Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen explores the social history of DIY home improvements, from Chintz to Changing Rooms and beyond.
The Age of Emulsion is a story about our changing attitudes to housing, consumerism, national identity, sense of individuality, class, politics, and relationships between the sexes.
Starting from the 1950s, Laurence draws on the rich TV and radio archive to show how DIY went from being a necessity after the Second World War, to a wholesome leisure activity, and a fully-blown national obsession.
What’s clear is that TV and radio played a pivotal role. Britain’s first hardboard hero was Barry Bucknell whose Do It Yourself TV series launched in 1956, attracting 7 million viewers. Magazines like Practical Householder advertised tools but also a modern lifestyle to go with it.
Over the next 50 years, TV and magazines would teach us practical skills and democratise interior design - from distressing, to rag rolling and stencilling. In the 90s, DIY became the new rock and roll, as reality makeover shows combined emotion AND emulsion. But what does our attitude say about us now? As DIY retailers struggle and millennials are blamed for their lack of skills, is this the end of the Age of Emulsion?
Laurence also sets two of his favourite interior decorating challenges to novice DIYers Mae-Li Evans and Calum Lynn
Producer: Victoria Ferran
Exec Producer: Susan Marling
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4
The Art of Now: Istanbul's Factory of Tears
Writer Isobel Finkel takes us to Istanbul, where art and censorship are never too far apart. The state’s attempts to protect citizens from illicit sounds have taken absurd forms over the years, from the banning of all Turkish-language music from the radio in the early 30s to more recent attempts to control and interfere with Arabesk, the kitsch and mournful soundtrack of the 70s and 80s which was excluded from the radio even while it was so popular it made up for three-quarters of the country's record sales.
We travel to the IMC, a vast modernist complex in the heart of Istanbul's old city that once formed a production line for Arabesk; a community unto itself where agents, record producers and record shops all crowded in on top of one another. Musicians seeking to make their name in Turkey of the 70s and 80s would turn up and audition on the steps of the IMC, where they found fame, fortune and official censure.
Isobel interviews producers, fans and stars of the genre to find out what the state was so troubled by - and speaks to a new generation of musicians who are rediscovering and reworking these once-forbidden sounds in today's Istanbul.
Presenter: Isobel Finkel
Producer: David Waters
An SPG production for BBC Radio 4
The Art of Now: Art Surgery - Anxiety
Can the arts help solve today’s burning issues? Perhaps not entirely, but there’s no harm in trying.
As the UK’s “anxiety economy” continues to grow and we spend more money on supposed stress-relieving services and products – from meditation apps and scented candles to comfort blankets and aromatherapy pendants – Art Surgery asks if we can find the answers we’re looking for within the arts.
Music journalist Elizabeth Alker and writer Nikesh Shukla hear from musicians, poets, illustrators and visual artists in a bid to combat personal and societal anxiety.
Artists featured include Erland Cooper, Ellis O’Connor, Nikita Gill, Luke Sital-Singh and Laura Callaghan.
Presenters: Elizabeth Alker and Nikesh Shukla
Producer: Maddie Hickish
A Wisebuddah production for BBC Radio 4
New Weird Britain: Urban Hinterlands
Music journalist John Doran travels across the country in search of an underground movement of musicians, blossoming in the margins of Britain.
Artists of all stripes have been driven out of the city centres by soaring rent prices and hit hard by the dwindling revenues of the digital economy. But untethered from the prospect of making any money and fueled by the current political turmoil, a new wave of musicians is splintering away from convention to stage bizarre one-off performances that fly in the face of austerity.
They are living off-grid in the countryside, building their own instruments out of electronic junk, staging strange rituals with priests smeared in clay, or even performing with a team of dancers dressed as anatomically correct vaginas which squirt cream over the audience.
In this episode, John Doran seeks out the musicians who are managing to cling on to the edgelands of the big cities to find out whether, away from the expensive artisanal coffee outlets of the urban centres, a new musical underground can still survive in the major cities of Britain.
Contributors include Natalie Sharp, aka Lone Taxidermist, Dan Jones and Charlotte Blackburn from UKAEA, Marion Andrau, Kelly Jayne Jones, Emma Thompson, LOFT, Gordon Bruce and Joel White from GLARC.
Produced by Alannah Chance
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4
Image credit: Luis Kramer
A History of Hate - Bosnia: The Weaponisation of History
Hate seems to be everywhere - whether it’s white supremacists marching on the streets of America, jihadists slaughtering Christians in Sri Lanka or the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand. In this five part series, BBC journalist Allan Little unpicks the mechanics of hatred and reveals how this dangerous emotion has been whipped up and disseminated throughout history. Allan Little begins with the hatred he witnessed on the killing fields of the Bosnian War, deconstructing how Serbian leaders like Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic manipulated and weaponised history to inculcate a violent loathing that would lead to the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. It's a hatred and an ideology that continues to inspire today's extreme far-right.
Presenter: Allan Little
Producer: Xavier Zapata
Editor: Helen Grady