Inside Culture is currently on summer hiatus, but will be back in early September with a whole new series of shows.
This week on Inside Culture I speak to Angela Nagle about her book Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Donald Trump and the Alt-Right. The book chronicles the progression of a once seemingly marginal group of subcultures, from the white supremacists to the imageboard website 4chan. It details how the internet has facilitated groups on both right and left to gain mainstream expression – most notably with the election of Donald Trump.
Tracy Tough recently visited Cuba and reports for Inside Culture on a changing society there. Gaining access to the internet is difficult as it's still in government control and Tracy speaks to Cubans about their – often ingenious – ways of overcoming this obstacle. As tourism to the island continues to increase, the effect on the lives of the locals is explored in this short feature. Tracy hears from one man whose life was transformed by a generous gift from one American tourist. The internet and the world it offers seems bound to change cultural life for all Cubans.
Kayo Chingonyi is a London based poet who was born and raised for a while in Zambia. His collection of poems Kumukanda takes its names from an initiation rite there, where boys from the Luvale tribe are sent to a bushcamp in the forest where they learn survival skills and are taught how to be good husbands. Kayo who left for the UK when he was six years old never underwent this rite but his poetry springs from his native land to the cities of England where he discovered garage and hip hop and learned how to cope with the loss of many family members including both of his parents. He tells Inside Culture about the themes of his poetry and reads a number of them for us.
I speak to Hollywood scriptwriter and producer Todd Komarnicki about storytelling. Todd produced Elf as well as writing the screenplay for last year's blockbuster Sully – a film about the landing of a plane on the Hudson River in New York and the safe evacuation of every passenger on board. Audiences flocked to a film where they knew the ending before it even started. Todd explains how storytelling doesn't always depend on suspense building. He also discusses how his Christian views don't keep him away from exploring the darker side of life.
This week Inside Culture is in San Francisco to revisit the Summer of Love of 1967.
Through a mix of interviews and archive material the programme looks at the hippie movement as it began to emerge and the effect it had on the city as well as on the wider world.
Fifty years ago, thousands of young adults crowded into San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. They were responding to a movement which had sprung up in the Bay Area and which had grown out of the Beatnik movement of a generation before.
Coffee and jazz was replaced by acid, marijuana and a new sound - psychedelic rock. A new identity - that of the hippie - was also created and its message of peace, love and happiness was one that spread quickly and drew huge numbers of young people who were desperate to escape the overriding conservatism of the times.
San Francisco writer and activist Rebecca Solnit describes the era as one of tension between an established world order which accepted the threat of nuclear obliteration, the use of noxious chemicals and sexual and racial inequality and the next generation who rejected these values.
Fionn Davenport hears how the movement began - how the Beatnik area of the city, North Beach, became too expensive and the Haight-Ashbury district with its cheap rents grew in popularity. We hear from Arthur Round who was living in Haight during the mid-sixties.
Fionn meets with the Music Critic from The San Francisco Chronicle, Joel Selvin, who has written many books about the period. Joel explains how the identity of the hippie was slow to emerge but it soon galvanised around the music of local bands such as Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and Jefferson Airplane. They fused into what became known over time as The San Francisco Sound and the bands began to appear at local venues such as The Filmore and in outdoor spaces in parks and fields. These began to grow in size until one infamous gathering, The Human Be In, attracted tens of thousands of people at the Golden Gate park on January 14th 1967. Beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg, High Priest of LSD Timothy Leary (whose famous mantra Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out was uttered that day) and many of the bands led the crowd.