The Podcasters

The Podcasts


Lit Bitlette ... Beards!

Live from the Southampton Arms. Beards! And literature! Together at last! Barbed comments for your French punsters. What is the difference between ‘Old’ Beard and ‘New’ Beard? Can beards talk? Are beards like texts. And what happens to Lit Bits podcasters when you add a pint of ale, bake for 25 minutes and leave to stand on a chilly night.

A promenading 8 minutes on the most hairy of texts. Think Lytton Strachey. Think God. Think hipsters in North London pubs. Clean-shaven comments by Adam ‘Moustache’ Smyth and James ‘Goatee’ Kid(d).

Duration: 7.53.

In Hampstead, no one can hear you shave.

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Lit Bits Live @ London Library Stacks

In which James Kidd and Adam Smyth, taking time out from composing their libretti, wander lonely as two clouds and ruin the hushed atmos of the London Library stacks. Finding themselves live and on air, they peruse the S.Agriculture shelfmark. Musings follow—on manure, Michael Gove, Fred Kitchen, and the need for books we’ll never read. Join in and join those dots. Gove and manure? Surely some mistake.

Stamp on withdrawal. Fines for late returns.

Duration: 9.50

In the London Library, no one can hear you. Full stop.

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Waiting for Lit Bits - Live in Oxford

In which Adam Smyth and James Kidd indulge in a little bit, or a Lit Bitlette, of waiting. For buses. Trains. Love. Godot. Guffman. That sort of thing. Live from Oxford Train Station, our intrepid pair feel the glamour of Ginsters pies, coffee heated by a nuclear reactor.

But what does this have to do with literature (we hear you cry)? Quite a lot, we find, as James Kidd and Adam Smyth loiter in endless expecting of the 4.23 to Paddington. 7 minutes on deferred pleasures, Beckett, narrative, hot chocolate, and Brazil.

Lit Bits in - wait for it - legendary form.

Duration: 7.24

We can't go on. But we don't half go on.

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Lit Bitlette ... Shopping Malls

In which James Kidd, flying solo so to speak, blows Lit Bits’ savings in a shopping mall in Poughkeepsie, upstate New York. Among his musings are questions like: why is Deal No Deal such a big, er, deal? Why are there no clocks in malls? Why are there so many guns in malls? What is a buttock massager? And if a tree falls in a shopping mall, has it had a narrow escape?


Duration: 5.37

Download 2 pods. Get one for £4.99.

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In which Adam Smyth and James Kidd muse of the links between grape and pen, grain and page. Women, wine, snuff and nonsense all imbibed (hic and ibid). Live from a curry house in north London, our podsters bravely practice what they preach. Do not adjust your set. The pod is not playing at half-speed in homage to John Peel. It is simply that Smyth and Kidd cannot take their ale.

Drink up.

Duration: 24.01

Time gentlemen. Please?

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What is LitBits?

In which Adam Smyth and James Kidd—live from London—empty a a full post bag that is filled with a single question. What is Lit Bits?

The curt answer is: A Literary Podcast spiced with added guests like Giles Milton, Hallie Rubenhold, Alex von Tunzelmann, the Doctors Joe Brooker and Dinah Roe, not to mention the Right Reverend James Mottram.

The meandering response takes in a Mr Romney of Massachusetts, a Mr Paul Daniels of the Magic Circle, and plunges us into the nightmarish swamp Adam Smyth’s dream imaginings. Be ye afraid. Be very afraid.

A five-minute shot glass of literary speculation. Who wouldn’t take a sip?

Duration: 4.59

Lit Bits? C'est nous.

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Lit Bitlette ... Flying

It’s chocks away as James Kidd and Adam Smyth are joined, for five high-altitude minutes, by Alex von Tunzelmann and Hallie Rubenhold, to talk planes and books. Just what do you read during a flight? Why is airplane food so terrible? Why does every movie seem to star Seth Rogan? And who exactly is Seth Rogan. Reading, writing and all manner of zipless unmentionables.

Fasten your seatbelts. Put out that cigarette. Don’t sit near Gerard Depardieu.

Duration: 5.15

Emergency exits can be found there and there...

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Lit Bits Walking - Live in London

Walking! That’s right. Walking!

In which Adam Smyth and James Kidd tumble out of the French House pub in Soho, stretch their legs, and more besides. With the heaven’s opening, and the pubs closing, our intrepid pair retire ‘neath the shady bow of an umbrella and wander Soho in search of links between literature and perambulation. Fellow strollers include Paul Auster, Ben Jonson, and Philip Sidney.

Wander and wonder under discussion.

Duration: 16.05

Fellas with umbrellas.

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Lit Bitlette ... New Year Resolutions

In which Adam Smyth and James Kidd forget old acquaintance in a Soho doorway as a December deluge rains on their parade. Undaunted, our intrepid podders make their new year resolutions. More exercise, less saturated fat, and a diet of Jeffrey Archer, EL James and Jon Bon Jovi’s epic poem about a strip club.

For the sake of auld lang syne. Whatever that means.

Duration: 4.19

Happy New Year everyone.

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Lit Bits on Truth

In which Litbits – never afraid to tackle the big issues – dons its metaphysical (and metaphorical) wig, takes a deep breath, and plunges into TRUTH in films and books. Joined by historical whizzes Alex von Tunzelmann and Hallie Rubenhold, the pod wrestles with JFK; Margaret Thatcher; Christian Bale; Keats; The French Revolution; T.S. Eliot; Shakespeare; a couple of llamas; and dear old Mel Gibson.

Questions that are pondered. Why did no one realise America won the Trojan War? Can Leonardo di Caprio play anyone not born in the 21st century? And if history is written by winners, then little wonder no one has asked Sven Goran Erikkson to direct a movie.

Hallie Rubenhold is a novelist and historian. She is the author of The Covent Garden Ladies: Pimp General Jack and the extraordinary story of Harris’ List (2005), which was adapted for TV on BBC4; Lady Worsley’s Whim; An Eighteenth Century Tale of Sex, Scandal and Divorce (2008); and Mistress of My Fate; The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot (2011). For more of Hallie, point your little cursor here.

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.

Duration: 44.40

Nothing but the...

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"intelligent and irreverent ... cancel all social engagements and run a hot bath."

The Manchester Guardian

LitBits on the Wireless

Listen to Litbits on Resonance 104 FM on Tuesday evenings at 9 o'clock.