The Impossible Heist

The Impossible Heist

Episode: “81 Minutes” | Podcast: Last Seen | 35m11s

Almost 30 years on, the theft of 13 irreplaceable works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston remains unsolved. The thieves spent 81 minutes inside the gallery, which is a long time for such an operation, and then just exited through the door. None of the art, including paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Manet, has been recovered. Curators and journalists have now used motion sensor data and witness testimony to create this audio visualisation of what happened that night (35m11s)

Waving Not Drowning

Episode: “Learning to Float” | Podcast: Beginner | 15m30s

Misha Euceph, a woman in her twenties and a Pakistani immigrant to the US, documents her attempts to learn the things she missed out on by not having a classic American childhood. Here, she attends swimming lessons and tries to overcome her aversion to deep water. The result is a story about personal growth, family expectations, and assimilation. The boundaries keep moving; she never feels she has become “American” enough. But rather than hiding her failures, she tries to confront them. “I want to learn to float instead of lying,” she says (15m30s)

An Old Soul

Episode: “How Old Is Winnie the Pooh?” | Podcast: Every Little Thing | 27m35s

In depth investigation into the true age of A.A. Milne’s beloved fictional bear. Pooh is friends with a child and a piglet, but he has an elderly temperament, mannerisms and physique. From age specialists to Milne academics, the host consults experts and fans to solve this mystery. It’s both bizarre and absorbing to hear the traditional grammar of journalistic investigation trained on such a seemingly trivial question from children’s literature, but the ending is moving all the same (27m35s)

Wish You Were Here

Episode: “The Blue Hag of Chingford” | Podcast: Podcast from the Past | 29m10s

Postcard devotees are interviewed about why they like sending one-sided picture cards. Actor Samuel West explains why he takes part in an international postcard sending project with total strangers and poet Sasha Dugdale explores the way writing in such a restricted space affects tone and language choice. A whole family history or relationship trauma can be unpacked from a single missive sent in a spirit of whimsy while travelling, she says, in a way that is less likely from a letter or a long conversation (29m10s)

Spine Chilling

Episode: “A Story About You” | Podcast: Welcome to Night Vale | 27m13s

Arresting feat of writing from the archive of a blockbuster audio fiction series: a surreal community radio bulletin for a small desert town delivered in the second person. “You have been haunted ever since by how easy it was to walk away from your life. . .” The host both addresses and describes the imagined listener, narrating a dramatic, dark tale in the process. An unsettling story, smartly told (27m13s)

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