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The Organist

By KCRW, Andrew Leland

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Take a weird, thoughtful and pleasurable journey into literature, music, art, philosophy, the internet, language, and history with McSweeney's and KCRW. This unconventional arts-and-culture magazine features contributors and guests like Miranda...

Customer Reviews


This is the first podcast that makes me understand why people like podcasts. Host Andrew Leland is one of the great Internet-radio minds of our time. I would listen to him read the back of cereal boxes. Could not recommend this highly enough.

So, so good

This podcast overwhelms me with joy and I can't wait for more episodes!

The Organist

I have listened to a lot of podcasts. I try, when I can, to make my ears make meaning for me. And I’ve walked beneath the same night sky each night & sometimes what I love is how a new work of art makes the same thing so exquisite in its sameness. For instance, last night I listened to The Organist as I walked across the dark expanse of hills & fields & collapsed wooden fences, the black silhouettes of grain bins black against the dark of the darkness. As the voices in The Organist spoke the sky lit up with falling stars: bright ones & faint ones, white ones & pink ones & green ones, hexagonal ones & stringy ones & ovular ones. So many falling stars that their glow illuminated the landscape. I walked beneath the cascade of falling stars, head tilted up, mouth open, the night air cool on my tongue & lips. I wanted to catch the falling stars in my mouth like snowflakes, but they were always too fast or too far away or too scary or too true. But I tried. I swung my head around & bit at the air & tried. It is important to try. One must always try to try. At the bottom of a hill sat a farm with a fenced-in area & three white horses grazing on the nightgrass. Stars fell from the sky into the fenced-in area & lay burning & white-hot on the grass, casting stark white light over the surroundings. The grazing horses walked over & ate the fallen stars & their bodies began to glow a blood-red light. In the light I looked at my hands & thought that maybe I might be unhealthy, that maybe I should go to the hospital. At the hospital I saw a friend in the hall. She was being rushed on a gurney. Mathias! my friend said & waved. I waved back. The attending nurse wheeled her over to me. Hey, my friend said, What’s up? I tried to explain about the horses & the stars but it all came out wrong. Finally I gave up. What are you doing here? I said. I’m having a few things surgically removed from my bucketlist, she said. I wanted to tell her that that’s not how bucketlists work, but the nurse began to roll her gurney away. Real good to see ya, my friend said. Lets get together soon & really do some good catching up! She smiled with big white teeth. The nurses wheeled her into the surgical theater through two large swinging doors made of mirrors. I looked down at my phone. I could not remember if the podcast was still playing.