A couple of weeks ago, Russell Davies noted that most podcasts of the kind we (meaning, I think, Russell, me and some like-minded folk) listen to while wandering around are quite long for most of our wanderings – typically 30 minutes or more, like the radio programmes we post at Speechification. There’s room in the world for shorter, regular podcasts – micropodcasts if you will – to fill the shorter gaps: bus stops, changing trains, a stroll to the shops, that kind of thing.
TFTD – or rather, the Humanist Society’s secular version, Thought For The World – collided in my head with the daily readings we had to do at school. At my (rather posh) school, every student was issued a mini Gideon Bible on arrival, and the first lesson of every day was 5 minutes longer than the rest to accommodate a mandatory daily reading. “Today’s lesson is taken from Matthew Chapter 5, beginning at the third verse…” and so on. Together with the increased ease of creating podcasts these days, I thought I’d give it a go – with a literary bent, obviously.
Mattins is a daily reading, every weekday, no more than 5 minutes long. The 5 minute limit is imposed by Audioboo, which makes podcasting from an iPhone startlingly simple. Every morning over my mandatory first coffee I take a book down from the shelves, hit record, and read a short extract. Audioboo takes care of uploading, hosting and syndicating each “boo”, and I can also extract this quite simply by munging the RSS to a standalone site with Feedburner and a bit of Simplepie tweaking. The choice of extract is almost-random – I like finding bits I’ve dog-eared in something I read a long time ago, or a good bit I read the night before, or I might just read the first couple of pages (five minutes is a lot shorter than you think).
I hate the sound of my own voice, but I’m aware that’s pretty common, so I’ll let it go. I’m also not a great reader-out-loud in general, and given it’s first thing in the morning and I’m only half way through the first caffeine shot, it’s not exactly broadcast-quality material. I stumble occasionally, and mispronounce stuff. But it is a nice thing to do for myself, and some people might like it too.
So, here’s Mattins: a daily reading. If you like that kind of thing.
Micropodcasting is officially easy. I look forward to seeing more things made this way.