#78 Alone, together
We are all alone. But we are all alone together.
This week: the loneliness of unpopular opinions, broken families, and ghosts.
Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked
Wherever you fall on the scepticism spectrum - from stubbornly earthbound to helplessly credulous - you'll be deliciously chilled by this new offering from the expert audio-makers at Snap Judgment. Each episode features one or more first-hand ghost stories, which the tellers swear are true: a couple enter a bar but might never, Hotel California-style, leave; a curse is lifted; a border patrol officer comes to believe in monsters. Brought to life by imaginative sound design, these stories pulse with the power of our collective fears: death, time, the dark, dark woods. And are they really true? When it comes to a good ghost story, that's the least of our concerns. Wonderful, weekly, till Halloween.
Gateway episode: Lost in Time (6 Sep 2017)
Alone: A Love Story
From the Canadian national broadcaster - specifically, from inside the most private inner chambers of producer Michelle Parise - comes this first-person account of the making and breaking of a marriage. CBC dropped the whole 10-episode series last week, and we tipped headlong into it, following Parise from the first flush of her relationship with the man who would become her husband, through the pleasures and difficulties of marriage, into the painful present. It's obviously extremely personal, and there is a wildness in Parise's descriptions of her own pain that makes us think it isn't entirely in the past. At times, it's uncomfortable, spilling over with the embarrassing self-regard of a journal. But discomfort is no bad thing. Mostly, it is magical: honest, deeply felt, and beautifully scored, too. Thoughtful story editing by Veronica Simmonds, of Sleepover, Braidio and other good things.
Gateway episode: Chapter 1: Not if, how (19 Sep 2017)
Released: 10 parts, complete
How Do You Sleep At Night?, #5 The Abortion Clinic Protesters
Among a rising tide of podcasts that aim to make productive contact across cultural divides (see also: Conversations with People Who Hate Me, Us & Them), the ABC's How Do You Sleep At Night? is a new stand-out. Host Sarah McVeigh approaches people who might kindly be described as "misunderstood": a pair of enthusiastic young game hunters; an unrepentant pokie magnate (our friends outside the Antipodes will call them fruit or slot machines); or, in this difficult episode, strident abortion protesters. In each case, McVeigh walks a tricky line between empathetic confidant and confrontational challenger, and succeeds in producing insights that perhaps ought not to surprise us - namely, that even people we imagine we will hate are human beings who don't want to be hated. Hear all six, including this one, in the ABC Listen app, or get the first three in your iTunes feed now.
Released: 11th September 2017
The Lucky Country
At a time of heightened political conflict in Australia, when the lows feel very low indeed, citizens might take solace in the robust analysis and intellectual fortitude that abounds in this new podcast from progressive think-tank The Australia Institute. Hosted by chief economist Richard Denniss, it tackles matters of import re: the economy, politics, society and the environment. Denniss introduces each episode with a short, smart opinion piece, then speaks to people in the know, from workaday politicians and policy wonks to anonymous government employees, in a regular segment called "Public Servant X". Reassuringly well-reasoned, such that even listeners outside Australia might find it relevant and soothing.
Gateway episodes: Episode 3: Home calls (20 Sep 2017) / Episode 4: Sinking popular causes (28 Sep 2017)
From: Schwartz Media
In this six-part investigation of the apparent suicide of a 10-year-old boy, Julia Prodis Sulek of the San Jose Mercury News takes a closer look at a 28-year-old case that appears not to have been properly investigated. Josh's death was quickly ruled a suicide, despite the strange circumstances that preceded and followed it: at the time, a custody dispute was raging between Josh's parents; court records indicate that his father, a local police officer, had been accused of abusing him; and his step-mother later admitted that she knew more than she was letting on. As always, there is satisfaction in observing the behind-the-scenes labour of reporting. But Hanging is notable, too, for its compassionate view of Josh and his family and a wariness of true crime profiteering. In these respects, we were reminded of the Cincinnati Enquirer's terrific Accused (which, incidentally, returns soon for a second season). In Episode 6, we are even presented with a resolution of sorts - though an eleventh-hour scoop re-introduces some doubt.
Gateway episode: Chapter 1: Hanging (25 Aug 2017)
From: Bay Area News Group
Love + Radio / For Science!
This American Life / #626 White Haze
Constellations / michelle macklem - ode to my last 10 years of dating
Who Weekly / Who's There: Sophie Monk & Lil Peep
War on Waste / How to buy nothing new
The Documentary / Forever Young
Pretty For An Aboriginal / Episode 3: Big Sexy Love (with Roxane Gay)