Stream 160 In-Depth Radio Interviews with Clive James, Pico Iyer, Greil Marcus & Other Luminaries from the Marketplace of Ideas Archive

Would you like to to hear a long-form con­ver­sa­tion about the his­to­ry of the vinyl LP? Or about the his­to­ry of human rights? About the plight of book review­ing in Amer­i­ca? The wild excess­es of the art mar­ket? The nature of bore­dom? The true mean­ing of North Kore­an pro­pa­gan­da? What it’s like to live in Bangkok? What it’s like to go on a road trip with David Fos­ter Wal­lace? The answer to all of the above: of course you do. And now you can hear these con­ver­sa­tions and many more besides in the com­plete archive of the pub­lic radio show The Mar­ket­place of Ideas, which has just now come avail­able to stream on Youtube.

How, you may won­der, did I get such ear­ly word of this inter­view tro­ve’s avail­abil­i­ty? Because, in the years before I began writ­ing here on Open Cul­ture, I cre­at­ed, pro­duced, and host­ed the show myself. The project grew, in a sense, out of my dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the radio inter­views I’d been hear­ing, the vast bulk of which struck me as too brief, frag­men­tary, and pro­gram­mat­ic to be of any real val­ue.

What’s more, it was often painful­ly obvi­ous how lit­tle inter­est in the sub­ject under dis­cus­sion the inter­view­ers had them­selves. With The Mar­ket­place of Ideas, I set out to do the oppo­site of prac­ti­cal­ly every­thing I’d heard done on the radio before.

Like all worth­while goals, mine was para­dox­i­cal: to con­duct inter­views of the deep­est pos­si­ble depth as well as the widest pos­si­ble breadth. On one week the top­ic might be evo­lu­tion­ary eco­nom­ics, on anoth­er the philo­soph­i­cal quar­rel between David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, on anoth­er the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can film com­e­dy, on anoth­er the lega­cy of Robert Pir­sig’s Zen and the Art of Motor­cy­cle Main­te­nance, and on anoth­er still the ascent of Cal­i­forn­ian wine over French. (This prin­ci­ple also applied to the polit­i­cal spec­trum: I delight­ed in bring­ing on, say, the grand­daugh­ter of Bar­ry Gold­wa­ter as well as a for­mer mem­ber of the Weath­er Under­ground.) An inter­est­ing per­son is, as they say, an inter­est­ed per­son, and through­out the show’s run I trust­ed my lis­ten­ers to be inter­est­ing peo­ple.

The same went for my inter­vie­wees, what­ev­er their cul­tur­al domain: nov­el­ists like Alexan­der Ther­oux, Tom McCarthy, Joshua Cohen, and Geoff Dyer; sci­en­tists like David P. Barash, Alan Sokal (he of the “Sokal Hoax”), and Sean Car­roll; crit­ics like James Wood, Greil Mar­cus, Jonathan Rosen­baum, Dave Kehr, and J. Hober­man; econ­o­mists like Tyler Cowen (twice), Robin Han­son, Steven E. Lands­burg, and Tim Har­ford (twice); biog­ra­phers of Bri­an Eno, Nick Drake, and Michel de Mon­taigne;  trans­la­tors of Jorge Luis Borges, César Aira, and Robert Walser; broad­cast­ers like Peter Sagal, Robert Pogue Har­ri­son (of Enti­tled Opin­ions), Jesse Thorn, and Michael Sil­verblatt; philoso­phers like Kwame Antho­ny Appi­ah and Simon Black­burn; tech­nol­o­gists like Steve Woz­ni­ak and Kevin Kel­ly; film­mak­ers like Ramin Bahrani (direc­tor of the exis­ten­tial Wern­er Her­zog-nar­rat­ed plas­tic-bag short pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture), So Yong Kim, Andrew Bujal­s­ki, Aaron Katz; and musi­cians like Nick Cur­rie, a.k.a Momus (twice), Jack Hues of Wang Chung, and Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi.

The Mar­ket­place of Ideas aired between 2007 and 2011, and the pas­sage of a decade since the show’s end prompt­ed me to take a look — or rather a lis­ten — back at it. So  did the fact that a fair few of its guests have since shuf­fled off this mor­tal coil: Arts & Let­ters Dai­ly founder Denis Dut­ton, film crit­ic Peter Brunette, lit­er­ary schol­ar Angus Fletch­er, doc­u­men­tar­i­an Pepi­ta Fer­rari, writer and edi­tor Daniel Menaker, cul­tur­al poly­math Clive James. That inter­view with James was a dream ful­filled, due not just to my per­son­al enthu­si­asm for his writ­ing but the ide­al of intel­lec­tu­al omniv­o­rous­ness he rep­re­sent­ed — an ide­al toward which I strove on the show, and con­tin­ue to strive in my pur­suits today.  Even more than our con­ver­sa­tion itself, I fond­ly remem­ber an exchange after we fin­ished record­ing but before we hung up the phone. He thanked me for actu­al­ly read­ing his book, and I told him I’d thought all inter­view­ers did the same. His response: “That’s the first naïve thing you’ve said all hour.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The New Studs Terkel Radio Archive Will Let You Hear 5,000+ Record­ings Fea­tur­ing the Great Amer­i­can Broad­cast­er & Inter­view­er

Enti­tled Opin­ions, the “Life and Lit­er­a­ture” Pod­cast That Refus­es to Dumb Things Down

An Archive of 1,000 “Peel Ses­sions” Avail­able Online: Hear David Bowie, Bob Mar­ley, Elvis Costel­lo & Oth­ers Play in the Stu­dio of Leg­endary BBC DJ John Peel

The 135 Best Pod­casts to Enrich Your Mind: An Intro­duc­tion to Our New List

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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