Hello WGMers, its Ailish here. This is my first post as producer on WGM and I couldn’t think of anything more apt than chatting about being lost and found to start me off. If you’re here, you already love the show and we love you for that. I also loved the show and the live event when it was in Dublin. (One of my greatest regrets is not being able to show a film I produced for the Food theme of Monthly General Meeting! I know the audience would have embraced a film about a woman eating her way around Paris…..).
When Nial and Shane approached me late last year to come work with them, Iwas feeling a little lost. I had spent the last year floating in the freelance world, which is scary and exhilarating and exciting and devastating, all within a few hours sometimes. Sometimes working in a creative industry as a facilitator can make you forget about your own sense of creativity and I needed an outlet to express, think, make, and write. I jumped…leaped at the chance to work on WGM, something I thought was a perfect confluence of what I wanted and needed, but also, what a wonderful platform it was to gather people together to showcase how much bloody talent this little island is full of.
So I set about putting together this series with Nial and Shane, which meant listening to A LOT of material. Almost instantly, themes started to sprout from the material, which was mainly Irish talent living in or visiting London, recorded at the 100 Club last year. I put it to the guys that we should have themed episodes and the very first one we curated was ‘Lost & Found’. Loss and Death is something that is intrinsic to being Irish and to Irish creativity so it’s a pretty fitting one to kick off the podcast with.
We found that a lot of our contributors, who were in their 20s and 30s, wrote about losing their grandparents. It is, for most of us, the first time we encounter profound loss, and I listened mesmerized to Christian Foley wrap his beautiful words into the most devastating and almost defiant lyric, as if the urgency with which he spoke might reverse time. And the guilt and softness in Alvy Carragher’s poetry manages to capture a feeling nearly indescribable that I think everyone has felt on the deathbed of a grandparent. Guilt and softness are the only words I have for it. Both Christian and Alvy transport us back to a time before podcasts and texts, where love stories were real, life was simple and blissful, and their loss didn’t exist. I find myself listening to these pieces again and again, just to go back into the vivid world they create.
After all that emotional loss, a comedy break was in order and who better than Alison Spittle who delivers a really funny set on the singular experience of the rural funeral. I knew of Alison Spittle for ages and admired her from afar – she was funny, she had an accent that originated from outside the Pale (being the owner of one of these myself, there was an instant connection), and she was making waves on the comedy scene. But when she wrote “Why can’t lads be sound like Hozier?” for Headstuff.org last November, I felt like I had found a kindred spirit and I punched the air reading it. If you haven’t read it, get on that immediately – Alison ain’t just funny, she’s a social trailblazer and we’re proud to have her on WGM.
Moving on from people I want to be mates with and on to people Nial wants to be….Dylan Haskins’ interview on his latest project – a historical radio documentary with some pretty exciting twists and turns felt like a perfect counterpoint to loss. He went on an intense path of discovery to solve a family mystery that his late father had started and found a completely new community and family members. His interview is a tiny insight into what a stand up guy Dylan and how much of a crush Nial has on him. In Dylan I think we all found a kindred spirit, someone who has a passion for community building across ages, genders and disciplines. His complete lack of prejudice is just inspiring and we hope you get some of that magic too. We couldn’t play most of the documentary during the show but you should definitely listen to it, its still available online – we’ve linked below
Dylan and his late father
So there you have it – we lose people, we lose ourselves and we always somehow come back around to either finding something or being found.
Nial, Shane – thanks for finding me – lets make some more amazing material!