Wall in the Mind – Trailer

Claire O’Hanlon, a young Irish woman, became caught up in the events sweeping East Berlin, just prior to the fall of the Berlin wall. Arrested at a pro-democracy protest, Claire and her friends were imprisoned by the East German secret police. Twenty-five years later, now a successful academic, Claire returns to Berlin. She attempts to finally heal, and to resolve the mystery of what happened to her first love, Emil, who disappeared in 1989.

Download or stream the podcast of ‘The Wall in the Mind’ here – iTunes, RSS, SoundCloud.

Behind the Wall – 5 – Shryan Gosling

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DownloadBehind the Wall – 5 – Shryan Gosling

In today’s Episode of ‘Behind the Wall’ we return to the audition process. We take a look a the demands recording an ‘off book’ script places on actors. James O’Connor describes the intricate psychological manipulations involved in the casting process.

I’m joined in this episode by actor / director James O’Connor

Behind the Wall

Behind The Wall is a series of special feature podcasts accompanying ‘The Wall in the Mind‘, an ambitious new on-location drama series, coming to Newstalk and podcast starting on Saturday the 16th of April @ 7AM & 10PM. Each episode features an interview or behind the scenes clip. Think of it like the ‘making of’ special features on a DVD or Blu-Ray.

subscribe-to-podcast1

You can subscribe to these bonus episodes, and download or stream the podcast of ‘The Wall in the Mind’ at the following places – iTunesRSSSoundcloud.

Credits – ImagesCast & CrewDead Medium Productions.

Behind the Wall – 4 – Location Scouting

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DownloadBehind the Wall – 4 – Location Scouting

In episode 4 of our making-of series ‘Behind the Wall‘, we travel down to Martinstown House in the Curragh of County Kildare, to location scout for the drama series, in the company of Andrew Booth. Why would you record a radio series on location? How do different places sound? How is making drama on the radio like making a feature film? All this and more.

I’m joined in this episode by chef Andrew Booth, who cooks and caters marvellous dinners for guests and visitors to Martinstown.

Behind the Wall

Behind The Wall is a series of special feature podcasts accompanying ‘The Wall in the Mind‘, an ambitious new on-location drama series, coming to Newstalk and podcast starting on Saturday the 16th of April @ 7AM & 10PM. Each episode features an interview or behind the scenes clip. Think of it like the ‘making of’ special features on a DVD or Blu-Ray.

subscribe-to-podcast1

You can subscribe to these bonus episodes, and download or stream the podcast of ‘The Wall in the Mind’ at the following places – iTunesRSSSoundcloud.

Credits – ImagesCast & CrewDead Medium Productions.

Behind the Wall – 3 – The Auditions

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Download: Behind the Wall 3 – Auditions with James O’Connor

Episode 2 of ‘Behind the Wall’, visits the audition process as myself and Dublin based James O’Connor struggle with the task of finding the perfect cast for ‘The Wall in the Mind’.

Whats This?

Behind The Wall is a series of special feature podcasts accompanying ‘The Wall in the Mind’, an ambitious new on-location drama series, coming to Newstalk and podcast starting on Saturday the 16th of April. Each episode features an interview or behind the scenes clip. Think of it like the ‘making of’ special features on a DVD or Blu-Ray.

The Story

Claire O’Hanlon, a young Irish woman, became caught up in the events sweeping East Berlin, just prior to the fall of the Berlin wall. Arrested at a pro-democracy protest, Claire and her friends were imprisoned by the East German secret police. Twenty-five years later, now a successful academic, Claire returns to Berlin. She attempts to finally heal, and to resolve the mystery of what happened to her first love, Emil, who disappeared in 1989.

The Podcast

You can subscribe to these bonus episodes, and download or stream the podcast of ‘The Wall in the Mind’ at the following places – iTunesRSSSoundcloud.

Credits – ImagesCast & CrewDead Medium Productions

Behind the Wall 2 – Ewan Hennelly – Berlin Military Base Story

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Download: Behind the Wall 2 – Ewan Hennelly – Berlin Military Base Story

In episode 2 of ‘Behind the Wall’, I join Ewan Hennelly on the South Downs, to hear about his narrow escape from the forces of law and order exploring Berlin’s mysterious Teufelsberg. Teufelsberg is an abandoned cold war spy facility nested in the hills above the Grunewald forest. This story served as the inspiration behind ‘The Wall in the Mind’.

You can check out Ewan’s new range of toys, mentioned in the podcast at Hollow Planet Designs.

Whats This?

Behind The Wall is a series of special feature podcasts accompanying ‘The Wall in the Mind’, an ambitious new on-location drama series, coming to Newstalk and podcast starting on Saturday the 16th of April. Each episode features an interview or behind the scenes clip. Think of it like the ‘making of’ special features on a DVD or Blu-Ray.

The Story

Claire O’Hanlon, a young Irish woman, became caught up in the events sweeping East Berlin, just prior to the fall of the Berlin wall. Arrested at a pro-democracy protest, Claire and her friends were imprisoned by the East German secret police. Twenty-five years later, now a successful academic, Claire returns to Berlin. She attempts to finally heal, and to resolve the mystery of what happened to her first love, Emil, who disappeared in 1989.

The Podcast

You can subscribe to these bonus episodes, and download or stream the podcast of ‘The Wall in the Mind’ at the following places – iTunesRSSSoundcloud.

Credits – ImagesCast & CrewDead Medium Productions

Behind The Wall – 1 – One Good Thing

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Download: Behind The Wall – Episode 1 – One Good Thing

My next radio drama series hits Newstalk next month starting on Saturday the 16th of April.

“The Wall in the Mind” looks at the impossibility of love and even friendship in a world where someone is always watching – the Stasi surveillance state of East Germany.

Today we we are constantly monitored, our emails read, our tweets collected, our photos analysed our phone calls recored and stored in the vast unaccountable silos of the NSA. But this isn’t the first Orwellian surveillance state. From the end of the Second World War to the late nineteen eighties, East Germans had to suffer their families and neighbours reporting their actions to the paranoid political police of their communist government.

“The Wall in the Mind” follows the experiences of Claire O’Hanlon, an Irish immigrant, who has crossed the Wall to communist East Germany to follow Emil, her young lover, into the punk politics of Berlin in the late eighties.

Recorded on location with a cast of German and Irish actors, the series explores how our sense of self diminishes, under the panopticon of a surveillance culture.

“The Wall in the Mind” will play on Newstalk in Ireland each Saturday on the 16th, 23rd, and 30th of April at 7am, repeating at 10pm each day, with podcasts released the same day.

For the online release, I’ve decided to do something a little different. In the weeks leading up to broadcast, we’ll be posting interviews, audio diaries and clues to the true stories that inspired the mystery.

Then, as the show is being broadcast, we’ll put it out online for podcast and streaming – scene by scene. The idea is to create something of the anticipation of a classic radio serial or Dickensian short story. Each day there’ll be something new to hear, another clue to the mystery at the heart of the story.

subscribe-to-podcast1

You can subscribe to these bonus episodes, and download or stream the podcast of ‘The Wall in the Mind’ at the following places – iTunesRSSSoundcloud.

Credits – ImagesCast & CrewDead Medium Productions

 

The Wall in the Mind – New Drama Series Coming Early 2016

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The Wall in the Mind is an upcoming radio drama series on Newstalk, launching early 2016.

Claire O’Hanlon, a young Irish woman, became caught up in the events sweeping East Berlin just prior to the fall of the Berlin wall. Arrested at a pro-democracy protest, Claire and her friends were imprisoned by the East German secret police. Twenty-five years later, now a successful academic, Claire returns to Berlin. She attempts to finally heal, and to resolve the mystery of what happened to her first love, Emil, who disappeared in 1989.

The Wall in the Mind is an exciting historical drama series, coming to Newstalk in 2016. The series combines a variety of innovative storytelling and sound production techniques to create a thrilling drama linked to real historic events. Listeners travel back and forth in time, as Claire tries to make sense of her experiences as a teenager in communist East Berlin and to solve the mystery of her vanished first love, Emil.

Writer / Director Gareth Stack travelled to Berlin to research the historic locations featured in the series. There he explored the ruins of the paramilitary police barracks, where on 7th and 8th October 1989 hundreds of East German protestors were held in one of the last desperate acts of a tyrannical regime. Thousands marched as the communist government faced revolution on the streets.Those unlucky enough to be arrested were tortured by the notorious ‘Volkspolizei-Bereitschaft’ paramilitary police. These events inspired a story that explores the marks history leaves on the lives of ordinary people.

BAI logo mark colourThe drama is brought to life by stunning performances by leads Mia Gallagher as Claire in 2014 and Jasmin Gleeson as Claire in 1989. These roles were developed over weeks of rehearsals with the cast, who all worked ‘off book’ to create a naturalistic compelling drama.

Using extensive foley, on location recording, as well as binaural microphones and cassette recordings, The Wall in the Mind captures the paranoia of one of the darkest moments in the Cold War. The Wall in the Mind is a richly developed story, featuring strong female lead characters, leading to a shocking conclusion. This is a mystery that brings us right into the world of the most surveilled society in history.

Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the television licence fee.

Download: The Wall in the Mind – Trailer

deadmediumsmall The show will be available on Soundcloud and on Dead Medium [iTunes, RSS], the new podcast featuring the best drama, documentary, comedy and sound art from Dead Medium Productions.

If you’d like more information about this upcoming series or any of our other productions, including the award winning documentary ‘Mad Scientists of Music’, get in touch via mail or on twitter.

Podcasts You’re Missing

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So podcasts, they’re pretty cool right? With eh, the kids, on their shmart phones or some such? They’re yolks ya listen to, like netflix for the blind I right?

Yes it seems that finally, for reasons no one really understands, probably because phones just about now got cheap enough, and data plans just about now got broadbandish enough, podcasts are kewl. As a withered old sock puppet o’podcasting, I thought I’d take the time to throw up a few recommendations. I’ve been listening to (and spewing out) podcasts since the early naughties. Like a psychic who’s hit the weights, the medium has never been in finer fettle. There are a multitude of delectable ear candies available that far too few folks are noshing on. Presumably because when the RTE Guide or whatever make their ‘best of’ lists, they instruct Joffrey the thirty five year old intern to tell them ‘what the kids are up to’ and poor old Joff faxes them the itunes top ten. Forget what’s popular, what’s actually good? Whatz the illest deep cuts oh podcastin’ yo. Sorry, I’ve Straight out of Inglewood playing in another tab.

Latest & Greatest

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I’d never heard of crusty journo-hippy Scott Carrier [RSS] [iTunes], before his recent podcast. But the mans a legend. He’s been a globe trotting wrong writer for decades, and the medium affords him the chance to drip feed us beautifully sautéed slices of grass roots journalism carved from his honey roasted eleven hundred year old ass.

Another aging sweet heart Adam Buxton, [RSS] has just launched a new show, where he interviews fellow lovies, mostly outside. There’s not much there yet, but Buxton has a talent for finding creative ways to use a ‘new’ medium, so watch this space.

Speak cantonese? No? Doesn’t matter. You’ll love Young Love Play [RSS]. This Hong Kong based podcast is produced with such panache and presented with such a musically comedic touch, the language barrier only makes it easier to appreciate the production.

All Time Classics

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The Tobolowsky Files [iTunes] [RSS] just keeps getting better. ‘Veteran character actor’ (read old coot who plays mostly bit parts), Stephen ‘Tobo’ Tobolowsky, has worked with just about everyone in Hollywood. In between staring in almost 240 movies (which sounds like a lot until you heart that Oliver Hardy made over 400), Tobo took to diarising his life. Mixed in with the show business anecdotes are the insights gleaned from the Torah, quantum physics, classical music and of course liiiiiiiiiiiife, that make Tobolowsky’s stories so unique. Listening to Stephen Tobolowsky is like falling asleep on a train and being woken up to the voice of the most interesting man in the world, then opening your eyes to find yourself alone, because it’s a podcast and he’s not your friend. He’s a famous.

It’s been one hell of a year for ‘Nicholas V.D. Kolk’. Since joining the Radiotopia stable, long running radio oddment Love & Radio [RSS] has quintupled its listenership. Each episode is unique, but tied together by a refusal to adopt the didactic ‘tell it – show it – explain it – learn from it’ formula tittied out by American public radio, and an unmatched ability to dig up weirdo stories from around the globe. Love & Radio remains both excitingly experimental and stunningly well produced. Seriously, the Joanna Newsom episode is some of the cleverest Jorge Luis Borges shit in podcasting.

Robert Ashley [RSS] is one of those perpetually stoned people who thanks to some freak mutation, don’t actually need drugs to stay in a groovy stupor. Having graduated from two of the greatest and much lamented videogame podcasts of all time [1][2], Ashley moved on to laconically spoon out a show ‘about videogames and the people who love them’. That no sells ‘A Life Well Wasted’s impeccable research, production values and above all music, like superman shower wrestling Andy Dufresne. Ashley creates a wholly original soundtrack for each episode – composed of dreamy acid folk blip pop, and coaxes interviews into meandering sound springs that drip feed a forest of… Fuck that sentence, right in the tutter.

If you’re not listening to 99% invisible [RSS] you’re wasting your ossicles. What started as dry shite show about design, quickly became one of the the most gloriously inventive explorations of history, science, art and culture online.

Epic Listens

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The Partially Examined Life is a dense, erudite, an often irredeemably smug discussion of some of the thorniest issues in philosophy. I don’t actually listen to it, but I wanted to look clever by including it on this list.

Hardcore History [iTunes] is the 800lb gorilla of history podcasts. Irregularly released and sardonically narrated by libertarian curmudgeon Dan Carlin, HH (wait whuuuuut) is a love it or hate it tautology in earworm form. For my money, podcasts don’t get much more entertaining than these multi-hour forays into World War 1, The Mongol Hordes, or quirky historic oddities like the Anabaptist rebellion.

The Secret History of Hollywood [iTunes] is my new jam, and boy is it sticky. The show’s so long it makes hardcore history look bite sized (one episodes clocks in at over seven hours). What makes TSHOH so unique is it’s thrilling storytelling. Whether he’s recounting the childhood horrors that made Alfred Hitchcock such a bewitching filmmaker and such a paradoxically wonderful and terrible person; or walking you though the clammy basement of Universal Studios’ genre defining early 20th Century Horrors, host Adam Roche brings unparalleled erudition and charm to his topic. The research, suspenseful storytelling and expert narration are unparallellogrammed. Listen to this, it’s brill.

Interview Shows

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Have you heard the one about the comedian who alienates everyone he’s ever known, blows through a couple of marriages, retreats to his garage and makes the worlds most popular podcast? WTF? [RSS] Yeah, OK, it’s over exposed (he just interviewed Obama AND Keith Richards), and the show lacks the teeth it once did, but Maron is still good for a well researched deep dive into the life and career of a ludicrously wide variety of entertainers.

Pete Holmes [RSS] [itunes] is smug, laughs at his own jokes and wishes he was Marc Maron, but his self effacing zen narcissist routine hits it out of the park when it comes to getting guests to open up. If you miss the kind of interviews Maron used to do – where unhealthy personal revelations from the host would prompt the same in his guests, look no further.

Sex man Dr. Christopher Ryan [RSS] isn’t a real doctor, or even a real academic (they don’t usually put PHD in their URLS). What he is is an outspoken freethinker with a young Dick Cavett like rolodex of writers, scientists and countercultural oddballs. If you wondered where all the champagne socialist American intellectuals who use Europe as an improper verb went, it was to this guys nekkid cocktail parties.

I was there too [RSS] has a simple premise: Bit part players spill the behind the scenes beans. The interviews tend toward the sycophantic, but there’s a fascinating voyeuristic aspect to the bitchy revelations.

Me too shows

It would be wildly modest and pathologically secure of me not to mention my own podcasts. There are over a dozen of them, all pictured on the right, overly varied and infrequently updated. But if I were to recommend just a couple, they’d be Reading Plays [RSS], a dense but irreverent book club for the theatre and The Gareth Stack Show Live, Featuring Gareth Stack [RSS], on which it’s been my infrequent pleasure to chat up the most infuriatingly creative and successful shits of my acquaintance. There’s nothing quite so painful after all, as the success of ones friends.

On Podcasting & Irishness

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I was a guest on the Irish Times Off Topic podcast yesterday. We chatted about what separates podcasting from broadcast radio, and the future of podcasting as an industry. It was one of those classic situations which emerge in interviews, whether for a job or in the media, where what you’ve prepared doesn’t quite match up to what you’re expected to talk about. Alas, although I’ve been making podcasts for almost a decade, as I don’t actually listen to any Irish shows I was a particularly poor spokesperson for the medium here. There are many many great short Irish radio series available in podcast or streaming format – the latest being Alan Meaney’s ‘Sound Conversations‘ series. There are also some high quality Irish broadcast radio programmes that make themselves available as podcasts. For example Culture File, the RTE Lyric FM show I’ve been lucky enough to contribute to over the last few months. However when it comes to really great, podcast native, Irish shows, I’m in the dark. If you know of any great ones, please mention them in the comments and I’ll do what I can to promote them in future.

Let me race to point out, this isn’t a failure of Irish podcasting – I’m sure great shows are out there. It’s in part to do with the nature of the medium, which although bound to language is fundamentally international. My own tastes are diverse and eccentric enough that the shows I enjoy tend to be geographically and topically electric. It’s also a natural outcome of my own conflicted relationship to Irishness. I’m from here clearly, but it’s an identity that emerges for me only emerges in contrasts – in moments of unbritishness or unamericaness – rather than as a sense of national pride or felt identity. I don’t watch Irish television, enjoy Irish (or indeed any) sports, speak the Irish language or feel a connection to the myths and legends celebrated by the celtic revival. I don’t read Irish newspapers or (despite working in the industry) listen to broadcast radio here. I’m not passing judgement on these things, or replacing them with the shibboleths of another preferred culture. It’s simply that nationalism, whether it be a felt pride of nationhood or the iconography and ritual accompanying it, have never held an interest for me. Perhaps it’s alienation, or merely a poor cultural fit. Either way, don’t take it personally Ireland, it’s not you, it’s me.

I know what you’re thinking – who does this poltroon think he is going on the radio to talk about Irish podcasting? I’d be the first to agree I’m in no position to talk about it. Alas there was a bit of a misunderstanding all round. Irish Times writer Declan Conlan had seen me speak about podcasting earlier this year at the NUJ freelance forum. That event included a matched pair of talks. I spoke about the history and future of podcasting, while Colm Coyne – whose in depth knowledge of Irish radio and media is unimpeachable – spoke about the podcast scene over here. I’m fascinated by podcasting as a medium, and as a variety of forms of spoken word art and entertainment. But given that there was another guest on Off Topic to talk about podcasting in general – Jason Phipps, head of audio with The Guardian – Colm would doubtless have been more able to answer ‘the Irish question’.

Here’s my talk from earlier this year, at the National Union of Journalist’s ‘Freelance Forum’, where I spoke about the commercial viability and future of podcasting.

Here’s Colm Coyne speaking about the Irish side of the well, coin.

William Morris in Dublin – Culture File

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Download: ‘William Morris in Dublin’

William Morris, considered the founder of the late Victorian Arts & Crafts movement in architecture and design, twice visited Ireland. He toured the country, delivering lectures on art and socialism. The influence of Morris’s design philosophy, and to a lesser extent his political leanings, can be seen to this day in a number of Arts & Crafts buildings in Dublin, including Clondalkin library, Charlveille Castle Dining Room, and Senior College Rathmines. I visited Whitechurch Library (a 1911 building designed by legendary Irish architect John Byrne), in the company of art historian, Dr Eimear O’Connor, to discuss the enduring influence of Arts & Crafts in Ireland.

Special thanks to Librarian Breda Bollard for allowing us use of the library and providing a tour of the space.


Tracks used

Herman Finck Medley – The K-Nuts Medley: Gilbert the Filbert – I’ll
Make a Man of You Yet” by Kelli Uustani
The Mosquito’s Parade (studio) – Ian Whitcomb
John McCormack – Dear Little Shamrock
Andrew Grumman – Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS- Five Variants of Dives & Lazarus