Wednesday, 27 July 2016

You've Got To Hear This Podcast

I wouldn't usually post on a weekday nor would I use the time to big up a podcast, but this is one you have to listen to if you have any interest whatsoever in cinema: The Secret History of Hollywood. This is by far the single best podcast I have ever heard, in any genre, and I'm not at all surprised that Audible has picked it up.

So what is this glorious thing? Briefly, it's one man's descent into cinematic obsession. This gent's knowledge of early cinema history is exhaustive; if ever you wanted to know anything about anyone in Hollywood before, say, 1960, this is the place to learn about it.

Moreover it's well presented. Despite the wealth of detail, it's not overpowering. The presenter is a pleasure to listen to, and the flow from moment to moment is seamless. I'm indulging in A Universe of Horrors, an in-depth study of Universal Studio's great horror experiment in the 20s and 30s and, while I know a lot of this material already, it's a treat to have it all laid out like a movable audible feast.

One caveat, and it's a fairly significant caveat: Ye Gods, these things are long. Like transatlantic flying time long. Universe of Horrors is over 7 hours worth of audio. I'm flying to the UK later this year, which is usually a 7 to 8 hour journey; I could plug myself in as soon as I board the plane, and may still not have finished listening by the time it lands. There are three separate episodes on Alfred Hitchcock, for over 18 hours total. And there's more ... and more ... and more ...

Leaving aside the obvious, the length of the episodes poses a device storage problem. Usually a podcast is, maybe, a handful of MB. Not so here. If you're so foolish as to download more than one you're looking at several GB worth of data. That takes time to download as well as space. Some mobile devices may find that difficult to swallow.

But!! If you let that put you off, you're really missing out. I cannot praise this enough. If you're a cinephile, this is a must-listen. It may be a constant companion for a week or so per episode, depending on how you devour your podcasts. In fact the biggest problem may not be listening to this one, but in finding time to listen to all the other podcasts you'll be ignoring while working your way through Secret History.


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