Inconspicuous Consumption

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0101Framing Device2015031220150826 (R4)

A series exploring the cultural consumption that other media ignore.

Sarah Cuddon looks at - and through - a diversity of frames to understand what they're for, how they work and why we develop such strong feelings about them. In galleries, framers shops and people's homes, she meets those involved in negotiations over frames.

In a local London framing shop, Sarah hears about a request to frame a (human) ponytail, and meets the man who had his pacemaker framed. She tries to understand the allure of the ornate gold frame and considers the modern day opposite - framelessness.

She hears how Europe's galleries have obsessed over the 'white box frame' and she meets an artist for whom frames are merely an old-fashioned decoration.

What emerges is as much about how people see their possessions as it is about framing. Choosing the right frame for a deceased love one for example, is a revealing business. Which is why Robert's story is so telling. For him, the very business of framing provides a metaphorical framing device for his life story.

Produced and Presented by Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

0102Exist Through The Gift Shop2015031920150902 (R4)

This series aims to look at the cultural consumption that other media ignore. We treasure our great museums and galleries, but they increasingly depend on income and we increasingly depend on purchases to somehow validate our visit.

So what's in a postcard, a piece of replica jewellery or a tin of Rosetta Stone Mints? When we give a gift from a museum shop, what are we telling the recipient?

Nick Baker visits museums and galleries in London and Liverpool, hanging around gift shops and quizzing customers on how their purchases relate to what they've seen in the exhibitions to which they relate. If they relate. Some gallery gift shops feature stuff that's not really connected to the exhibits within. Others offer expensive replicas, like the British Museum's Elgin Marble gifts.

Andy Warhol famously predicted that one day, "All department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores." At a Warhol exhibition in Tate Liverpool, this seems to be becoming true. Shoppers there reflect on their purchases, how they relate to the consumer-focused artist who inspired them, and what they'll do with them when they get them home.

Sharon Macdonald, a cultural anthropologist and keen museum shopper explains how museums simultaneously are and aren't like department stores, and we visit the V&A jewellery department to ask people whether, when they look at the exhibits, they imagine themselves wearing them.

Produced and Presented by Nick Baker

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

0103 LAST2015032620150909 (R4)

Jack Monroe delves into cupboards and kitchen cabinets to find out how we consume and care about our crockery.

This is no trivial matter. Tableware is the result of a negotiation involving your household rituals, attitudes to food and aesthetics. The relationship between cup and lip can get obsessional. It's a delicate subject and one which, as Jack discovers, goes deeper than you might imagine.

She talks to people at home in kitchens, in restaurants and in warehouses. She speaks to one man who lives in his car about his experiments with tableware when he doesn't actually have a table, and learns how the choices we make about our crockery and the way we treat it can offer vital clues to the health of a marriage.

Jack also hears how one woman turned her addiction to vintage crockery into a business venture, and meets the ceramicist Alison Britton who prefers to drink tea from a white cup.

Children are conditioned to tableware sensibility from the word go - the reward for eating it all up is the picture at the bottom of the bowl. Some stuff is too good to eat from - but in Greece they ritually smash their plates on the most important occasions. Why?

And then there's the office mug collection and the tense negotiations of personality and status - as Jack, who remembers days in the emergency services, knows only too well.

Producer: Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

02Clock Face2017020220180417 (R4)

Aatif Nawaz on why the old-fashioned clock face continues to survive in the modern day.

Documentary series that takes a forensic look at how humans consume culture.

Comedian and presenter Aatif Nawaz considers why the old fashioned clockface continues to survive in the modern-day.

It's over 300 years old, it's hard to learn and doesn't give as accurate a reading as its, cheap modern digital counterpart, yet there's no sign of the analogue dial - hands, face and all - losing popularity.

Or is there?

Aatif Nawaz doesn't wear a watch on stage or off. For a comic to look at his or her watch mid-set is a mistake, as Aatif finds out talking to fellow comedians. Many younger people just use their smartphone.

Aatif visits the keepers of Edinburgh's famous floral clock, more novelty than useful timepiece. And he meets primary school pupils grappling with the big hand and the little hand. Their teacher says they start school with a knowledge of digital time telling but must learn the less intuitive analogue system.

Dr David Rooney, Keeper of Technologies and Engineering at the Science Museum, provides a history of the portable timepiece. We learn from him and watch journalist Suzanne Wong of high-end watch magazine Revolution that the first wristwatches were for women. Men regarded wrist wear as effeminate. It was only with the advent of World War 1, that the wristwatch's practicality made it male friendly.

Professor Joe Smith, social scientist at the Open University, sings the aesthetic praises of the old face - confessing, as a family member of the venerable clockmaker Smith of Derby, a special interest. Dr Smith says the public clock is and always was an expression of social and aesthetic values nationally and internationally.

Aatif, his wrist still naked, agrees, citing Mecca, not London as the home to the world's biggest clockface.

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

02Clock Face2017020220180418 (R4)

Aatif Nawaz on why the old-fashioned clock face continues to survive in the modern day.

Documentary series that takes a forensic look at how humans consume culture.

Comedian and presenter Aatif Nawaz considers why the old fashioned clockface continues to survive in the modern-day.

It's over 300 years old, it's hard to learn and doesn't give as accurate a reading as its, cheap modern digital counterpart, yet there's no sign of the analogue dial - hands, face and all - losing popularity.

Or is there?

Aatif Nawaz doesn't wear a watch on stage or off. For a comic to look at his or her watch mid-set is a mistake, as Aatif finds out talking to fellow comedians. Many younger people just use their smartphone.

Aatif visits the keepers of Edinburgh's famous floral clock, more novelty than useful timepiece. And he meets primary school pupils grappling with the big hand and the little hand. Their teacher says they start school with a knowledge of digital time telling but must learn the less intuitive analogue system.

Dr David Rooney, Keeper of Technologies and Engineering at the Science Museum, provides a history of the portable timepiece. We learn from him and watch journalist Suzanne Wong of high-end watch magazine Revolution that the first wristwatches were for women. Men regarded wrist wear as effeminate. It was only with the advent of World War 1, that the wristwatch's practicality made it male friendly.

Professor Joe Smith, social scientist at the Open University, sings the aesthetic praises of the old face - confessing, as a family member of the venerable clockmaker Smith of Derby, a special interest. Dr Smith says the public clock is and always was an expression of social and aesthetic values nationally and internationally.

Aatif, his wrist still naked, agrees, citing Mecca, not London as the home to the world's biggest clockface.

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

02Eating and Watching2017011920180403 (R4)

Peter Curran investigates our compulsion to consume snacks and movies at the same time.

Documentary series that takes a forensic look at how humans consume culture.

Peter Curran investigates the history and psychology of our 100 year-old compulsion to consume snacks and movies at the same time.

Peter hangs about cinemas finding out how eating and watching interact in the dark. Why popcorn? Why eat at all? Among those answering the questions, Game of Thrones star Iain Glen reveals how he deals with noisy eaters and Andi Oliver, cook and great British menu judge, creates a bespoke 21st century cinema snack with a delicious, but hefty calorie tariff, aimed at silent scoffing.

On a visit to the Popcorn Museum Peter discovers how the yellow stuff, originally a street food, was brought into cinema foyers during the great American depression of the early 1930s. The arrival of the "talkie" helped the cravers of the crunchy. A new breed of hungrier, less literate cinemagoer could enjoy movies now that the ability to read cue cards was a thing of the past.

The idea of unhealthy cinema food is a post-War concept and, in 1939, The Ritz cinema in Belfast offered Dover sole, roast beef and a wide selection of vegetables for lunch, dinner and supper - a far cry from the nachos and chemically enhanced cheese available today.

A Testbed Production for BBC Radio 4.

02Eating and Watching2017011920180404 (R4)

Peter Curran investigates our compulsion to consume snacks and movies at the same time.

Documentary series that takes a forensic look at how humans consume culture.

Peter Curran investigates the history and psychology of our 100 year-old compulsion to consume snacks and movies at the same time.

Peter hangs about cinemas finding out how eating and watching interact in the dark. Why popcorn? Why eat at all? Among those answering the questions, Game of Thrones star Iain Glen reveals how he deals with noisy eaters and Andi Oliver, cook and great British menu judge, creates a bespoke 21st century cinema snack with a delicious, but hefty calorie tariff, aimed at silent scoffing.

On a visit to the Popcorn Museum Peter discovers how the yellow stuff, originally a street food, was brought into cinema foyers during the great American depression of the early 1930s. The arrival of the "talkie" helped the cravers of the crunchy. A new breed of hungrier, less literate cinemagoer could enjoy movies now that the ability to read cue cards was a thing of the past.

The idea of unhealthy cinema food is a post-War concept and, in 1939, The Ritz cinema in Belfast offered Dover sole, roast beef and a wide selection of vegetables for lunch, dinner and supper - a far cry from the nachos and chemically enhanced cheese available today.

A Testbed Production for BBC Radio 4.

0201Eating And Watching2017011920180403 (R4)
20180404 (R4)

Peter Curran investigates our compulsion to consume snacks and movies at the same time.

Documentary series that takes a forensic look at how humans consume culture.

Peter Curran investigates the history and psychology of our 100 year-old compulsion to consume snacks and movies at the same time.

Peter hangs about cinemas finding out how eating and watching interact in the dark. Why popcorn? Why eat at all? Among those answering the questions, Game of Thrones star Iain Glen reveals how he deals with noisy eaters and Andi Oliver, cook and great British menu judge, creates a bespoke 21st century cinema snack with a delicious, but hefty calorie tariff, aimed at silent scoffing.

On a visit to the Popcorn Museum Peter discovers how the yellow stuff, originally a street food, was brought into cinema foyers during the great American depression of the early 1930s. The arrival of the "talkie" helped the cravers of the crunchy. A new breed of hungrier, less literate cinemagoer could enjoy movies now that the ability to read cue cards was a thing of the past.

The idea of unhealthy cinema food is a post-War concept and, in 1939, The Ritz cinema in Belfast offered Dover sole, roast beef and a wide selection of vegetables for lunch, dinner and supper - a far cry from the nachos and chemically enhanced cheese available today.

A Testbed Production for BBC Radio 4.

Peter Curran investigates the history and psychology of our 100 year-old compulsion to consume snacks and movies at the same time.

Peter hangs about cinemas finding out how eating and watching interact in the dark. Why popcorn? Why eat at all? Among those answering the questions, Game of Thrones star Iain Glen reveals how he deals with noisy eaters and Andi Oliver, cook and great British menu judge, creates a bespoke 21st century cinema snack with a delicious, but hefty calorie tariff, aimed at silent scoffing.

On a visit to the Popcorn Museum Peter discovers how the yellow stuff, originally a street food, was brought into cinema foyers during the great American depression of the early 1930s. The arrival of the "talkie" helped the cravers of the crunchy. A new breed of hungrier, less literate cinemagoer could enjoy movies now that the ability to read cue cards was a thing of the past.

The idea of unhealthy cinema food is a post-War concept and, in 1939, The Ritz cinema in Belfast offered Dover sole, roast beef and a wide selection of vegetables for lunch, dinner and supper - a far cry from the nachos and chemically enhanced cheese available today.

A Testbed Production for BBC Radio 4.

0202Listening And Driving2017012620180410 (R4)
20180411 (R4)

Laura Barton drives the highways and byways, seeking out the musical memories and stories of fellow drivers and passengers.

Childhood family holidays, first forays behind the wheel after the successful driving test, the daily commute - our journeys in cars are often measured, and remembered, by the music on the stereo. It's a common experience, but one that we rarely discuss once we leave the personal bubble of the car.

Why do we listen to what we do, and what does it add to the journey?

Laura meets the family who spent months living on the road in Morocco, their choice of listening enhancing the fantasy of the road trip. With the right thing on the stereo, it's easy to create a sense of being in your own film, and Laura explores this with sound psychologist Michael Bull.

But is what we choose to listen to always safe? Laura tries out some bespoke driving music, created with the help of psychologists to aid concentration, before heading to a motorway service station to sample the listening tastes and habits of the 21st-century driver.

As night draws in, Laura lets a cabbie take the wheel and reflect on mood, music and the road ahead.

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Laura Barton explores the music we choose when we are in the car.

Documentary series that takes a forensic look at how humans consume culture.

Laura Barton drives the highways and byways, seeking out the musical memories and stories of fellow drivers and passengers.

Childhood family holidays, first forays behind the wheel after the successful driving test, the daily commute - our journeys in cars are often measured, and remembered, by the music on the stereo. It's a common experience, but one that we rarely discuss once we leave the personal bubble of the car.

Why do we listen to what we do, and what does it add to the journey?

Laura meets the family who spent months living on the road in Morocco, their choice of listening enhancing the fantasy of the road trip. With the right thing on the stereo, it's easy to create a sense of being in your own film, and Laura explores this with sound psychologist Michael Bull.

But is what we choose to listen to always safe? Laura tries out some bespoke driving music, created with the help of psychologists to aid concentration, before heading to a motorway service station to sample the listening tastes and habits of the 21st-century driver.

As night draws in, Laura lets a cabbie take the wheel and reflect on mood, music and the road ahead.

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

0203 LASTClock Face20170202

Comedian and presenter Aatif Nawaz considers why the old fashioned clockface continues to survive in the modern-day.

It's over 300 years old, it's hard to learn and doesn't give as accurate a reading as its, cheap modern digital counterpart, yet there's no sign of the analogue dial - hands, face and all - losing popularity.

Or is there?

Aatif Nawaz doesn't wear a watch on stage or off. For a comic to look at his or her watch mid-set is a mistake, as Aatif finds out talking to fellow comedians. Many younger people just use their smartphone.

Aatif visits the keepers of Edinburgh's famous floral clock, more novelty than useful timepiece. And he meets primary school pupils grappling with the big hand and the little hand. Their teacher says they start school with a knowledge of digital time telling but must learn the less intuitive analogue system.

Dr David Rooney, Keeper of Technologies and Engineering at the Science Museum, provides a history of the portable timepiece. We learn from him and watch journalist Suzanne Wong of high-end watch magazine Revolution that the first wristwatches were for women. Men regarded wrist wear as effeminate. It was only with the advent of World War 1, that the wristwatch's practicality made it male friendly.

Professor Joe Smith, social scientist at the Open University, sings the aesthetic praises of the old face - confessing, as a family member of the venerable clockmaker Smith of Derby, a special interest. Dr Smith says the public clock is and always was an expression of social and aesthetic values nationally and internationally.

Aatif, his wrist still naked, agrees, citing Mecca, not London as the home to the world's biggest clockface.

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.