Podcast episode about someone taping everything for years
September 24, 2016 4:14 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for a specific podcast episode featuring a man who started taping everything around him for years in hopes that the found sound would lead to a good radio story but it never did. I think the piece was on Transom, but it could also have been on something similar, such as This American Life or Love and Radio. A number of very specific plot details inside.

Plot info! (The piece was pitched as non-fiction, but given the more-or-less perfect climax, it could also be fake, or at least massaged.)
  • The presenter introduces the person who made the piece (let’s call him Joe - sounds like a straight, white, cis dude)
  • Joe talks about being inspired to start taping everything after hearing some good radio. He doesn’t know what story to tell, so he figures he’ll start taping and everything will fall into place.
  • We get bits of events in Joe’s life through the tape - what friends think when he tells them, etc. Unsurprisingly, the story scraps fail to come together in any meaningful way. Joe just keeps taping, now more because it’s just what he does than anything else. We get some details about Joe’s life at this point, and it sounds similarly aimless and career-less. The radio piece is all that he’s clinging to, but it’s no more substantial than anything else.
  • Eventually, Joe describes how he was hanging out with (living with?) two guys who were very into Mario Kart. (Could be something else, but I’m 99% sure on this.) At least one of the two plays the game all the time, and has some kind of serious substance abuse problem - crack? meth?
  • Joe discovers that there are a bunch of notebooks in the apartment. All of them are full of track times for Mario Kart. In one notebook, there’s a page with a to-do list on it, with approximately this content:
    1. Tidy up apartment.
    2. Get a job.
    3. Get clean.

  • The Mario Kart track times continue on unabated after the to-do list

  • There’s some kind of denouement that I’ve entirely forgotten.

That’s it! Thanks for the help.
posted by Going To Maine to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
I think it's this: "David and the Wire" from Radiolab?
posted by correcaminos at 4:18 PM on September 24, 2016 [8 favorites]

I was thinking of the same Radiolab episode.
posted by bunderful at 4:33 PM on September 24, 2016

I agree with the above.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:40 PM on September 24, 2016

Nope! But it could well be the Wiretap episode “Man vs. Machine” which covered the same topic. This is a good lead.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:41 PM on September 24, 2016

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