Posted tagged ‘the Cold War’

Straight from Graceland



Voices of the Past


In 1948, philosopher Bertrand Russell sat in front of a microphone at the BBC. Listeners didn’t realize how cool he looked.

Russell, a Nobel laureate, gave the inaugural Reith Lectures, a series of radio transmissions aimed at connecting experts in various fields with the general public. The lectures focused on topics of significance for their time, by the likes of J Robert Oppenheimer and George Kennan. If you don’t know who those folks are, then look ’em up, cause they’re kinda important.

Yup, big names and their ideas were made accessible to people listening to their radios. Now, the lectures are all available in an online archive, which can be found below.

Give a listen to the unwritten.

The Reith Lectures 1948-2010

The Reith Lectures homepage 

BBC Article: “BBC Radio 4 unveils 60 years of Reith Lectures Archive”

Dropping the Iron Curtain


Nowadays, American bands don’t just influence American bands. American bands also influence British bands, Canadian bands, Australian bands, heck, American bands influence at the very least bands all over the world, if not also in places that aren’t even planets, like Pluto. (sorry Pluto)

The same was the case during the Cold War. Despite the USSR’s official rejection of western culture, all things American were slipping through the Iron Curtain. Music was no stranger to this transmission into Eastern Europe and the USSR. Musicians picked up from acts like Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, and of course later punk bands like the Talking Heads. I know this to be true because I read about it in a fanzine called Flagpole Magazine, from Athens, Georgia.


In 1991, a band called BIX came across the Atlantic to perform across the United States. They were from Lithuania, a country that had just declared independence from the Soviet Union. Already veterans of playing throughout Europe, and at a short 1990 US tour including a stop at the New Music Seminar in NYC, BIX was back for their second tour of America.


Spam might not be real food, but it’s a real American hero


Don’t tell the terrorists, but America’s secret weapon is none other than SPAM. And it has been since World War II.

the real key to a woman's heart

Kevin Connolly from the BBC provides some Spam trivia:

-The US supplied huge amounts of Spam to the USSR in WWII
-Its original name was Hormel Spiced Ham – the name Spam was chosen in a competition
-Production in the UK (in Liverpool) ceased in 1998
-Hormel Foods sued Jim Henson in 1995, after an “evil” boar called Spa’am featured in a Muppets movie
-Spam email is said to have been named after the Monty Python sketch, where the word takes over the dialogue
-A web archive of haiku about spam (or “spam-ku”) contains 19,000 poems

Kevin Connolly from the BBC also provides this article on Spam, American influence abroad, and a little town called Austin, Minnesota:

“How the US cemented its worldwide influence with Spam”


Spies have nice gardens too


FINALLY! The Cold War Spy Game is back on between Russia and the United States!

11 people were charged today in the climax of an F.B.I investigation that has been going on for the past 7 years. If you think all the classified material that the Soviets stole from America during the Cold War was crazy, wait until you hear what these cunning spies were up to! (more…)

Punk and Protest: Laws, Counterculture, Action! Part III


Now then, here’s part III. You may have noticed that the theme of this blog is supposed to be about the American underground music scene. BUT here I am yattering on about a Canadian band, and “direct actions” that occurred in Canada. Well fear not: This is the part of the story that explores the wider punk community and that means I bring in AMERICA.

Well, eventually I might mention them, so read on!


Punk and Protest: Laws, Counterculture, Action! Part II


Now then, here’s part deux. So I promised I’d show how there were links between Direct Action and the underground punk scene in Vancouver. Well actually, the links even extended through the overall punk network in North America, but before we go into that wider story I have to tell you this: Gerald Hannah, member of Direct Action and was also known as Gerry Useless, and he was a founding member of the Vancouver band the Subhumans. Not to be, of course, confused with the Subhumans.