What We're Reading / What We’re Listening To

Take a look at the great things we’ve listened to in May

Face Value from ABC

Julia Tsalis, Program Manager

I’ve been listening to Face Value, a new ABC podcast that looks at the recent increase in demand for cosmetic procedures. It appears that all the time we spent on zoom during the pandemic combined with the flood of perfected images on social media has had a profound effect on how we see ourselves. And how we see ourselves generally doesn’t measure up to how we’d like to be seen and the response for a lot of people is to consider cosmetic work. 

Presenters Siobhan Marin and Taleah Aualiitia include their personal experiences and approach the topic in a refreshingly inquisitive and non-judgmental way. The discussions include people who have had work done and people who are considering it, alongside medical professionals and academics. They discuss ethnic ambiguity and the Kardashian effect and what do people of colour, who’ve been made to feel insecure about their features, have to say about others cherry-picking their features.  Yves Saint James Aquino, an Asian Australian physician and philosopher, who researches the ethics of cosmetic surgery talks about the framing of aesthetic concerns as medical issues that need to be fixed to in order to improve health. 
The podcast is an impressive combination of personal experiences and professional perspectives brought together in an engaging and insightful discussion.

The White Pube Podcast from Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente

Martyn Reyes, Project and Communications Officer

Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente, both based in the UK, started The White Pube in 2015 as a way to refresh art criticism and exhibition reviews with writing led by feeling and emotion, in a way that is at once intelligent, honest, entertaining and accessible. Currently, The White Pube has evolved into a space for reviews about food, video games, television, memes, internet trends and more. While Zarina and Gabrielle now also share aspects of their lives through their writing, their criticism of the art world and institutions still remains an important pillar.

They also created a podcast where they release audio versions of their texts, including audio excerpts from the works of their Writers Grant recipients. In bonus episodes they talk about life and give art world advice. You can find episodes such as ‘Are white girls capable of making art that’s not about themselves?’, ‘Why museums are bad vibes,’ ‘Review: The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills‘. If you’re ever feeling down about the bleak state of the arts, visiting The White Pube always helps.

Queen of the Con from iHeartMedia

Amy Lovat, Professional Development Officer

In season 1, Hollywood producer Johnathan Walton tells the unscripted story of a woman he befriended, who claimed to be an Irish heiress worth millions, only to scam Johnathan and several neighbours (and allegedly 45 other strangers) out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. She also claimed to be best friends with Jennifer Aniston, which is an hilarious factoid that turned out obviously to be completely untrue. The world is kind of obsessed right now with con artists, scammers and people behaving badly (see: Inventing Anna on Netflix, The Dropout on Disney, WeCrashed on AppleTV) and I am no exception. This podcast had me hooked, and season 2 has just launched as well, all about scam artists in the wealthy suburb of Orange County in California. Listen to it here.

The Garret: Writers on Writing with Lee Kofman

Rowena Tuziak, Membership & Operations Manager

There’s no better way to procrastinate on your writing projects than by listening to a writing podcast. It reduces feelings of guilt by a good fifty percent!*

I’m working my way through the back catalogue of The Garret: Writers on Writing. I’ve just listened to host Astrid Edwards interviewing Lee Kofman, author of The Writer Laid Bare. Aside from providing some great advice, it’s validating to hear an established writer dissect their own experience of feeling creatively blocked. As Kofman explains, this block can stem from the self-regulating that occurs when we try to prove ourselves, when we doubt ourselves, or when we lose our moral courage.

Kofman and Edwards go on to discuss the terms plotter and pantser, with Kofman introducing us to the idea of builders and renovators as a way of thinking about how a writer deals with the redrafting process. While builders thrive on first drafts, renovators find safety in reworking words already on the page. According to Kofman, the trick is to know which kind of writer you are, and to play to your strengths, getting through the stage you like least as quickly as possible. This conversation perfectly captured the love/hate relationship that we can feel in the writing process, reminding us that this feeling is completely normal. Listen here.

*Cannot guarantee reduced feelings of guilt.

SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned from The Atlantic 

Isaac Wilcox, Administration and Digital Services Officer

This is a fantastic exploration of one of the most iconic brands on the planet. SPAM. In three bitesize portions (I know the can says serving for six, but who can hold off really?) Julia Longoria and Gabrielle Berbey dissect this American processed meat product and discover some not entirely pleasant truths, plus some nice ones too. Listen here.

Honourable mentions:

The Ballad of Billy Balls
I was initially sceptical of this series but got myself through the first episode and was hooked. It’s an enthralling tale, looking at all the elements of a cold-case murder, investigated by producers iO Tillett Wright and Austin Mitchell. It’s a compassionate glimpse into lives created, ended and intertwined with a murder. It’s a great listen and many episodes to you can spin away the hours listening.

Frontier War Stories
Boe Spearim discusses the frontier wars in Australia. Boe speaks with different Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people about research and accounts of the first 140 years of conflict and resistance. It’s a great podcast and an amazing resource, gathering together so many stories and really shedding light on history that’s not out there enough. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve only just started listening to it, there’s loads of it so get in there!

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