Audio Long Reads, from the New Statesman
Big Tech and the quest for eternal youth
The anti-ageing industry is bankrolled by some of the wealthiest people on Earth, including Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel. Are the scientists it employs close to a cure? And if they are, who wants to live forever anyway? Jenny Kleeman meets the entrepreneurs who say that a 120th birthday is within reach, and critics who argue that life extension is the pinnacle of elite narcissism.
Written by Jenny Kleeman and read by Emma Haslett.
Read the text version here. It was first published on the New Statesman website on 13 October 2021, and in the magazine on 15 October 2021.
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Saturday, May 20, 2023
‘It’s a state of terror’: inside Haiti’s descent into chaos
In May 2023, the UN reported that 600 people had been killed in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince in the previous month alone – victims of gang violence and the near total collapse of law and order. In April the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, warned that insecurity in the country had “reached levels comparable to countries in armed conflict” and called for the deployment of an international force. In this powerful reported piece, freelance writer and former Haiti resident Pooja Bhatia talks to contacts on the ground, as well as historians and US State Department officials. She traces the origins of the current crisis through successive governments – from Papa and Baby Doc to Jovenel Moise - and through waves of US intervention. Between 2004 and 2017, UN peacekeeping forces brought cholera and 10,000 deaths to the country. Today cholera is back, with 40,000 suspected cases since October 2022. Against a backdrop of escalating violence and political corruption, many Haitians have come to see escape to the US (under Joe Biden’s “humanitarian parole programme”) or foreign intervention as the only way forward. But will any nation step up?This article was originally published in the 12-18 May issue of the New Statesman magazine. You can read the text version here. Written by Pooja Bhatia and read by the New Statesman’s global affairs editor Katie Stallard. If you liked listening to this episode, you might also enjoy A journey through Ukraine at war.
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Why Liverpool bet big on Eurovision
Liverpool has a rich musical history, from the Beatles to Echo and the Bunnymen, and beat six other British cities to become the 2023 host of Eurovision. Can the annual jamboree of geopolitics and high camp help the city overcome recent scandals? In this entertaining long read, the New Statesman’s culture writer Kate Mossman visits the city and meets contestants from Moldova, Beatles tour guides and Brian Nash of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who believes that successive councils have “done more damage to this town than the Luftwaffe”. Where does Liverpool’s “casual musicality” come from? Will Sonia perform at the opening ceremony? All is revealed as the city prepares for the party it hopes will revive its cultural fortunes. This article was originally published in the 12-18 May 2023 issue of the New Statesman. You can read the text version here. Written by Kate Mossman and read by Anna Leszkiewicz. If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy listening to I was Joni Mitchell’s “Carey”.
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Inside the mind of King Charles III
Since 1993, the king has been visiting a village in deepest Romania – once a year, alone. He owns two houses there, and is revered by the locals, for whom he has installed a sewage system and worked to protect their traditional way of life. What draws him there? In this fascinating and deeply reported long read, New Statesman commissioning editor Will Lloyd traces the roots of the king’s obsession – from his often lonely childhood, through an unhappy marriage and a forceful rejection of modernity. Is there a darker side to his enthusiasm for green policy initiatives – a more troubling engagement with the past? The answer lies in Transylvania. Written and read by Will Lloyd. This article was originally published in the New Statesman 5-11 May 2023 issue. You can read the text version here. If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like listening to What is left of Princess Diana? or The making of Prince William.