"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)

David G. Torres has been working away for a while now considering what happened in the late seventies and early eighties: COUM Transmissions and Chris Burden, Siouxsie and Valie Export, the Dead Kennedys and Lynda Benglis, Radio Futura and Talking Heads. As if in the last death throes of utopia, of it doesn´t matter what you do, nor how you do it. Hence he has tried to exhibitions, texts... Always seeking to think critically, contrariwise, against the grain. And sometimes, almost managing.

12 May 2013

One of the legendary programmes on Spanish television in the eighties was "La Edad de Oro". We’ve referred to it on other occasions and to some of its highlights, such as the presence of Genesis P-Orridge with his band Throbbing Gristle in an outrageous interview with Jordi Valls and Vagina Dentara Organ, features on Divine and Mapplethorpe, or José Luis Brea solemnly presenting the video "La escuela de calor" by Radio Futura… We’ve said it on more than one occasion, television in the eighties was something else, for many, forming part of their emotional and intellectual education. Other programmes also linger in the memory, like Pleitaguensam or Glasnost, directed by Lulu Martorell. While the videos of "La Edad de Oro" circulate on the internet the same doesn’t happen with the latter two, where there are also memorable moments, such as an interview with an almost mute Jean-Michel Basquiat, who doesn’t know what to reply (it would be great if they could be accessible again, if anyone has them put them on the web).

But the most striking thing about "La Edad de Oro" was the live format of the show: the live on screen interviews and performances. The programme began its emissions in 1983 (and ended in 1985) thereby picking up, from across the pond, the scheme of another model programme, TV Party, broadcast from New York, from 1978 to 1982. TV Party followed a similar structure of live performances and interviews and had the same desire to reflect diverse initiatives in the crux of contemporary culture: musicians and artists, all mixed up together. If "La Edad de Oro" was headed by the journalist Paloma Chamorro and the art critic Armando Montesinos, TV Party was led by the writer and editor, Glenn O’Brien, who had participated in Warhol’s factory and Chris Stein, the lead guitarist in Blondie. And the whole New York scene at the beginning of the eighties passed through the programme, from Blondie (with Debbie Harry explaining to the Americans how to pogo dance), to Talking Heads and Tuxedomoon, and once again Jean-Michel Basquiat, when he went by the name SAMO, sorry, Mister SAMO.


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