Believe it or not, but there was once a time when documentaries were produced and narrated by people who had some distance from their subject. To be commissioned to make a documentary for a national broadcaster was considered an honour, so every effort was taken to avoid perceptions of bias.
How times have changed. What else could possibly explain who the BBC have chosen to narrate a documentary due to go out on Radio 4 about the history of techno? Yes, it’s the mysteriously rising star – for no one seems able to explain her transition from Derrick May lackey to international touring DJ in such a short time – Ash Lauryn.
Now, Lauryn is a sensitive little creature. She blocked the Ears To The House Twitter account months ago, complaining that our site was “spreading lies” about her – whilst simultaneously failing to point out a single one of these alleged lies. So it begs the question – what exactly is Lauryn’s role in the forthcoming documentary?
Well, our hopes of a well researched and through documentary cutting through the spin and getting to the truth were rather dimmed by Lauryn’s tweet saying “I did not write this documentary, but I am the narrator/presenter”. If anything, this tweet raises more questions than answers.
Who did the research for the documentary? Why was Lauryn chosen to narrate it – and who at the BBC signed this off? What happens in the event there was a discrepancy between what she’s being asked to narrate and what she believes? And how can someone whose rise as a DJ was thanks to the likes of Derrick May and Carl Craig possibly be objective on the matter?
For example, let’s say the researchers have actually done their jobs and found that the Belleville Three story is mostly a myth. Would Ash Lauryn really risk the wrath of her Detroit mentors by reciting this for a documentary? Or is she in any position to ask questions about the sexual assault allegations made against Derrick May two years ago?
Questions have been sent by Ears To The House to the BBC Press Office asking for clarification and we’ll publish more when we have a response. In the meantime, the programme listing on the Radio 4 website asks “What makes techno the perfect accompaniment to radical ideas?” – it remains to be seen what insight Ash Lauryn will provide to this curious question.
The documentary goes out on the 19th July on Radio 4 – at the highly unusual time of 11.30am on a Tuesday. Lauryn herself, and her fellow compatriots won’t be able to listen to the broadcast due to geo-blocking – but fortunately, our editor is based in the UK. He assures us he’ll be tuning in…