In the podcast Notes From The Underground TE Wilson discusses historical and contemporary attitudes toward crime. Each episode features a one-on-one interview that explores a unique topic. Interviewees include authors, experts, and individuals with personal experiences of crime. Many of these podcasts were originally broadcast through the facilities of Trent Radio in Peterborough, Canada.
Simply click on the title of each episode to go directly to the audio.
TE Wilson talks to Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges. In this episode Chris discusses his work writing a play with 28 maximum-security inmates in New Jersey. Chris shares his insights into the men’s unique and impressive talents, as well as into the horrors of the American penal system, which incarcerates more human beings than anywhere on earth.
It looked like the perfect crime, and it almost was: a violent home invasion that left one woman dead, her husband clinging to his life, and their daughter – shocked and terrified – handcuffed to a railing. But things aren’t always as they appear.
A Canadian school teacher becomes an unwitting accomplice to a drug trafficking operation. Soon, he’s in deep, helping to move large shipments of cocaine into Canada. When it all goes south, he ends up spending 4 years in a US Federal Detention Center in Pecos, Texas. And reads about 500 books.
Award winning filmmaker James Motluk discusses his documentary, Konowal: The Man Behind the Medal. Konowal was a Ukrainian Canadian who was awarded the Victoria Cross for “conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy” during WWI. But the war took its toll: Konowal was institutionalized after committing murder in 1919. In this episode, Motluk discusses how Konowal’s captivating story helps elucidate the Ukrainian experience in Canada.
A natural storyteller, Jim shares a number of funny and informative stories about his pioneering days as a young marijuana importer and dealer in the Boston area in the early 1970s. The money was crazy, the vibe was casual, and the Irish Catholic cops forgiving. It was a glorious time, and Jim made the most of it: eating in the best restaurants, driving around in his Cadillac Eldorado convertible – and all while getting high and making lots of money.
As a kid, Gutsy was a petty thief in 1950s Toronto. His graduation to the big time is a comedy of errors, ending with him skipping bail and driving out west with one of the Merry Pranksters. In Vancouver he adopts an assumed identity, living as a scam artist, pan handler, and drug dealer. At UBC library he works on his thesis of the perfect “existential man” as hustler. Finally, Gutsy returns east, where he is betrayed and does his time. He then ends up as a social worker in New York City with the Urban League until his draft number comes up, whereupon he returns home to Canada to live the rest of his life in freedom. (Apologies for buzzing fridge sound from min 24 to min 37 – we were in Mexico!).
Pinky describes his early days as a drug dealer, smuggling dope in Bentleys, hash oil in Kahlua bottles, and cocaine in shaving cans. His adventures lead him to North Africa, Latin America, and Asia. This is a compelling tale of one man’s repeated, and successful, efforts at finding creative ways to move drugs into Canada. But it wasn’t all roses: Pinky also refers to his own drug addiction, and his time spent in jails in Colombia and Lantau (near Hong Kong). (NB “Pinky’s” voice has been altered to protect his identity).