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A Society and Culture podcast
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Best Episodes of Nocturne

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Finding the Void
*Please note that this episode contains explicit language*What makes a place home? Is it a place that feels like a refuge? Is it somewhere you sleep really, really well? Does it matter if it’s a place you’re not technically allowed to be? What if the place that feels like home lives only in your memory, like a perpetually interrupted dream? Michael Townsend has made and lost more than one home, but only one of them was born of a unique blend of grief, curiosity, imagination, and mischief.  And only one of them was accessed by crawling through a series of pitch black caverns in the bowels of a giant mall.
On a beautiful day in April, Matthew Bryce went out to surf by himself off a remote beach in Scotland.  Usually he goes out for 3 or 4 hours, and then goes about his life. This time was different. Read more → The post Shortboard appeared first on Nocturne.
A Catalogue of Nights
In January I left my home for 6 months of wandering, and of course one of the main things I explored were the infinite shades of night in each new place. What I noticed more than ever is that every night is a finger print - each is unique, with no one the same as another. The sounds tell the stories. Read more → The post A Catalogue of Nights appeared first on Nocturne.
Candle Hour
There has never been a world without tragedy and heartache and injustice. But there has also never before been a time when human beings have had constant access to the breadth of human suffering. Our technology bathes us in this information, and it can be a challenge to not dissolve into a mass of emotion, or just go numb. Julia Scott found herself facing this dilemma, and intuitively creating a ritual for herself, the seeds of which were planted decades earlier. Read more → The post Candle Hour appeared first on Nocturne.
They’re All Asleep
Lots of museums have regular evening hours or events, often lasting until 8 or 9pm. But I wonder - what do these worlds become in the wee hours, when the last visitor has heeded the call to leave, and the doors are locked? What transformations take place when no one is watching? Read more → The post They’re All Asleep appeared first on Nocturne.
What the Baker Saw
While working at night in the wilds of the Marin Headlands, baker Eduardo Morell witnesses the struggle between life and death. This struggle plays out all around us all the time, in ways both large and small. Read more → The post What the Baker Saw appeared first on Nocturne.
Ubiquitous Terrifying Force
Something is happening to the animals. Can we all coexist on a crowded planet? Read more → The post Ubiquitous Terrifying Force appeared first on Nocturne.
Stars in Unison
The moon, the stars and the tides are through-lines connecting us to the beginning of life on our planet. These lines can flicker in and out of awareness in the glare of modern culture. But there are ancient creatures living among us, for whom every breath is a reflection of the moon on the water. One in a thousand hatchling sea turtles survive to make it back to the beach of their birth, lay their own eggs, and complete the cycle. There are a hundred ways for things to go wrong. Read more → The post Stars in Unison appeared first on Nocturne.
Standing Over the Bed
Sometimes the world of our dreams can be unsettling; even terrifying. The fear can be like an echo or a shadow of true emotion; or it can be utterly real, even justified. At times the fearful experiences we have at night can introduce questions into the nature of reality, itself. Many explanations have been offered for some of the most terrifying intrusions into sleep, but questions are not always answered, phenomena are left unexplained, there is no resolution. (Please note: This episode includes things that could be triggering for people who have experienced sexual abuse.) Read more → The post Standing Over the Bed appeared first on Nocturne.
Playground Rules
The blurred edges of the night can inspire excitement and transformation. The shroud of darkness emboldens some to reveal hidden aspects of their personality, sometimes with gleeful abandon. Read more → The post Playground Rules appeared first on Nocturne.
The Nocturne Award
The theme of this year’s KCRW 24-Hour Radio Race was “Where the Sun Don’t Shine”. One entry received the Nocturne Award. It’s called “The Telltale Arse” and it’s by producer Matt Livadary. The piece truly peers into the dusty corners of the night, where many would not look, and if they do what they see is uncomfortable, but real.
Like a Light Bulb
Kristin’s daughter was just 16 years old when she began to struggle with drug addiction - methamphetamine, heroin, and more. It brought Kristin to her knees. Of all the painful challenges, the worst was not knowing where her daughter was in the middle of the night. Between searching for her daughter, worrying if she was alive and researching ways to help her, Kristin was barely taking care of herself. Sleep was almost non-existent. Finally, she gave herself permission to let go. And that’s when she discovered a way to lead her daughter to safety.
The Sound of Moonlight
Where I live, it’s coming up on cricket time. Particularly on warm summer nights, the air is alive with their singing - a sound that activates deep and long-lived memories from childhood and beyond. Of these crickets songs that permeate the night, and catapult me back, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, "If moonlight could be heard, it would sound like that." John Himmelman follows crickets through the night, and can identify different species by their songs. Adam Brody fills his apartment in Brooklyn with their music, and then takes them out in public to perform alongside them. And then he eats them.
The Blue Time
There are two main definitions of The Blue Time – the first is the time just before sunrise when everything in the world has a blue tinge to it. The farther north you go, the longer the blue time in the winter.  The second definition is that time when you’re depressed, time moves slowly, you feel like you’re in a daze, and like you’re just broken. For many people who live in northern locations, their experience of winter leans heavily toward that second definition. The combination of dark and cold can sink them into a despair that descends like clockwork every winter. The people of Tromsø, Norway experience two months of darkness, or "Polar Night", in the winter. However, research shows that folks in Tromsø are happier than you might expect, despite the lack of sun. Kari Leibowitz went to Tromsø to figure out what makes the people there flourish during the cold dark winters, and how she might use that information to help others cope better with winter.  
Listen to Here Be Monsters
Here Be Monsters is a gorgeous podcast that explores the dark corners of the human mind, fear and the unknown.  It’s transporting and surprising and you should definitely subscribe. This episode is a re-airing of Here Be Monsters' Breath Holder , produced by Bethany Denton. Here Be Monsters is part of KCRW.
Big Life
Katie Nelson is a journalist based in Kenya, where she covers human rights and global health issues. Her work puts her in dangerous and challenging situations, far from home. But not that long ago, Katie could barely get out of bed.Whereas most people have distinct and regular periods of wakefulness and fatigue – usually divided into day and night, Katie felt the need to sleep all the time. She had lost all hope of leading a normal life, until one doctor finally asked the right question.
Quiet Transmission
Poetry and the night are some of the last remaining domains of “unknowing”; places where it’s acceptable to digest the world slowly and without conclusion, and where one can linger in, and traverse, experiences like solitude, impermanence, and wonder. Poets Cecily Parks and Tom Harding are both drawn to explore the intersection between the quiet tender moments of night and the act of writing and reading poetry. It’s a space where one can capture fleeting wisps from the darkness, and then send them off for others to hold like fireflies in a jar. Poems from the night are like fragments of dreams forgotten upon waking, reminders of things lost to us in the day.
Big news for Nocturne
A message from Nocturne’s producer, Vanessa Lowe:There will be a new episode of Nocturne on Tuesday, November 13th.   In the mean time, I want to fill you in on the big news I alluded to in the last episode -  I am thrilled to let you know that from here on Nocturne will be distributed by KCRW, and joining their roster of strange and beautiful podcasts, alongside the likes of Here Be Monsters, UnFictional, The Organist, and so many more. I could not be happier. I’ve loved KCRW for years and years, first for their music, and later for their amazing audio series. There couldn’t be a better match for Nocturne, and this partnership will allow us to continue exploring our curiosities, creating nocturnal atmospheric worlds, and mining stories from the dusty corners of the night.This change should be seamless for existing subscribers. But it does involve a little bit of hocus pocus tech magic, and sometimes there are pixies in the machines. So if you notice any hiccups in downloading or listening to future episodes we would so appreciate it if you could let us know. Send us an email at or tweet us at @nocturnepodcast.You can find past episodes of Nocturne at .
As a Weapon
The dark stillness of night envelopes and cushions us. It draws us into ourselves and close to our loved ones. But comfort turns to horror in a heartbeat when the night becomes weaponized - used by bullies to terrorize and control, allowing the cowardly perpetrator to hide in the shadows and evade detection or identification. This is the most ominous embodiment of the night. Its most salient symbols are those of burning crosses, and the nightriders delivering their messages of terror.
The Nocturnist
Hospitals are amazing places. They’re emblems of the modern medical technology that saves and improves our lives in countless ways every day. But if you’ve ever roamed the halls of a hospital in the middle of the night, with its shiny echoey surfaces, background hum of anxiety, and distant monitors chiming like beacons of peril, you’re in no rush to return. But if you must, you’ll want someone like Shoshana Ungerleider there keeping an eye on things, especially if there are zebras. Read more → The post The Nocturnist appeared first on Nocturne.
Life Is But a Dream
Beverly D’Urso is a lucid dreaming celebrity. She was a subject of Stephen LaBerge’s research at the Stanford Sleep Lab in the 1980’s, has written numerous articles and given classes on lucid dreaming, and has been featured in multiple television programs and magazine articles. She’s done pretty much everything you can do in your dreams. But she’s decided to focus on being awake, instead. Read more → The post Life Is But a Dream appeared first on Nocturne.
The Dream You Should Be Having
The Sleepless project is two things: It's a voicemail that people can call when they can't sleep, so they can talk about what's on their mind and hopefully get back to sleep. It’s also an art project where the creator of the project makes short videos to accompany the voice messages. She came to the project through her own sleepless nights. Read more → The post The Dream You Should Be Having appeared first on Nocturne.
Night Owls
Nighttime feels different to different people. Some are at their most energized and creative, while others are a little creeped out. Which side of the night are you on? Read more → The post Night Owls appeared first on Nocturne.
I Was Flying
Our dreams can allow us to experience things that are – impossible. Yeah, some dreams take us where we’d rather not go. But others invite us into a world filled with joy, and ease, and wonder. They connect us to a forgotten part of ourselves. It feels realer than real, this realm we can only inhabit when we’re sleeping. Read more → The post I Was Flying appeared first on Nocturne.
The Vanishing Dark
The stars are disappearing. We're losing natural darkness. It's happened rapidly, but just slowly enough that it's hard to notice. But once your eyes open to the vanishing dark, you see it everywhere. Can we bring back the night sky? Read more → The post The Vanishing Dark appeared first on Nocturne.
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Podcast Details
Oct 20th, 2014
Latest Episode
Oct 8th, 2019
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
27 minutes

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