Category Archives: Podcasts

I hear with my little ear: 1- 7 October 2018

Russia if you’re listening (ABC) Another Trumpdate- this time “Why Brett Kavanaugh matters to the Russia Investigation”

Mr Deakin – Judith Brett. Here historian Judith Brett discusses her book ‘The Enigmatic Mr Deakin’ with Kerryn Goldsworthy at the Adelaide Festival. Available on Soundcloud here for streaming but not download. It goes for nearly an hour, so it’s an expansive interview. What a fantastic resource the Adelaide Writers Week Soundcloud account is:-they’re all there!

News in Slow Spanish Latino Episode #277. I really enjoyed the segment about Spanish words for which there are no direct translations.  Like anteayer – the day before yesterday. Or friolentos– people who always feel cold. Or desvelarse when you’ve become over-tired and then you’re wide awake.  Or sobremesa which means the talking around the table after the meal has finished.  They didn’t mention this one, but I like it: consuegra– the mother-in-law of my child.

Revolutions Podcast 9.06 The Presidential Succession of 1910 Portfirio Diaz said that he welcomed a contested election but he was just joking.  9.07 Morelos looks at the province of what was to become Morelos as a microcosm of Mexican history so far, and introduces Emiliano Zapata (and his mustache)

I hear with my little ear: 24 Sept- 30 Sept

News in Slow Spanish Latino #275 and #276. Episode #275 had a fascinating section about why written Spanish uses punctuation marks at the beginning as well as the end of a sentence. Apparently in the 18th century the Royal Academy, which guards the purity of the Spanish language, decreed that long sentences should have ? and ! at the beginning and end so that someone reading it out loud would know what the intonation should be. The definition of a long/short sentence was vague, so they changed the rule so that the punctuation appeared on all sentences. ¡Up until 2014 an exclamation mark was known as a ‘sign of admiration’ which wasn’t always true, so they changed it to ‘sign of exclamation’!

The Thread Series 1. It might be story-telling but it sure ain’t history. As a historian, I feel a bit embarrassed admitting that I listened to The Thread first series because its approach to causality is very suss and some of the claims made had me snorting with derision. It’s better to think of it as a ‘Six Degrees of Separation’, as it moved from the shooting of John Lennon to Vladimir Lenin. On the way, it passed J.D.Salinger, Eugene O’Neill, Oona O’Neill and Louise Bryant and her husband John Reed (as seen as in the 1981 film ‘Reds’). The individual biographies were interesting, but the “if only…” history behind it is a bit of a stretch.

Rear Vision. (ABC) On the tenth anniversary of the GFC, this Rear Vision episode The legacy of the Global Financial Crisis gives a really good overview.

Russia if you’re listening (ABC). The series has officially finished, but Matt Bevan issues ‘Trumpdates’ if anything interesting comes along. And, with Donald Trump, something usually does. They are shorter episodes, generally featuring Matt Bevan discussing events with a (usually Australian) commentator  This time: Will Rosenstein lose his job?

I Hear with my Little Ear: podcasts 16/9/18 -23/9/18

In Our Time (BBC). At least Melvyn Bragg has stopped coughing. Making Montesquieu exciting is a big ask, but the two Richards and a Rachel did a fairly good job.  Even though he died in 1755, Montesquieu’s ideas about liberty and constitutions affected the compilation of the American constitution and provided an intellectual basis for Robespierre during the French revolution.

I Have to Ask (Slate). I’ve been reading Ta-Nehisi Coates recently, and this podcast suggested that it would be about his book ‘We Were Eight Years In Power’. It’s rather rambly, and there’s not really that much about the book as such. A bit disappointing.

Conversations (ABC) I always enjoyed listening to Bea Campbell (Communist, feminist, writer on Princess Diana) on Philip Adams’ Late Night Live, and in this episode she is interviewed by Sarah Kanowski.  Oh- it’s a repeat! Oh well.  Then there’s the interview with Tim Minchin, who has featured on this blog before here and here.  And finally, an interview with Gwynne Dyer, a journalist whose work I’ve enjoyed. Here he is not as pessimistic about democracy as one might have thought he would be.

Revolutions Podcast  Old Porfirio Diaz just kept on keeping on, until he said that he wouldn’t. Episode 9.05 The Creelman Interview.

News in Slow Spanish (Latino) Episode 273 had a fascinating segment on Blanca Luz Brum, who I’ve decided to talk about (in Spanish) at my Spanish class. The only problem is that everything on the internet is also in Spanish (hello Google Translate). Episode 274 had segments on NAFTA and the new figures for fatalities in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and the protests about labelling the drink mezcal.

I Hear with my Little Ear: Podcasts 8/9/18- 15/9/18

Sandra continues….but hold on! It just stops! Episode 7 then nothing! I haven’t felt this betrayed since the last episode of The Hour ( where I still don’t know -did Freddy die or not?) What ever happened to the obligation to round something off???

Revolutions. Episode 9.03 conservative-liberal-conservative (sounds a bit like Australian politics at the moment). No wonder Gabriel Garcia Marquez had so many clapped-out old generals to write about. But in Episode 9.04 all of a sudden – I remember from Revolutions 1 in first-year uni! Portfirio Diaz!

Russia If You’re Listening (ABC). Oh no! The last one in the series. Episode #17 Robert Mueller: ‘Trump’s Worst Nightmare’

The History Listen: (ABC). Plane Crash 1940: Living with the dead.  The plane crash ‘belongs’ to history and grandchildren now. What are the responsibilities in revisiting an event when the participants are still in living memory of a later generation?

Chat 10 Looks 3 Ep. 88: A Square Inch of Unkissed Arse. Of course, Leigh Sales and Anabelle Crabb are talking about the Liberal leadership change. What else would they talk about?

I Hear With My Little Ear: Podcasts 31/8/18- 7/9/18

Another In Our Time podcast, this time about the Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861 in Russia. Not one of Melvyn’s better ones- he keeps coughing (most unpleasant because it’s so loud) and it was very top-down in its analysis.  It’s amazing to think that there were 40,000,000 serfs who were liberated. Some interesting links with Russian literature, parallels with the Emancipation of Slaves in British colonies in the 1830s (which they didn’t explore).

And yet another In Our Time, the episode about Bedlam, the ‘lunatic asylum’ that became a tourist attraction. Originally located at St Mary of Bethlehem in 1247 (thought to have been abbreviated into the epithet ‘Bedlam’), it later shifted to Moorfields in the 17th century.  Some of its practices were condemned for their cruelty, but they changed as the perceptions and explanations for mental illness altered over its 600 years of operation.

Billy Griffiths talking about his book Deep Time Dreaming on Episode #40 The Archaeology Show through the Archaeology Podcast Network.  A very low-tech podcast with mediocre sound quality with two young interviewers who obviously knew nothing about about Australian history or archaeology. Still, if you haven’t read the book it’s probably a good run-down on it, because I’m not sure that these interviewers had read it either.

Sandra. My husband mentioned this podcast after reading about it in New Scientist. It’s about a woman, Helen, who takes up a job being the voice of ‘Sandra’, a virtual assistant like Siri or Google. In Episode #1 Hope is a Mistake Sandra has her first day on the job and is assigned to the topic ‘birds’. In Episode #2 The User Experience, Sandra learns the ropes and receives some disturbing news about her ex-husband.  I’m not particularly keen that these podcasts are interrupted by advertisments of their other podcasts, but they’re well produced and even have actors I recognize- Ethan Hawke and Kristen Wiig.

Revolutions.podcast com  I’ve been listening to Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcasts for ages, following him through the English Civil War, the French Revolution and Simon Bolivar and independence in Latin America.  I’m taking him up again with the Mexican Revolution, something I did back in 1974 and can remember little about. Episode 9.01 New Spain reprises the Wars of Independence from the Spanish in Latin America in the early 19th century.  Episode 9.02 The Cry of Dolores looks at Father Hidalgo who rang the church bell in the small town of Dolores, calling the people to arms in what would become the Mexican War of Independence.

The History Listen (ABC) Plane Crash 1940: Menzies’ darkest hour. Just before 11am on 13th August 1940, a Hudson bomber carrying ten people, including three cabinet ministers and one army general, crashed into a ridge near Canberra airport. The crash had a great personal and political impact on P.M. Menzies, who lost his closest political supporters. Includes historians Judith Brett, Andrew Tink and Kim Beazley.

Rear Vision  (ABC).  As part of the ABC’s focus on China last week, this Rear Vision episode looks at Chinese immigration to Australia. I hadn’t been aware of immigration prior to the gold rushes, and the program gives valuable information about immigration after Tienanmen Square, and recent Chinese migration patterns.  Includes historians Kate Bagnall, Sophie Loy-Wilson

Russia If You’re Listening (ABC) Episode #16 Michael Cohen: The fixer with the hush money.  Hmmm…is this what will bring Trump down? What am I going to do when this series finishes after next week?

 

I Hear With My Little Ear: Podcasts 23/8 – 30/8

I’ve taken to walking from home to the museum in Heidelberg on Mondays, and to and from the library in Watsonia for Spanish on Wednesdays.  Plenty of time to listen to podcasts! This week I listened to:

In Our Time (Stitcher)  The Salem Witch Trials . Featuring Susan Castillo Street (King’s College London); Simon Middleton at the (University of Sheffield); Marion Gibson (University of Exeter). Gives an interesting economic perspective on why Salem Village generated these trials, as distinct from Salem Town. And the girls were only 11 and 9 ! Quite a different view to ‘The Crucible’!

Russia If You’re Listening (ABC Listen). I love listening to Matt Bevan on RN Breakfast each morning as he does a round-up of local and international news (that’s why I get up at 6.45 a.m.- I wait until his segment is finished before I get out of bed). Ever since Trump was elected, he’s been fascinated by events in America and now he has his own podcast that goes right back to the beginning. This week, episode 15 ‘Felix Sater: Criminal, informant, developer, spy.

The History Listen (ABC Listen). Not as good as Hindsight, but still a good listen. This week I listened to the four-part series Gone Mallee, a flat, marginal area in north-west Victoria. My favourite episode, dealing with a small town population 7,  was #3 The Mantung Yearbook

Rear Vision (ABC Listen). This week Radio National are featuring Australia’s relationship with China, and this program Modern China and the Legacy of the Opium Wars looks at the Opium Wars, and their lingering effects on how China views its own history and future.

Duolingo Podcast These podcasts are about 2/3 English and 1/3 Spanish, slow enough for me to understand straight off. You could follow it even if you didn’t speak Spanish, and there’s a transcript on the website.Episode 10, Los guerrilleros is about a journalist who meets with the FARC guerillas in their jungle camp.

News In Slow Spanish. A paid program that has a weekly round-up of news and commentary. I listened to Episode #492 dated 16th August. It dealt with the tensions between Turkey and the US; the World Rankings study where Melbourne slipped to second after Vienna; a study about the strategies to get someone to respond to your message on dating sites, and a snail race in England.

Podcast: Mum Says My Memoir is a Lie

If you saw Q&A on ABC last Monday, you would have seen Rosie Waterland as one of the panelists.  “Who’s Rosie Waterland?” you may ask. It was, in fact, the first time that I have seen Rosie Waterland too, but she sounded very familiar because I’d been listening to her podcast ‘Mum Says My Memoir is a Lie’ for 22 episodes, over several weeks. You can find  it here.

waterland

Rosie Waterland wrote an award-winning memoir about her troubled and dysfunctional childhood called The Anti-Cool Girl in 2015 . Her mother Lisa, an alcoholic, had been warned by her friends not to read it and, given her health and other problems at the time, it was highly unlikely that she would have done so.  Two years later, however, Lisa had cleaned up her act and was sober and she read the book.  This podcast, as mother and daughter face off over the veracity of  Rosie’s memoir, is the result.For the first few weeks of listening to this, I found myself talking about it to anyone I came across, urging them to listen to it.  It is graphic, disturbing, but also illuminating and thought-provoking.

Lisa, now in her 50s, has had her own troubled life, but has worked (remarkably) as a psychiatric nurse, and from her vocabulary, is clearly well-educated. From her voice, and accent, however, you can detect the effect of years of drug and alcohol abuse and some pretty hard living. Rosie sounds young (she is in her early 30s) and likewise, bears the traces of a private school education in her voice as well, mixed in with the effects of some pretty hard living in her own right. They often clash: sometimes over the veracity of Rosie’s obviously coloured memoir, which combines humour with real tragedy, but more importantly, often  over blame and responsibility.

You don’t need to have read the book, because each podcast starts with Rosie reading a chapter until she reads the whole way through. There’s mutual embarrassment here, when Rosie is reading about her own, or her mother’s, sex life, and discomfort when she exposes Lisa’s multiple failures as a mother.  Then, after Rosie has finished reading the chapter, they ‘discuss’ it. Sometimes it’s outright denial from one or the other of them; other times it’s reflection and a step towards reconciliation.  At other times, it sparks off an argument that you just know has been had many times before.  It’s interesting (and somewhat voyeuristic) listening to the whole of an argument, as distinct from just overhearing snatches of it on the phone, or worse still, being involved in the altercation yourself.  You hear the shifts in the logic; the outright stupidity; the inadequacy and immaturity of other parts of the argument. Your sympathies shift back and forth.  I noticed this most with the episode about Rosie’s weight gain.

Is it my age perhaps? For all Lisa’s flaws (and they are legion, as they are with us all), I found myself more often on her side. I wish her well.

But I must confess that by the end of the series,  I was tiring of it. The next-to-last two or three episodes could be easily skipped, with just the final episode as closure (and even that last one went on too long).  I wondered why she felt Rosie felt that she had to abnegate herself through her revelations (TMI, you might say) and combined with her weight problems, I started to feel too voyeuristic and even complicit in heightening Rosie’s pain.  Will she still want this podcast to be around in ten years? I wonder.

But the first, say, 15, episodes I found absolutely compelling.  Brave stuff- from both of them.  And when I saw her on Q&A the other night, I felt as if I were hearing the voice of a friend.