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Like most countries around the world, Wales saw a flowering of popular music in the 1960s. Following the ubiquitous contemporary Anglo-American model, the popular music that emerged in Wales during that decade signalled a number of cultural shifts, both musical and linguistic. This chapter surveys the roots and developments of Anglophone and Welsh-language popular musics from the 1960s into the twenty-first century, focusing on shared traditions, political engagement, the attitudes of the ‘official’ institutions of both Welsh- and English-language culture (including the eisteddfod, the chapel and the media), and the impact of Welsh devolution; and revealing Wales’s contributions to fifty years of global musical dialogue. It considers the careers of several Welsh stars who ‘crossed over’ into the Anglo-American mainstream, including Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones, and the rise of the bands of the so-called ‘Cool Cymru’ era - prominent among them Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics. These bands achieved a new level of sophistication and cultural importance for Welsh pop, the clearest signal of which was the release of Super Furry Animals’ internationally acclaimed album Mwng (2000), a collection of songs sung entirely in the Welsh language. Post-devolution Wales has offered a greatly enriched cultural environment and infrastructure for pop music that has ensured the mainstream success of a new generation of Welsh artists such as Gwenno.
This chapter is shorter than the others and takes the form of a postscript devoted to the state and organisation of music in Wales at the time of the book’s publication. It is shaped around the coincidental but simultaneous occurrence of two key historical moments: the devolution of many segments of administrative authority from the UK government to Wales and the establishment of a Welsh Parliament (Y Senedd), and the ubiquitous adoption of digitisation in the service of cultural communication and creativity. This latter development was not, of course, a uniquely Welsh phenomenon, but in Wales, because of the country’s geography and bilingualism, it had an especially important impact. Digitisation facilitated the ambition of Wales’s devolved governments to express the country’s cultural distinctiveness within the UK and globally. Devolution had the ancillary effect of elevating the importance of the creative industries, including those devoted to or including music. Additionally, the legal framework that underlined devolution led to an increased protection of the Welsh language and consequently the music cultures which had flourished within it. The chapter deals with the consequences for Welsh music of two decades of devolution and its impact on traditional and the modern agencies and institutions concerned with Welsh music: music education, performance, the curation of Welsh historical materials and the associated scholarship.
In the hundred years that saw the widest effects of industrialisation and immigration to Wales, the popular music of the country embraced an increasingly passionate and secular adherence to traditions derived from choralism and eisteddfod culture on the one hand, and the development of commercial popular music on the other. ‘Popular music’ was defined not by repertoire but by the circumstances of its performance. Major features of this story include the first conspicuous appearances of Welsh choralism outside Wales, the world’s first virtuoso private brass band, Welsh manifestations of music hall and romantic theatre music, the rise of tourist entertainment and the projection of Welshness in the early years of broadcasting. One of the more interesting features of the period is the way Wales digested broader trends in popular music, modified them and projected them in distinctive ways. The chapter paints a picture of Welsh musical life that is seldom seen, in which strong musical traditions steeped in the culture of the Welsh language coalesce with popular modernism and new types of musical commerce and consumerism.
The book’s conclusion returns to the commercialisation of Alice in Wonderland by considering the controversy surrounding Jonathan Miller’s 1966 Alice film, screened by the BBC. The art film offered a surreal Victorian dreamscape of childhood, as much for an erudite adult audience as for a child audience. It was a representation that was highly unlikely to have concerned Dodgson at all but was considered controversial enough to provoke public responses of hostility and incomprehension, attracting protests about a liberality that ought to be banned. This controversy allows us to reference changed understandings of childhood. Particularly in light of Disney’s rendition of Alice and the development of the BBC’s institutional role in the 1960s, where there was ready acceptance of the children’s department remit, with the imagery of the child overlaid with expectations of marketing and age-appropriate merchandise. Many issues that vexed the BBC in this period are rooted in the paradox that underpins the whole book: the tension between exploitation and innocence; family and market; public and private; and the normalisation of the logic of commercialisation tied to intellectual property.
Chapter 6 traces the rise of merchandising agencies as a distinct and independent profession in the United Kingdom. It focuses on the most influential independent agency of the period, Walter Tuckwell & Associates. A former Disney employee, Tuckwell fostered a network connecting and linking commercial and legal opportunities offered by television programmes and the emerging demand for child-related products. The chapter discusses the specific relationship between content creation and marketing that arose during the earliest days of television. This entails a discussion of Tuckwell’s role at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), where objections to the development of merchandising inside the corporation were managed. Commercial television changed agendas, leading to stabilisation in contractual practices between broadcasters, licensing agencies and sectors such as the toy, publishing and food industries; all eager to capitalise on the new communication medium. By the late 1960s, children’s participation in commodification was a fully integrated component of intellectual property practice and an integral part of television culture, regardless of the character of the broadcast licence.
The chapter engages in a Critical Discourse Analysis of the language used in the media reporting of the most recent prime ministerial elections in Israel, in 2019. It draws on the tradition of Cultural-Historical and Activity Theory to highlight the impact of the wider historical context of the Israel–Palestine conflict in the media reporting of events in the region. It is a comparative study of the BBC’s and Al Jazeera’s reporting of the elections, examining a period from August 2019 (the pre-election period) through to October 2019 (the immediate post-election period). The data collected consists of six and nine online reports by the BBC and Al Jazeera, respectively. An overriding aim is an examination of the impact and the role of the history of the region in reporting on significant events. The work aims to contribute to other studies on the Israel–Palestine conflict which have argued that media is a contested space, and the news is not a neutral product.
This chapter examines Britten’s recording and television activities in the 1950s and 1960s and considers how they track the rise of — and the anxiety surrounding — recording technology in mid-century British musical life. In particular, this chapter explores his collaboration with John Culshaw, who served as the producer for Britten’s Decca records and operas on BBC television. I argue that he and Britten sought to tap into elements of the live performance to fashion new musical experiences via technology. To illustrate this point, I focus primarily on their audio recording of the War Requiem, as well as three operas put on BBC television: The Burning Fiery Furnace, Peter Grimes, and Owen Wingrave. Ultimately, I show that, instead of treating technological reproduction as a substitute for live performance, Culshaw and Britten saw the relationship between technology and live performance as a symbiotic one, each helping to reinforce the other.
During Britten’s lifetime, there were fundamental changes to technology that altered his and his audience’s experience of live and recorded musical performance. Chief among these was the advent of radio, established in Britain in October 1922 with the formation of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). This chapter explores the BBC’s influence on British musical life and the cultural life of the nation. Discussions include the corporation’s manner of promotion of past and contemporary British music and composers and the changes made to programming during and in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The BBC was fundamental to Britten’s creation of a British identity as he disseminated his music to a wider audience, as well as to the success of the Aldeburgh Festival.
For most British composers active in the twentieth century, the actual writing of music was only one of many skills they were obliged to develop. Many composers were also actively engaged in the fields of teaching, performance, and administration, and could supplement their income with a variety of other jobs, ranging from adjudication and private tutoring to broadcasting and music criticism. Additionally, the growth in popularity of radio, television, and film opened up new opportunities for composers in lighter genres that had hitherto not been available, either to supplement their contributions to more traditional concert hall repertory, or as dedicated positions in their own right. This chapter will examine these various career paths and responsibilities, looking at how British composers’ training, abilities, interests, and sociocultural status shaped and directed their vocational trajectories.
From mid-1943 until late-1950, Eric Crozier was an essential asset to Britten’s industry. His work alongside director and radio producer Tyrone Guthrie not only introduced Crozier to the Old Vic in London, but to the BBC as well, where Guthrie also worked. Joan Cross invited Crozier and Guthrie to each direct two different productions at Sadler’s Wells in 1943. Crozier directed and produced Britten’s first two operas, Peter Grimes in 1945 at Sadler’s Wells, and The Rape of Lucretia in 1946 for the short-lived Glyndebourne English Opera Company. Crozier wrote the librettos for Albert Herring and the children’s entertainment Let’s Make an Opera (with its central opera, The Little Sweep), in addition to writing the text for the cantata Saint Nicolas, and with E. M. Forster, he was co-librettist for Billy Budd. Britten, Crozier, and designer John Piper founded the English Opera Group. The endeavour was based on ‘the Britten–Crozier doctrine’ that sought the group’s own autonomy and ultimately a home to produce such works. That home was largely realised in the founding of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts in 1948, for which Crozier was a founder and co-artistic director.
This essay looks at the Christian context in which Britten lived and its impact on his work. When in 1940 he wrote that he was a member of a Christian nation, he could not have meant that Britain was a churchgoing nation, for most people were not active churchgoers. In fact, it would be necessary to go back to the seventeenth century to find a time when nearly everyone went to church. Britain was a Christian nation in the sense that its political, legal, ethical, and cultural life had been shaped by Protestant Christianity. By the 1920s this was a specifically English, rather than British, identity, for the disestablishment of the Welsh (1920) and Scottish (1921) churches, and the secession of the Irish Free State (1922) meant all three were intent on establishing their own distinctive identities and cultures. In mid-twentieth-century England, the Established Anglican Church, historically regarded as a ruling-class institution, remained closely associated with the monarchy and the state; thus, Anglican ritual governed public occasions and it was still regarded as part of an elitist and conservative Establishment.
This chapter highlights four (often conflicting) ways in which the scientific, sociological, and literary discourse of the modernist period conceives of radio as constituting identity: by producing a national community, by enabling connections between nations, by extending the bodily nervous system, and by producing a specific kind of individual, the listener. It demonstrates that Woolf takes an active role in conceptualizing and negotiating the future of radio. The first section, ‘Radio Selves’, argues that Woolf’s representations of radio are much more aligned with the idea that radio is a vehicle for internationalism, and the idea that it extends the sensory capacity of the body, than with the conception of a national radio community. The second section considers Woolf’s construction of 'The Listener'. Through an analysis of archival documents about the formation of the BBC’s Listener Research Unit, it identifies resonances between Woolf’s depiction of a responsive audience in Between the Acts and statements by BBC producers promoting the listener’s active participation in the making of radio. The chapter concludes by reading Between the Acts as a utopian fantasy in which thoughts are perfectly communicable and individualities mingle and merge in the ether – a fantasy founded upon the connective power of radio.
This book offers an extensive analysis of Woolf's engagement with science. It demonstrates that science is integral to the construction of identity in Woolf's novels of the 1930s and 1940s, and identifies a little-explored source for Woolf's scientific knowledge: BBC scientific radio broadcasts. By analyzing this unstudied primary material, it traces the application of scientific concepts to questions of identity and highlights a single concept that is shared across multiple disciplines in the modernist period: the idea that modern science undermined individualized conceptions of the self. It broadens our understanding of the relationship between modernism and radio, modernism and science, and demonstrates the importance of science to Woolf's later novels.
Pickard makes the case for why a new public media system is necessary to confront thesystemic market failure plaguing American journalism. While underscoring normativefoundations, this chapter tries to address the “how did we get here?” and “what is to bedone?” questions currently facing US society. After contextualizing problems withmisinformation and the contemporary journalism crisis, the chapter assesses recent movestoward public investments in news media around the world as well as recent developmentsin the United States. The chapter explores various criteria for what this new public mediashould entail, and concludes with a discussion about the necessary policies for actualizingstructural alternatives to the overly commercialized American media system.
The future development of literary radio studies as a discipline requires moving beyond the lingering (and completely understandable) text-fetishism of its early years. Archival lacunae covering the early years of radio, key years for modernist production – the difficulty of hearing works, let alone hearing them in context – has paradoxically flattened broadcast into script, an elision often perpetuated in scholarship. All this has created a critical environment in which the claim that radio is an intrinsically modernist medium is often supported, in circular fashion, by enumerating the already-recognized modernists within broadcast ranks, or citing the importance of radio as a disseminator of modernist poetry – in other words, eliding the medium itself in order to stress its efficacy as a delivery system. To move beyond the invaluable spadework of the recent ‘boom’, then, requires a more robust methodology for tracing the resonances of radio – an intermedial vocabulary not grounded exclusively in inscription
A total of 10 case studies are given, to illustrate how innovations might take place in real-life shipping company settings. We see here the critical importance of an open-minded corporate culture, as well as the key role of the person at the top of the organization.
While recent scholarship on radio has begun to reveal the important role played by otherwise discrete areas of the BBC, notably the Indian Section of the wartime Eastern Service (1941-1945), and the West Indian literary magazine programme: ‘Caribbean Voices’ (1944-1958), there has been less exploration of the exchanges and friendships between West Indian, African, and South Asian artists across different programmes. Equally, the pragmatic factors and power relations that often prohibited, or short-circuited, the formation of collaborative cultures at the mid-century BBC remains little understood. Drawing on little-known scripts and BBC archival records relating to a range of now well-known artists and intellectuals (including Andrew Salkey, Una Marson, Mulk Raj Anand, Cedric Dover, Peter Abrahams, David Diop, Henry Swanzy, and George Orwell), this chapter critically examines the overlaps and asymmetrical structures that characterised cross-cultural collaboration at the corporation.
The 1963 Geldard Report on the University of Virginia faculty described the early Virginia School economists as “neo-liberal” and asserted they failed to provide graduate students a modern education. Only an extract describing the economics department was known before so the evaluation could not be put into context. Had the authors of the report known modern economics, they would have remarked on Allais lectures at the TJC in 1957. Neo-liberal was then an unusual word. As it has come to be used, neo-liberalism supposes an idealization of efficiency and market activity. This differs from an earlier liberalism, which emphasized exchange and viewed democracy as government by discussion. Coase’s advice to the Fabian Society committee for broadcasting reform was to remove the BBC’s monopoly position by breaking it into competing services provided by the government, to allow taxpayers a wider choice of television and radio programs, with more points of view. Buchanan’s club theory is remarkable in this context because the distinction between market activity and public activity is fuzzy. The neo-liberal charge ignores the importance of the compensation brought about by logrolling.
The place of religious broadcasting at the BBC was transformed by the rise in the sixties of television comedy marked by a strong mockery of the churches and, as this chapter shows, in the seventies by direct attacks on the churches and the advent of science-based atheist narratives of astronomy, human evolution and cultural development. What unfolds here is a story of direct challenge to the churches, including on the so-called God slot of television programmes reserved for religious outputs. For the first time in the early 1970s, churchmen were exposed to direct challenge, notably Cardinal John Heenan, from Humanists and atheists. Following this, sophisticated documentary series developed on scientific knowledge and human cultural evolution, founded firmly on evolution theory and marked by historical exploration of church attempts to suppress scientific knowledge. In the train of this came a proliferation of science-based broadcasting which accepted the atheist view of the human place in the universe as revealed especially in astronomy, transforming the narratives told by the nation to itself on television.