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Hello and welcome to the Culture Show.
This week, we're in Bexhill,
enjoying the great British summertime at the Delaware Pavilion.
Built in 1935, it was the UK's first major modernist public building.
It's a classic venue with a new rooftop installation
inspired by a classic film.
More of that to come.
First, here's a glimpse of what else is coming up
on this week's show.
Extreme dance with Elizabeth Streb.
A tour of Olympic architecture.
A fire garden at Stonehenge.
And Ben Drewe, aka Plan B.
But first, one of my highlights of this summer's London 2012 festival
is in Bexhill, a sleepy seaside town on the south coast of England,
now the site of a patriotic homage
to one of the finest film finales of all-time.
The Italian Job is a perfect piece of 1960s British film-making.
A brilliantly entertaining slice of flag-waving nostalgia.
Complete with Minis in Union Jack formation.
A cast of homegrown greats.
And a raft of killer one-liners.
You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!
The plot revolves around a small-time crook
played by Michael Caine
who travels to Turin on a mission to nick £4 million of Italian gold.
It's basically an excuse for an extended car chase
in which the might of the great British Mini
triumphs over Italy's pathetically inferior Fiat.
But it's perhaps best known
for one of the most memorable final sequences in film history.
just when our boys think they are home and dry with the stolen gold,
and our hero announces the film's final cliff-hanging line.
Hang on a minute, lads.
I've got a great idea.
Fast forward 43 years to 2012, and the artist Richard Wilson
has come up with the frankly brilliant idea
of replicating the final moments of that film
by hanging a full-scale replica bus off the roof
of the Delaware Pavilion, here in Bexhill-on-Sea.
So, Richard, we have a coach
teetering on the edge of the Delaware Pavilion.
It's called, Hang On A Minute, Lads, I've Got A Great Idea.
Where did the great idea come from?
It came from many, many different notions.
As you say, teetering on the edge. It's half on something solid.
It's half in open space. We're right at the water's edge here.
We are on land, but we have the sea there.
The sea runs to the edge and we've got sky.
We're dealing with the edge of the building.
It's lots of little things that come together
to build something of a cliff-hanger.
And that word was right. OK, we need a structural dome.
We need to draw people's attention to the building.
This iconic thing - what can I do that's iconic as a cliff-hanger?
I started to think about that moment
of the coach in that wonderful film, The Italian Job.
What can I do like that? It was just so obvious. Do it!
Don't find something like that.
Just reenact that iconic cinematic moment on this iconic building.
I've played with facades and now I want to play with an edge.
For over 20 years, Richard Wilson
has been creating epic, site-specific installations.
In Liverpool, in 2007, he chose to play with our perceptions of surface
by spinning a circular section of a building's facade.
For his seminal piece, 2050, he flooded a room with oil
with a waist-high walkway
that allowed visitors to enter into a mirrored illusion.
In 2000, he displayed a 15% cross-section of a ship.
His next project, Slipstream, will reveal the solid embodiment
of the void left by a spinning stunt plane,
and is set to dominate the Heathrow terminal.
In these gigantic works, Wilson is asking us to look again
at the world we take for granted.
I'm taking imagery which is current, and it's understood.
If I'm working with a vocabulary of forms that I've invented,
like a couple of my colleagues, where it comes from the imagination
but doesn't have a reference point, you're struggling a bit.
But if I take objects that exist in the real world, people know those
and they're already having a relationship with them.
What do you think it is about The Italian Job
that captures the imagination after all these generations?
It's an amalgamation, it's a caper, an action adventure, it's a comedy.
It's Keystone Cops meets The Lavender Hill Mob.
It's our lads going off and ripping off Turin's Fiat factory
and getting the gold and bringing it back.
I could eat a horse!
To spend all that time and effort and money to do something like that.
And then to completely botch it at the end,
it's like watching England play football.
If you go through with this, you've got to win.
If you muck it up, don't ever think of coming back here,
except in your coffin.
One of the interesting things about The Italian Job,
in its original script form, it was a darker story than we now know.
It became more comic.
And again, it seems you can see that in this piece.
On the one hand, it is funny and charming, on the other hand
there is an element of jeopardy involved, isn't there?
Well, there is, and it's an interesting conversation.
People have been asking about longevity and what will happen after this? I'm saying, in a way,
it needs to go to an audience that understands the film. They'll get it.
If you took something like this to Japan,
that imagery talks of something else.
That terrible tsunami, and ships on buildings.
It has a completely different ring.
So it's a very difficult one to place because it conjures other thoughts.
In terms of film, there are two things that people are sniffy about,
comedy and action.
If somebody makes somebody laugh
or if it is spectacular they go, "OK, well, it's not art."
Do you find the same thing true in the sculpture world?
That if it makes you laugh, it can be looked down on?
I've been very fortunate in my career.
There's always been a slight element of humour.
If you, for example, take the piece up in Liverpool,
you're doing something with architecture that it doesn't do.
Architecture doesn't move. So people go, "Oh, my God".
It's that, it's a strange relief action. It's like "Oh, I get it".
Have you seen that happening here with this?
When we pulled up, you do stop.
Well, what's sometimes seen as a dirty word by a lot of artists, I love it.
I like that notion of specatacle, the wow factor.
I like the idea that you are held in your tracks,
you look, and then you start to rationalise.
What's also great is,
you don't need to be versed in art grammar to get it.
It's this thing that looks as if it will fall off the edge of the building.
And that arrests you in your step.
I like the idea that there's so much information and imagery
pouring into us now, that I want to get that snapshot look on things.
And by doing that, I have to do that little conjuring magical moment,
which is the structural daring, basically,
where you're seized and arrested at that point.
You look, then you can stay and contemplate, or you move on.
-It's a great piece. Congratulations.
-Thanks very much, Mark.
You can see Hang On A Minute, Lads, I've Got A Great Idea
until October 1st.
Now we move up a gear to extreme action company Streb
and their latest daredevil display.
Called One Extrordinary Day,
it's the brain child of American choreographer, Elizabeth Streb,
who allowed us to film their top secret rehearsals for a performance
at seven London landmarks.
If you want to know more, you can follow them on Twitter.
-All right, climbing.
-I'm watching him climb.
Describe Streb to you? A wild crazy adventure.
It's cool, man.
As far as I'm aware, Streb are the only people who do this.
It's about being up in the air and staying up in the air
for as long as possible.
It's also about taking a hit, as well, when you get to the ground.
Everything you train for as an acrobat or a dancer
is completely irrelevant in Streb.
That's the foundation of being a true action hero.
I think of Streb as action's answer to rock'n'roll.
Like the sort of renegades of rock'n'roll.
The real old rough-and-ready rock'n'rollers.
Action was always meant to be transgressive
and really be dangerous like that.
Just remember what Elizabeth talked about yesterday.
Find your perfect line.
I loved Evil Knievel. I loved Houdini.
I loved all of the Niagara daredevils,
especially the ones that designed barrels to go over Niagara Falls.
I thought "Cool!"
One woman, Annie Edson Taylor,
she was the first woman and she was about my age, 63.
I'm 62, I'm a little younger.
Imagine a 63-year-old woman getting in a barrel and going over,
and she survived!
I can't really say my best pieces,
but the ones that interested me the longest have to do
with me not knowing before I start what the possibilities are.
So if I remain as ignorant and as gracefully ignorant as I can,
then I can ask more pertinent questions
and come up with more surprising physical action.
There is a piece I wanted to do.
It sort of mimicked something I saw in Las Vegas a couple of years ago.
It was the Bellagio fountains.
I wanted to figure out how to get
bodies to do what the water was doing.
I've got 33 bodies falling in all these different formations
from all these different levels.
One at a time, two at a time, eight at a time, 17, 20 at a time.
They come down and land either flat on their stomachs
or flat on their back.
They have about two-thirds of a second, shockingly enough,
that's all they have, to do whatever moves they want to do,
flip, turn, rotate, twist.
They have to then organise their bodies perfectly horizontally
to land all at once in a perfect line.
They have to start getting up
before they even land or they're stuck there for a couple of seconds
and then someone else is going to land on them.
They do this activity, falling, climbing, falling, climbing
for about 18 minutes.
It's the most grisly, brutal dance
that Streb has ever made.
I find it the most moving.
It's hard to find people
who are willing to put their bodies through this.
A number of them have walked away.
Some of the London dancers just, you know,
they kept getting broken noses and having their shoulders pull out
or feeling vertigo from some of the things we've asked them to do.
That happens in New York too. People just run from the room.
We have half London dancers that we've been working with for three or four months.
I have 18 dancers I brought from the United States, from New York,
that we've been working with for six months,
some of them for two years.
I think that we've married those two together in this beautiful garage.
We are going to go out there, very much like an Olympic team,
we are going to, really, we're going for the gold.
From the early morning until very close to midnight,
we are going to be doing seven events
all over a particular area of London.
Just a couple of notes, guys, if you all stay here.
-You all right?
-How long was the dance?
One Extraordinary Day is the most difficult,
most complex plan we've ever been able,
with thousands of people helping us, to come up with.
Because of a lot of co-operation from the river, from the engineers,
from the city of London.
From the Mayor's office, from the London Olympic Committee,
we've got the permission to engage in these places and space.
I can't predict how people will respond to it.
I believe, if I'm being accurate with my aim,
that it's something people will always remember.
If that wasn't true I will have failed, I think.
It's all top secret. So top secret, not even we know what's going on!
I'm a Leo, so keeping it a secret is very hard for me!
You have one day. It's one shot. It's one performance.
I think we'll put on a pretty incredible show.
We are not able to get on these buildings, some of these places.
I've had to create facsimiles so I can try and imagine and replicate
what the physical sensation is going to be for the dancers.
We will be on them for the first time on that One Extraordinary Day.
We are kind of marauders of the night.
So if you see some movement up in high places,
at odd times, it might be us.
Next we move on to ambitions of an Olympian scale,
but more to do with distinctive design than human endeavour.
Tom Dyckhoff took to the streets
to explore the merits of Olympic architecture.
The Olympics is an institution
that celebrates physical perfection and sporting achievement.
But it's also become a way of demonstrating national pride
and bigging up the host city
so that millions of people around the world and visiting tourists
can see just how brilliant we are.
And nothing symbolises this more than the architecture.
Not the old fusty stuff, the historic things,
but the dazzling new array called Olympic architecture.
But hosting the Olympic Games is a gamble with an awful lot of money.
So what's the best way to spend it?
Well, the usual way is to do it is old-school,
like Beijing 2008 or Athens 2004,
blowing your billions on cavorting buildings that simultaneously
display whatever propaganda message you want.
In Athens, that meant reminding us that when the Olympics began,
Greece ruled the world.
And Beijing made it clear who's in charge now.
However, once the show's moved on,
you are usually left with rather expensive white elephants.
Remember this one?
No, nobody else did either.
In Montreal 1976's case,
it took 30 years to pay for an iconic stadium no-one's ever heard of.
So what does London 2012's Olympic architecture represent?
In the final phases of construction,
getting up close and personal is still tricky.
But in the stakes of iconography,
it's easy to see there are some show-stoppers.
And in terms of Olympic white elephantitis,
they seem fairly immune.
Cycling is a sport we're good at
and it looks like we're good at designing the arenas too.
The Olympic Velodrome is camera friendly,
but for my money, so much more.
My second postcard-friendly lovely is the Aquatic Centre
by Dame Zaha Hadid.
More of a conceptual and financial risk,
poetic beauty like this doesn't come cheap.
But at least it's been a gamble that's paid off
both practically and aesthetically.
And then there's the main track and field stadium, a stickier prospect.
Described by one critic as painfully pragmatic,
it's the one venue that seems to have underwhelmed and disappointed us all in the run-up to the Games.
Iconic, it isn't, but it's actually the most radical building of all.
The stadium's future use is still being decided, but its architects,
Populous, made plans for it not to be here at all.
Everything you see above ground was designed
to be taken down like Ikea shelving and used somewhere else,
maybe at the next Olympics.
Now, that is radical.
Temporary and mobile architecture of this scale is an idea
that dates from the 1960s and a visionary group
of architects known as Archigram.
One of its founders, Peter Cook,
was a consultant for the design of the stadium.
Often more like science fiction and fantasy,
their futuristic designs were all about adaptability, even mobility.
And these ideas have filtered through to many of the structures
built to accommodate the 2012 Games.
This concept of the Olympics as a travelling roadshow
has been watered down considerably, but it has left its mark.
With the same flexibility as a wedding marquee,
the basketball arena may end up at the next Olympics in Rio.
And the shooting gallery in Woolwich
may be seen again in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games.
In Athens, out of 32 sporting venues, 22 were permanent and purpose-built.
In London, it's only six. And that shows you that something's changed.
These buildings aren't set to be added
to the list of architectural Olympic follies.
In a very British way, what is beautiful and radical about them
is their very practicality.
And I believe it's this approach
that will become the future model for hosting the Games.
Next up, having just directed his first feature film, ill Manors,
and with a new album of the same name about to be released,
there's no doubt that Plan B is a busy man.
But he still found time to meet up with Miranda Sawyer.
In the 1980s, a disenfranchised community
found a powerful new form of expression, hip-hop.
Artists like Public Enemy took what was party music
and cranked up the politics and the power against Reagan's America.
# Fight the power
# Fight the power. #
For almost three decades, the sound of hip-hop has been everywhere,
yet its political rage has been pushed underground.
But this year a young British artist
brought rap's anger back to the charts.
Following last year's riots, 28-year-old Plan B,
singer, rapper, actor and film maker,
released the uncompromising track ill Manors.
It was immediately hailed as one of the great protest songs of our time
and Plan B became the voice of what is known as broken Britain.
# There's no such thing as broken Britain
# We're just bloody broke in Britain
# What needs fixing is the system
# Not shop windows down in Brixton
# Riots on the television
# You can't put us all in prison. #
What's interesting about Ben Drew aka Plan B is how he tells stories.
He could make his urban tales of dealers,
prostitutes and criminals seem glamorous.
Instead, he helps us understand
how people end up in these depressing situations.
He makes people close and human rather than out there and alien.
Plan B followed his single with the release
of his first full length film, also called ill Manors.
Written and directed by Ben, it follows a group
of young people trapped in a cycle of crime and violence
on the fringes of East London.
Later this month, he releases his third album,
based on the film's soundtrack.
-Shall we talk about a couple of the songs on the album?
Thinking about ill Manors the track,
it got a lot of attention, and one of the reasons it got the attention is because the kind of hook is
"What you looking at, you little rich boy?"
People are a bit like, "Whoa, that's confrontational."
# Oi! I said oi!
# What you looking at you little rich boy?
# We're poor round here
# Run home and lock your door
# Don't come round here no more
# You could get robbed for... #
Obviously, I'm a rich boy now. You know, I got money.
The way I wrote the hook was, this is what these kids think.
So if these kids are all hoodies and chavs and scumbags,
this is what they think of you.
And it's fine for the newspapers to ridicule these kids
because they happen to come from a poorer background.
So it should be fine to me to rap those lyrics in a rap song.
If it gets under your skin, then good,
maybe you know then how it feels for those kids.
For me, it's the newspapers that's perpetuating this class war.
# Keep on believing what you read in the papers
# Council estate kids scum of the earth
# Think you know how life on a council estate is
# From everything you've ever read about it or heard. #
It's coming up to like a year since the riots.
What do you think that anniversary means?
Who knows? Like, it could still happen again this year,
it could happen at any time.
I don't think enough has been done, really,
to change people's attitudes.
A lot of these kids, I don't think they are bad.
I think they're just misled and I think they're acting out
on stuff that has happened to them from their past.
You've gotta sit them kids down and say,
"Listen. All that stuff that happened to you, that is not fair,
"but stuff you're doing now, you're responsible for it.
"Those people that done that bad stuff to you all those years ago, they're not doing that any more."
# You used to rap every day
# Looking for the devil's pain
# The young soul's dad went to jail
# Listen when you hear them say. #
If I hadn't been, become as successful as I did,
I would still be looked down upon as some chav from a council estate,
which I'm not, you know what I mean?
So someone had to stand up for them kids.
If that's what people, when people look at me,
they assume I'm from a council estate
and I'm white trash, then I guess that's what I am.
Given that you had such great success with Strickland Banks
and if you think about soul music,
it has got a history of kind of social change.
If you think about Marvin Gaye, What's Going On, something like that,
soul music can also be used in that way.
You could have put those sentiments in a soul album.
The thing is, with soul music, or the Strickland Banks music,
unless you look for that story that's within it,
it can just be a collection of songs.
# She said I love you boy, I love you so
# She said I love you baby
# Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. #
Plan B's breakthrough success came with his soul-infused second album,
The Defamation Of Strickland Banks.
The record reached number one in the charts,
but it's a sound he's put on hold for his current crusade.
Nothing spells it out better than hip-hop.
So with the ill Manors single, for instance,
that got under people's skin
because I used the vehicle of hip-hop
to really kind of talk about the issue at hand.
Another artist with his unique take on British society
is punk poet John Cooper Clarke,
who makes a surprising cameo in ill Manors.
I was very pleased to see John Cooper Clarke in ill Manors.
I'm always happy to see that man.
How come you brought him in?
For me, he is a British rapper
who was rapping long before a lot of other people.
The bloody pies are bloody old
The bloody chips are bloody cold
The bloody beer is bloody flat
The bloody flats have bloody rats
The bloody clocks are bloody wrong
The bloody days are bloody long
It bloody gets you bloody down
He's like so northern, innit, he's so him in the language
that he's using.
I've written a lot of Cockney-inspired kind of raps
because of John Cooper Clarke.
For me, it's like if you're a hip-hop artist in this country,
you need to listen to that man.
Pity the fate of young fellows
Too long abed without sleep
With their complex romantic attachments
I look on their sorrows and weep
They don't get a moment's reflection
There's always a crowd in their eye
Pity the plight of young fellows
Regard all their worries and cry.
I'm not one of those artists,
I don't think I'll ever release a pop rap record,
where I'm still a rapper
but I'm only rapping about your stereotypical kind of things.
-Good times, you know, love.
20 inch rims, hos.
All that stuff, you know what I mean?
-Thanks very much for fitting us in.
-Thank you, yeah. Thanks.
Next week on the Culture Show, actress Fiona Shaw
talks poetry with Cerys Matthews.
Alastair Sooke and Akram Khan visit Tate Modern's new oil tanks.
And I get into the Olympic spirit
with my very own mobile movie marathon.
But we play out from Britain's oldest surviving structure,
Stonehenge, transformed this week into a fire garden
by outdoor alchemists, Compagnie Carrabosse.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd