Podcast ambitions

Today I am starting to work on a new series of podcasts for the blog.

This is a misleading statement because as yet I don’t know what it’ll be about, who will be on it or how many I will do.

Perhaps more accurate would be to say I am starting to think about starting to work on the podcast!

One idea is to use the blog itself as a resource, looking back over the most popular posts I have written and use them as a guide for podcast topics.

But like I say – still early days. So watch this space, and prime your ears in the meantime 🙂

Audio Responsibility

Who is responsible for the music you listen to? And the interviews you hear? Who decides when your voice gets recorded or not?

In a post industrial world, we have more choice than ever as to how and when we consume things. Take your music streaming service of choice – it likely has ~50m songs to choose from at the tap of a button. This can be overwhelming, which explains the success of Spotify and its algorithms. These ‘tailored playlists’ take the responsibility away from you and the music you hear.

The idea of audio responsibility then, asks us to behave in a more engaged way around music and anything else we feed our ears.

A couple of tips to get started on the road to audio responsibility:

  1. Read about it before you listen to it. This forces you to be an active participant and it makes the experience so much more satisfying. Check out this book to get started: Link
  2. The equipment you use makes a difference. Headphones, amplifiers and speakers are the best places to start investing (responsibly) in your audio experience.
  3. Nobody knows what you want to hear better than you. Not even Spotify.

Here’s to taking responsibility. 🙂

Recording yourself

Do you like the sound of your own voice? The first time I heard my own voice must have been on an old phone message machine we had growing up. It held messages on tiny cassettes which it could play back to you.

Having a very creative best friend, we then started messing around with dictaphones and video cameras. When I got into music and sang in a band, we’d record on anything just to hear ourselves play.

And then came smartphones. Nowadays people are trying to get away from being recorded so often. Google Apple or Facebook hears everything we say. There are full fledged studio apps available at the push of a button/ swipe of a screen.

I seem to hear my own voice a lot these days. Whether it is sending voice notes, or creating podcasts. Hearing yourself forces reflection on what it is you’re saying and how you’re saying it. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s worth a try.

Valentines day post

Or as my daughter puts it: “Ballet-tines day” – she wants to wear a leotard and tutu all day in honor of this special occasion. I’m sticking with my shirt and pants combo.

Valentines day is supposed to be romantic.

So is travel to a far away land. More so, when you travel to be with the person you love. Alas, it is not all sunsets and roses.

Tune in to the podcast tomorrow to see how Rachel has managed a massive move from Africa to Scandinavia.

Romanticising travel

By all accounts, my next guest on the podcast was smart about her move abroad – Even though she did it in part for love!

It is tempting to romanticise travel. The grass is always greener on the other side of the Pacific – so the saying goes.

Here’s the thing – travel and moving your life is TOUGH. The simple reality is that when you move, you necessarily are uncomfortable. The fact that you are no longer in a place of comfort hits you from all sides as soon as you touch down. Romanticising a move, and lying to yourself about why you are traveling only makes this worse. So what to do about it?

It helps to be as specific as possible about the reasons for your move. It helps to define this explicitly before you travel. This creates alignment.

If you don’t pay attention to your reasons and to your own desires for travel, you might fool yourself and end up not being true to yourself. This can bend your life in all sorts of ways.

Sounds dramatic – but Rachel got this right. In my opinion, She’s in Denmark for the long haul and for the right reasons.

Tune in to the podcast (now on iTunes and Spotify) this Friday to hear her Romantic story.

Tomorrow’s podcast

Tomorrow I’ll be publishing the first of my series of 4 weekly podcasts!

I’m excited and I want to introduce the guest properly today so that you’re all ready with ears wide open tomorrow.

Carlos Amato (https://www.carlosamato.work/) is a cartoonist, illustrator and writer here in South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, Carlos is one of the foremost commentators on South African sport, politics and the zeitgeist for our times. He also chased his passion in cartoons from a very young age and recently landed a dream job at the Mail & Guardian, taking over from a local legend Jonathan Shapiro as the political cartoonist at the paper.

We talk about a lot, but you’ll get a feel for how he has managed to be true to himself and succeed in a challenging art form and an industry under strain.

I hope you enjoy it.

Guests

In my early adventures in podcasting, I’ve learned something important: Guests need to be considered.

Guests are very important (obviously), but they don’t automatically know what you want from them. Already I have had guests who thought there would be videos of the chat posted on the internet (only audio btw), and who felt very uncomfortable with the whole idea of being recorded, right up to the point that I bullied them into a room to sit in front of a mic. I was oblivious to this. I thought they all wanted what I wanted and intrinsically knew my intentions – but why would they?

If you are going to interview people, you also need to work hard to line up a roster of interesting people. I have decided to start with a series of 4 interviews – one a week for a month. As a little teaser, let’s play have you ever.

Have you ever:

  • Devoted your life to art and wildlife?
  • Moved from Africa to Scandinavia?
  • Built a cabin in the wilderness?
  • Drawn cartoons for a living?

4 guests, 4 stories. Coming up on chimpwithcans.com

Embedding a track

Continuing with the podcast preparations, I am going to try and embed a Soundcloud track on this blog post.

This blog will be the primary place to go to hear my podcast. Therefore I want to be able to embed tracks so that they are playable without having to leave this site. This involves getting HTML code and pasting it into WordPress. I’ve never done this before, so here it goes with an old track I digitised from an LP a while ago:

Cute song. Radical embedding of audio!

One step closer to my podcast.

Types of podcast

Free form conversations. Structured research pieces. Reviews of products. Scientific discussions. Interviews. Creative stories. I want to create a podcast, but what sort of podcast should it be? I thought about this yesterday – I came up with a quick list of desirable characteristics:

  • I want it to be a long form conversation rather than a formal interview
  • I want it to be a weekly show if possible
  • I want to discuss in depth some ideas and stories that guests can bring with them
  • Topics of interest are as follows:
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Stories and narratives that affect our lives

After thinking about it for another day – I would stick with what i said, and I would focus on the stories as much as possible. Everyone has a story to tell, and humans relate to each other primarily through stories. Narratives. Archetypes.

I am going pretty well in lining up some guests. There are a few stories to tell already so we’re looking good. It’s an interesting exercise trying to find people to join you in a creative project like this. It forces you to look at your network of people around you, and to think of who might be interesting to listen to. It is the work that you have to go through to produce a series of podcasts. It is more intensive than i thought it would be.

I am already buzzing with my creative pursuit. It is happening alongside my office job career which is going just fine too. But the creativity is food for the soul.

Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire.