Thu, 3 December 2015
In episode #35 I was joined by US historian and cultural critic, Thaddeus Russell. Thaddeus is best known for his brilliantly titled book: A Renegade History Of The United States.
Michael Simmons of LA weekly described Renegade History as; "...the story of our country told by the fuck-ups, prostitutes, gangsters, drunks, minstrels, and looters. His fascinating book reminds us that while the truth may hurt, it's rarely dull."
Thad currently teaches at Occidental College in LA and had previously taught at Columbia, the New School for Social Research, and Eugene Lang and Bernard colleges. Thad was fired from Bernard in 2010 for teaching a version of history that some deemed; "...improper, frightening, and dangerous." If that's not the greatest advert for a history class ever I don't know what it.
During the episode Thad tells me about his unique experience of growing up with Socialist parents as a white kid in black areas. Thad gives us his take on the micro aggression controversy currently sweeping US campuses. We also discuss how democracy is bad for a society that wants to have fun, how weekends off work were created, the best way to get the attention of your students, and why even though Donald Trump may have abhorrent world views his style of oratory is worth defending.
Thad doesn't give a warts and all version of history, he gives us a version of history that's all about the warts.
Enjoy the show, Dave
Further episode notes can be found at the inspireland blog.
Tue, 10 November 2015
In this episode I was joined by adventurer, author, and speaker Alastair Humphreys. Alastair has gone on several massive adventures but is at pains to point out that he is as lazy and cautious as the rest of us. Alastair was named a National Geographic Adventurer Of The Year in 2012 for his microadventure movement. Microadventures are a cheap, local, excuse-proof way of making adventures attainable for those of us who are too busy, poor, or timid to attempt something bigger.
Alastair was an excellent guest and I'm pretty sure I have the dubious honour of being the first interviewer who got him to swear at them!
Topics covered by my conversation with Alastair include:
For full episode notes, as well as a list of the many books etc that get a mention in the interview go to the inspireland podcast blog. Thanks for listening. Dave
Mon, 26 October 2015
In this episode I was joined from Fort Worth, Texas, by Justin "The Big Pygmy" Wren. Justin is a professional MMA fighter but his principal fight is for the rights of the 'forgotten' Mbuti Pygmy slaves in eastern Congo. Still only 27, Justin has packed a lot into his life so far. He has gone from the highs of 2 all-American wrestling titles and a place in The Ultimate Fighter house to the lows of addiction and suicidal ideation. Justin's faith has played a large part in his recovery from addiction and an even larger part in the events that found him heading to the Congo on 3 weeks notice in 2011.
Justin was an inspirational, sincere, and humble guest. Justin has found the best way to ease his own troubles is to focus on the troubles of others. Wren's immediate plans are to fight for Bellator MMA and return to the Congo between fights to visit his beloved Pygmy family.
Our conversation covered the following topics;
For full episode notes please visit the INSPIRELAND blog. Thanks. Dave
Mon, 12 October 2015
In this episode I was joined by Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net: Inside the digital underworld. The Dark Net explores the vast and hidden network of sites that engines like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can't access. It's a world where people can be anyone they want and largely do anything they want. It's a world occupied by bitcoin, self-harmers, illegal drugs and cyber (and all too real) terrorism.
Jamie was an excellent guest and thankfully his book is far from alarmist. Jamie met many of the people involved in the birth and growth of the most infamous corners of the dark web. Jamie tells the story of his journey through the dark web, and the story of those he met along the way, in a balanced and informative way. We meet trolls, a man convicted of possession of child porn, those tasked with policing online paedophilia, self-harmers, and a familiar camgirl (Vex Ashley).
Our conversation included the following topics:
For full episode notes go to inspirelandpodcast. Enjoy the episode. Dave
Wed, 30 September 2015
In this episode I was joined by the creator of online video hit Everything Is A Remix, Kirby Ferguson. Kirby's first series was described by The Guardian as: "...occasionally feeling like a PowerPoint presentation by the world's most coked-up history professor." While Kirby's documentary style is satisfyingly fast paced his conversational style is deliberate and demonstrative.
Kirby's current series, This Is Not A Conspiracy Theory, explores the ideas, events, and human quirks that contribute to the modern political landscape. Kirby's process is as intriguing as his videos and in the second half of the interview I explore his unique approach to his work.
Our discussion included but was not limited to:
Enjoy the episode. Dave
For full episode notes please visit inspirelandpodcast.com
Fri, 11 September 2015
What is the purpose of your life? This is the question that Dr Joe Marshalla found himself asking after a near death experience. Dr Joe uses his unique blend of philosophy, psychology, spirituality, and physics to communicate his philosophy of life to the world. This philosophy is best expressed in his thought provoking book, Repeatlessness: An owner's manual for the human mind.
During our conversation we discussed:
For full episode notes visit inspirelandpodcast.com.
Thanks for listening, Dave.
Tue, 1 September 2015
In episode 28 I was joined by gregarious geneticist Aoife McLysaght. Aoife works in the Molecular Evolution Lab in Trinity College, Dublin. Aoife is currently engaged in a European Research Council funded search for genes that cause diseases. Sadly for me Aoife debunked my favourite genetic myth when she told me that you can't have a healthier child by exercising immediately prior to conceiving!
Our conversation covered the following topics:
For full episode notes go to my blog at inspirelandpodcast. Enjoy the show. Dave
Tue, 18 August 2015
In episode 28 I was joined by cam-girl and porn actress Vex Ashley. I came across Vex when I read an article about her and her work in Esquire magazine. In the article Vex spoke so intelligently and frankly about her career and her place within the porn/sexwork industry that I knew I had to have her on the show. Vex was charming, insightful, thoughtful, and funny and if you have any negative preconceptions about people who work in this industry prepare to have them destroyed.
During my conversation with Vex we discussed:
We covered loads more topics during the podcast but that's a flavour. For full episode notes, including links to Vex's site etc, please visit the inspireland website.
Thanks for listening, Dave.
Mon, 10 August 2015
In inbetweenisode 27.5 I was joined by Bikram yoga teacher, Grainne Martin. We met in Grainne's studio in Fairview, Dublin shortly after a class has finished and spoke as the room slowly cooled. Grainne has been practicing Bikram since 2003 and in 2006 she made the decision to travel to Los Angeles to do the formal teacher training. Grainne taught in the US, New Zealand, and Australia before returning to Dublin in 2007. Grainne opened her studio in 2009.
During our conversation we spoke about:
For full episode notes visit the inspirelandpodcast blog. Enjoy the episode. Dave
Wed, 5 August 2015
In this episode I was joined on the phone from LA by New York Times bestselling author, Ashley Merryman. Merryman, along with her co-author Po Bronson, have written two award winning popular science books; NurtureShock: New Thinking About Parenting, and Top Dog: The Science Of Winning & Losing. Both books are a brilliant blend of storytelling and accessible science but during the episode we focus on her most recent book, Top Dog.
Some of the topics covered in our conversation were:
Ashley was a really enjoyable guest, with a great sense of humour and an obvious love for the work that she does. At some stage in the future Ashley will be back on the show to discuss NurtureShock, her book that changed the American narrative on parenting.
All the books etc mentioned in the episode can be found in the detailed episode notes at inspirelandpodcast.com.
Enjoy the episode. Dave
Tue, 21 July 2015
In episode 26 it was my pleasure to sit down with Ruairi McKiernan. Ruairi is a social innovator, leader, writer, speaker, and member of Ireland's Council of State.
During our conversation we discussed the following topics;
There were loads of thing mentioned by Ruairi throughout the podcast, all of which will be included in the episode notes over at inspirelandpodcast.com.
Enjoy the episode, Dave.
Wed, 8 July 2015
In this episode I was delighted to be joined on the phone by Dr Andrew Hill. Andrew is, among other things, a lecturer at UCLA and the head of neuroscience at nootropic producer truBrain.
So. Neuroscience. What do most of us know about the way our brains operate?, very little. It was great to have Andrew on the pod to help explain how our brains function, what they need to function best, and whether or not consciousness exists!
Our conversation covered, but was not limited to, the following topics;
Enjoy the episode and tell your friends. Dave
For more details about Dr Hill, as well as all the episode notes, visit inspirelandpodcast.com
Tue, 23 June 2015
In this episode I was joined on the phone by author and documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki. Jarecki began as a director of stage plays before moving to the moving image and his last 2 feature length documentaries, Why We Fight and The House I live In, both won the Grand Joury Prize for documentary at Sundance.
When I hung up the phone from Eugene I sat back in my chair feeling overwhelmed, Jarecki is a force of nature when he speaks about the subjects that inspire him. I was struck by his compassion, empathy, anger, and relentless optimism. That's the beauty of Jarecki's work, for all their quiet rage there's a palpable sense that things could and should be better.
Our conversation covered plenty of ground as always, including:
Eugene was a superb and persuasive guest and I hope you enjoy listening to him as much I enjoyed speaking to him. Dave
For full episode notes check out the blog at inspirelandpodcast.com
Tue, 9 June 2015
For episode 23 I was joined on the phone by the always excellent Oliver Burkeman. Burkeman is an award winning columnist and author writing about the self-help culture, social psychology, philosophy, and the negative path to happiness.
During the episode we discuss:
As well as his excellent column in the Guardian, Oliver has written 2 books, the latest of which, The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, explores society's obsession with positivity and how this obsession might actually make us less happy.
For links to all the stuff mentioned in the interview, as well as all the episode notes for this convesation, please visit inspirelandpodcast.com.
Thu, 4 June 2015
The episode where the gang, joined by guests Dave O' Connor & Cliona Mannion, discuss:
Category:general -- posted at: 1:29pm EDT
Mon, 25 May 2015
In this episode it was my great pleasure to be joined by Jon Ronson. Jon has worked as a columnist for TimeOut and the Guardian, has made lots of excellent tv and radio, has written multiple bestselling books, and co-wrote the movie Frank.
We met in Dublin's elegant Merrion Hotel to discuss Jon's latest book; So You've Been Publicly Shamed, and I was delighted to discover that Jon is as curious, entertaining, and warm in person as he comes across in his books.
Shamed explores the recent renaissance of public shaming. If the internet thinks you've abused a position of privilege watch your back because we're coming to destroy you. And it is us doing the destroying, not some malignant, distant, 'they.' Social media has given us the power and it's gone to our heads. We are the angry mob with tweet shaped pitchforks. Just think of Justine Sacco.
In Shamed we are guided throught the absurd by Ronson's trademark humour, compassion, and empathy. Empathy is important because, as Jon discusses in our conversation, we are all only one ill-advised tweet from being the next target.
This episode is shorter than usual as Jon was on a whirlwind promotional tour but luckily I managed to get one of Jon's last interviews before he returns to New York where he's currently based. Enjoy the episode. Dave
For all the episode notes, visit the blog at inspirelandpodcast.com
Wed, 13 May 2015
In this episode I was joined on the phone by recovering skinhead Frank Meeink. During his teens Frank was one of the most notorious and violent skinheads on the east coast of the US. Frank's story is one of the broken American family, inner city life, addiction, abandonment, racism, violence and ultimately, thankfully, redemption.
While Frank was in jail he became friends with a couple of black kids by playing sports with them in the prison yard. It was these friendships that first caused Frank to question some of his long held sectarian beliefs. Having left the Skinhead movement (a violent exit of course) Frank descended into addiction at the same time as he ascended into public speaking for America's Anti Defamation League.
Frank's work with the ADL exposed him to a world, and parts of himself, that he barely knew existed but Frank's recovery from his Neo-Nazi past and addictions was attritional rather than dramatic. As Frank says himself; "There were no burning bushes."
Frank has since dedicated his life to the promotion of harmony rather than hate. Frank founded the Harmony Through Hockey programme and currently works with Life After Hate. Links to these sites, as well as all the other episode notes, can be found at inspirelandpodcast.com.
Enjoy the episode. Dave
Wed, 29 April 2015
In this episode I was joined in my kitchen by Glaswegian illustrator Steve Doogan. Steve was one of 9 children born into an Irish catholic family in Glasgow. Why did Steve get into art? because he was the best in his class at drawing horses!
Steve was thrown out of college at 17, a decision he totally agrees with, and didn't return to education for about 10 years at which time he enrolled in the Glasgow School of Art. It was during his time at Glasgow that Steve's career as an illustrator started to take shape, a shape recently rewarded by an appearance on the mainstage at OFFSET.
Steve is thoughtful, intelligent, self-effacing, and funny but his story is not without melancholy, a melancholy which he has used to drive his most important creative breakthroughs.
During our conversation myself and Steve discussed;
Steve was a generous guest and I should have kept the tape rolling because we spoke for 1 1/2 hours after the interview. One of my friends who heard Steve speak at OFFSET said that at the end of his presentation the whole audience wanted to be his friend. I'm sure you're gonna feel the same.
Enjoy the show. Dave.
For full episode notes, links to Steve's work, and all previous episodes visit the inspireland website.
Wed, 15 April 2015
In this episode I was joined by Irish based photographer Dragana Jurisic. Dragana's life as a photographer began the day her family's building burned to the gound as war began in former Yugoslavia. I met Dragana at the end of a long day of shooting for her latest project My Own Unknown. Dragana is articulate, thoughtful, talented, and funny and has the fearless eyes of someone who has seen more of life than most.
Topics covered in the interview include:
For all the episode notes, including links to Dragana's website, instagram etc, go to
Enjoy the episode, Dave
Tue, 31 March 2015
In this episode it was my sincere pleasure to be joined by Andy Puddicombe. Andy is a former Buddhist monk and has a degree in circus arts but is best know as the co-founder, and voice, of the headspace meditation website and app.
Andy recently spoke at the Web Summit in Dublin, has contributed frequently to BBC radio and tv, and his TED talk: "All it takes is 10 mindful minutes" has over 4.5 million views.
I've been chasing Andy for some time and spoke to him on the phone from London. He couldn't have been more helpful, sincere, generous, and informative. Andy is a great ambassador for meditation and mindfulness and his decision to come down from the mountain and take it to the masses in his simple, direct, and unassuming style is something many are grateful for.
Below is a summary of some of the things we spoke about:
Enjoy the episode,
To find out more, including links to stuff mentioned in the show please visit:
Mon, 30 March 2015
The episode where the gang, joined by special guest Dave O' Connor, discuss their attempts to learn a language in 30 days, their experience of a full moon night-swim (contains nudity), and how they got on in a sensory deprivation tank. Enjoy.
Thu, 19 March 2015
In this episode I was joined by futurist Katie Aquino. What's a futurist? I'm glad you asked. A futurist is someone who explores and predicts the possibilities and probabilities of the technological future. Phew! Futurists are like weather forecasters except tech is the weather.
Aquino, AKA Miss Metaverse, has a background in video production but describes her first introduction to futurists as akin to finding her tribe. Since discovering her tribe Katie has no doubt increased its size through her irresistable combination of knowledge and enthusiasm.
Katie was one of my most fun guests to date and the interview could easily have been twice as long but I'll hopefully have her back at some stage in the future to cover some of the topics we didn't get around to discussing.
We spoke about loads in the interview, below are some of the headlines;
For futher information, including episode notes and links to Katie's site, check out my blog at www.inspirelandpodcast.com.
Thanks for listening,
Thu, 5 March 2015
In this episode I was joined by award winning female dating expert Hayley Quinn. Hayley describes her teenage self as "...too shy, too fat, too poor, and too brainy." The difficulties she faced in her formative years, including having disabled parents, inform Hayley's unique brand of non-predatory, empathetic, practical, and accessible dating advice.
Hayley studied English and Psychotherapy at UCL and it was during her time as a student that she was first introduced to the world of Pick-Up Artists (PUAs). Hayley's college boyfriend messaged her from a Las Vegas PUA conference to inform her that the previous night he had taken part in an orgy! Their relationship ended but Hayley's fascinating journey to a career in the dating industry began.
Other topics covered in the episode include;
For full episode notes as well as links to Hayley's site and youtube channel check out inspirelandpodcast.com.
Enjoy the episode,
Wed, 25 February 2015
Wed, 18 February 2015
In this episode I was joined by the charming, intelligent, and fiercely honest Louise O' Neill. Louise is an author and feminist who is currently best known for her prizewinning book 'Only Ever Yours' which is a terrifying examination of the pressure on girls to conform to society's expectations of beauty.
The interview is a whopper at almost 1 1/2 hrs and we covered a load of topics, including:
Louise says in the interview that she expresses herself better in writing than in person but she was a brilliantly warm and engaging conversationalist. Louise won't hear this interview (she never reads or listens to her interviews) but you'll be glad that you did.
Episode notes, links, and further details can be found at www.inspirelandpodcast.com.
Thanks for listening and tell your friends,
Thu, 5 February 2015
In this episode we talk to Andrew Keen. Keen started life as an internet entrepreneur but is best known for his books that critique the impact the internet has on our culture, politics, and society.
Keen has written 3 books on the subject of the internet;
Many of the criticisms that are currently directed at the internet were first voiced by Keen and given that he is very much an internet insider, working out of Silicon Valley, his warnings must be heeded.
Keen is a vehement critic of what he calls 'Digital Narcissism' and in particular the 'Selfie Culture' which accompanies the hypervisibilty promoted by sites such as facebook. He also rails against the impact this connectiveness has on essential parts of the human experience that are rapidly becoming neglected, things like privacy and solitude.
Keen is a contrarian, encouraging us to check the depth of the water before we jump off the cliff. What's most encouraging about his work is the fact that his manifesto isn't just a list of what's wrong with our attitutes towards the net and our use of it. He also offers direction for how best to use this technology to improve society in the future.
Keen believes that the digital revolution we are experiencing is every bit as monumental as the industrial revolution in the impact it is having on how we operate in the world. He argues that the internet has grown up now and that it's time it started behaving more responsibly.
Enjoy the episode, more details as well as links to Keen's website etc. can be found by visiting www.inspirelandpodcast.com.
Tue, 20 January 2015
In this episode of the podcast we are joined by urban explorer Brad Garrett. Brad is an LA native and qualified and worked as an archaelogist before discovering urban exploration or Urbex as it's more commonly known.
When Brad turned 16 and got his driving licence he took the opposite direction to many of his friends by exploring the Mojave desert while they sought the excitement of downtown LA. His shunning of cities thankfully didn't stick because it is Brad's work as an ethnographer of London's Urbex community that first caught my attention.
During his time with the London Consolidation Crew Brad found himself exploring areas off limits to the public. He went as high as the top of the London Shard as it neared completion and as low as Winston Churchill's WWII bunker in London's underground.
Brad has never lost the childlike state of curiosity and still views NO TRESPASSING signs as a challenge rather than a deterrent. This activity led to Brad's being arrested and charged with what he calls 'thought crimes' as well as having his front door put in by the London Transport Police.
Brad is currently working at the University of Southampton.
Enjoy the show
For more info on Brad, including links, videos, and more info on his book check out
Fri, 9 January 2015
In this episode I spoke to John Perkins, Economic Hitman. I have been chasing John since I first started the podcast and was delighted to have him for 40 mins.
During the show we discuss John's childhood, his heroes as a student of Economics, and his subsequent vetting by the NSA prior to his becoming an Economic Hit Man. During his time as an EHM John was charged with burdening third world countries with massive debt which they would inevitably default on. Once they defaulted the countries were pillaged of their resources for the benefits of the few. On the occasions that John failed to convince a leader to take up his offer of 'aid' the traditional Hitmen were never far behind.
Having spent 7 years as an EHM John had a series of awakenings that have since led him all over the globe. It is John's mission to expose predatory capitalism as a failure and attempt to create a more sustainable and just world. John has lectured all over the world, and has founded several non-profit organisations, including DreamChange.
John is currently working on his next book but if you want to read him now check out his 3 best known works so far:
John also appears prominently in several documentaries, most notably Zeitgeist: Addemdum.
Enjoy the show, leave a rating on iTunes, follow me on Twitter @InspirePod,
Check out all my other episodes at www.inspirelandpodcast.com