Category Archives: Podcasts

I hear with my little ear: podcasts to 31 Jan 2019

I usually listen to podcasts while I’m walking down to the Heidelberg Historical Society museum on a Monday and/or Thursday, or when walking to Watsonia Library for a Spanish conversation class. (Nearly) everything stops in Australia during the first weeks of January, so I’m only just gradually picking up my usual routine again. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to:

News in Slow Spanish Latino  I listen to this in bites of three stories at a time which is about as much Spanish as I can cope with in one session. Episode #293  had an interesting commentary about the Mexican film ‘Roma’, which has been recognized in several industry awards, and slated for others. Apparently when Netflix showed it in Spain, they subtitled it – even though it’s in Spanish! Not the hard-of-hearing type subtitles, but the hard-copy foreign language ones. Unsurprisingly, this caused quite a bit of offence in Latin America. [Having said this, I often feel that I need subtitles for films from Scotland] To add to the transgression, they used ‘Mother’ instead of ‘Mum’ (rough translation), and substituted the name of a Mexican lolly with a Spanish one. There was such controversy, that Netflix dropped the subtitles.

Rough Translation.  War Poems is an absolutely fantastic episode about two translators working in Afghanistan as the United States flailed around in its policy on engagement with the Afghani population. But it’s about more than this. It had me crying in the train, then telling a total stranger about it. It’s really good.

Presidential. Abraham Lincoln: His hand and his pen. I borrowed ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ from the library, but didn’t get round to reading this. I had downloaded it to listen to before I read the book because I really know nothing about Abraham Lincoln. I do now. It’s about Lincoln’s love of language in his own writing and in his oratory.

History Hub. While I was on an Abraham Lincoln kick, I also listened to the five- part ‘  series ‘Abraham Lincoln: The Life and Death of a Statesman‘, presented by Brian Schoen.

In Our Time. I must say that Melvyn Bragg is becoming more and more curmudgeonly the older he gets, particularly with women guests I think.  I listened to an interesting podcast about the 12th Century Renaissance, when the Crusades brought Arabic learning to Europe and universities began to be established. In the episode on Anna Akhmotova, I just wanted to give Melvyn a good hard kick.

Caliphate. I know that I’m probably the last person in the world to tune into Caliphate, but I’ve finally started listening to this series about how ISIS recruits and exploits its followers. Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism for The New York Times, is the main presenter in this NPR-y-sounding podcast. I’ve listened to the first two and a half episodes.

Duolingo podcasts Episode 18: La testigo (the witness) is about a young Argentinian girl who inadvertently witnesses the Argentinian dictatorship during the 1970s. If you don’t understand Spanish, you’ll still be able to follow the story, and there’s a transcript as well.

Earshot (ABCRN) Related to the Duolingo podcast was this week’s Earshot program Argentina’s stolen generation, about the ongoing discovery, 40 years later, of the children affected in different ways by the ‘dirty war’ in Argentina in the 1970s, both as children of the ‘disappeared’ and as children of the perpetrators.

99% Invisible. I haven’t seen ‘The Green Book’ film yet, but this podcast called The Green Book Redux is about the original Green Book and how and why it came to be written. It finishes with an excerpt from ‘The Memory Palace’, another podcast I must check out.

I hear with my little ear: podcasts 15-22 December 2018

99% Invisible Here in Australia, our conservative government has decided that in relation to electricity policy, reliability and cost trumps emissions every time. We have far fewer blackouts now than I remember having as a child. But imagine the power being out for a year, as it was in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. This podcast, A Year in the Dark is about an electricity worker who decided to become a one-man-clearing house for information about the progress (or lack thereof) it reconnecting the electricity supply.

Revolutionspodcast continuing on with the Mexican Revolution in Episode 9.15 The Constitutionalists. Well, the elected president was shot, an army general took over, and perhaps you think that’s the end of the Mexican revolution. General Huerta settles in, and the US ambassador Henry LaneWilson has his back, and it seems that he’s going to be a second General Portfirio Diaz. He jails and kills the opposition, and buys off rebel soldiers with a pardon if they join the government troops. But there’s the second phase of the revolution stirring, as men and groups begin forming, in the north under Carranza and Pancho Villa, in the south under Zapata.

Russia If You’re Listening is heading into a Christmas break but just before he left, Matt Bevan made two more Trumpdates. Donald Trump’s Not So Merry Christmas goes through all the things that have gone wrong for Trump in recent weeks. Five Ways it could end for Trump features Dom Knight (from The Chaser) and Emma Shortis (from RMIT who has commented on this series several times).

I hear with my little ear: podcasts 7 – 14 December 2018

Background Briefing. The Bird and the Businessman. I am angry!! This is appalling. I have written to the Minister and Shadow Minister. And while I’m thinking about it, I’m angry about the proposed freeway in the Edithvale wetlands too.

Revolutionspodcast Episode 9.14 The Ten Tragic Days. OK, so President Madero was democratically elected, finally breaking the hold of Porfirio Diaz over Mexico. He only ruled for 15 months before he was deposed by counter-revolutionary forces emboldened by US Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson. A pretty depressing episode really, especially the care with which it was made to look ‘constitutional’.  I need to find a podcast that makes me laugh, I think

Rough Translation  Intruders. Argentian daytime television program ‘Intruders’ was tacky, daytime television (that everyone watched but no-one would admit watching) with a long-standing, smirking, somewhat sleazy male host and a procession of women in high heels. Then, things changed, as the show began voicing feminist ideas. A fascinating podcast.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 30 Nov- 6 December 2018

Rear Vision It’s the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement in North Ireland, but I was more attracted to these podcasts, broadcast earlier this year, in relation to Brexit and the fears of a ‘hard border’ in Ireland again. It’s a two-part series, with Part I looking at The Troubles and Part II looking at the agreement. It’s really good to revisit the history of the Troubles brought right up to date. I didn’t realize how fragile the ‘peace’ is.

Another Rear Vision episode that I’ve had saved for a while is Red Marauder: A History of Drought in Australia. An interesting idea: that drought only really entered settler consciousness after the Selection Acts of the 1860s and 1870s that made it possible for small-scale farming, rather than earlier when squatters could just move their flocks and herds if one area became dry. An interesting review of drought policy over the last 30 years, too, and the way that really good policy was unstitched to return us to ad-hoc drought relief again.

Russia, if you’re listening. This episode is called “Why are news networks calling Paul Manafort an idiot?” but it also goes on to talk about Russia and the naval standoff with Ukraine. And interesting to go back to the Felix Sater episode, now that he’s popping up in the news again.

Revolutionspodcast. Episode 9.13 The Plan of Ayala. Francisco Madero decides to rile up his old friends, including Emiliano Zapata who issues the Plan of Ayala, a blue-print for third-world agrarian revolutions everywhere.

Duolingo Podcasts. These really are good. La voz de la calle is about a man in Buenos Aries who had fallen from a job, his own home and family into homelessness in the Argentinian economic crisis of 1999. My Spanish teachers had mentioned the Argentinian pronunciation of words with double-L, and it’s certainly apparent here.

 

 

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 22-29 November 2018

Revolutionspodcast.com continues with the history of the Mexican Revolution. In Episode 9.11 Not Quite President Madero, Francisco Madero has seen off Porfirio Diaz, but he hasn’t yet been elected in his own right. He thought that it would be a shoo-in, but all of a sudden all these other contenders come out of the woodwork. And (spoiler alert!) after finally being elected, in episode 9.12 No Peace, he finds that incumbency doesn’t necessarily mean that your problems are over.

BBC Outlook has some interesting true stories, often (but not always) related to crime. In The Fraud and the Missing Boy, a private investigator has his suspicions when missing American schoolboy re-appears after three years. His family is overjoyed…but is this really a happy ending?

The History Hour.  A one-hour program contains about four stories of events from history, told from an eyewitness perspective. Vera Brittain: Anti-Bombing Campaigner has five very different stories.  Vera Brittain wrote Testament of Youth, her autobiographical account of World War I. But this is about World War II, when she spoke out against the saturation bombing of Germany. There’s also a segment on the Omagh bombing in Ireland in 1998, the biggest single atrocity in the Troubles, killing 29 and injuring some 220. It also looks at the arrival of television in South Africa in the 1970s, going straight to colour,  the African-American photographer whose coverage of Martin Luther King’s funeral won him a Pulitzer Prize, and the invention of the instant noodle.

WWI: Britain’s Conscientious Objectors examines the treatment of Britain’s First World War conscientious objectors. It also revisits the nuclear weapons inspections in Iran, the CIA’s first coup in Latin America in Guatamala in 1954 from the point of view of the son of deposed president Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, what happened to Eastern Europe’s dancing bears, and the culling in Wales of a sacred bull.

Rough Translations This American program produced by NPR looks at an American issue from the perspective of somewhere else in the world. But this time is really IS about translation, because the episode The Apology Broker looks at the concept of “sorry” and the way that it is interpreted in different languages.  Japanese has many gradations of “sorry” and they came into focus when a Japanese woman living in America orchestrated an apology from the Mitsubishi company to one of the few living POWs who were sent to Mitsubishi as slave labour during WW2. It’s a really good episode.

 

 

 

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 14- 21 November 2015

Background Briefing (ABC)  Progressives here in Australia feared for the effects on the availability of abortion after Brett Kavanagh’s ascension to the Supreme Court. But we shouldn’t be too smug about the provision of abortion here in Australia. At the time of this recording, abortion was still illegal in Queensland under a 119 year old law (it has since changed), and the provision of late term abortion is very difficult to access. This podcast looks at the Marie Stopes provider in Maroondah, known as The Clinic of Last Resort for women all over Australia seeking a late surgical abortion.

Rear Vision (ABC) In celebration of Armistice Day, Rear Vision put out an excellent episode The Centenary of Armistice: Australia and World War I. There’s been so much about WWI and this encapsulates Australia’s war both overseas and domestically in just half an hour. Features Robert Bollard, Rae Francis from ANU and Meleah Hampton from AWM. So if you want to listen to just one podcast about the war- this could be it!

I recently read Laura Spinney’s book on the influenza epidemic and I saved Rear Vision’s The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19.  The broadcast is actually from 2009, and it draws quite heavily on Geoffrey Rice’s book ‘Black November: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in New Zealand’.

History Today And other podcast about the influenza epidemic, this time from History Today. The Spanish Flu pandemic features author Catharine Arnold, whose book Pandemic 1918: The Story of the Deadliest Influenza in History takes a more biographical approach to the spread of disease, particularly in Britain

Revolutions PodcastEpisode 9.10 Chickens Coming Home to Roost is a bit of a stop-and-take-a-look-back type of episode. The presenter Mike Duncan was on a book tour so in  his absence,  he reads an essay that he wrote in grad school on the fall of the Porfirio Diaz’s long regime. I enjoyed this episode because, when you’re listening to something as elongated as this, you wonder if you have forgotten important things along the way. It’s reassuring to find that I haven’t.

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 6 -13 November 2018

Well, the mid-term elections are done and dusted, Jeff Sessions has been ordered to let himself out the door- what does it all mean? There’s a new Trumpdate episode of Russia If You’re Listening.

News in Slow Spanish Latino Episode #282

99%Invisible Episode 326 Welcome to Jurassic Art has a podcast about the depiction of dinosaurs and how it has changed as artists have been liberated to draw from analogy and imagination. I’ve often been amused looking a sketches of a dinosaur that show the one little tiny bone that has been discovered.

Big Ideas. Kirsten McKenzie is one of the historians who influenced me most when I wrote my thesis on Judge Willis (see my review of A Swindler’s Progress which she released in 2009 ). In this podcast A scandalous empire she talks about colonial scandals – Viscount Lascelles in NSW and Chief Justice Wylde in the Cape Colony- and what they tell us about respectability and anxiety, and the bringing of social change. It’s a lecture recorded on 4 October 2018 at UWA Institute of Advanced Studies. The recording has not been kind: it’s rather shrill, (says she who is very self-conscious about her own voice) but the content is excellent.

Conversations.  Everybody’s favourite interviewer Richard Fidler talks with David Marr, who is so witty, arch and caustic. A rather more tentative and emotional interview subject is Louisa Deasey who talks about how she completely re-evaluated her view of her long-deceased father when she received a Facebook message from a stranger about a cache of letters a French family had found amongst their grandmother’s possessions. The episode Discovering a father’s secret life in France ties in with Deasey’s book A Letter from Paris. The interviewer Sarah Kanowski sure has to work hard to get this story out of a very nervous interviewee.