To celebrate the end of 2020, I’ve collected the top ten moments from The Earful Tower from the year. Most of them are thanks entirely to you guys!
Sure, it’s been a crazy 12 months, but there’s no point dwelling on that. Let’s focus on the positives. Here are the ten moments that have stood out for me from everything that happened in Paris. I wish I could have included the launch of The Earful Sweden podcast, but that would have been cheating.
Note, I’ve also gathered the top ten most downloaded Paris episodes of this year, which you can listen to in this episode.
10. You guys making $11,000 for a Paris charity
During the Black Lives Matter movement, Lina and I put out the call and you answered emphatically. With Paris prizes on offer, your raffle ticket purchases resulted in a donation of over $11,000 to the Wells International Foundation in Paris, which works with empowering women and people of African descent. What a treat to see Earful Tower followers coming together so powerfully!
9. The Montmartre Movie Set
One of my personal highlights of the year was watching as movie producers transformed rue Androuet near my house to 1942, complete with old cars, actors in period costuming, and storefronts from yesteryear. All the more fascinating when the set was abandoned due to the lockdown, meaning we were left with one eerie and abandoned street to explore. See 100+ pics from the scene here.
8. Hosting Pub Quizzes
Stuck at home with literally nothing to do, my wife Lina and I started hosting weekly pub quizzes during the first lockdown. The topic: General knowledge about Paris and France. The questions ranged from criminally easy to criminally difficult and it turned out to be a good virtual escape for us all, if only for a few hours a week. PS: We brought it back by popular demand for Christmas, you can watch the replay here.
7. Virtual tour of the US
I had grand plans to do a road trip book tour in the US after I published my first book (more on this later), but as you can guess, the plan was cancelled. It was such a shame, we had already bought tickets and planned events all the way from Seattle to Miami – the long way. I’d even bought a jacket (see below). But, especially thanks to the Alliance Francaise language school, I was able to do the tour after all – but virtually. I must have made Zoom appearances in 30 States (maybe more) to talk about France, Paris, and of course the book. To all those reading now who came from AF: Merci mille fois !
6. Write-up in the New York Times
I almost fainted when I saw that the New York Times recommended The Earful Tower in April. The article was titled: Traveling by Ear: 13 Podcasts for Wandering Souls and you can read it here.
5. One million downloads
On May 23rd, The Earful Tower podcast passed one million downloads. It boggles my mind to know how many people are out there listening. I had planned to celebrate but 2020 got in the way, so let’s save it for 2 million instead! Thanks for listening 😉
4. Bestseller at Shakespeare and Co
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something magical about the Shakespeare and Co bookshop. And the feeling for me to see that my book Paris On Air was a hit there was almost inexplicable. The shop asked for six copies to begin with, then 30 the next day, then 50 more by the end of the week. Just last week I delivered another hundred books to them and at some point they had my book on their websites front page as a best-seller. I wish I took a screenshot of that, it was such a lovely moment, thank you for making it happen! Note: The book is still available there on this link. For a top secret stealthy peek inside the store, click play below.
3. Turning the Earful into a company
The biggest behind-the-scenes job this year was turning The Earful Tower into a fully-fledged French company, of which I am apparently Le Président (not my choice of words, mind you). I asked the accountant if Lina could be La First Lady but apparently that wasn’t acceptable, so she is unofficially the First Lady instead. Now, this whole company thing doesn’t really mean anything for you guys, other than that you can guarantee I’m here for the long run and plan to keep striving to make this show better and better. Oh, and we now have a PO BOX if you wanna send mail: 34 Avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008, Paris.
2. Publishing Kylie the Crocodile
Deathly bored during the lockdown(s), Lina and I teamed up properly for the first time to make a children’s book. We called it Kylie the Crocodile in Paris, and it is based on an absolutely true story. I can’t even begin to tell you how much work went into making it, printing it, and distributing it, but we’re both ecstatic to see that the response was positive. The first print run of 2,000 copies is almost entirely gone, which is mind-blowing to us both, not least because we were both skeptical if an audience of podcast listeners and handbag fans would care for children’s books. We’re already working on a second one.
1. Publishing my memoir, Paris On Air
Ah, it seems like a lifetime ago that I published Paris On Air, but it was actually in April 2020. THIS YEAR! I can’t believe it, considering how much has happened since then. This is the story of my Paris life and I did my best to make it as entertaining as possible. It was a risk, for sure, as I was well aware that nobody knew if I could write a coherent sentence, let alone a book. I also knew that self-publishing would mean the book may be ignored by the mainstream press (which it was). But heck, I did it anyway, and as I write this I’m making plans for the third print run. The moral to this story was probably best said by Fleetwood Mac (but with my italics): You can go your own way. Thank you all for making it possible.
That’s it! One full year in review. Be sure to check out the related podcast episode I made featuring the most downloaded episodes of the year, with a few surprising entries if you ask me!
As always, if you enjoy The Earful Tower, become a member here on Patreon. And if you want a copy of Paris On Air or Kylie the Croc, simply click the links below. Happy New Year and thanks for joining me on this journey so far. Here’s to 2021.