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Soho Bites 10: Cocaine (1922)

Episode 10: Cocaine (1922) & Rob Baker on Brilliant Chang

It turns out the quietest place in Soho – and the perfect spot for an interview – is half way up the Clock Tower of St Anne’s church on Dean St (visible from Wardour St). After winding the clock(!) with the help of Amy, one of a small team of volunteer clock winders, Dom sat down in a funny little room half-way up the tower to speak to historian, author and blogger, Rob Baker about Brilliant Chang and the moral panic about women and drugs that gripped the nation after the First World War.

Brilliant Chang after his deportation to Hong Kong

Freda Kempton shortly before her death in 1922

Some interesting graffiti from inside the clock tower – a 19th Century “tag”

We then welcomed Michelle Facey to the pod to talk about the 1922 silent film, Cocaine. Michelle is one of the programmers for Kennington Bioscope and as well as talking about the controversy surrounding the film, she was very enlightening on the subject of Mormonsploitation films of the silent era. Who knew there was such a thing?

Extract from Cocaine (1922)

Divert money away from Jeff Bezos by purchasing Rob Baker’s books directly from the publisher.

Visit Rob’s websites: Another Nickel in the Machine & FlashBak, check out his fascinating Pinterest site and follow him on Twitter.

For more information about the Kennington Bioscope and their upcoming events, visit their website and/or follow them on Twitter.

HELP SAVE THE CINEMA MUSEUM BY SIGNING THEIR PETITION and have a look at their main website here.

Michelle brought in some 1922 adverts from Kinematograph Weekly relating to cocaine. You can see them here.

Watch Cocaine for a mere £1 on the BFI Player

Thank you for listening.

About the Podcast

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Soho Bites Podcast

About your host

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Dominic Delargy