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  • Writer's pictureJH

Episode #52: Times Like These


The trouble with recording a semi-topical podcast days before you plan to release it is that things can change in the interim.

Like, radically change.

For example, when I sat down last Saturday morning to record Episode #52, the US was still in electoral purgatory, as it had been for days. By the time I was done recording there was a new ostensible leader of the free world, which throws a bit of a wrench into your little podcast. And then Foo Fighters did an emotional and powerful thing on Saturday Night Live and I had some decisions to make. Sometimes you have to call audibles and do the updates, even if it means a bit of wobbly structure in the episode. So be it. I’m a one-man shop. I do the best I can.

The Foo Fighters and their performance last weekend of Times Like These was profound and poignant (see below). Under the circumstances – following Joe Biden’s victory speech, at the end of the very difficult Trump years, and with Covid still advancing – there was such catharsis in the opening of the song. I know they chose it deliberately and it was an anthem for the moment. There is nothing like music to speak or spark your emotions. I honestly feel like that performance was a cultural event, sad and hopeful at the same time.

Part II of the episode is my ode to the magnificent city of Vienna, which I was so lucky to visit on tour three years ago. What happened there last week hasn’t been given much attention in my part of the world because of the election and that makes me sad. I hope to return to Vienna soon just to sit again and enjoy a cup of wonderful coffee in a city that feels like a movie set. It is just so beautiful.

Finally, with an eye on Remembrance Day, I talked a little bit about why I’m so obsessed with the First World War. Thanks for that is owed in large part to It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and its bizarre and evocative side storyline involving Snoopy and the Red Baron. In particular the animation and vibe after Snoopy is shot down hooked me as a child (see below). That sky! It still gets me today. When I was very young I was also affected by a made-for-television version of All Quiet On The Western Front that starred John-Boy Walton (strange the things you see as a kid that set a course for your whole life).

As I said on the episode, I took my “dream” trip to France and Belgium 12 years ago to visit and pay homage to sites of relevance to WW1 junkies like Vimy, Beaumont-Hamel, Courcelette, Passchendaele and others. I think and read about this stuff all year long, but Remembrance Day gives me a reason to talk about it – hopefully that has some appeal to my historically-minded listeners.

Many thanks for listening as always!


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