All of the words I said out loud for S01E26 of Audio Drama Debut, my podcast showcasing new audio drama, fiction and RPG trailers.
F/X - Fountain pen writing, and then being capped. Fire gently crackles in the background.
THE LIBRARIAN: Hello there. Come in, and join us in a ginger snap. Yes, I said "us". This is rather exciting. I'm being interviewed by the Magazine of Audio Fiction. They've got letters, scoops, reviews, interviews and a few other things. I'm sure they're here today because of my sterling work in promoting podcasts. Isn't that right?
THE INTERVIEWER: Well, I'd really like to go back to the original question, which was "How do you justify all of these shows that have gone missing?"
THE LIBRARIAN: Well firstly, I don't agree that lots of shows have gone missing. Sure, they're not on the shelf, but does that really mean they're gone? Some child could be running around with the show, still in the library, so that isn't lost. And children aren't allowed to borrow shows, so if they've got them, it's not a problem.
THE INTERVIEWER: But if you look at your shelves, so many shows are gone! How do you justify that to someone who comes in here and wants a show about, say, rival funeral directors?
THE LIBRARIAN: I think it's important to recognise that we didn't lose things first. The first vanishing was in the Non-fiction Library. They had the Yongle Encyclopedia, a great book, really great book, and those "truthers" lost it.
THE INTERVIEWER: You, you, you say truthers. What, what do you mean by that?
THE LIBRARIAN: So look around you. All of these shows? They're fake shows. They're all made up. Totally untrue. They've got vampires, zombies, even this one about reading the brains of dead people. It's amazing! But do you hear about these shows in non-fiction? No, no, it's all true facts. Truthers, people who only want to know exactly what happened, when it happened, and where it happened. How sad is that? No imagination.
THE INTERVIEWER: And the cost to the Library's budget? Having to replace all these shows?
THE LIBRARIAN: Here, look at this graph.
F/X - Paper rustling.
You see that? That's a graph of late fees owed relative to time. You see how our graph is so much higher than anyone else's?
THE INTERVIEWER: But that's fees owed as a proportion of the shows you've lost. I'm talking about how many shows you've lost relative to all the shows you should have and what that means for your efficiency!
THE LIBRARIAN: You can't do that! Look, we've got a huge amount of money owed to us. When that comes in, we're going to be the single biggest contributor to the biscuit fund.
THE INTERVIEWER: Biscuit fund? But that's only if they pay the fees. At the minute it's just more shows out of the door. How do you check that they'll bring them back?
THE LIBRARIAN: Well we don't want to put people off from coming to the Library, to never come back to the library, so we don't check every time that they owe us a show. That seems mean. You can check too often. It's all in the manual.
THE INTERVIEWER: Manual? What, what, what manual?
THE LIBRARIAN: The one over there on the desk. I suppose you haven't seen it yet, I got the best expert in the Library to write it this week. He listened to most of the backlog of a tentacly horror show while I, he did it.
THE INTERVIEWER: And how do you tell someone that the show they want isn't available? How do you look someone in the eye and tell them that the show's gone away, and maybe it's never coming back.
THE LIBRARIAN: Listen, it is what it is. Sometimes, a show is just gone. It tends to be one of our older shows, they don't have the newfangled "do not appropriate" label on them. But it's under control as much as we can control it.
THE INTERVIEWER: Under control? You're, you're losing shows every day!
THE LIBRARIAN: But we're also gaining shows! See there's all these new shows here. Or at least these trailers. People keep sending these to us. People trust us to look after them. And if they keep making new shows, the numbers will go up again. Just on their own. It's a shame they put these really ugly stickers on them though. They hide half of the cover. I don't know who puts them on there, but they must really like these little square copper labyrinths. Have to take them all off before I can put them on the shelf.
THE INTERVIEWER: And your bosses go along with this?
THE LIBRARIAN: Oh you don't want to listen to them. Especially the Director. Pay attention to the real listeners, who all say the new system is great. Like this person here. I bet you think it's wonderful, right? That's why you've come in to listen to these five trailers. Here, let me cue them up for you.
First up, The Vanishing Act is a globetrotting farce about a German magic enthusiast, an American conman in Paris, an unfortunately-named engineer, a disappearing French magician, and a duck. A Rambling Absurdity in 12(ish) Parts.
[CLIP - The Vanishing Act]
THE LIBRARIAN: Then The Patron Saint of Suicides. Haven Otomo spends her spare time saving people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. She also owns a private suicide hotline. Possessed with unnatural powers of persuasion, she’s always been good at talking people in and out of things.
When a rash of suicides hits the city, a detective reaches out for her help on the investigation, and her insight into why people kill themselves. When the crime becomes more complicated, she must question the people she trusts most, and whether they are involved.
[CLIP - The Patron Saint of Suicides]
THE LIBRARIAN: Then Three's Company have a very serious podcast taking a look at a life in the theatre, and the fact that this is constantly derailed by adventures that change genre every time is something they politely ask you to ignore.
[CLIP - Three's Company ADVENTURE DEPARTMENT]
THE LIBRARIAN: And finally, This Weird Normal, a five-part audio fiction podcast about seven young actors who had planned to take a theatre show to the Edinburgh Festival. Then the pandemic struck. Now it is June, and for some of the group it feels as if they are faced with a choice. Do they just sit about waiting for something – anything – to happen. Or do they start making plans?
[CLIP - This Weird Normal]
THE LIBRARIAN: Right, that's your lot for this week.
THE INTERVIEWER: Wait, didn't you say five trailers? Where's the other one gone?
THE LIBRARIAN: No, no, it was definitely four. You must be counting wrong.
THE INTERVIEWER: I, uh, what?
THE LIBRARIAN: And I think that's enough questions from you. I guess you'll want a picture for the article as well? Here, take this one, I've already signed it. And I'll put that on the twitter as well, so everyone can enjoy it. It's @AudioDramaDebut.