What We're Reading / What We’re Listening To: March Edition

Looking for some audio content for your rainy commute? Take a look at the podcasts, albums and audiobooks our staff have been listening to this month.

Birds Eye View podcast

Julia Tsalis, Program Manager

I’ve been listening to Birds Eye View, a podcast from the women in Darwin Correctional Facility, which is a men’s prison with a small number of women also held there. The podcast is the culmination of a two-year storytelling project run by StoryProjects. The women involved in the program wanted to the podcast to address: Who are we really? How did we get here? And where to next? It does address these questions and in the voice of the women who are living it.

Each episode focuses on one or two of the women and also includes beauty hacks, love letters, music, and an introduction to the birds that visit the prison. It’s surprising, delightful, and real. You can’t help but become invested in their lives and their hopes for where to next.

It is similar to the groundbreaking Ear Hustle (another podcast I highly recommend) from the men in San Quentin Prison in giving a platform to voices we don’t usually hear.

by Alexis Wright

Jane McCredie, CEO

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Alexis Wright’s epic novel of life in Queensland’s Gulf Country, Carpentaria. This sprawling, evocative book won the Miles Franklin back in 2007, focusing national attention on the magical landscapes and violent racial histories of the north. The audiobook is superbly read by actor Isaac Drandic (known for his appearance in Cleverman and other television productions). Drandic is a master of the Australian vernacular and his performance of characters such as Mozzie Fishman, Angel Day and the various members of the Phantom family makes me feel as though I’ve met them. Like most Australians, I’ve never been to the Gulf Country but listening to this book is the next best thing.

Folklore and Evermore
by Taylor Swift

Claire Thompson, Program Officer

I have been listening to Taylor Swift’s two albums Folklore and Evermore on repeat since they came out last year. Somehow Taylor wrote and recorded two albums in the space of a few months during a global pandemic? If that’s not making the best of a bad situation than I don’t know what is. In both Folklore and Evermore, Taylor collaborates with Aaron Dessner, who is a member of my favourite band, The National. When I heard two of my favourite musicians were collaborating it was a silver lining to an otherwise average year. This week Taylor won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Folklore (the third time she has won this Grammy Award) and I’m not surprised. It’s an incredible album, it feels like she’s going back to her original roots. There’s none of the over-produced, flashy quality of previous albums like Lover, Reputation and 1989.

Both Folklore and Evermore are stripped back, most tracks have only piano or light guitar strumming as accompaniment. Which makes the lyrics the focal point, and Taylor has such a great skill for storytelling. Taylor’s lyrics have always been what has drawn me to her music. Both albums contain nostalgic, light songs about summer romances and high school sweethearts, which are balanced out by sombre ballads about addiction, war, sickness and failing marriages. From country to pop to now more alternative sounds, Taylor Swift shows her impressive ability to constantly evolve, willing to experiment with her music. It’s no wonder she was named Artist of the Decade.

Scriptnotes podcast

Anita Mathews, Administration & Membership Officer

There’s nothing so comforting as a favourite podcast. I can’t think of a day in the past two years that I’ve missed listening to mine within hours of it landing. Scriptnotes is a podcast “about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters”. It’s not just a weekly conversation between two Los Angeles-based screenwriters, John August (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, CORPSE BRIDE) and Craig Maizin (CHERNOBYL). Yes they mull over the complexities of the screenwriting business and craft, interview the occasional guest, discuss scripts sent in by listeners around the globe and answer their questions. John and Craig are like two good-time cousins you want to hang around with at a large family get-together; and they are the real deal. Their banter is relaxed, inclusive, astute and always has a moral compass set on truth and compassion. For example, last year they shone a light on the low wages received by assistants working in the film & TV industry and even affected some improvement of the situation.  Maybe it’s oxymoronic to say Hollywood and nice guys in the same breath but I’m going to say it. The podcast has been running for over nine and a half years so I haven’t really even scratched the surface. Back episodes and more are on johnaugust.com
Apple Podcasts | Spotify


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