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Everything is Alive – 12 Days of Podmas

On the 12 days of Christmas, Set The Tape gave to me... 12 podcasts'a'podding, as we recommend every day a new show to get into your ears...

‘Journalist interviews inanimate objects.’ It’s a premise that will sound ridiculous to some; and to others it sounds like it could be a very funny ride.

In an article that is aimed to try and sell you on a podcast, it can’t be stated enough that you stop reading now and go into Everything is Alive as in the dark as possible, with your own expectations of it. Have you listened? Good! No? Need more convincing? Okay. Do podcasts need spoiler warnings? Because this one does.

What you never expect is that Everything is Alive becomes a mixture of both; and what ends up being strong commentary on the world and life as you know it.

Episodes are simple enough as writer Ian Chillag has an unscripted chat with an inanimate object. Ian plays himself against a guest who (for the purposes of the interview) are everyday objects. This has included cola cans, balloons, elevators, teeth and lampposts. The obvious questions are there – “What brand of coke are you?” “Where are you kept?” – and they are quite humorous, but then it starts to get surprisingly deep.

For a simple can of cola, Louis ends up raising the questions of self and the nature of spirituality. Particularly when Ian asks him to expand on his point on whether Louis is the cola or the can, and the analogy to the soul is complete. Elevator Ana is shown pictures of trees and the forests and is blown away, and her desire to travel is offset by her mindset that some places “shouldn’t have elevators built in them.” The episode with Paul the Tooth ends up becoming a reflection on how the small moments in life end up being the most important milestones.

It gets particularly affecting. In the episode where Ian interviews a grain of sand, the phone interview is with Elinor Hamilton, one of the voices of the London Underground. But the conversation moves towards her deceased husband, Phil Sayer, who is known for his “Mind the Gap” announcements. It touches upon the nature of grief and how hearing the announcements comforts her.

There’s a phone interview in every episode, where the underlying theme is expanded on or the nature of the object is discussed. It’s all very well thought out and allows to educate and entertain. A very lovely surprise, and many episodes are barely under 20 minutes each.

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