Category Archives: Podcasts 2021

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 26-31 March 2021

The History Listen (ABC). How could they have a program on The Lost Boys of Daylesford, and only mention my friend Kim Torney and her book Babes in the Bush in passing? I kept expecting her voice to come bursting out of my earbuds but, no. This episode The Lost Boys of Daylesford focuses on three little boys- and they were little with the eldest just six- who disappeared around Daylesford in 1867. Certainly the local tourism industry there is making that sure they are no longer forgotten.

Fifteen Minute History. The episodes of Fifteen Minute History often go a bit longer, as happened with The History of the US-Mexico Border Region where C.J. Alvarez discusses his book Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the US-Mexico Divide (2019). Even though most of us are aware of ‘The Wall’, he examines three other large construction projects in the borderlands, which are less well known. The first involves remote army patrol roads, built in 1910s in the midst of the Mexican Revolution (deployment of troops peaked in 1917- eight times as many as are there today); the second is the project to straighten the Rio Grande in the Rio Grande Rectification Project; the third is Amistad Dam completed in 1969 built as a joint project by Mexica and America. He doesn’t speak of THE border, but the border region. ‘The Wall’ was started in the 1990s and ramped up in 2006, but it accompanied by an equally large project to built infrastructure to support the movement of goods under the Free Trade agreement. He points out that in terms of projects to prevent border crossings, the projects to prevent animals from crossing were always more locally oriented (to work out where the animals were getting through) compared to projects to prevent people from crossing which were often national projects and ignorant of local geography.

Rear Vision (ABC) During the COVID lockdown, my suburb lost its local paper. It has not returned. Talk about “don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”. Sure, it was full of advertising and soft news, but at least it was local, and at least it was ours. It has really hobbled our ability at the local Historical Society to document current events, so that we can locate them again in the future. How the death of local news is destroying democracy looks at the effect of the loss of a local paper, not only socially but politically. It worries me that local council is no longer reported on, and that ‘news’ is now just ‘publicity.’

Latin American History After just escaping Tenochitlan with the remnants of his troops, Cortez lay low for a while, working out how to retake the city. In Episode 44 The Conquest of Mexico Part 8 he could let smallpox do its work in Tenochitlan, while besieging the city for three months to weaken the Aztecs further. He then could return to Tenochitlan and take the city, which the Spaniards maintained until the War of Independence in the 19th century. Although certainly Tenochitlan was the jewel of the Aztec empire, he only actually controlled a sliver of territory at this stage.

Kerning Cultures This is a Middle Eastern podcast from UAE- in English of course! The episode Flagged and Stamped looks at two markers of national identity: the flag and postage stamps. First it tells the story of the Iraqi flag- did you know that the ‘God is Great’ lettering on the flag during Saddam Hussein’s time was written in his own handwriting? Sure enough, the Americans weren’t too happy with that, so the font was changed and eventually the three stars that signified the aspiration that Egypt, Syria and Iraq would form a united block were removed too. The second part of the podcast looks at stamps in the UAE (formerly known as the trucial states because of a truce with UK). An American stamp entrepreneur (who knew there was such a thing) called Finbar Kenny contracted with the northern trucial states to issue thematic stamps for collectors. They were virtually worthless because there were so many of them- they are called ‘Dunes’. Once the emirates became independent, Kenny moved his business on to the Cook Islands instead.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 17-25 March 2021

The Forum (BBC). People really must have put up with a lot of pain before modern dentistry. I’m such a wimp in my old age that just the thought of having a feeling without a needle now makes me feel quite faint (even though most of my early fillings were done without anesthetic because my mother, who was paying the bill, didn’t believe in needles “now that drills are so fast”). Adventures with dentures: The story of dentistry is fascinating. Makes you glad to be alive in the 21st century

Rear Vision (ABC) Now that the COVID supplement is coming to a close, the government has given a risible $4.00 a day increase to the Jobseeker allowance. (The name has changed from Newstart – which was always a false promise- to Jobseeker – just to remind the recipients that they’re looking for a job) The struggle for work – why are the unemployed expected to live below the poverty line looks at the history of unemployment benefits.

Saturday Extra (ABC) I haven’t yet read Judith Brett’s essay in the Monthly (because I am so behind in reading The Monthly) but she talks about her essay here and perhaps I won’t have to. In Our Universities, the Humanities, Our Society she had this old humanities-loving-baby-boomer nodding her head in agreement. Then there was a fascinating piece on Wikipedia turns 20. Apparently one of the biggest threats to Wikipedia now is that people just look at the Google ‘snippet’ and don’t both going to the article. So, there’s a belated New Years Resolution- go to the article.

Heather Cox Richardson. I’m not sure if her series on Reconstruction finishes here or not. On February 26 she starts off with a good summary of the ground that she has covered over the past few weeks (and I was thinking that if you were joining the series here, this would be a good place to start – but if it’s the end, then don’t bother!) She talks about how the South became solidly Democrat (until Barry Goldwater) and in effect a one-party state. The Republicans in the north were pretty dodgy, adding states to keep power, even though there almost certainly wasn’t the population to sustain it. She finishes with the Wilmington coup of 1898 which was, until recently, America’s only coup.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 9-16 March 2021

Rear Vision (ABC) Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first 100 days have been referenced several times by Joe Biden. Unlike Biden, Roosevelt had sizeable majorities in both houses, and although he didn’t get everything he wanted, there was more willingness to cross party lines to pass legislation. His initial bill to stop the run on the banks was passed quickly and set him up for further success, much as a successful vaccination program would do for Biden. Although Roosevelt didn’t really know what he was going to do, he knew that he had to do something and he surrounded himself with experts.

The Last Archive. Yesterday I was sitting at the railway station with my 5 year old granddaughter, and she asked if the lady making the announcements was actually in the railway station. Of course, she wasn’t as she is an automatic recording, scheduled fifteen and then one minute before the train arrived. I thought of the disembodied women when listening to Jill Lepore’s The Invisible Lady episode. It’s a wide-ranging podcast, starting with the gimmicky ‘Invisible Lady’ who was put on display in New York in 1804, moving to Emily Dickenson (“I’m nobody, Who are You?….”), the Warren and Bradeis Right to Privacy doctrine, H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man book and subsequent movie, and ending up with Siri and Alexa and other disembodied female voices.

History Extra. This episode 1962:London’s Big Freeze was really good, and it has spurred me to buy (yes, buy!) the book. Between Boxing Day 1962 and the first week of March 1963 – three months!!!!– England was plunged into freezing temperatures. The author Juliet Nicolson looks at this period in her book Frostquake. Written prior to this current lockdown, it tells of a different sort of lockdown with any similarities – transport paralysis, public events cancelled, schools closed etc. It also examines other events of the time: the Beatles, Profumo, the Cuban Missile Crisis etc.

Heather Cox Richardson took a week off from her ‘Reconstruction’ series of podcasts because Trump’s second impeachment was being debated, but she returned on February 19 to discuss the way that women, after the war, found themselves sidelined after the 14th Amendment the the Minor v Happersett decision. So they reframed their identities as “mothers of the nation”, and used the education they had gained from the colleges that had opened since the war to present evidence of the working/living conditions of women.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 March 2021

Latin American History Podcast In The Conquest of Mexico Episode 6 the presenter, Max Sarjeant, says that he is about half way through his planned series, and that for the last time he will explore Cortez’ character (which he sees as crazy-brave and impetuous) and the inevitability of the conquest of Mexico. He suspects that the ‘Montezuma thought Cortez was a god’ trope is a bit of ass-covering (not that he says that) and also that European conquest was an inevitability. In The Conquest of Mexico Episode 7, it’s all action with Cortez having to go off back to the coast to fight Spanish soldiers who had been sent from Cuba to stop his progress, then returning to find that the relationship had really deteriorated with the Aztecs. Montezuma died and the Spanish needed to escape Tenochtitlan. I watched the SBS series Hernan a while back, and this is the point where the series finished.

Heather Cox Richardson In her podcast of 5 February, Heather Cox Richardson turns her gaze westward, where, as she points out, the new areas being opened up already had well-established government systems, be they Spanish or Mexican. Treaties were signed with Indigenous tribes that were more a relationship with obligations rather than a land-ownership matter, and when the settlers did not keep up their side of the bargain, all bets were off. The indigenous people were purposely excluded from the 14th amendment, which is ironic given that the whole point of the Civil War was over men’s rights.

The Real Story (BBC) I like this podcast. It has experts who don’t necessarily settle into the expected left/right, liberal/conservative dichotomies. In China’s Advance into Latin America, the guests are a Brazilian economist, a former Mexican ambassador to China and two directors of academic programs- one at the centre for Inter-American Dialogue, and the other the director of Latin American programs at a Beijing University. Lots of parallels between Australia and Latin American countries, especially in terms of China’s use of market power for political outcomes.

Dan Snow’s History Hit. Carol Dyhouse, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Sussex talks about her book Love Lives: From Cinderella to Frozen. Her book of the same name examines how women’s (and mens???) attitudes to love have changed since 1950, when Disney’s Cinderella was released, up to the present day. Actually, there’s an interesting timeline to accompany the book on the OUP blog here.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 24-28 February 2021

Heather Cox Richardson Her ‘Reconstruction’ series continues on January 28th where she discusses the ‘switch’, where the Republicans went from supporting the idea of every American (man) being able to get ahead, to the protection of Big Business. In order to pay for the Civil War, the Republicans introduced taxation (yes, the Republicans) and erected a tariff wall around the whole US economy. When the economy soured, the argument (that we still hear trotted out today) was that the economy and business had to be protected so that the little man could be employed. There’s a fair bit of economics here, but I’ve always wondered when the Republican/Democrat switch occurred.

The Daily (NYT) Down here in the Southern Hemisphere, we have been watching the icy storms in Texas with disbelief. Texas?! The Blackout in Texas (February 17) has an interview with someone huddling in their icy house, having charged their phone in the car, and then another energy journalist with the NYT.

In A Battle for the Soul of Rwanda, they look at the current situation of Paul Rusesabagina, the hero of Hotel Rwanda, who is currently facing terrorism charges in Rwanda. I feel disappointed that things seem to be becoming more repressive in Rwanda- I was very impressed with the beauty, cleanliness and apparent reconciliation in the country..

Conversations (ABC) Australians are very familiar with Dr Norman Swan and his Coronacast podcasts, but most of us had not heard of his son, journalist Jonathan Swan until his Axios interview with Donald Trump. Jonathan Swan now has a podcast How it Happened and in this Conversations episode Trump’s Last Stand Richard Fidler talks with Jonathan Swan about Trump, and the journalistic environment in the Trump White House.

How It Happened And so of course, I then listened to Jonathan Swan’s podcast How It Happened. It is in five episodes. He argues that there is a direct line between Trump’s premature declaration of victory on Election Night and the invasion of Congress on January 6. He goes through Trump’s clutching at a new legal team, his rupture with Barr and Pence, and finishes with a very detailed analysis of what happened on January 6 from the point of view of the congressmen. Unfortunately, instead of having named sources, he is having to work with “deep backgrounding” where he can use the information given to him, but not identify the source. Nonetheless, the series gives a good fly-on-the-wall retelling of post-election Trump antics.

Background Briefing (ABC) Down in leafy Mt Eliza, there was an ashram led by Russell Kruckman. The chilling secrets of a Melbourne guru is a pretty typical cult-story, complete with manipulation, exploitation and sexual abuse. The chilling secrets of a Melbourne guru spends more time than it should on even questioning whether this is a cult.

I hear with my little ear: 16-23 February 2021

History Extra I just finished reading ‘The Shadow King’ and decided that I wanted to know more about the Italian/Abyssian (Ethiopian) War. History Extra had an interview with the author, Maaza Mengiste, The Real History behind The Shadow King but it was more about the writing of the book than the history. Obviously a lot of research went into the book, which she wears very lightly, and she has not been constrained in her imagination or creativity by her research.

Witness History (BBC) Just a short 9 minute episode Italy’s Shame: The Massacre in Ethiopia looks at the retribution that Italy wrought on Abyssinia (Ethiopia) after a grenade attack on Marshal Rodolfo Graziani who was appointed by Mussolini to govern Ethiopia.

The History Listen (ABC) Once the crossing of the Blue Mountains had been achieved in 1813, the town of Bathurst was established two years later. As was often the case, things were relatively peaceful at first, but within 7 years, as more and more settlers flowed into the areas, there was a full-blown resistance. Windradyne’s forgotten war tells about this change, and the way that stories are handed down from family to family that often tell another story to those of the written sources.

Big Ideas (ABC) This lecture Conscription in World War I was originally delivered in October 2016 at the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology Sydney, and broadcast soon afterward. 2016 was the centenary of the first conscription debate, and so this seemed a little anachronistic. I’ve done quite a bit of research (albeit at the local Heidelberg level) into the conscription debates, and I enjoyed listening to Prof. Joan Beaumont’s overview. The broadcasts finishes with a Tom Switzer (not my favourite broadcaster, I must admit) interview with Sean Scalmer, one of the editors of The Conscription Conflict and the Great War

BBC Outlook. If I can’t sleep, I turn on the radio and listen with my wonderful Acoustic Sheep sleepphones. The whole point is to make me drowsy so that I can go back to sleep. But when I started listening to Swimming With Polar Bears: A photographer’s “crazy” dream, it was so gripping that I woke right up, my heart pounding at the predicament the photographer found himself in. They might look cute, but polar bears are terrifying!

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 8-15 February 2021

How my Grandmother Won WWII This was recommended by the Guardian, but I don’t know if I’m going to stick with it. The writer and narrator Enid Tihanyi Weisz Zentelis tells the story of her Hungarian grandmother during WWII in How My Grandmother Won WWII but the narrator is off on a frolic of her own to feel better about her dysfunctional family. She “needs” to know this, and “needs” to learn that. I can’t bear upwardly inflected accents (Australian or American) but this is a downwardly inflected accent instead, which comes over as a depressing, self-centred moan. I don’t know where she comes from, but remind me not to go there.

Strong Songs. This podcast takes a famous popular song and pulls it apart musically. And what could be better to explore than the Beatles’ A Day in the Life. Kirk Hamilton discusses the musical theory behind the song, separates the different tracks etc. and in the end you hear the song with completely new ears.

Latin American History Podcast. Max Sarjeant starts this essay with what was, at the time of recording in June 2019, current news e.g. Mexico’s request/demand that Spain apologize for the Conquest; the discovery from space of more meso-american ruins in impenetrable jungle etc. He then returns to his history. In Episode 5 Cortez was determined to meet with emperor Moctezuma, even though Moctezuma had made it very clear that he wasn’t interested in meeting them. To get there, he had to get past the Aztec city of Cholula (second only to Tenochtitlan) and the land of the Tlaxcalans, neither of whom had any great love of Moctezuma. When they started plotting to kill the Spaniards at the request of Moctezuma, Cortez found out about it and massacred the main warriors and partially burnt the city.

Heather Cox Richardson. Continuing with her Reconstruction story, she starts off her episode of 21 January by sharing why she enjoys this period so much. She read through about 40 years of newspapers, and all of the literature of the time: she likes that from 1860-1900 it is a ‘manageable’ period historically. But her talk gets pretty detailed very quickly, and just covers the 1870s. After the Civil War, many east coast Republicans were disgusted that Grant was made president, and they formed the Liberal Republicans. The election of 1876 was heavily contested and the candidate that won the popular vote did not win the electoral college vote (sounds familiar) and there was widespread cheating by the Democrats in the South. In the end a deal was stitched up where the Republican Rutherford Hayes was made President, but the role of Postmaster General went to a Democrat, who proceeded to place Democrats where-ever he could. Republicans were beginning to wonder if all Americans should have the vote, after all, when it included migrants and poor people. Meanwhile, a courtcase that found that while women were American citizens, they were not necessarily entitled to vote would be used to disenfranchise African Americans.

Saturday Extra (ABC) Not necessarily the whole show this time, but an interesting segment The Glamour Boys, a book by UK Labor MP Chris Bryant, author of The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler. The term ‘glamour boys’ was a derogatory sneer at a group of conservative MPs, many of whom were gay or bisexual who challenged Chamberlain’s appeasement policy towards Hitler. I think that he has overstretched a little in suggesting that without their actions, the UK would never have fought, let alone defeated Hitler.

The Forum (BBC) What a lot of programs nestle under the wings of the Beeb. The Forum seems to have historical biographies and events- and I’d never heard of it. Nor had I heard of Sister Juana, a great mind of Mexico. She was born in Mexico of Spanish/Criollo parents in the mid 17th century and was a writer, public intellectual, and feminist long before these terms were in use. There are three experts in this program, two of whom disagree vehemently with each other. Sister Juana, or Sor Juana as she was known, became a nun which gave her the space and freedom to write. She was published in Spain and in Mexico, although our experts disagreed about the degree of agency she had in later life. There are excerpts from her writing- she was incredible! How have I gone my whole life unaware of this woman?

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-7 February

The Daily (NYT) So what happens to the Trump supporters now? A Conspiracy Theory is Proved Wrong interviews a number of ‘true believers’ who fervently believed that somehow Trump would end up as president. As in a millenarian cult disappointed after the Messiah does not appear (again), believers blame themselves for misinterpreting what they were told. I just don’t know how you prove that something – i.e. fraud- did not occur.

Dan Snow’s History Hit .These podcasts are teasers for Dan Snow’s History Hit television channel, and you really needed visuals here. Edge of Empire: Rome’s Northernmost Town looks at Corbridge, two miles south of Hadrian’s wall, and the archaeological ruins uncovered there. It was a garrison town that survived after the soldiers left to become a trading centre. I think you have to see it for this podcast to make sense.

Heather Cox Richardson continues her history series on Reconstruction. In her January 15 episode she looks at two forces which challenged the post Civil War idea that all men (including African-American men) should be able to have a say in the government. First there was fear of ‘communism’, spurred on by the resurrection of unions after the Civil War and the Paris Commune which was publicized by the new improved Transatlantic telegraph table of 1865. Second, there was the careful creation of the independent, government-scorning Western cowboy as a counter to the eastern states ‘socialists’.

Late Night Live (ABC). I saw that Simon Winchester has written a new book Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World. Philip Adams interviewed him here. He seems (from this interview- I may be wrong) to start his analysis with the land enclosures in the 1600s onwards but I found myself wondering about feudal ownership beforehand, Indian and Chinese ownership- was there such a thing?- and how nobility and kingship fitted in with land ownership. It all sounds a bit Euro-centric – again, I may be wrong.

Saturday Extra (ABC) It’s the 10 year anniversary of the Arab Spring, and I’m interested to know what the after effects were. A week ago Geraldine Doogue interviewed Sarah Yerkes, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Tunisia: Ten years since the Arab Spring. She argues that Tunisia came out better from the Arab Spring than many other Middle East companies, but that there have been recent uprisings again. Then this week, Doogue interviewed James Dorsey, journalist, and a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. He argues that in recognizing Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were allowing Trump to give something to his evangelical followers, and to present an alternative to conservative Islam – a trend that is occurring across the Middle East to varying degrees. After the interview, he was chatting informally to Doogue. He said- and she had his permission to add this to the podcast- that Indonesia is being underestimated, but at this point he started to talk to Doogue as a real insider, and I didn’t know what he was talking about, quite frankly.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 25-31 January 2021

Stuff the British stole (ABC) Shots Fired I heard this program advertised some time ago on the radio, but I could never catch the title! However, I finally tracked it down and listened to this episode on Invasion/Australia Day. I can remember feeling angry that the Gweagal shield was being returned to the British Museum after being on exhibition in Canberra as part of the Encounters exhibition at the NMA, where it was identified as being ‘collected’ at Botany Bay. But now that the custodianship of the shield by the British Museum is being challenged, it seems that it was probably not the shield dropped as part of the first contact at Botany Bay in 1770 after all. It raises questions about the relative worth of an artefact, the stories attached to it, and the politics of retaining or repatriating it.

The Daily (NYT) One of the first things that Joe Biden did on becoming president was tear up the Keystone Oil Pipeline. Good thing, too. This article from February 2018 has been read as a podcast and it goes through the history of American climate change activism, starting with Bill McKibben and, and focussing on five activists called The Valve Turners who deliberately trespassed while shutting off pipelines to ensure that they would front a court so that they could argue the necessity to act against climate change. Middle aged, upper middle class, educated Quakers and Unitarians… I’m proud to hear this, and I doff my cap to their bravery.

My Anne Lister-fest I finished watching Gentleman Jack (starring Suranne Jones) last night and I was curious to know more about Anne Lister and how accurate the Sally Wainwright-directed depiction was. First I listened to the History Extra Podcast Anne Lister, the Real ‘Gentleman Jack’ which featured Anne’s most recent biographer Angela Steidele. I think that her biography, Gentleman Jack: A biography of Anne Lister, Regency Landowner, Seducer and Secret Diarist was originally written in German and translated by Kate Derbyshire. I wasn’t quite convinced by Steidele’s unfamiliarity with English gentlewomen’s diaries which (from the limited experience I have with them) are almost always boring, and there seemed a lot of emphasis on the ‘coded’ part. This same Kate Derbyshire the translator was a guest on The Dead Ladies Show Episode #12 Anne Lister where I was disconcerted by the tittering and male guffawing in the audience, something that the presenter seemed to be playing up to. I noticed that in the TV series, credit was given to Jill Liddington, so I sought her out. I found a series of videos on ALBW – Anne Lister Birthday Week- which was planned for 2020 before COVID intervened. They have bravely rescheduled it for April- then, July 2021- I am not hopeful. Jill Liddington seemed more a historian’s historian, who gave equal weight to the context of diary-writing and the English class system. Jane Liddington: The Inspiration of History is a one-hour interview with Pat Esgate (American organizers of the ALBW).

The Guardian. I have a friend from Brazil, and since I’ve been learning Spanish I am more interested in Latin American/South American affairs. I saw the appalling news about the shortage of oxygen in Brazil, so I was interested in Why Brazilians are taking the Covid crisis into their own hands. The reporter in this podcast, Tom Phillips, thinks that the tide has turned on Bolsonaro because of his handling of Covid. I’m not so sure.

Latin American History Podcast Continuing on with The Conquest of Mexico- Part 4, the podcaster Max Serjeant pulls a bit of swiftie here. He starts off telling the story of a European explorer meeting with an indigenous culture, going off, returning, getting killed and that’s the end of the story. This explorer is not Cortez of course, (I’ll let you guess or find out who it is) but he raises some interesting questions about how the appearance of a ‘stranger’ fits into pre-existing cosmology. Cortez meets envoys from the Aztecs, and is rebuffed in his efforts to meet with Montezuma, who rather foolishly keeps sending him gifts which just happen to include gold – thereby highlighting the desirability of Aztec wealth. Cortez teams up with the Totonacs, who had been defeated by the Aztecs in the old “enemy of my enemy” scenario.

Heather Cox Richardson. Returning to her Thursday series on Reconstruction in America, on 31 December she looked at two groups who were excluded by the 14th Amendment: the indigenous American tribes and women. For some reason, I always avoided doing American history and I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize that the ‘Indian’ Wars took place during (as well as before and after) the Civil War. It was interesting to juxtapose these wars, treaties and land swaps with what was happening in Australia with our indigenous people. However, I disagree with her definition of ‘suffragist’ vs ‘suffragette’ (she sees it as a US vs UK thing) rather than a difference in strategy.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 17-24 January 2021

Heather Cox Richardson. I’m listening to her history of Reconstruction. Her talk on December 18 2020 picks up on Congressional Reconstruction. After Lincoln was assassinated, there was a long hiatus until Congress reconvened, and in that time President Johnson (a Southern democrat) tried to tie everything up so that the South could come back to Congress as if nothing that happened. And, they pretty much got away with it.

Nothing on TV is Robyn Annear’s homegrown podcast drawing on the newspaper resources of Trove. In the episode The Suburban Ghost she regales us with reports from all over Melbourne of a ghost, sometimes described as ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ who would jump out of bushes, pull back his cape to reveal his phosphorescent chest, thereby terrifying a friend-of-a-friend who passed on the story (as all good urban legends do). The reference to ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ sends Robyn back to the British newspapers and an earlier history of such ghostly appearances.

The Daily (NY Times) I was impressed with the New York Times podcast about the riot at the Capitol, and so I’ve added it to my favourites. What Kind of Message Is That? is a rather depressing podcast about how Trump-supporting Republicans think about the riot. Biden might be President but there are millions of these people believing genuinely that the election was stolen, citing dogs or dead people who voted (whose existence has never been proven). I do ask myself though: if I were in a country where an election was stolen (and heaven knows there are enough of them), what would I do? Hopefully, though, I’d be acting on evidence instead of hearsay.

ABC Fictions. I heard about this particular episode before Christmas, but I hadn’t got round to listening to it. Paul Daley and Van Badham, who often write for the Guardian Australia pick up on Paul Kelly’s song How To Make Gravy and write a short story from the point of view of one of the characters in the song. Paul Daley’s story is told from the point of view of Dan, and Van’s story is from the angry sister Mary. Have a listen to the song, then to the podcast How to Make Gravy: a tribute to the Australian classic

The Documentary (BBC). I am opposed to capital punishment. Full stop. I was appalled by Trump’s orgy of executions carried out in the last weeks of his tenure. Lisa Montgomery: The road to execution tells the story of the woman who was one of those executed prisoners, the first woman executed in seventy years. She committed a hideous crime – almost beyond words – but no one (including me) wanted her set free. What a terrible life. What a terrible outcome.

The Latin American History Podcast. The Conquest of Mexico Episode 3 starts with a consideration of the various sources for our knowledge of the conquest. Most, but not all, Spanish sources generally portray the conquest rather benignly (although one Spanish source was so graphic in its depictions of violence that it was banned). The conquistadors themselves had their own agendas. Then there are the Aztec codices, drawn by Aztec men who were there (albeit somewhat after the conquest) – what an amazing resource. He then goes on to describe Cortez’ first battles with the Maya, drawing a distinction between a leader and a commander, and the procurement of Malinche who was to play such an important and controversial role.