Stories from inside life's big top.

Posts by Megan Spencer

Radical Acts of Remembrance

Posted on January 3, 2020

A fantastic thing has come out of making From A Whisper To A Bang!   A slew of people have taken to visiting the grave of my great-uncle, Richard “Charles” Spencer, Private, 5218, AIF, (1899-1918). Generous strangers all, asking for nothing in return.   Something I never considered when I began making this podcast series about remembrance, three years ago with the welcome of 2020.   Richard’s final resting place is in the small CWGC cemetery of Spoilbank, a few kilometres south of Ypres in Belgium. I tell his story in Episode 03: ‘City As War Memorial’. Thousands of people in Australia and all over the world have listened to it.   Sad and astonishing as it is, it is a gateway into something…

Memento Mori: Laila Marie Costa

Posted on September 27, 2019

Not long ago, a ‘call to action’ floated across my social feeds. “Gondola. Need one. Anyone selling theirs? Or could help hook a sista up?”   It was from Melbourne artist Laila Marie Costa, an old friend of a friend whose art I’ve seriously admired for many years.   Given her line of work it wasn’t unusual. She wasn’t kidding either.   Reaching deep into her Italian heritage and harking the call of refused, obsolete, junk objects – the addiction fever-grip to which she’s been answering her entire artistic life – I intuited she was in the throes of (another) new upcycling project…   While the self-described “creator of art stuff… curator of collections, riffage musician and champion weeder” later told me she “wasn’t…

From A Whisper To A Bang! – The Podcast, The Marathon

Posted on September 3, 2019

You might have noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here lately. Well, for the last 6 months or so anyway.   Something really BIG has taken up my time. For the best part of two years really… The biggest creative project of my life.   I’ve been working with sound since the late 1980s, and working in radio most of my life – from the early days at 3RRR, to triple j, then on ABC Local Radio and Radio National too.   Radio’s always been my “first love”. When I relocate to Berlin in 2015 as a freelance media maker (and as a newly-minted meditation teacher!) I add “podcast maker” to my suite of skills. It seems a “no brainer”. Helping set up…

Second Life: Karen Lynch

Posted on December 4, 2018

Earlier this year, after travelling many miles and relocating for the umpteenth time in my life, I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a lovely act of kindness.   It happened when I met Australian collage artist Karen Lynch in person for the first time.   I’d recently moved to the “southern creep” of Adelaide, Karen’s home city. On a sunny day in May we arranged to catch up in one of the sleepy seaside villages between our respective suburbs that only ‘the locals’ know about.   We’d been ‘virtual’ blogging buddies for 4 years, encouraging each other and interacting as co-members of the very first intake of Pip Lincolne‘s ‘Blog With Pip’ (an online “how to” course for bloggers),…

Steal The Light: Alice Orchard

Posted on December 1, 2018

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision… is the most abject treachery; and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity, which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.” – Virginia Woolf, ‘A Room Of One’s Own’.   I’ve long been an admirer of Alice Orchard. We met a decade ago in Darwin when I was living there, working in radio.   I’d up-stumped from Sydney, and, in search of  like-minded souls who lived and breathed music, found my way to Happy Yess, a tiny…

Until The End Of The World

Posted on October 29, 2018

Jeremy Conlon has a new album. I’ve written about his work before on Circus Folk. He’s an unpredictable composer. A great live performer. And his music excites me.   Beautiful But Dangerous is one of the new tracks. Swarming, menacing and punctuated by ominous piano, it sounds as if the hounds of hell are growling up from Hades, “the end of the world is nigh”. It’s just as this unique Australian composer wishes it to be on this, his tenth recording, ‘The Degradation Suite’.   Beautiful and dangerous perfectly sums up the aural effect of taking in this epic, atmospheric journey into a heart of darkness.   Achingly beautiful, it also kind of hurts to listen. “Harsh climates breed hard humans, and the slow…

On Nodding Terms

Posted on February 4, 2018

High-res version

In February 2018 Auspicious Plastic was selected as a finalist in the Frankie “Good Stuff” Awards in the ‘Writing + Podcasts’ category.

 

 

I submitted an excerpt from “Episode 10“, featuring a conversation with dedicated diarist and digital publisher, Carrie King. It went into the running for the ‘Writing + Podcast’ category, and the People’s Choice Award.

 

 

Bobbing around out there on that roiling sea of podcasts, sometimes it can feel as if you’re in the boat alone, rendered invisible by thick fog and heavy swells. So it’s very nice to receive some acknowledgement. And an oar back to shore…

 

I was chuffed (and genuinely surprised!) to be selected as one of six finalists in the category. And grateful to everyone I’ve interviewed for the series so far, Cooperblack for the theme music and Studio Ink for the lovely logo design. And to my late Mum Margaret who inspired it all.

 

Thank you to everyone who has listened to the series, been touched it, and who voted for it in the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

 

POST UPDATED: ‘Auspicious Plastic’ didn’t win the category, but it was great to be selected along with five other auspicious finalists. Read more – and about the winner (congrats Taku Mbudzi!) – on the Frankie website.


TAKING A LITTLE BREAK: ‘Auspicious Plastic’ will return in 2019. In the meantime there are 14 episodes to catch up on or to re-listen to – on Soundcloud, and/or listen+subscribe on iTunes.


 

An Auspicious Milestone…

Posted on January 13, 2018

Ten episodes, 11 guests, 12 months and a brand New Year…   As 2018 begins, I’d like to acknowledge all of the kind and wonderful people who have shared their precious objects and personal stories with me on the Auspicious Plastic podcast over the last 12 months.   For me it doesn’t get better than listening to conversations that come straight from the heart.   So on the launch of the 10th episode, I’d like to take this opportunity to gratefully thank the Auspicious Plastic “family”… THANK YOU: Delma and Katherine Calcagno, AU (Episode 01) Anna Brownfield, AU (Episode 02) Michael Pieracci, US (Episode 03) Robyn Overell, AU (Episode 04) Amy Brand, AU (Episode 05) Sarah Pepin, LUX (Episode 06) Danny Walsh, AU (Episode 07)…

Mashville: Yun-hua Chen

Posted on January 2, 2018

“Jazz has endured because it doesn’t have a beginning or an ending. It’s a moment.”            – Robert Altman.   Some of my favorite films are ‘mosaics’. A fistful of the best include Nashville (1975), MASH (1970), The Player (1992) and Short Cuts (1993). Made by American movie pioneer, Robert Altman (1925 – 2006), they’re shining examples of supremely satisfying, subversive cinematic storytelling, as intricately constructed as a Mesopotamian temple.   And so it goes: the paths of a multitude of seemingly discreet characters intersect and intertwine, eventually moving together as one towards a powerful denouement. Sounds like jazz to me.   Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic, sprawling tragedy Magnolia (1999) is another tapestry with a baker’s dozen worth of characters…

Fairground Attraction: Mark Ogge

Posted on December 15, 2017

It’s amazing who you meet in Berlin…   Artists are drawn to the city as if it were a kind of mythic, spiritual ‘big top’, seeking artistic inspiration, like-minded community and creative challenge. Something I’ve written about time and time again here at Circus Folk!   Mark Ogge is one such ‘pilgrim’. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia – and the brother of one of my dearest friends – Mark’s an “internationally renowned” mid-career artist with a passion for making images inspired by “the rich history of fairground and theatrical art”, the circus, vaudeville and Commedia dell’Arte.   Having studied all of the above, in 2001 he painted the Famous Spiegeltent Facade under which thousands have sat during Melbourne festivals (and elsewhere around the world). Also…