Welcome to Night Vale: An Overview

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WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a bi-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

Turn on your radio and hide.

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Gloriously insane, brilliant, yet bizarre, complete and utter crack – Welcome to Night Vale, indeed. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover this podcast – some quotes and gorgeous fanart on Tumblr piqued my initial interest – but I’m so glad I did. I mainlined the first 10 episodes in one evening.

Revel in dulcet tones of Night Vale Community Radio’s Cecil Gershwin Palmer as he presents a variety of entirely weird and supernatural events in a deadpan, bland style that makes for sometimes humorous, sometimes horrifying listening.

Topics covered include the mysterious Glow Cloud that one day appears over the town, a cat that levitates in the men’s bathroom at the station, the mysterious dogpark which everybody is supposed to pretend doesn’t exist, mysterious hooded figures that appear around the town, and your standard community events such as PTA bake sales, sports games and highway construction announcements…all with a strange twist, of course. Conspiracies abound!

The weather segment, meanwhile, contains a musical item from lesser-known indie bands – if you like what you hear, the artist and title are announced at the end of each podcast so you can find out more about them.

First Line

A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.

The Cast

Cecil: Radio host at the Night Vale Community Radio Station. We don’t know too much about him – he’s very expressive, adores Carlos, makes a pet out of the floating cat in the men’s bathroom at the station, and occasionally gets into trouble for reporting things he shouldn’t. He’s just another enigma in an all-mysterious show.

Carlos: A scientist new to Night Vale who has ‘perfect, perfect hair’, according to Cecil. He has come to study the town and its many scientific eccentricities that tend to defy the laws of physics. Cecil has a huge crush on him, and the two eventually become boyfriends later on in the series.

Old Woman Josie: A friend of Cecil’s, who keeps him updated during his show on many of the town happenings. Her home is also a refuge for the local angels.

The Interns: The mortality rate for Night Vale radio interns is distressingly high. Sacrifices must be made in the name of journalism, and all that.

Dana: An intern who defies the mortality odds of her job position. She does end up having some adventures in another dimension, however.

Many more characters are introduced at later stages – there are currently 65 episodes and counting!

The Quotes

While the show deals in the realm of all things weird, there are a number of profound observations that have really resonated with me. Cecil’s speeches contain a number of important truths on the nature of life itself. Yes, really.

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(Beautiful typography used with permission courtesy of zenamiarts.tumblr.com)

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The Details

Written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, and narrated by Cecil Baldwin, this free podcast is released twice a month for download. You can subscribe on iTunes, or any other mainstream podcast service.

Due to the sheer popularity of Welcome to Night Vale, the show’s creators are currently taking part in a series of live shows across the US – more information can be found here.

There will also be a novel of the same name released in October 2015, and it is currently available for preorder. You can check out the lengthy synopsis on Goodreads!

Finally, do yourself a favour and follow their Twitter account. More of the same madness, in 140 characters, that will possibly give you an existential crisis.

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Hannah is a twenty-something born and bred Capetonian who adores reading and reviewing books, and encouraging critical discussion on all things pop culture. Currently a politics graduate student, she spent two years working in digital marketing before deciding she missed the student life. Loves QI, travel, dark chocolate, fantasy & YA books, pilates and sarcasm.