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ABBA, cultural disintermediation and recapturing that ‘first listen’ feeling

Image: schnappi on Flickr

Do you like ABBA?

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…

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The chef who creates seven-hour podcasts about horror movies

The Secret History Of Hollywood podcast

In a recent edition of my newsletter I covered a wealth of great podcasts and related resources, one of which was my new podcast app of choice, Pocketcasts.

The Pocketcasts ‘Discover’ feature has since led me to find a podcast called The Secret History of Hollywood. I thought I might need to get my eyes checked when one of its episodes – ‘Hunting Witches With Walt Disney’ – was listed as coming in at 171 minutes. Then I noticed that another episode, ‘A Universe Of Horrors’ – which tells the tale of Universal Studios’ iconic horror movies – ran to 429 minutes. That’s over seven hours.

As a man who once catalogued every articIe I read in a year, the level of dedication & obsession involved here piqued my interest.

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.

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