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.
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’sBlack 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.
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;
Dara’s late entry and rapid ascension in the professional poker world.
His experience as an ultra runner, including representing Ireland, and completing a 24 hour race.
We chat about the psychology of endurance based high-performance.
Dara became online friends with Bowie in the 1990s, a friendship initiated by Dara’s online criticism of Bowie’s online project.
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.
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
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;
The recent US election and the role social media may have played in it’s outcome.
The fact that the web is now a part of our humanity, an expression of it, rather than merely an addendum to it.
How virtual reality may create a deeper desire for real-world experience.
A lot of what we think os as new, isn’t; self-portraits, memes, pithy wisdom, the use of symbols to express ideas etc.
The hipster revolt.
How hard it is keeping up with young people in whatsapp groups.
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.
For episode #47 I was joined by the economist DrConstantin Gurdgiev. When the Irish economy crashed and everybody was desperately searching for answers and solutions I often heard Constantin on the radio and was instantly attracted to his knowledge of economics and his ability to communicate complex ideas in simple ways.
When we met in June to record this episode I was delighted to find that his ability to explain economic ideas wasn’t limited to the shorter bursts radio generally provides but easily transferred to the longer podcast format.
During the episode we discussed:
What it was like to be a Russian in the US when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Why economics is as much art as science.
The difference between micro and macroeconomics.
Why attempts to speedily and drastically redistribute wealth fail, and what the alternative is.
Why Ireland is good at attracting, but bad at keeping, human talent.
The distinction between risk and probability.
Constantin had difficulty recommending a good primer on economics but relented and suggested a few!
If streaming episodes isn't your thing you can download the Inspireland Podcast using most podcast apps, click here for more information. if you've any problems get in touch and I'll try to sort you out.
In episode #46 I was joined by journalist and author, James Bloodworth. James’s book, The Myth Of Meritocracy, is a detailed investigation of the inequalities at the heart of how society works. Bloodworth has found that if you’re born poor you’ll stay poor in spite of the widely-held belief that hard work and intelligence will see us rewarded with a better quality for ourselves and our family.
Topics covered during the conversation:
What Meritocracy is and why it’s a myth.
Why political parties have embraced it as an ideal worth pursuing (or at least talking about pursuing).
Why there is so little social mobility in society.
The role of genetics in social mobility.
The failure of education to address inequality of opportunity and income.
What we can do to make society more egalitarian.
James was a brilliant guest and his book is an excellent, concise read. In a lot of ways The Myth Of Meritocracy confirms something you’ve probably always felt to be true but does it better than you ever could.
If you liked this episode you'll like my chat with economic hitman, John Perkins.
You can buy The Myth Of Meritocracyhere. You can follow James on twitter here. You can check out his latest journalism here. Please leave a rating for the podcast here.
For episode #45 I was joined by the wonderfully sweary Sarah Knight to discuss the philosophy behind her bestselling book: The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck. This book’s philosophy is more than a gimmick and helps us identify the things in our lives that bring us joy while simultaneously teaching us to give less fucks about the things/people/ideas that we don’t really give a fuck about.
During my chat with Sarah we discussed;
The inspiration for the book and what it had to do with a tidy sock drawer.
The NotSorry method of giving less fucks.
How honesty and politeness are key to successfully giving less fucks.
The three types of people who don’t give a fuck; children, assholes, and the enlightened.
The 4 categories of fuck giving; Things, Work, People, and Family.
The danger of ‘the likeability vortex.’
How giving less fucks really has the power to positively change your life.
This episode was one of the most fun we’ve done to date and I’m sure you’ll enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed chatting. Enjoy the fucking show. Dave
You’d imagine that euthanasia is the type of topic best avoided during your lunch break at work but to my surprise the topic was one which seemed to unite, not divide, my work friends when I mentioned that Philip had agreed to come on the show. We all believed that the option should be available for people with serious illness should their quality of life rapidly disimprove.
For episode #44 I was joined by Dr Philip Nitschke of Exit International. In 1996, Nitschke became the first doctor to administer a legal, voluntary, lethal injection to a terminally ill patient. For the short period that euthanasia was legal in Australia Nitschke oversaw 4 voluntary suicides.
Philip recently ran a show at Edinburgh called Dicing with Dr Death that attracted a lot of media attention. Philip made for a thought provoking and informative guest and his argument that euthanasia should be available to those that want it is difficult to counter.
Our episode covered the following topics;
The difference between euthanasia and suicide.
The short-lived availability of euthanasia in Australia.
The personal impact of helping people die.
What countries/regions allow euthanasia.
The goal of Exit International.
The online and real world harassment of Exit’s volunteers.
Here's a short video from VICE that explores some of the issues surrounding
You can check out EXIT's site here and the Peaceful Pill site here.
You can follow Philip on twitter here or EXIT here.
In episode #43 I was joined by Amanda Fielding, founder and director of the Beckley Foundation. The Beckley Foundation are currently involved in pioneering research into the effect of psychedelics on the brain and their possible use in treatment for mental conditions such as PTSD, depression, anxiety etc.
Amanda was a charming and engaging guest with a real passion for drug-policy reform and the exploration of the potential of psychoactive substances.
Below is a list of some of the questions I asked Amanda.
Who are Beckley and what do they do?
What are the potential benefits of taking psychedelics?
Why was research into LSD etc. been out of fashion for so long?
How can psychoactives help treat depression, anxiety, etc.?
What is the difference between therapeutic and recreational use?
What are the possible negative side-effects of taking these substances?
In this episode it was my pleasure to be joined by photographer Michael Boran. We met in Dublin’s Kevin Kavanagh gallery to look at, and discuss, Michael’s latest solo exhibition, Through The Undergrowth. I was worried that talking about photographs might prove to be as difficult as bicycling about philosophy but luckily for all of us Michael is as good at painting images with words as he is at capturing them with his camera.
This episode is divided into two parts. In the first section myself and Michael walk the main gallery floor discussing some of the photos in his exhibition; their genesis, technique, execution, editing etc. In the second part we sit down to discuss Michael’s career and work in more general terms, from his early experiences in an amateur camera club to his current list of advice to himself!