Olympic Games, 388 BC style

Greek charioteerWhat would it have been like to spend five days attending the ancient Greek Olympics in 388 BC? That’s what Neil Faulkner‘s book sets out to explore. You can listen to the interview, which I recorded with Neil in the spring of 2012, shortly before the London games, by clicking on the media players above or below. And there’s more information about the book on Yale University Press’s website here.
In the interview, Neil tells me:

‘Ancient Greece is a highly divided and competitive world, and it’s a world that puts huge emphasis on sport, partly because all of Greece’s city states depend for their armed forces on a citizen militia made up of their adult male citizens. So there’s a sense in which Greek sport is war without the shooting. It’s preparation for war in a highly divided and competitive world.’ 

And we also produced a short video of Neil talking about the book:

Neil Faulkner on his Visitor's Guide to the Ancient Olympics from George Miller on Vimeo.

 

Continue Reading · 9 August, 2016 · history and politics, sport, video

Ted Nield on Supercontinent

Nield Supercontinent coverWith the same inevitability as the shifting tectonic plates perhaps, my podcast backlist seems to have drifted off iTunes and disappeared beneath the waves. So I am intending to use the opportunity, which did not initially come as welcome news, to gradually re-present all my interviews from the past ten years. They may not all arrive in chronological order, but this was definitely the first interview with which Podularity kicked off on Hallowe’en 2007.

Here’s what I said about the podcast first time round:

Ten billion years in the life of our planet. That’s the subject of this first Podularity podcast. And all in a little over 17 minutes … Alert readers may already object that it’s impossible to cover 10 billion years, as the Earth is only six billion years old. (If you are objecting that the Earth is a great deal younger than that, then this podcast is probably not going to appeal to you.) However, Ted Nield’s new book, Supercontinent, looks not only deep into the past by examining the geological record, but also peers into the planet’s far-distant future.

And here’s what Simon Winchester said about Ted’s book in his review of it:

The four-dimensional complexities of our happy little planet – “earth’s immeasurable surprise” – are made elegantly accessible by Ted Nield in this truly exceptional book. At least until the next major discovery it deserves to become the standard work, ideal for students of the subject, and hugely enjoyable to those for whom the world remains an unfathomable enigma.

Continue Reading · 7 June, 2016 · podcasts, science and philosophy

Zoë Anderson on The Ballet Lover’s Companion

My guest in this podcast is Zoë Anderson, ballet critic of the Independent and author of The Ballet Lover’s Companion, recently published by Yale University Press. Zoë’s book traces the history and development of ballet as an art form by focusing on 140 works in the repertoire: classics, revived rarities and modern masterpieces. Sarah Crompton, reviewing the book in the Sunday Times, called it authoritative and praised its ‘crisp ability to convey an affection for ballet and a clear-eyed view of its oddities’.

Continue Reading · 8 June, 2015 · art and music, podcasts

LMD podcast: Ed Emery on the Kurdish songbook project

My guest in the most recent podcast for Le Monde diplomatique was Ed Emery, who is an ethnomusicologist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and also the presenter of Ed Emery’s Revolutionary Radio Show.

Ed wrote a piece for Le Monde diplomatique in which he described the regular visits he and fellow musicians make to Calais to talk to and make music with Kurdish people who have fled from Syria and hope to gain entry to the UK: what he calls ‘musical solidarity work with migrants’ as part of a wider Kurdish songbook project. In this interview he told me more about the project and plans for the reconstruction of the devastated Kurdish town of Kobane.

kobane

Continue Reading · 22 May, 2015 · art and music, history and politics, podcasts

Of stones, bones, and wolf-dogs

pat shipmanIn Pat Shipman’s recent book, The Invaders (Harvard University Press, 2015), she argues that our last close relative, the Neanderthals, were driven to extinction not solely by climate change – though that played its part – but by the incursion of an invasive species: homo sapiens. We modern humans – the invaders of Pat’s title – completely changed the ecosystem when we arrived in Eurasia between 45 and 50 thousand years ago and made life much tougher for our Neanderthal cousins. One of our critical advantages, Shipman believes, may have been that we domesticated the wolf as a hunting companion much earlier than previously thought, as early as 32,000 years ago.Pat Shipman Invaders quote

Continue Reading · 8 April, 2015 · anthropology, natural history, podcasts

From the archive: Kat Banyard on The Equality Illusion

Here’s a ten-minute video interview I did with Kat Banyard four years ago about her book, The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today. I’ve just watched it again and am reminded of how powerfully eloquent she is: Kat Banyard introduces The Equality Illusion from George Miller on Vimeo.

Continue Reading · 31 March, 2015 · history and politics, video
Akhil Sharma Family Life pb cover

Congratulations to Akhil Sharma

Last week Indian-American novelist Akhil Sharma won the Folio Prize for his novel Family Life. I met Akhil when he visited London last spring to talk about his eagerly awaited second book. Akhil was born in New Delhi and migrated to the US in the late seventies. Having initially pursued a career in investment banking, […]

Continue Reading · 30 March, 2015 · literature, podcasts
Anna Karenina Bartlett OUP

Anna Karenina revisited

“The text of Anna Karenina is like a Persian carpet of intricate symmetrical design, whose workmanship can only be appreciated by seeing the reverse side.” Rosamund Bartlett I had the pleasure of chairing Rosamund Bartlett‘s event at the Oxford Literary Festival yesterday afternoon in which she talked about Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, and the experience of […]

Continue Reading · 28 March, 2015 · literature, podcasts
Chimpanzee

Craig Stanford on Planet without Apes

“Evolutionary success is not a birthright nor is it a guarantor of survival in perpetuity. Natural selection wrought the living ape species, and like all animals their time on Earth is limited by changing environments, the emergence of competing species, predators, and the like. Some species cope well in a variety of environments. Such generalists […]

Continue Reading · 18 March, 2015 · podcasts, science and philosophy

The Philosopher in the Kitchen: 2. Stewardship & einkorn bread

Here’s the second of the series of short films I made with Julian Baggini one hot afternoon last summer. In this one he tackles the vexed question of food and stewardship:   Julian Baggini: The Philosopher in the Kitchen – 2. Stewardship: Einkorn bread from George Miller on Vimeo.

Continue Reading · 16 March, 2015 · food and drink, video