The day before the Eastleigh by-election, Owen Hatherley—whom we mention in Show 9—posted a Comment is Free piece on Guardian Online entitled “How Labour got lost in Eastleigh’s unplanned sprawl”.

What appears on the surface to be a nondescript, innocuous town is actually a hub for a remarkable sprawl created in spite of past political manoeuvring which attempted to build an über-city on Hampshire’s south coast and would have swallowed Eastleigh whole. Whilst the article exists in the context of the parliamentary constituency of Eastleigh, and reflects on its political persuasions, there’s also a breezy summary of South Hampshire’s planning history, making it a useful companion piece to Show 9’s show notes.

In 1965, the Harold Wilson government commissioned the town planner Colin Buchanan to prepare the South Hampshire Study. Southampton and Portsmouth were growing, with their port and manufacturing industries increasingly important, and beginning to worry London, which now faced a potential rival in the south-east. Left unplanned, this would cause what in Outrage, a travelogue from Southampton to Carlisle, the writer Ian Nairn called “subtopia”, a thoughtless mass of indeterminate detritus strewn unthinkingly across arterial roads. Instead, the planned Solent City would be a consciously modern metropolis built in the gaps between the two historic port cities. Needless to say, locals and local government in the sleepy Hampshire towns that would take most of the expansion were mortified at the prospect of becoming part of some modernist Greater Southampton, and fought the plans until they were abandoned – though many of the ideas in Buchanan’s grid were soon re-used in Milton Keynes, to great success.

Changes to the Unanswered schedule


The Unanswered podcast will be moving to a monthly schedule. This means our next show will be released on Wednesday 3rd April.

Recording a new show every two weeks has been fun. Time spent chewing the cud with a friend is always time well spent, and if it weren’t for the realities of editing there wouldn’t be a need for change.

The show’s premise is to take on a subject with little to no opportunity to research, to see what occurs to us and where it leads. The conversation comes easily, but the challenge is in taking raw audio over two hours in length (and close to three on occasion) and distill that into an enjoyable, manageable running time. I had hoped for 30–40 minutes, but it seems the natural length is around 50 minutes.

The editing process is pretty ruthless, first by cutting out large chunks and then going back to take out repetition, hesitation and conversational dead ends. Including countless tiny snips because—believe me—there’s only so many times you’d want to hear the words ‘um’ and ‘err’. This takes hours to do. To find those hours in a window the size of slightly fewer than 14 days is very tricky and has been at the expense of other plans. By recording once a month, I get two additional weeks to make time for the editing, and hopefully to get the voices from the last episode out of my head in enough time to feel ready to make the next one.

Thanks for being a listener. We hope we make part of your balanced podcast diet.

Passing it on

If you’ve enjoyed one of our shows don’t be afraid to tell either Nick or myself (or even the Unanswered account) on Twitter, or by leaving a comment here on the site. If we’ve moved you to blog about a topic we’ve discussed, send us the link and we’ll share it. We’ll be your best friend forever if you spread the word about us wherever you are online.

Reviews on iTunes or your podcatcher of choice are also gratefully received.


Unanswered 9: Cities

Header image for Unanswered Show 9 "Cities" featuring a view of buildings in Pyongyang, North Korea

Cities: Hulking great machines keeping its populace in sportswear and takeaway coffees, hiring people to sell sportswear and takeaway coffees. With our attention so divided between threats, opportunities and more bus stop ads than you could shake Adam Sandler at, are we able to focus on anything but the next few minutes?

Steev and Nick are your tour guides of a ramshackle conversation covering African tribes; cherry bakewells; suburban sprawl; Hitler’s legacy, and The Wow Factor.

Curiously, Hitler’s Legacy and The Wow Factor are on tour to your city later in the year.

Download Show 9 [MP3, 28.6 MB]

Subscribe to the show via iTunes or Feedburner

Show Notes