#69 Under the skin
There is more going on inside you than anyone will ever know.
This week in The Audit: what you ought to have done; the restless past; the deepest and most secret truths.
Your faithful servants,
This exuberant new show from WNYC already has us firmly by the heart. Nancy is a home for stories about the queer experience. That is to say, it's about specific LGBTQI experiences, but also universal matters of love and pain and growing up, and all the other vital stuff that makes us human. Hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low launch a charm offensive from minute one, and they sound like they've been doing it for years, which presumably they have been, just not on the air: the two are real-world best friends. They bring us deeply personal insights from their own lives, along with stories from guests. Witness: a) the hunt for an iconic Asian porn star; b) the recitation of secret love poems; c) an original song from a one-woman musical called Manifest Pussy, which had us pinned, transfixed, to our chair. Three episodes in, we're a little giddy on this: on its ready wit, and its wide-open way of looking at the world. Hear new instalments weekly, Sundays.
Gateway episode: #2 Like Two Ken Dolls Being Smashed Together (10 Apr 2017)
The Big Bad Wolf
Nic Nyx admits upfront that this whole endeavour is a kind of homemade therapy; she is confronting the memories of an abusive relationship she experienced three years ago in the hope that she can at last put those memories to rest. This is an independent Australian production, rough around the edges, but ambitious. Its great strength is its fearlessness - Nic is willing to expose herself, to a degree that sometimes feels punishing - and in the raw expression of her experience, which does not always subscribe to our expectations. She recounts the escalating grind of her relationship in affecting monologue, but also interviews the people in her life who remember that time: her parents, her best friend, and even her abuser. Listening to her conversations with him, we feel as if we are walking a high-wire, holding our breath.
Maybe it's not appropriate to categorise this as a binge-listening experience, but that's how we consumed it - in one strange, fell swoop. Eight episodes out now.
Gateway episode: 1. Like Magnets, Opposites Attract (8 Feb 2017)
First Day Back, Lovebirds (Season 2, Episode 1)
The second season of First Day Back, an indie darling in 2015, has been a long time coming. Season 1 followed host Tally Abecassis, a documentary filmmaker, as she made tentative moves back into the workforce after a long maternity hiatus. Gently expressed, but with a dead-eye for revealing detail, the series asked questions about the work of making art, of being married, and of motherhood.
At the conclusion of that series, Tally told us Season 2 would feature someone else's first day back. We weren't expecting what she has now produced, but on reflection, it bears the hallmarks of Season 1: on its surface, mild-mannered and domestic, but containing a muddled darkness at its heart. In this first episode, we are introduced to Lucie, a middle-aged woman who shot and killed her common-law husband in 2010. Lucie has no memory of the shooting and no notion of what might have moved her to commit it. Now, she's getting out of prison, and ready to start her life again - but how can she truly start over when she doesn't remember the event that reset her life? This series is one to watch, like a hawk. New episodes weekly.
From: Independent / Stitcher / The Heard
Wondery's suite of audio stories expands again with this six-part series about the making of Psycho. Hitchcock's horror masterpiece was inspired by one of the creepiest true crime villains ever (OK, since you asked, serial killer Ed Gein, who crafted furniture and masks out of his victims' body parts FFS). Hitchcock made Psycho with his own money, against advice, and remained as antagonistic and obsessive throughout the production as he had ever been. He terrified Janet Leigh with corpse-pranks; tested a range of melons in search of the most realistic stabbing sound effects; and, once the film opened in cinemas, insisted that late-coming patrons be prevented from entering the theatre. Obviously there is fertile ground to plunder here and the series makes use of it all, leading us from Gein's real-life horror story to the production itself and its eventual public reception, with many scenes rendered in immersive soundscapes. All six 30-minute episodes are available now.
Gateway episodes: #1 The Butcher of Plainfield (23 Mar 2017) / #4 Men Do Kill Nude Women You Know (6 Apr 2017)
If, like us, you live with a stack of guilt-making, must-read books towering over your bed, then you'll find your poison in Overdue, or maybe a special kind of torture. Our hosts Andrew and Craig, plus occasional guests, seek out books they ought to have read, then read them and report back. The idea is that this will inspire us to read the book ourselves, at bloody last, or at a minimum enable us to pretend we've read it for the rest of our lives (Thomas Piketty's Capital, anyone?). It's an effective format, delivered with genial good humour and not at all shackled by snobbery - their picks run the gamut from Jane Eyre to 50 Shades of Gray - and there are 235 episodes at your disposal.
Gateway episodes: #227 The World According to Garp (27 Feb 2016) / #200 Infinite Jest / #150 Fifty Shades Freed (14 Dec 2015)
The Heart / Real Tom Banks
The World in Words / How Christianese became a thing
Why Oh Why / #28 Hotter on Bumble, Part 1
I Have To Ask / Andrew Sullivan
This Is About / 011 Nazi Heist
Here Be Monsters / 076 Griff's Speech