I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 December 2019

Maree Man geoglyph at Finnis Springs near Maree

Aerial shot of Marree Man. Source: Wikipedia

Earshot (ABC) 24/10/19 Marree Man- is he a relation of Mungo Man perhaps? Well- no. He’s a huge carving of an Aboriginal man, etched into the red dust around the South Australian outback town of Maree 21 years ago. Yes- you read right- twenty one years ago, not 20,000. At four kms. in length and 28 kms in circumference, this is a huge piece of artwork – but who did it? Not  Erich Van Danikan’s Gods and their Chariots, but maybe  U.S. or Australian servicemen from the nearby Woomera base? Someone as a joke? It’s certainly a complex hoax, with fax machines clattering into life with mysterious faxes, and clues planted all over the world. The Mystery of the Marree Man is a fascinating podcast.

Hazel Rowley Lecture. Did you know that many of the Adelaide Writers Festival talks are available on podcast? In 2019 the Hazel Rowley Memorial Lecture was given by Maria Tumarkin, whose most recent book Axiomatic draws on the stories of multiple people, as did much of Hazel Rowley’s work with her joint biographies of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Satre. In this lecture, Maria Tumarkin presents as series of nine alternative openings to her talk, covering a  range of perspectives on life writing, the ‘NON-fiction’-ness of non-fiction, the art of biography and the hard graft of writing.  She identifies as the ‘take-away’ of her lecture, as Americans would put it, and it is that the task of the non-fiction writer is to write about real people in a way that makes it impossible for them to be scooped up and repurposed, or turned into something or someone else, to meet other people’s fantasies.  The person, she says, is sovereign: they are never ‘character’. This beautifully-written lecture is read, so it is a little too garbled in places and rather stilted in its delivery but it is nonetheless excellent listening (although the interference of a lecture from an adjoining hall at the Writers Festival is distracting)

Russia If You’re Listening (ABC) In Episode 6 The Spies Who Suck at Spying, Matt Bevin looks at the Russian assassination attempts in England dating from the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, up to the unsuccessful poisoning of former Russian military office and double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. (25/11/19)

Revolutionspodcast  While we’re over in Russia, Episode10.19 introduces Nicky and Alix, who were going to face the 1905 and 1917 revolutions. This is a pretty sympathic analysis of two people completely interwoven within the European royalty network of Queen Victoria’s children.  Episode 10.20 The Liberal Tradition (Such as it is) goes back to even Catherine the Great to examine people who might be described as ‘liberals’, even though they were few and far between, and reluctant to use the term. It then goes through the Tsar Liberator in the 1870s, the repression of Alexander III and culminating with historian and politician Pavel Milyukov who would become involved with the Constitutional Democratic Party (known as the Kadets)

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