[annual-IIII Leary faces ﬁnal trip
When the US military started running tests on the effects of LSD on combat troops, it thought it might have discovered an ‘anti-personnel’ weapon which would freak out the enemy.
While turning a few of its own soldiers 7
Into basket-cases, the experiments also created a new enemy. His name was Timothy Leary, a maverick Harvard academic who became professor of acid tripology and was later dubbed ‘the most dangerous man in America’ by President Nixon.
Throughout the late 60s, Learly tormented the American establishment with his exhortations to Grateful Dead fans, and anyone else who would listen, to take a trip. ‘Tune in, turn on, drop out’ was his oft- quoted catchphrase, though as time went by, most children of the acid generation tended to focus on the ‘drop out’ bit. Leary and his band of ‘merry pranksters’, which included writer Ken Kesey, distributed free LSD through ‘cosmic couriers’ who went among the love children handing out blotters like confetti. listening to a twitchy and nervous-sounding Leary, now aged 75, it’s hard not to feel that one tab too many has left a lasting impact.
That may be unfair, however. He is also facing up to the biggest trip of all
are a Timothy Leary: acid casualty
- death -- as prostate cancer waits to
claim another victim. ‘We probably pushed my nervous system as much. as anyone living,’ admits Leary. The ageing acid guru is now making plans to be reincarnated by cryogenics, the
g pseudo-science of freezing bodies in z the hope that human life will be ; restored at some stage in the future.
In The Enthusiastic Death of Timothy Leary, the acid guru makes it. clear he is still taking the tablets and advocating LSD as the solution to the
world’s ills. He suggests the Bosnian
conflict would have reached a quicker solution it the factions on all sides
3 had dropped a tab together, turning
the American military’s original
application of LSD in war on its head.
It only Lord Owen had been informed. (Eddie Gibb)
Without Walls: The Enthusiastic Death of Timothy Leary is on Tue 5 Dec at
9.30pm on Channel 4.
RADIO HIGHLIGHTS .. 3
I Print the Legend: God, Guts and Glory (Radiod) Fri 1 Dec. l().()2am. Terry Gilliam relates his fascination with the dirtiest. smelliest. seamicst of times — the Middle Ages — as seen in his films any Python and the Holy Grail. The Time Bum/its and The Fisher King. while .lean Jacques Annaud. director of mediaev al whodutmit The Name oft/re Ruse tells of his efforts to get Sean Connery and cast into the spirit of the period. I Kaleidoscope Feature: Between the Sheets (Radio 4) Sat 2 Dec. 7.20pm. The regular arts slot gets all steamed up over erotic fiction. as Kate Saunders asks authors Gore Vidal. A S Byatt. Melvyn Bragg. Michelle Roberts and Lisa Appignanesi to divulge the secrets of penning a good piece of ‘Erotica'. I Documentary: Krattwerk (Radio I) Sun 3 Dec. 7pm. Profile of the German synth- pop pioneers who graced 'I‘O'I‘l’ in the (’(Il‘l_\' 80s with the tttrjirrgctttthlt' .t'l/‘(llIH of hit single The Model. Spanning their career front the early experimental days at the Kling Klang studio in Dusseldorf to more recent dance mixes. the documentary includes tributes from David Bowie. Borro. ()MD's Andy McCIuskey. plus the first British radio interviews with ex-Kraftwerk members Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flur. I Head to Head (Radio 5 Live) Sun 3 Dec. 8.05pm. Boxer. showman and generally rather confident bloke. Prince Nascent Hamed. steps out of the ring and into the psychologist's chair for the first in a new series of in-depth interviews with top sporting personalities frosted by Professor Geoffrey Beanie. I La Mia Italla (Radio 4) Tue 5 Dec. 10.02am. Four-part series with William Ward — author of Getting it Right in Italy — gauging the temperature of Italian life and culture after three years of political corruption. electoral reform and the
emergence of :r belligerent new rightwving alliance. This week Ward visits Term. :2 small stccl tov.tr in tit: l’mlrria region.
\\ here the lLEIUt‘k-rtll' fleets of larger political change are more than evident
I Shelf LIVES (Radio J) 'l‘lrurs 7 Dec. 3.45pm. With Christmas atrd a new series of the consumer programme upon him.
Nigel Cassidv turns to Pro/ac. Dubbed C ‘ ‘mdant sunslurtc by the media. the green
and white anti-depressant is a pill that‘s popped regularly by l5 million people. btrt asks Cassrdy. are there people actually clinically depressed or is Pro/ac sirtrply taking the edge off everyday r‘ressurcs.
I Fourth Column tRattio 4) iii s Dec. 11.25pm. It‘s Have I (in! ;\'t".t‘.v l'iftl‘ lint on the radio. as Alistair Benton and guests Bernard lrrghau‘. Barry l’ilton and larr llislop kick off a new series of the satirical news and events programme.
I Live From the Met: The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (Radio 3) Sat 9 Dec. 6.3(lpm. ll‘yotr just can’t make it to the Met. New York ll‘lis weekend. tune into your tranny for the first in a new season of live broadcasts from one of the world‘s most famous opera houses. The first glittering occasion is this revival of Kurt Weill's leth century masterpiece. with Canadian soprano Teresa Stratas in star mode as the prostitute Jenny.
I Cinema 100; Lumiere‘s Children (Radio 3) Mon 1 I Dec. 9pm. from the first enchanting shorts of Cieorgc Mclies and the Lumiere Brothers to the digital world of lt’l'tllllltlltll' 2 and beyond. Cllfl.sltlpllL‘l' Cook considers how the art of film has been shaped by technology III the tirst of this new live—part series in the excellent Cinema l()() season.
I White Settlers (Radio I) Thurs l-l Dec.
7.20prrr. fix—Rangers player Terry Butcher
is one of five Iinglish ‘scttler's' in conversation with John liorsyth as. he examines the activities of the tiny, but
: extreme separatist political faction
Scottish Watch. (It'llie (Kurt
It‘s mid-afternoon. midweek. and the battle for viewers in the television confessional war is on. We can discount .\trrrtit; listhcr Rant/en. whose English l:_‘.scr\c prevents the kind of gross intrusion into people's private lives the American viewing public apparently detnands. Thus the three-way tie is played otrt by Fat Oprah. Thin ()prah and Fornrerly-Fat~But-Now~Thin Ricki.
The Oprah Winfrey Show (BBCZ. Weds) made the switch to BBC earlier this year. btrt Channel 4 is rc-running the last series (Thin Oprah). plus the latest Ricki Lake (Channel 4. Weds) which competes directly with Fat ()prah‘s new season. Confused? It gets worse; last week the two shows discussed the same subject simultaneously. While ()prah was opening the emotional floodgates in ‘My Child Tried to Kill Me'. the psychological sluices were already overflowing as Ricki presented ‘l'm Afraid of My Daughter“. Fortunately America has enough dysfunctional families to keep both shows in guests for years to come.
But despite obvious similarities — OK. so Ricki basically ripped offthe Oprah format -~ there were some obvious differences. While ()pralr had selected middle-class guests who were fluent in the psychobabble which is the lingtttt fl'ttnt‘tt of this TV format. Ricki's guests could offensively. btrt accurately. be described as white trash. These were the real thing. not Hollywood‘s prettrfred version of trailer-park lives. It weren‘t a priddy sight. ‘She calls me a hitch. she calls me all kinds of names — I can't even watch what I want to watch. I‘ve lost control in my own house.' whirrcd Carla. whose lumpen teenage daughter Chrissy was turning life into a domestic hell. Chrissy just sniggered frotn under her fringe. as mom recounted how she put fish food in the drinks. laxative powder in the dinner and pins directly into her mother. Too inaniculatc to play the TV game. the guestsjust looked sad and vulnerable as they were buffeted by audience outrage. Shameless cheerleading from Ricki added to the uneasy feeling about this show's motives.
Meanwhile on the other side. a rather more poised Amanda recounts how she tried to kill her mother: ‘All I ever wanted is to be loved and accepted. I have a lot of anger. I'd take it out on people who were opposed to me.‘ Like a rrrothcr who wouldn‘t buy her a Mercedes on her sixteenth birthday. ‘I found it kind of hurtful that she had the courage to do that [kill me].‘ said Amanda's mother Diane. ‘I didn‘t want her to grow tip with that kind of belrav iout‘.’ Kind of hurtful? You could say that. but Diane had read a few
home psychology books and knew the answer -- tough love. Possibly because she too was brought tip on a diet of TV
f therapy. Amanda was able to get with
the programme. ‘l'm no longer a brat becaUse I learnt my lessorr,‘ she said. By appearing on television. the healing process was complete. ‘()prah. we know that talk shows can‘t solve problems but hopefully we can open sonre channels of connnunication,‘ said
. guest shrink Dr Ruth piously.
There was an air of televised therapy about Princess Diana's interview on Panorama (BBCI. Mon) which opened up an unprecedented channel of communication between royalty and us
2 commoners. Martin Bashir installed Di
on the shrink's couch irt front of 21
1 million viewers and asked gently
probing questions. The widely reported
. revelations were all couched in the ‘ language ofOprah and Ricki‘s afternoon therapy sessions: ‘I had
bulimia for a nurtrber ofyears. And that‘s like a secret disease. You inﬂict it
upon yourselfbecause your self—esteem , is at a low ebb. and you don't think
you‘re worthy or valuable . . . It's a
t repetitive pattern which is very
; destructive to yourself.‘ As the
: consummate media professional. Diana ; provided the raw material of personal
5 revelation and the shrink's analysis.
More uncomfortable revelations came
‘ in Everyman (BBCI. Suns) which kicked off a new series with a two-part i investigation into the Nine O'Clock
Service, a religious cult based in Sheffield which literally had the
blessing of the Church of England. Its ‘ founder Chris Brain has resigned this
week as an ordained minister after female members of the congregation
queued up to talk about his unwelcome advances. Each one said they felt let
down by the Anglican authorities
which allowed what they say amounted
to sexual abuse in the church’s name. NOS had all the hallmarks ofthe kind
of charismatic American cults that church leaders are quick to condemn when they start recruiting in Britain.
but the warning signs of this
‘ homegrown version were overlooked. ‘I am puzzled as to what kind of
accountability people are secking.’ said the Right Reverend David Lunn. Bishop of Shefﬁeld. ‘preople want to set up an investigation. good luck to them. I think we know what happened.
[don't think it is likely to happen again
in the sense of the structure ofthe congregation. but it would be a fool
. who would say there couldn't be another Chris Brain. Sin is always with
us.‘ Is he really saying the church is
' powerless to stop charismatic leaders ' who pray. and prey. on vulnerable
young people? (Eddie Gibb)
The List I- I4 Dec 1995 81