Gary Flockhart: Public Service Broadcasting transmits live

File picture: pahudson (cc-by 2.0)
File picture: pahudson (cc-by 2.0)
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AND now for something completely different... the arrival of Public Service Broadcasting in the Capital.

No, we’re not talking about a new channel from the Beeb. We’re talking about the geeky art-duo whose spellbinding audio-visual show is, quite literally, out of this world.

Public Service Broadcasting - The Race for Space

Public Service Broadcasting - The Race for Space

PSB, who visit the Queen’s Hall on Monday, are one of the most original and exciting acts in the UK right now.

For those not familiar with the London-based, retro-obsessed pairing of J. Willgoose Esq and his drumming musical companion Wrigglesworth, they play instrumental music, taking samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material.

During their live shows, banks of vintage TVs sit on either side of the stage and big projection screens at the back ensure there’s always something to look at – which is just as well, as there’s no singer.

And don’t go expecting between-song banter, either – even this is conducted electronically, with a pre-recorded retro-sounding voice introducing songs.

It sounds a bit mental and, to be fair, it is – but it really works.

Earlier this week, I had a fascinating chat with Willgoose, who told me, among other things, just how much effort goes into researching speech samples and stories for projects such as The Race For Space – but also just how passionate he is about it all.

The theme of space travel, he said, has fascinated him since childhood.

He also regaled me with tales of some of PSB’s earliest shows, like when it was just him, billed as a ‘one-man musical spectacular’, and playing to one man and his dog at Spotlites @ The Merchants’ Hall during the Fringe.

This was five years ago now, and Willgoose and his Public Service Broadcasting have since seen an exponential rise in viewing figures – their Queen’s Hall gig sold out ages ago, as did their entire tour.