Eccentric Circles

A Journey Through Machine Age London

Some periods and cities give rise to ideas and circles of thinkers both of the time and outside it. Machine Age London has had a deep legacy on
all our lives—on matters disparate as education, sex, drugs, yoga, and rock ‘n’ roll.

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About Eccentric Circles

Some places and times make an oversized contribution to our lives: Secession Era Vienna, Counterculture in the 50s & 60s San Francisco, Revolutionary Moscow, Paris in the Enlightenment.

For our first season, over fourteen episodes, we explore London in the Machine Age (1895 to 1939: from Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment until Britain entered World War Two). At that time, London was still the “Metropolis of the World,” yet the sizzle of innovation competed with a growing sense of decline. Titanic failure shook unsinkable confidence. Misgivings about mass production gave rise to the romanticization of craft, and the zeal for science coexisted with a hunger for mysticism.

We look at figures who’ve had lasting impacts on how we live now – everything from curating a public self-image to art to the wellness industry. Our characters include magicians, writers, proto-sex therapists, and painters. You may have heard of some; others are more obscure, but they all made lasting contributions to fields as varied as sex, drugs, vegetarianism, yoga, education, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Featuring interviews with leading academics and cultural critics, on-location audio, and readings from the original works, Eccentric Circles: Machine Age London is an immersive and challenging series that will appeal to a broad range of listeners curious about how we got to where we are today. Topics covered include science fiction, reproductive rights, punk, alternative spirituality, and many others. The cultural heirs of our protagonists range from Game of Thrones to Led Zeppelin. Whether eugenics or hallucinogenics, we’ll introduce you to the currents of thought at work in London on the eve of the 20th century.

Join us as we spiral through Eccentric Circles.

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The Team

Stephanie Sy-Quia

Stephanie Sy-Quia is an author and printmaker based in London.

Fred Durman

Executive Producer
Fred Durman combines work in media with a commitment to dilettantism, all while living in London.

George McDonagh

Sound Design/Engineer
George McDonagh is an award winning podcast and audio producer whose work can be heard with The Guardian, Goalhanger Podcasts, BBC and Sony Music.