Category Archives: Podcasts 2020

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 25-30 June

Heather Cox Richardson.  I really am enjoying her ‘chats’ (which are an hour long- she has a lot to say!) In her History of the Republican Party Part II  she talks about the relationship between Lincoln’s view of equality and the economics of the Civil War. In order to provide what the people wanted (as distinct from what the oligarchs deemed to give them), income tax was introduced to provide a source of income when many of the eastern seaboard ports were confederate controlled. In a way, this was a bit of a repetition of her history of income tax in last week’s History and Politics Chat.

In the History and Politics Chat of June 23rd she talks about the history of policing. She points out that in the north, policing had its roots in maintaining public order while in the south it was based on slave patrols.  Police forces became corrupted by their ownership by the city municipal bodies; eventually they broke through to become professionalized, then went to the other extreme by taking on ‘scientific techniques’ which saw a lot of people jailed incorrectly.  Then she went on to talk about newspapers. At first newspapers, in their four pages, provided ‘what an educated man needed to know’;  but from the 1840s onwards became increasingly partisan. The Fairness Doctrine of the 1920s, which insisted on the presentation of both sides of an argument, was repealed under Reagan in the 1980s, leading us to our current phenomenon of Fox ‘news’ (which is entertainment, not news). She finishes with a question about women in the political sphere, pointing out that under 2nd wave feminism in the 1970s there were women in politics and as journalists. Her most recent book How the South won the Civil War ends with the hope that women, by voting differently to men, will rescue America from Trump.

The Music Show. Does the world really need a three volume opus on the Beatles? Mark Lewisohn’s ‘The Beatles: All These Years – Volume 1 – Tune In’ is a 1000 page book, with two others yet to go. I think that this program The Beatles- the early years was recorded a few years back, but it’s well worth a listen. Lewisohn is a historian as well as a fan, and so he has written a fascinating social history of 1950s Liverpool, which includes a consideration of the 1944 Education Act (which made a grammar school education available to bright children) and the abolition of national service (which freed the Beatles to go to Germany as 18 year olds) as influences on the Beatles. They play some really unusual tracks during the program too.

 

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 17-24 June

Heather Cox Richardson continues on with her Facebook chats, although now they are on her You Tube Channel as well. On her History Channel, she is now talking about the History of the Republican Party, which she knows well because she wrote To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party in 2014, after a number of earlier books dealing with the Republican Party. In Part I she focuses on Abraham Lincoln. What a fascinating life! I guess that Americans just grow up with all this, but I knew nothing about his early life.

In her History and Politics Chat on June 16th dealt (at rather excessive length, I thought) on the history of taxation and whether Republicans or Democrats are responsible for increasing taxes. She points out that during Eisenhower (Republican), top bracket taxation was 95%! She then went on with a really interesting response to why all those Confederate statues were erected between the 1890s-1920s (an expression of white supremacy, she argues) and how to view any statue. She finishes off with the question of voter suppression and whether anything can be done to stop if (yes, she says, if Americans have the will to do so).

Talking Politics: History of Ideas is a program produced in conjunction with the London Review of Books, so it’s rather earnest and demanding. David Runciman (who I discovered on Start the Week last week) starts off the series with Thomas Hobbes 1651 book Leviathan, the book that Runciman feels began the modern state, written in the midst of the English Civil War. I’d heard of his description of life being ‘nasty, brutish and short’, but I didn’t realize that he was talking about life before men agreed to have one person (the sovereign, the government) to have complete authority so that they wouldn’t fight amongst themselves. Demanding, but interesting.

Nothing on TV. This is such a fun series. Robyn Annear (of Bearbrass fame) has used the quirky stories that can be found in the National Library of Australia’s TROVE newspaper collection as the basis for this fantastic podcast. It’s very fitting that she starts and finishes her podcast with the ‘pop’ of a wine cork, because Episode 4 Champagne and Anarchy is about the first Governor General of Australia, Lord Hopetoun and his curious friendship with anarchist ‘Chummy’ Fleming. Bound back ‘home’ for London, Lord Hopetoun decided to provide 100 pounds and 300 bottles of champagne for the unemployed of Melbourne to celebrate the crowning of Edward VII in June 1902. He handed the arrangements over to Chummy Fleming, who distributed the largesse over two days from his small bootmaker’s shop in Argyle Place Carlton. Really good- listen to it!

History Workshop. This episode Populism, the Left and progressive resistance dates from May 28, 2019 and I thought that it might have been overtaken by events and no longer worth listening to. Not true – D.D. Guttenplan is a journalist and historian, and in this podcast, he talks about the long, often subterranean thread of progressive politics. In this podcast, he mentions the presence at demonstrations of many grey-headed people who are there for every protest (something I have noticed too, as one of the grey-headed people. I was so pleased to see young people at the Black Lives Matter protests when we grey-heads were too frightened of COVID to attend). He talks about populism as a feeling of loss, and something that can be harnessed by the left as well as the right, and something can be beneficial as well as dangerous.

 

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 9-16 June 2020

Heather Cox Richardson has her own YouTube channel now.  She’s continuing with the Facebook chats (and in her History and Politics chat she explains why) and then posting them onto You Tube. Her History and Politics Chat of 26 May 2020 looks at the influence of the ‘Spanish’ flu on the November 1918 election (she doesn’t think it had that much influence); the question of whether Ford was right to pardon Nixon (she says no because it was a precedent for presidents being above the law- although she does note that Ford also pardoned ‘draft-dodgers’ who had fled to Canada, so it was supposed to be a ‘pardons for everyone’ gesture; and she finished off talking about propaganda.

The History and Politics Chat of 9 June 2020answered three questions 1. What happened to the Baby Boomers? Why didn’t they have more effect on society? (Her answer: after Goldwater’s defeat, the Movement Conservatives moved into more bread-and-butter local elected positions – school boards, text book boards etc- and exerted their influence on day-to-day life). 2. The creation of Washington D.C. (not very interesting for an Australian listener) 3. Why does Mitch McConnell have so much power in the Senate? (Because the Senate Republicans keep supporting him). And she finished off describing what a ‘doglicker’ was.

Her History Chat of 28 May is a break between her most recent book How the South Won the Civil War and her previous book about the history of the Republican Party. In this episode she looks at a letter purported to have been written by Jourdan Anderson to his former slave owner Col. P. H. Anderson on August 7, 1865. This was after Lincoln had been assassinated but before Congress reconvened. She reads the letter, then deconstructs it as a historian does. It’s a good example of historic method.

The Documentary (BBC) has been running its Lockdown series, but this is the last one. This seems strange given that the trajectory of the pandemic is still unknown. With the Lockdown series, they invite ordinary people to upload a recording via their phones, talking about how the lockdown has affected their day-to-day life. This episode Lockdown Tales from Panama and Brazil actually has input from more countries than these two, including Rwanda, Australia and America. In the American one, the caller is going to resist any further restrictions as an infringement on his constitutional rights. I wanted to kick him.

Another episode In my present isolation takes a very old-fashioned approach of asking six writers on different continents to physically write a chain letter, adding their own perspectives to what has been written previously. As you might expect, it’s beautifully expressed and it makes you regret even more that the art of letter writing has been replaced by emails and Twitter.

Start the Week (BBC) had an interesting discussion on a program called Our Coercive Politics, featuring David Runciman, presenter of a 12 part podcast series Talking Politics: History of Ideas and Ute Frevert, the author of The Politics of Humiliation: A Modern History (which sounds really interesting). The discussion  ranges across the power of the state during the covid pandemic; Hobbes, Gandhi and Fanon; the power of humiliation; and George Floyd.

Outlook (BBC World) If you’re a millionaire who has climbed the highest peak on all the continents, done Antarctica etc. etc. what’s left to do? Go in a one-man submersible to the deepest part of the five oceans. That’s why Victor did in Voyage to the bitter deep. And what did they find there? The Titanic, and plastic.

Saturday Extra with Geraldine Doogue usually has some good segments. This old one How do we view James Cook 250 years later features historians John Gascoigne (writer of many works about navigation and the Enlightenment), Mark McKenna (recent Quarterly Essay: Moment of Truth: History and Australia’s Future) and Alison Page, artist, creative, Councillor at the National Maritime Museum and Chair of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. They mentioned a book very much championed by the right (i.e. foreword by John Howard; praised by Keith Windschuttle; featured at the Sydney Institute) called Lying for the Admiralty by Margaret Cameron-Ash. In it, she argues that Cook didn’t miss Sydney Cove at all, but instead was following secret Admiralty orders to keep quiet about important discoveries for fear that the French would settle there  instead. I haven’t heard of this book, or any academic response to it.

Rear Vision Here I was, thinking that it was a new program-1929 Revisited– but instead it was first broadcast on 27 April 2008, after the GFC. Still, listening to the gyrations of the stock market on the news each night, inexplicably rising in the midst of Covid-19, it’s sobering to see that in the months leading up to October-November 1929, the share market was bobbing around then too.

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 June 2020

Heather Cox Richardson. With all the chaos in America in recent days, I couldn’t wait to hear Heather Cox Richardson’s take on it all. In her Tuesday 2 June Politics and History talk (the link is to her You Tube site where she’s putting her talks now) she discusses whether Trump can call the army in.  She talks a lot about the Posse Comitatus Act which I had never heard of. You neither? It’s a federal statute  enacted in 1878, which forbade the use of the US Army, and through it, its offspring, the US Air Force, as a posse comitatus or for law enforcement purposes without the approval of Congress. She talks about the Insurrection Act which I had heard of, which was  created in 1807 in response to the Haitian Revolution where slaves rose up against the planters. Then of course, there and Emergency Acts post 9/11 which give the President wide latitude and which, she argues, should have been revisited before now.  She then goes on to a history of fascism, she looks at the question of why oligarchies want to get rid of the middle class, and finished up talking about Antifa. Great stuff.

Then I backtracked to her History video of 21 May, (also on YouTube) which was the final one related to her book where she took up from Reagan onwards through to Trump. Because it was more current, there was more crossover here with her Politics/History one. She ended on a cautiously optimistic note: that whenever the oligarchs had tried to take over, the American people always took back their democracy; and the widening gender gap in voting patterns suggests that women might sway the next election. Excellent stuff. Now I just have to read her book.

Reply-All (Gimlet)I’ve had The Crime Machine on the phone for ages (since October 2018) and given the Black Lives Matter protests this weekend, it seemed a particularly fitting time to listen to it. The Crime Machine is about the computerized system that the New York Police Department used which saw them targetting young, black kids for misdemeanours as a way of keeping their crime statistics up. As often happens, in the end police behaviour was changed to keep the machine happy, with the warped consequences that we have seen over the last week.

The Documentary (BBC) Again, given the recent demonstrations all across the world about policing and crime, it seemed appropriate to listen to this podcast from 17 May 2020 called Seven dead, 46 injured: One Chicago weekend. It’s not about police violence as such (in fact, it’s rather sympathetic to the police role), but about the ongoing environment of violence and shooting that takes place, weekend after weekend. The weekend of August 2019 was not particularly different to any other weekend, but this program uses newspaper reports, eyewitness and family reports to reconstruct how urban violence plays out in a society flooded with guns.

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 24-31 May 2020

Heather Cox Richardson. Her Politics and History video on 19 May looked at 1. the changing meaning of communism and socialism between 1850 and the present and the erroneous use of ‘socialism’ to decry any broadscale government initiative  2. the role of the inspector-general (did you know that there are 14,000 of them covering all facets of government?) 3. the World Health Organization.

Soul Search (ABC)  A couple of months back, I read Jill Roe’s Beyond Belief: Theosophy in Australia (my review here). With the republication of this book, Meredith Lake looks at Theosophy both historically and in its present form in a program following the name of Roe’s Book Beyond Belief. In many ways Theosophy as it is presented here is not unlike Unitarianism (which I follow) but many of its more contentious propositions are elided here, I feel. The podcast has an archived interview with Jill Roe (who died in 2017) and interviews with historian Wayne Hudson and Pedro Oliveira the Education Officer, Theosophical Society, Australia.

Rear Vision (ABC) What a weird, pugnacious guy Rudy Giuliani is. This episode Greek Tragedy or Farce: The Life and Career of Rudy Giuiliani traces through his career as a lawyer and public servant, then mayor of New York. Originally a Democrat, he shifted to the Republican party during the 1980s. The program suggests that had 9/11 not occurred, he probably would not have been re-elected as mayor of New York.

Southbank Centre (UK) On the 6 March – a lifetime ago- Hilary Mantel appeared at the Southbank Centre in London to talk about her most recent book The Mirror and the Light, the third in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I’ve just finished reading it (and have not yet written my review) and this program was perfect listening for someone who has read all three. She has spent 15 years on this magnificent trilogy. They had actors read from all three books, and it made me regret being a fast, non-vocalizing reader because they read aloud beautifully. So, if you’re a Mantel fan and have spent your lockdown with The Mirror and the Light, listen to this- it’s fantastic!

Dan Snow’s History Hit. I hadn’t realized that the Thames was so tidal until we were actually there, close to the Globe, walking along the banks of it. (Nor did I realize that if we picked anything up – which we didn’t- we would have needed a permit from the Port of London Authority). Picking along the banks of the Thames is called Mudlarking and in this episode Dan goes mudlarking, and talks with Lara Maiklem who has been scouring the banks for over 15 years.

The Documentary (BBC) In this program, they get listeners to record their own reports on how the coronavirus lockdown has affected their country. In Lockdown: Tales from Lebanon, Australia, Atlanta and India  from 19 May you realize (if you didn’t already) just how fortunate we have been.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 16-23 May 2020

Heather Cox Richardson  The Politics and History podcast on 12 May spent quite a bit of time on the Supreme Court, and Attorney General Barr’s actions over Flynn and the increasing talk of ‘Obamagate’. She starts off addressing her question of liberal bias by reinforcing that she is a historian, who works from sources rather than Fox News commentators, and  notes that in the past she was accused of being conservative (that is, before the conservatives became so radical). She finishes off by discussing what a new ‘New Deal’ might look like, should the world turn that way. Meanwhile, her History Podcast on 15 May looked at the Movement Conservative takeover of the Republican party since Ronald Reagan, and its efforts to ensure that there can never be a Democrat government again by challenging voter registration under the guise of ‘voter fraud’ and by appointment of Supreme and other level court judges.

Judith Lucy Overwhelmed and Dying is more of Judith Lucy’s dry shtick, this time looking at wellness and aging. A lesson my arse taught me (after enduring four warm oil enemas) is that we should embrace what our body can do rather than what it can’t, an observation helped along by wheelchair rugby star Shae Graham.

Making History (BBC) London and the Rest from Feb 2020 comes from post-Brexit Britain: how long ago all that feels! The sense that there is a difference between London and the rest of England has a long history. The program describes the Whig/Tory distinction, the literary character of John Bull, the early development of London, and in light of the suggested shift of the House of Lords to the city of York, the alternative city centres to London

Start the Week This podcast fits in rather well with the consideration of ‘London and the Rest’ above. In Richard Ford Writing from the Edges, the program explores the idea of provincialism in American and English writing. I haven’t read any Richard Ford (I must) but his books are set in Mississippi or Montana rather than in New York. The other guest, Ruth Livesy has written a lot about George Eliot, who consciously set her novels in the ‘provinces’. She identifies the 1860s – the time of the passing of the Second Reform Bill- as the turning point when London began to dominate the other large cities in England which had previously had their own newspapers, scientific and literary ‘heroes’ etc.

The Eleventh. The final episode Episode 7 State Secrets looks at the two main theories behind what actually happened on November 11 1975. The first one looks at the American/CIA theory. I’d forgotten that the dismissal took place in the same political environment as the overthrow of Allende in Chile, and there’s certainly enough things that Whitlam did to upset the CIA. The second theory, and the one that still has legs because of the dogged persistence of historian Jenny Hocking (my review of her book here) is that Kerr and the Palace have unanswered questions. The intransigence of Sir Anthony Mason and the Palace make me all angry again. And look at the papers: Jenny Hocking has had a High Court win from the Australian side at least. We all owe this historian a debt of gratitude.

New Books in History. I didn’t realize when I downloaded it that Max Edelson’s The New Map of Empire would be about mapping in North America.  He argues that especially after the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the British Board of Trade put real effort into mapping the American and West Indian territories, using scientific wartime mapping techniques. With the French and Spanish empires as a competing pressure and with war likely to break out at any time, and with the lofty aim of peace treaties with Native Americans, they needed military-grade maps. On the part of the British government, this was an attempt to exert continent-wide (or as much of the continent as they had) influence over what had until then been different settlements. I found myself thinking about the differences with Australia, which was charted by Captain Cook at much the same time. So much of our ‘mapping’ was naval mapping, noting bays etc. suitable for naval activities during war. When surveyors in Australia did set out, it was to find navigable routes across, rather than the detail of every mountain, creek etc. and was often in the vanguard of land occupation. There were no competing European powers, and no attempt (beyond Batmans’ farce) to have treaties based on maps.  Interesting.

Rough Translation As part of the coronavirus shutdown, the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv was turned over for recovering coronavirus patients who had been released from hospital, but still considered contagious. There were Orthodox and Secular Jews, and Muslim guests, who were all thrown together. In Hotel Corona we learn what happened.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-7 May 2020

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Heather Cox Richardson  Usually Heather Cox Richardson produces two hour-long videos each week. On Tuesdays, it’s her Politics and History  and on Thursdays she talks about American history, using the thesis of her recent book How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America. Usually the two videos are quite different from each other, but this time there seemed to be more convergence between them. In her History and Politics talk of 28th April she examined   the myth of ‘voter fraud’ and voter suppression, the way that policies aimed at the poor are continually conceptualized as ‘communism’ and the question of why America does not have a universal health system. In her History video on 30 April, returning to her thesis that American equality depended on there being someone (i.e. blacks, Native Americans, women, Latinx) who was unequal,  she looked at the fightback by whites after Reconstruction in terms of voter (de)registration and suffrage, where white women clamoured for the vote to support their white men. She ended up talking about popular culture in the 1930s-40s (books, film etc.) etc and how they fed (and continue to feed) into the view of Americans as individualistic, government-hating, yearners for a pre-Civil War past. Gone with the Wind gets a serve and so too does Pa in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series.  (The sound is distracting on these two videos- obviously Facebook has changed something because my Spanish teacher is also having problems with Facebook Live)

Doggerland Having just finished Julia Blackburn’s Time Song, I’ve been listening to a few podcasts about Doggerland, the now submerged plain that joined UK with Europe. Dan Snow’s History Hit has an interview with Simon Fitch, the author of Europe’s Lost World: The Rediscovery of Doggerland  from June 13 2019 which can be accessed here. The BBC’s Books and Authors interviewed Julia Blackburn and Ben Smith, who has released a near-future dystopian novel Doggerland which you can listen to here.  Meanwhile, Melvyn Bragg interviews Vince Gaffney Anniversary Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Bradford; Carol Cotterill Marine Geoscientist at the British Geological Survey and Rachel Bynoe Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Southampton on In Our TimeDoggerland.

99% Invisible. When a huge shopping mall was built on the site of the old Rhode Island State Prison, artist Michael Townsend watched its construction on his daily run. He noticed a small space that was left accidentally as the building was fitted out. When another shopping mall was built in his own neighbourhood, he and his friends decided to possess The Accidental Room as their own space – for four years!

History Extra  During the shutdown,  I completed Future Learn’s 3 week course on The Scottish Highland Clans: Origins, Decline and Transformation. Afterwards, I listened to Professor Tom Devine (whose work I have enjoyed before) talking on The Scottish Clearances. He pushes back against writers who see this as a form of genocide, instead conceptualizing the clearances as part of a wider capitalist change.

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 25-30 April 2020

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The Eleventh. I’m furious! I maintain the rage! I’ve just listened to Episode 6 The Eleventh, that goes through the events, the machinations and the deceptions of November 11, 1975. Forget that cuddly image of Fraser that he curated during his later years: the man was ice-cold.

Heather Cox Richardson. Her ‘politics and history’ talk on Tuesday  21st looked at the history of impeachment, the nature of the executive order, the difference between debt and deficit and how to convince someone to stop watching FOX news (short answer, you can’t). Her American history talk on 23 April took us to the 1880s and 1890s – a time that I know virtually nothing about in terms of American history. That was when the small states of North and Sth Dakota, Montana etc. were created as an attempt by Republicans to ensure that they could keep power. She talks about the importance of the West, and the use of anti-Chinese legislation to shore up political support. She finishes with the invation of Cuba and the Phillipines and the idea of non-citizen nationals.  This lecture was a bit too detailed and politicy-y for me. Check her Facebook page.

Rough Translation  I’ve had the two-parter, The Search  Part I and Part II on my phone for a while. It’s about the disappearance of Iraqi photo-journalist Kamaran Najim, who became a photographer against the wishes of his religious family. When he was kidnapped after a shoot-out, his family initially joined forces with his westernized friends to search for him. There’s real-life sound here of the attack (I assume that it’s authentic?) and it’s a good, if sad, story.

Judith Lucy- Overwhelmed and Dying  She’s been flogging her misery in her trademark drawl for years, but I have a new appreciation of her since she’s been appearing on Charlie Pickering. She has a new podcast series which is more of the same, but I’m enjoying it. In Episode 1 Blindsided, the sudden breakup of her relationship caterpaults her back into the misery-stakes.

RevolutionsPodcast  Still going with the Russian Revolution, although it’s going to be stretched out even further because Mike Duncan is planning on taking about a four month break between the 1905 Revolution in April and picking up again in October for the 1917 Revolution. He’s going to work on his book on Lafayette between May and October. Anyway, Episode 29 10.30 The SRs looks at the difference in viewpoint between the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Marxists regarding the kulaks and their role in the coming revolution. But they didn’t give up on their assassination activities.  In Episode 10.31 A Big Mistake he examines the Russian-Japanese War, which didn’t go well, especially when Europe decided that they’d leave Tzar Nicholas to hold the line against the Yellow Peril which meant that they didn’t have to worry about Russia on their own doorstep.

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 17-24 April 2020

cowboyHeather Cox Richardson. In her Tuesday video (14th April) she talks at length about the history of the American Postal Service which I gather is a topic of some controversy at the moment. In the Thursday 16 April American History video she looks at Reconstruction and the rise of the cowboy in the west. I never did understand cowboys and now I do. This is really good. Access it through her Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/heathercoxrichardson/

In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg can  be an annoying twat, and is particularly on this program about the Scottish Covenanters in the 16th and 17th century.  As presenter, Bragg just rushes his guests through at breakneck speed, so much so that I barely understood a word. Just as well I’m doing a free online Future Learn course on the Highland Clans.  I’ll come back and listen to the In Our Time program once I’ve finished.

Saturday Extra (ABC) Some interesting segments on Geraldine Doogue’s Saturday Extra program recently. She interviews bestselling historian Tom Holland who writes big fat history books where his name is in a font the same size as the title- something that makes me wary. He has a recent book out called ‘Dominion’ which I must confess does interest me, especially after hearing her interview with him on Christianity’s Modern Legacy.  She also spoke with medical historian Howard Markel about the history of vaccines Part I and Part 2. 

Rough Translation. I’m trying not to listen to much coronavirus stuff on podcasts. There’s enough of it in the newspapers and on the television news. But I was interested in The Coronavirus Guilt Trip which looks at how shame and stigma is being used to combat coronavirus. The first story, from America, sounded too precious and first-world-problemish for me, but the second and third stories were really interesting. The second story was from South Korea, where NPR’s correspondent explains the app that is being used there: a very obtrustive app which reveals far more information than I think Australians would be comfortable with on a publicly-available page, where you can see where the infected person lives, where they worked, when they worked, where they visited etc.  The third story was about Pakistan, where retrenched craftsmen and workers have begun assembling on a street corner with their tools, in order to distinguish themselves from beggars.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 9-16 April 2020

Heather Cox Richardson. Really people – this is must listen stuff. She does two video casts a week: on Tuesday about current affairs, and on Thursday about American history. In the episode on Tuesday 7th (I think) which is about current events,  she discusses the Wisconsin debacle and previous attempts to disfranchise (which is a word, apparently) voters then she moves on to gerrymandering… and even little ol’ Australia gets a mention. She picks up on that strange comment by Jared Kushner that the masks and PPE belonged to ‘us’ (i.e. the federal government). Who is ‘us’? Very discursive and wide-ranging, but she really brings a historian’s eye to current events. Her Thursday 9 April history podcast looks at the west coast, and the way that there was a strong push by the oligarchs of the slave states to replicate a slave-based economy in the West as well. There’s a bit of myth busting here about the Alamo (I never did get Davy Crockett and all that stuff, fodder of black-and-white afternoon movie fare).  You can access her videos through her Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/heathercoxrichardson/

The Documentary (BBC) I’m always quite interested to learn what other people think of Melbourne.  In ‘Melbourne: The Sounds of the City‘, Peter White, blind since birth, negotiates Melbourne’s tourist highlights – MCG, St Kilda etc.

The Eleventh (ABC). In Episode 5, Deadlock,  Elizabeth Reid, Whitlam’s advisor on women, tries to convey a warning from artist Clifton Pugh, that Governor General John Kerr was on the move. The Khemlani loans affair just goes on and on, and Malcolm Fraser starts playing hardball.

Revolutions Podcast  Back with Mike Duncan for the Russian Revolution up to 1905. (He’s taking a six month break, then returning in October to take the Revolution up to the early 1920s).  In Episode 10.28 The Spark  Lenin and his wife Nadia Krupskaya returned from a relatively easy exile in Siberia. Lenin moved first to Germany, then after Nadia’s release, they moved to London where they established the marxist newspaper Iskra (The Spark). In Episode 10.29 Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, the second conference of the Russian Social and Democratic Labour Party was held in 1903, also in London after being disrupted by police attention in Brussels. Duncan here argues that the famous split between Bolshevik/Menshevik was a question of whether the party was to remain a fist, or more of an open hand encouraging a wider membership. He also suggests that it was a highly personalized split. Lots of lessons for any organization, actually.

Strong Songs  Oooh! A new discovery (courtesy of Looks 10 Chats 3 which I drowsed through while enduring a migraine)!  This is a fantastic series where Kirk Hamilton takes a song and pulls it apart, showing why it works. I started from the beginning, with Episode 1 Toto’s “Africa”, created when he didn’t even know if there would be an episode 2. He obviously decided that there would be because there is an Episode 2 You Can Call Me Al, looking at the Paul Simon song from the Gracelands album. You’ll hear the song with different ears afterwards.  Really, really good.