State Museum of History of UzbekistanSource

As always, went to the ever-addictive site Radio Garden to poke around live radio from Uzbekistan.

Oriat FM 100.5 – Based in Tashkent, Oriat FM is mainly dance, pop, and top 40 hits – the music is mainly in English, with some songs also in Russian or Uzbek, and some work in elements of Central Asian folk music. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve never heard before, it’s good to put on in the background. Occasional news and discussions in Uzbek, but not a lot of ads, and I keep catching the Uzbek national anthem, which plays at 6am local time (my evening). Listen live here.

Pink Unicorn Radio – Online radio from Pink Unicorn Records in Samarkand, a label that focuses on hardstyle dance music, metal, hard rock, but there’s also emo and pop punk. Listen live here.

See The Sea Radio – Another record label in Samarkand, seems to be by the same people behind Pink Unicorn. This is deep house and trance music. I wonder if the name is ironic, given Uzbekistan is one of only two doubly landlocked countries. Listen live here.

A’lo FM – This station in Tashkent bills itself as light-hearted music – pop and dance music from Central Asia, Russia, the West, and other places. Listen live here. Their website also has big collections of memes, funny pictures, and jokes in Uzbek. I ran some through a translator – this one made me laugh:

“Elijah, how do you like your new house?”

“It’s good. At first I felt like a stranger, but now I’m arguing with all my neighbours!”


The Bamboo Cathedral – Source

Nerd World Politics: Under the Gunn – From 2018, the first podcast from Nerd World Politics – two self-described “Black nerd activists” from Trinidad and Tobago who discuss political and social justice elements of modern nerd culture. They’re absolutely fantastic and extremely thoughtful. This first episode covered the James Gunn controversy, including how calling out and forgiveness works in both nerd and activist circles, better ways to deal with inappropriate behaviour, the weaponization of cancelling, and the corporate and cultural responses to situations like Gunn’s.

The House Lime: Jemel the Entertainer – The House Lime is a fun, casual interview show (liming being slang for chatting or shooting the shit). This episode they interview Jemel the Entertainer, a prominent Trinidadian comedian on social media. It’s an intriguing interview, covering how to be successful through new media, the comedy scene in Trinidad and Tobago, the nature of local fame, and acting with professionalism and building back your reputation after a scandal (and hoo boy, he’s had some scandal in the past).

Jus’ Ole Talk: Jus’ Fix It Pt. 1Jus’ Ole Talk is a really good quality discussion podcast about everyday life in Trinidad. I listened to the first “Jus’ Fix It” episode, that looked at ways to potentially fix problems in society. The first half mainly focused on Trinidad and Tobago in international sports, and how to properly nurture young athletes with either state or private support. They particularly look at the Olympics and Jamaica, which is similar in size, wealth, and history, but is far more competitive internationally than Trinidad is. This episode also starts into a discussion about customer service in Trinidad, and I’ve never heard a funnier use of dead air in my life. I’m going to tune into the second half to hear the rest, they were starting into an interesting discussion on the colonial hangover in customer service. A quick note though, there’s at least another podcast from Trinidad with the same name, so look for the “Showtime Trinidad” one.


“Latvian Tobago” sounds as ridiculous as Czechoslovak Togo, but this was an actual attempt by the Duchy of Courland (modern day Latvia) to colonize Tobago. They got to the point of a fort and a town, with growing population, international trade, and unfortunately, slavery and violence against Indigenous peoples.

So why was there never a Latvian Caribbean? The Dutch outplayed them for control of Tobago, and Courland itself was caught up in European wars between the larger Baltic powers around it. Tobago would continue to be fought over by European powers for centuries. The Latvian attempt at an empire evaporated, and all that’s left today is an oddly brutalist monument with some very dated language, plus some place names.

Here’s a slightly irreverent look at the odd bit of history that was New Courland:

There’s still a bay on Tobago called “Great Courland Bay” – check out this drone footage, it’s beautiful:

European colonialism is not really something to laugh at; there was so much violence inherent to the whole process – which still has effects on our everyday lives. However, I am totally losing it at the absolutely ridiculous flag of New Courland.

There is only one step to building an empire, and it is crab.

CHILE: Why is it shaped like that?

A useful little primer that explains why Chile is shaped like that!

Also, please enjoy a delightfully stupid look at a hypothetical “Long Chile”:

Also, if you are a fan of ASMR videos, here is a soothing read-through of a coffee table book covering Chile’s landscapes from north to south:

Okay, okay, fine, here’s the requisite Geography Now! video:

ALGERIA: Podcasts

Tadrart Rouge mountains – Source: Reddit

There are some really interesting podcasts both from Algeria and about Algeria, though there’s a sharp language divide between the two. There’s almost no Algerian podcasts in English, but there are tons in French and Arabic – and there’s an interesting content split between the two languages. Since French is still the language of higher education in Algeria, the podcasts I found in French tend to be more formal history / interview / culture podcasts, while more casual conversation / sport / music podcasts are usually in Arabic, since that’s what’s more frequently spoken in daily life.

The following podcasts are in French:

Radio Campus Algérie: Sawt El Shabab – This is more than campus radio, Radio Campus Algérie is a project giving university-level journalism students an opportunity to not just learn the ropes, but engage in real reporting – and that includes independent and investigative reporting in the real world. I listened to a podcast from August 2020 that was reporting on other Algerian journalists that had been jailed by the government – a topic that would be bold enough from a seasoned reporter. These students are fearless!

Radio Algérie: Histoire et Mémoire – A podcast from Algeria’s public broadcaster that focuses on different topics on Algerian history. I listened to a very interesting one on Frantz Fanon, the anti-colonial philosopher, as well as one on the research by French and Algerian historians into the use of napalm during the Algerian War.

Taste of Algeria – A great playlist of old Algerian vinyl records put together by Toukadime – a pair of Algerian DJs / music producers. This playlist gives a really interesting spread of Algerian oldies and folk music. No talking, just music.

Radio Algérie: Votre Week-end – A weekend digest every Thursday with a mix of music and interviews on socio-cultural topics. I listened to the most recent one, with an extended interview on how Algerian identity and community ideals are taught in schools. Previous ones touched on managing diabetes during Ramadan, seismic-proofing older communities, and plastic surgery.

Above Tizi OuzouSource

I also have some very interesting podcast episodes about Algeria (but generally not by Algerians) that are all in English:

BBC Music Planet: Algeria – Another good podcast covering different styles of Algerian music – short samples and commentary on the wide variety of folk music across the country.

Ottoman History Podcast: Saharan Jews in French Algeria – An interesting interview with a Jewish studies professor about the identities and citizenship (or lack thereof) of Saharan Jews in Algeria during the French colonial era. It’s not just a primer on the history of the Jewish people in Algeria, it’s a microcosm of a bigger discussion about how the French colonial bureaucracy shaped national and cultural identities in a way that’s still affecting all religious and ethnic groups in post-colonial Algeria.

BBC: The Harragas of Algeria – Some investigative journalism from 2015 from the BBC about the Harragas (“burners” of documents) of Algeria – those who try emigrate to Europe as undocumented migrants, as well as interviews with those that move to Algeria to set up businesses.

Ottoman History Podcast: Dark Humor from Algeria’s “Dark Decade” – Interviews with PhD students who are studying the Algerian humour and comedy that was used as a release and coping mechanism during the Dark Decade of the civil war in the 90s.


Please enjoy this funny monologue from Algerian comedian Fellag – a “Who’s on First” type skit about the colonial French government trying to record Algerian names.

Fellag also has some serious acting chops – he starred in the Oscar-nominated Monsieur Lazhar (available with English subtitles) as an Algerian immigrant teaching at a Montreal elementary school as the children process the loss of their previous teacher, and as he works through the grief of what he left behind. It’s an incredibly poignant and touching film.

NAURU: National Anthem

I thought I’d look up the Nauruan national anthem, which I’ve never heard before. 20-40 seconds into it, something started to sound a little familiar…

That section has almost the EXACT melody as O Canada. It’s got to be a coincidence, right? Let’s look up who composed the music:

Laurence Henry Hicks OBE (1912–1997) was an English-born military bandmaster and composer. He migrated to Australia in 1952 after having served in World War II with both the British Army’s Black Watch and the Fourth Canadian Armoured Division’s military bands

Wikipedia – Laurence Henry Hicks