‘Cruising’ is a new podcast that focuses on the issues of gay men living in Iceland. The first episode premiers today on GayIceland, and in light of that we decided to catch up with its host, Jonathan Duffy, and ask him tell us about it and what he has in store for us.
The podcast, Cruising, will focus on gay men. What does that entail?
“Well the basic premise is a podcast that explores some of the aspects of life for gay men living in Iceland,” he says.
What kind of subject matter will you be dealing with?
“It’s a variety of different issues that are part of the life of gay men. There’s serious topics but lighter material as well. I wanted to keep the topics diverse so that the listener isn’t always getting the same stuff. I also hope that for some people it shines a light on topics they might not necessarily know much about. I’ve tried wherever possible to keep it about the experience of gay men that are living in Iceland. I just wanted to capture an image of what it is actually like for gay men here.”
“We’re doing an episode on sexual health … and I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the health industry here hate me after it.”
What will be the format of the podcast?
“Each episode has one particular topic or theme. The episode is broken down into interesting pieces of information and interviews with people or experts. When the topic is light, I’ve tried to just invite the listener into that world, when it’s more serious I have tried to give as much education on all sides as possible.”
The podcast focuses on the issues of gay men. Did you discuss the possibility of widening the scope, for example by including issues of queer men in general?
“Because it’s just starting out, for the first episodes it’s just focused on the issues of gay men. I wanted to keep it simple in the beginning to streamline things and make sure the end product serves its purpose. Of course some of the topics will directly or indirectly involve other queer men. There will also be topics of interest to people outside of the queer community.”
You’ve already had success with your podcast Icetralia. Will we see a different side of you in this one?
“One hundred percent. I played one of my friends a little bit of the first episode recently and he said; ‘Who’s that talking?’ He had no idea it was me because he’s never heard me in a recording not being funny. In Icetralia I get to shoot the shit with one of my best friends. It’s honest, unfiltered and raw. The purpose of that particular podcast is pure entertainment. We pretty much just hit record and what you hear is what happens an hour and a bit after that.
Cruising is an entirely different vehicle. I’ve been joking to friends that I’m getting to be a serious journalist with this one. I’m getting my Christiane Amanpour on.
So with this podcast I’m not cracking jokes, I’m asking a lot of questions. I’ve had to do a lot of preparation and learn a lot about how to conduct an interview with someone honestly and without trying to lead them in a particular way. I’ve also had to have a lot of phone conversations with very educated important people I’ve never met and ask them questions they might be uncomfortable with, which is really hard when your primary job is telling dick jokes. I think if I were to count the hours of research, interviews fact checking and editing, it has taken at least a full working week or more to
produce each episode.
I’ve also had to learn a lot about negotiation with this project. Some of the episodes have involved subject matter that I think is really interesting and something we need to talk about. Then I have spent weeks trying to get people to agree to talk to me and let me record it. So yeah, don’t go into this podcast expecting to hear my take on how hilarious Icelandic words sound when you translate them directly over to English. Expect to hear a voice that is trying to educate and learn at the same time.”
“There are serious topics but lighter material as well … I wanted to keep the topics diverse so that the listener isn’t always getting the same stuff.”
Can you give us hints about the first episode?
“In this episode I decided to take a look at what seems to be a drag renaissance happening in Iceland right now. We’ve all seen drag making a move into the mainstream thanks to shows like RuPaul’s drag race, but I wanted to have a look at the people and events that took place to make the Icelandic drag scene explode in the way it has over the past three years. I chatted with members of the drag community who have seen what it was like before drag race, helped instigate what it has now become and might not have been born here, but have made a huge name for themselves in Icelandic drag.”
‘Cruising’ is brought to you by GayIceland and sponsored by the city of Reykjavík.