3 September 2012

Age of Steampunk

This week's listening recommendations are once again twofold:

An Herr Döktor original, earlier.

"If you've ever encountered a person with flying goggles, clad in tweeds and clutching a mahogany laptop or brass smartphone on a chain, what's the explanation? Phill Jupitus steps into an era where the 19th and 21st centuries charmingly collide, to investigate the time travelling cult known as Steampunk.
Travelling back to the steam-powered future, Phill discovers a cast of modern characters - engineers, scientists, writers, artists and inventors - taking their inspiration from the Victorian and Edwardian arts and sciences, and from the fiction of H.G. Wells.
"It's still the early twenty-first century. The Victorian world, the Edwardian world carried on", explains Ian Crichton aka Herr Doktor amongst an array of fantastical homemade devices: digital camera modified with rivets, brass-etched ray gun, steam pistol and a space helmet like that worn by Lionel Jeffries in The First Men on The Moon. "We've got steam-powered cars on the streets. We've got huge dirigibles flying to Japan".
Steampunk speculates on an imaginary overlap between the 19th century and the present day. Phill investigates at a Steampunk convivial, The Houses of Parliament, on an x-ray ward, at a punk gig and in a shed in suburban Surrey.
You can catch up with a couple more of Mr Jupitus' exceedingly interesting past radio programmes via this very blog, here and here.

Ever since reading Ellis Peters' Cadfael stories and seeing Sean Connery in Umberto Eco's The Name Of The Rose I've always been rather partial to period crime/mystery tales set in and around monasteries. After all they do seem to make for the perfect setting for a good whodunnit peppered with eccentric characters and plenty of intrigue. The new serial in the 15 Minute Drama slot sounds like it could turn out be something worth sticking with for the next two weeks.

"London, 1537. As he plots to bring down the Abbeys, Thomas Cromwell sends his trusted lawyer-detective, Matthew Shardlake, to investigate the murder of a King's Commissioner in a monastery on the south coast of Kent. Which of the terrified monks is the murderer - and can Shardlake catch him before he strikes again? C J Sansom's bestselling Tudor crime novel, adapted for radio by Colin MacDonald.

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