Thompson Rivers University

TRU offers pop culture course with former Rolling Stones manager

  Posted on: October 30, 2019

KAMLOOPS–Famed rock-star manager Andrew Loog Oldham is collaborating with TRU’s Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism to offer a once-in-a-lifetime course on the evolution of pop culture from 1954 to 1984.

It’s rare that a rock and roll legend takes to the classroom to share his insights and perspectives. Oldham was the Rolling Stones first manager and at 19, he propelled them into the spotlight. Since those days, he has engaged in an extraordinary life as an influencer and observer of pop and rock culture. He has moved in celebrity circles throughout his music career, discovering Marianne Faithfull at a party and producing records with such names as Rod Stewart, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.

Andrew Loog Oldham and Alicia Ashcroft

Andrew Loog Oldham talks with TRU’s Alicia Ashcroft about being scholar in residence for a rock and roll history course.

He has written several books about his life in the fast lane. In the 1980s, he married actress/model Esther Farfan from Colombia, where they live for part of the year.

Oldham will be a visiting scholar-in-residence with the Faculty of Arts while he gives 10, two-hour interactive talks during the 13-week course being co-taught by Bruce Baugh from philosophy and Billy Collins from tourism management. He’ll breathe life into pop culture as he watched it evolve, firsthand.

Rock Dreams: A History, 1954-1984 – Up Close and Personal with Andrew Oldham is being offered on Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m., starting January 2020.

“Andrew Loog Oldham was at the epicentre of the most exciting music scene of all time: London in the 1960s. Not only did he manage the Rolling Stones, but he knew the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, Rod “the Mod” Stewart, Jimi Hendrix (who was pals with Brian Jones and Mick Jagger of the Stones), the original Small Faces, Jimmy Page (a producer for Andrew’s Immediate label), and on and on,” said Baugh.

“It was a scene where everyone of any importance knew everyone else, it was incredibly concentrated in one place and it was amazingly fertile, artistically. The musicians were all under 30, and Oldham was as young as they were. It was a cultural revolution that shook the world. There has been nothing like it before or since.”

There are no prerequisites, so non-TRU students can also register. Rock Dreams is a three-credit university course with assignments given and grades awarded. There is also an option to audit the course, which means interested students and community members can pay the registration fee and attend the entire 13 weeks, without having to do assignments or be graded. No university credit is given for an audited course.

“Having worked in the music industry for over 20 years myself, I can assure you that Andrew is the real deal. He’s going to be dynamite in the classroom. You could try to get in to see the Rolling Stones for a few hours one last time, or you could hang out in person with their original manager, producer and fashion stylist for 20 hours,” said Collins.

“From a teaching perspective, this is a perfect opportunity to animate the classroom and curriculum with real-life stories – that’s what really resonates with students. We are lucky here at TRU that we have the flexibility, capacity and the institutional will to deliver education differently. This course is a perfect example of that.”

Faculty of Arts Dean Rick McCutcheon said he’s pleased to be able to offer such a unique course that gives students so much more than just stories from a particular point in time.

“This is truly an exceptional and unique opportunity — not only to relive the firsthand experiences of a living icon from the music industry, but to go beyond that to explore an era and a time with a major influencer who helped to shape it,” he said.

“The learning that students will do in this class will go far beyond anecdotes and stories, to extend into a deeper understanding of a pivotal period of pop culture and society that has contributed to the cultural influences that we see today.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Rock Dreams course is invited to contact the Faculty of Arts for more details at 250-828-5200 or register below. The course numbers are PHIL (Philosophy) 2900 or TMGT (Tourism Management) 3980.

Rock Dreams course registration form

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