In which James ‘Slow Reader’ Kidd, and Adam ‘Easily Distracted and Also Slow Reader’ Smyth, discuss the merits and perils of abandoning books. Too long? Too boring? Too difficult? And we haven’t even started talking about the books yet! Of course we’re joking. Pull up a hammock, slip off your pumps, and start listening—you can potter off to “make a cup of tea” after a couple of minutes. No one need know.
In which James ‘Tricky’ Kidd and Adam ‘Tricky’ Smyth talk hard poems, hard novels, hard plays, for no hard cash. Why do we need literary works that we can’t understand? Join the pod as it orbits a galaxy of complexity and struggle featuring Geoffrey Hill, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, and James Patterson. That’s right: James Patterson. YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THE PATTERSON?
In which James Kidd and Adam Smyth are joined by bibliophile and jaunty-walker Gill Partington (left) to talk burning, eating, and cutting. What happens to a book when it is licked by flames? Can we literally consume fictions? And is that a pair of blades in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me? Complete with practical demonstrations and that ‘outdoorsy’ feel we know will listeners like—and all to celebrate the publication of this little beauty. What ho!
Gill Partington is an academic and writer working in the field of modern and contemporary literature and culture, with a particular focus on the materialities and technologies of writing. She’s written for—among other places—Radical Philosophy and the London Review of Books, is completing a book on internet conspiracy theories.
Holidays! And Literature! In which we go back in time to September 2013, when “Adam” and “James” meet in a pub to commiserate about the end of their vacations. Are holidays a good thing? Why are they over so quickly? Mark Twain speaks through Tom Sawyer. Andrew Marvell gets in that holiday spirit. Stanley Middleton describes a wet weekend in the pub. Bakhtin opens his mouth and other orifices. Madonna leads us in a rousing 80s singalong. Don your shorts, and short your dons (that doesn’t mean anything—ed.), and join us. The water’s lovely and damp. (First broadcast on Resonance FM in September 2014.)
You’re looking tired. Knackered, in fact. Us too. So what better than LITERATURE AND EXHAUSTION? Well obviously a holiday would be better but we can’t offer you that. What we can offer you is this: 29 minutes 46 seconds of drowsy musings on authors – Beckett, Woolf, Shakespeare, Tennyson – writing about being tired. If that isn’t better than two weeks on the beach, then my name’s Hattie Jacques. Download, relax, slumber, and before you know it, it’ll be February. Yours, Hattie.
(First broadcast on Resonance FM.)
In which Adam “Smyth” Smyth and James “Smyth” Kidd discuss literary censorship. Explosive, non? Just what is Banned Books Week? Why are books so dangerous? In the e-book age, is censorship a thing of the past? Why is Captain Underpants the most dangerous literary character in America? Should some books be banned for crime against literature? These questions, and more. Hang on, podders. (First broadcast on Resonance FM on October 1st, 2013).
Mark Twain. Geoff Dyer. Raymond Chandler. Kafka’s four hour-long naps. T.S. Eliot’s bank job. Thomas Bernhard. Shakespeare’s over-hastiness. Chaucer’s oxon. And more. But before you do that: pair those socks, listeners!
(First broadcast on Resonance FM.)
In which James Kidd and Adam Smyth are joined by bestselling writer Samantha Ellis to talk reading books and rereading books and falling in love with characters and living by what by read. Cathy! Cathy! CATHY!
Samantha Ellis is the author of How To Be A Heroine, published by Chatto & Windus. She is also a playwright, and her play, Anatomical Venus, will be produced by Goat and Monkey Theatre in October 2014. You can read more about Samantha here.
In which James Kidd and Adam Smyth—both dressed to the nines (as ever)—are joined by film wiz Alex von Tunzelmann to talk Hollywood’s big night. The politics. The money. And Woody Allen. Who will win? Who shouldn’t win? (Tom Hanks, obviously). And what would Ben Jonson say if he accepted a posthumous award for William Shakespeare for best hairdressing? These, and other urgent questions. Join us on the red carpet: there’s plenty of room.
Alex von Tunzelmann is the author of Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire (2007), and Red Heat. Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean (2011). She writes the ‘Reel History’ column for The Guardian, on popular films and historical accuracy. For Alex’s website, click here.
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Listen to Litbits on Resonance 104 FM on Tuesday evenings at 9 o'clock.