An Australian in Paris – Oliver Gee navigates through France one podcast at a time
Oliver Gee is the Australian host of popular lifestyle podcast The Earful Tower. In collaboration with special guests, Oliver gives listeners a unique and often witty insight into all things French.
From light-hearted episodes like, ‘The Worst Words in the French Language’, to more in-depth conversations such as, ‘The Struggles of Being a Woman in France’, the podcast covers an eclectic array of topics. Whether you’re French, a Francophile, or neither – you’re bound to find an episode in The Earful Tower archive that piques your interest.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Oliver amidst preparation for the show’s season finale, which is due out December 13th.
What brought you to Paris from Oz?
I actually came to Paris from Australia via a four-year layover in Sweden. I was working in Stockholm as a journalist, and when I saw a job opportunity in Paris I leapt at the chance. I figured: how lucky to be able to cover news in France where so much is happening.
Who came up with the idea for the podcast?
I did! I knew a producer at a local English-language radio station in Paris and asked if I could have a show. He was very into the idea of a news programme, but I said I wanted to stay as far away from news as possible and do something more like a talk show. The episodes proved popular, so I turned it into a self-standing podcast. Now it has 40,000 hits a month from listeners around the world.
What has been the biggest culture shock?
The Parisians can have hot tempers, and that was quite a shock compared to the laidback nature of many Australians and the reserved Swedes. But it’s amazing how the temper rubs off on you.
The other day I caught myself beeping my scooter horn, waving my hand in the air, and muttering something in French when an atrocious driver cut me off. What’s become of me?!
Any thoughts on why France fascinates people worldwide?
What’s not to be fascinated by? The Notre Dame cathedral dates back to the 12th century and it’s just sitting there in the middle of the city. The River Seine offers one of the best riverside walks in the world. The food, the culture, the people… and the new side of Paris where people are getting wildly creative… it’s all happening here. It feels like it’s all been happening for the past 2,000 years.
Finish this sentence: The biggest misconception about Parisians is…
…they’re rude. I honestly don’t believe Parisians are rude, despite what everyone says. If you make even the smallest of efforts with a waiter, a shopkeeper, a bartender, or any of the people you’d typically encounter on a day-to-day basis, you’ll find they’re very warm and charming. Just say bonjour and merci as often as possible.
Are there any similarities you believe the French and Australians share?
We all enjoy a glass of locally made wine.
The Earful Tower has experienced success rather quickly, where do you hope to see the podcast in 5 years?
I’d love to keep building the podcast and expand it to interesting cities in Europe and the world. Watch this space.
Here is a snippet of footage filmed during the recording of The Earful Tower – Episode 16:
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