Inspiration and recommended listening
Podcasts and radio programmes
Nocturne Podcast - "Peering into the dusty corners of the night." Host Vanessa Lowe and co-creator Kent Sparling describe Nocturne as "essay radio - a hybrid form of audio storytelling that blends elements of documentary, fiction and sound-art." The theme of the podcast is night; interpretation of the theme is varied, from short documentaries to interviews to collections of sounds. The audio ideas and production of the podcast are generally good and the intro soundscape/music is wonderful. Have you got a story related to a particular time of the day - night, sunrise, high noon - that you could produce for Queer Out Here?
The World According to Sound - "A 90 second audio show." Each episode consists primarily of a sound along with a small amount of informative voiceover. Sounds range from singing sand to hold music, notes made by blowing on leaves, water pipes and protests. Think of episodes as something a bit like audio snapshots of a places, times, people and objects. Audio production - recording and post-production - is high quality. Could you explore the outdoors in this way?
Tough Girl Podcast - "Every episode of the Tough Girl Podcast is full of inspiring stories of women overcoming great challenges." Host Sarah Williams interviews an outdoorsy, sporty or adventuring woman every week. The interviews follow a fairly standard format discussing the interviewee's background, their adventures, how they train for and fund their challenges and so on. The interviews are conducted over Skype or similar and are fairly long and unedited, so the sound quality is sometimes a bit sketchy - but that's OK! Don't worry too much if your interview for Queer Out Here isn't perfect, just make sure it's engaging.
Mountain - "A podcast about adventure." Mountain is produced and hosted by Christopher Sleight, veteran radio-type, who describes the podcast as "a crafted mix of interviews, sound and music, brought together to tell compelling and immersive stories." While episodes of Mountain are, unsurprisingly, all mountain themed, the content varies from stories about mountain rescues, cycle races or climbing trips, investigations of caves, music, history. Smooth production, great presentation - a good spot to start thinking about outdoors activities you might be able to research and record.
Nancy - "Provocative stories and frank conversations about the LGBTQ experience today." Hosts/BFFs Kathy Tu and Tobin Low take us from the importance of queer role models to anti-trans politics in the USA mainstream, from a camp for queer women and enbies/non-binary identified folk to the intricacies of being queer and/or out at work. This is a relatively new show from WNYC and some episodes are more compelling than others - the rawness of Kathy Tu coming out (again, again) to her mother springs to mind - but the variety of subjects might give you a few ideas of things to investigate and document in your own world.
Short Cuts - "Short documentaries and adventures in sound." This ongoing series of shorts, found sound, music and spoken word is hosted by comedian and activist Josie Long on BBC Radio 4. Episodes usually feature three or four pieces, loosely based around a theme or concept - time, borderlands, witness, copycat, the voice, anonymity - with linking bridges from Josie Long. Sometimes the links are more tenuous than others! This slightly hodgepodge format is similar to what we're aiming for with Queer Out Here episodes.
The Heart - "An audio project about intimacy and humanity." From joy to sorrow, The Heart explores humanity through the lens of love and intimacy. There is happiness, confusion, sadness and wonder, in episodes that range from around 5 to 45 minutes. With a rich sound design that integrates sound art, interviews and fiction, this podcast asks questions about who we are and how we love. Aspiring radio documentary makers should definitely find something here!
Off Track - "A radio show and podcast which combines the relaxing sounds of nature with awesome stories of wildlife and environmental science, all recorded in the outdoors." Currently hosted by Ann Jones, this show from Australia's ABC Radio National switches from the scientific minutiae of odd natural phenomena and weird creatures, to big picture social and environmental stories related to migration, land use and so on. It often features lovely field recordings and it's always a bit of a lucky dip - as Ann Jones says, "Join me next week - that's when I'll be taking you somewhere else." Do you know any queer people working in the kinds of jobs covered by Off Track? It would be interesting to hear from them . . .
Twenty Thousand Hertz Podcast - "The stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting sounds." The sound a car door makes when closing can signify quality and luxury, noise pollution has physical and psychological effects on those who live with it, and it's pretty weird to find out that a voice acting gig you did six years ago means you're now the voice of Siri. Host Dallas Taylor is usually the guide through these professionally-produced stories. As the team behind Twenty Thousand Hertz says, "You may not think about the sounds you hear every day, but somebody has." What sounds do you associate with your outdoors activities? What is the story behind them?
Miscellany: episodes, field recordings, docs, one-offs and sound art.
Waters of Life - Earshot, ABC Radio National (length: 4:05). A short, beautiful, birds-eye view of one river (the Mitchell) and one tributary (the Dargo) in south east Australia, beginning at the coastal lakes at the river mouth and sweeping up into the high country. Includes some great snippets of field recording.
March Microadventure - A Foray Into the Woods - Allysse Riordan (length: 3:42). Join Queer Out Here editor Allysse on an overnight microadventure - from the busy road, through the gate into the woods, crunching the leaves underfoot, to a place where she can put the water on for a brew and listen to the birdsong . . . This piece tells a sound story with only one sentence of narration.
The Gondolier - Radiolab episode (length: 54:42). Kind of a meta-documentary about two American reporters who go to Venice to record a documentary about "the first female gondolier" - only to realise that Alex actually identifies as a man.
A Catalog of Nights - Nocturne Podcast episode (length: 24:56). A series of field recordings from around the world, documenting different nightscapes - from a thunderstorm in France to a hot night in Sydney, from frogs and canals in Italy to a camper van near bubbling geysers in New Zealand, to the weird in-between nighttime inside a plane. Experience a world of nights through your headphones.
When I Heard at the Close of the Day - poem by Walt Whitman, read by Xe Sands (length: 2:01). A poem, by a queer poet, about the satisfaction and happiness to be gained simply by spending time in nature with a loved one.
Invertebrate Harmonics - Chris Watson (length: 6:26). Sound art in which field recordings of insects in the Borneo jungle are used to explore a rhythmical, musical drone. This was released on the SN Variations label as part of a collection inspired by the Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi.
Soho LGBT Walking Tour - Clayton Littlewood (length: 13:14). A mini-documentary about the history - and particularly the surprisingly longstanding LGBTQIA+ history - of this area of London. The walking tour is (was?) run by Centered and includes some information about the area as well as the development of the tour itself.
Putting the 'Out' in Outdoors with Elyse Rylander - MtnMeister episode (length: 36:07). An interview with Elyse Rylander, executive director of OUT There Adventures. There's a lot of 101 in here for non-queer-familiar audiences and your milage may vary with what it's like to wear a binder, but it's great to hear from someone who's doing something positive for LGBTQIA+ folks in the outdoors. More, please!
Tour of the Trails at Piedmont Park - Mister Richardson (length: 9:06). This video documentary from the 1980s (now on YouTube) was produced by the America Music Show, Atlanta. It's pretty hilarious in places. Mister Richardson notes that the cruising area no longer exists, so it's also an interesting bit of queer archive material.
Give Me Space Below My Feet - Between the Ears, BBC Radio 3 (length: 29:43). A wonderful mix of interview, poetry and binaural stereo field recordings, this immersive piece by Helen Mort traces memories and stories of Gwen Moffat's mountaineering life. Listen with headphones for full effect and be inspired to try a different approach to outdoors audio.