A young Belfast woman talks frankly about life with ME (or chronic fatigue syndrome) in the first half of the show. She discusses how the illness arrived, how it induced swearing and rattiness from her, and what the trade-offs have been. Also: whether she wants people to push her in the wheelchair, her plans for family or nunhood, and how she’s found men look at women in a chair.
In the second half, foster mother Susan Hagan talks about all the babies that have come in and out of her home. She, along with her husband and family, has been fostering newborns for the past seven years through a Pittsburgh agency. The babies stay for a weeks or months, and Susan describes what life with them (and without them) is like — including the health concerns, naming choices, attachment issues, and relationships with birth and adoptive parents.
Episode 27 has Graeme Watson talking about the philosophy of happiness and the politics of well-being. He’s finishing his PhD in political theory at Queen’s, examining different approaches to achieving happiness and how politicians (especially those in the UK) have brought the notion from twee to power.
Graeme discusses the ascendancy of the notion ‘Well-Being’ into a watchword of Tony Blair’s New Labor and David Cameron’s New Tories, as well as predictions that it will be one of the ‘Big Ideas of the 21st Century’. He explains how the personal is being made political and how the consumer industry of happiness is feeding into a new kind of politics — attracting Middle Class Lefty Guardian Readers, among others.
Plus, Graeme offers some visions of our coming post-human future, his low-grade hedonism, some secrets to happiness, and his planned cult.
Owen Wilson keeps tens of thousands of bees in his backyard in Donaghadee. He began beekeeping as a teenager but stopped in the 1960s when he had to kill all his bees, after they’d been infected with American Foulbrood disease.
In this episode, Owen and his wife Ann outline the rules of bee society, including the death battles between virgin queens, the cluster ball-suffocation of strangers, the post-mating massacre of male drones, and bees who march to their death for the sake of the hive. He also tells of a man who could keep queen bees in his mouth; the health benefits of bee venom, pollen & honey; and why he always makes sures his trousers are tucked into his socks when he works with his bees.
Sam Ruscica, the ‘Mother Teresa of Broken Bikes’ in Belfast, talks about his shop “I Fix Bikes” in the Smithfield Market, as well as his plans for the future. He’d like to move from rescuing all the abandoned and abused bikes in town to managing a community bike shop, teaching people how to build and fix bikes for themselves. Sam also talks about Bike Pirates of Toronto, the abuse and flying objects he encounters while riding through the city, and the DIY Wednesdays he hosts at his shop.
Then Austin Brown of Belfast Bicycle Workshop talks about his work repairing and selling bicycles, as well as leading bike tours of the city. He is located in ‘The Workshops’ on Lawrence Street in the Holylands, after having run Lifecycles down in the Smithfield Markets for many years. Austin explains why there’s not a critical mass in Belfast & how he’s trying to generate a bike culture here. He can be reached at 028 9043 9959, or at email@example.com.
The ‘Bicycle Repair Man’ skit from Monty Python, from which Sam derives his job title.