E51 Kliph Nesteroff: History Of US Comedy

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Photo by the brilliant Jim Herrington.

Kliph Nesteroff joins me on the show to discuss his bestselling book The Comedians; Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy. The Comedians chronicles the evolution of comedy from interval acts in burlesque shows, through its growth on radio and tv, to the glory days of Las Vegas and the comedy clubs, before finishing on the comedy of the new millenium.

The Comedians expertly blends deep research, anecdotes, and gossip to give us the definitive history of comedy and comedians but it also a social history of the US since the early 20th century. Kliph was a brilliant guest and his own origins are as fascinating as many of the people he chronicles.

During our conversation we discuss;

  • How Leo Tolstoy saved his grandparents from the gulags.
  • His first experience of live comedy.
  • His years as a stand-up comedian.
  • His love of counterculture.
  • The time he worked in a halfway house for heroin, crack, and meth heads.
  • Why Richard Pryor is so important to modern comedians.
  • Why comedy is full of white, middle-aged guys.
  • The types of personalities that are attracted to comedy (narcissistic personality disorder).

Kliph was a brilliant guest and it was great having him on the show. Enjoy, Dave.

You can follow Kliph on twitter here, his feed is all sorts of comedy goodness and geekery. If you're in the US you can buy his book here, or get it here if you're in the UK or Ireland.

30 Day Challenge: Clean Eating; Days 1-10

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This longform post is the first of 3 posts where London based student Valeriya Rodimova details her experiences of attempting to eat clean for 30 days. The posts will include dietary, fitness, and personal observations. The posts are brilliantly long and detailed but we will do a summary and cheat sheet when the 30 days is complete. You can follow Valeriya on Instagram here.

Who is Valeriya?

My name is Valeriya Rodimova and I am ready to start my 30-day Eat Clean Challenge! I will tell some basic staff about me to start with. I am 20 and I am 2nd year Queen Mary University College London student. I am doing International Relations. I have been always keen on searching diets and not finishing them. Something has to be changed, as I might appear to be slim, however my skin, my hair and my health overall is dissatisfactory. So this challenge is an amazing opportunity for me to start new life!

Continue reading 30 Day Challenge: Clean Eating; Days 1-10

POP FILTER: BLACK MIRROR

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*** There will be spoilers! ***

There’s too much pop culture to possibly keep track of. There are so many podcasts, apps, boxsets, books, and movies clamouring for your attention that it’s hard to know which are worth exploring. That’s where Pop Filter comes in.

The producer/editor behind the Inspireland Podcast, Wil McDermott, and Wil’s friend, Lorraine Harton (and sometimes Dave from Inspireland), sit down every couple of weeks to discuss some of the latest popular culture. This week, they chat about Netflix/Brooker’s Black Mirror.  Enjoy. Dave

If you enjoyed this episode of POP FILTER check out the last one where Wil And Lorraine discuss HBO's Westworld here.

E50 Dara O Kearney: Poker Pro

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In this episode I was delighted to be joined in the studio by professional Irish poker player, Dara O’Kearney. Dara, or Doke as he’s known in the poker world, gave a wide ranging and fascinating interview that’s definitely one of my favourites to date. At 1.5 hours it’s one of the longest chats I’ve had but I hope you’ll agree it’s one of the best!  Enjoy, Dave.

Some of the stuff we chatted about;

  1. Dara’s late entry and rapid ascension in the professional poker world.
  2. His experience as an ultra runner, including representing Ireland, and completing a 24 hour race.
  3. We chat about the psychology of endurance based high-performance.
  4. Dara became online friends with Bowie in the 1990s, a friendship initiated by Dara’s online criticism of Bowie’s online project.
  5. We discussed Dara’s experience in dealing with his son’s autism.
You can check out Dara's excellent blog here, as he says in the interview it's mostly poker geekery but his more accessible articles dominate his most read list on the right of the page.

Follow Dara on twitter here.

 

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There will be spoilers!

There’s too much pop culture to possibly keep track of. There are so many podcasts, apps, boxsets, books, and movies clamouring for your attention that it’s hard to know which are worth exploring. That’s where Pop Filter comes in.

The producer/editor behind the Inspireland Podcast, Wil McDermott, and Wil’s friend, Lorraine Harton (and sometimes Dave from Inspireland), sit down every couple of weeks to discuss some of the latest popular culture. This week, they chat about HBO’S Westworld.  Enjoy. Dave

If you like this you might like their last episode where they discuss Netflix's Amanda Knox documentary.

E49 Virginia Heffernan: The Internet As Art

So this was one of the most fun podcasts I've done to date even though it took us an age to get to the topic of the podcast! If you enjoy this episode you might also like my chat with internet sceptic, Andrew Keen, which you can check out here. Dave

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I’ve read books and think pieces about the internet but none have come close to describing the web’s awesome yet terrifying power as well as Magic And Loss by Virginia Heffernan. Heffernan, who has been described as “...one of the mothers of the internet.“, views the web as a massive work of art that encourages speed, wit, and versatility.

Virginia’s work sidesteps the cliches rife in analysis of online life (decreased attention spans, trolls, obsession with appearance, addiction etc) by taking a highly original, and at times searingly personal, account of the web’s rules, aesthertics, and values.

Some of the topics covered in our conversation were;

  1. The recent US election and the role social media may have played in it’s outcome.
  2. The fact that the web is now a part of our humanity, an expression of it, rather than merely an addendum to it.
  3. How virtual reality may create a deeper desire for real-world experience.
  4. A lot of what we think os as new, isn’t; self-portraits, memes, pithy wisdom, the use of symbols to express ideas etc.
  5. The hipster revolt.
  6. How hard it is keeping up with young people in whatsapp groups.
  7. Virginia tells us some of her favourite internet things and places.

It was great talking to Virginia and I hope to have her back on the show soon. Inspiring listening, Dave.

You can check out Virginia's website here. You can follow her on twitter here. GO BUY HER BOOK HERE. Watch her talk about Magic And Loss here.
If you enjoy this episode you might also like my chat with internet sceptic, Andrew Keen, which you can check out here.

9 quotes from Magic And Loss: The Internet As Art

Tomorrow’s guest, Virginia Heffernan, believes the internet is the greatest piece of communal art ever created. Here’s some of the passages I highlighted while reading her excellent book, Magic And Loss.

 

…the Internet is an extraordinarily seductive representation of the world

If it’s ever fair to say that anything has “changed everything,” it’s fair to say so about the Internet. At stake in this cultural transformation are the way we live, the way we think, the way we love, the way we talk, and even the way we fight across the globe. The Internet is entrenched. It’s time to understand it—and not as a curiosity or an entry in the annals of technology or business but as an integral part of our humanity, as the latest and most powerful extension and expression of the project of being human.

With media, books, texts, and emails on mobile devices people are never not reading. We read while we’re socializing, working, shopping, relaxing, walking, commuting, urinating. From a nation that couldn’t stop eating, we’ve become a nation that can’t stop reading.

I’m trying my hand at anthropology here: where farmers bred to produce field hands, industrial workers bred because they couldn’t help it, and Kennedy-era couples bred to goose the GNP by buying sailor suits and skis, in the Internet age we form families so we can produce, distribute, and display digital photos of ourselves.

What’s more, it had long been accepted as axiomatic that technology and pornography—from the printing press to photography, magazines, film, and videotape—always evolve in tandem. “Sometimes the erotic has been a force driving technological innovation,” John Tierney wrote in the Times in 1994. “Virtually always, from Stone Age sculpture to computer bulletin boards, it has been one of the first uses for a new medium.”

This is a serious question: Do you like your art in front of you, inside your body, or all around you? People who are drawn to plays, movies, and TV sports generally prefer to keep their diversions at some distance. These are traditional “viewers.” We sit in relative shade or even theater darkness while our entertainment is brightly lit or backlit. People who like food, perfume, and music in headphones like entertainment in their mouth, nose, and ears. They are cultural “consumers” and generally take their pleasures in low restaurant lighting. People who like architecture, video games, music in speakers, and, most recently, 3D media seek to be surrounded and included in the action. They like a diverse, changing light scheme, like those in cathedrals, theme parks, and dance clubs. In marketing lingo these people are “experiencers.”

“The truth is,” Cleary said, “virtual reality just creates a deep hunger for real-world experiences.”

I kept Wittgenstein close: “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent.”

Twee or crazy as it may sound, a time or two I took a tablet of ecstasy and snuck into the computer room, fired up one of the massive terminals, and signed in to spend the night in a solo orgy of logical proofs.

You can buy Magic And Loss here.

POP FILTER: AMANDA KNOX

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There’s too much pop culture to possibly keep track of. There are so many podcasts, apps, boxsets, books, and movies clamouring for your attention that it’s hard to know which are worth exploring. That’s where Pop Filter comes in.

The producer/editor behind the Inspireland Podcast, Wil McDermott, and Wil’s friend, Lorraine Harton (and sometimes Dave from Inspireland), sit down every couple of weeks to discuss some of the latest popular culture. This episode, they chat about Netflix’s latest murder documentary, Amanda Knox. Enjoy. Dave.

If you're a fan of documentaries check out my interview with Eugene Jarecki who made the superb The House I Live In, a doc that explored the failure and impact of the US's war on drugs.

Kirby Ferguson: Where do ideas come from?

Most of us have to create ideas/solutions occasionally and many of us struggle with the process of getting, organising, and expressing our ideas effectively. In this short video the always excellent Kirby Ferguson breaks down the 4 step process he uses.

Check out my interview with Kirby here, he was great. This is his site. This is his Patreon page, I'm already patronising him!

 

Talking to interesting people. Doing interesting things.