The Last Bohemians

House of Hutch

The Last Bohemians is an award-winning, critically acclaimed, independent podcast series that meets maverick women and controversial outsiders in arts and culture and takes listeners on a vivid, hallucinatory trip through their extraordinary lives. From subversive musicians and style icons to game-changing artists, these are women who have lived life on the edge and who still refuse to play by the rules. The series was created in 2019 by host and journalist Kate Hutchinson and is produced by a team of rising women in audio, with portraits by Laura Kelly. Season 1 features Molly Parkin, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Pauline Black and more; Season 2 stars the likes of Judy Collins, Gee Vaucher, Zandra Rhodes and P.P. Arnold. In 2020, The Last Bohemians published a lockdown special with performance artist Marina Abramović. The Last Bohemians has been a podcast of the week in the Guardian, Observer New Review, The Financial Times and on Radio 4. In January 2022, it was featured in the New Yorker (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/03/does-wisdom-really-come-from-experience) . It won silver in the Best New Podcast category at the British Podcast Awards 2020 and was a finalist for Grassroots Production Award at the 2021 Audio Production Awards. For bonus content and more: http://www.patreon.co.uk/thelastbohemians http://www.thelastbohemians.co.uk http://www.instagram.com/thelastbohospod PRAISE FOR THE LAST BOHEMIANS  “This series is a delight… Run to this podcast right now”  The Observer (https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/mar/10/scala-radio-launch-review-simon-mayo-charles-nove-william-orbit-classical-music)    "Unusually intimate portraits of spectacular lives… Buoyed by exquisite production, these conversations are atmospheric, contemplative and fabulously candid" Financial Times (https://www.ft.com/content/334f3e22-3c0f-11e9-9988-28303f70fcff)    "A beautifully intimate set of portraits made by an all-female audio team – what more could you ask for to celebrate International Women’s Day?" The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/mar/08/podcasts-of-the-week-can-luminary-become-podcastings-answer-to-netflix)    Feisty, heartfelt and bursting with wisdom" NME (https://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/the-20-best-new-podcasts-of-2019-2591428)    "A rhapsodic, necessary retelling of trailblazer stories" Dazed (https://www.dazeddigital.com/life-culture/article/43954/1/the-last-bohemians-podcast-stories-of-fearless-older-women)

S1 Ep1: The Last Bohemians - Trailer - Launching 4 March 2019S1 Ep2: Molly Parkin: the grand dame of British bohemia on Soho's glory days, Louis Armstrong and self loveS1 Ep3: Bonnie Greer: the playwright and critic considers Basquiat, Madonna, making work about race and how not to play it safe as an artistS1 Ep4: Amanda Feilding: beat poets, psychedelics and self-trepanation with the leading LSD campaigner and countessS1 Ep5: Pauline Black: the original rude girl on female empowerment, intersectionality and being a music trailblazerS1 Ep6: Cosey Fanni Tutti: sex, subversion and class with the artist and industrial music pioneerS1 Ep7: Pamela Des Barres: the definitive rock'n'roll groupie discusses Led Zeppelin, her wild past and the #MeToo movementS2 Ep1: The Last Bohemians – Series Two Trailer – Launching 2 March 2020S2 Ep2: Judy Collins: the frank and fearless folk legend on touring at 80, art and activism, and making Leonard Cohen famousS2 Ep3: Gee Vaucher: the visual artist behind Crass on curiosity, communal living and where punk went wrong
41 mins
S2 Ep4: Vivienne Dick: the experimental feminist film-maker digs back into New York's 1970s no wave scene
"Often women artists do all their best work when they're older You feel stronger, you feel like you've got nothing to lose" Experimental film-maker Vivienne Dick moved from Ireland to New York in the late-70s and was at the heart of a scene called no-wave, an avant-garde music and art movement where people like director Jim Jarmusch, artist Basquiat, photographer Nan Goldin and musicians Sonic Youth and Debbie Harry mingled together. Inspired by this DIY community downtown, she picked up a Super 8 camera and started shooting the women around her, in films like Guerillere Talks and She Had The Gun All Ready. Lydia Lunch, one of the most charismatic of Vivienne’s subjects, described No Wave as a “collective caterwaul that defied categorisation and despised convention." Presenter Kate Hutchinson first heard Vivienne’s name in the song Hot Topic by dance-punks Le Tigre, which reels off a list of artists, writers, activists and feminist firebrands, putting her alongside the likes of Yoko Ono and Sleater-Kinney.  Vivienne is still an experimental film-maker to this day and has never sold out her vision. The Last Bohemians visited her at her Dublin home, as she was putting the finishing touches to her latest film New York, Our Time, which has since won the Film Critics Circle Award for Best Documentary. It transports Vivienne back to the city she left in 1982 and sees her reconnecting with some of her old friends.  Our story starts, however, in Donegal, Ireland, where a young Vivienne couldn’t wait to leave... This episode was produced by Ali Gardiner. Music in this episode (sourced via Bandcamp, freemusicarchive.org and archive.org): Tryad – The Rising Blue Dot Sessions – Campfire Rounds Fields Ohio – Anti-Saloon League Gallery Six – Moel Plastic Sunday – No Tomorrow Chocolate Billy - Assedic No Wave Lee Rosevere – Ennui Revolution Void – Someone Else’s Memories Phlox.s – Obey The Sun Gallery Six – Hydroscope Chris Zabriskie – Virtues Inherited, Vices Passed On Chris Zabriskie – Heliograph Chris Zabriskie – Candlepower Chris Zabriskie – Oxygen Garden
31 mins
S2 Ep5: P.P. Arnold: the soul survivor surveys the Swinging Sixties, sexual revolution and Mick Jagger
P.P. Arnold isn’t called a soul survivor for nothing. She recently made a comeback with her first album in 50 years, following a long, hard fight, at the age of 73, to get her music career back on track.  In America, she had been an Ikette with Ike & Tina Turner and then moved to London at the height of the Swinging Sixties, where she hung out with Jimi Hendrix, had a sexual awakening among the rockstars of London, and was signed by Mick Jagger to his label, Immediate. She released the hit single First Cut Is The Deepest and two brilliant soul albums. But her third, 1971’s The Turning Tide, which was co-produced by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and Eric Clapton, was blocked from being released.  After that, P.P.'s career floundered. She sang with Peter Gabriel, Billy Ocean and The KLF – who burned the money to pay her in their £1million stunt – and appeared in the musical Starlight Express, but musical dead ends danced with tragedy, when she lost her daughter in a car accident. Her solo career never quite got back on track – until she encountered the British mod band Ocean Colour Scene. Steve Cradock from the band helped her finish The Turning Tide and produced her first new album in 50 years, The New Adventures of... P.P. Arnold. And what an adventure it’s been. P.P's story is incredible and her laugh is infectious, as she remembers her first interracial relationships, hanging out with friends like Brian Jones and what she really thinks about Rod Stewart. We went back to the place where it all started, the Bag O’ Nails in Soho, now a sleek members club, to talk about being an "authentic" soul singer in 1960s London, her journey from then to now and how she’s made it – with a few famous flings along the way. This episode contains discussions about domestic violence, which some may find triggering, and so listener discretion is advised. P.P. Arnold's episode was produced by Cassandra Denton and presented by Kate Hutchinson, with portraits by Laura Kelly.
36 mins
S2 Ep6: Zandra Rhodes: Studio 54, punk and the power of fuchsia with the British style iconS2 Ep7: Sue Tilley: the 1980s club kid and artist on Leigh Bowery and modelling for Lucian Freud
Rewind to the 1980s and London nightlife was an explosion of creativity – the new romantics were in, dramatic fashion looks were everywhere and at the back of the club, having a gossip, there’d be Sue Tilley, also affectionately known as Big Sue.  She was the best friend of the outrageous performance artist and fashion designer Leigh Bowery, who became known for his shocking stage shows and about whom she wrote a biography. Sue worked at the Job Centre during the day and the door at his infamously wild club night Taboo, which was later immortalised by Boy George in the musical of the same name, by night. This was a place, in the mid-80s, where genders and sexualities were blurred and the more flamboyant your costume, the better.  It’s also where Leigh and Sue met the painter Lucian Freud – both ended up sitting for him but Sue’s nude portrait, 1995’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, is perhaps among his most famous works, which, when it sold for $33.6 million, was the most expensive painting by a living artist ever to be sold at auction. Sue left London to retire by the seaside on England’s south coast and it’s where she can often be found hosting quizzes and DJing in one of the local pubs, or working on her own pieces – she is now an artist in her own right and often paints the colourful characters she remembers from her clubbing days. This episode was produced by Gabriela Jones. Music: Ad Infinitum - Oh The City; Photosynthesis - Lagua Vesa; Waking Dreams (Nada Copyright Free Music); Santosha - Can Sandano; A Message From Your Space Cat - Felix Johansson Carne; Cotton Candy - Copse; Backplate - Joseph McDade; Waking And Dreaming - Brendon Moelleer
27 mins
S2 Ep8: Maxine Sanders: the witch queen on casting spells, surviving persecution and the power of sex magic
Maxine Sanders is one of the country’s most iconic and possibly most controversial witches. In the 1960s and 70s, she and her late husband Alex Sanders were at the centre of Britain’s witchcraft boom. At the height of their fame, they were featured weekly in tabloid newspapers and starred in numerous documentaries and films where they would recreate their dramatic rituals… It was the era when Flower Power and the sexual revolution were in full swing. The Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951 making it no longer illegal to practise witchcraft, and Maxine and Alex were sexing its image up. Their coven was rapidly growing in size, as more and more people were drawn to the occult, and eventually they moved from Alderley Edge, near Manchester, to Notting Hill in London, where musicians like Jimmy Paige and Marc Bolan flocked to their wild parties. But it was also where a strange set of circumstances saw them linked to Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders in California... Presenter Kate Hutchinson came across Maxine in a book that she'd bought on her birthday in 2019, from Donlon Books in east London – in it was a striking image of a stunning woman with long blond hair, holding a dagger, in the middle of a circle, and she knew she had to find out more.  We finally tracked Maxine down to her home in North West London, where we sat in her living room, filled with amazing antique books and ancient magic regalia.  What she told us may raise an eyebrow or two, as Maxine recounts her early years in the craft, meeting her husband – the King of the Witches, Alex Sanders, how she dealt with being the subject of a tabloid frenzy week on week, the meaning of being a witch today, what it feels like to do a spell, her experiences of astral projection, sex magic and death, and overcoming persecution. ​It's quite a magical ride, so strap in tight. ​This episode was produced by Hannah Fisher. 1. Malani Bulathsinhala - Wasan Karannata Bae 2. Roh Hamilton and Tiffany Seal - Enchanted Forest 3. Bishi - All Across The Universe (BISHI's 'The Telescope Eye,' EP, produced on by BISHI & Richard Norris. Out on Gryphon Records on all streaming platforms now) 4. Lobo Loco - Lake of Avalon
53 mins
S2 Ep9: A Lockdown Special with Marina Abramović
For International Women’s Day 2021, The Last Bohemians returns with a special lockdown episode, supported by KLORIS, starring Marina Abramović: the groundbreaking Serbian artist and self-described "godmother of performance art" who has spent the past 50 years confronting the mental and physical limits of the body and using it as a powerful canvas. Her early work in the 1970s is famed for its extremity, with pieces where she would cut the communist star into her stomach or invite an audience to use weapons on her if they pleased. It was a radical thread she continued when she teamed up with Ulay, her one-time creative collaborator and former lover, who passed away just before the pandemic struck in 2020. Their final piece together in 1988, where they each walked from one end of The Great Wall of China and met in the middle, is one of the most elaborate break-ups of all time. Since then, Abramović, 74, has become known for intertwining performance art with spirituality, shamanism and pop culture: she trained Lady Gaga in her ‘Marina Abramović Method’, starred in a Jay-Z video and turned her attentions to durational works. These feats of endurance include her infamous piece The Artist is Present, at the MoMa in New York in 2010, where she spent some 700 hours sitting silently across a table from spectators – over 1,500 people came to sit opposite her. Many of them were moved to tears, though critics have accused her over the years of being an exhibitionist and a narcissist. In this interview, conducted via Zoom from her home in upstate New York at the start of 2021, Abramović talks about creative fearlessness, the importance of failure and taking risks, why she never had children, why we should be hugging trees and what she has in common with the opera singer Maria Callas, on whom she has based her own mixed-media performance (and which will return to the stage later this year following its pre-pandemic premiere last April). A retrospective of her life's work, meanwhile – her first major exhibition in the UK – will now be showing in 2023. Presenter: Kate Hutchinson Producer: Holly Fisher Ident: Emmy The Great Logo: Rebecca Strickson www.thelastbohemians.co.uk Instagram: @thelastbohemianspod With thanks to KLORIS (www.kloriscbd.com), the Marina Abramović Institute, Lisson Gallery, Irma Crusat, Laura Martin at Real Life PR, Ali Gardiner and Toni and Andy Shaw. Music used in this episode: Daniel Birch - Indigo Moon Daniel Birch - Indigo Shore Chad Crouch - Algorithms Lobo Loco - Deepest Breath Salakapakka Sound System - Kapina Tiibetissa Siddhartha Corsus - Victory of Buddha Sputnic - Spiritual Dreams Tortue Super Sonic - Klezmer Uno
35 mins
S3 Ep1: Maggi Hambling: the great British artist on controversy, criticism and being a queer icon at 76
Maggi Hambling (1945-) is a British painter and sculptor whose visceral work spans portraits of her bohemian friends past – from Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley to Henrietta Moraes, once the 1950s queen of London bohemia and muse to Francis Bacon, then Maggi’s own – and divisive public works that include her giant scallop on a beach in Suffolk on the English coast, near where she grew up, her Oscar Wilde bench in London and most recently, her 2020 bust of early women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft, who she depicted naked. For the first of three special episodes for Women’s History Month 2022 – and ahead of the opening of her first ever show in New York – we find Maggi and her pug dog, Peggy, through the fog of cigarette smoke at her south London studio. As she puffs, she reminisces about her crucial life training at the East Anglian Art School, her younger years falling in and out of Soho drinking establishments, and her love affair with the 1950s queen of bohemia, Henrietta Moraes, who was Francis Bacon’s muse and later her own.  Maggi gives us a whistlestop tour through her approach to creativity and process, the controversy that some of her public artworks have caused, becoming a national treasure, how she deals with bad reviews, being a gay icon and calling herself queer in tribute to her late filmmaker friend Derek Jarman, her affinity with Oscar Wilde and why the work, above all else, comes first. An audience with Maggi is never a dull moment. Maggi Hambling: Real Time is at the Marlborough in NYC, 10 March-30 April 2022. marlboroughnewyork.com. This episode was produced by Hannah Fisher and presented and exec-produced by Kate Hutchinson. Additional reporting by Georgie Rogers. Sound design by Colour It In. Photography by Laura Kelly. ​Music in this episode with thanks to freemusicarchive.org: Humbug by Crowander Carpe Diem by Dee Yan Key Lava Spout by Blue Wave Theory Be My Guest - Crowander Intro music by Emmy The Great.
34 mins
S3 Ep2: Dana Gillespie: the Swinging Sixties wild child on sex, spirituality and Ziggy Stardust
Dana Gillespie (1949-) is one of the few remaining women who was at the centre of the Sixties and Seventies in London and in New York, having been best mates with David Bowie and pretty much anyone who was anyone back then. Eric Clapton was very nearly her guitar teacher, Led Zep’s Jimmy Page played on her early folk records and she was in and out of the tabloids with Bob Dylan as a teenage girl. She has recorded with Elton John, had her portrait screen printed by Andy Warhol's Factory, and shared a stage with rock’n’roll greats Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and the Stones. She's lived a life as starry and storied as Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg – so why hasn't anyone heard of her? In the 1970s, Dana went glam-pop with the track Andy Warhol, which Bowie had written for her, and released the 1974 album Weren’t Born A Man, where she appears in a corset and stockings on the cover. But then Bowie’s management company went bust and The Thin White Duke stopped returning her calls. Unable to get out of her contract for years, she turned to acting and starred in musicals, though the tabloids were always distracted by her buxom image. In the 1980s, she reinvented herself as a blues singer, founded the Mustique blues festival and has now released upwards of 70 albums, including 13 in Sanskrit. Dana is perhaps just as famous for her long list of lovers, including Keith Moon, Michael Caine and Sean Connery. But Dylan clearly recognised that she is one of a kind and, in the 90s, invited her to open up for him on his UK tour. She has also become a rock star of the spiritual world, having performed in front of a million people at her guru Sai Baba’s birthday celebrations. Her style of blues is saucy and knowing, and you can still see her performing every month at a venue called the Temple of Music And Art in south London. Truth be told, Dana has lived such a life that we could have made an entire series about her. If you want more no-holds-barred tell-alls, check out her 2020 memoir, Weren’t Born A Man. In this episode, she talks about coming from money, her infamous basement hangout in South Kensington, her love of the blues, how she met Bowie, her freewheeling attitude to sex, love and forgiveness, her spiritual awakening, making music into her 70s and how she hopes she won't be forgotten in the pantheon of great British artists. This episode was produced by Sarah Nichol, presented by Kate Hutchinson and sound designed by Colour It In. Portrait by Laura Kelly. Music in this episode: Dana Gillespie - Track 06 Dems - Unreleased Blue Dog Sessions - Funk & Flash Mr Smith - Badass Dana Gillespie - Track 07 Kevin McLeod - Hustle Bruce Millar - Sitar & Tabla Duo Jim Barrett - Star Fragment Ident music: Emmy The Great.
40 mins
S3 Ep3: Cleo Sylvestre: the veteran actor on resilience, rejection, the Rolling Stones and representing the working class
Cleo Sylvestre (1945-) is a woman of many firsts: she is the first Black woman to play a leading role at the National Theatre in London, one of the first Black actors to have a recurring role in a primetime British soap and one of the first Black Brits to release a single in 1964 – with none other than her friends, The Rolling Stones. The Guardian called her “the Black actor who should have been one of Britain’s biggest stars”. So why isn’t she a household name? Sylvestre was born in Euston, London, and attended Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts before launching into a life on stage and screen: she made her West End debut in 1964 alongside British acting legend Alec Guinness and went on to star in some of the definitive shows of the Sixties, those that put working class actors on TV for the first time, including visionary director Ken Loach’s Up The Junction, Cathy Come Home and Poor Cow, as well as Doctor Who, Coronation Street and Crossroads.  Like Dana Gillespie, who is also featured this season, Cleo hung out at the Marquee Club in Soho, which is where she met the Rolling Stones, who invited her to record the 1964 single, To Know Him Is To Love Him, while rock’and’roll royalty like Jimmy Page and the Hollies would often come for one of her mother’s home cooked meals.  It wasn’t easy being one of the few Black women breaking through in the entertainment industry, as she explains, discussing race, resilience, rejection and wanting to pave the way for working class actors, as well as how she’s returned to singing after 50 years with her blues alter ego, Honey B Mama. It’s interesting to compare Cleo’s and Dana’s stories – they moved through the Swinging Sixties differently but have both ended up performing the blues later in life. And they didn’t meet each other till later in life, either! If you liked this, listen to our PP Arnold episode, another singer who Mick Jagger was quite taken with early on… And you can catch Honey B Mama and her band playing at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in London, where Cleo served as co-director for 20 years. This episode was produced by Antonia Odunlami, and presented and exec-produced by Kate Hutchinson, with sound design by Hana Walker-Brown. ​ Music in this episode via FreeMusicArchive: Gary War - Bounce Four Joel Holmes - African Skies Shaolin Dub - Overthrow Jahzzar - Boulevard St Germain
34 mins