In the first of the three-part series "Playing Well" Chris Hawkins has an intimate conversation with the band mates of Scott Hutchison, who took his own life in May 2018.
In conversation with Scott's brother Grant, drummer in Frightened Rabbit, and guitarist Andy Monaghan, Chris discovers more about the anxious child who reframed his family nickname as a band name - and how he channeled a rare lyrical talent, determination and energy into the creation of one of Scotland's most important and influential rock bands.
Charting the rise of the band and Scott's intense, occasionally hilarious approach to live performance, Grant frankly addresses the pressures his brother faced - and the structural pressures faced by anyone in the music industry. Charting the exhausting aftermath of suicide, Grant talks about defining Scott as a songwriter, in the hope that the existence of works which appear to presage his death don't create a misleading impression of Scott's life.
It's a moving portrait of a fascinating artist, and an attempt to reclaim Scott's musical legacy from the inaccurate assumption that the combination of musical celebrity and mental illness can only end in tragedy.
Details of organisations offering information and support with mental health are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 08000 155 998.
Presented by Chris Hawkins
Produced by Kevin Core
The 21st Century Curriculum
As a teenager, the writer Varaidzo lost interest in school. She investigates the so-called "educational dip" and talks to teenagers about ways they think the school curriculum might be made more appealing and useful to them in later life. She also meets Lord Baker, the minister responsible for setting up the national curriculum more than thirty years ago; and she talks to futurists and those researching the future of work, to find out what they think the students of today should be learning.
Producer: Ellie Richold
Between the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and the policy's hastily enforced end on 29 December 1989, East German citizens claimed an estimated four billion Deutschmarks in so-called ‘Begrüßungsgeld’ or ‘welcome money’ from the West German authorities.
Tens of thousands stood in line at banks and town halls up and down West Germany, waiting to collect their state-sanctioned gift of 100DM (around €80 today). For most East Germans, shortages of basic goods were a fact of daily life and luxuries were all but non-existent, this modest windfall represented the first true spending money that they had ever possessed, and in spending it they would have their first encounters with modern-day capitalism and consumerism.
In this programme, journalist and teutonophile Malcolm Jack heads to Berlin to find out what East Germans bought with their Begrüßungsgeld and, 30 years on, what became of those purchases.
In Berlin, Malcolm meets Jens ‘Tasso’ Muller from Saxony, who, on his first trip west, travelled with friends to Kreuzberg in Berlin. It was the first time he had ever seen graffiti tags, on every corner in every place. Having never seen graffiti tags before, he worked out it must be done with a marker so that was the first thing he bought. As it cost an exorbitant 11DM, he just bought one, but it would be the first of many. Today Jens is better known by the alias 'Tasso' and his tag is recognised all over the world - as a professional graffiti artist he has visited 31 different countries and counting; all thanks to one black ink Edding marker, igniting a passion for street art he didn't even know existed.
Amongst other East Germans and East Berliners, Malcolm meets fashion designer and former international model Grit Seymour. Grit’s welcome money was spent on fresh exotic fruit and a copy of Italian Vogue which was previously inaccessible to her in the GDR. Malcolm also visits a former Stasi prison with tour guide and former inmate Peter Kreup, whose welcome money provided a sense of power and freedom that he had previously been denied after spending 10 months incarcerated by the regime. Performance artist and lecturer Else Gabriel shares her unorthodox approach to the welcome money, and the bounty it brought her which she still keeps in her studio. Nicole Hartmann was just 11 years old when the wall fell, and remembers the feeling of solidarity that she felt when her East German village banded together to look after the people in the streams of cars, all travelling to Berlin to collect their Begrüßungsgeld. We also hear from Professor of German History at University College, London about the reasons for the introduction of the welcome money itself, and its impact on the process of reunification.
Into the Manosphere
Young men are facing a crisis of masculinity. To deal with it, they have options - the manosphere, a mainly online world where the challenges facing 21st century men are exclusively the fault of women, or the anti-manosphere.
Philip Tanzer is a Men Rights Activist (or MRA) and manosphere convert who lives in Scotland. He’s already a keyboard warrior, fighting the ‘feminist establishment’ from the highlands of Scotland and giving motivational talks to the young men who come to his salon and art gallery. He allows producers to follow him as he attends the International Conference on Men’s Issues in Chicago where many of the main leaders and thinkers that together form the nebulous community congregate, including a British MP, far-right YouTubers and a surprising number of women. Along the way, he gives a unique insight into the individual stories behind the growing group of men in the UK and US who find their tribe in the online forums dedicated to reversing the feminist agenda.
He also meets and debates with men and women who believe the manosphere is a dangerous and misogynist place and looks at alternative ways to address the growing levels of mental ill health and suicide in young men – could drumming around a campfire be a better way for men to connect?
Produced by Lucy Proctor and Alvaro Alvarez
Fear in the Furrows
Documentary maker Simon Hollis explores the darker underside of the pastoral idyll and the traditions of Folk Horror being revived by a new generation of writers, musicians and filmmakers.
From the nuggets of evil turned up by the plough in The Blood on Satan's Claw to the cursed woodland, furrows, stone circles and rituals that haunt a wealth of British film, television and fantasy literature. Far from being a green and pleasant land, ours is a countryside inhabited by darker mythology, uncanny foreboding and even terror - of isolated places and older belief systems, places where the Enlightenment never reached and where the soil incubates evil, traumas that rise to the surface, remote communities where hapless city dwellers are lured to meet their fate.
Following the ritual slaying of the Jack in the Green and summer rites in the fields for Lammas, visiting lonely, de-sanctified churches sinking into the soil and recording incantations in the dark-wood, Simon faces the Fear in the Furrows.
Contributors include fantasy writer Alan Garner, musician and composer Sharron Kraus, writer and filmmaker Adam Scovell, author Ben Myers, field folklorist Jonathan Huet, occult historian Gary Parsons, Piers Haggard the director of The Blood on Satan’s Claw, and Maxine Sanders "Queen of the Witches".
A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4
Image Credit: Grey Malkin & Andy Paciorek
BBC 4's Seriously... Podcast presents a rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds. Presented by Ashley John-Baptiste, this twice weekly podcast replaces the Radio 4 Documentary of the Week.
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