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  • Writer's pictureH.R Owen

Episode Seven

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Monstrous Agonies E07S01 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Seven.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through static, inaudible speech, pop music and rock music before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-a threshold too weak now to resist.

It's almost two o'clock on Thursday morning, and time for me to answer you questions about liminal living.

First tonight, when home comforts aren't quite as comforting as they ought to be.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

Like a lot of people who grew up a bit weird in a small town, I left home pretty young. Soon as I was able, to be honest. And I didn't look back.

Spent a long time travelling. Been all over at this point – Lagos, Bogotá, Tokyo, spent a few brilliant years in Mumbai. All big, big cities, so many people, so many things to do and see.

And God, the food! I might have settled down years ago if it wasn't for the food. There is nothing as exciting as finding a new dish you've never tried, or ingredients you've never seen put together that way, or even, you know, a classic, something familiar as an old coat, but done to perfection.

Thing is, I'm getting on a bit now. Eventually, you see enough places, meet enough people, and it starts to feel sort of... Meh. It's all different, of course, but it's like it's different in a way you've seen before.

I guess I was getting tired. [laughing] Never thought that would happen, but there you go. I decided to hang up my old boots, and try making a home somewhere.

And that's where I ended up – home. Back again, after God knows how long. It was all different of course, everyone I'd known either grown up into someone new or just gone. The whole island seemed smaller.

I spent most of my childhood in this sort of perpetual state of low-level mortification. I couldn't do anything right, I was always too different, too distracted... too bloody weird. Nobody thought like me. Nobody felt the things I felt.

And then I left and it turns out... world's full of people like me! Brimming with them, everywhere. It was just a matter of finding them.

And I thought that would make coming home harder? But it was the opposite, really. I didn't care what people think any more. I'm happy with myself. There's nothing wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with them either, the people I grew up with or the new people on the island or any of them.

And it turns out, people respond to that, that confidence. They like me! I like them. We're different, but different's good. It feels like... Well. Not to be horrifically cheesy but, it feels like home.

But God, the food! Don't get me wrong, there's some lovely food here – some of the best orchards in the world, and salmon like you've never seen. But it's all bit meat and two veg, you know? Good meat, nice veg – but ugh, I'd kill for baklava and a Turkish coffee. Even just a proper burrito...

There aren't any delivery places that come out here. Probably for the best – time's a bit weird here, and can't imagine it's much fun popping out for a delivery and getting back to find two weeks have gone by instead of two hours. Not to mention your tips turning into leaves as soon as you're home.

Besides, they're mostly just pizza, chips, and one semi-decent Chinese. Not really the range I'm used to.

I like being home. It's like I'm learning about it all new, like it's another destination for me to get my teeth into. And I'm making friends. Good friends. But honestly? There are days when I'd sell every last one of them and their grandmothers for a meal that isn't based around potatoes.

Is there any way I can get back the meals I love without having to leave the place I'm making home?

The Presenter (as themselves)

I'll be honest, listener, my first instinct upon hearing this question was to state the obvious – learn to cook. And I do think that, if this is a feasible option for you, it would be an excellent choice – there's nothing like really getting to know your ingredients and how they come together to sharpen your appreciation of a dish.

However, I realise that cooking is not necessarily an easily accessible activity for all our listeners and I wanted to explore that a little more.

Firstly, I urge you to start simple if you have limited cooking experience. Plan ahead, and take short-cuts or make changes to your recipes however you need to. There are lots of pre-prepared ingredients available to make life a little easier, not to mention kitchen equipment designed for all sorts of bodies and abilities.

This could also be an opportunity to reach out to your community and invite them to join you. Cooking and eating together is an enormously important part of many cultures, as I'm sure you've seen in your long travels.

Perhaps you could ask your friends over to cook with you, sharing the tasks involved between you according to your experience, interests, and abilities. This would be a nice way to share the experience you had while travelling, and give them the chance to share their own skills and insights.

With what you've told me about your home, it sounds like you'll probably have to order ingredients and any specialist cooking equipment online. My only advice here is to stick to independent, creature-owned businesses, who are often more accommodating for customers in non-standard temporalities. Legally, businesses can't refuse to deliver to divergent timelines, but many sapio businesses charge exorbitant rates to do so.

Of course, learning to cook won't meet your desire for wide range of professional-standard food on your doorstep – or at least, not until you've had a great deal of practice! I'm afraid there's not much you can do about that right now. It's one of the trade-offs of living away from a big city. You have to decide for yourself whether that trade is worth it.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

You're listening to the Nightfolk Network on 131.3 FM.

[End background music]

The Presenter

Tonight's second letter is from some would-be holiday makers with clashing opinions on what rest and relaxation looks like.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writers)

We are planning a holiday for next summer and cannot find a scenario that suits us. We would like to go on a city break, but we think that the countryside would be more relaxing.

We want to go somewhere we can explore, somewhere with a nightlife. We think that a holiday is for relaxing and want to do nothing more strenuous than reading on a beach. Dancing is relaxing! Not the way we do it, all the hips and gyrating- Well now we're just being rude, we didn't see us complaining that night we- That is completely different, we can't believe we are even bringing that up-

Anyway, we are getting off track. We started it! We're not getting into it again. The point is, every time we try and decide how to spend the week, we end up arguing. Well we just think it's important that we don't get bulldozed into doing whatever we want just because we had control over the hands when we were making the bookings. Ugh, that was one time, would we give it a rest!

How do we find a way to have an enjoyable holiday when we want such different things?

The Presenter (as themselves)

Listeners, I am reminded of the old adage that compromise means bending a little in order not to break. You deserve to have a holiday that is restful and relaxing, where you get to indulge in the things you enjoy.

For you, that will also mean having to do things that you find less engaging. However, the alternative is either a holiday that you hate from start to finish, or no holiday at all.

The trick to compromise is, paradoxically, being clear about what you feel is non-negotiable. You might be willing to go to a busy bar or restaurant, for example, but draw the line at night clubs. Or you might be happy enough to spend a day reading on the beach, but have a firm limit on how many times per week you do so.

Hash these out between you, and please be honest. There's no point pretending you'd be happy to do something when you wouldn't. It will only cause problems in the future.

You mentioned that you've felt bulldozed in the past. Avoid this by planning your itinerary together, with choices split between you. If you choose to go to a museum in the morning, perhaps you can pick where to go for lunch and how you're spending the afternoon.

Remember, when you're doing things that you might not enjoy so much, try to stay positive. Keep in mind that you deserve to enjoy yourself without being made to feel bad. Then, when you're doing an activity that you've chosen, you can return the favour.

There are lots of destinations that combine sunny beaches, easy to reach

countryside, and a thriving nightlife. As long as you communicate clearly, be honest about what you want and need, and make room for your differences, I'm sure you'll be able to have a perfectly lovely holiday.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

Brought to you in association with Herne's of Windsor – outfitting the discerning hunter since 1602.

[End background music]

The Presenter

Up next – are you making the most of your natural musk? We talk to the creature community's leading perfume designer, Moschus Berezovsky, about how this season's scents can help you...

[The Presenter's voice fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through classical music, pop and rap before fading out.

Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]

H.R. Owen

Episode Seven of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.

If you're a person of the night or otherwise identify as a member of the creature community, we want to hear from you. Submit your own monstrous agonies online at, by email at, or find us on Tumblr at Monstrous Agonies.

You can support the show by leaving a review on iTunes, sharing the programme with your friends and familiars, or supporting us on Patreon at

This podcast is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The theme tune is Dakota by Unheard Music Concepts.

Thanks for listening, and remember - the real monsters are the friends we made on the way.

[Fade to silence]


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