A sporadic conversation between poet Ed Skoog and fiction writer J. Robert Lennon about food, literature, music, and escaped zoo animals.
Episode 141: If Pall Mall Cigarettes Were a Man
John just got back from a very sweet Rosh Hashanah. Ed has a new job. Together, they discuss John’s new novel manuscript and why he wrote it, Ed’s ongoing musical adventure, why it takes a while to write back, whether it’s OK to get rid of your friends’ books, John’s parents’ weird neighbors, the people who buy specialized hardware, and what it’s like for a baby to learn to snap his fingers. Follow links to Blacksmith Bolt & Rivet Supply, the White Horse Machine catalog, the weird narratives of Lee Hazlewood, 24th and Meatballs, Smitten Kitchen knishes (please double the caramelized onions), The People’s Pig, za’atar spiced beet dip, The New Best Recipe, Maangchi’s eggplant side dish, Ina Garten’s banana sour cream pancakes, and Shalom Y’all.
Episode 140: Just the Glissandos from Disco
Ed’s on a diet and is mad at poetry. John’s worried about his new books going unnoticed. Together they discuss some pretty OK TV shows, a few books published during the pandemic, whether artists should edit themselves, and what’s the point of book criticism. Follow links to Bob James’s “Take Me to the Mardi Gras”, Klara and the Sun, John’s GbV playlist, Work in Progress, Postcolonial Love Poem, Deaf Republic, office meetings held in Red Dead Online, and Idyllwild Writers’ Week.
Episode 139: Their Certificate, Which Was a Pretzel
Ed’s washing machine has become sentient, and John is looking a little gaunt. Only Ed has acquired a tuba, but both of them have gochujang in the fridge; and nine months into the pandemic, they’re not sure what other people even are anymore. They discuss teaching online, what to name Ed’s brass quintet, good people who recently died, and recent books worth reading. Follow links to Jamkazam, NRBQ, Arthur Russell, Shocking Blue, Miranda Popkey, Tony Rice, more Tony Rice, Sebastian Castillo, Priya Krishna, Maangchi, and Fanny.
Episode 137: The Guy Fieri Wig Riot
Covid-19 had Ed and John feeling low, but now they’re all riled up. John’s avoiding joggers, chopping vegetables, and working on his Grease 4 spec script. Ed’s in a logjam at Target, trying to remember the bones of the hand, and getting schooled on roller skates. Together they discuss the unproduced Grease 3, escalators for grocery carts, H. C. Carrillo, the Brooks Brothers Riot, what Some Lovers try, The Country of Ice Cream Star, John Boos, Maangchi, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Jessica Lee, Lockwood on Updike, and the new Otessa Moshfegh.
Episode 136: Flying by the Ermine of Their Capes
Here’s another episode nipping at the heels of the last, because why not? Ed prefers homeschooling to regular schooling, and John prefers fun tasks to following the rules. They reminisce about teachers good and bad, then discuss the superfluity of certain pre-pandemic rituals, Covid truthers, country-influenced easy rock, and the car crash that took out Ed’s New-Yorker-funded cultivars. Follow links to Tomie dePaola, Fountains of Wayne Hotline, Fulks on Lightfoot, Rootsy Ramble, Eddie Rabbitt, Midland, Jessica Anthony, Amanda Eyre Ward, Elisa Gabbert, Samanta Schweblin, Thousand Dollar Car, and the Yamaha PS-20 home keyboard.
Episode 135: Quarantine Rex
John’s under quarantine. Ed is now a full-time second-grade teacher. They discuss their respective escapes from their universities. All the restaurants are closed, so they don’t talk about that. John has been making electronic music; Ed has not softened his position on sports. John tries to persuade Ed to buy his kid Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Ed reluctantly agrees. Follow links to Songs to Wash Your Hands To, “The Little Car”, the new Ultimate Fakebook song, Buchla Synthesizers, Suzanne Ciani, Amber Sparks, Thom Gunn, William Maxwell, Stewart O’Nan, How to Rebuild a City, Night on the Galactic Railroad, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, and The Monster Project.
Hey Banter boys.
I enjoy listening to you grind your grey matter gears.
Ed. Every time I listen to the Alice’s Restaurant Massacree I hear you performing it—stumble and glitch verbatim— in an Oklahoma bound van full of Zoo Explorers in what, 1987?
Listening to the podcast reconfirms that you have the biggest and best brain I have ever encountered and I am in awe of the fact that, in spite of all your brute forcepower, you have remained benevolent, witty and kind.
What great conversations between two great minds!
Best podast ever!!