Fermynwoods Podcast 24 – Subterra

The final episode of the Xylophobia season presents a radio play written by our podcast guest curators, SUBTERRA: Marie-Chantal Hamrock and Astrid Björklund.

Told through the voice of the Narrator, we are presented with an eccentric cast of characters living and contending with an ever diminished and hostile landscape, made up of old mines, towering blast furnaces, an inexplicable blackness which seems to spread insidiously, and a strange red substance that emanates from the earth.

Among the characters are an unnamed man who searches in desperation for ‘that place’ using an old ironstone amulet; Niko and Launo are two hardened characters who seem to have strayed from their community and traverse this landscape alone, speaking wistfully of old times; The Withered Arm is a disembodied human arm working as a barmaid in the Inn of Ill Omens with its ever decreasing customers sadly sipping from their worthy pints; The Strange Man seems to know something sinister no one else does and plays cruel tricks on those around him. And finally, the Fermyn is an ethereal character who cannot be described in words and has no discernible form but somehow seems to know more than anyone else about the nature of this dark world.

… All the while the narrator begins to lose her grip on reality and starts to question her very own existence.

Please note: This episode is binaural/atmospheric recording best listened to with headphones.


A short transcript of the episode is available here, including some additional notes by the artist.

Subscribe to the Fermynwoods Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify or our YouTube channel.

The accompanying visual is a video response to the episode, by artist Sapphire Goss.


For Xylophobia our guest curators for the Fermynwoods Podcast are Marie-Chantal Hamrock and Astrid Björklund. Marie and Astrid have previously collaborated as SUBTERRA for Aerial Community Radio in Aberdeen, which “navigates speculative narratives of the chthonic (of relating to or inhabiting the underworld) through text, poetry, soundscapes and music.”  The two bring their own flavour to a new series of 10 Xylophobia-themed Podcast episodes.

Sapphire Goss is a multimedia artist who uses obsolete technologies to explore experimental materiality and hybrid collaborative forms to make work that grows, decays and lives beyond the screen. Sapphire responds to each Xylophobia podcast episode with a new video.