The French philosopher Henri Lefebvre said that ‘to change life, we must first change space’. The pandemic didn’t change space, however, but our relationship to it. In this programme Patrick Bernard walks along the Hogsmill River, a chalk stream and tributary of the Thames, to explore our changing relationship to space, Victorian science fiction and the transformation of everyday life. To read the essay click here. Photography by Patrick Bernard and Karen Lacey-Holder. Music by Jon Hassell.
To celebrate the life and work of the German typographer and designer Berthold Wolpe, Patrick Bernard is joined by three of his children: Sarah Lawrence, Paul Wolpe, and the artist Deborah Hopson-Wolpe; and Phil Cleaver, author of ‘Berthold Wolpe: The Total Man’ and curator of an exhibition of his work at the Lettering Arts Centre in 2018. This programme is part of an ongoing series of events following the official end of the Insiders/Outsiders festival in 2020. For more information click here.
Sei Shōnagon was a lady-in-waiting during the Heian period at the turn of the 11th century in Japan, and the author of ‘The Pillow Book’, an account of her life at the imperial court, which contains among many diary-like passages and essays a great number of lists, including a list of ‘things that quicken the heart’. The book had profound influence on Japanese culture, but it also inspired a generation of 20th-century French writers and filmmakers including Chris Marker and Georges Perec. In this programme Patrick Bernard explores the significance of ‘The Pillow Book’ as a work of literature, and the influence of Japanese culture on the writer and semiotician Roland Barthes for whom Japan became a utopia or, as in the title of his book, an ‘Empire of Signs’. Readings by Brigid Bernard and Kanako Kigawa. To read the essay click here.
The Great Flood of 1953, the combination of a high spring tide and a storm over the North Sea, causing a surge to sweep across the East Coast, was the worst natural disaster in Britain of the 20th century, in which 307 people lost their lives in England and over 1,800 people in the Netherlands. It also produced one of the great works of English social history, ‘The Great Tide’ by Hilda Grieve, which tells the story of the flood disaster in Essex. In this programme Patrick Bernard discusses ‘The Great Tide’ with writer and social historian Ken Worpole; Edward Platt, author of ‘The Great Flood’; and Anne Johnson, a storyteller who runs Everyday Magic, a London-based charity which sends storytellers into state primary schools, and who lived on Canvey Island at the time of the flood. Thanks to Michele Chowrimootoo.
In this two-part programme Patrick Bernard follows in the footsteps of W. G. Sebald and his eponymous character Austerlitz as he explores the East End of London with poet Stephen Watts (a friend of ‘Max’ Sebald who accompanied him on many of his walks). They are joined by Nadia Valman and David Anderson from Queen Mary University of London as they visit many of the locations in the novel to uncover the layers of history hidden beneath the surface of the city and Sebald’s text. In the first episode Patrick and his guests walk from Exchange Square behind Liverpool Street Station – where Austerlitz first arrives to London on the Kindertransport – to Brick Lane where Stephen reads a poem dedicated to Altab Ali and Bill Fishman. To follow our progress click here. Sound recorded by Milo Thesiger-Meacham and photography by Karen Lacey-Holder.
In this episode Patrick and his guests walk from Alderney Road – where Austerlitz lives in the novel and also home to the oldest Ashkenazi Jewish cemetery in the UK – to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park behind St. Clement’s Hospital where Sebald’s character spends a long period of recovery. To follow our progress click here. Sound recorded by Milo Thesiger-Meacham and photography by Karen Lacey-Holder. Thanks to Leonard Shear of the United Synagogue.
Patrick Bernard talks to director Liam Barker about his film ‘Voice of the Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho’ on the extraordinary life and visionary music of the American guitarist, singer and mystic. With an exclusive track from the forthcoming boxed set ‘Song of the Avatars: The Lost Master Tapes’. For more information visit: robbiebashofilm.com.