By Vanessa Lowe
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There are 24 hours in a day. Seems pretty straightforward. But what do you really know about the hours between say, 11pm-6am. From graveyard shift jobs to “secret identities”, who we are and what we do at night is often less fully perceived by others, whether by choice or by circumstance. Peering into the dusty corners of the night, Nocturne explores these often overlooked and undisclosed slices of life. Under cover of darkness, our thoughts and feelings can take on strange new shapes, sometimes barely recognizable as our own. And the pulse of the world seems to alter too, sort of creating a curtain of privacy around our behaviors and even our appearance. Do I truly know you if I only know the daytime you? Let’s find out in Nocturne. Nocturne is a member of The Heard, an awesome collective of sound-rich, story-driven podcasts. Nocturne is essay radio - a hybrid form of audio storytelling that blends elements of documentary, fiction and sound-art. The Nocturne podcast was created by Vanessa Lowe and Kent Sparling, and is produced by Vanessa Lowe. Theme music composed by Kent Sparling.
||Ep. 33 – Interloper||The built environment consists of structures that humans make - including spaces where people live, work and play. For the most part, these places are inhabited during the day. But at night, new aspects of the built environment are revealed.||10/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 32 – The Dream You Should Be Having||The Sleepless project is two things: It's a voicemail that people can call when they can't sleep, so they can talk about what's on their mind and hopefully get back to sleep. It’s also an art project where the creator of the project makes short videos .||9/11/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 31 – Shortboard||On a beautiful day in April, Matthew Bryce went out to surf by himself off a remote beach in Scotland. Usually he goes out for 3 or 4 hours, and then goes about his life. This time was different. Read more →||8/9/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 30 – A Catalogue of Nights||In January I left my home for 6 months of wandering, and of course one of the main things I explored were the infinite shades of night in each new place. What I noticed more than ever is that every night is a finger print - each is unique,||6/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 29 – 3am||Have you every woken up in the wee hours of the night to find that you’re gripped by fears and anxieties that just didn’t exist in the light of day? - You can lie there awake in bed, in your comfortable home, maybe even next to a loved one,||4/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 28 – They’re All Asleep||Lots of museums have regular evening hours or events, often lasting until 8 or 9pm. But I wonder - what do these worlds become in the wee hours, when the last visitor has heeded the call to leave, and the doors are locked?||3/31/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 27 – The Radical Shift||In that place where darkness and isolation meet, fear can take hold in a particularly visceral way. When you’re alone in the dark, every sense works overtime. It can feel like the darkness and the fear are interchangeable.||2/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 26 – Moon Shadow||In September 2015 the full moon crossed into the Earth’s shadow and turned redish gold. It was the first blood moon, or total lunar eclipse of a super moon, in over 30 years, and it wouldn’t happen again for almost twenty more.||1/30/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 25 – A Word of Hope||The night can be a desperate and lonely place. Fortunately, there’s a group of people who make it their mission to bring comfort and hope to people in the night. Read more →||12/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 24 – The Kindness of Others||The ethos of randonneuring emphasizes personal challenge and comraderie. Randonneurs share the goal of having everyone make it to the finish line. They take care of each other, because what they’re doing is kind of crazy and a little dangerous.||11/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 23 – Proof of Passage||Picture it. You’re biking along a winding country road, 30 miles from the nearest town. The air is cool, there’s a slight wind, maybe a gentle mist. It’s three o’clock in the morning. You’ve been awake for 23 hours. Read more →||10/31/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 22 – Freedom and Control||The police play an important role in civil society. Their first mandate is to serve and protect - the ultimate goal being the maintenance of social order. Often this is accomplished with out undue assaults on individual liberty.||9/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 21 – To Separate Chambers||Some surveys suggest that up to a quarter of couples sleep in separate beds. Dave and Sue have both experienced the need to sleep alone, and while they miss things about sharing a bed all night, the arrangement seems tolerable to both of them.||8/24/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 20 – A Luminous Bubble||The night bus rolls through the city like a small enclosed world. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll see. One night, Helen Zaltzman’s bus ride home from the movies took a dark turn. Read more →||7/22/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 19 – The Vampire Beat||Jade Walker hates the daylight so much that most of her neighbors have rarely seen her. The sun is a personal affront to her. But she’s not disconnected from life. In fact, she sees it all. And because of her, so do we. Read more →||6/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 18 – Look Up!||The stars are always there in the sky, even when we can’t see them. Why should we look? Why should we care? Paul Salazar cares, and he has compelling reasons why you should, too. Read more →||5/31/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 17 – I Was Flying||Our dreams can allow us to experience things that are – impossible. Yeah, some dreams take us where we’d rather not go. But others invite us into a world filled with joy, and ease, and wonder. They connect us to a forgotten part of ourselves.||4/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 16 – Standing Over the Bed||Sometimes the world of our dreams can be unsettling; even terrifying. The fear can be like an echo or a shadow of true emotion; or it can be utterly real, even justified. At times the fearful experiences we have at night can introduce questions into th...||3/28/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Nocturne Bake Sale||Picture it – It’s dusk. We’re on a small neighborhood corner, with a faint moon starting to peak through branches of trees overhead. Kent and I are sitting behind a large battered folding table, and there’s a jar on top of it.||3/23/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 15 – To a Distant Continent||Lynne Cox has spent her life swimming vast distances and pushing herself to the edges of possibility. Since the beginning, she has thrived on exploring uncharted territories, including the ocean at night. Read more →||2/29/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 14 – Best Feeling in the World||The night can be like the great frontier to a kid; a forbidden zone; the perfect place to explore autonomy and independence. At first it might be tempting for parents to just lay down the law. But they're up against a lot.||1/28/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 13 – Letting Go||Sleep can serve as both refuge and captor. That’s the case for Monica, who’s blessed with the enviable ability to consistently sleep through the night, almost without fail, no matter what’s going on. During one of the most difficult times of her lif||12/29/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 12 – Stars in Unison||The moon, the stars and the tides are through-lines connecting us to the beginning of life on our planet. These lines can flicker in and out of awareness in the glare of modern culture. But there are ancient creatures living among us,||11/23/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 11 – Triumph’s Ring||Things happen sometimes that don’t make sense, that we can’t explain. And would we really want to if we could? Read more →||10/27/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 10 – Playground Rules||The blurred edges of the night can inspire excitement and transformation. The shroud of darkness emboldens some to reveal hidden aspects of their personality, sometimes with gleeful abandon. Read more →||9/13/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 9 – Forward Momentum||Sometimes the best way out of the darkness is to walk through it. A woman transforms her life through motion. Read more →||8/11/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 8 – Into, Under, Through||The darkness of night offers rich opportunities to mine and explore our fears. When you choose to walk straight into the darkness you don’t know what you’ll find; both outside in the shadows, and deep inside yourself. Read more →||7/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 7 – The Vanishing Dark||The stars are disappearing. We're losing natural darkness. It's happened rapidly, but just slowly enough that it's hard to notice. But once your eyes open to the vanishing dark, you see it everywhere. Can we bring back the night sky? Read more →||6/4/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 6 – (This is Not) A Love Song||A man, a bird, and a hose. The sounds of night can delight or enrage, in equal parts; and lack of sleep can lead to desperate measures, in some. Read more →||5/1/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 5 – A Hole in the Night||Al Wilkinson drove a big rig through the night for 28 years, and it was a new experience each time. The runs offered beautiful scenery and time to think, but one dark rainy night this peaceful solitude fell out from under him. Read more →||4/1/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||Ep. 4 – Alter Hours||Amanda Gefter is nocturnal. Really. Being an extreme night owl works for her in a lot of ways, especially since she makes her living as a writer. But her normal patterns are being shaken up by a new love in her life – the first day-dwelling guy she’s||3/5/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 3 – What the Baker Saw||While working at night in the wilds of the Marin Headlands, baker Eduardo Morell witnesses the struggle between life and death. This struggle plays out all around us all the time, in ways both large and small. Read more →||1/22/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 2 – Portal||What happens for a visually oriented person when the darkness of night takes away all of the reference points for making a memory? Read more →||12/14/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 1 – Night Owls||Nighttime feels different to different people. Some are at their most energized and creative, while others are a little creeped out. Which side of the night are you on? Read more →||11/17/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEp. 0 – Welcome to the Night||Nocturne will officially launch in the coming weeks. Here is a taste - hope you enjoy! Read more →||10/20/2014||Free||View in iTunes|
I am biased, having worked with Vanessa, but these episodes give everything I want when compared to my other favorite podcasts (predictably This American Life, Radiolab among others): lush music backdrops, impeccable editing/production and stellar content. I’m a nighthawk and can’t wait to snuggle up to give the future episodes a listen. Keep the episodes coming and I look forward to spreading the word.
Warm, rich, yummy. Want more.
Highly evocative, Nocturne explores the different effects that the night has on all of us. Try it in those early hours when you can't get back to sleep.