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Billy Bragg on skiffle, Hokusai's Great Wave, Capt Jack Sparrow returns, Nicola Benedetti, poetry and atrocity

Billy Bragg on skiffle; Hokusai's Great Wave; return of Pirates of the Caribbean; Nicola Benedetti, winner of the Queen's Medal for Music; Michael Schmidt on poetry and atrocity.

Billy Bragg talks to John Wilson about the music that changed the world - skiffle. His book arguing this, Roots, Radicals and Rockers, is also an insightful survey of post-war youth culture. This was simple music, played on homemade instruments by teenagers - punk before punk. But many skiffle players went on to great things - members of The Beatles, for instance.

The Great Wave , a picture of a huge blue roller breaking over fishing boats, by the Japanese master, Hokusai, is one of the most widely recognised images in the world. An exhibition at the British Museum, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave, looks at the artist's latter years, his most creative according to the curator Tim Clark. And contemporary printmaker and artist Rebecca Salter explains the astonishing technique behind Hokusai's work.

This weekend cinemas audiences can see Johnny Depp return as Captain Jack Sparrow in fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film, a role which earned him an Oscar nomination in 2003. But, recently his acting has been overshadowed by stories of his personal life and bad box-office returns - Film critic Angie Errigo comes into look at the career trajectory of the Hollywood actor.

Yesterday violinist Nicola Benedetti was awarded The Queen's Medal for Music, the youngest person ever to receive it. She talks about her musical journey.

Yesterday Tony Walsh responded to the atrocity in Manchester with poetry. He wasn't the first: Shelley wrote The Mask of Anarchy after the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester in 1819, and the bombing of the city in 1996 inspired poems, too. Michael Schmidt, director of the poetry publisher, Carcanent Press, based in Manchester, considers the way poets react to such events.

Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Julian May.

Available now

30 minutes


  • Billy Bragg

    Duration: 07:52

  • Nicola Benedetti

    Duration: 03:36

  • Hokusai's Great Wave

    Duration: 07:26

  • Cpt Jack Sparrow Returns

    Duration: 04:29

  • Poetry and atrocities

    Duration: 04:12

Billy Bragg on skiffle

Billy Bragg on skiffle

Billy Bragg's book Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World is out now on Faber.

Image: Billy Bragg

Image credit: Andy Whale

Nicola Benedetti

Nicola Benedetti

Nicola Benedetti has been awarded the Queen's Medal for Music.

Image: Nicola Benedetti

Nicola Benedetti is performing Shostakovich's 1st Violin Concerto at the BBC Proms on 18 July 2017  with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Thomas Sondergard

Hokusai's Great Wave

Hokusai's Great Wave

Hokusai beyond the Great Wave is at the British Museum, London until 13 August 2017.


Main image above: Under the wave of Kanagawa (The Great Wave) from Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji. Colour woodblock, 1831. Acquisition supported by The Arts Fund.

A documentary about Hokusai made by the British Museum is in British cinemas on 04 June 2017. 

Credit: The Trustees of the British Museum 

Image to the left: Clear day with a southern breeze (Red Fuji) from Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji. Colour woodblock, 1831.

Copyright: The Trustees of the British Museum 

Capt Jack Sparrow returns

Capt Jack Sparrow returns

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge is in UK cinemas from 26 May 2017.

Image: Jonny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean:Salazar's Revenge

Image credit: Disney Enterprises,Inc

Poetry and atrocity

Poetry and atrocity

Image: Michael Schmidt

Image credit: Ben Schmidt


Role Contributor
Presenter John Wilson
Producer Julian May
Interviewed Guest Billy Bragg
Interviewed Guest Tim Clark
Interviewed Guest Rebecca Salter
Interviewed Guest Angie Errigo
Interviewed Guest Nicola Benedetti
Interviewed Guest Michael Schmidt




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