inspireland podcast


Society & Culture






October 2014
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Firstly, apologies for the sound at the start of this recording.  It was my first attempt at recording outdoors and the wind noise is pretty strong at the start.

Secondly, I recorded this in June but am only releasing now so the talk of good weather seems a long way away.

Thirdly, it was my first attempt at this style of podcast and includes a bit more about myself than I've released to date. The srticle it's based on is brilliant and I'll put it up in my episode notes.


Direct download: 5regrets.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38pm EDT

In this episode of the Inspireland podcast we are joined by filmmaker and wanderer Mark Cousins.

Mark is passionately in love with his chosen art, filmmaking, and this love radiates from his voice when he discusses his subject.  Mark first came to my attention during my time as a student when his idiosyncratic style of film reviewing was often used by one of my lecturers prior to film screenings.  

Mark has also written extensively about film and his book on documentary, Imagining Reality, is the go-to text on the topic.

Most recently Mark has dedicated his time to making wildly creative film essays.  These essays challenged my idea of what film is but their originality and sincerity stayed with me for days after viewing.

One of the most refreshing thigs about Mark's work in film is his ability to passionately support certain types of film without needing to denegrate others.

All links to Mark's work can be found by visiting my blog

You can follow Mark on twitter @markcousinsfilm

Direct download: Cousins_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EDT

In this episode of the Inspireland podcast we speak to investigative journalist T Christian Miller.  Miller is an old school investigative journalist working in the very new school ProPublica.

Miller recently wrote the brilliant essay Firestone and the Warlord and was involved in the Frontline documentary of the same name.

Interview topics:

  1. Miller's childhood and teens as the perpetual outsider
  2. Miller's route into journalism
  3. Miller's time as a war correspondent
  4. Firestone's relationship with Liberian warlord Charles Taylor
  5. The need for transparency in modern journalism

Further episode notes, including links to the original article and Frontline documentary, can be found at Inspireland's website by clicking here.

Direct download: Episode_10_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT

In this episode we are joined by Sunny Hundal.  Sunny is a blogger, columnist, author, lecturer and TEDx-er.  He is best known for founding the left-wing political blog, Liberal Conspiracy.

Sunny, of Sikh heritage, spend much of his early childhood in India before settling in London from the age of 12.  He has spent much of his life campaigning to bring a youthful voice to the jaded, repetitive, race-relations narrative in the UK.  

He is at his most passionate when speaking about the culture of sexual violence that exists in India and the causes of that culture.  During the interview he tells us how India has 60m less women than it should have.  This is largely due, he believes, to the sorwy system and the abortion culture that it spawned.

Sunny seamlessly made the leap from blogger to mainstream journalist and his appointment at Kingston University is testament to the new media age, a topic close to his heart.

Check out further details about this interview, as well as episode notes, at


Direct download: E9_Sunny_Liberal_Conspiracy_Hundal.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 12:30am EDT

And now for something completely different

In this, the first of our inbetween-isodes, David Shields and Caleb Powell read excerpts from their forthcoming book I Think You're Totally Wrong, A Quarrel.

It's a dazzlingly original and captivating idea for a novel, charting as it does, the discussions of two adult males in their natural habitat.  The topics covered are wide ranging and include but are not limited to:

  1. The perils of homoerotic male friendships,
  2. The difference between listening and hearing,
  3. What happens when you're male, but with a high-pitched voice, and ring reception,
  4. Having a second child to save your marriage, only to discover that it actually works,
  5. Basketball, miscarriage, and middle aged race relations,
  6. What women really mean when they tell you to make up your own mind.

It's a brilliant recording and has been uploaded unedited so non of their charm is lost.  Listen, be moved, enjoy.




Direct download: inbetween1.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 10:04am EDT

In this episode of the Inspireland podcast i was joined by world renowned particle physicist, Jon Butterworth.

Jon is a professor at University College London but is probably best known for his work on the discovery of the Higgs Bosun particle at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Jon discusses his entry into the physics field, how becoming a Father changed the direction of his work, what it was like to discover the 'God particle,' and what's next for him now that the Higgs Bosun's existence has been proven.

Jon writes for the Guardian, has an excellent blog, makes numerous TV and documentary appearances, and recently wrote a surprisingly readable particle physics book, Smashing Physics, which describes his time and work at CERN.

Links to all of the above can be found at

Enjoy the episode.

Direct download: E8_Jon_Smashing_Physicist_Butterworth.m4a
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 5:39am EDT

In this episode of the Inspireland podcast we speak to Australian born investor, philanthropist, and global citizen, Bill Liao.

I initially approached Bill to speak to one of the co-founders of the Irish based CoderDojo project, a rapidly growing, volunteer led, free, coding movement aimed at children.

Bill agreed immediately and we set a date.  Only when I began my research did I begin to realise that Bill was about much more than just the CoderDojo project.

My interview with Bill was one of the most enjoyable so far as Bill spoke with sincerity about his negative experience of the education system and the scars this left him, the racial intolerance he suffered as a child, his long search for truth, his conversion to sales, the importance of listening, and his hope to reverse climate change in his lifetime.

Bill is a force of nature.  His positivity and optimism drives his personal and business success but it is his commitment to his passion projects, WeForest, CoderDojo, and The Hunger Project that he hopes will be his legacy.

Enjoy the episode.

Direct download: E7_Bill_Ethical_Businessman_Liao.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 4:59am EDT

In this episode Irish political blogger Jason O' Mahony talks to us about what sparked his interest in politics, his experience as a candidate, and his fear that we may eventually be ruled by a wealthy and exceptionally good looking elite!

Last year Jason won the award for Best Irish Political Blog, an honour for which he didn't even know he had been nominated.  It is a blog that I found last year and have frequently returned to since for two reasons.  First, it informs as well as entertains, a winning combination.  Second, there is a healthy dose of cynicism but this sits comfortably alongside Jason's optimistic humour.

Jason describes himself on his site as a 'Bloke with a beard poking politics and stuff with a pointy stick.'  He is that, but he's also much more.  He has written satirical political articles for magazines and newspapers on both sides of the atlantic.  His satirical take on politicians is refreshing and you get the sense that while he enjoys poking them with his stick he also has a bit of sympathy for the difficulties of the job they have chosen.  Enjoy


Direct download: Inspire_mixdown.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

In this episode we speak to Dublin born, and Meteor Choice Award nominee Ronan Hession.  Ronan is known artistically as Mumblin Deaf Ro and made for a fascinating interview.

The interview is the longest yet but Ronan was as fascinating a guest as he is beautiful a singer.  His singing talents are put to the test when he sings two songs live in the acoustic graveyard that is the kitchen at Inspireland towers.

Ronan discusses his process, success, inspiration, honesty, Buddhism, and curse!  This episode is released on international Buddha day and I'm sure if he was still around the Buddha would be proud of Ronan.

Much of Ronan's latest album, Dictionary Crimes, focuses on the challenges of early middle age, a subject often neglected by mainstream pop.  His searing honesty on the album can't but move the listener as he describes losing a child to miscarriage, caring for his late Mother through her illness, and becoming a Father to two young boys.

It's a long one but a good one, like a bank holiday weekend. Enjoy

Direct download: Episode_5_-_Mumblin_Deaf_Ro.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 6:47pm EDT

In the latest episode of the Inspireland podcast we have the pleasure of speaking to author, martial artist, college lecturer and savage philosopher, Danieli Bolelli.

Bolelli is best know for his brilliant book Create Your Own Religion and inspiring podcast, The Drunken Taoist.

We discuss how education is a good idea often poorly executed, how enthusiasm always trumps cynicism, how fear can make you a shadow of your true self, how certainty is rarely to be trusted, why empathy can change the world, and why you should question everything you believe.

Bolelli discusses all these things in his inimitable style and with the coolest accent imaginable. Enjoy

Direct download: E4_Daniele_Savage_Philosopher_Bolelli.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 7:16pm EDT

In our latest episode we are joined from LA by author Sam Sheridan who explains how he got himself apocalypse ready, just in case.

Sam has been a wildland firefighter, he has worked construction in the antarctic, trained and fought Muay Thai in Thailand, and crossed the world as a sailor.

In the interview Sam details his writing process, talks at length about his latest book The Disaster Diaries. tells us how becoming a Father has changed him, stresses the importance of being ready in case a natural disaster hits, the impact Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is having on US Army veterans, and describes how you should probably trust your intuition.

He was a great guest and a gentleman.  He was also our first guest to swear! Enjoy.

Direct download: Episode_3_-_Sam_Sheridan.mp3
Category:Society & Culture -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

E2 Maggie 'Ex Call-Girl' McNeill

In our second episode we talk to Maggie 'Ex Call-Girl' McNeill. Maggie has been a librarian, stripper, call-girl, madam, and housewife.  She is now best known for her blog The Honest Courtesan where she discusses the issues surrounding sex work.  Her blog has led to guest lectures on the topic as well as multiple media appearances and her work has been published in theWashington Post.  She is also the author of Ladies Of The Night, a book of creative fiction based around her experiences as a prostitute.  She currently lives in the Southern US but did most of her sex work in New Orleans.  Maggie is very active on twitter as an advocate of sex worker's rights and opposes the mainstream media of all sex workers as 'broken dolls.'  Maggie made a wonderful, charming, interviewee and I'm sure you'll find what she has to say thought provoking.  Enjoy.

Direct download: inspireland2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22am EDT

E1 Owen 'Rowdy' Roddy

In this our first episode we talk to Owen 'Rowdy' Roddy. Owen is a recently retired pro MMA fighter, and is currently involved in building his career as head coach in Primal MMA, Dublin, Ireland. Owen talks about his introduction to the sport, his career as an amateur and a pro, the difference between team and individual sports, the explosion in popularity of MMA, and where he hopes his life will take him over the next few years as both a coach and a man. Trust me, it's great stuff.

Direct download: inspireland1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am EDT