After a few weeks of bemusement over my friends either rapturously passing around fanart and fancastings of someone called “beautiful Carlos” or sending terrified Tweets about “episode 19,” I have finally started listening to Welcome to Night Vale.
“Welcome to Night Vale” is . . . difficult to describe. I saw someone explain it as what would happen if you were “lost in the desert and tuned into NPR and the broadcast was local news as written by Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks.” I have also heard it described as “Parks and Recreation with Lovecraft.” I would also liken it to what you would get if Northern Exposure‘s Chris Stevens were born in Derry, Maine. The references could go on and on.
It is a podcast. It is the community radio broadcast of Night Vale, a town in the desert established in the 1700s and shepherded by the City Council, which has not changed since the first meeting of the Town Elder Council in 1824 and which does not appear to like being discussed in great detail. The weather is music. (Really.)
I’ve been listening to it while driving around Seattle in an incredibly loud, rattly, hot food truck, with my GPS interrupting every so often to tell me what exit to take, which means my listening experience tends to go something like:
“Here are this week’s horoscopes: Virgo, go see a movie tod–“
[EXTENDED LOUD RATTLING THAT I DESPERATELY HOPE DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING VITAL HAS FALLEN OVER IN THE TRUCK WHILE I TAKE THAT ONE CURVE ON I-99]
“–Curse you. Curse your family! Curse your children! And your children’s children! Vile, vile Scorpio.”
“In two miles, take the 40th Street exit.”
I honestly can’t tell you whether these interruptions add or detract from the listening experience. They can’t exactly make it more surreal.
Seriously, though, it’s an awesome thing to consume. The writing is superb, the featured music is varied and high-quality, and the voice of Night Vale, Cecil Baldwin, is a pleasure to listen to.
You can listen to or download all the episodes here at Feedburner. I was also delighted to discover that there are at least two people making text transcripts, for people who are hearing-impaired, or prefer reading to listening, or (like me) need someplace to mine for quotes. You can find those transcripts at Welcome to Night Vale Transcripts on Tumblr, and here on Dreamwidth.
I’ll leave you with an inspiring quote.
But most importantly, all of us…all of us here in Night Vale, in America, in the world, in the secret orbital bases…all of us got through another day! We passed the time from one end of twelve to the other without stopping once! Well done, us! Good job, people who experience time! Time experiencers, good job! And, from this moment in history– the one that’s happening right now? Goodnight.