If it’s not raining, I ride my bike to work. Since it could still be considered the middle of the night when I do (4AM), it’s pretty quiet. My iPod helps make the ride a little more tolerable.
Probably unlike a lot of people, I don’t do a lot of music. At first it was old radio shows, which I still enjoy, but some of them are starting to lose their luster and I’m slowly adding more podcasts into the mix.
The appeal of the radio shows comes from the quality of the writing, which could be extremely good. They didn’t call it ‘theatre of the mind’ for nothing. Even decades later, a lot of the material still works. You can’t go wrong with a solid episode of Jack Benny or The Shadow. It’s also fascinating how a show serves as a time capsule, preserving a moment 60 or 70 years in the past.
A few years ago, I attended a panel discussion about old time radio. I must have been the only person there under 55. The guest of honor was an actor who had been on The Lone Ranger for a few years; his name currently escapes me. They recreated parts of well-known shows, commercials and jingles and an episode of The Lone Ranger, complete with sound effects. Probably not the same as watching it back in the day, but still fun.
While there’s no direct modern equivalent, podcasts come pretty close. There are shows covering just about every subject you could think of. In my case, most of them deal with film (Filmsack), writing (Scriptcast) or a slightly different take on current events (The Bugle and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!). And for overall entertainment value, you can’t go wrong with The Dinner Party or The Nerdist.
The only downside to all this great material is that I can’t listen to it when I want to write. It’s great for bike rides, runs or working in the kitchen, but for work on the outline or pages, that’s when the music kicks in and I thank my lucky stars for the wonderful gloriousness that is Pandora.
What are you listening to these days?