
 
Now the UK’s foremost writer on the esoteric, with 24 books under his belt including works on Aleister, Crowley, Jung, Gurdjieff, Magick and the occult, Gary was once deep in the heart of New York's 'Blank Generation'.
 
We hear about living with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in a loft on The Bowery, playing CBGB and Gotham's underground clubs, hanging with The Ramones and Patti Smith, touring with Television and Iggy Pop and living the countercultural life on the Lower East side in the years before and beyond new wave.
 
For more on Gary
 

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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 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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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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