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Bob Stanley and Pete Paphides Let’s Do It: The Birth of Pop

Festival of Ideas
Bob Stanley c. Alasdair McLellan

St George's Bristol  |  £10 / £8

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Bob Stanley tells the story of the birth of Pop, from the invention of the 78 rpm record at the end of the nineteenth century to the beginnings of rock and the modern age.

Who were the earliest record stars, and were they in any meaningful way ‘pop stars’? Who were the likes of George Gershwin writing songs for? Why did swing, the hit sound for a decade or more, become almost invisible after the Second World War?

Taking in superstars such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra alongside the unheralded songwriters and arrangers behind some of our most enduring songs, Stanley paints an aural portrait of pop music’s formative years, uncovering the silver threads and golden needles that bind the form together.

He is in conversation with journalist and writer Pete Paphides.

Let's Do It: The Birth of Pop

Bob Stanley’s Let’s Do It: The Birth of Pop is published by Faber & Faber. Buy a copy online or at the event from Waterstones.

Presented in Partnership with

Bob Stanley crop c. Alasdair McLellan

Bob Stanley is a writer, musician, DJ and film producer. Since founding influential pop group Saint Etienne, he has enjoyed a parallel career as a music journalist, contributing to publications such as The Times, Smash Hits, NME, the Guardian and the Face. A former artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre, his films have been shown at the ICA and Royal Festival Hall, and he has curated several seasons for the Barbican. He is the author of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop, a Sunday Times Pop Music Book of the Year and a Rough Trade Book of the Year. Follow him on twitter @rocking_bob

Image credit: Alasdair McLellan
Pete Paphides

Pete Paphides started his career in music journalism at Melody Maker before going on to write for Time Out, the Guardian, Mojo, Q, Observer Music Monthly and The Times, where he spent five years as their Chief Music Critic. He has made several music documentaries for BBC Radio 4, including Lost Albums, Follow-Up Albums and the New York Radio Festival Gold Award-winning The Songs of Molly Drake, and has made two series of Vinyl Revival for BBC 6 Music. Since 2015, he has hosted a weekly music show for Soho Radio and in 2020 he published his first book, Broken Greek, a memoir about childhood and music. Follow him on twitter @petepaphides

Booking Information

Ticket sales are managed by St George’s Bristol. Please check their policies, terms and conditions before booking. You can book online or in person by visiting the Box Office or calling 0117 929 4929 during Box Office opening hours.

Free companion tickets are available and can be booked at the same time as your ticket. Contact the box office to find out more.

A 5% booking fee applies online and over the phone. A £2 postage fee is charged where applicable.

Accessibility: St George’s Bristol

  • There are two points of access to St George’s – on Great George Street and Charlotte Street. There are 21 steps at the Great George Street entrance. There is step free access from Charlotte Street, where there is a lift to all floors of the building so wheelchair users, visitors with buggies and people with limited mobility can access the Café Bar, glass studio and hall step-free. It is 3m from the roadside to the Charlotte Street gates, then the level access lift entrance is 15m from the Charlotte Street gates.
  • If visitors would prefer to access the hall by the staircase rather than the lift, there are 20 steps from the Box Office area to the hall entrance.
  • Accessible toilets located on each level of the new building and on the ground floor beside the Box Office.
  • The hall has a balcony that is accessed by 24 steps, please do bear this in mind when choosing a seat. You can talk to a member of the Box Office team if you have questions or concerns when booking. 
  • Assistance dogs are welcome in all part of the building.
  • More detailed information about access and planning your visit, including St George’s COVID-19 Response can be found here.

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