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Sharing Stories From The City

We’re delighted to bring you a brand new podcast, to help your daily commutes pass more smoothly, and to sate your search for audio nourishment. Hosted by writer and critic Laura Brown and Bido Lito! Editor-in-Chief Christopher Torpey, the Bido Lito! Arts + Culture Podcast focuses on some of the more interesting stories that lurk just below the surface of our vibrant art, music and culture scene. The monthly show will use mini-features to unpick some narratives that maybe haven’t been widely heard, and offer some alternative viewpoints from invited guests.

The first episode features a conversation between Jayne Casey and Bryan Biggs about The Bluecoat’s extensive archive, taking in Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War along the way. Listen to the first episode below, or subscribe and download via iTunes, Acast, Stitcher or Podomatic (coming soon to Google Play and Spotify). And don’t forget to rate us and leave a review if you liked the show!

Sat in The Bluecoat’s Sandon Room, Jayne Casey and Bryan Biggs take us on a tour through a small selection of the archive of the UK’s oldest arts centre. A smattering of posters are laid out in front of them, from the period between 1987 and 1990 when Casey was Director of Performing Arts at The Bluecoat and Biggs was the Gallery Director. This was a particularly buzzing period in Liverpool’s culture circles, when a lot of the musicians who graduated from the Eric’s scene were having national and international success, and the seeds of the acid rave and dance world were just beginning to show signs of growth. From this, ultimately, came the emergence of Cream, first as a club night at Nation, eventually growing to become a global superclub and brand in its own right.

Gigs, art shows, multidisciplinary events and even fashion shows all took place in the venerable city centre building under Casey’s tutelage, bringing a diverse range of discussions to the table, when the city was also in the grips of economic and societal difficulty. As they reminisce about some legendary shows – including jazz legend Sun Ra’s performance with his Arkestra in 1990, and multiple Keith Khan exhibitions – Casey and Biggs paint the picture of The Bluecoat as offering an alternative narrative to the city’s cultural discourse. In doing so, they chart the building’s history as a “repository of culture” for Liverpool – and unearth a story from 1989, when a show they put on with Pop Mechanica proved the existence of perestroika to Ronald Reagan.

BBC documentary of Sergei Kuriokhin and Pop-Mekhanika’s performance in Liverpool in 1989

You can watch an extract from Bob Lamb’s video of the legendary Sun Ra performance on The Bluecoat’s website. An extensive collection of stories and images are contained in My Bluecoat digital archive, which documents 300 years of the building at the heart of the city. Browse the archive online at mybluecoat.org.uk.

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