Podcast pioneer, arch-noodler, jingle-master and YouTube cosmonaut, Adam Buxton invented loads of your favourite stuff before it was famous. We talk about the creative urge; exploiting one’s family for material; and how to cope with criticism. We also explore the dynamic between Adam and long-term collaborator Joe Cornish. But which one is the best? It’s Adam.
We live in fearful times. All over the world renewed wars of religion are being fought. Politicians exploit our fears of one another in order to win power. 350 years ago, the philosopher Benedict Spinoza put his very, big brain to work on the problem of religion in politics. His theories led to the Enlightenment and its ideas of democracy and the separation of Church and State in the role of government. To do this he had to argue that God was not the God of the Bible. Spinoza’s reward: excommunication. But no threat could stop him imagining a new kind of liberty.
Michael Goldfarb tells the story of Spinoza with the help of philosophers and musicians in a programme that will make listeners think and reflect on the big questions of life, the universe and our place in it.
Melvyn Bragg explore Stoicism, the most influential philosophy in the Ancient World.
Hour-long zombie drama presented in the form of fictional news reports, from WUHN 106.9 Peoria IL, broadcast in the early 1970s.
Ken Campbell worked with Martin Robinson on Education and Creativity. As part of that project Ken spoke to teachers, the results of which we present here, in edited form. Part entertainment, part allegory, Ken argues that a good teacher gives your life a ‘spine’ around which all can grow. Crucially those who think creativity is all about freedom might be surprised to see it is more about constraints.
Jewish Book Week 2014. British Museum curator Irving Finkel launches his book The Ark Before Noah. Event 27 February 2014 at Kings Place, London.
Sue Lawley’s castaway this week is the comedian Jim Moir, best known by the name of his alter ego Vic Reeves. Jim was born in Leeds but soon moved to Darlington with his family. He attended the local school and left with one O level in Art. He fulfilled the expectations of his school by getting a job in a factory, completing his apprenticeship and working there for four years. However, he was bored so he moved to London with three friends. After trying a few different jobs he began running club nights - with music, acts and entertainment. He would hire a venue and the bands and he would be the compere.
Jim decided to take on the persona of Vic Reeves as it gave him an excuse to act up. A comedy night came up and instead of booking three comedians, he decided to do the whole night himself. Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out was born. After teaming up with Bob Mortimer, a solicitor who had been in the audience of one of his shows, the show went from strength to strength. It was a huge success and TV rights were fought over by the BBC and Channel 4. Since then, he has appeared on both channels with a variety of programmes including The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Shooting Stars and Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased). The programmes have won BAFTA Awards for Originality and Best Live Performance plus British Comedy Awards.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Favourite track: Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams Book: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome Luxury: Potato seeds
We interviewed photographer Greg Jones about his charming photography project called “Still Works” to document the abandoned electronics and electricals in his south London neighbourhood.
Over the course of a couple of years, Greg showed how his neighbours appeared to have carefully placed VCRs, microwaves, monitors, white goods outside their homes. He wonders whether most people wanted others to take them away for reuse. And he photographed notes left by some neighbours indicating just this.
Greg believes that people still believe in the “real value” of e-stuff, in spite of the fact that we are pushed to perceive everything in terms of “relative value”.
He shot this collection using an analog SLR dating from 1978.
Then we discussed a couple of very popular articles in the Guardian about long-lasting appliances and consumption, and Janet’s visit to New York where she met with the Fixers Collective.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins, development and uses of chromatography. In its basic form, it is familiar to generations of schoolchildren who put a spot of ink at the bottom of a strip of paper, dip it in water and then watch the pigments spread upwards, revealing their separate colours. Chemists in the 19th Century started to find new ways to separate mixtures and their work was taken further by Mikhail Tsvet, a Russian-Italian scientist who is often credited with inventing chromatography in 1900. The technique has become so widely used, it is now an integral part of testing the quality of air and water, the levels of drugs in athletes, in forensics and in the preparation of pharmaceuticals.
Andrea Sella Professor of Chemistry at University College London
Apryll Stalcup Professor of Chemical Sciences at Dublin City University
Leon Barron Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at King’s College London.
BBC Radio 4 - Front Row, Martin Parr’s exhibitions, Assemble at Tate Liverpool, Bradford Media Museum controversy, Morrissey as London’s mayor
As the death is announced of production designer Sir Kenneth "Ken" Adam, director Nicholas Hytner remembers working with him on The Madness of King George III.
Martin Parr, photographer and chronicler of British culture, gives John Wilson an early preview of the new show he has curated at the Barbican in London, Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers, as well another exhibition of his own photographs, Unseen City, in which he gives an unprecedented insight into the pomp and pageantry of the City of London.
In a controversial move, Bradford’s National Media Museum is transferring its collection of 400,000 photographs and exhibits to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Colin Ford, the museum’s former director, joins John in the studio.
Assemble, a collective of architects and designers, won the Turner prize last year for their urban regeneration project in Liverpool. They talk to John Wilson about Art Gym - their latest Merseyside collaboration - which has just opened at Tate Liverpool.
Presenter: John Wilson Producer: Rebecca Armstrong
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