I normally update my blog on a Wednesday, and although lately I’ve been doing it slightly out of sync for no other reason than disorganisation, this week I had an excellent excuse. I spent Mittwoch evening in the company of the staff and supporters of the most interesting radio show and podcast in the world, Little Atoms. Broadcast on London’s resonance fm, the basic idea is to get a very clever person into a studio and let them talk for an hour or so. Clever people seem to like this setup and the Little Atoms team have managed to score some very big name guests, ranging from Marcus du Sautoy to Colin Blakemore to Jonathan Meades.
This week is their 100th episode, and to celebrate they organised some drinks, attended by some of their past guests.
There were several exciting moments throughout the evening, such as when a journalist let off some MMR-fueled invective at the admirably cool Ben Goldacre, or when a well known advocate of enlightenment values revealed that only his cock piercing had hurt more than his tonsillectomy, but the evening’s highlight for me was meeting a childhood hero.
When I was at school, my English teacher, Andrew Rattue, strongly encouraged me to watch anything on television made by Adam Curtis, regarding his work as the high-watermark in broadcasting. There are few documentary filmmakers whose names travel outside their own industry, but Curtis, along with Errol Morris and Fred Wiseman, can cause a big critical splash with every project he delivers. His personal filmmaking style is distinct and instantly recognisable, with its use of thematically linked clips culled from stock footage, the occasional purpose shot interview, and tying it all together, the confident tone of painstakingly researched narration. Although the headaches that would result from trying to clear all that archive have meant a DVD release of his work is unlikely, thanks to the wonders of our modern age you can have a look at one of the best things Curtis has made, Pandora’s Box, on youtube. Enjoy.