The Memory Palace

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Episode 18:
Dig Set Spike

Aug 28, 2009

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Music, Footnotes & Ephemera

Start off with a piece from the creepy-ass soundtrack to the creepy-ass movie, The Descent. Move onto the intro to “Caledonia” by Crogmagnon (a favorite record of 1969 psychedelic nonsense of mine). Then, coincidentally, also from 1969, Gilberto Gil’s “Volks, Volkswagen Blue.” Then a couple things smushed together from Elmer Bernstein’s score for The Great Escape (why not). Then a nice piece from the score to whatdyacallit, that Errol Morris/Robert MacNamara documentary. Then “Tuba Concerto II” (which you can totally follow even if you didn’t see the first Tuba Concerto) by James Gourlay on the British Tuba Concertos album, but I don’t need to tell YOU that.

Couple of notes: first, this escape inspired the movie The Great Escape. They of course, made it an allied escape. And, having produced this episode, I can relate: not only does no one want to sit through an hour and a half about clever Nazis, I found it a little weird empathizing (for the purposes of writing the podcast) with homesick members of the Third Reich–but I just love the thing about the river. I love that they screw themselves. Other thing: the captain in the story was eventually caught in Phoenix, though he lived successfully on the lam for some time. The kicker, however, is if you drank a St. Pauli beer back in the heyday of their questionable/skeezy “you never forget your first girl” ad campaigns with the buxom german barmaid, you helped pay Captain Wattenberg’s salary. He was the head of the St. Pauli brewery for decades.

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11 Comments | Leave a Comment

11 Comments on Dig Set Spike

  1. ward says:

    Ah, excellent! As soon as I heard “Gila R.” I knew what to expect… I’ve been by there on many a childhood road trip.

    Did you know that the German POWs in TX, upon seeing armadillos, were baffled by the creatures that they then named “panzer schwein”? Pretty good stuff.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Colin says:

    Just wanted to let you know you have some fans.
    Always checking the site for any updates.

  3. Eremita says:

    This is wonderful. Thank you. Looking forward to future postings — so will be checking back often.

  4. My daughter and I love these. She wanted to hear the Kitty Cat Spy and the Messrs. Craft again and again. She is in 8th grade. I am a school teacher and I seek to teach my math classes using history and stories told in the way you do it. Keep up the good work.

  5. Susie Gubengar says:

    Arrggh!! I wish I knew what happened afterwards with those POW’s just for closure!!

  6. admin says:

    Hi Susie,

    You can click on over to “music footnotes ephemera” page for a little bit of the “what happened next.”

    thanks for righting in


  7. humberto says:

    what you do is great thank you

  8. Pingback: Listen to the Gears: 10 | newcurator

  9. Cecille says:

    your stories are absolutely lovely!

  10. StevenG says:

    Great podcast, as someone who is currently living in southern California, the ephemeral nature of the bodies of water during the summer months. Unfortunately, however, the movie “The Great Escape” was not based on this incident but on the book of the same name by Paul Brickhill documenting an escape by British officers from Stalag Luft III (near Sagan, Poland) in March, 1944. As in the film, most everyone was re-captured and 50 were shot by the SS.