The Happiest Place

The Happiest Place

Episode: “Gangs? At Disneyland?” | Podcast: Household Name | 35m52s

Documentary about the adult fan groups that frequent Disneyland, often wearing motorcycle gang-style vests and patches. These “social clubs” took off in 2015, boast hundreds of members, and can be found in the theme park almost every day. The reporter finds that media reports of fights and mobs are inaccurate. Instead, a much more charming and eccentric tale unfolds (35m52s)

Capacity For Joy

Episode: “Mary Oliver — Listening to the World” | Podcast: On Being with Krista Tippett | 51m26s

Interview from 2015 with the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, who died on 17 January 2019 aged 83. Here, she speaks unromantically about the years of graft it takes to write good poems — “many, many, many have to be thrown out” — and movingly about what she felt to be the semi-sacred, ancient attractions of verse over other forms. This episode includes several readings of poems and a pleasant, minimalist musical score (51m26s)

Pebble On The Beach

Episode: “Nine pebbles of quartz” | Podcast: Describing A Rock | 7m41s

Story about an experience in the natural world told via a description of quartz shards. The host is economical with her language, carefully evoking the sensation of touching and hearing her rocks: “When I hold them in my hand, they look like baby teeth.” After precisely cataloguing each one, the episode expands outwards to tell of how and where she found the stones. Repetitive background music makes this a hypnotic, calming listen (7m41s)

Power Lines

Episode: “Masters In Our Own Home” | Podcast: Outside/In | 31m23s

First of a compelling four-part series about the relationship in Quebec between hydro-electric power and political identity. From the mid-twentieth century, the success of the Hydro-Québec utility company has been tied to a resurgence in French-Canadian pride. However, there is a colonial narrative underlying this: in order to build these enormous dams, thousands of indigenous people had to be moved from their land. A group of journalists from New Hampshire investigates (31m23s)

God’s Own Country

Episode: “24/01/2019” | Podcast: The Essay | 13m50s

Novelist meditates on his county of origin, Yorkshire. Greater devolution elsewhere in Britain has kindled a resurgence of “Yorkshireness” and interest in political independence for this northern English region. Five million live there, but young people who move away to study rarely return, a problem that is widely acknowledged but remains unsolved. Confusion and competing demands impede progress. Parts of this Yorkshire patriotism contain a hard kernel of anti-immigrant sentiment, too (13m50s)