Paul Wolinski and Joe Shrewsbury are one half of 65daysofstatic, an instrumental band from Sheffield, as comfortable crashing samplers to mine glitches as they are putting guitars through too much distortion. Influenced by a technologically dystopian present and an apocalyptically likely future, they tend to be found filling venues, galleries or headphones with different kinds of noise in their ongoing efforts to find the limits of what ‘being a band' can mean.
The Space Lady is a street-performing singer based in Colorado, USA. Originally beginning on the streets of Boston in the late 70s, she has recently begun playing again. Often seen performing in 1980's Boston, and then a decade later in San Francisco's Castro community – where she would play and sing for hours on end for the gay scene, and got her apt moniker – The Space Lady's winged helmet and setup of a Casio battery-powered keyboard, vocal mic and echo & phaser controls became a small but striking phenomenon. Her sound is a blend of synth-laden pop and proto-techno that evokes the iconic soundtrack artists and early electronic composers such as Suzanne Ciani. The Space Lady has been recognised alongside Daniel Johnston and Jandek on Irwin Chusid's seminal Outsider compilation Songs in the Key of Z, and her lo-fi synth minimalist interpretation of Peter Schilling's Major Tom featured on Erol Alkan's Bugged Out mix last year, as well as John Maus' 2011 Rough Trade set.
Neil Denny conducted a series of "Fireside Chats" with some of the many speakers at the FutureEverything conference in Manchester on 31st March and 1st April 2014.
Adrian Hon is CEO and founder at Six to Start, co-creators of the most successful smartphone fitness game in the world, Zombies, Run! Six to Start have won various awards for their game-like stories and storylike games, and their work has been displayed at the MOMA and Design Museum. He has spoken at the main TED conference in Monterey in 2001 (about the human colonisation of Mars), as well as various SXSW, GDC, Economist, and other such tech and gaming conferences. Adrian Hon is the author of A History of the Future in 100 Objects.
Emer Coleman has a wealth of experience spanning technology, open data, social media, communications and engagement and organizational change. She has worked extensively with local, regional and central government variously as Director of Strategy, Assistant Chief Executive, and Director of Digital Projects (City Hall London) where she established the London Datastore. Before founding Disruption Ltd she was Deputy Director of Digital Engagement, Government Digital Service (Cabinet Office) described by Tim O'Reilly as “one of the best teams working in digital government in the world”. She is also part of transportAPI a startup that is powering change and innovation in transport. She is a contributor to Beyond Transparency: Open Data and the Future of Civic Innovation published by Code for America in October 2013.
James Bridle is a writer, artist, publisher and technologist usually based in London, UK. His work covers the intersection of literature, culture and the network. He has written for WIRED, ICON, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic and many other publications, and writes a regular column for the Observer newspaper on publishing and technology. In 2011, he coined the term “New Aesthetic”, and his ongoing research around this subject has been featured and discussed worldwide. His work, such as the Iraq War Historiography, an encyclopaedia of Wikipedia Changelogs, has been exhibited at galleries in the Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, and has been commissioned by organisations such as Artangel, Mu Eindhoven, and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC.
Eleanor Saitta is a hacker, designer, artist and writer. She makes a living and a vocation of understanding how complex systems operate and redesigning them to work, or at least fail, better. Her work is transdisciplinary, using everything from electronics, software, and paint to social rules and words as media with which to explore and shape our interactions with the world. Her focuses include the seamless integration of technology into the lived experience, the humanity of objects and the built environment, and systemic resilience and conviviality. Eleanor is Principal Security Engineer at the Open Internet Tools Project (OpenITP), directing the OpenITP Peer Review Board for open source software and working on adversary modeling. She is also Technical Director at the International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), a member of the advisory boards at Geeks Without Bounds (GWoB) and the Calyx Institute, and works on occasion as a Senior Security Associate with Stach & Liu. She is a founder of the Constitutional Analysis Support Team (CAST), previously co-founded the Seattle-based Public N3rd Area hacker space, and works on the Trike and Briar projects.
ZoeWilliams writes comment pieces, interviews and reviews. She is best known as a Guardian columnist, but her work has also appeared in the Spectator, NOW magazine, the New Statesman and the Evening Standard. She is the author of numerous books on parenting, and her latest book is Get it Together: Why We Deserve Better Politics.
Johann Hari is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the LA Times, the Guardian,Le Monde, Slate, the New Republic and The Nation among others. He was a columnist on the Independent for nine years and was twice named Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International UK. He has also been named Cultural Commentator of the Year by the Editorial Intelligence awards and Gay Journalist of the Year by Stonewall.
This is the biography from Johann Hari's new book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. It leaves out rather a lot. In this interview Neil Denny talks to Johann about the book, but not before he has apologized to some other friends of Little Atoms.
Jonathan Meades is a broadcaster and the author of several books including three works of fiction - Filthy English, Pompey and The Fowler Family Business - and several anthologies of which the most recently published is Museum Without Walls, which received 11 nominations as a book of the year in 2012.
Professor Will Alsop is one of Britain’s most renowned architects. He is currently a professor at the Technical University of Vienna.
Bruce Hood is currently the Director of the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol. He has been a research fellow at Cambridge University and University College London, a visiting scientist at MIT and a faculty professor at Harvard. The author of Supersense, and most recently The Self Illusion, Bruce also presented the 2011 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Bruce has been our guest on Little Atoms twice.
Interview one first broadcast on 31st July 2009.
Interview one first broadcast on 28th September 2012.
Edward Slingerland is an internationally recognized expert in both early Chinese thought and the links between cognitive science and the humanities.
He is Professor of Asian Studies, Associate Member in the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology, and holds the Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Effortless Action (2003) and What Science Offers the Humanities (2008). His latest book is Trying Not to Try: The Ancient Art of Effortlessness and the Surprising Power of Spontaneity.
John Lanchester is the author of Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay.
As a journalist and novelist, he was winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award for his debut The Debt to Pleasure.
John’s article on our love affair with the City,Cityphilia generated much response on its publication in January 2008, and indeed predicted a worldwide crash based on the misuse of financial derivatives.
First broadcast 15 April 2011
Stewart Lee is a writer and stand-up comedian. He has written for radio, television, theatre, newspapers and magazines and performed as a stand-up comedian all over the world. His first novel, The Perfect Fool, was published in July 2001. He is co-author with the composer Richard Thomas of Jerry Springer: The Opera, which was denounced by the good folk of Christian Voice as “crude, offensive and blasphemous in the extreme”.
Alex Bellos is the bestselling author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland, which was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2002 he wrote a critically acclaimed book about Brazilian football, and in 2006 he ghost-wrote Pele's autobiography, which was a number one bestseller. He is the Guardian's maths-blogger, and has worked for the paper in London and Rio de Janeiro as its unusually numerate foreign correspondent. He is a curator-in-residence at the Science Museum and has a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford. His Latest book is Alex Through the Looking-Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life. Alex has been my guest on Little Atoms twice.
Interview one first broadcast on 17th September 2010.
Interview two first broadcast on 24th May 2014.
Nick Lane is a biochemist in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London and leads the UCL Origins of Life Programme.
His first book, Oxygen, was one of the SundayTimes Books of the Year in 2002. Power, Sex, Suicide was named as a book of the year in The Economist in 2005 and was short-listed for The Aventis Science Book Prize.
Life Ascending won the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. His latest book is The Vital Question: Why is life the way it is?
Rebecca Skloot is a science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Discover, and many other publications. She is the guest editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011, a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine, and has worked as a correspondent for WNYC’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW.
Skloot served for eight years on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, where she was a vice president and judge for their yearly book awards. She has a B.S. in biological sciences and an MFA in creative nonfiction. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, her debut book, took more than a decade to research and write, and instantly became a New York Times best-seller.
Jon Ronson is a writer and documentary film maker.
He began his journalistic career as an award-winning columnist for Time Out. He also wrote the popular “Human Zoo” column for The Guardian and produced the BBC Radio 4 documentary Hotel Auschwitz. He also presents the late night Radio 4 series, Jon Ronson on…
For Channel 4, Jon has made the acclaimed five part series the Secret Rulers of the World, multi award-winning Tottenham Ayatollah, New Klan, New York to California (A Great British Odyssey), Dr Paisley, I Presume, the four-part series Critical Condition, and the late-night chat show For The Love Of…
For BBC2 he made the six part series The Ronson Mission. Now contributing regularly to The Guardian, Jon has written two books, Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats.
David Stubbs joined the music magazine Melody Maker in 1986, and worked there for 12 years. His most famous creation, Mr Agreeable periodically reawakens over at The Quietus.
He has also written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire, When Saturday Comes and Uncut, and was a presenter of the Resonance FM football show Café Calcio.
David is the author of numerous books, including Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko but Don’t Get Stockhausen. His latest book is Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany.
Nell Zink was born in 1964 in southern California and grew up in rural Virginia. She attended Stuart Hall School and the College of William and Mary, where she majored in philosophy.
Rather late in life she got a doctorate in Media Studies from the University of Tübingen, Germany. She works as a translator for Zeitenspiegel Reportagen and lives in Bad Belzig, south of Berlin. She is the author of the recently published novels The Wallcreeper and Mislaid.
On Wednesday 29 April the winner of the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize will be announced. In the second of two special editions of Little Atoms, Neil Denny talks to two more shortlisted writers, Henry Marsh and Marion Coutts.
Henry Marsh is one of the UK’s foremost neurosurgeons. He has been the subject of two major documentary films, Your Life in Their Hands and The English Surgeon, which won an Emmy. He was made a CBE in 2010. He is the author of Do No Harm: Life, Death and Brain Surgery, which is shortlisted for the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize.
Marion Coutts is an artist and writer. She wrote the introduction to art critic Tom Lubbock's memoir Until Further Notice, I am Alive, published by Granta in 2012. She is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and the author of a memoir, The Iceberg, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction in 2014, and has been shortlisted for the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize.
Alom Shaha was born in Bangladesh but grew up in London. A teacher, writer and filmmaker, he has spent most of his professional life trying to share his passion for science and education with the public. Alom has produced, directed and appeared in a number of television programmes, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and the Nuffield Foundation. Alom has represented the community in which he grew up as an elected politician and volunteered at a range of charitable organisations. He teaches at a comprehensive school in London and writes for a number of print and online publications including The Guardian. Alom is the author of The Young Atheist's Handbook.
First broadcast on 20th July 2012.
Andrew Mueller talks to Neil Denny & Padraig Reidy about the 21st Century.
Andrew was born in Wagga Wagga, Australia in 1968, and has lived in London and hotels since 1990. He currently writes on various subjects for the Independent, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Monocle, Arena, Uncut, High Life, New Humanist and anyone else who’ll have him.
Andrew was previously the author of Rock & Hard Places and a contributing editor of Robert Young Pelton’s The World’s Most Dangerous Places. His latest book is I Wouldn’t Start From Here: The 21st Century and Where it All Went Wrong
According to Little Atoms regular Jonathan Meades, “Mueller is a gung-ho Candide with a taste for places that it is wiser to avoid. His book is graphic comic, bemused and properly contemptuous of faith and ideology” (Books of the Year, Evening Standard).
Image: (C) Andy Vella / Foruli Ltd 2012. All rights reserved.
Emma Jane Unsworth is a journalist and won the Betty Trask Award for her novel Hungry, the Stars and Everything, and was shortlisted for the 2012 Portico Prize. Her short story 'I Arrive First' was included in The Best British Short Stories 2012. Emma’s latest novel Animals has won a 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.
After fifteen years writing strategy for advertising agencies, Alex Hourston took a break to go back to university and her first love, books. She completed a Masters in English and started a PhD, but put it aside when the idea for her debut novel In My House surfaced. She is currently working on her second novel, an exploration of infidelity and emotional inheritance.
This podcast also features Naomi Alderman discussing the work of Tim Parks
Simon Ardizzone is a freelance editor and filmmaker living and working in the UK. Since graduating from the National Film and Television School in 1995, Simon has worked on over 50 films for English and American broadcasters. Hacking Democracy, his first documentary, co-produced and directed with Russell Michaels, was nominated for Outstanding Investigative Journalism at this year's Emmy Awards. Hacking Democracy which proved that vote-counting computers could reverse the results of an American election, was shown last year by HBO to widespread critical acclaim and has become a tool for election reform activists across the states.
Interview first broadcast on 7th December 2007.
Joanna Biggs is a writer and editor at the London Review of Books, where she has reported on the student protest movement, the recession in Middlesbrough, Legal Aid cuts, censorship in China, and manufacturing. She is the author of All Day Long: A Portrait of Britain at Work.
Stevan Alcock is a writer, linguist and translator. Born and brought up in Yorkshire, he lived in Berlin for several years before moving to London where he graduated with an Honours BA in German Language and Literature from Goldsmiths College. In 2013 Stevan was awarded an MA (Distinction) in Contemporary Prose Fiction by Kingston University. His debut novel is Blood Relatives.
Charlotte Higgins studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford and is the Guardian's chief arts writer. She is the author of a number of books, including Latin Love Lessons and It's All Greek to Me. Her latest is Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize. Also this week, writer Seth Mnookin on the Richard Stark "Parker" novels.
First broadcast on 12th April 2014.
Late last year, Little Atoms took part in an audio installation, Mind’s Eye, which consisted of a number of interviews with scientists involved in current space missions.
Mind’s Eye is now on tour, and can been heard from 16 to 22 February as part of Smashfest UK at the Albany Theatre in Deptford. Here are two interviews recorded for this tour. Dr Shoshana Weider was a postdoctoral fellow on NASA’s Messenger mission to Mercury, and Dr Matt Taylor is currently Project Scientist on ESA’s Rosetta.
Dr Hannah Fry is a mathematician and complexity scientist from University College London’s Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Fry also regularly presents the Number Hub strand of BBC Worldwide’s YouTube channel, and regularly appears on radio and tv in the UK, most recently Climate Change by Numbers on BBC4. Her first TED talk attracted more than 500,000 views and evolved into her first book, The Mathematics of Love.
Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie, Lost at Sea: The Jon RonsonMysteries, The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists. His first fictional screenplay, Frank, co-written with Peter Straughan, starred Michael Fassbender. Jon’s latest book is So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
Oliver Kamm is a political commentator whose writing appears regularly in The Times. He has recently written a book, Anti -Totalitarianism: The Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy, which argues for an interventionist foreign policy which stands up for democracy against totalitarianism, be that of the far left or the far right, and how he removal of Saddam Hussein was a continuation of an authentic left-wing tradition of militant anti-totalitarianism. He discusses a number of pivotal historical events which have shaped this philosophy, specifically collective security in the 1930s, opposition to Communist expansionism after World War II and the Labour Party's rejection in the 1980s of its earlier anti-Communism and adoption of a unilateral disarmament stance. Kamm defends regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq and argues that the promotion of global democracy accords with the Left's internationalist ideals of opposition to fascism and clerical reaction.
Oliver has long been a critical observer of the writings of Noam Chomsky, recently voted " The Worlds Top Public Intellectual " by the readers of Prospect magazine. Indeed Oliver contributed a "devils advocate" article to Prospect decrying that award.