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Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 77: Manhole Living

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle & Sharpe are just looking for a place to live and keep their things.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Resonance FM

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Since last column, your Podthinker has heard heard hip-hop, electronic dance music, remarks on conceptualism, a discussion of Bruges and Ghent, video game industry rumors, birdcalls from the 19th century, harrowing stories of bike wipeouts, walks through Longon alleys and a hell of a lot of field recordings. It's been an interesting week on Resonance FM.

What radio station would dare allow such variety, you ask, let alone release it unadulterated in a single podcast? Having begun broadcasting operations in earnest in May 2002, Resonance has pumped out an unbelievably creative range of programs ever since. Readers living in central London can (usually) simply tune their radio dials to 104.4 and drink it in. Those outside of it can turn to the live stream. As for the especially discerning ones who, like your Podthinker, both live outside Resonance's broadcast range and insist on listening to everything on demand, they can pull down the station's podcast of everything [iTunes] [RSS].

Eager to engage in what Resonance's slogan calls "the art of listening," your Podthinker downloaded big chunk of the archive and let the station provide the background to every trip, chore and errand. This ever-shifting stream of entertainment and information was welcome, but it was the element of surprise that really set it apart. Every half-hour or so, the sentiment resurfaced: "Whoa. Radio can be like this?" The programs experienced by your Podthinker over the past week, each of which contributed, in its own way, to Resonance's overall "whoa"-induciveness, are as follows:

Art Monthly, which seems to be associated with the magazine of the same name, featured a discussion of a newly-published reader on modern art culture. Sedate yet lively, this is the sort of art talk show bound to give rise within its listeners a feeling along the lines of "I am glad to be listening to this."

While it rarely strays from its mandated topic, the gaming-centric One Life Left somehow doesn't feel like any of the other video game podcasts your Podthinker has been suggested. This is perhaps thanks to the show's triangular hosting team of Ste, Simon and Ann, who approach video games in a somewhat less insider-y way than others; theirs is the enthusiasm you could hear anyone have about anything. And even though their program sounds live, all their timing with segments and whatnot is absolutely spot-on. Maybe it's a practice-makes-perfect situation — OLL stands as one of Resonance's longest-running institutions.

But with Ventures and Adventures in Topography, the vast possibilities of freeform radio as practiced by Resonance truly revealed themselves. A show about "the rich tradition of early 20th century topographical walking guides to London and the South East" and nothing else, it combines literary explorations of a variety of old-school books on London peripatetism with field-recorded explorations of London today. Perhaps this is just his enthusiasm for Werner Herzog-style walking journeys and Will Self-style "psychogeography" talking, but by this point your Podthinker was already weeping for the radio projects as peculiarly delightful as VAT that have never been cultivated in the States.

Sean Williams' Voice on Record, a weekly presentation of vintage recordings of the spoken word, had a similar effect. It's not a show where people come on and talk, nor where people play typical sorts of recordings — it's a show which plays atypical sorts of recordings of people coming on and talking: recollections from long-ago documentarians of wildlife, bowling tips, early English dialects, what have you. Again, could we just trade in a ranchera station or two for something like this?

The winning streak continued with The Bike Show, subject obvious. On this installment, host Jack Thurston told of his cycling trip from Montreal to New York City, but not just by sitting there in the studio and reminiscing — he actually played recordings he made all along the road. Hearing Thurston describe one leg of the journey into his sound recorder from inside his tent as the rain beat down on its roof, one wonders how he put together a more engaging, more evocative production than the best-funded public radio shows around can manage.

Rhythym Incursions came as one of Resonance's many solid music shows, though how much of it can be conveyed in words? Perhaps it'll suffice to say that your Podthinker, who owns next to no hip-hop, was nonetheless gripped throughout these (ostensibly hip-hop but not quite so genre-rigid) mixes.

Offering a supremely well-curated selection of field recordings, Framework won over your Podthinker immediately. But then again, those who read his Podthought on WFMU's Airborne Event Dronecast could have predicted that.

It only makes sense that such an eclectic radio week would be capped off by a roundtable about Belgium. This week's Wavelength focused on what Belgium's like, who likes Belgium, why more people don't get excited about Belgium and why more people probably should. Dull as this may sound to some Euro-readers, presenter William English and company pull it off splendidly. (And anyone who's spent a healthy chunk of time tuned in to some of the U.S.' top stations would doubtless kill for a half-hour on Belgium.)

Somehow, Resonance seems to have locked onto the magic combination of total freeform formatting (if that's not an oxymoron) without the amateurishness that attends it in other settings. With luck, the less money there is to make in the medium, the more Resonance-style outfits will rise. This may irk those in thrall to the belief that radio's dying, but: dying? Cripes, man, it's only just emerging from the dark ages.

Vital stats:
Format: variety of freeform radio shows
Duration: ~30m-2h
Frequency: multiple episodes per day
Archive available on iTunes: last 50

[Got a podcast to suggest for Podthoughts coverage or any other sort of question and/or comment for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Onion Network News on Kidult Lit

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Adults Go Wild Over Latest In Children’s Picture Book Series

Sometimes I feel like the ONN people are reading my mind... and also my heart.

Donald Glover of Community and Derrick Comedy's Mystery Team: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Donald Glover

Donald Glover is an actor, writer and comedian. He left a writing job on NBC's 30 Rock to take an acting gig on Community. His sketch comedy group, Derrick Comedy, just released their first feature film, Mystery Team. He also performs standup comedy - his first Comedy Central special premiers in March.

MaxFunCon Podcast Ep. 4: A Whitman's Sampler of Hilarity

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On Episode 4 of the MaxFunCon Podcast we bring you some comedy from our pals:


Elephant Larry


Experience this trifecta of awesome LIVE at MaxFunCon 2010.

Jump over to MaxFunCon.com to grab it, or subscribe in iTunes.

MaxFunCon Graphics!

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Are you going to MaxFunCon?

We'd love for you to add these graphics to your blog sidebars, websites, MySpace(?), uhm... Friendsters, AltaVistas, Geocities, NCSA Mosaics, whatever. You can either grab the images themselves here, or copy and paste the code into your whatnots to get a nice little linkeroonie.


http://www.maximumfun.org/images/seeyou.gif


http://www.maximumfun.org/images/headliners.gif

Conan on Never Not Funny

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Well, I guess the gang at Never Not Funny found a way to follow what had to that point been their biggest guest ever.

Podcast: The College Years: A Doozy

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Guests: 
Andrew W.K.

The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.

Today we have a doosy of a show with the fantastic Andrew W.K. in studio via telephone.
Plus Jim Real: "The Master of "Would You Rather."

TSOYA Classics: Best Friends with John Hodgman & Jonathan Coulton (October 13th, 2006)

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Two old friends, both of the show and of each other: We chat with each separately, and in special blog-only bonus audio (below), we squash a long-simmering feud between them regarding cat care and a series of vicious attack ads.

Jonathan Coulton is a comic singer-songwriter. For a year, he wrote and released (free) a new song every single week. Some, like "Code Monkey," which he performs on the show, have become internet phenomena. Enjoy free downloads of his three musical performances below.

John Hodgman is the author of "The Areas of My Expertise," a compendium of entirely fabricated facts, history and trivia. For many years, Hodgman was a literary agent, and counted among his clients the B-movie star Bruce Campbell. Today, he's best known for portraying the PC in the Mac-Vs.-PC advertisements for Apple, and for his regular appearances on the Daily Show.

Listen to This Week's Show


Blog-Only Bonus Audio:

Bonus: Hodgman Vs. Coulton


Bonus: Hodgman on Dungeons & Dragons


Incidental Music by DJW

Download Jonathan Coulton's Musical Performances:
Code Monkey / Lyrics
You Ruined Everything / Lyrics
The Future Soon / Lyrics

You might also like these past TSOYA episodes:
"All World Knowledge" with John Hodgman and Fred Rees: MP3
"On the Road" with John Hodgman and Henry Rollins: MP3
"ComedyCopia" with a song from Jonathan Coulton
"Joketacular" with a song from Jonathan Coulton

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