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.
Dan Parish grew up in New England and was set on a successful path, but by the end of his 20s he had dropped out of his PhD program and found his way to Mexico City playing flamenco guitar. In this week’s episode, he tells of burning out and growing facial hair in the 1960s, of the attractions and dangers of flamenco life, and of figuring out how to be happy writing music and living the New Hampshire life as — he puts it — a ‘worker in the arms of nature rather than a struggler in the flow of man’s idea of work’.
Fr. Patrick Gaffney, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, talks about the changing cultures of death in Russia. Professor Gaffney explains how Russians have dealt with corpses, funerals, and the afterlife during the past two centuries. He tells of the journeys to heaven and hell that souls took during the Tsarist era, why the Soviet ‘red funerals’ failed, what happened to Lenin and Stalin’s corpses, and why there are so few obituaries or funeral homes in modern Russia.
This week’s program goes to Michigan for an interview with David Sandahl about his time studying in Santander, Spain this summer. He discusses whether he and his fellow students fulfilled the Ugly American stereotypes, and what happened when ETA called off its ceasefire and launched attacks in the city they were staying. Then we return to Belfast for a tour of the Queen’s Film Theatre’s Box 1 with projectionist Jonathan Greer. He names his ten favorite films in under fifteen seconds, explains why life in the projection box is not so miserable, and the fatalities & headless chicken moments possible in the job.