1. The radio show is free.
2. The radio show is uncensored, clever, meaningful, aggressive, and frequently strange.
3. You can listen to every episode of the radio show whenever you want. You can download the bits to CDs, or download them into your obnoxious portable music device to listen to as you scowl on the train.
4. The radio show is often about literature. You know, print. Fucking books.
5. The radio show hauls prominent authors away from their agents and penthouses into the streets of New York and grills them about their successes, excesses, failures, triumphs, and contradictions. The unsung get sung. The prophets get to rail against Pharoah. The con artists get a chance to make their pitches.
6. The person doing the interviewing has actually read the books. You can hear the slow shock from the writers being interviewed. They have resigned themselves to never being heard, to being part of a dead medium, to chopping up their passion for their art into drips, drabs, cuts, and blather in order to satisfy their publishers.
7. You thought people couldn't get excited about literature anymore. But they can. You can hear literature matter -- live, on the internet -- for the first time in fifty years.
8. Oh yeah -- the St. Anselm bit. The radio show exists. It's called "The Bat Segundo Show." It's alright if you didn't know about it before. Now you do. Maybe you just now made it happen with your mind. What else could you do with your mind?
The show was started in 2004 by this fellow Edward Champion who is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. He says he started the radio show purely as an excuse to interview David Mitchell. Most radio shows start purely as an excuse to make money or educate us about jazz or Botswana. This is a phenomenon.
I like David Mitchell, too. He's writing a single book in many volumes which is becoming one of the most impressive displays of Djinni magic I've ever seen. Five more of these meaty, good books and he ought to die with the Nobel Prize. His novels churn into each other like laundry in a machine, and he turns his nested stories into cold objects that still stay festive and hearty. For some reason his story objects are always interesting instead of tedious and wrong (John Barth).
At the end of David Mitchell's "Ghostwritten" -- a book which I read all in one night while lying on my back in my apartment, eating straight crackers (to hell with the crumbs) -- there is a section called "Night Train" in which a radio host named Bat Segundo is forced into deep ethical arguments with a renegade military computer about whether or not to intervene in human wars to prevent the apocalpyse. Bat Segundo is a caricature of all those confrontational radio DJs with gimmicks and marital problems, but the computer finds the intelligence and humanity in Segundo anyway, and after some tense discussion, those nuclear missiles fizzle into the sea.
So that's where the name of the show comes from. Edward Champion is calling out intelligence -- artificial and otherwise -- in order to prevent the apocalypse that could occur (63% chance) from the impending movement of all things onto the internet -- forever.
Come on, readers!
He's got interviews with Peter David, Grandmaster Flash, Thomas Disch (days before he died), Ralph Bakshi, Nicholson Baker, Richard Price, Chip Kidd, William Gibson, William Vollmann, China Mieville, Martin Amis, Amy Sedaris, Jonathan Safran Foer, John Updike, Octavia Butler, Erica Jong, Dave Barry, and Brett Easton Ellis.
Haven't you always wanted to hear a fellow ask David Lynch if he understands his own movies?
Haven't you always wanted to hear somebody expose Mike Gravel as a crazy old coot who needs a nap?
You are going to look over the people this guy has interviewed, and you are going to hear the questions he has asked and you are going to say: "yeah, yeah, YES, YES, WHY NOT, HOLY SHIT."
It is good. I really can't talk this guy up enough. My only fear is that you will like what he does so much that you will stop reading this notable publication. He gets the big names.
Of course, we are young and pretty.
I do have some criticisms, however -- nobody is perfect.
1). Man, why not just call it the Edward Champion Show at this point?
2). Beware of the way that American publications seem to always drift into politics and celebrity. Look at "Harpers" these days, or "The New Yorker," or "The Atlantic Monthly," or even (the illustrious) "Playboy." Always be aware that you have to build an audience, and not strive to make yourself "matter." You probably know that anyway, but fucking write it down on an index card or something: "FICTION FIRST."
3). Your website design sucks. Put an ad out there on craigslist for some kid from Williamsburg to fix it for you and make it attractive and not look as if it is something you would find in Charlie Rose's recycle bin ten years ago. THIS WILL BE A GOOD INVESTMENT.
4). Hire some interns, while you are at it. Two good interns: a radio intern and a magazine intern. They will work for free for college credit. You know you need to do this. The universe gives you a gracious nod to make this happen, even if it feels sleazy to you. If it is a question of hiring interns or not being able to do as many shows as you would like, get the interns. For me. For literature.
Let us know if The Fiction Circus can ever do anything to help! If you ever need a small army of anonymous criminal literates to get anything done for you, just let us know. Our rates are reasonable.
YOU'VE GOT THE GOODS, CHAMPION! Keep going; nolite te bastardes carborundorum, etc, etc, etc.
Posted by miracle on Tue, 19 Aug 2008 02:15:40 -0400 -- permanent link