BFI: Other Grooves

Punks, birdwatchers, witches, skinheads, spiritualists and rastas: an online collection from the BFI explores Britain's counter-culture

A collection of 100 documentaries covering British counterculture during the 20th century has been released online by the BFI. Other Grooves looks at subjects varying from witches, spiritualists, birdwatchers and believers of extra-terrestrial life to ravers, punks and rastas.

The BFI describes the people in the films as “all who dare to be different”. Many of the documentaries are rare, compiled from the BFI's National Archive, a collection of over 180,000 films and 175,000 television programmes. Other Grooves can be watched using the BFI's video on-demand service.

Highlights from the collection include David Korr’s The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage (1969). It follows the psychedelic Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band on a road trip. They travel through countryside on a train-like machine with psychedelic rock music playing in the background. The band then have dinner with a group of young kids they meet in the forest, and eventually set up their instruments in a farmyard to perform in front of cattle.

Other Grooves also includes the movie 1957's Secret Rites, directed by Derek Ford that tells the story of a part-time hairdresser, who spends the rest of her time as a witch. It also features Beatlemania, a 30-minute film that contains unedited interviews of the four members of the Beatles after their concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre for the Royal Variety Performance in 1963. It was during this concert that John Lennon invited the audience to “rattle their jewellery” while playing the song 'Twist and Shout'.