Displaying episodes 1 - 30 of 53 in total
If you hadn't heard of Michigan Militias before the last week or so, you certainly have now. How did they end up implicated in the plot to kidnap and execute a sitting State governor? How did they get so powerful (debatably) and influential that the President is reaching out to them with his support, via Tweet? How worried should America be about them with only three weeks until Election Day?
What can I say, I picked the right time to come back! Two days into the new run and Donald J Trump delivers the goods, his disastrous tax details giving the political podcasters of the world fields full of grass to make hay with. This one is going to run and run, so here's a quick rundown of why his abysmal tax payments and $70,000 haircuts aren't the big story. There are much bigger consequences revealed by the New York Times story.
We're back, after our unannounced hiatus! And today we're talking about something missing from our contemporary political discourse: Respect. Sure, the politicians we're most concerned with today are among the least respectable people to ever walk the earth, but what about the rest? The disrespectable-by-association? The way we treat them is a big problem, these days. Why is it a problem to disparage a politician, of all people? Listen on, to find out!
UK politicians, and the UK electorate, are terrified of coalitions. There probably isn't anything more likely to destroy a government's chances before they even get into office than the possibility that they might share a little power and influence with anyone else. To anyone from abroad, this can seem strangely naive and unsophisticated. If the parliament doesn't produce a majority, why should one party form a government alone? Well, they shouldn't. And in the rest of the world, that regularly just works. In fact, Ireland just made it work this past weekend, after a very strange election result.
Bees are wonderful. I absolutely love them, little tiny flying pandas with the wrong number of eyes and no conception of the existence of glass. I like helping them out of the window and on their way, and I like sitting among them in the garden. They're harmless entertainment and they do so much for us. Unfortunately they have developed a habit of very suddenly vanishing, from my garden, from their own hives, and from large parts of planet earth.
Football has returned! Or at least Premier League football has, which is the same thing to some people. Sadly, ahead of its reopening match, something else has returned too. Football Lads. That is the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, which is a bit less welcome than the actual football. Fascism and football are unfortunately regular bedfellows, but perhaps there's an inspiring light to counter the punches of the Lads?
Every time we try to pull down a statue or sweep a TV show into the dustbin of history, a certain argument comes out: It was of its time. Everything seems to have been created in a kind of nebulous long ago when things were different. Things were not like they are now. They took down an episode of Fawlty Towers, a Great British Institution, and for those who care about Its Time, this was a Major problem. But why? The time of Fawlty Towers was not a time of such abject racist disgrace that anyone could be forgiven for making a racist joke. It was just the seventies. Surely, though, earlier times were different, right?
How do you fix the police? How do you reform what's patently and obviously unreformable, a community of people who reject outright the idea that they might ever be answerable to anyone, and use the opportunity to decisively choose a new and better path to instead escalate their behaviour beyond any hope of redemption? You can't, is the answer. Reform won't work, because it never has. Is it time, again, to talk of Abolition?
Black Lives Matter. Blackout Tuesday. The Show Must Be Paused.
U2 are a very serious band, with very serious songs, and they were inescapable in Ireland in the 1980's, when I was a child. While those uplifting, energised stadium rock tunes took over the world, they didn't catch on with 5 year old me. But In the 1990's as the focus of the world shifted decisively to Europe, so did U2's attention, and the change yielded something that really resonated with 10 year old me. It was a 1993 album called Zooropa, dashed off quickly, and mostly forgotten by all but serious U2 fans. U2, though, had done something that for them was very different. They'd forseen the future. And it had loops and synthesisers and effects, and it was good.
Hyperbole? Maybe. Better than hypocrisy. Dominic Cummings, the power behind Boris Johnson's throne, is in trouble. He's in a lot of trouble. He's after going for a drive and in doing so, a little bit of endangering the lives of his family and others has become the least of his problems...
Cymbals are everywhere. Literally everywhere and you can't get away from them. Try it, and you'll only end up listening to The Velvet Underground and Einstürzende Neubauten forever. Why though? Why cymbals everywhere, and not anything else?
In 1988 Mike Tyson became Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World by defeating Michael Spinks. Watching the fight today, there is a very incongruous mention by the announcer: The name Donald Trump. The fight was at his hotel, or so it seemed. Is it possible to equate Obama v Trump to Tyson v Spinks? Well, spoiler alert, no it isn't. The only Obama v Trump fight is going on 24/7 in Trump's head, and the clash of two highly skilled, deserving champions in Tyson and Spinks is not exactly indicative of the, ah, discrepancy in political ability between Trump and Obama. But why compare the two at all? Well...
The Lost Words, by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris is a beguiling book the captures the magic of the kind of nature that's all around us, every day. And it has an important mission, to save the words we might lose and stop them from fading away forever. I saw an eagle once, wild, up close and on the wing. And I saw an owl the same way. I found it hard to describe them, the words weren't there. Let's not lose them.
"Stay Alert," the new English government advice for dealing with Covid-19, threatens to split the union. England is on its way to disaster on the international stage, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland stay home. Football fans will be familiar with that state of affairs, but it's no joke as 40,000 are dead. Today we're talking about the recent vogue for completely empty, meaningless slogans, and why they're so wildly successful.
An appreciation of Florian Schneider, among the most influential and important musicians of the 20th Century. He gave me one of the most profound musical experiences of my life, and I'm forever grateful for his, and Kraftwerk's music.
Rumblings are beginning, disturbing the quiet solitude of isolated life, that we might be approaching the end of lockdown. Naturally there are good reasons to end lockdown, after all we can't stay this way until the entire economy collapses. There are reasons not to too, like all the dying people. But lockdown life isn't without its benefits, and in some ways it's showing us some of the things we've lost in the modern world. Some of the lockdown end games are sensible, like Ireland's and Scotland's, some, like America's barely count as plans at all. But they all must end eventually. Could we take this opportunity to keep a few of the changes? To make a few more?
I had to watch Planet Of The Humans. If I didn't do it, you might have, and I was willing to sacrifice myself to avoid that eventuality. This is not a good film, either as a documentary piece or as a set of convincing arguments about renewable energy sources and their supposed problems, damaging the environment even as they purport to save it. That those imagined problems are the fever dreams of the fossil fuel industry never gives Jeff Gibbs pause, and the lack of self reflection evident in that is unfortunately the nicest thing one can say about the film.
So, Boris Johnson is back at work, and the naively optimistic among us had been hoping that perhaps he might return changed, in some way a better leader for having experienced the challenge facing his people. Not so, on the strength of his first speech. But the world changed around him, in a scant few weeks, and he faces new challenges and problems. No longer is laughing at Premier League sex worker orgies the measure of the UK's reaction to lockdown.
The Premier League was born in a TV rights deal, and presumably one day will die in one. But will it take the rest of the world with it? If you believe certain excitable commentators, it's responsible for most of the ills in modern society. that said, it probably can't take down the whole project of human society. Probably. But Saudi Arabia could do that, and The Premier League stands ready to help them, in return for piles and piles of cash. Surely the League can't accept a regime like the Saudis owning Newcastle United, one of the historic clubs in the game?
SpaceX's Starlink project may or may not be a bad thing, but it definitely resembles very closely the megalomaniacal plan of the bad guy in Kingsman: The Secret Service, which doesn't bode well. It is also polluting our sky with light, ruining astronomical observations, and barging other satellites out of its way. I suppose it's also delivering internet connectivity, maybe, at some point in the future, and probably money for Elon Musk and his investors. But mainly, it's delivering frowns for people who like the sky.
So, it's time for a culture episode! This one is about incredible, ridiculous early aircraft design, and it's about two exceptionally beautiful Studio Ghibli films that deal with those wondrous designs, The Wind Rises, and Porco Rosso. They're both set in the interwar period, and they're both about flying, but only one has a flying pig. I'll leave you to guess which. Oh, and this isn't a review, go ahead and listen whether you've seen the films or not!
It's the first episode of Ev On Everything, formerly Me And The Dog! Today we're on about panda sex lives, and Venetian fish lives under Covid-19 Lockdown, and river dolphins, right whales, and giant ships. And from there we end up with externalities and capitalism, how much companies just love them, and how they've so far killed over 120,000 people with SARS CoV2 alone. There are eagles, too, and diesel engines, and lots of silt. Enjoy!
There are quite a few terrible Covid-19 responses to choose from. Among the front runners has to be Boris Johnson, who gloried in unsafe behaviour before contracting the illness himself. Naturally Donald Trump, finding new ways to stay exactly the same in the face of a global catastrophe, too. But there candidates are out there. Royals, and not the one you might think. Dictators, naturally. And what's worse, ridiculous satire-proof word-sewage, or calculated denial of the figures and statistics we need to understand Coronavirus and beat it?
Britain is Locked Down, but pub chain Wetherspoons is displaying a monumentally foolhardy insistence on staying open. And on not paying its staff. Perhaps they are unfamiliar with public opinion. Or riots. People though, they're staying in, working together to keep us all safe. Staying at home can be bad for your mental health, but adversity can be a tonic. And we lost this week the indomitable Albert Uderzo, who shaped a great deal of my childhood, and to whom I owe as much of who I am today as I do to any writer or artist.
The reaction of recording artists and (some of) the companies that support their work has been inspiring, finding new ways to connect with audiences, and never letting the scarily heavy financial hit they're taking stop them from doing their work. Streaming gigs from empty rooms, making sure audiences still exist, even if only virtually. The response from some bosses in other companies, though, has been less inspiring. Unless you count rage-inspiring.
The markets are involved in a kind of crazy, voluntary Catch-22, and there are people actually buying £80 toilet paper on eBay. We let our airlines become paper thin financial shells, and we stopped valuing the workers who really contribute to our wellbeing and quality of life. And yes, Donald Trump managed to make it all even worse. Forgetting for a moment about the coronavirus itself, we talk a bit about the various economic ravages of the ongoing crisis and we wonder are we really at our best here? Some of us are. Some of us very much aren't.
The second Covid-19 show is here, because Covid-19 is still here. Coronavirus is far from the only thing in the news, and wouldn't it be nice to talk about literally anything else? But no, it demands attention. At this point, we have to remake society around the virus, because it's not going anywhere. But maybe we needed a mirror held up to us, and maybe some of the things we think of as immutable, normal parts of our everyday lives will cease to be so fixed. And maybe that's a good thing...
We do not have the right leadership to deal with the threat of Covid-19. That's obvious. After all, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, doesn't even know how long it takes to sing the national anthem of the country he is a part of the supposed government of. The shambles staggers onward, with no end in sight, and the pandemic only gets worse in lockstep with the government response to it.
So, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is going to have a baby. And I'm sure there was something about Boris Johnson and children that I remember being important. Unfortunately for us all, what the government feels is important isn't necessarily what is in fact important, and sometimes it's hard to find anything at all that they place any importance on. Not Coronavirus, not flooding, not their own drugs policy... it seems like this government are intent on being seen to place as little importance on anything as they possibly can.