Dennis Bovell Archive

See Hear podcast Episode 4 - Babylon

April 23, 2014 @ 2:57 am

Welcome to Episode 4 of See Hear podcast, the show dedicated to music-related film

Bernie Sticky chose this month’s film, Franco Rosso’s “Babylon” (1981). Blue (Brinsley Forde from reggae band, Aswad) is a second-generation Jamaican living in Britain. Like Jimmy the mod in Quadrophenia, he’s surrounded by circumstances that make him question where he belongs. Like any teenager he wants to break away from his parents’ values and who appear to have forsaken their own identity to assimilate in Margaret Thatcher's England. He lives in a society that is often hostile and racist, either casually or from the organised police or National Front. The one event he can hang his hat on is the Sounds System he has put together with his friends the Ital Lions crew, preparing for a competition against the Shaka crew.

There are a lot of serious questions and reflections going on in this film, and yet it never feels oppressive. Blue’s circumstances can be quite dire, yet the buoyancy of the reggae music and the friendship of the Ital Lions never drag the mood down.  Bernie, Wendi, Tim and Maurice discuss the film, as well as the events leading up to and following these circumstances in real life. The film was made less than a year from the infamous Brixton riots. In hindsight, the events of “Babylon” almost seem like a warning.

The discussion was stimulating and we hope you join us. You can download or subscribe to the podcast from iTunes (search for” See Hear Podcast” or download / stream from

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Filed under Babylon, Aswad, Dennis Bovell, Franco Rosso, Reggae, Mel Smith, Brixton, Margaret Thatcher · Comments

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