Not only can you find me blathering away on the occasional View from the Veranda podcast, produced by Neil Shuck of Meeples & Miniatures, but now I’ve launched upon my own, modest, podcasting career.
There are times when I’m happy to just talk about wargaming, but if you’re anything like me — though I wouldn’t necessarily encourage such a thing — you probably love reading all sorts of stirring literature featuring men, and sometimes women, being tested in the furnace of battle. Those of us of a more thoughtful disposition are also fascinated by the before and after of such events, as those involved face their fears of the coming struggle and then, afterwards, the dreadful consequences of their actions.
Such situations have inspired some of the greatest writers in human history, be they poets, playwrights, novelists or historians. In the pages of their works, humanity and inhumanity are laid bare, and we find ourselves fascinated and moved in equal measure, swept along by both the action and the psychology of this crimson cord of courage. In fact a number of Battlegames readers have found themselves in such situations for real, and I am always fascinated to discover how their own experiences tally with what historians and writers of fiction would have us believe.
What I am undertaking, then, is a series of podcasts — no more than an hour each — in which I shall both read and discuss particular passages which have lived with me long after I have closed the pages or left the theatre. It may be because of the beauty of the poetry or prose, or because a particular scene has taken root in my mind’s eye and lived with me ever after. Either way, they are distillations of our fascination with human conflict that I hope you, too, will find worthy of merit.
Why a podcast? Well, I remember listening to the wonderful Alistair Cook’s Letter from America on the BBC and felt there was something magical about his thoughtful, witty and incisive essays delivered, as it was in the early days, on “the wireless”. The mind can become engaged whilst the hands deal with more mundane tasks; in our case, perhaps cleaning up recalcitrant castings or applying layered washes to your latest tabletop battalion. Make no mistake, I have no pretensions of reaching the late Mr Cook’s exalted levels of broadcasting skills, but I hope that you do come to see them as stimulating companionship in your hobby.
Oh, and why not have them always deal directly with wargaming? Well, sometimes there are a number of other podcasts these days which do just that, and very well too. Besides, as far as I can tell, Battlegames readers tend to pride themselves on being a cut above your average gamer, broader of mind and deeper in thought as they apply, as Hercule Poirot might say, their “leetle grey cells” to this wonderful hobby.
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