“A lovely desert town community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful and strange lights pass overhead as we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to night vale”
-Cecil Baldwin, Welcome to night vale intro
Happy 1st of the month everyone or as I like to call it: Night vale night.
I have just recently found out that there will be live show near me in the future so I am in a night valian mood today!
For those of you who don’t know, Night vale is a twice monthly podcast set in the fictional dessert town of Night Vale. Unlike most podcast it doesn’t feature real world news or reviews, just this fictional town, this includes community calendars, traffic, gossip, local news and sometimes even horoscopes. We see this town through the protagonist Cecil Palmer (voiced by Cecil Baldwin) who hosts the town’s radio.
This gives a bit of immersion as you can pretend that it is our local radio station about your own town. But I wouldn’t want to so much as live there. You see Night Vale is a place where conspiracy theories, horror stories and urban legends are common place. There have been many fans who say that Night vale is a cross between H.P. Lovecraft, Twin Peaks and the twilight zone.
Most would see Night Vale as a terrifying place, there’s a faceless old lady who secretly lives in your home, secret police, vague yet menacing government agencies, angels that we cannot acknowledge, strange hooded figures, strange floating cats and a glowing cloud that drops dead animals.
ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY GLOW CLOUD ALL HAIL!!!
But due to the radio shows presentation we see that this is normal. That no one in town is normal. And everyone in the town is in danger.
But while things are weird, so weird that if it was normal for one episode an entire fandom would be freaking out. It also holds some interesting messages. An example would be one of my favourite story lines, the mayoral elections, in which one of the candidates was Hiram McDaniel, a literal five headed dragon.
In his opening speech he told the audience how he found night vale; he was looking for a good place to eat and asked a man, who seeing a five headed dragon ran like hell. This made him upset, but when he found night vale and asked a man for a good place to eat, the man merely unhinged his jaw and screamed like a wild animal while pointing at the midnight all night diner.
In Hiram’s campaign he says “I am literally a five headed dragon. Who cares?”
This and the fact that the radio host is in a loving relationship with a Hispanic scientist called Carlos shows that Night Vale, despite its horrors, is actually a great place for equality.
That is until you hit the secret government. Who can arrest you for thinking of something, detain your family in the abandoned mine shaft during elections (it has HPO as well as interrogation rooms so it’s not too bad), surveillance everywhere and denies the existence of mountains and angels (naturally).
But even though I have told you that night vale has some great messages on equality and satire on government and surveillance, there is so much more. Corporations, free will, freedom, perspective on life and more.
You should listen to it sometime, it’s free and amazing. You might find something there that picks your fancy, just don’t expect to be “normal” afterwards.
You can listen to it on this link: http://podbay.fm/show/536258179
Or if reading the transcripts is more your thing there is this link: http://cecilspeaks.tumblr.com/
Are you a fan of the podcast; are you a fan of another podcast? Let me know in the comments and I might listen in sometime. Thanks for reading!