Notebook on Cities and Culture
(Formerly The Marketplace of Ideas.) Colin Marshall sits down for in-depth conversations with cultural creators, internationalists, and observers of the urban scene all around Los Angeles and beyond.

Colin Marshall sits down at Copenhagen's Husets Biograf with Jack Stevenson, programmer of the theater and author of books on both Scandinavian and American film. They discuss Lars von Trier as the world's representative of Danish cinema; the difficulty of creating scandal within unshockable Denmark; revival theaters across the world as a nation of their own; the film education he drew from haunting the revival houses of Boston; his plan to serve ten White Russians during a screening of The Big Lebowski; Copenhagen as Scandinavia's most "real urban environment" in which to show films; the slow emergence of the strengths of the current generation of independent cinemas; the question asked about both Denmark and Korea, "How does that small country make such interesting films?"; his own introduction to Danish film, through Lars von Trier and others; how, in the era in America when "Scandinavian movie" meant, more or less, "porno movie," Danish film helped make porn chic; the ideal grind house experience evoked by Jack Kerouac in On the Road; the days when every train station in Germany, "a special place," had a porno theater; America's lack of an "off cinema" scene like the ones in European countries; why Danes can't accept film noir (and don't know about soul food); the history of the Husets Biograf's 19th-century industrial building, overtaken by anarchist squatters in the sixties; the surprises of filmgoing in Brussels; his resolve to program Halloween shows in the face of Danish indifference to Halloween; and his current work with traditional Danish ghost stories.

Direct download: NCC_S4E17_Jack_Stevenson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:15am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Vesterbro with Mikael Colville-Andersen, urban mobility expert and CEO of Copenhagenize. They discuss where Los Angeles, with its "pockets of goodness," ranks on the global scale of Copenhagenization; what it takes for a city's population to become "intermodal"; his experience growing up in an English-Danish-Canadian household, biking all the time before the onset of the "culture of fear"; the qualities of a mainstream bicycle culture, including a lack of specialized cycling clothes of the type worn by the sport cyclists who have "hijacked" the practice; learning how not to promote cycling from environmentalism, the greatest marketing failure of all time; the need, in some places, to sell urbanism before you can sell urban cycling; his work busting myths about why Copenhagen allegedly differs so much from all other cities; why he settled in Copenhagen himself, beyond not needing to explain his name so often; the photo he took that "launched a million bicycles" and made him into a modern-day Jane Jacobs; the failed science of traffic engineering and how to rebuild it; cycling's "modal share" and what it tells you about a city, especially when it rises above five percent; the bicycle as "the symbol of the future, man"; how helmets kill cycling culture, and his TED Talk on riding without one; our innate need, as human beings, to fear stuff; and what urban cycling promoters can learn from the success of automobiles, and especially their introduction of the term "jaywalking" and the very concept of playgrounds.

Direct download: NCC_S4E16_Mikael_Colville-Andersen.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:46pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in the Copenhagen offices of Gehl Architects with founding partner Jan Gehl, architect, Professor Emeritus of Urban Design at the School of Architecture in Copenhagen, and author of books including Life Between BuildingsCities for People, and How to Study Public Life. They discuss what important change occurred in Copenhagen in 1962, and what led to it; the midcentury "car invasion" in Europe and the first modern shopping mall's construction in Kansas City; the re-emergence of the notion that "maybe pedestrians should walk"; the connectedness of walking in Copenhagen, which ultimately forms a "walking system"; the dullness of the anti-car position versus the richness of the pro-people one; the two movements of modernism and motorism, at whose intersection he found himself upon graduating from architecture school in 1960; what it meant to study "anti-tuberculosis architecture," and what it meant to build for the old diseases rather than the new ones; his marriage to a psychoanalyst and ensuing interest in increasing architecture's attention to people; how his PhD thesis became Life Between Buildings, and why that book has endured for over four decades in an ever-increasing number of languages; how first we form cities, and then they form us; what we can learn from Venice; the urban "acupuncture" performed on various American cities today; his long enjoyment of Melbourne; why we've only so slowly awoken to our dissatisfaction with the built environment; the loss of cheap petroleum and stable nuclear families, which propped up suburbia; how he and his team systematize and use their knowledge of cities to examine and assist the use of public space across the globe; and all he finds totally unsurprising about man's use and enjoyment of place.

Direct download: NCC_S4E15_Jan_Gehl.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:11am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Nørrebro with Classic Copenhagen blogger and photographer Sandra Høj. They discuss the city's current enthusiasm for tree-cutting; the small things in Copenhagen that draw her eye, from pieces of street art to weird details on houses; how she started blogging in the wake of the Muhammad caricature crisis with an interest in disputing the global perception of Danes as living obliviously in a land of pastries and fairy tales; her mission to describe "the good, the bread, and the ugly" of Copenhagen; the Danish tendency to nag about problems; what time spent in "cozy" Amsterdam taught her about her "sexy" home city; what time spend in Paris taught her about how Copenhagen could better respect itself; the bewildering array of political parties putting signs up all over the city, and how rarely their actions match their words; her desire for children to grow up in the same Copenhagen she did; the evolution of Amager, also known as "the Shit Island", and what gentrification looks like elsewhere in the city; the scourge of Joe and the Juice; and her continuing search outward for more "traces of life" in Copenhagen.

Direct download: NCC_S4E14_Sandra_Hoj.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:56pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Nørrebro with Lars AP, author of the book Fucking Flink and founder of the movement of the same name, which aims to make the Danish not just the "happiest" people, but the friendliest as well. They discuss just what it feels like to bear the label of "happiest" and whether "most content" might not suit the country better; the difference in impact of the word "fucking," especially in a book title, between Denmark and the States; the seemingly inward-turned people foreigners feel as if they encounter when they first visit Denmark; his TEDx Copenhagen talk about his realization that he acted less friendly when speaking Danish than he did when speaking English; "negative politeness" versus "positive politeness"; the importance of internalizing a culture in order to speak its language; how the Danish once had to meet few non-Danes, and how they can still feel the effects of that in American questions like "How you doin'?"; the process and impact of "baking a little meaning" into each social encounter; his tendency to act, when in the Danish countryside, in a way that makes his wife call him "homo jovialis"; how compliments and other acts of friendliness require not just honesty but creativity and surprise for maximum effectiveness; the origins of the Fucking Flink movement, and the stunts he has pulled off with it, such as giving out positive parking tickets; the similar misery of commenting on the internet, driving in traffic on the highway, and staying too embedded in your own culture; the Avatar handshake, and what we can learn from the accompanying greeting of "I see you"; how best to address the needs we have when we get to the top of the Maslow Pyramid; the need to use not just what's between our ears, but what's between us; and how this all relates to the 4,000 years' worth of city building coming very soon.

Direct download: NCC_S4E13_Lars_AP.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:41pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down before a live audience at the New Urbanism Film Festival at Los Angeles' ACME Theater with Tim Halbur, Director of Communications at the Congress for the New Urbanism, former Managing Editor at Planetizen, creator of the two-disc DVD set The Story of Sprawl, and author of the children's urban planning book Where Things Are from Near to Far. They discuss the anti-Los Angeles indoctrination he received in San Francisco, and what that indoctrination might have had right; the two "nodes" of Hollywood and the beach that outsiders tend to recognize in Los Angeles, and why people claim to live here even when they live thirty miles away; why cities actually build for the car aren't as often derided as "built for the car"; the hard-to-place unease we grew up with in the suburbs; his past producing museum audio tours, and how he would produce an audio tour of Los Angeles that navigates by subcultures; whether Los Angeles is too big, and what it means that we continually try to define and connect it all; what the Congress for the New Urbanism does, and how it addresses the way we once "carved out" our cities for parking lots and freeways; the Jetsonian vision of the future that carried us away after the Second World War; what Disneyland gets right about urbanism; the constant change that defines a living city, and San Francisco's unhappy experience trying to halt it; the Beverly Hills 90210 model of denser-than-suburbia living he found in Los Angeles; his weekly commute to the CNU in Chicago, and what he learns from living in these two quite different cities at once; how he'd like to see Los Angeles change in the next ten years; how Eric Brightwell's neighborhood maps surprise people, and what that means for neighborhood awareness; and the importance of "theming" urban places.

Direct download: NCC_S4E12_Tim_Halbur.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with showman, "histo-tainer" and "Ambassador of Americana" Charles Phoenix, curator of vintage midcentury slides and author of books like Southern CalifornialandAmericana the Beautiful, and Southern California in the 50s. They discuss the postwar period's appealing mix of the highest and lowest American sophistication; how the country's new middle class became "buying machines" and "cultural monsters"; the "time travel in a box" he experienced when he found his first set of old slides in a thrift shop; the "luxurious" nature of Kodachrome; what makes any given slide a keeper, and how he can tell, say, a 1960 from a 1961; the layers of history visible in a photo, which he looks through as if through a window; the meaning of the first freeway-side mall with fallout shelter-equipped hidden delivery tunnels; the many midcentury innovations Southern California didn't invent, but perfected; his Disneyland tours of Down Los Angeles, and Disneyland as both a comparison to and metaphor for much in the human experience; how we gave up the joy of cars and let driving become a chore; the 1950s' love of speed in contrast to our modern tendency to " get it over with"; how he finds the good in every era, the seventies included; our hard-wiring to reject the past and buy new; his more recent interest in processed foodcraft, including work with Cheez Whiz and Jell-O molds; his Los Angeles architecture show, with which he intends to reveal the structures not yet properly acknowledged; how social media empowers the sharing of our aesthetic fetishes; whether modern designs like that of the iPhone express the optimism he sees in midcentury Americana; and the importance, often neglected today, of creating anticipation.

Direct download: NCC_S4E11_Charles_Phoenix.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:54pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in Hollywood with lawyer turned social dynamics expert Jordan Harbinger, co-host of the Pickup Podcast and co-founder of confidence education program The Art of Charm. They discuss how much time he spends explaining that he isn't Tom Cruise from Magnolia; how he conceives of The Art of Charm's mission to teach confidence, which involves teaching emotional intelligence; whether and how our generation of men have come out especially socially inept; the still-strong number of pickup artist types wandering around Hollywood, and the equally strong number of low-self-esteem women with whom they match; the importance of asking oneself the question "What can I learn from this person?", an entirely different question from "What can I get from this person?"; the Pickup Podcast's origin in someone else's basement, and how that developed into coaching and teaching; the skills of networking through his short law career, and how he realized they also applied to, say, meeting women; the day he found himself ostensibly studying for a law exam while remotely coaching a man for his imminent move from Africa to Denmark; knowing how to use Los Angeles, a land of "towns packed together for tax purposes," especially its areas of dense "city life" like Hollywood and Koreatown; everyone in Los Angeles' essential nature as a foreigner, and how that opens up the question, "Where are you from?"; his dull childhood in Troy, Michigan which led to an adolescence of conning and wiretapping, and then into Germany as an exchange student; language and travel as the engines of good social-habit development, and the advantages of becoming foreign and shifting your linguistic context; how "networking" became a dirty word; specificity, the enemy of relationships; the importance of people as vectors; and the sentiment "it's all who you know — and thank God for that!"

Direct download: NCC_S4E10_Jordan_Harbinger.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:21am UTC

Colin Marshall sits down above downtown Los Angeles in the U.S. Bank tower with Stephen Gee, senior producer at ITV Studios and author of Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles, the first book on the man who designed such landmark structures in the city as Union Station, the Memorial Coliseum, Bullock's Wilshire, and City Hall. They discuss how such a visionary could have gone unknown so long; Los Angeles' relationship to its public buildings; Parkinson's notion, during a time when Los Angeles set about defining itself, of putting up a built environment that would leave people inspired; the neatness, elegance, and organization that characterize a Parkinson building; the city's assumption that Parkinson would remain a household name for generations to come, and how World War II and the years after threw that off; Parkinson's move from England, and his own move from England in 1995; his struggle to find information related to the architect, and how everything new he learned made him want to learn more (as also happens with knowledge about the city of Los Angeles itself); how you engage better with Los Angeles after coming to understand its original intention; how to break down the false images of the city the rest of the world gets fed; Los Angeles as "the city of the future" in most or all eras of its existence; the modern repurposing of Parkinson buildings, into apartments and retail spaces and law schools; Iconic Vision's origin as, and possible future as, a television documentary; the new relevance of Parkinson buildings in an era when Angelenos have begun to regard and use the city differently; what he learned when he assembled of Parkinson's buildings, from Los Angeles and elsewhere, "in one place"; and what might architecturally excite the always forward-looking Parkinson in this always forward-looking city today.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed or on iTunes.

Direct download: NCC_S4E9_Stephen_Gee.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:46pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down in North Hollywood with Carren Jao, Manila- and Los Angeles-based writer on architecture, art, and design. They discuss what rain does to the aesthetic of Los Angeles; the role of the river here as the connection people don't realize they have; the difference between the floods Los Angeles used to routinely endure and the ones Manila routinely endures now; how, growing up in the Philippines, she got interested in the shape and form of cities; Manila's "improvisational" nature not centered around always having functioning systems; the Filipino inclination to make guests' lives easier in any way possible; her entry into the United States, but not the one that "everyone knows"; public transit as amusement-park ride; the important role of the Jeepney in Manila's transportation; her life in the San Fernando Valley, very much a place distinct from Los Angeles itself; how writing has forced her to explore this city and its environs, including still-developing ones like Pacoima's "mural mile"; how to get the wide-openness of the Los Angeles experience across to friends, family, and readers; the "third-world" contrasts of nice homes next to squatters' villages in Manila and the Arts District next to Skid Row in Los Angeles; the boom in interest related to architecture, design, and space-making, and the importance of leaving openings for people to construct their own environments; what she'd look at first after five years away from Los Angeles, and from Manila; this city's long-confused relationship with its water; what the Philippines have learned from other countries; what America could learn from the Asian sense of accommodation; what she learns from having to attend neighborhood council meetings; how fast word and social knowledge travel in Manila, how slow they can travel in Los Angeles, and how both have their advantages.

Direct download: NCC_S4E8_Carren_Jao.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:49am UTC

S4E7: The Impossible Overarching Narrative with Nathan Masters

Colin Marshall sits down in the Los Angeles Central Library's Maguire Gardens with Nathan Masters, writer interested in all things Los Angeles, especially the history of the city, about which he writes as a representative of Los Angeles as Subject for KCET and Los Angeles Magazine. They discuss how he regarded the distant downtown Los Angeles skyline while growing up in the Orange County town of Anaheim; the changing ways the county of his youth has regarded itself relative to Los Angeles; how far back you can go into the history of southern California and still have it bolster your understanding of the place, even to the era of allegedly "sleepy little village" of Mexican Los Angeles; why observers have insisted that this city has had little interest its own history; how he didn't need to spend time away from Los Angeles to appreciate it; the debate over whether actual orange groves inspired the "Orange" in Orange County, and his grandfather's home-movie footage of the uprooting of said groves; why observers have insisted that this city stands atop a desert; the competing boosting and demythologizing narratives; where he finds the greatest historical surprises, especially in the "old, weird" American 19th century; why knowing your history might get you driving more safely down the Arroyo Seco Parkway; how each foreign culture engages with Los Angeles in a different way, and how Los Angeles has no one way of accepting, absorbing, or digesting these influences; the seeming impossibility, given all this, of writing an overarching narrative of the city; the eternal struggle here between optimism and nostalgia; readers' love of stories of "lost geography"; the creek bed hidden in Koreatown; his own love of stories about trees; and the elusive stories of history's ordinary Angelenos.

Direct download: NCC_S4E7_Nathan_Masters.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:49pm UTC

Colin Marshall sits down at the intersection of Los Feliz, Thai Town, and Little Armenia with Caleb Bacon, writer on the TBS sitcom Sullivan and Son and host of the podcast Man School (as well as the podcast Sullivan and Son: Behind the Bar). They discuss his feeling in his own guest seat; his move to Los Angeles from Albany purely in search of "good times and good weather"; the deliberately old-school-sitcom nature of Sullivan and Son, and the opportunity its Philadelphia setting provides for racist jokes; how it feels to work simultaneously in "old" and "new" media; how he fell into television, and how he deliberately entered podcasting during the Great Podcasting Boom of '09; why he even focused his first podcast The Gentlemen's Club on men's interests; how he soon came to interview, alternately, comedians and pornstars, and what the overall combination taught him about humanity and the Los Angeles entertainment industry; the conversations he had with other men as he pulled his own life into shape, what he learned from them, and how that experience fueled Man School; the riches of "real stuff" yielded by genuine-curiosity-driven conversations, even outside of podcasting, as when he once met a retail clerk who mentioned getting kidnapped in Africa (and then invited him to come on Man School); whether our generation has become worse at being men than previous generations; how social fragmentation, of Los Angeles' type and others, has led men to have less meaningful communication with one another; his interest in the rules that new-media creators, in their ostensibly rule-free environments, inevitably create; Thai Town's enduring Seinfeld billboard; Man School's first live show at the Los Angeles Podcast Festival; the grand lessons he's learned from man-to-man conversations, such as the importance of slight progress adding up to big progress, and what travel teaches you about yourself; and the value of simple suggestions like "Hey man, just be cool," or, simpler still, "Don't be a jerk." 

Direct download: NCC_S4E6_Caleb_Bacon.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:10pm UTC

S4E5: The Great Wrong Place with Richard Rayner

Colin Marshall sits down at the University of Southern California with Richard Rayner, author of the novels Los Angeles Without a MapThe ElephantMurder RoomThe Cloud Sketcher, and The Devil's Wind as well as the non-fiction books The Blue Suits, Drake's FortuneThe Associates, and A Bright and Guilty Place. They discuss the three or four Los Angeleses in which he's lived since arriving in the city from England in the early eighties; the "up-for-it-ness" of the Los Angeles he first discovered; the reporting he later did from the 1992 riots, and the "geographical apartheid" he saw; his lack of a driver's license, and how he addresses the question of where the buses go; his observations of how the city once flung itself outward from downtown, and now flings itself back inward; Los Angeles' simultaneously unsurpassed optimism and pessimism; USC's Doheny Library as a metaphor for blunt capitalism in action; why we crave stories about Los Angeles' foundation on wrongdoing; how Los Angeles gets liked more in deed than word; how the current wave of interest in local history began; Los Angeles' era of booster books against anti-booster books; his escape from English history only to plunge into Los Angeles history; what his unfinished novel of a man who loses his memory in Wales revealed to him about his own life in America; how his English hometown diversified, and how Los Angeles did the same; his cycle through "dustbins of jaded cynicism," and the different sensibility his students (one of whom has written "the gay Korean Los Angeles novel") bring to bear; his favorite bus lines to take notes on overheard conversations; and how his enjoyment of the riots, in a sense, got him writing about his own criminal past.

Direct download: NCC_S4E5_Richard_Rayner.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:53pm UTC

S4E4: What Do People Really Eat? with Besha Rodell

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake with Besha Rodell, who has written about food in New York and Atlanta, and last year came to Los Angeles to become the Weekly's restaurant critic. They discuss the secret appeal and non-Australian origins of the Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion; her Australian youth, and the friends who insisted she join them at Koala Blue after she came to the States; what counts as authentic Australian cuisine, and the tortured question of "authenticity" in Los Angeles; her concerns with what people really eat; her predecessor Jonathan Gold's influence on the city's food culture; the appeal of putting yourself utterly at a restaurant's mercy; "ego-driven" versus "devotional" cuisine; the strange modern prevalence of kale salads; her preference for odd and uneven dishes versus perfect and derivative ones; how she got to know Los Angeles in the three weeks she had before moving here and then assembling the Weekly's 99 Essential Restaurants list; the paradox of more money on the west side and less food there; how far you have to go before a restaurant doesn't count as "in Los Angeles" anymore — or whether such a distance exists; the spread of this city's culinary interestingness, and how it compares, culturally, to Atlanta's divide between "Inside the Perimeter" and "Outside the Perimeter"; how ideally, a restaurant critic would move to a new Los Angeles neighborhood every two months; the advantages of the "bogus" system of star ratings, and why chefs want their stars; the current blowup in food interest, and what the internet has to do with it; how she came up through restaurant culture, and came to appreciate how you can't be "kind of a cook"; how you can't understand Los Angeles if you don't eat much here, and how best to understand it when you do go eating.

Direct download: NCC_S4E4_Besha_Rodell.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:34pm UTC

S4E3: Constellation of Villages with Lynn Garrett

Colin Marshall sits down at the top of the Hotel Wilshire with Lynn Garrett, proprietor of popular online community Hidden Los Angeles and fifth-generation Angeleno. They discuss how best to prepare Germans for their Los Angeles vacation, since their guidebooks have failed; which human needs the many persistent myths about this city fulfill; how here, you are your own salvation; the revitalization of the Los Angeles River, as against the notion that "all it is is dead bodies and gang members"; Los Angeles as reflector of the observer's own particular hatreds; getting to know the city not as a city, but as a constellation of villages; her art-school exploration of the city back when she "didn't know not to"; who hangs out and talks on Hidden Los Angeles, and which topics get them most fired up; the human tendency to get upset about change of any kind, whether positive or negative, and to adjust perceptions accordingly; what happened when Hidden Los Angeles went viral, attracting 250,000 followers; Caine's Arcade, Skid Row charities, and all the other ways she's found the community can help (when not arguing); what the followers teach her about Los Angeles, the city no one person can possibly know; and what she learns from leaving the city, as well as how she makes herself an outsider when in it.

(Photo: James Acomb)

Direct download: NCC_S4E3_Lynn_Garrett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:45pm UTC

S4E2: Prada and Fallas-Paredes with Brigham Yen

Colin Marshall walks through downtown Los Angeles with Brigham Yen, Realtor and author of the urban renaissance blog DTLA Rising. They discuss the sort of neighborhood that can rise from nothing, and whether Los Angeles' downtown has come back from a deeper state of nothingness than other downtowns; the "bones" of a city's center, and how Los Angeles' have remained sound through all its problems; the late introduction of public space here; his car-centric youth in the San Gabriel Valley suburbs, and how going to San Francisco for school changed everything; the enduring "obesity" of Los Angeles' streets, even as it has become the fastest-changing city in America; in what order transit, restaurants, bars, shopping, and housing needed to return downtown; how streets become "activated" with human energy; Broadway's prospects for becoming "one of the coolest streets in America"; the healthy urban balance of a Prada by a Fallas-Paredes; how he began writing about cities by writing about Pasadena, and how interaction between the blogging half of his career and the real-estate half has deepened ever since; how he responds to longtime Angeleno's complaints about "brainwashed Millennials" and their fallen expectations; the special importance of an undisputed urban center amid a sea of suburbia; the laid-back sensibility he hopes Los Angeles can retain during its transformation; and what dream people can see actively (and successfully) pursued if they visit downtown Los Angeles themselves.

Direct download: NCC_S4E2_Brigham_Yen.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:08pm UTC

S4E1: An American Rediscovery with City Walk

Colin Marshall sits down at the Old Pasadena offices of Rigler Creative with Thomas Rigler, Steve Reich, and Caitlin Starowicz, creators of City Walk, a new television and web series from KCET and Link TV on the transformation of American cities and our ability to walk in them. They discuss the walkability of Old Pasadena right beneath them; City Walk's origin as a project purely about the health benefits of walking, and how it expanded; their own discovery of the new walkability of American cities as they shot and researched the show, how they found they'd already been documenting that "wave of change" almost inadvertently; their insights into the vision of park planner Frederick Law Olmsted; the buildup of frustration with postwar American cities, and what planning for and living around the car has to do with it; what they felt when experts elsewhere argued that, in fact, Los Angeles is the city of the walkable future; how they learned the distinctive urban language of this city, whether they grew up here or came to it later; the end of one form of the American Dream, the beginning of another, and the consequent "slumming of the suburbs"; how much the context for their interview and urban exploration material has widened with time and additional research; what it takes to make a show about experiences, not messages; City Walk's distinctive aesthetic, meant to represent the life of a city itself, and how the Iverson Mall Walkers fit into that; and how they revived the magazine-format show for the internet just as cities have revived themselves for the 21st century.

Direct download: NCC_S4E1_City_Walk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04am UTC

S3E31: Heightened Rootlessness with Timothy Taylor

Colin Marshall sits down above Gastown, Vancouver, British Columbia with novelist Timothy Taylor, author of Stanley Park, Story House, and The Blue Light Project, as well as the short story collection Silent Cruise. They discuss what, exactly, Vancouver is; what, exactly, CanLit is; his being born into a nomadic lifestyle; his inadvertent prediction of the modern locavore movement; whether one can live in Vancouver without developing an interest in architecture; his fascination with creative and toxic "dyadic relationships," as well as the place of emulation and envy in human affairs; how he discovered René Girard's ideas about "mimetic desire" and came up with a critique of consumerism contra his countrywoman Naomi Klein; the visible desires of Vancouver and its murky, independent-minded past; our quasi-sacrificial system of celebrity; what he learned from watching reaction videos on YouTube; his moves from the navy to banking to consulting to writing;  how he grew fascinated with entrepreneurs; why we haven't eaten so well, historically, in North America; Canada's potential as the New-Worldiest place in the New World; his search for where people gather when he visits a new city, and where he would say Vancouverites go to be Vancouverites; his disputation of tradition in Canadian literature; his next project picking up on the lives of the characters from Stanley Park; and what to open yourself up to when you come to Vancouver.

Direct download: NCC_S3E31_Timothy_Taylor.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:56pm UTC

S3E30: A Little Bit Wet with Dave Shumka

Colin Marshall sits down in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver, British Columbia with comedian and podcaster Dave Shumka, co-host with Graham Clark of Stop Podcasting Yourself. They discuss what everyone in Vancouver is, a little bit; the city's much-touted "livability"; becoming that icon of fun that is a comedian in "No Funcouver"; the origin of Stop Podcasting Yourself; the newly classic Vancouver lifestyle up in downtown condos versus the classic classic Vancouver lifestyle in his hundred-year-old house; waking up in adulthood to find himself in a reasonably cool city; the pull, for comedians and media people, of both Toronto and the United States; his job overseeing international music at the CBC, and to what extent it puts his finger on the pulse of the Canadian musical consciousness; whether music will always out-cool comedy; the quaintness of the Canadian media experience; whether Vancouver has stories to tell, and how he'd like to see them told; the scarred hookers of the less-scary-than-sad Hastings Street; how many Torontonians it takes to screw in a lightbulb; the struggle for comedic visas; the descent of the stretchpant; Vancouverites' tendency to luxuriate in the idea that they could, theoretically, ski and windsurf in a single day; how he heard the call of comedy at a Salvadoran restaurant; his strategic conversational use of mundane topics; Vancouver's stinkiest buses; and the most fruitful sources of ridiculousness he has, including dumbness and his own simulation thereof.

Direct download: NCC_S3E30_Dave_Shumka.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:13pm UTC

S3E29: That's Livin' with Gordon Price

Colin Marshall sits above Hastings Street in Vancouver, British Columbia with Gordon Price, Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, former Councillor for the City of Vancouver, and creator of the electronic magazine Price Tags. They discuss his personal definition of "Vancouverism"; his city as a mid-20th-century version of 19th-century city-building; the balance of trying to maintain the place's Edenic qualities while shipping out its natural resources; the D-word of density, and whether Vancouver's West End ever really had the highest density in North America; how built environments age in place, passing from horror to heritage;  how building for the car worked, until it didn't; "stroads," like Los Angeles' La Cienega, which combine the worst of streets with the worst of roads; budgets as the sincerest form of rhetoric; the role technology plays in our newfound adoption of transit; whether Los Angeles could become "the Vancouver of 2020" — or maybe 2030; how New York came from the brink, and what he saw during its decline; whether the Utopian question of how to prevent dullness matters to Vancouver; the erotic power of the surreptitious, the illegal, and whatever you can't regulate; the element of his personal life that got him interested in cities, where he used to find them emblems of what had gone wrong in society; gay men as urban pioneers; and how cities can do better with whatever they've already got.

Direct download: NCC_S3E29_Gordon_Price.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:54pm UTC

S3E28: Aesthetic Moments with JJ Lee

Colin Marshall sits down in Vancouver's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden with JJ Lee, menswear writer, broadcaster, and author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit. They discuss where to buy pocket squares in Vancouver (and whether to just have your kids make some); what to wear during the city's "false start summer"; his own uses of color, and his gradual approach toward "weird clothes"; our coming age of wide-open, postmodern suit-wearing, a recovery from men getting stupid about dressing in the sixties and seventies; his own early dislike of suits, when they to him represented all that went wrong in society; his father's quick rise, painful fall, and the undiagnosed, self-medicated depression that laid under it; his realization that people are highly aesthetic beings, always creating aesthetic moments; the adoption of tragic versus comic narratives, and which one led his father to stop dressing well; the way precision has replaced instinct for well-dressed men; Montreal and its status as Canada's style capital; his favorable impression of Toronto's dress, textbook though it may be; Vancouver's athleticism-influenced casualness and its limitations; how he starts conversations with clothes, even in New York; the lie behind the idea of "truth" in dress; how men now wear suits, but often defensively, out of fear; the decline of Chinatown tailoring culture; the way men today don't quite know how to be in a tailor shop, never having had that sort of interaction before; and his current project of essays on fatherhood, and the importance of leaving a legacy of ideas for his sons.

Direct download: NCC_S3E28_JJ_Lee.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:22pm UTC

S3E27: No Mo' Po-Mo with Paul Delany

Colin Marshall sits down in Yaletown, Vancouver, British Columbia with Paul Delany, professor of English at Simon Fraser University, editor of the reader Vancouver: Representing the Postmodern City, and author of the article "Vancouver: Graveyard of Ambition?" They discuss whether it makes sense to talk about a "postmodern" city in 2013; the influence of Douglas Coupland, William Gibson, and Jeff Wall; Vancouver's future-oriented open-endedness; his path to Vancouver from England via the United States and specifically a crumbling New York; the state of Vancouver in 1970, when he arrived; how the West End became dense in the fifties, and how Yaletown evolved; English literature's interest in the phenomenon of the modern city, and his own; the city as a nexus of fascinations; his disappointment in Vancouver's architectural development and its lack of internationalism, save for buildings like the downtown library, the unofficial campus for the city's many foreign language students; all the condo towers as Ballardian "prisons with the locks on the inside"; Microsoft's aborted entry into Vancouver's suburbs and its subsequent relocation to downtown; what led him to ask whether Vancouver made for a graveyard of ambition; the importance of getting outside Vancouver, and regularly; the lack of a fruitful intellectual model to replace postmodernism as a means of viewing Vancouver; and how the city's large and growing Asian presence prepares it for the future.

Direct download: NCC_S3E27_Paul_Delany.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:56am UTC

S3E26: Fifth-Generation "Japanese" with Leslie Helm

Colin Marshall sits down in Santa Monica with Leslie Helm, former Tokyo correspondent for Business Week and the Los Angeles Times, editor of Seattle Business, and author of Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan. They discuss the Asia connections of Los Angeles and Seattle; Japan's changing place in the zeitgeist since when he covered their economic bubble; how he observed the West's acceptance of Japan from his vantage as a quarter-Japanese yet Japanese-born "outsider"; how much of his family drama turns on the issue of how Japanese each member looks; the point of foreigner's entry Yokohama was before it became considered an extension of Tokyo; how firm identities as foreigners helped members of his family's older generations thrive in Japan; the new coolness of part-Japaneseness in this internationalist era; his frustration with the myth of Japanese difference and purity; what actually happened to Japan the economic powerhouse; the weakness of Japan's craft-based strengths in a software-based economy; what the low level of English in Japan reveals about the country's educational system; the fame his family accrued in the shipping business, and the bad reputation the company ultimately developed once sold; his kids, who look Japanese but grew up Western; the upside to the Japanese burden of obligations; to what extent Japan has realized it needs outsiders to keep the country going; what it means that Japan can burn through so many Prime Ministers in such a short time with no social disruption; the Shinto religion as Boy Scouts; how this book of family history became a painstakingly designed volume for the world to read; what America has, still, to learn from Japan; and which country seems more likely to overcome its worst tendencies. 

Direct download: NCC_S3E26_Leslie_Helm.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:31am UTC

S3E25: A Fine and Private Place with Joseph Mailander

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Feliz, Los Angeles with Joseph Mailander, who since 1981 has written fiction and poetry as well as political and cultural analysis in the city. His new collection is Days Change at Night: Notes from Los Angeles' Decade of Decline, 2003-2013. They discuss his long relationship with Argonaut Street; the unique changelessness of Playa del Rey; how Los Angeles became the first recognizably great city built on a mechanical scale; the pronunciation of "Playa del Rey", "Los Feliz", and even "Los Angeles", and his impatience with our sanctimoniousness in our rectitude and insistence on our errors; the fact that nobody comes to the city looking to see rules enforced; how contrarian a position he takes in naming 2003-2013 as the "decade of decline," and what New York looked like in its own, more severe one; the counterintuitive way political, economic, and social decline bring with them a flowering of arts and culture; Los Angeles' tendency to punish the very people who have fun in it, and whether they actually feel punished; how the renter-heavy housing market reflects political decline; young people who just want to make enough money to move out of town, and why they often don't do it after all; his repeated crossings of the Shakespeare Bridge to get to the theater district; what Disney Concert Hall, with its faulty fire alarms and lack of meeting places, means to him; conductor Gustavo Dudamel's hair as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's value proposition; how Los Angeles seems to have missed the arc of its own musical narrative; the expensive development of Grand Avenue, "the official street of Los Angeles ego," as a signal of out-of-touchness; Ye Rustic Inn, its Myrtleburger, and its promise of anonymity; and which administrators just don't understand the character of the city.

Direct download: NCC_S3E25_Joseph_Mailander.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:05pm UTC

S3E24: Aftershave Smile with Jeff Weiss

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Angeles' Franklin Hills with Jeff Weiss, music writer for the LA Weekly and many other publications, editor of The Passion of the Weiss, co-host of the podcast Shots Fired, and co-author of the book 2pac vs. Biggie. They discuss the total time of his life spent waiting for rappers to show up to interviews; Tyler the Creator and Odd Future as today's representatives of Los Angeles, and what the collective has to do with West Coast experimentalism and the city as a magnet for eccentrics; how he fights his personal war against cliché; kids today, and their tendency to listen to music of all eras, including golden ones, several of which we live in at any given time; Dam-Funk, Matthewdavid, Flying Lotus, and the new, highly Los Angeles-y genre they have created; the genesis of modern instrumental hip-hop; the un-irony of Los Angeles, and your need to carve out your own world within the city if you live in it; his journey from jock to writer, and his novel about a real tragedy on his baseball team; his childhood growing up in a culture-free household; how he one day found himself "hate-watching" Girls; how the Low End Theory helped him stop hating Los Angeles, and how the city concurrently "opened its gates" more generally; which albums can mentally prepare you for the city, and especially for its absurdity; his mentorship by Herbert Gold, the alleged rival of Jack Kerouac; and the only two prices that have come down in the past decade: that of cocaine, and that of writing.

Direct download: NCC_S3E24_Jeff_Weiss.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:17pm UTC

S3E23: Cut-Rate Crematorium with Patt Morrison

Colin Marshall sits down in Pasadena with journalist Patt Morrison, best known for her "Patt Morrison Asks" column in the Los Angeles Times, her years hosting Life and Times and Bookshow with Patt Morrison on public television as well as Patt Morrison on KPCC, and her book Rio L.A.: Tales from the Los Angeles River. They discuss her childhood in an Ohio town of 2,000 people, where the nearest cool place was a book; how and why her family decided to pull up stakes and stay on the move before suddenly deciding to settle in Tuscon, Arizona, a bustling metropolis by comparison; how she developed a kind of historical fourth-dimensional vision, letting her see what's been here as well as what is here; how she came to Los Angeles for Occidental College, and what she discovered here; what others have discovered in Los Angeles, like the individuality of expression, bordering on eccentricity, that comes with a certain type of property; how reading about Nellie Bly as a child convinced her then and there to become a journalist; the lessons she's learned from working across several major media; what she read to better understand Los Angeles, and what books she'd put in the city's welcome wagon kit; her drive to collect stories about "then" as well as "now"; Los Angeles' authentic-ness, as opposed to its authenticity; what you need to master to live the ever-growing number of lifestyles possible in the city; retaining that Los Angeles sense of perpetual astonishment, and reinforcing it by regularly traveling abroad; why we seem to have forgotten the importance of clothing on the West Coast, and whether $500 sweatpants and $100 filp-flops say something meaningful about Los Angeles; popular confusion about the real eastside-westside border, and what she's done to fight the misconceptions; and what to keep in mind when you, too, come to Los Angeles.

Direct download: NCC_S3E23_Patt_Morrison.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:21am UTC

S3E22: Battle Damage with Chris Gore

Colin Marshall sits down in Glassell Park with comedian and man of cinema Chris Gore, who has talked movies on such television shows as The X ShowThe New Movie Show with Chris Gore, and Attack of the Show; has written books including The Ultimate Film Festival Survival GuideThe Complete DVD Book, and The Fifty Greatest Movies Never Made; hosts the podcast PodCRASH with That Chris Gore; and has a new comedy album and picture book coming up called Celebrities Poop. They discuss how he takes his work seriously, but not himself; his "war" on the top five podcasts; his contretemps with Representative Dan Lungren while editing Videogames magazine; Colin's Podthought on PodCRASH, and the superiority of essays and films that don't tell you how to feel; his first television appearances on FX, and how he there learned to read a teleprompter by pretending not to read it; growing up a Michigander and a nerd, discovering alternative culture through film (and building his own eight-millimeter home theater at age seven) while actively not giving a shit what anyone thought of him; his choice to come to Los Angeles because it smelled less like pee than New York; his place in film culture versus nerd culture, and the word "nerd" versus the word "geek"; how he makes a podcast out of his appearances on other podcasts in the podcast Mecca that is Los Angeles; meeting and talking to cool people as a byproduct of a career, or as the raison d'être of one; which of them buys cars and which of them buys bespoke suits; what it felt like being around for the nineties' American indie film boom, and why only Quentin Tarantino has kept up his auteur's head of steam from those days; and why he made My Big Fat Independent Movie when that boom got to be too much.

Direct download: NCC_S3E22_Chris_Gore.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:06pm UTC

S3E21: High-Functioning Freak (HFF) with Tyson Cornell

Colin Marshall sits down above Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles with Tyson Cornell, proprietor of Rare Bird Books and Rare Bird Lit, former longtime Director of Marketing & Publicity at Book Soup on the Sunset Strip, punk rocker, and co-editor of the forthcoming essay collection Yes Is the Answer: And Other Prog Rock Tales. They discuss the seeming contradiction between Los Angeles' image as an "unreaderly" place and its rank as the largest book market in America; this city's tendency not, unlike other cities, to tell you straight-up what it is; how his study of the American newsstand brought him to Los Angeles, and then to Book Soup; the perspective he gained on Los Angeles through both working newsstands and having as a neighbor the manager of the Laugh Factory; how the reading came first in his life, and then the punk rock; Yes Is the Answer and the supposed antagonism between punk and prog; his time rocking in the both-advanced-and-retrograde Japan alongside former hair metalists; Sparkstastic, the upcoming book on Los Angeles (but England-beloved) band Sparks by Tosh Berman, also formerly of Book Soup; the nature of working at a bookstore, or of trying and failing to work at a bookstore, among the industry's classically high-functioning freaks; how much crazier crazy writers can get than crazy rockers, and the ultimately tiresome nature of the non-Thompson, non-Bukowski literary wild man persona; the way that books and bookstores seem both unimprovable, in away, and yet somehow headed straight for disappearance; why books cost so much, and the advantage of slapping dogs on their covers; and the implications (and potential conspiracy theories surrounding) girls who make millions on their self-published vampire e-books.

Direct download: NCC_S3E21_Tyson_Cornell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19pm UTC

S3E20: Traitor to Genre with Gabriela Jauregui

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Condesa with Gabriela Jauregui, writer, poet, and co-founder of the publishing collective sur+. They discuss her childhood in Coyoacán and at what point during it she realized she lived in a place with a rich literary history; her coming up reading and speaking Spanish, English, and French; the real beginning of Latin American small presses, and what it means for the excitement of Spanish-language literature; why Mexican books get shrinkwrapped, anyway; how she mastered English while studying in Los Angeles, and the pleasure she finds in writing in a language not quite her own, especially one with weird exceptions, non-rules, and all the qualities of a "pirate language"; what her interest in the mechanics of language has to do with her pursuit of poetry; how you never quite know who's a poet in Latin America; the way Los Angeles revealed itself to her, and how understanding Mexico City involves approaching it as something between Los Angeles and New York; her memories of growing up in Mexico City's "dark years," including but not limited to fake M&Ms; "Malinchismo," the Mexican idea that whatever is Mexican is by definition inferior, and how it has fallen away, at least in part, where art and literature are concerned; how to read your way into Los Angeles of Mexico City, and if you don't want to read, how to use Alejandro Jodorowsky movies for the same purpose; and all the layers of history you can experience in Mexico City that, unlike in Europe, you can experience all at once. 

Direct download: NCC_S3E20_Gabriela_Jauregui.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:10pm UTC

S3E19: Nothing Works, Everything Moves with Juan Carlos Cano and Paloma Vera

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Condesa with Juan Carlos Cano and Paloma Vera, founders of the architecture and urbanism practice CANO | VERA. They discuss how everything in Mexico City's built environment exists "behind," being interesting in irregular ways; all the untrue superlatives you hear growing up about how Mexico City is the biggest in the world, and what an abstract concept "the biggest city" turns out to be anyway; the miracle of Mexico City's continued improvisational operation, especially as regards garbage collection; the amount of architect-less building going on in Mexico City, and what they're doing to help make it easier and more efficient; the creation of cities through the creation of connections, rather than through the building of beautiful things; where best to walk in the giant soufflé that is Mexico City; the intrinsic sense that Mumbai, Bangkok, or São Paulo make when you come from Mexico City, and how you feel at  home when you have to discover, anonymously, what a place is about; the meaning of Condominio Insurgentes to the urban environment, and the question of who built the thing in the first place; the city as a mirror of society's favorite ideas in one particular moment; the contradictory image of Mexico as a place where nothing works, but everything moves; the historical Mexican relationship to space as it appears both in Teotihuacan and Ciudad Universitaria, in pre-Hispanic markets and downtown today; how Mexico City grew and ego; and the Zócalo, the best place in town to both feel and fill the void.

Direct download: NCC_S3E19_Juan_Carlos_Cano_and_Paloma_Vera.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:05am UTC

S3E18: First-Rate "Second World" Eating with Nicholas Gilman

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Roma with Nicholas Gilman, author of the book and blog Good Food in Mexico City: Fondas, Food Stalls, and Fine Dining. They discuss the culinary importance of places like Mercado Medellín; how Mexico City's art, not its food, first brought him here (make a beeline though he did to the handmade tortillas when he first arrived at 18); all the warnings about "what you shouldn't do" in Mexico City — or, for that matter, the New York City of the seventies and eighties in which he grew up; the strides Mexico City has made in the past fifteen years, especially as regards cleaning up pollution and opening up small business and culinary opportunities; his career switch from painter to food writer, and his discovery that you simply "don't have to suffer so much" in Mexico City; his realization that no useful English-language food guides to the area existed, how that prompted him to publish his own, and the great deal of attention it soon drew; what people get wrong when they first go eating in Mexico City, such as understanding the "timing" of the food; the dismantling of the car culture, the institution of bicycle programs, and the conversion of Mexico into at least a new "second-world" country; his eating strategies in a new city, including looking for their markets; the importance of tapping into a city's social knowledge, especially that possessed by taxi drivers; how to convince people you want to eat "the real thing," i.e., the food they themselves eat; bringing a necessary outsider's perspective to another culture; the various misconceptions that linger about Mexican food; the usually unhappy experiences of foreign cuisines that make it to Mexico; and when best to eat huitlacoche.

Direct download: NCC_S3E18_Nicholas_Gilman.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:57pm UTC

S3E17: Youth Is Overrated with Brenda Lozano

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Roma with novelist and essayist Brenda Lozano, author of the Todo Nada and contributor to Letras Libres. They discuss the space Spain's troubles have opened for Latin American literature; the passion for Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde she learned from one particular teacher; how she began seriously reading in English, and only later in her native Spanish; the difference in enjoyment of Spanish versus English literature, and how the languages ultimately behave like two different animals; the importance of the pleasure of reading, as well as the acknowledgment thereof; poetry as pure sugar; Mexico City's combination of high culture and bad parties; how, when she began writing essays, she found ways to have a good time writing about even assigned topics, and what it revealed about the general skill of having a good time wherever you happen to go; the three years of her early twenties she spent writing a "terrible novel," and what they later gave Todo Nada; her conviction of the overestimation of youth, which led her to build the novel around an aged character, but a young narrator; what could possibly be the sales pitch for Dorian Gray stockings; the newly widened Mexican generation gap; her need to "close the door" when writing, so literary influences like Jorge Luis Borges or Clarice Lispector can't step right in; her first, worldview-changing encounter with Fernando Pessoa, when she asked, "Is this literature?"; what she felt standing next to a wax Octavio Paz; the current absence of non-wax literary fathers; her Mexico City literary community, a group of argumentative friends; getting to know places through literature, like Japan through Banana Yoshimoto, 1930s Los Angeles through John Fante, or indeed Mexico City through Roberto Bolaño; and, despite her having been born and raised there, her continued excitement about writing in Mexico City.

Direct download: NCC_S3E17_Brenda_Lozano.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:02pm UTC

S3E16: Autobiology with Kurt Hollander

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Condesa with Kurt Hollander, photographer, filmmaker, magazine editor, and author of Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography. They discuss his microbiologically informed view of life; the presence of death in Mexico, especially since people there now die developed-world deaths and, to an extent, developing-world deaths; his first enjoyment of Mexico's working-class culture, and his perspective, as an American, on American cultural encroachment; his earlier life on New York's Lower East Side, a barrio which prepared him for the one-huge-barrio that is Mexico City; the importance of "doing New York right" to subsequently spending time in other major cities; what he learned publishing the magazine The Portable Lower East Side; what kind of immigration makes a place more interesting, and what kind of immigration makes a place less so; how moving to Mexico City presented him the greatest learning curve of his life; when, and how, he got sick and didn't seem like he would get better; how danger makes culture, which he considers to be the accumulation of survival strategies; what it means to adapt to a culture, and what bearing doing so has on your survival; his strategies for seeking out the remaining strongholds of working-class culture, such as riding the Metro and exploring the miniature economies that grow in its stations; the importance of the pulqueria, and other places Mexicans warn foreigners away from; and how he has never felt in harm's way in Mexico City, despite respecting nothing, criticizing everything, and always going with the more dramatic story.

Direct download: NCC_S3E16_Kurt_Hollander.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:58pm UTC

S3E15: The Mexican Reality with Diego Rabasa

Colin Marshall sits down in Mexico City's Colonia Roma with Diego Rabasa, co-founder of Sexto Piso press. They discuss why this might make for the most exciting moment in Mexican, or even Spanish-language, literature; Mexico's past era of invincible intellectual giants, from whose shadow writers now emerge; these writers' response to their country's "total social meltdown"; how Mexico City got more secure as Mexico itself got less secure, a process that has by now made Mexico City the safest place in the country; his dull but well-off childhood in a PRI family, his university studies of engineering, and his subsequent discovery of literature, culture, and books; what Juan Rulfo revealed to him about his country; Sexto Piso's early mission to translate foreign writers, and its publication at first of hardly any Mexican writers; who, given Mexico's high illiteracy, supports Mexico City's cool bookstores; the correct pronunciation of "Donceles", the finest street for used books; Sexto Piso's presence in Spain, a much more conservative literary market; the upside and downside of taking government funding; the importance of throwing parties unlike the standard dull publishing cocktail affairs; having, as a publisher, to cover for only semi-professional booksellers and journalists; what to read to best understand the Mexican reality; how Mexico City became a "completely different place" from where he grew up, with its citizens now "getting the city back"; the enduring need to keep an eye on the politicians even as arts movements offer encouragement; and how he gets his mind off the corruption by reading Bruce Chatwin.

Direct download: NCC_S3E15_Diego_Rabasa.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:43pm UTC

S3E14: New York, Tokyo, and Back Again with Roland Kelts

Colin Marshall sits down in Echo Park, Los Angeles with Roland Kelts, lecturer at the University of Tokyo, co-editor of the literary journal A Public Space, and author of the book Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. They discuss whether Japan has yet really figured out how to sell its pop culture abroad; the success of; his time growing up as a partial outsider in the white northeastern United States, and how anime and manga's focus on the outsider thus resonated with him; the commission he received from the Coppolas to write a story about Japan, which had him live in Osaka for a year; the subsequent offers that came his way to write about Murakami, Miyazaki, and Japanese youth culture; why the Wachowskis like anime so much;  what his youthful Anglophilia revealed to him about the parallels, especially aesthetic, between Britain and Japan; how we even have sushi in American convenience stores, yet nothing like Japanese street vending machines; whether he felt, as did novelist Todd Shimoda, a not-fully-foreign presence in Japan; how he splits his time between New York and Tokyo, and the importance of maintaining ties with his native land; how the geographical oscillation provides him perspective on both cities, and what escapes his attention (Lena Dunham, for example) when he's away from each; the relative lack of coded engagement and easier physical flow of New York; his understanding of American psychology coming through a cross-country drive of vast spaces and non-major cities; and the passing of Donald Richie, which raises questions of how best to write about Japan, a country which must now return to doing more with less.

Direct download: NCC_S3E14_Roland_Kelts.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:50pm UTC

S3E13: Negative Appeal with Vincent Brook

Colin Marshall sits down in Silver Lake, Los Angeles with Vincent Brook, teacher at UCLA, USC, Cal State Los Angeles, and Pierce College, and author of books on Jewish émigré directors and the Jewish sitcom as well as the new Land of Smoke and Mirrors: A Cultural History of Los Angeles. They discuss the difference between Los Angeles obsession and Los Angeles chauvinism; his time in Berkeley, when Los Angeles became the enemy; the Christopher Dorner incident and the old racial wounds it has re-opened; Gangster Squad and the cinematic abuse of Los Angeles history; the city's tendency to repurpose rhetoric about it, no matter how negative, and Reyner Banham's role in that; Los Angeles as Sodom, Gomorrah, and whipping boy; what the German word Stadtbild means, and how Los Angeles lacks it; the great power ascribed to the city by its criticism; whether or not we only use twenty percent of brains, or of cities; hidden places, including but not limited to Barnsdall Park; the work Los Angeles requires from you to master it, and whether that counts as a desirable quality; how technology enables you to watch Sunset Boulevard as you cruise down Sunset Boulevard; Watts Towers as the key to Los Angeles; the city's far-flung museums, and their 21st-century tendency to roll large objects through the streets; how he came to teach a Rhetoric of Los Angeles class, and what his students have taught him; the truth of most local legends, even when contradictory; and how best to see the Los Angeles palimpsest.

Direct download: NCC_S3E13_Vincent_Brook.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:08am UTC

S3E12: Freaks and Outcasts with Kevin Smokler

Colin Marshall sits down in Westwood, Los Angeles with Kevin Smokler, author of Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School. They discuss what makes him think of Holden Caulfield as a Bing user; why we study novels in high school at all, and what it might have to do with Renaissance classics scholarship; how we got turned off to these books the first time around, and the radical notion that we now have time to properly absorb them; his hymn to his obnoxious teenage self, when he felt he possessed many abilities, yet none worked in concert with one another, and all lacked context; how these curricular books interact with the teenage impulse to rail at unfairness; whether Jane Austen represents the triumph of content over form or form over content; what, exactly, is the matter with The Scarlet Letter; David Foster Wallace's notion of challenging the reader in the act of seduction; books now fashionably disliked, such as A Separate Peace; our onetime love of Dead White Males, our swing too far away from them in the early nineties, and the ambiguous DWM-relative position in which we now find ourselves; how he earned a lasting reputation at his high school for deeming Shakespeare "trite"; those moments where the necessary context for a work floods in all at once; The Day of the Locust, and how he read it only after coming to Los Angeles at 19 to supplicate before the altar of cinema; high school readers' tendency to gravitate to the freaks and the outcasts, and whether his home city of San Francisco still welcomes such people; Rebecca Solnit's lament over Google, and how the city's future belongs to them rather than to the Grateful Dead; the life of a coffee-shop based San Francisco writer; and his next book, on music, which will go looking for a universal cultural experience in the particulars of his own adolescence.

Direct download: NCC_S3E12_Kevin_Smokler.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:07pm UTC

S3E11: Sad Characters with Clive Piercy

Colin Marshall sits down in Santa Monica with Clive Piercy, founder and principal of design studio air-conditioned and author of the photo book Pretty Vacant, an appreciation of Los Angeles "dingbat" apartments. They discuss Reyner Banham's enduring definition of the dingbat; his time growing up in England enamored with American culture, and his surprise to find Los Angeles existed in color; the glory of freeways and the guilt of driving them, and the sense of failed utopia they share with dingbat buildings; how dingbats crept into his Los Angeles photography jaunts, shaped by his love of Ed Ruscha's paintings, and what happened when his fellow immigrants living in them came out to confront him; how his countryman Martin Parr perfectly captures the blandness of modern architectural wonders; his countrywoman Frances Anderton and their separate flights from the crushing burden of history; the cars parked under dingbats, and their saddening cheapness that resonates with the saddening cheapness of the home itself; inherent British negativity versus inherent American positivity; his participation in the aesthetics of eighties Los Angeles, the redesign of the Shangri-La hotel, and the newspaper coverage of the 1984 Olympics; how the mini-mall co-opted postmodernism, getting the proportions all wrong in the process; Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles, which brought Banham and Ruscha together; Clive James and Ian Nairn's writing on cities, which honor the high and the low together; how neither graphic design nor Los Angeles needs you, and how that's the appeal; the current availability of all aesthetics, and his students' tendency not to discriminate between them and focus on brands instead; and whether he's been able to get any of these internet-savvy kids, usually from Asia and indifferent to Los Angeles, excited about dingbats.

Direct download: NCC_S3E11_Clive_Piercy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:38pm UTC

S3E10: Trouble Sparks Creativity with Christopher Stephens

 Colin Marshall sits down in Nishinomiya, Japan with translator, writer, and former Kansai Time Out editor Christopher Stephens. They discuss whether higher Japanese skills get a foreigner more suspicion; the nearby presence and touristic effects of novelist Haruki Murakami's elementary school; the older writers, like Yasunari Kawabata, Junichiro Tanizaki, and Yukio Mishima, who stoked his interest in Japan; the experimental music to be found in Japan, such as the work of Keiji Haino and the Boredoms, and specifically in the Kansai noise scene; the Osaka duality between money-making hard workers and underground weirdness; the local pride taken in relative roughness and unrefinement, and the stereotype of the bad Osakan; what actually distinguishes the Osaka dialect, and how entirely different words might see use in one city but not its neighbor; Japan's visual culture, and the problematic emphasis on beauty that can ensue; his youth in Fresno, California, whose finest quality was the way it pushed him out; the time he took Wilco to an Osaka psychedelic sixties rock bar; how, when the Japanese open a psychedelic sixties rock bar, they really open a psychedelic sixties rock bar; his early struggles with regional backwardness in the eighties, and what happens when Japanese friends still ask him to hold their babies; Osaka's high crime rate for Japan and Fresno's high crime rate for California; whether Paris syndrome actually afflicts the Japanese; the West's eagerness to believe everything they hear about Japan; photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki's purchase of the entire collection of Toba's science-fiction erotic museum; the cannaboid substance known as "herb" that recently made the rounds in Japan; the persistence of visual art in Japan which goes well beyond Takashi Murakami, and his own specialty, the Gutai group of painters; why no Japanese person has yet appeared on this show, and what linguistic reasons might explain it; the corrections Japanese people make to his English; his work editing Kansai Time Out during the heyday of its breed of publication; Japan's relatively robust print culture, at least by contrast to America's; how little time translation leaves to learn new words or savor the language; and, despite the world's having lost confidence in Japan, his theory that darkness always brings light, and that trouble sparks creativity.

Direct download: NCC_S3E10_Christopher_Stephens.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:54pm UTC

S3E9: The Poet's Peak with Stephen Gill

Colin Marshall sits down overlooking greater Kyoto on Mt. Ogura with Stephen Gill, poet, BBC radio scriptwriter, and executive director of People Together for Mt. Ogura. They discuss the mountain's place in a traditional Japanese poetry card game; how, after scores of Japanese noticed in it an opportunity for free trash disposal, the mountain generated the headline "Ogurayama, gomi no yama" (Mt. Ogura, Mountain of Trash); the compilation of a collection about Mt. Ogura featuring verse by one hundred different poets; the onset of sightseeing season, which mostly brings visitors to the neighboring Mt. Arashiyama; the rich literary heritage of this now-suburban area, which even offers real locations from The Tale of Genji; the modern development of Kyoto, whose tower blocks at least cast into relief its more historical elements in the "glorious chaos" mixture well known to Asia; his three stretches in Japan, and the constant visits to the doctor his early acclimatization required; how he makes radio programs about Japan, always beginning with an image and then crafting a broadcast around it; how he only learned about his native Britain by living abroad, and what a foreign poet can offer Japan by way of a helpful thorn in the side; his view of Kyoto as a vast intermeshing of systems, which once there tend to last a hundred, or even five hundred years; what could possibly "shake up" Kyoto short of actual destruction; and what it means for him to "tune in" to a place like this. He also reads haiku poems, both his own and those by other People Together for Mt. Ogura participants.

Direct download: NCC_S3E9_Stephen_Gill_revised.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:27am UTC

S3E8: Pyongyang Style with Rob Montz

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Angeles' Koreatown with filmmaker Rob Montz, director of Juche Strong, a short documentary about North Korea and its propaganda. They discuss reaching the same age as Kim Jong-un without a hermit kingdom to rule; the question of why North Koreans continue to believe in their state, despite having good reason not to; his early fascination with North Korea's World Cup showing, and how pursuing that fascination led him from standard opinions on the country to newer, more interesting ones; his realization that North Korean ideology comes built upon the same basic structures of psychological truth that any of us have; his interviewing of experts on North Korea, and their disagreements about the nature of the Juche idea; his trip to Pyongyang, and how it didn't require him to hide underwater from North Korean commandos, breathing through a reed; the state's aspirations to totalitarian watchfulness, and how incompetence shatters that image right at the airport; the boredom a visitor to North Korea endures, and how that boredom differs from the boredom we experience in the developed world, where we've mostly cured it; the nihilism that sets upon a mind deprived of the ability to autonomously create meaning and provide purpose; how life in the constant American stimulation stream may render you more vulnerable to boredom when you momentarily step out of it; how many pleasures a people will willingly forego if they're given a larger sense of purpose and community, and how we know the North Korean government knows this; what North and South Korea still have ideologically in common, though the South chose the means of ideological expression that let its people get fed; Confucian values on both sides of the DMZ, and how they even manifest in the strange filial piety of East Asian friends; his extension of the examination of North Korean-style propaganda to United States politics, and especially the ceaseless repetition of the phrase "God bless America" therein; of Washington, D.C., where homosexual atheist political operatives instruct Republican politicians to insist  upon the divine ordainment of American exceptionalism an inveigh against the "gay menace"; and how you can help fund the completion of Juche Strong on Indie Go Go (not to mention the clam-roasting footage you can get for doing so).

Direct download: NCC_S3E8_Rob_Montz.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:58pm UTC

S3E7: The Accidental Japanophile with Christopher Olson

Colin Marshall sits down near Nara, Japan's Tōdai-ji temple with artist, critic, and teacher Christopher Olson. They discuss his thoughts, as a Winnipegger born and raised, on Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg; the displacement, discombobulation, and respectable bullshitting of Chris Marker's Sans Soleil, a copy of which he keeps at all times on his phone; high-risk art, and the stuff that requires more time spent absorbing than creating; the still-exciting art school idea of limitations and restrictions as the engines of creation; whether or not Japan is "a land of images"; why you can't resist photographing your food in Japan, and what this has to do with the cultural sense of doing things properly or not doing them at all; the utilitarian, quick-and-dirty mindset of our North American homelands, which we notice with special force after having spent time amid Japan's superlegitimacy; the modern west's lack of filial piety, which he came to understand after getting involved with a Japanese lady (in a relationship that endured its Griffin and Sabine period); life in Japan as a constant process of auditing one's assumptions, especially those instilled by western Buddhism; freeloading on the Japanese social contract as a foreigner, and enjoying the liberty to "create your own Japan"; the gaijin you meet in Japan, including the "weeaboo" and the last-refuge English teacher; how Japanese vending machines could possibly not be trashed, robbed, and stripped of all saleable metal; Vancouver, the city where Canadians go to figure their shit out; the benefit of the foreigner's anti-inanity language barrier; how the force that makes Japanese trains run on time also causes the occasional Japanese to jump in front of one; the lack of ambient ambition in Japan, as opposed to the aspirational culture in North America that generates both resentment and a certain charge; his turn toward writing and criticism after an "I'm just not that good" moment in the visual arts; his desire to recapture that Chris Marker sense of delirious displacement in day-to-day life; and how he's ridden that distinctively Japanese sawtooth pattern of culture shock.

Direct download: NCC_S3E7_Christopher_Olson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:38am UTC

S3E6: Form Over Function with John Dougill

Colin Marshall sits down seven stories above Kawaramachi, Kyoto, Japan with John Dougill, professor of British culture at Ryukoku University, blogger at Green Shinto, and author of books including Kyoto: A Cultural HistoryIn Search of Japan's Hidden Christians, and Oxford in English Literature. They discuss the commonalities between the Kyoto geisha and the English gentleman, who practice their respective cultures' ritual, regulation, and repression; form's dominance over function in Japan, as exemplified by one young fellow in a Union Jack t-shirt; how he got a handle on Japan by writing a book on Kyoto, and how in the process the scales fell from his eyes, revealing the "magical paradise" he lives in; his ambivalence toward the "sprawling urban mess" that has built up around modern Kyoto; Oxford, the other city in his life, and the formula of "old buildings and young people" that makes it ideal; his early feelings of isolation and anger toward Japan, and how he overcame them; coming to represent British culture in Japan, using Marmite and other traditional tools; his attractions to "earth religions," particularly Shinto, which he considers to be the true essence of Japanese culture; the Japanese tendency to contextually follow a variety of religious traditions and honor a variety of "equally valid" though sometimes opposing truths; how Japan's "hidden Christians" created and protected their own mixed folk religion; his current project, a book on Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the problems inherent in a place becoming one; how Kyoto's younger generation has preserved and repurposed traditional machiya buildings; and the process by which he has come to see his own country through Japanese eyes, which means he sees a great deal of "rudeness, dirtiness, and lack of efficiency" — a different Britain, in other words, than the one he grew up in. 

Direct download: NCC_S3E6_John_Dougill.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:56pm UTC

S3E5: A Decent Banger with Josh Parkin

Colin Marshall sits down in Nakatsu, Osaka, Japan with guitarmaker Josh Parkin proprietor of Josh Parkin Guitars. They discuss how the intensity of Japanese enthusiasm extends to guitar-playing; how Japanese friends in London urged him not to set up shop in Tokyo, but in Osaka; his early life in Yorkshire, "the English Kansai," where he made his first attempts to build and modify guitars; the importance of finding the best handmade pickups and of learning to see the difference between .2 and .3 millimeters; the excellence of Japanese manufacturing, and its somewhat less impressive mastery of anthropometrics; his working life on Denmark Street, the center of London guitarmaking, and why he decided not to open his own business there; his travels through Asia before moving to Japan, which began in India and eventually found him homeless in Beijing; what it takes for a foreigner to open a business in Osaka (besides a few years off that foreigner's life); the impossibility of finding a decent banger in Japan; his dissatisfaction with the usual foreigner's job of teaching English, because it wasn't making guitars; his work with Tim Olive and experience of the Japanese noise scene, which seems to spring from within the culture rather than interpreting traditions outside it; the way everything in Japan gets easier after six months, except perhaps dealing with the ward office; Japanese-style obsessive drive as a necessity of guitarmaking, no matter where you do it; and his dream job of building a guitar according only to the player's musical style.

Direct download: NCC_S3E5_Josh_Parkin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:28am UTC

S3E4: Ashukurafuto with Brian Ashcraft

Colin Marshall sits down in Osaka, Japan's Senri-Chūō with Brian Ashcraft, Senior Contributing Editor for video game site Kotaku, contributor at Wired, and author of the books Arcade Mania! and Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential. They discuss the kind of arcade gaming best (and now only) seen in Japan; the Expo 70-developed north of Osaka versus the city's "real" south; Osaka's reputation across Japan for brash un-gentility; where best to do one's gaming in Osaka, the the overall continuing robustness of Japanese arcades; the tradition of North American arcade gaming growing up around alcohol, and the tradition of Asian arcade gaming growing up around coffee, cigarettes, and milk tea; the Nintendo Entertainment System, known in Japan as the Famicom, and how it shaped both a decade and a generation on either side of the Pacific; the inevitable proximity of Japanese celebrities to gaming culture, whether through commercials or some stronger connection, in stark contrast to their game-averse American counterparts; his Dallas-Tokyo flight attendant childhood neighbor, and the strange but alluring cans of Coca-Cola she'd bring back from work; his first Japanese friend, whose family introduced him to their country's gift-giving culture; Tokyo's feeling of a "city of strangers," versus the more personable Osaka; his trying early years of Japan, and how he recognized his own sprachgefühl while watching Battle Royale; his time in Japan's having made him interested in his own Texas background; how he has made sure his sons learn about American culture, and how he laments their limited linguistic interaction with their American grandparents; the importance of raising children in Japan without giving them "the strange-last-name complex"; Japan's lack of weirdness, or at least the lack of weirdness you perceive if you take the time to ground your observations of it, including observations of or relating to arcade machines and schoolgirls, with as much non-oversimplified historical and cultural knowledge as possible.

Direct download: NCC_S3E4_Brian_Ashcraft.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:08am UTC

S3E3: "The Foreign Guy" with Michael Lambe

Colin Marshall sits down in Kyoto, Japan's efish café with Michael Lambe, Deep Kyoto blogger, teacher, and Public Relations Representative for the Kyoto Journal. They discuss the city's flummoxing preponderance of Irish pubs and the "celebrated infamy" of one in particular; the rich cultural heritage that brings foreigners to Kyoto, the modernization that foreigners bewail, and the preservation efforts that certain Japanese now make; his arrival in Japan on the JET program and original intent to go to the "wild snowswept north" of Hokkaido, though he wound up going from the northeast of England to the northeast of Japan instead; the Beatles-in-1963 treatment he received as the only foreigner in town; his time in Fukushima, then known as an unusually safe place, and one famous for its fruit; disasters, such as the 2011 one in Fukushima, as facts of life in Japan, and the necessity to rebuilt efficiently as another fact of life; his own adoption of that spirit when he volunteered to build houses in the Miyagi prefecture; the times he found himself bowing on the phone, leaving taxi doors open in England, and having lived over a decade in Japan; the difficulties of living vegetarian in Japan, even when you allow yourself fish; missing British television amid the "appalling" morass of cheap Japanese variety shows; evasion of the British television license men versus Japan's (as seen in Haruki Murakami's "Town of Cats"), and how he once got an NHK collection agent to think him a madman; how his four-year stint in Tokyo came up against his small-town sensibility, and how he disappointedly discovered the capital's absolute lack of demand that he speak (and thus learn) Japanese; his move to Kyoto, where visiting a rock bar he began making "real" non-Anglophone Japanese friends; the role of "the foreign guy" in Japan as comparable to Norm's on Cheers; Sons music bar, one place he discovered in the project that is Deep Kyoto (and Tadg's, which he recommends wholeheartedly); the history of the Kyoto Journal and its latest special issue on energy; Japan's odd reliance on nuclear power (not to mention squat toilets); and how blogging has connected him with foreigners, opposed to his original mission as that is.

(Photo: Stewart Wachs)

Direct download: NCC_S3E3_Michael_Lambe.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:03pm UTC

S3E2: The Temple Next to the Love Hotel with Tim Olive

Colin Marshall sits down in Kobe, Japan with guitarist, improviser, and sound artist Tim Olive, whose latest album is 33 Bays with Alfredo Costa Monteiro. They discuss Japan's importance to global experimental music culture; his own swerve toward experimentation after a western Canadian childhood spent listening to Black Sabbath's Paranoid; his early exploration of Javanese music in a Saskatchewan record library; how a Québécois girlfriend took him from Montreal to Osaka, where he lost "the rage"; how struck he felt by the sea of black hair Japan first presented to him; Osaka's "glorious ugliness," Nara's deer, and Kobe's wild pigs (just one of the signs of its close proximity to nature); his lack of a computer until last year, his longstanding ambivalence toward digital technology, and the double-edged sword of the internet's power to open up everything all at once; his workshop full of guitars in various states of dismantlement, and the importance of instrument modification to the physicality and sense of touch in music, both of which he prizes; Japan's distinctive combination of the highest new technology and the oldest traditions, as seen in the zoning collage of Osaka where venerable temples meet up with glossy love hotels; the fluid senses of time and space one must cultivate when moving between the West and the East, or even between Asian countries; his "under the table"-style freedom in Japan, and the other kinds of freedom the country affords, such as to one particular naked salaryman before the cops caught up with him; 845 Audio, the label he founded to release 33 Bays without delay; and his recommendations for getting tapped into the Kansai experimental music scene.

Direct download: S3E2_Tim_Olive.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:11pm UTC

S3E1: Buoyancy and Poignancy with Pico Iyer

Colin Marshall sits down in Nara, Japan's Nara Hotel with writer of place Pico Iyer, author of such books as Video Night in KathmanduThe Lady and the MonkThe Global Soul, and most recently The Man Within My Head. They discuss the discovery that Japan looks exactly like Japan, and the "piercing sense of familiarity" the enthusiast feels upon visiting for the first time; autumn in Japan, and its place at the core of The Lady and the Monk, his second book and still his favorite; Japan's distinctive combination of buoyancy and poignancy, which leads to the pre-savoring of wistfulness to come; the culture's dissolution of mind, heart, and soul all in the same place, and his efforts to build an intellectual infrastructure around his Japan-related intuitions; his recent reading of John Cage, an unexpected master of the Japanese virtues of not knowing and not saying; the necessity, when you want to write about something, to write about something else, and of writing about a passion in order to write about yourself; the Californian question of "being yourself," and its inadmissability to the Japanese mindset; his relief at not having to be Japanese within Japanese society, and what being a Japanese in Japanese society has done to visit a female brain drain upon the country; what it takes to best remain an outsider in Japan, enjoying its peculiar kind of diplomatic immunity, and how Donald Richie mastered that exchange of belonging for freedom; street vending machines and train-station bathrooms as outgrowths of both Japanese thoughtfulness and the nation's tendency to regard itself as a family; his visit to West Point, where the cadets received The Lady and the Monk as required reading; the danger of Japan's getting left behind by the increasingly interconnected world, what with its bad public relations and low level of spoken English; the enduring "vitality" of the seemingly less civilized places outside Japan; and how Japanese literature expresses nothing happening because Japanese life values nothing happening.

Direct download: NCC_S3E1_Pico_Iyer.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:37pm UTC