John Lydon (Photo: Andy Dunn)
June 2012 is a month of big anniversaries across the UK and in my role at BBC Radio 6 Music, I have had the pleasure of piecing together our Punk Britannia season alongside colleagues at BBC Four.
Punk Britannia marks 35 years since Punk’s heyday in 1977, which exploded across the country during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. BBC Four will focus their content around an insightful three-part documentary series, which will be supported by additional programming and BBC Radio 6 Music will feature a range of curated shows from some of punk’s most iconic names, alongside a series of themed shows.
It all starts on BBC Radio 6 Music with John Lydon on Friday 1 June from 12am-1am. As a teenager, Rotten Lydon (as he wonderfully refers to himself in the show) announced himself to the world as the focal point of British punk. Combining a healthy distain for current music trends and illustrated by a polarising fashion sense, the Sex Pistols spearheaded a musical revolution still reverberating today. His views on popular culture and subsequent career with Public Image Limited and collaboration with hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa cemented his importance to the British music scene.
John Lydon’s Playlist takes us on a journey through his record collection, making some surprising stops on the way. The shows include music from and stories about – T-Rex, Black Sabbath, Edith Piaf, Petula Clark, Johnny Cash and ABBA.
One of Punk’s most iconic figures, Siouxsie Sioux (10 June, 12-1pm) shares her inspirations from the world of music and arts. New York innovator Patti Smith (17 June, 12-1pm) showcases the variety of her tastes in her playlist and The Damned’s Captain Sensible (24 June, 12-1pm), picks out his music highlights and reminisces on the explosive years of punk.
There will also be specialist punk-themed shows throughout the month - including two Now Playing @ 6 Music specials (3 and 17 June, 6-8pm) where Tom Robinson invites listeners to collaborate on a British and US Punk playlist.
Documentary A Tale of Two Punk Cities (17 June, 8-10pm), looks at both London and New York’s claim on the genre. Its presenter, Vivien Goldman has the best job title in the world - Professor of Punk and Reggae at New York University. Vivien is also a founding member of The Flying Lizards and has the best punk anecdotes I have ever heard. She knows everybody! The documentary hears opinions from a choice selection of musicians, including The Pistols, Chrissie Hynde, Siouxsie Sioux, Lenny Kaye, Neneh Cherry, The Slits and Public Enemy. The show delves into the worlds of punk, reggae & hip hop – highlighting the cultural exchanges which formed the majority of current music trends and it’s a great listen.
On 25 June from midnight-1am, DJ Don Letts will musically recreate one of his legendary Punky Reggae nights from London club The Roxy, live from the Radio 6 Music studios. Huey Morgan also celebrates the musical legacy of his hometown with a New York special (17 June, 1-4pm) and listeners will also hear from the Sex Pistol’s guitarist Steve Jones from LA (25-28 June, 7-9pm).
BBC Four’s three part music documentary series, Punk Britannia, traces the historic cosmology, meteoric impact and smouldering aftermath of the most genuinely transformative force in British popular music history. Kicking off on Friday 1 June at 9pm, part one takes in the early 70s cultural landscape, from the influence of American punk and pub rock, to the Damned and the explosion of the Pistols in 1976. Part two (8 June) focuses on the ‘white heat’ of the punk explosion; looking at how it became the new pop and part three (15 June) is about post-punk and the genre’s development from 78 onwards.
Punk has left a genuine impact on music, attitudes, fashion and art and it’s wonderful to be able to tell the story across BBC Radio and Television. Punk Britannia catches up with the most distinctive voices in a movement that blazed briefly - this first wave of punk happened in a flash - but has never been shut up.
Join us on Twitter using the hashtag #PunkBritannia
At A Glance - Punk Programme Highlights in June:
6 Music Playlist 1/5: John Lydon (6 Music; midnight)
Punk Britannia 1/3: Pre-Punk 1972-1976 (BBC Four; 9pm)
We Who Wait: TV Smith & The Adverts (BBC Four; 10pm)
Stiff at the BBC 1/2 (BBC Four; 0.55am)
Stiff at the BBC 2/2 (BBC Four; 1.25am)
Classic Concert: Sex Pistols at Finsbury Park, 1996 (6 Music; 2am)
Anarchy in the UK 1/2 (6 Music; 4am)
Anarchy in the UK 2/2 (6 Music; 4am)
6 Music Playlist 2/5: John Lydon pt 2 (6 Music; midday)
Now Playing @ 6 Music Punk Special (6 Music; 6pm)
Evidently... John Cooper Clarke (BBC Four; 0.30am)
The Live Music Hour: Siousxie and the Banshees (1981) (6 Music; 3am)
My Way: The Sid Vicious Story (6 Music; 4am)
Punky Reggae Party 1/3 (6 Music; midnight)
The Jam: Made in Britain 1/2 (6 Music; 4am)
Punk Britannia 2/3 (BBC Four; 9pm)
6 Music Playlist 3/5: Siouxsie (6 Music; midday)
Punk Britannia 3/3 (BBC Four; 9pm)
6 Music Playlist 4/5: Patti Smith (6 Music; midday)
Now Playing @ 6 Music Punk Special (6 Music; 6pm)
A Punk Tale of Two Cities - Vivien Goldman (6 Music; 8pm)
6 Music Playlist 5/5: Captain Sensible (6 Music; midday)
MORE PROGRAMMES TO BE CONFIRMED