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Imagining Albion - Radio 4, June 22 2006, 11.30am

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  • Imagining Albion - Radio 4, June 22 2006, 11.30am

    Folk may be interested in a new Radio 4 series starting June 22nd called "Imagining Albion". Doesn't appear to be a web page for it yet on the BBC site, but I'll quote the blurb in the Radio Times for next week:

    Imagining Albion: the Great British Future - Thursday 22 June, 11.30am R4 (30mins)
    1/4 Big Brother and the Brave New World - Francis Spufford explores how British science fiction writers have engaged with the hopes, fears and big ideas of their times.
    HG Wells considered himself to be a writer of "scientific romance", but his view of the future was most prescient: his novels included tanks and even gas chambers - hardly a Utopian vision. Over the next four weeks the writer Francis Spufford examines how science fiction has given us "sly, sidelong portraits of British reality" as much as it's ever offered us a dream of the perfect society. Starting with Wells and his decidedly dodgy belief that only white, well-educated Europeans deserved to inherit the future, it's the interviews with living British sci-fi writers that really sends this programme into orbit. Growing up in an optimistic postwar welfare state means that novelists like Gwyneth Jones are still chasing the Utopian dream, albeit with stories where the state is ruled by a triumvirate of rock musicians. Don't scoff, Wells was right about those tanks, after all. - Jane Anderson
    Repeated Sunday 25 June, 12:15am
    Radio 4 programmes are usually available for 7 days after broadcast on "Listen Again" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/listenagain.shtml

    I wonder whether the series will touch on some of the writers in Mike's Before Armageddon and England Invaded as well as the usual suspects like Wells and Orwell.
    Last edited by David Mosley; 06-20-2006, 10:24 AM.
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

  • #2
    novelists like Gwyneth Jones are still chasing the Utopian dream, albeit with stories where the state us ruled by a triumvirate of rock musicians. Don't scoff, Wells was right about those tanks, after all.
    A state ruled by three rock musicians at least wouldn't have any wars, as the rulers would insist that they had to don tin hats and sit in the trenches themselves.

    Comment


    • #4
      excellent! I'll have to give that a listen. :) very cool.

      "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
      - Michael Moorcock

      Comment


      • #5
        Of course, it wouldn't be the first time I've told the 'wrong' story in a documentary and been exed out as a result. Generally, I talk to them on the phone, these days, and tell them that I'm probably not going to agree with the conventional take, which usually means they don't go any further. I did get some smart questions, though, from one of the people doing that documentary and I hope I gave some at least reasonably smart answers! You'd be surprised, though, how many simply repeat almost word for word what previous programmes have said. I've no interest in adding to that.

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

        Comment


        • #6
          Advance details of Episode 2 of Imagining Albion published in today's Radio Times:

          Imagining Albion: the Great British Future - Thursday 29 June, 11.30am R4 (30mins)
          2/4 Keep Watching the Shores
          British science fiction has been imagining the future for centuries, but what does it tell us about our island's past and our lost tomorrows? In 1871 George Chesney's The Battle of Dorking related a tale of the unstoppable marauding Hun that gripped a nation. Twenty-seven years later, HG Wells's The War of the Worlds brought the Martians to Earth, and the Empire crumbled in a blast of heat ray. Francis Spufford asks why Albion succumbed so often to invasion, disaster and collapse.
          Repeated Sunday 2 July, 12:15am
          'The Battle of Dorking' is one of the stories featured in Mike's Before Armageddon anthology of Victorian and Edwardian 'Imaginative Fiction'.
          Last edited by David Mosley; 06-20-2006, 10:24 AM.
          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

          Comment


          • #7
            Still time to catch the first part of Imagining Albion on BBC Radio 4's 'Listen Again' service for anyone who's interested and a reminder that Part 2 is broadcast this Thursday (29th).

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/listenagain.shtml

            No contribution from Mike I'm afraid, but here are the details of next weeks installment, which should be more fruitful by the looks of things:

            Imagining Albion: the Great British Future - Thursday 6 July, 11.30am R4 (30mins)
            3/4 Albion Unbound
            British science fiction has been imagining the future for centuries, but what does it tell us about our island's past and our lost tomorrows? In the 1960s, JG Ballard and Michael Moorcock rebelled against the rocket dreams of much contemporary science fiction, and chose instead to explore "inner space" - the darker recesses of the human soul. Francis Spufford charts the relationship between science fiction and rebellious counterculture from its earliest days.
            Repeated Sunday 9 July, 12:15am
            _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
            _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
            _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
            _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by David Mosley
              Still time to catch the first part of Imagining Albion on BBC Radio 4's 'Listen Again' service for anyone who's interested and a reminder that Part 2 is broadcast this Thursday (29th).

              http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/listenagain.shtml

              No contribution from Mike I'm afraid, but here are the details of next weeks installment, which should be more fruitful by the looks of things:
              I heard the first episode. It covered H.G. Wells and Aldous Huxley, mentioning Wells' flirtation with Fabianism, eugenics and Nazism, then sprung forward to the present day and the work of Iain M. Banks.

              'Oh!' I thought, 'Is that it?'

              Suppose I'd better listen to the rest of the progs now.

              ..... ..... .....

              There's still a chance to listen to a brilliant three hour special, on BBC Radio7, a tribute to the late and much missed, Linda Smith, introduced by Jeremy Hardy and comprising the complete first series of Linda Smith's A Brief History of Timewasting.

              http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/listenagai.../rams/0900.ram

              Quite A different view of Albion and set in a Hackney of the mind.

              Comment


              • #9
                I've been fairly impressed with the series so far, and folks may be interested to know that the contents mentioned on the BBC website for the next episode, 6th July, includes this bit :

                "In the 1960s, JG Ballard and Michael Moorcock rebelled against the rocket dreams of much contemporary science fiction, and chose instead to explore 'inner space' - the darker recesses of the human soul. Francis charts the relationship between science fiction and rebellious counterculture from its earliest days."

                Comment


                • #10
                  Anyone interested in New Worlds and Jerry Cornelius and who missed the third installment of Imagining Albion this morning will want to check out:

                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio...agining_albion

                  Loads of contributions from Mike and some nice readings of various Jerry Cornelius passages, such as Vietnam on the roof garden at Derry & Toms. (Francis Spufford and Iain Sinclair visit the Kensington Roof Garden to discuss Jerry.)

                  This is probably the best of the three installments so far, which also looks at the work of Ballard as well.

                  Ironically, considering Mike's comments about not 'getting' The Draughtsman's Contract in a recent post elsewhere, the programme uses part of Michael Nyman's score to that film as 'background music' for a description of Jerry. :)
                  Last edited by David Mosley; 07-06-2006, 11:10 AM.
                  _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                  _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                  _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                  _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by David Mosley
                    Anyone interested in New Worlds and Jerry Cornelius and who missed the third installment of Imagining Albion this morning will want to check out:

                    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio...agining_albion

                    Loads of contributions from Mike and some nice readings of various Jerry Cornelius passages, such as Vietnam on the roof garden at Derry & Toms. (Francis Spufford and Iain Sinclair visit the Kensington Roof Garden to discuss Jerry.)

                    This is probably the best of the three installments so far, which also looks at the work of Ballard as well
                    I hadn't listened to the earlier episodes, but caught this one. Very enjoyable!

                    The best bits for me were Iain Sinclair's two iconic appearances in discussion with Spufford: firstly at the Derry & Toms roof garden, and secondly on a Ballardian "High Rise" balcony, where Spufford says he resisted the temptation to eat Sinclair, a lovely reference to the beginning of what is possibly Ballard's most under-rated novel.
                    Mike H.
                    www.holli.co.uk

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Doesn't quite get around to discussing the sheer fun we were having -- embracing all this technology while the fashionable media world was constantly talking about the terrifying thing it was (a la the computer in 2001). While we weren't interested in spaceships we were interested in really cool cars and state of the art guitars and similar toys being offered in the Hamley's of the Mind. The Cornelius Quartet, after all, has a happy ending, even if it wasn't the local vicar's idea of a happy ending. Much better programme, I think, than anything else I've heard or seen on the subject, though.

                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Mike, listening to the readings (pseudo-dramatizations) from the Cornelius novels in IA3, I was struck by how good they might sound done as full-cast audio dramas. Has anyone ever approached you with such an idea for the Cornelius novels? Or even an adaptation a la 'Book at Bedtime'?
                        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Nope. I agree. But for some reason the BBC has never seemed keen on most of my stuff, even though when they've done it, they've done it well.
                          I still want Dancers at the End of Time to be done as radio. Ballard doesn't get enough on radio, either, in my view. Or, for that matter, Sinclair. There it is. C'est la vie. They did a pretty good TV semi-dramatisation, too, on that BBC documentary (Time out of Mind?) of JC.
                          I don't know whether it's a question of the right sort of agent, a more aggressive 'sell' to them or what, but it just doesn't seem to happen.
                          Remember Elric: Live at the BBC done a few years ago ? That seemed to work, too.

                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            It was good that Jerry got his due (as did Harold Wilson, for not joining LBJ in Vietnam), but I was a bit annoyed when this Spufford chappie said that Jerry Cornelius turned up on the scene in 1968 (when the novelization of The Final Programme was published)!

                            Perhaps, it's just me being whinging and pedantic, but the Nineteen Sixties moved and changed so fast, that there's a wheen o' difference between the Ultra-Cool & Hip JC, of 1965/66 (when Jerry Cornelius actually did first appear in New Worlds), and the battle hardened, Street Fighting Man, of 1968.

                            ...

                            No, No! (Or, perhaps, Yes! Yes!?), no Big Finish audio versions of The Cornelius Chronicles (like they do with Doctor Who), but a full, big budget, TV series, on BBC2, like Our Friends In The North, or The Buddha of Suburbia, only funny, with vibraguns, loads of psychedelics, plenty of nudity and really big explosions.

                            Comment

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