July 2020

July is Audiocraft month in Australia. This year the festival went online and it was the next best thing. My first recommendation for this month came by way of of an Audiocraft session, which were extremely well programmed this year by the inimitable Jess O’Callaghan.

I also presented at the Audiocraft festival. See more about my session Mic on Nature here.

Widows of Shuhada – RNZ

“Four women whose husbands were made martyrs (shuhada) – in the Christchurch mosque attacks of March 15, 2019, have allowed us into their lives as they come to terms with their new reality – Widows of Shuhada.” This is an intense series on many levels. The stories of these woman who lost their husbands in a brutal attack are gut-wrenchingly sad. One woman was four months pregnant when her husband died, and is now caring for an infant alone. Another was present at the mosque that day and witnessed the terror and violence. All the women speak eloquently and share their stories with generosity and honesty.

As a non-religious person, I find the careful explanations of Muslim ideas and practises interesting and, at times, confronting. I find it hard to get my head around the idea that the men who were killed were chosen by Allah, and being chosen in this way is an honour….

The production team behind this series presented at Audiocraft and it was one of my favourite sessions, along with a fellow RNZ presentation – that of the team behind White Silence (which if you haven’t listened to, you should). It was so refreshing to hear non-American perspectives on storytelling and audio.

The Skewer – BBC Radio 4

The series description: “a dizzying, dazzling satirical river of sound”, is entirely accurate. Listening to The Skewer feels like floating downstream, bouncing between dreamlike memories of events and ideas of 2019 and 2020.

This is the first of six episodes (each is in two parts for no apparent reason).

Intrigue: Tunnel 29 – BBC Radio 4

Two BBC Radio 4 recommendations in one month – they do what they do very well.

This series – part of the Intrigue feed that includes The Ratline, another acclaimed series to which I am yet to listen – tells the story of a tunnel from east to west Berlin, and the 29 people who escaped through it in 1962. It’s a remarkable story, expertly told by Helena Merriman. Each episode ends on a cliff-hanger which is slightly irritating but extremely successful in encouraging you to listen to them in quick succession.

I’ve included the trailer audio here.

The Brain on Nature team presented the first session of the Audiocraft podcast festival – Mic on Nature. Read more about it here.