I've been online for years, but only recently discovered the joy of podcasts. So, for something a bit different to the usual "pastor general's new clothes" routine, here's a list of what I currently listen to, beginning with something of no relevance whatsoever to the subject of this blog. In return, feel free to recommend your own favorites.
Category One: Nostalgia. When I was but a lad in short trousers, the family radio - a wooden cased monstrosity with valves - was permanently tuned into what later became Radio NZ National, the Kiwi equivalent of NPR. In those far off days people who were born in NZ would still speak of Britain as "the old country", and the cultural cringe extended to BBC entertainment shows. This had its benefits with some outstanding comedy (The Goon Show, The Navy Lark, The Men from the Ministry...) and an early rustic soap called The Archers, set in the fictional town of Ambridge, which I particularly remember as it was broadcast soon after I'd get home from school, and listening in was slightly preferable to doing homework. The accents were fascinating (was that really English?), but the theme music - actually a maypole dance! - especially burned its way into my memory after the thousandth episode or so (only a slight exaggeration as the 13,546th episode was aired on St Patrick's Day 2001.)
Sometime in the 1970s most New Zealanders finally worked out that they were something other than transplanted Poms, and local news pushed the BBC bulletin off the air, the silly but erudite quiz shows disappeared, we dumped God Save the Queen as the national anthem, and The Archers disappeared among the detritus of Empire.
A few weeks ago I discovered that BBC Radio 4 was still running the show six days a week, the theme music was still the same, and lo and behold, The Archers was even available for download as a poddie. Now, in an act that would disgust my younger self, I religiously listen to the show in the evenings, though each episode has no more pace and excitement than a herniated tortoise. I'm now at the stage where the characters are starting to gel together and it's possible to make sense of the loose story line: almost certainly a sign of geriatric decay on my part. You probably need to be somewhat advanced in years to appreciate this one!
Category Two: Skepticism.
(To be continued)