Sounds of bi men and women
Hidden in a corner of iPlayer Radio – sorry, “BBC Sounds” – is a page full of programmes about bisexual men, and a counterpart page of programmes about bisexual women*.
These range from the fairly recent to some from fifty years ago, so provide some ideal listening during LGBT History Month.
First a I took a run around the men’s page. “Alistair Cooke’s Letter From America” has an episode focused on the work of bisexual economist John Maynard Keynes. If like me you used to listen to the show every week the voice is amazing for taking you back in time. This one is from 1992 when despite a war in Iraq having just come to an end, from our perspective of Brexit and Putin the world back then now seems such a safe and friendly place to have been. Alistair’s style involves long sweeping stories taking in plenty of American culture, so there is only so much about JMK in the course of the 13 minutes. There’s far more about his work in Anne McLevoy’s “Keynes v Hayek”, exploring rival solutions to the 1930s Great Depression.
There’s an interview with West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein.
Elsewhere in music, Meetings With Remarkable Men interviews Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground. We get to Lou only after an extensive background exploring his work and how badly some previous interviews had gone and this is an interview of snippets interwoven with samples of his musical work.
And a smattering of programmes relate to the life and work of David Bowie, such as “I Dressed Ziggy Stardust”, interviewing British Asian women inspired by Bowie.
There’s a teasingly short extract from “Not My Father’s Son: A Family Memoir” read by Alan Cumming.
There are also some much older clips such as a snip of “Somerset Maugham describes the extravagance and excess of turn of the century parties in London”, a clip from 1964 of the novelist and playwright reminiscing about a long while before.
And to wrap it all up there’s bi singer-songwriter Tom Robinson presenting “It’s My Story: Getting Bi” where in 2011 he met bi people around the world including people who attend Brum Bi Group.
The bi women’s programme page includes a Profile programme on Stormy Daniels, “the adult film actress who is taking on Donald Trump” from March last year, side by side with a review of the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and a retracing of the steps of Virginia Woolf‘s favourite walk in the Susex Downs.
City slicker Inga Beale gets the Profile treatment too, a school dropout who became the first female head of the Lloyds insurance market as well as its first openly bi boss. As with the Lou Reed interview this is a series of short clips of her speaking interwoven with other people’s thoughts on her work and life – but with more about being bisexual in the weave than in many of the programmes in this collection. Ruth Hunt from Stonewall explains how brave and rare someone being an out bi role model was when Inga came out. And still is.
In music there’s a 2010 profile of Lady Gaga alongside a link to an interview with Alison Goldfrapp that sadly no longer works, you teasing BBC rotters, and an interview with Amanda (f…) Palmer from the Hay Festival in 2015. In short, loads for your bi listening pleasure.