"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


show & tell

So this morning I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts on the way to work and remembered that I keep meaning to share it with all of you. I can't remember where, but somewhere I read about In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, a production of the BBC's Radio Four, and subscribed to the free podcast on iTunes. And proceeded to only listen to one or two of them for six months.

Now. Perhaps you, unlike me, are not a total geek and don't like to do anything but listen to radio banter or your perfect, worked-on-for-26-days-and-nights playlist on your mp3 player on your way to another soul-sucking day in the cubicle. I hear you. Really. That's me too, sometimes.

But of late, I've really been enjoying listening to these programs and learning something in the mornings. Sue me. The topics are unbelievably varied, but all have something more-or-less to do with Western civilization. Bragg brings in three or four scholars who are experts on the week's topic, they talk for 40 minutes, and eager, half-asleep listeners like me get to learn about the Charge of the Light Brigade, or the Black Death, or the Library at Ninevah, or the origins of Social Contract theory. Or that's what I've covered this week.

(The weather's fine here in Nerdvegas. Thanks for asking.)

Seriously, I realize this is about the most geeked-out thing ever, but I'm loving a chance to learn about things that are Not What I Do, but that I feel like an (over-) Educated Person Should Know About. Did you know that the Assyrians kept Babylonian scholars in chains, or that the Assyrian scholars at Ninevah themselves dressed up as the sacred fish who had given the Babylonians wisdom in their antideluvian era? Or that the famed, doomed Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War had no military significance whatsoever? Or that the plague changed social structures because it freed up land for the 14th century's "new money" to buy? And are you planning ways to drop these facts into conversations and blog posts where they would otherwise be completely irrelevant?

I didn't think so. Which is why you should listen to this podcast. Or, you know, whatever the dj on your local HOT101JACKAlternativeContemporaryHip-Skip-a-DeeDo FM is riffing on today. Whatever.


Blogger William Deed said...

Radio 4 is a must for any self respecting Brit. We can't get enough of it.

When I was at school we used rhyming slang to call a cigarette a 'Melvin'.

Friday, June 13, 2008 12:51:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

I can see why. I mean about Radio 4. The cig thing I don't get at all, but that's probably because I speak with a Texas accent.

Friday, June 13, 2008 8:09:00 PM

Blogger William Deed said...

Melvyn, full name Melvyn Bragg, Bragg rhymes with fag, and fag is the more common term for a cigarette.

Friday, June 13, 2008 10:41:00 PM


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