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The Department of Tangents Podcast

Years ago, playing a sort of improv game with friends in which we all picked super powers based on our personalities, I dubbed myself “Tangent Lad.” I was not a very strong superhero, and I could not defeat a super villain on my own, but I could distract them with Monty Python quotes and football trivia. I have many times since apologized to an interview subject in my capacity as a journalist by saying, “I am either very good or very bad at tangents, depending on how you feel about tangents.”

I had a rough time coming up with the concept and naming this blog/podcast. I knew I wanted to create a place where I could address things I’m passionate about – comedy, music, and horror. Finding a name that communicated all three of those things proved a bit impossible. I bugged my friends, and they all tried to help. To no avail. Then I thought, maybe I’m approaching this from the wrong angle. Maybe my lack of focus should be the focus.

As a journalist, I have written for The Boston Globe since 2000, starting out writing CD reviews and then writing a regular column on comedy for seven and a half years. I still contribute there, and to Kirkus Reviews, and other publications. I’m also a musician, and released my debut full-length album, Blue Skies and Broken Arrows, in March of 2015. And I’ve been publishing short horror fiction for a couple of years.

I like to climb into things I love and see how they operate. That’s what the Department of Tangents is for. I’ll be writing regular features, essays, and news bits about the big three – comedy, music, and horror – and offering clips from people I’ve taped interviews with over the past nearly twenty years of writing. Some of the best parts of the interviews I’ve done have been completely off-point and inappropriate for print. I’ll get to explore more of that here. I’m also hoping to convince some friends to tell me about the things they love that I might not even know about, and pass that along to you.

The DoT podcast might be short or long, depending on where the conversation leads. You cant purposefully create an interesting tangent in conversation – it has to happen naturally. But I can confidently forecast that there will be moments in the individual podcasts where things veer off wonderfully.

The main thing here is love. To write about the things that make I’ve loved forever, and some new things that might stand the test and be around, at least for me, for decades to come. I’ve had to be critical in my writing at times, and it might not all be nonstop roses here, but in the end, what I really want to talk about is the good stuff. That’s why I will regularly write about things I think are “Perfect,” even if someone can demonstrate empirically that they are flawed. Still perfect to me.

Also, fish.

I hope you, dear anonymous surfer person, will come to expect only the highest-quality, free-range, grass-fed tangents. And I hope some of you love the same things I do and find it useful. Or at least a welcome distraction until the others get here.

Nov 25, 2019

I know I have said this podcast is on hiatus for the year, and technically, it is. I’m developing new ideas, both for the Department of Tangents Podcast and some new podcast projects. But, this interview came through after I had made that decision, and it has a bit of a special meaning for me as I get ready to head...

Oct 17, 2019

This is the Department of Tangents special joy of Halloween and horror episode with Lamont Price. I love Halloween, and so does Price. And that’s really the only inspiration for this episode. Price is an incredibly entertaining human being, so we sat down with no real notes and not much of an agenda other than to...

Oct 10, 2019

If you ask a random reader to name foundational women horror writers, you might get two or three names. Mary Shelley. Shirley Jackson. Maybe Daphne du Maurier or Anne Rice. But as Lisa Kroger and Melanie R. Anderson point out in their new book, <em>Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror & Speculative...

Oct 3, 2019

Sue Costello is someone I saw early on in Boston, specifically playing a show organized by Jimmy Tingle that featured Costello, Patrice Oneal, and Steve Sweeney. She has always been tough, and she wears her Dorchester roots with pride. We got into some thorny topics here, including pervasive sexism in the entertainment...

Sep 26, 2019

Dave Ross has a fantastic new album out now called <em>The Only Man Who Has Ever Had Sex</em>. You can download it, but if you see him at a show, you can buy a download card with a special flipbook he’s made with some beautiful photos and silliness. It’s Ross’s attempt to give you a little something extra for your...