Imagine, if you will, a collaboration between David Lynch, Daniel Clowes and HP Lovecraft. Imagine a small town, a little bit like Twin Peaks, only with blurred edges; sub-dimensional wrinkles that descend into lost and impossible places, reticent of the ancient city of R’lyeh.
Imagine a place in which people and things that aren’t people can enter and exit of their own will. Where people and buildings disappear without a trace, inhabited by hooded figures and librarians (AKA: The most fearsome creatures imaginable’) and watched over by a Glow Cloud that rains down dead lizards and crows, smells faintly of vanilla and has mind-control abilities (It has now joined the school board).
Imagine a community news program broadcasted from a building that’s can only be opened by bleeding; a radio station owned by the StrexCorp (who have taken it over from ‘Previous unseen forces too terrifying to behold’. Imagine a radio station whose interns have all met terrible ends and Khoshekh the station cat who hovers by the sink in the gents.
Imagine what the daily community news program of this radio station sounds like…
Like virtually everyone else who’s heard of this podcast, I heard about it through word of mouth. It’s free, its episodes are released on the 1st and 15th of each month and Welcome to Night Vale has become one of the most popular podcasts in the world.
It’s not hard to see why.
The podcast is written by Jospeh Fink and Jeffery Cranor and its form is a community news bulletin, complete with a weather report, words from the sponsors, the ‘Children’s fun fact science corner’ and traffic. None of these things are what they seem and it’s easy to slip inside the dulcet tones of the congenial and charming presenter, Cecil Palmer and find yourself lost in this strange and troubling place, like being wrapped inside the comforting insect-warmth of a leaf-coloured cocoon.
I have been lost in the place below Night Vale’s stars after setting off home from work and found myself at my front door, my mind reverberating with, as Lovecraft might say, an iridescent and cosmic effulgence. It’s linguistic style is elegant, its music ethereal, yet within its cyclopean madness, carries a razor-edged wit.
There are linear themes that runt through the podcasts, (currently on 49 episodes at the time of writing this) however it is possible to dip in and out but for the full experience, I would recommend you start at episode 1.
I have deliberately been sparse about the content as Welcome to Night Vale is something that simply just needs to be heard.
Anyone with a leaning toward the dark and the idiosyncratic will find their home here, a little town lit by lights that cannot be explained, where yellow helicopters circle and you should never, under any circumstances, enter the dog park.