#71 In living memory
Take yourself back.
This week in The Audit, stories about the things we do and don't remember.
How's Your Day?
image via quizportal
Some days have been marked in humanity's collective calendar: 20th April 1999, when two boys shot up a high school; 31st August 1997, when a divorced princess crashed to her death; 11th September 2001, when planes felled buildings and everything changed. But it does not diminish those events to recall that we live in a big world, where on any given day, lots of things happen. Made by Arwen Nicks and Shane Mehling for KUOW, How's Your Day? tells "a story you don't know from a day we all remember". Each episode takes the form of a deliberate pairing - "Sandy and Princess Di"; "Kathleen and Columbine" - and interweaves archive audio from the Big News Event that dominated that day with an account of another (often analogous or strangely connected) event. In "Whales and 9/11", for example, we learn that shipping was brought to a halt during the crisis, which meant that hitherto-deafened whales could at last call out to each other in the silence.
We are loath to spoil more of these elegant, reflective, non-narrated stories, which put their faith in listeners' abilities to connect the two narratives' delicate threads. All nine 20-minute episodes were released on 20 April, and Nicks has vowed not to make another season, this one having almost broken her - turns out, it's not so easy to dig up neglected stories from the biggest news days in history. But her pain is our gain, and listening to all nine episodes together is a deeply enriching experience.
Gateway episodes: Megan and the Columbia / Kathleen and Columbine / Danny and Mandela
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Speaking of neglected history, here's something in the same vein. Omitted is an independent podcast interested in the sort of details that might be reported at the time of an important event, but which eventually slip under the tide of history. This show aims to stand in the way of that erosion by bringing half-forgotten stories-behind-the-story to our attention. Each season takes a specific event as its premise - in Season 1, it's the sinking of the Titanic and in Season 2, Pearl Harbour, while the recently launched Season 3 focuses on the Civil Rights Movement. A dozen 10- to 20-minute episodes then describe, for example, the two little boys who were kidnapped by their father to travel on Titanic; the story of Collapsible B; and the man who inadvertently deprived the ship's iceberg spotters of their binoculars. These engaging, lightly sound-designed accounts are narrated and produced by Corey Constable, with support from the Delaware County District Library.
Gateway episodes: S1E4 The Titanic Waifs (6 Sep 2016) / S1E9 Shut Up (17 Oct 2016) / S2E2 Ni'ihau (19 Dec 2016)
Freedom, Books, Flowers & the Moon, #1 If This Is A Man
image via forward.com
Prepare to be battered and beguiled by this elaborate full reading of Primo Levi's masterpiece memoir of Auschwitz. Performed recently at London's Southbank Centre, the five-hour live event, which commemorated the 70th anniversary of the publication of the iconic book, will be broadcast over five episodes via this, the Times Literary Supplement's podcast (note, too, that this is a formal departure for the podcast, which usually features lively discussions of art and culture among TLS contributors). The reading is divvied up between dozens of luminaries, including, in this episode, human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, author A. L. Kennedy and Holocaust survivor Susan Pollack, and live music accompanies the text. The three chapters we hear in this instalment take us from Levi's Italian village to his arrival at Auschwitz, an incomprehensible new universe of indiscriminate humiliation. At times difficult but always gripping listening, this elevates recital to the level of art.
From: Times Literary Supplement
Released: 4 May 2017
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We long ago revealed our hand when it comes to our penchant for Harry Potter completism (see also The Chapter Titles Were So Good, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text) and this Canadian offering makes a welcome contribution to the field. Our two hosts, self-described "lady scholars", are terrific company - razor-sharp but not self-serious - funny, even - and they reach for academic and pop culture references with equal ease during these passionate deep-dives into the seven texts that defined a generation. Around 30 consecutive episodes break down Books 1 - 7, with subsequent, more occasional instalments turning to new extensions in the Potterverse[TM], like Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts. Good, thoughtful fun.
Gateway episodes: Episode 5A: Prisoner of Time Constraints (21 Apr 2015) / Episode 9: The Cleansing Fire (8 Sep 2015) / Episode 11A: The Full-blood Patriarchy (12 Jan 2016)
image via giphy
International listeners who looked for this Audible series when they heard it teased on Radiolab back in February might well have found themselves disappointed; even on Channels, the series wasn't available in our territory. We're pleased to report it is available now, presumably globally, through all your regular audio providers. It documents the efforts of NY Magazine reporter Steve Fishman to bring us the inside story of Wall Street crook Bernie Madoff. Following a long pursuit, Madoff agrees to speak to Fishman from prison, and these interviews, along with contributions from other key players in his elaborate Ponzi scheme, enable Fishman to begin piecing together a picture of the man. Two episodes in, Madoff remains an enigma, having not yet shed his money-man habits of obfuscation and self-preservation (note also: in prison, he has cornered the market on hot chocolate). New instalments Fridays.
Gateway episode: Ep. 1: Getting to Madoff (5 May 2017)
The Weeds / Trump chaos, UBI, and the fracking baby boom
The Untold / Divorce Settlement
So to Speak / Sex and The Constitution
BackStory / The Habit: Opioid Addiction in America
Earshot / The 36 Questions, Episode 1
Radiolab / Null and Void
Criminal / 66. Bully