Category Archives: Podcasts

TheAidanProject.org Exclusive Audio: All Things London

As a token of appreciation to website and email followers of TheAidanProject.org, this bonus edition of The Aidan Project is being made available only via the web site. In this exclusive audio, Aidan is speaking to author, podcast extraordinaire and social media fanatic, Tim Lewis, who hosts the Begin Self-Publishing Podcast. The theme of this conversation is all things London. Tim, a London native, talks about the differences between the ‘City of London’ and ‘London’, before explaining what makes London such an interesting place to live. Tim also gives his verdict on why London’s EU Referendum ‘Remain’ victory was less resounding than may have been expected of such a cosmopolitan city.

For more information on Tim, you can visit Tim’s self-publishing company, Stoneham Press (https://stonehampress.com/), the Begin Self-Publishing Podcast web site (http://beginselfpublishing.com/), you can purchase Tim’s many books via Amazon, and you can follow Tim on Twitter at @StonehamPress.

Note: You can join the mailing list for information on future live specials and new podcasts.

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#72 – The Mob Historian: An Episode You Can’t Refuse

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Christian Cipollini writes very good books about very bad things. This is a very good podcast about those same very bad things. In this edition of The Aidan Project, Christian Cipollini, an award-winning historian of the criminal underworld, discusses organised crime, the mob and some of its most notorious characters. Charles “Lucky” Luciano is a particular person of interest for Christian, and with good reason. Luciano, an Italian mobster in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, is considered by some to be the father of modern organised crime. Aidan and Christian discuss Luciano, the definition of ‘mob’ and ‘mafia’, prohibition, violence, Hollywood’s obsession with gangsters, and much more. Christian has been a featured expert guest on numerous television documentaries for various broadcasters, including the History Channel and National Geographic. For more information on Christian, you can visit Stache Publishing’s author profile, including a look at Christian’s remarkable graphic novels, at http://www.stachepublishing.com/creator-profile-christian-cipollini-gangster-historian/, you can head to Christian’s website at https://www.ganglandlegends.com/, you can browse his impressive Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Christian-Cipollini/e/B00CP95F4K for the United States, or https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christian-Cipollini/e/B00CP95F4K for the United Kingdom.

Expanded show notes:

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party.”

Don Corleone
The Godfather (1972)

Cipollini-Publicity-4-750x499

Christian Cipollini on IMDB.

‘Narcos’ filmmaker shot dead scouting for locations in rural Mexico, The Telegraph, 17 September 2017.

#71 – Inspiring The Aidan Project – I am still gratefully accepting your feedback on this episode within an episode.

Introducing The Aidan Project Live

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#71 – Inspiring The Aidan Project

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In a very different edition of the podcast, Aidan takes you behind the scenes of The Aidan Project. Within this reflective podcast, Aidan introduces Inspiring The Aidan Project, a potential separate podcast series which would highlight the men and women whose thinking has inspired Aidan. Aidan then presents a pilot episode for this prospective series; the pilot tells the story of George Orwell. Also in this episode, Aidan offers further reflections on Winston Churchill, following episode 69: The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours, and talks about every podcaster’s worst nightmare: a full-length conversation which will never be heard.

Expanded show notes:

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

Churchill was flawed like all the greats but his achievements outshine his shortcomings, Sky News, 1 February 2018.

Mary Shores web site

More information on the pilot for Inspiring The Aidan Project:

Copy of Copy of UPSTART

Potential artwork for Inspiring The Aidan Project

Inspiring The Aidan Project is a prospective podcast series, separate to The Aidan Project.

Inspiring would feature five-minute episodes telling the stories of the incredible men and women who have inspired my thinking, for better or worse, according to your preference.

In some instances, I may disagree with certain statements and behaviours of the luminaries in question, but this does not obscure their overall importance. This is because, as Christopher Hitchens so adeptly explained, “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”

Hitchens, Orwell, Paine, Bentham, Mill, Russell, Gandhi, Voltaire, Luxemburg, Hume, Aristotle and Arendt are examples of notables who have passed on. However, Inspiring would also profile living persons, too. After the introductory episode, each edition would be an episode unto itself, which is to say, you could listen in any order.  Episodes would neither be released in order of how I rank their influence – even if this were possible – nor according to the year of their birth. All episodes must simply meet the criteria, which is principally of being a person who inspired me to think critically. It may be, too, that a given person was somewhat dogmatic and prone to superstition; nevertheless, their immense moral courage and/or grand ideas served to inspire me, thus meriting their inclusion.

I want to pay homage to the men and women who inspired me, because I merely stand on the shoulders of these giants. I hope these persons could inspire you, too.

Your feedback will be important to me: I want to hear what you think of the vision, the format, the pacing, even down to the cover art and podcast’s title! Please get in touch.

After I have collated your feedback, the podcast could be launched as a separate entity to The Aidan Project, to be made available via this web site and via all major podcast providers. Episodes could possibly be released within a number of ‘seasons’, ala Netflix.

Kind regards,
Aidan

Aidan Coughlan
2 February 2018

#70 – Notes on the Great Debate: Paine Versus Burke

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan looks at the remarkable debate that is, according to some historians, the origins of left versus right politics – or progressive versus conservative. In the late eighteenth century, Edmund Burke went up against Thomas Paine, each offering entirely different opinions on the French Revolution. Paine, writing in his most celebrated book, Rights of Man (1791), argued: “Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.” Burke had spoken out against the revolt in France, saying the chaos and upheaval would eventually be settled by a dictatorship. He was right. Paine certainly did not see Napoleon coming. Britain avoided revolution; instead, Britain moved further to the right. This episode further explores some of the themes from episode 69, The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours. Aidan also gives his damning verdict on the dire standard of discourse on social media, where debate is certainly not great.

Related links:

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently.

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

#58 – Notes on Shame and the Modern Pillory

Guest Appearance on Miracles and Atheists

‘The Great Debate’ bibliography:

Paul Langford, ‘Burke, Edmund (1729/30–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4019, September 2012, accessed on 14 October 2017.

Mark Philp, ‘Paine, Thomas (1737–1809)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/21133, May 2008, accessed on 14 Oct 2017.

Jonathan Sperber, Revolutionary Europe 1780-1850, (Harlow: Pearson, 2000).

Adam Zamoyski, Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty 1789-1848 [audiobook], (New York: Harper Audio, 2014).

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by Christopher Hale, a distinguished freelance executive producer, producer/director and writer, to discuss the less distinguished elements of the career of Winston Churchill. Yet another Churchill film, Darkest Hour, was released on 12 January 2018 in the United Kingdom. The film begins in May 1940, with Churchill about to take on the role of Prime Minister. Indeed, Churchill’s charismatic resilience has defined the popular interpretation of Britain’s experience of the Second World War. However, there is far more to Churchill than his wartime leadership. Indeed, several chapters of the real Churchill story are deeply unpleasant. The Bengal famine of 1943-44, when two million people died, is such an example. What was Churchill’s attitude towards the people of British India? What type of person was Churchill? Was he a racist even by the standards of his time? These questions, and more, including a discussion on remembering the British Empire, are examined on this episode. We must understand our history, all of it, not just the patriotic triumphs, to become a modern democratic nation. ‘Become a modern democratic nation’, you say?

Christopher has numerous documentary credits to his name, for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, and National Geographic, amongst other broadcasters. His programs include Why Reading Matters’ for BBC4, ‘The Year the Earth Went Wild for Channel 4, Naked Science: Universe for National Geographic, Oasis of the Golden Mummies for Discovery, Accidents in Space for BBC/Travel Channel, and many more. Christopher’s 2013 book, Massacre in Malaya: Exposing Britain’s My Lai, covers the Malayan Emergency of 1948–1960, which was the longest war waged by British and Commonwealth forces in the twentieth century. Christopher has also written a number of books on wartime Nazi Germany, including Hitler’s Foreign Executioners: Europe’s Dirty Secret.

For more information on Christopher, visit http://www.christopherhalemedia.org/. You can find Christopher on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chalemedia.

Links to items mentioned on this episode:

Peter Hitchens, ‘So uniquely British, but funeral tells a tale of a different country’, Mail Online, 18 January 2015.

Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson in Michael Gove WW1 row‘, BBC News, 05 January 2014.

The Aidan Project #46 – The Emergency: Empire, Massacre, Duterte

The Aidan Project  #48 – Project Extra: Atlantis Reimagined

Aidan Coughlan on Engel Jones’ podcast


The Aidan Project on Twitter

Aidan Coughlan on Twitter

The Aidan Project on Facebook

Support The Aidan Project

#68 – Notes on Pascal’s Wager

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan examines Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal (1623–62) was a talented French mathematician, physicist, inventor and writer, but he is most famous for his theological work. Pascal’s famous wager argues that it is rational to believe in God, because the benefits of this belief being justified when you die are vast: Entry into heaven, avoidance of hell. By contrast, said Pascal, even if God does not exist, the costs of living as if God does exist are trivial. To not believe in God, therefore, is irrational. Whilst it also means you will never know that God does not exist if He, in fact, does not exist, you risk fiery damnation if He does exist. Your life is a bet, believed Pascal, and, on the balance of probability, there is only one way to place it – on belief.  In a mathematical sense, if we believe in God, and He exists, the rewards are infinite, and if we are wrong, the losses are hardly worth worrying about. If we do not believe in God, but we are wrong, the punishments are potentially infinite. Aidan examines the merits of Pascal’s Wager, and explores its common criticisms. Place your bets.

Further reading:

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, (London: Transworld, 2006).

Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great, (New York: Twelve, 2007).

Paddy McQueen and Hilary McQueen, Key Concepts in Philosophy, (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010).

Pascal’s Wager, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/.

Bertrand Russell, What I Believe, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2004 [originally published 1925]).

The Quran, Chapter 29, Verse 46, https://quran.com/29/46-56.

 

#67 – Project Extra: New Year’s Revolution

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In this edition of Project Extra, Aidan presents previously unreleased audio from his conversation with Jared Miracle for episode 66, Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked. In this bonus audio, Jared talks about the sexual harassment scandal which rocked Hollywood, the war on experts, and offers his take on a man who needs no introduction – Donald Trump. Aidan also shares his hopes for 2018, including a new revolution in Iran, and what the left needs to do to get back on track. Happy New Year to one and all from The Aidan Project.

For more information on Jared, please visit his web site at http://www.jaredmiracle.com or his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter. Jared has also started guest-hosting for the New Books in Anthropology Podcast – see http://newbooksnetwork.com/category/anthropology/ for download links.

Items mentioned on this episode:

Hope and Chaos: 2017 Unpacked

Support The Aidan Project

New Books in Anthropology

Related articles:

Iran protests: Why is there unrest?, BBC News, 2 January 2018.

Related tweets: