Time for another Podcast favourite of mine. I started listening to The Moth about four years ago, although these days everything is appears to be about four years in the past, so who knows?
Until recently the weekly podcasts were around fifteen to twenty minutes long and would feature two or three people telling a true story without notes in front of a live audience. The people come from all sorts of backgrounds and for me the great joy of the show is that you never know what you are going to hear next. It could be a cop talking about finally nailing the guy that had eluded him for years, the second generation immigrant talking about the impact of the loss of the long running family business that it so much part of the family indentity or the desperate fumblings and anxieties of a woman who knows that she is with the wrong man but just can’t break away.
It’s a terrific mixture of roaring stupidity, amazing bravery, touching family stories, and every now and then something that’s just smacks you between the ears with a stunning emotional impact. On more than one occasion I’ve had to brush away a tear before heading into the office.
Over Christmas 2011 we were in New York whilst two Story Slam shows were being recorded. And after a long queue on a cold December evening, we managed to get into a recording that was being made at the fantastic Housing Works Bookstore Café on Crosby Street. It was anxious wait on the sidewalk as the queue was already substantial when we joined it. The time passed quickly, helped by the pleasant company and conversation of those around us. Thankfully we made it through the doors and joined the tightly packed crowd. Many like us were Moth virgins; some those were old hands and were speculating on the identities of that evening’s talkers. Although anyone can put their name down, I had the feeling that some people may be slightly advantaged when it comes to being selected. It mattered not though as all the raconteurs that evening had an interesting tale to tell. The picture I have used for this article was taken that evening.
A few nights later we queued for even longer outside The Bitter End on Bleecker Street and hilariously the last people to be admitted that night, were the ones directly in front of us, so we missed out on that occasion. It was fun hearing passers by ask other folks what the queue was for, then seeing their confused faces, when they were told that it was for a radio show / podcast and we didn’t know who was performing or what the theme of the night would be (each evening has a theme by the way).
Recently the podcast has occasionally stretched to give us The Moth Radio Hour, which as you may have guessed is an hour-long collection of recordings. Both the short and the long format are worthy of your time.