Radio Binge Listen: ‘Short Cuts’

Ah, Josie Long. A comedian who celebrates enthusiasm, excitement and unusual thoughts, rather than cruelty and cynicism. I saw her on stage a couple of times, once with a sea scene painted on her stomach, which should give you some idea of the innovative and silly things she does, and I mean ‘silly’ in the best possible way. She is also a co-founder of the charity Arts Emergency, supporting arts and humanities education as important, pertinent and should be available for everyone.

How amazing is the Art Emergency manifesto?

As well as this amazing charity, Josie Long has produced Short Cuts, a radio series with BBC Radio 4.

With Short Cuts, Josie Long continues to celebrate enthusiasm, unusual thoughts, with a lovely light touch. It’s not kooky or quirky or self conscious. It’s thoughtful, sweet and full of delight. She describes Short Cuts as a ‘dive into a world of true stories, brief encounters, radio adventures and found sound.’ Each episode is based around a general theme. It’s a theme that loosely links lots of different types of sound and story, held together with Long’s presenting, providing considered thoughts or her own stories on the subject.

I really like the way Short Cuts uses found sound and effects. The sounds, patches of music and beats bind the pieces together, coming in waves behind the voices and carrying atmosphere, filling thoughtful pauses.

Listening to Short Cuts is like fiddling around with a radio, suddenly coming across clear voices, and clear sounds, through the white noise and patches of music.

Or, if you’ve ever sat, waiting and watching, on the marble floor of a train station, and watched people pass, and wondered what each person was thinking about, what was being played through their headphones, Short Cuts is like being suddenly allowed to hear the thoughts of all those interesting people around you. If they’d been picked and introduced by someone interesting and interested, that is.

Some of the found sound might be familiar if you’ve also listened to Story Corps, which you should by the way, but I’ve never re-heard a story that couldn’t be listened to dozens of times.

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