When deciding which podcast to cover for this month’s focus on “dads in podcasting,” The Curiosity of a Child was an obvious choice. This podcast is truly a paternal project presented by Richard Le Poidevin and his son Anton, who is now eleven years old.
It is the interaction between father and son that makes this podcast so wonderful. They take the listener on great adventures as they explore a huge diversity of topics from history to science, folk tales, and everything in between.
The idea behind the podcast is of course educational—Ric and Anton agree that is an extension of Anton’s homework. But it’s also educational for listeners. As Anton says, “We do ‘not regular’ topics. We do lots of different things. For example, we did corpse medicine, and I don’t know how many other people have covered that. I enjoy learning about all kinds of things, and I like teaching other people, as well.”
Ric does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to the research, but Anton tends to tackle one particular facet of it as well as general background reading.
Podcasters like to describe how they have grown on their podcasting journey, but in Anton’s case, this is quite literally true. Having started when he was nine, you can really hear how he has matured in the two-and-a-half years that he has been at this podcasting game. He now confidently takes the lead, and his recent episode on Norman Castles really was a tour de force, as the Normans might have put it.
Their creative process sounds like a lot of fun—they do have a prepared set of topics from which they choose based on whatever most takes their fancy. Then, away they go! Their historical topics (particularly, their ongoing series examining the spice trade) often take them to far-flung places. As with many of their episodes, these have a practical element, as well, and Anton has to taste each of the spices they cover.
The duo also covers local history, such as William Le Lacheur, the sea captain from their native Guernsey, who played a key role in the establishment of Costa Rica.
Ric has a background in website development, which is plain to see in their well-crafted website, and this tech know-how allows him to experiment with the audio in their shows. In fact, “In our episode on perception,” Ric explains, “we were looking at perception broadly, but we also explored audio perception, and how people can mishear things or hear things that aren’t there. I was trying to use the audio medium to do something a little bit fun and playful.”
Another way that they vary their format is by having “out-and-about episodes,” where they visit local sites like the dolmens, for example, or the standing stones of Guernsey. “It’s definitely easier to describe things when you’re by them,” Anton points out. Ric believes that the change of acoustics can add to the texture of an episode, as well: “I do like that change in our voice or the acoustics… like when we went in the dolmens to get some of the echo and everything in there. That way, people can hopefully get more of the feeling we’re talking about.”
Having Anton’s perspective of a child in the 9–11 range adds a very fun flavor to some of the topics, like when they go big on Halloween. They have episodes on monsters, witches, and the aforementioned corpse medicine (which, should you wish to know, is exactly what it sounds like—people used to eat other people as medicine!). Ric highlights the latter as one of his favorites: “I enjoyed corpse medicine just because I made Anton eat human brain—a mummified man,” he says and hastens to add, “… not real human brain!”
Anton’s favorite episodes are those based on interviews, as he enjoys hearing their guests’ reactions to the questions they ask. Plus, they require less talking from him!
One of the joyous things that shines through both in the podcast and throughout this interview is just how much this father and son enjoy each other’s company. For now, Anton seems to enjoy dad jokes, and long may that continue. Ric is obviously delighted to be able to spend such precious time with his son. They plan to keep at it for the foreseeable future, though a name change might be necessary… Curiosity of a Teenager, maybe?
Neither Anton nor Ric seem concerned about who listens or how many listeners they have. They are simply having fun together, learning so much and enjoying sharing it with anyone who wants to join them for the ride.
So, if hearing about pirates, poisons, or platypuses from the Le Poidevins is your thing, you should definitely hitch along, too.
June 2022 Issue