SCP3 #05 – Latvia

Click here to hear SCP3 #05 on YouTube.

Besides our formal interview guests, Benjamin and I have previously invited two other participants to join in this season. For our second episode, Conspiracy, we introduced March. In his appearance, March brought a new youthfulness to the show as he took us through his burgeoning obsession with conspiracy theories. In the following edition, Birds, MC Kat graced us with a female perspective for the first time. Both March and MC Kat will have regular slots across SCP3, along with a number of others as the season evolves.

We’ve been eager to test the dynamics between various guest combinations this time. Since March and MC Kat are friends outside of the podcast, their pairing was a perfect experiment. Eventually, I’m sure that I’ll take a sadistic pleasure from placing them out of their comfort zones. I have no idea how either will deal with my opinionated father, for example, who showed up in older seasons. This week’s episode stands as our first with four contributors, though more await release.

Thankfully, March and MC Kat’s existing acquaintance, and shared Latvian nationality, make this one of our most intriguing instalments yet. Shamefully tired, I largely sat back and let them take the floor. Almost the entire podcast is taken up by their first-hand accounts of life in Eastern Europe. It’s a landscape that many of us in the Western world disregard. However, it’s full of its own captivating character, culture and quirks. Helped along by Benjamin, a Briton who now resides in Latvia, a clear and authentic picture of the country emerges.

To help give a little extra flavour of Latvia, Benjamin’s provided me with some excellent examples of the country’s music. Click above for a video of their singing and dancing festival. It’s a powerful event that brings much of the country together in mutual expression. In the above video, you can hear a performance of an unofficial Latvian national anthem. Like many British people’s preference for Jerusalem over God Save the Queen, this piece is generally held in higher regard than Dievs, svētī Latviju!; their current and long-standing anthem.

The music of Latvia, like the music of any country, is a deep well of compelling melodies and tales. In fact, following a personal conversation with MC Kat on the subject, it’s likely I’ll write about it in more depth soon. Until then, one particular piece I’ve heard is worthy of your attention. Menuets are a band of legendary longevity in Latvia. From the late 60’s, and all the way up to 2008, they released four official albums and birthed innumerable side-projects. In the video below, you can hear one of their earliest arrangements. A rendition of a much older folk song, Menuets give it a grandeur that evokes a 70’s Pink Floyd in its instrumentation. It simply needs to be heard.

I’m very pleased with this episode’s more serious tone. Both March and MC Kat brought more to the table than I’d expect of a guest. Though I enjoy our comedic and casual talks, it’s a source of great relief to me that our guests can bring this level of dialogue to the show. We always had an aspiration for our podcasts to avoid the ditches of thoughtless rambling. Similarly, we don’t want to merely rest on the laurels of our interview subjects. This edition proves to me that SCP3 has the potential to finally resemble my original intentions. I hope you take something from our discussion. For my part, I learned something about not disregarding entire cultures.

It’s in another segment of Show and Tell where things, predictably, fall down. I don’t know if I haven’t fully explained its nature to my colleagues, or whether they simply don’t care. But, I have faith that, one day, it may resemble something close to my imagination. Instead, Benjamin rambles something about ancient encryption, MC Kat rolls her eyes and March takes us through his first experience with psilocybin mushrooms. In the end, I try to raise the bar by referencing this morbid article. With the whole affair as fragmented as ever, the only solace I can find is in my bag of crisps. To hear all this for yourself, click below or head over to our YouTube!

British fellow consumes media and regurgitates back what you should think about it.