Aural Fixation: The Podcast Edition | Haute Macabre

Aural Fixation: The Podcast Edition


I’m going to mention two podcasts I have previously written about, because quite frankly, they are the only two I listen to. I have a hard time with podcasts, especially when they are run by more than one person, and especially if those few people are friends. The recording generally devolves into in-jokes and other bits of personal hilarity between the hosts; anecdotes and asides that are probably a hoot for them, but not so much for me, the person who is listening. It feels weird and awkward for me to listen in on that, you know? So, here are two podcasts that don’t trigger my anxiety in that regard. Also, I kind of feel like in the time it takes people to talk about something in the course of a podcast, I could have read three books on the subject, and I just don’t always have that sort of time to spare. (Although I recently learned you can adjust the play speed, so that helps a little. Yes, I really did just learn that. I’m kind of a luddite.)

Bad Books For Bad People My two incredible friends Tenebrous Kate and Jack Guignol host this monthly reckoning covering the weirdest, kinkiest, and most outrageous fiction that they can unearth. The books discussed range from “classics of gothic literature to startling works of new weird, from romantic potboilers to horror epics, from cult favorites to obscure pulp treasures.” I think they’d laugh if I shared this with them, but in listening to them examine and explore even the most outlandish and ridiculous titles on their shelves, you actually come away feeling smarter for having heard their insights and understandings of the material, the author and their œuvre, and the era in which the work was written, etc. Of course, then you also get delightful episodes such as no. 15, “Book Battle – Nerd Nostalgia vs. Post-Millennial Angst,” wherein they each assign to the other a book that they know they will hate, and which culminates in a delightful, spiteful airing of grievances–and I don’t know about you, but I find it an utter treat to listen to people work themselves up into a fine froth about the things which they vehemently despise. But this podcast is much more than friends hating stuff–as a matter of fact, they often end up surprised, and loving their selections, or talking about a book they’ve both read before and which holds great meaning for them. This is good too, for believe it or not, the snarky thrill derived from people talking about shit they hate is trumped by the excitement and wonder you experience when you hear folks discuss something they adore. Like me, for example. I adore both Kate and Jack and I adore Bad Books For Bad People– a podcast, which despite its name, makes the world (my world, at least!) a better place.

The Witch Wave I have written previously on The Witch Wave, Pam Grossman’s sonic coven of witchy fabulosity where “art is magic, magic is real, and reality is stranger than dreams,” and which explores and celebrates the idea that creativity, art, and magic is all in deep, delicious relationship with each other. In each episode, Pam engages in insightful and illuminating conversations with today’s leading visionaries (and quite often, some of our very favorites: Bri Luna! Kristen Solee! Louisianna Purchase! Katy Horan! Bill Crisafi & Hogan McLaughlin!) about the relationship between magic and creativity. Some of her guests are witches–literal practitioners, or perhaps those who simply identify with the archetype or the energy of the witch in their own lives. Guests also include artists, writers, scholars and other luminaries who somehow incorporate magic or the concept of magic into their work.  Pam enthuses that ,“the world is filled with bewitching people…and you might be one, too!” And I guarantee you’ll come away from each episode fervently believing that.


I’ve recently moved from the city out to the country, and am still commuting into the city daily for work. Podcasts and audiobooks are keeping me sane on the drives, as my Spotify daily mixes seem to only play the same five songs in a different order over and over again. I’m extraordinarily picky, though, as I agree with Sarah on having a difficult time listening to hosts chatter away on unscripted tangents: I get annoyed, the same way you get annoyed when you overhear someone talking loudly into their cell phone in an otherwise quiet environment. These selections satisfy my short temper and my even shorter attention span.

Unexplained Podcast: “A show that explores the space between what we think of as real and what is not.  Where the unknown and paranormal meets the most radical ideas in science today…” My absolute favorite podcast. Although it isn’t as prolific, it far surpasses Lore, providing quality over quantity (and for some reason, I can’t stop envisioning that the Lore narrator wears khaki pants while recording the episodes). There’s a 2-3 part episode on Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron that were superb, along with in depth accounts of poltergeist activity, UFOs, mummy curses, and other mysteries.

Sword & Scale: S&S satisfies the same aspect of my psyche that forced me to leave Law & Order SVU on in the background for a bit over a decade, and also leads me to believe that I’m going to die a horrible, violent death at the hands of a strange man. I do wish that the narrator would narrate a bit more and omit some of the lengthy sound effects (and some of the lengthy testimonies), but overall it’s well produced and horrific.

Tarot for the Wild Soul: Lindsey Mack’s excelled weekly (biweekly?) podcast on the Tarot, providing the listeners with detailed episodes on individual cards and their meanings and relationships to one another, in addition to interviews with other readers, and monthly medicines. To be perfectly honest, this podcast took me a bit to get into, the first few episodes were a tiny bit love and light and giving yourself permission to have a sip of tea for me, but I eventually looked past that because of Lindsey’s expertise and unique lessons.

Saved by a Spell : Marcella Kroll’s DIY production, which sadly seems to have ended. Here she discusses astro happenings, psychic protection, cord cutting, and the like. I’ve scheduled a reading with her on her upcoming trip to New Orleans because of how much I like her from this podcast & her zine.

Looking forward to: Death in the Afternoon, an upcoming podcast from The Order of the Good Death members Caitlin Doughty, Sarah Chavez, and Louise Hung.

Featured art: “Crossroads” by Yanni Floros