There’s a reasonably good chance that your answer to that question is not actually an answer to that question.
You might instead be answering the question:
“Do you like the culture and aesthetics that surround the ABBA phenomenon?”
You’re probably not alone. When we think of ABBA we might think of Mamma Mia, or a dreadful cabaret performance we saw on holiday one time, or a drunken teenage vomiting incident soundtracked by ‘Dancing Queen’, or blue eyeshadow, or Eurovision, or ironic ‘revivals’ and accompanying backlashes, or any one of a multitude of kitsch characteristics that get in the way of goshdarn enjoying/not enjoying their musical output on its own merits.
I mean, think of the impact of Alan Partridge alone…
Six or seven years ago I became a dreaded ‘flexitarian’.
Not fully my choice, really – like Jules in Pulp Fiction, my partner went veggie so I pretty much had to as well. I somewhat resented the hassle at first, but in the ensuing years I’ve found that the maxim ‘constraints breed creativity’ can be applied to cooking, too. And it’s followed that I’ve gone on to think of cooking not just as a means to produce edible food, but an entire creative pursuit in itself, with the same rewards and frustrations as any other.
I suppose the first step to reconfiguring how I thought about cooking was to approach it as a battle against blandness. If you’re cutting out a sizeable part of your diet, what’s left needs to be appealing and satisfying. So I thought I’d make a list of things that have helped me fight that battle. Will the war ever be won? ‘Tis not for me to say. All I can do is remain resolute, put my faith in capers, and try to endure.
With a baby on the way, I needed to create some room at home. This meant there was no getting around it: it was time for the last remaining boxes of CDs to go.
Fellow obsessive music fans ‘of a certain age’ will recognise the gut-wrench that hit me following this realisation. I felt an almost physical resistance to getting rid of something in which I’d invested so much, both financially and emotionally.
“How did we traverse the nation with a railroad so quickly? We just threw Chinese people in caves and blew them up and didn’t give a shit what happened to them. There’s no end to what you can do when you don’t give a fuck about people. You can do anything! That’s where human greatness comes from — that we’re shitty people, we fuck others over.” Louis CK’s ‘Of course… but maybe’ bit came to mind as I was reading…
… Marina Hyde, anticipating the start of athletic competition at the Olympics, who wrote: “(The athletes’) feats and fables eradicate the months and years of government overspending, martial displays, human rights abuses, neighbourhood cleansing, and all the other adorable fascist quirks that are an essential part of the undercard to any modern sporting mega-event.”
Like the Colosseum, they take years to produce, rely on the toil of thousands of oft-exploited people, are a significant logistical & financial commitment, draw fascination from around the world… and look terrific. On the subject of which, consider the irony of the Rio opening ceremony acknowledging Brazil’s slavery record while people covering the event were housed in a media centre built on a mass grave which African slave descendants regard as sacred.
Meanwhile, on the official Olympics website: “The Olympic Movement unites all people and builds bridges between all cultures. In Olympic sport, all people are equal, regardless of their ethnicity, gender or faith.” The paradox: you can’t help but suspect that if the Olympic vision of humanity were to become a reality, the Olympic Games wouldn’t exist at all.
Having listened to ‘Hunting Witches With Walt Disney’, and thoroughly enjoyed the wry tone and detailed historical context (it looks at the HUAC witch-hunts and how they affected Hollywood stars – plus the social conditions that led to them), I decided I had to learn more about the people who produced it.
Only, there is no collection of film journalists or content production behemoth behind The Secret History Of Hollywood. It is but one person: a chap called Adam Roche. And he has no background in radio, or audio of any kind. In fact, he’s a chef.
Adam kindly agreed to answer lots of my questions, and did so in great detail.
It’s 2015 and everyone’s going bonkers over podcasts like it’s 2006 (I remember you, Odeo!). Obligatory references to Serial and StartUp go here.
But as the Gimlet Media folk have alluded to, there’s currently a lack of tools to help discovery (especially if you’re a non-iTunes user). So for the past few weeks I’ve been digging into the podcastiverse and sampling a variety of aural delights outside of the big guns mentioned above. These are some of my findlings.