Fourth along in the back row of the Sgt Pepper cover is an image of standup comedian Lenny Bruce which looks… nothing like him! I suspect because Peter Blake colourised a black and white photograph and stuck the head on a (generic?) body to which it didn’t belong—because in the original photo Bruce is sideways on, with his head turned towards the camera.
This upsetting detail aside, Bruce has always been categorised as the comedian who was hounded to death in the cause of free speech. At this particular cultural moment, of course, free speech has become a political football, as people with dreadful opinions and huge broadcast platforms complain that they are being silenced by people not employed by billionaire media moguls. As Zoe Williams argues in this recent article about Durham University, the battle between the academy and the billionaire-owned press as to who should be the arbiters of free speech has been raging for decades.
As usual, Elodie has done the exhaustive research – especially into Lenny Bruce’s obscenity trial –, and my job is to see how quickly I can derail her script with my terrible dad jokes.
Written and researched by Elodie McMinn with contributions from Rob McMinn.
This is another episode we recorded outdoors because it was just too hot this summer to sit inside in a stuffy room with all the windows and doors closed. So you’ll hear the background noise of a French village at night, which all adds to the fun. Chihuahua!
One more note: a reminder that episode one is missing because Elodie mislaid all her research and her script so we couldn’t record it. How could this happen, you ask? Well, one of the problems of using Pages on an iPad is that every document ends up being called Blank##, and it’s surprisingly difficult to give them a proper name. Maybe it will turn up one day.