Welcome to episode 48 of Sweetman Podcast brought to you by Phantom Billstickers. A chat with Kiwi-born, American-based writer James Robinson. He had a blog on Stuff.co.nz – which he turned into a book. The blog – and then the book – looked at life in America and perceptions of America; the way we, as Kiwis, looked at America and received information from it. Robinson wrote astutely across topics – travel, politics, entertainment and arts – and the blog, considered a lifestyle column, was very personal. Along the way he charted his marriage (to an American woman) and gave glimpses into the different life he had chosen.
This was no first-time meeting for me. James Robinson is my brother-in-law, he is the younger brother of my wife Katy. When I first met him he was just a teenager. I got him into a bar that night and got us both a ride home with the cops – well, it saved us a cab fare.
James lived in Wellington for many years so he and I created our own friendship, one based around a shared love of music, books and film. So this podcast doesn’t get bogged down by family stories. It is about James’ growth as a writer, about his journey – geographically and philosophically. And when we’re done talking about the tough life of freelancing in arts journalism we get into the election result. This podcast was recorded just after the American election but before Trump became President. We were bitching about him when he was just boring old President-Elect.
This poem is mentioned somewhere near the end of the podcast. (If you want a heads up).
It’s a long chat – but hopefully not too indulgent. And hey, if it is, tough – it’s my podcast. I’ll be less indulgent next time…
James and I had talked about this sort of conversation – as well as having versions of it across the years – long before we made time to sit down and record it. I hope this version of it works for you.
Day-time visitors to the den get to have coffee thanks to L’affare or, later in the day, they can have a beer from the wonderful Yeastie Boys. My thanks as always to these great sponsors.
Please enjoy episode 48 of Sweetman Podcast, my conversation with James Robinson.