Inside Culture – S2 #10 (Sgt Peppers, John Butler, Serge Diaghilev, Greenselves)

This week on Inside Culture Fionn Davenport marks the 50th anniversary of the famous Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. The album contains many of the band’s best known songs, including Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane.

Speaking to Martin King, director of The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool and to Stuart Clark, the deputy editor of Hot Press magazine, Fionn goes behind the scenes and hears what motivated the album and the influences mixed up in it. As Beatlemania reached its peak in 1966 the Band lashed out against the restrictions they felt were being imposed by their fame. The result, Sgt. Pepper’s, was an instant commercial success.

John Butler joins Fionn in studio. He’s the director of the film Handsome Devil. It’s the story of Ned (Fionn O’Shea) and Conor’s (Nicholas Galitzine) unlikely friendship in a boys school dominated by rugby. Ned the loner, and Conor the star Rugby athlete are forced to share a bedroom as Conor is coming to terms with his sexuality. For Butler, the dearth of openly gay players in the world of sports is lamentable. He says that if gay teenagers had sport stars to look up to the course of their lives could be so much smoother and he calls on authorities in the sports world to address homophobia on the pitch and off.

Regan Hutchins visits The Glucksman Gallery in UCC where an exhibition, Set In Time, shows a collection of sketches for set and costume design by artists like Picasso, Cocteau and Matisse.

The works were collected by Serge Lifar who was a disciple of Serge Diaghilev the impresario of Les Ballets Russes. Glucksman director Fiona Kearney and senior curator Chris Clarke discuss the collection and the great age of Diaghilev, les Ballets Russes and the remarkable collaboration that saw the giants of the modern age lend their talents to the world of theatre and dance. Cork set designer Deirdre O’Dwyer joins them to offer her practical insight into the designs and explains how she would go about bringing the designs to life.

Finally, Fionn goes to the National Print Museum to look at an exhibition of Irish record sleeves. Greensleeves dates from the 1950’s to the present day. Curators Niall McCormack and Ciarán Swan describe how in its heyday the Irish printing industry was heavily involved in the printing of Irish record sleeves both for the home market and for export. The Irish designs also established an identity which became recognisable around the world. With the decline of vinyl manufacture the knock-on effect on the printing industry was inevitable. Nowadays the trend is turning as vinyl is growing in popularity but in much smaller number than before.

Broadcast on Monday, 22nd May 2017.