East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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10 Minutes Till the Savages Come

So today is the day I’m recording my first podcast for my Patrons.
To celebrate, my neighbors are having a bbq party with loud Balkanian music.
But it’s all right: I’ve been wasting time looking for a title and a theme and an idea for the first recording, and suddenly I hit on all three within ten minutes – and I could bore you to death with my ideas and beliefs about inspiration, ideas and how they sort of come to us, but, really, I think I’ll spare you.

The blog will be called 10 Minutes Till the Savages Come, that is the title of a song recorded by Manhattan Transfer in 1991, in the record The Offbeat of Avenues.
My podcasts will be ten minutes long – because, reasons – and the title, now that I’ve decided, feels like a no-brainer.

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Gearing up for some new things

The next thirty days (give or take a handful of days) are going to be the hardest for me in the last three years. I say this without any particular emotion – if there’s one thing I’ve learned in these three years as I managed to make a living writing, it’s how not to succumb to fear and anxiety.
The panic attacks are a thing of the past.
It’s gonna be hard, and I’ll get out of it at the other end, one way or another.

And I’ll be working a lot – I’ve stories to finish and deliver, a new book to get going, I’ve started writing the sequel to The Ministry of Thunder (more about that later), I need to take care of my health and I’ve decided to make my Patreon page grow. I’m also starting an experiment about which I’ll be writing here and elsewhere in the next days. I’m keeping busy – because that’s a good way to weather the hard times.
So I’ve spent a while today brushing up on the skills I’ll need to add a podcast to my Patreon page.

Well, two podcasts, actually – one in Italian and one in English, because my Patreon page is bilingual, and it’s good to be my patron, independently of what language you speak.
Double the work, but also double the fun.

The first in this new series of Podcasts (because the Karavancast is currently sleeping) will be online on the 30th of September because it happens to be the International Podcast Day, and it will be accessible to all my supporters.
I’m planning a guerrilla podcast, recorded on the go and in the open, with no scripts, minimal post-production and a length under 15 minutes.
I still need to find a suitable title, and a list of topics.
Suggestions are welcome.

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Songs, with a bang, & Food, in context

I mentioned the course I am following about podcasts.
One of the added values of the course (that is excellent, BTW) is, I am exploring the podcast offer out there, and I have found two that I think my readers might be interested in.

Song_ExploderThe first is called Songs Exploded, and it’s a very simple idea: each program is a 15/20 minutes interview with a musician, about the bits and pieces that make up one of their songs… followed by the song itself.
You get established artists and indie artists, all stripes and colors and genres of music. It’s absolutely great, and if you are curious about how music works, how imagination and storytelling and technique mix into the final product, it’s absolutely perfect.

gastropodThe second is called Gastropod and is, get this, a podcast about history and food – and the history and science of food. Food is a huge component of any culture, and by looking at how a food – or a spice, or a recipe – developed, evolved and was intertwined with culture and historical events makes for fascinating listening.
This is an excellent find for history buffs and for writers – because you never know where a story idea can come from.

Both podcasts can be followed through iTunes or directly with your podcast client/podcatcher of choice.
I am using that old reliable, the VLC media player, and I am growing my personal “radio programme”.
Is there any podcast you are listening regularly and you’d like to suggest?
The comments are open.

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Back to school (once again)

Summer is drawing to a close, and as usual I enrolled in a few courses to increase the number of reasons because of which my CV will be rejected due to overeducation.
But really, screw them.
I like learning new things, I like trying new activities.

So I went and I enrolled in a course by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. The course is called Listen up! How to launch and grow a hit podcast, and it will hopefully help me get back on track with my podcasting experiments.


The course is fun, the instructors top notch, and I am really happy with what I’ve seen so far. Continue reading

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KaravanCast, episode 0

So here it is, Episode zero for the KaravanCast, the very first experimental broadcast from the podcast that will start its transmissions in February 2017, to celebrate the fifth year of the Karavansara Blog.

While I am still very dubious about the technical side of the thing, I have no doubt whatsoever that my voice is horrible, and my pronunciation barbaric.
The whole result is ghastly.


But what the heck that’s all I’ve got right now.

You can listen to a general overview of how I’ll organize the future episodes of the KaravanCast from the link above.
And tomorrow I’ll do a proper presentation post and all that.

In the meantime, rest assured that I hate my own voice just as much as you do.

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Listening to the radio in the night

radio-graphicI think I already mentioned how much I like radio.
Radio dramas (old and new, with a soft spot for the Thrilling Adventure Hour), music (and vintage wonders like the Buddies’ Lounge), and talk radio.

Now, something happened two nights back.
I was not feeling well (what with old age, the cold and the mileage thing), and so I stood up the whole night, and scanned the airwaves with my small, cheap multi-band radio receiver to try and get my mind off my aches.
My brother was up with me, and a little worried, but in the end we chanced upon a strange radio program from a very local station. Vinyl Dust it’s called and no, it’s not a fetish sort of thing – it’s an all-night talk and music show in which a guy that does not know how to properly pronounce English talks about vintage records, and plays old 45s.
The show focuses on covers and alternate versions of classic songs from the 60s, weird stuff produced for the European and Italian 45 and juke-box markets. Always quirky, often bad. And my oh my, was the show we caught focusing on bad. Continue reading