Podcast: The Middle Bit

The late lamented King of Kings statue delighting a visitor. Image: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr/creative commons.

You know, on this podcast, I’ve talked a lot about the American Midwest considering it’s a place I’ve been twice, for a few days each time.

So, I figured it was about time we got one of the locals on to tell us about the region, to argue with my diagnosis of its ills – and, most importantly, to explain what its obsession with weird public art is.

Dayton native Sarah Manavis wrote an excellent piece for us with the memorable headline “Here are the six freak statues of Ohio”. She tells me the parable of Touchdown Jesus; explains how Arnold Schwarzenegger came to be in Columbus; and discusses how her home state came to vote for Trump. Oh, and also – why is somewhere very clearly in the eastern half of the United States known as the MidWest?

After that, Patrick Maguire, the not-quite-Scouse wunderkind of the New Statesman politics desk joins me for this week’s audience participation bit, in which we ask: what’s everyone’s favourite weird tourist attraction?

Alas, it’s Patrick’s last week at the New Statesman. So as a very special treat I let him talk about his home town, Southport, and its lawnmower museum.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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Podcast: Beyond the wall, with John Lanchester

A sea wall in Japan. Image: Getty.

This week it’s another live episode, of sorts. In early April I was lucky enough to chair an event at the Cambridge Literary Festival with the journalist and novelist John Lanchester.

John was mostly there to promote his latest novel, The Wall, a “cli-fi” book about a Britain trundling on after catastrophic climate change has wiped out much of the planet. In the past he’s also written about other vaguely CityMetric-y topics like the housing crisis and the tube - so he’s a guest I’ve been hoping to get on for a while, and was kind enough to allow us to record our chat for posterity and podcasting purposes.

Incidentally, I didn’t find a way of turning the conversation to the tube. We do lose ten minutes to talking about Game of Thrones, though.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

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