tealin: (think)
I think I've figured it out:

Bill Wilson is basically Professor Lupin, if Professor Lupin
  • was real
  • wasn't a werewolf
  • didn't have jerkwad friends
  • didn't die a pointless offscreen death but rather one that was the ultimate consummation of his amazing and inspiring character arc
Bet Cherry wishes he'd thought of that one.
tealin: (4addict)
Well, it's been an unsettling two weeks, and while there are fights to be fought and civilisations to be saved, sometimes you just need to curl up in a dark corner with some aural opiates and get away from it all. That is what I'm here for, ladies and gentlemen!

First up is a very special rerun:

This utterly transporting sound/prose/music collage took me completely by surprise when it aired in 2012; remarkably it hasn't been repeated until now – or, that is, last week; I was too busy wallowing post-election to catch it when it aired, so you only have three weeks to listen instead of the usual month. I highly recommend you do, though, as this is pretty much the epitome of what radio is capable of as an artistic medium; even if you're not super into polar stuff, it'll carry you away for three quarters of an hour.

Over Sea, Under Stone - I had a minor obsession with this book in grade 6, which instilled a love of British folklore and Deep Time. It takes itself refreshingly seriously for old-school YA adventure; the peril is real and the fantasy woven into the reality very plausibly. I hope we get The Dark Is Rising for Christmas ...
Watership Down - Speaking of formative childhood reading, I can trace nearly everything in my life back to my dad reading this to me when I was 5. Nice to hear it done seriously in a new production from one of my favourite radio directors.
Open Country: Watership Down - A few years ago, the BBC sent their rambling correspondent to the location of the above book, for an audio exploration – consider it a DVD extra.
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde's story of the perennially fresh-faced dissolute Mr Gray and his dark secret, very capably dramatised. The elder Henry character makes me wonder if it's an allusion, because –
Old Harry's Game - uses an old nickname for Old Nick to title the everlastingly entertaining sitcom starring Satan. Yes.
Listen Against - Radio 4 gets lost in its own navel and finds some amusingly-shaped lint
The Skivers - Barmy sketch comedy, you know how I like these things
Ray Bradbury stories - A series of readings of Ray Bradbury's short sci-fi stories; there are roughly three per episode so you can load up on a whole bunch of brilliance.
The People's Post - A narrative history of the post office. If you, like me, have found Going Postal an adequate prerequisite for current events, this may be of especial interest.
Denmark Hill - Alan Bennett's retelling of Hamlet, set in a modern London suburb
John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme - You know it's good.
Saki - Three hours devoted to the Edwardian short story writer who had a rather sardonic view of his society.

The Now Show - Punt and Dennis have the unenviable task of making all this dire news funny. Which they do! Never mind the undercurrent of despair. 'S fine. Everything's fine.
The Unbelievable Truth - This panel game is always worth a listen, but this particular episode has John Finnemore telling a load of fibs about Donald Trump. If you'd rather not hear that name, you can select another episode.
Rich Hall's (US Election) Breakdown - US comedian Rich Hall recorded a topical comedy show in the States for airing in the run-up to the election on Radio 4; this is the post-election episode.


Nov. 18th, 2016 03:48 pm
tealin: (Default)
I've been making sketches all year, and sometimes I remember to scan them, but somehow getting them up onto The Internet is just that one step too far.

Well, I've just got through most of my summer ones on Tumblr, so here they are in one massive post.

D'Arry's )

Catsitting )

King's Parade )

Back at The Mill )

Punts and Punters )

Trinity Street )
tealin: (Default)
I've had these tabs floating in my browser since before the election, so in case you're interested in what I wanted to share if only I'd had my act together, here you go:

Who Goes Trump? - an analysis of the common traits between individuals who align themselves with the man, and those who – sometimes unexpectedly – distance themselves from him. "Trumpism has nothing to do with class, ethnicity, or even gender. It appeals to a certain type of mind."

A Frightening Weakness in American Democracy - "The American political system is structured the way it is in part due to the founders’ fear of demagogues. It’s a reason why the American presidency is so weak, why the executive is checked by other branches, why the Senate’s members were originally selected by state legislators. It is a credit to the long success of our political institutions that we think dangerous men can only win elections in far-off lands. And so it is the weakening of those institutions that demands our attention now."

Make Trump Fake Again - In a lighter (or darker?) vein, Peter Baynham speaks to Millennials in a language they understand – personal narrative and profanity. Another ex-99p-er does us proud. (Peter Serafinowicz, he of the 'sassy Trump' dubs, was also a regular on The 99p Challenge, and Armando Iannucci's practically made a career of lifting the political veil.)

Glenn Beck Tries Out Decency - Those of you outside the States probably don't know who Glenn Beck is; he hosted a show on Fox News and was ... I dunno, a sort of baby-faced, blue-sky, Nega-Captain-America version of Rush Limbaugh? Anyway, it turns out he's had a change of heart, and grown a scruple or two, and as he is the last person on Earth I'd have expected to make an about-face on these matters, gives me a tiny particle of hope that some of these people can be changed.

And this late entry from commenter La Rainette on Dreamwidth:

6 Reasons For Trump's Rise That No One Talks About - A clear and insightful article from a red state expat who was/is far more integrated with his community than a geeky teenage girl who only occasionally looked out her bedroom window from her escapist novel. What he says is all true, from my perspective, though I would like to add that it's not just rural areas where this attitude predominates; big cities in the West harbour lots of the same attitudes, as do further-flung suburbs of the "blue islands" (the Inland Empire and Orange County being very conservative regions of what people think of as "LA", for example). The Utah suburb I lived in looked relatively urban, but many people still seemed to think they lived on a ranch; they had jobs as clerks and teachers and tech writers, but they still thought of themselves as rural.

Another late entry:
What A Pathetic Thing is Decandence - Some cogent, incriminating, and remarkably un-politic words on the people who really got Trump elected, from a faithful Republican.

Because of the upbringing I outlined in my previous post, I have always made a conscious effort to stay away from political commentary in my territories online. I want my internet presence to be a demilitarized zone and safe space for anyone who needs it, regardless of their opinions or social contexts. Arguing makes me anxious, and I need a respite as much as anyone. There are important fights to be fought, but we also need sanctuaries where we can reconnect with what makes us happy, to recharge for the next fight. It's probably pretty clear, from the stuff I post and the friends I have, where my sympathies lie, but I have never wanted to make a big deal about it because alienating people is the best way to make sure you never reach them. While I have too much experience with people who will never change their mind, I know not everyone is like that, and I hope that being welcomed into a space that challenges assumptions without being confrontational might, in an ideal situation, unpick some knotty conditioning. So, having got all that off my chest, here ends the political content, if I can help it – goodness knows there's enough of it available elsewhere, you can get your fix if you want it.
tealin: (introspect)
I've been meaning to write this post for months, but never quite known where to start, so of course now here I am right up against it, with no choice but to blunder in. Please forgive the lack of any sort of coherence ... a stew may not be so palatable as a plated meal, but I hope at least it's as nutritious.

As every commentator under the sun has been saying for months now, this election has been full of surprises. The main surprise generally seems to be that Donald Trump, with his divisive, unapologetic, dare I say flamboyant rhetoric can have sustained the popularity he has done, when common wisdom has it that such talk should alienate the vast majority of calm, sensible people in the centre, who one has to win over to get a majority of the vote.

Frankly, what has surprised me is that this has come as a surprise to so many people.

I spent my teenage years in suburban Utah, surrounded by a conservative Republican society, in a house where right-wing talk radio and pundit TV were a constant presence. It was not the most benign place to come of age, but this year I have come to see beyond the damage of that experience and recognise that it was, in a way, a privilege to get a glimpse over the hedge. Thanks to that environment I understand (or at least feel like I understand) what is going on in the news, when people who didn't grow up with it are shocked and confused. For what it's worth, I'd like to share my perspective with you. It is by no means comprehensive or well-informed, but I hope that maybe by seeing it through my eyes, some of the pieces will fall into place.

This has been a long time coming. )

The lesser of two weevils )

And the painted ponies go up and down... ) You might not have known they were there, or what they thought, or why they thought it, but that doesn't mean they didn't exist. Now you know. The US is going to have to take a long, hard look in the mirror after this election, and it may not like what it sees there, but at least it will finally be forced to see both sides of its face. What it does with that knowledge is anyone's guess, but if there's any silver lining to the smoke cloud billowing from this Hindenburg, it's that breaking out of denial is the only way to move forward. Maybe. If that's what you want to do. I don't know, I'm going to bed.

Important Notes on the Bible verses )
tealin: (introspect)
Inspired by Lucy Bellwood's erstwhile Inktober theme of drawing the negative thoughts and insecurities that plague her, I thought I'd get a few of mine down on paper and out of my head, for the time being at least. It's remarkable how flimsy they look when you give them concrete words and limit them to an ink silhouette on a piece of paper.

All 31 are stuffed in this box )

I can't say this has freed me from all of them – I am, at the moment, in a happy place where they don't bother me too much, but that could change again – but it has been valuable and therapeutic to encapsulate what's usually a formless toxic miasma. And hearing from others who have to deal with the same things has removed the power inherent in the belief that these are problems only I have to deal with because they grow uniquely out of my unique failings. Strength in numbers! Only you don't know your numbers if you never mention what might unite you ...
tealin: (Default)
Next in the series of articles I don't have time to write, and so am planting in your imagination:

"A Comparison Between Irish Independence From the UK, and the UK's Independence From the EU"

Points would be:
- A sudden schism upending a pre-existing series of negotiations for greater autonomy (Easter Rising/Referendum)
- Pro-schism factions calling upon romantic notions of nationhood to trump the economic and logistical sense of remaining in what was at the time the most profitable, secure, stable economic/social/political union in the world
- The further dissolution of internal nations (Ulster/Scotland)
- Post-schism mismanagement of key sectors in the economy (Fianna Fail and agriculture/trade war with Britain; The Death of British Business about how the financial services sector has been undermined)

If someone wants to take that and write it, I would really love to read it.
tealin: (4addict)
If the walls had ears! Good thing we have microphones, so you don't have to scrape the conversations off the walls.

Some very visual narration from the host of Radio 4's Listening Project.
tealin: (terranova)

I've been spending a lot of time with Atch's handwriting lately. It's been awesome and amazing and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to do so ... but it's also a bit like forensic graphology crossed with necromancy. Which is no less cool, mind, just a little exhausting ...
tealin: (stress)

I'm taking [the rest of] the evening off. I need to buy some pasta.
tealin: (4addict)
Another thinky week, so short on radio ... nearing the end of thinkiness for now, I think.

I marvel that other people have jobs which always prevent them from listening to speech radio – how do you do it? – but I have been learning other ways to fit it in, especially while doing chores. I usually manage one episode each of Ideas and This is That while I clean the kitchen, for example. In the interest of that, I should point out that both the CBC and BBC radio player apps are now available worldwide, for iOS and Android mobile devices at least, possibly other operating systems as well, and you can download programmes* so you don't even have to use up your data. No more boring bus rides!

Radio Active: David Chizzlenut - I have linked to the original 1980s series, but this is a one-off reunion show that manages to capture its spirit entirely.
Newsjack - This topical sketch show just gets better and better.
The Secret World - An impressions show that guesses at the behind-the-scenes lives of famous folk; this episode will render you unable to hear the phrase 'shocked and saddened' the same way again.

The Penny Dreadfuls present The Brothers Faversham - Comedy drama series about a family of over-the-top Victorians, or perfectly on-brand Victorians if you know much about that era. Plus hilarious adverts.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - I had given this a pass when it first aired as I didn't much like Bladerunner, for which this was the source material. Imagine my surprise on learning the Hollywood version drained out a lot of the deeper stuff, like the notion of empathy police, which relates to modern social life for sure ...

Ghost Music - Reconstructing the sounds of ancient instruments, plus a heart-stopping blow on Tutankhamen's actual trumpets.
First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols - Palaeoanthropology, art, and the abstract visual representation of ideas are all right up my street, so there's no way I wasn't going to link to this exploration of the graphic shapes which accompany the famous cave paintings of prehistory.
The Waterside Ape - David Attenborough and friends investigate further evidence for a formerly controversial theory that a semiaquatic lifestyle was an important phase in human evolution.
Ian Sansom and the Little People - A very brief documentary on one of my favourite subjects, fairy folklore, mainly in Ireland and Iceland whose little people lore is most famous.

? ? ? ?
The League Against Tedium - I honestly don't know how to describe this ... bit of ... audio hallucination, but the title is not a million miles off the mark.

*The BBC Radio Player lets you download shows internally, which stay valid for a month from airing, sometimes more. I don't know if the CBC app has that feature, but it is essentially a streaming interface for the CBC's podcasts, so if you find a show you like on there, you can download it via the website.
tealin: (actually)
I have had a grand total of two conversations today. They have covered:
  • The American reluctance to tell sad stories to children (or indeed, anyone) and how this might engender a detached attitude to 'terrible things'
  • Who would be damaged first by a Trump presidency, the US or the rest of the world
  • Using cocaine as a topical anaesthetic for corneal sunburn during the Heroic Age of polar exploration
  • Correlation (or not) of crankiness with miniaturism
  • The atomic weights of carbon and oxygen and whether it's more humane to kill lab mice with CO or CO2
I think I'll stay.


Sep. 25th, 2016 09:27 pm
tealin: (Default)

I've been listening to shanties while drawing polar explorers and, well, things happen. Deb was Australian, see? So funny!

My conscience would like to point out that the album Northwest Passage came out six years after Silas died, so he would not be singing it in 1910, but since when did respect for chronology trump a good gag? Not ever.

Gosh it feels nice to draw something silly again ...
tealin: (CBC)
My mind always turns back to Canada around the beginning of October, so none of this should be surprising. Nearly every year I lived in LA, I made sure to go back to BC for Canadian Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October), so as soon as there's a chill in the wind and the leaves go whispery, I get that migratory tingle. Like a goose.

Canada has been on my mind a lot lately; whether this is brought on by that raft of CBC-listening I did a couple weeks ago, or if that was sparked by some subconscious rumbling, I don't know. I am feeling its pull, though, in a way I never expected to do here. Is it a case of finally getting comfortable and so opening up to uncertainty? Or simply 'the grass is always greener'...? Given that coastal BC is a temperate rainforest, the grass is greener there than in lots of places – but that's beside the point.

I absolutely adore Cambridge. I have never felt so at home anywhere. I tell anyone I talk to for more than ten minutes that I would marry Cambridge if I could. We've got a good thing going on, and I feel a little bit dirty even to consider the possibility of leaving, but ... I do. It would help if I had any confidence in the likelihood of my being allowed to stay – when the political atmosphere grows daily darker as far as immigration is concerned, one is not tempted to trust in the mercy of those who hold one's visa renewal in their hands, or be tempted to put down roots of any serious kind. It might also help if I had much experience with staying put – I don't think I've lived at one address for more than three years since college, and life has conditioned me to start wondering 'what next?' as soon as I start to settle in somewhere.

But I can't help wondering if there's more to it than that. I am acutely aware that I am a willing part of Canada's brain drain, and I don't like that. While it's perversely in-character for Canada to play The Giving Tree, it's a brilliant country and deserves to shine, and I'd like to contribute to that shine, if I could. I've been away as long as I lived there, now, but I still identify with its values and still operate under its cultural conditioning, for better or worse. Having been through rather a dark period in the last ten years, Canada has exploded back into being itself, harder than before, and this is exciting. The ramp-up to the sesquicentennial next year is only adding to that. It's a good time to be Canadian, and I'm all the way over here.

Now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children are off on a Canadian visit, and visiting BC at that. It'll be all over the British news for the next bit, and I'll be seeing the early-October face of BC which was the only face I saw for so many years. Cue those comfortingly familiar homesickness pangs.

Then I start wondering where I'd want to live if I moved back, do Google Street View virtual tours of places I hold in some haze of fantasy, and see that the streets are too wide and the houses too far apart and how does anyone live like this? There are no trains. Too many straight lines. It gets hot in the summer and it's a long long way from anywhere to anywhere.

I came here for a reason, and for the next couple years at least I need to focus on that, so that if I am sent back at the end of it, I will at least have made the most of my time. It is good, in some small way, to know there is a part of me that is ready to go home, so that if it does happen and I spend the rest of my days pining for Cambridge, I'll know where to pin the blame.

In the meantime, I really must find a copy of I Heard The Owl Call My Name ...

tealin: (introspect)
The 'vintage' Disney season continues at Picturehouse, now onto films which came out during my childhood. I missed Little Mermaid last week, which I have mixed feelings about – on one hand, I don't think I've seen it in the cinema since I was seven, but on the other, I have seen it on DVD and as such I am not overflowing with regret that I missed seeing it in enormous crystal-clear detail. It's a good film, entertainment-wise, but only just coming out of Disney's 1980s slump in technical and artistic standards.

Despite having seen it on the big screen fairly recently, however, I knew I had to make an effort to go see Beauty and the Beast this week. I cannot overstate the impact it made on my childhood – Hunchback made me want to become an animator (20th anniversary and still no sign of that being rereleased, alas), but purely on the receiving end, a peculiar, bookish, independent 5th Grader getting a Disney movie about a peculiar, bookish, independent young lady was a Big Thing. I probably would have ended up much the same without it, but to have that sort of affirmation at a formative time of life meant a lot. It's experiences like that that make me symathise with the push for representation of minorities in the media – if such a small thing meant so much to me, how much more would an analogous thing mean to someone far further from what's currently considered media-mainstream?

Having watched the video to the point of memorization, seeing this movie again was almost an opposite experience to Jungle Book. I could write about surprising details or things I know now about the production that colour my viewing, but the latter you can find in Dream On Silly Dreamer and the former via an attentive eye and a Blu-Ray player. I'm coming to the end of a short lunch break so I will keep it to this: As much as Beauty and the Beast was a trip down childhood's memory lane, it was also a re-acquaintance with people who were role models and then colleagues. People love to point out how characters are designed and animated to reflect the actors providing the voices, but when I watched this film I was seeing the animators. Anyone who's worked with Ruben Aquino would find him in Maurice, and there is an undeniable Nik Rainieri-ness in Lumiere; somehow Philippe is Russ Edmonds despite being a horse (Russ also animated Phoebus in Hunchback, you may note the similarity), and Glen Keane is all over the Beast if you know what to look for. Most bittersweet of the reacquaintances was James Baxter, though – he supervised Belle when he was quite young, but his scenes stand out by a mile, and it was so good to see his 'handwriting' again. He animates in CG for Dreamworks now and does a very good job of it, but CG smooths everyone out, so that joy of finding the really special sweet in the candy bowl is a thing of the past. It made me a bit wistful to experience it again, but at the same time, there are so many really excellent up-and-coming 2d animators that I hope it will be a future joy as well. It's become clear to me in teaching and animating here in Europe that the sky is the limit and there are dozens if not hundreds of keen and talented people out there raising the bar every day – it's a little personally dispiriting to see it pulled so quickly and so far out of my reach, but fantastically inspiring all the same, and I'd rather be inspired than smug any day.
tealin: (4addict)
Back to the BBC this week. There's an embarrassment of riches. I can never stay away long.

Mark Watson Talks a Bit About Life - Mark Watson's series are always a nice half hour of apparent anarchy and lighthearted distractions, which I suspect are actually rather tightly written.
The News Quiz - The weekly quiz of the week's news is back, and with it a modicum more balance in the universe. This week, Susan Calman talks about cake, or possibly the soul of the nation, it's hard to tell.
Newsjack - Even more topical comedy, this time in the form of sketches.
Listen Against - This used to be vaguely topical, but is still funny enough to rerun out of date. As near as possible to proof that Radio 4 is its own universe.
Look Back at the Nineties - Never topical; it was a show written in the early 1990s as a prognostoretrospective of the later 1990s.
Safety Catch - A sitcom about a reluctant arms dealer, featuring also a very enthusiastic arms dealer and someone who works for Oxfam. Hilarity ensues.
99p Challenge - It's nominally a panel game, but ... like a panel game in a loony bin. What you really need to know is, it's hosted by Sue Perkins. Perkins forever.
Heresy - People are funny about controversial things.

The Idiot - I don't usually like 19thC drawing room dramas, but Dostoevsky has the gift of being able to see through all the upper class nonsense that other writers take so seriously. I am always perplexed when people complain of things that reflect slightly less positive aspects of reality as being 'dark' – THIS is DARK. Here, have a magnificently prepared feast of perspective.
Ivan the Terrible: Absolute Power - More Russian drama, this time historical. I haven't listened to this yet, but Mike Walker's historical epics are usually worth listening to, Sasha Yetvushenko is a dependable director, and David Threlfall is my Iago, so I forecast quality.
We - Yet more Russian; in this case a dystopian speculation something like Brave New World, but from the early Soviet era.
A Tale of Two Cities - A production from a few years ago, but always worth a listen when it comes back around. Andrew Scott makes Charles Darnay actually sympathetic, and Lydia Wilson gives Lucie Manette an actual personality. The text is messed around a bit but the drama is so good I find I don't mind.
A Dream of Armageddon - H.G. Wells' vision of the future of war. A reading, not a drama, but certainly not a comedy ...

There's probably a lot more to be found on the listings, but it's been a brain-heavy week again so I am not the one to bring it to you.
tealin: (catharsis)
And life is but a dream for those whose eyes are always cast
On things around them with a ray turned ever back upon the past

Hmm, a bunch of whimsical minor key songs describing a life marked by tragedy, while paying joyous homage to its source material ... can't think what draws me to this show at all.
tealin: (introspect)
2000 - 2008: Too Disney
2008 - 2013: Not Disney enough
2014 - 2016: Too Disney

I've got too much I want to do to take a couple years out and relearn everything, but I kinda feel like that's what I have to do.
tealin: (CBC)
Since the middle of July, I've been starting lists of radio links and abandoning them until the shows expire. It's not that there hasn't been good stuff, I've just been doing work that occupies more languagey parts of my brain than usual, so I haven't been able to listen to as much radio, and therefore can't assemble a list of any length worth bothering with.

In recent weeks I've been falling back in love with the CBC, so I thought I'd share some of their most stand-out shows with you, which have the benefit of remaining online for quite a long time ...

A weeknightly documentary series that covers just about anything so long as it makes your brain fizz. You can browse available podcasts for yourself, but my particular recent favourites as are follows:
The Discovery of Human Rights - In this age of online activism it's easy to assume the idea that all people are entitled to a certain level of respect and legal status is as 'self-evident' as Jefferson stated it to be. But it is a fairly recent development in human culture, and its progress isn't finished yet.
Coyotl's Song - The Coyote has been a part of North American folklore from time immemorial, from a First Nations trickster to the cat-snatching bugbear of modern cities. This episode contains a quick lesson in How To Speak Basic Coyote.
Wise Guys - If you like your urban wildlife of a darker and more airborne variety, this is an excellent documentary on the intelligence, success, and appeal of crows.
The Dream of Brother XII - I came for the name Edward Wilson; I stayed for a fascinating look at utopian initiatives in British Columbia, a peculiar bit of history relating to an area I know quite well, and a broader look at millennial theosophy, which has a longer history than I expected.
The Shape of Things to Come - T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia") was an Oxford-trained archaeologist who ended up leading an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. His background knowledge of history, experience on the ground with the people and cultures of the Middle East, and relationship with British high command gave him unique insight into the region and what was to follow, and is still following – though would anyone listen to him? Of course not.
Undoing Forever - A look at the prospect – and attempts – of bringing extinct species, from Woolly Mammoths to Passenger Pigeons, back to life.
Vestigial Tale - Evolutionary psychologists take a look at the human propensity for storytelling, from a scientific perspective. Episode 1, linked above, is about the act of constructing and conveying information in narrative form; Episode 2 is about fiction and the value of telling each other things that we know are untrue.
The Sorrows of Empire - The American Empire has been called everything from a "reluctant empire" to "a colossus with attention deficit disorder". The enormous cost of foreign wars and other interventions has led to imperial overstretch. This one's next on my plate and I'm really looking forward to it ...

Speaking of history and tantalising brain porn, check out this year's Massey Lectures: The Return of History – if you're lucky enough to be in any of the cities where they're recording, it looks like you can still buy tickets; the rest of us will have to wait – somehow – until the end of October.

Sort of like if you crossed a current affairs magazine with The Onion, but on the radio and with that certain Canadian leg-pulling tongue-in-cheekiness; its only fault is being sometimes a little too close to the truth. You can listen straight through the whole podcast list, but I'd particularly like to direct your attention to people-smuggling into Canada from the US. Ahh, satire.

Having lived in the US during two "normal" election years, I can only imagine what a nightmare it is for Americans to follow the news right now. Luckily for you, the CBC covers American news better than any US media outlet I know, and one of the best programmes for insight-to-time-investment ratio is the Saturday magazine show Day 6. There's not much point linking to past episodes as news doesn't keep, but if you're interested in their interviews and analysis you are welcome to browse the archive at your leisure. (There is also non-American news on that show, but I promise, it doesn't hurt.)

If you like this taster of CBC goodness, I recommend getting the CBC Radio App for your mobile device – it's available for most common platforms from whatever your OS App Store is. The splash page is a little bewildering if you're looking for something you already have in mind, but you can easily add your favourite shows to a sub-page which saves searching, and browse for new things to listen to.

A good and reliable friend has brought to my attention this week the soundtrack to a musical about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, devised by a bunch of Canucks and mainly performed north of the border (after all, what is more Canadian than Poe?), which is now available to purchase on iTunes and Amazon. I've been listening to it on repeat for two days and will likely resume doing so after this next thing I need to concentrate on. Attention to meter and rhyme, with a preponderance of minor-key waltzes, and I'm hooked.


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