Posts tagged ‘families’

July 31, 2015

Spoken and speaking

One of the things that keeps me awake at night (aside from car alarms, waking hallucinations, and my neighbour laughing REALLY loudly) are thoughts like, “Where does THIS word come from?” I’ll try to look it up without waking my husband; and usually the etymology will turn out to be not particularly surprising or interesting. But if it is…that’s a sleepless night, and, if I’m lucky, an episode of the Allusionist.

That’s how it was with ‘step-‘. I thought it would be a fairly straightforward term – but, as I learnt in the new episode, it is neither straightforward etymologically nor emotionally. Aaron Mahnke from Lore Podcast brings the history.

You can hear the episode at theallusionist.org/step. AND I’d love it if you’d join me for a live chat about the episode on Tuesday 4th August, 8pm UK time, on Spoken – it’s a new platform for podcast listeners to gather and discuss shows, and this is the first time I’ll have done this kind of thing, so we’re all just seeing whether/how it works! Go to spoken.am to request an invitation, then prepare your typing-fingers for some chatting next Tuesday. But if you can’t make it, you can drop by to catch up later.

Another common process that results in an Allusionist instalment is me thinking, “Ooh, I’d love to find out more about someone’s job.” That’s how the previous episode came about: cognitive behavioural therapist Dr Jane Gregory describes how she goes about defusing words that are ruining patients’ lives. It’s a fascinating insight. Our brains really do a number on us. theallusionist.org/behave

Aaand finally: yesterday I was on The Spot on San Francisco public radio station KALW, talking about the Latin Lives! episode with charming Latin fan Ashleyanne Krigbaum. Hear here.

February 10, 2014

Spark London, or, Troubles with my Aunt

Although the main podcast I make is a comedy show, my favourite genre of podcasts to listen to involves people telling true stories. The Moth, Love + Radio, Unfictional, This American Life, Strangers, Third Coast International Audio Festival… So imagine my excitement when I was invited to speak at Spark London, London’s premium stand-on-a-stage-and-tell-a-story-from-your-life show!

Then imagine my panic, because much as I enjoy my mostly solitary and undramatic life, it doesn’t generate much True Story material.

Luckily, there are two cracking True Stories in the family. One, I don’t think I can tell in public until all the main protagonists are dead.* So I told the other one:

The Spark London podcast is available on Mixcloud or iTunes.

*Maybe in 30 years I can return to Spark to tell it.

PS In case you don’t believe me about the typo on my grandmother’s gravestone, here’s photographic proof.

PPS Spotted backstage at Spark: a baby on a stick. Wonder if they have one of those at the Moth.

Spark baby