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Search your podcast app for the words Head Ovary Heels and you’ll see an icon with a pair of women’s legs in the air and words in white type. I can’t believe it got there. You see, I made the podcast with another mother, Rachel Oudyn. We made it at night when the children were in bed. We hatched it in those precious few moments you have as a mother to be creative, to plot and to plan.“I can’t believe we got this far,” Rachel tells me. “I know!” I reply.
Nearly a year ago, I moved from New York City to Brisbane. Everyone asks if I grew up here. Yes and no. I was an army brat so we lived everywhere. In primary school, I spent two years in Wishart in a pre-Expo `88 Brisbane. Later, during high school we lived on North Stradbroke Island for a year. I attended Cleveland State High School on the mainland and caught the ferry across Moreton Bay each day.
When we moved back to Brisbane, in an effort to meet new people and get my sons into the Queensland way of life, we joined the school swim club. On Thursday nights, the kids swam laps in a concrete 1950s swimming pool and the parents manned a sausage sizzle and tuck shop filled with retro treats.
At that very first swim club who did I see? It was a girl (now mum) from high school. I remember her being funny and outspoken in economics under the whirr of ceiling fans. She was chatting to other parents in the bleachers amid wet beach towels and blue Ikea shopping bags filled with swim gear. Like that Daft Punk “Da Funk” video clip, where the man-dog Charles reconnects with his neighbor in the bodega, I approached: “Rachel, is that you? It’s me, Felicity, we went to school together!”
It turns out we had lived parallel lives. Rachel had also studied journalism and lived abroad in the UK, Denmark and Japan. She’d also fallen into copywriting. She counts Lego as one of her clients and she now does SEO writing for brands.
We became friends, again. I told her of my love for podcasts. Since moving back to Australia, I had fantasized about making a podcast for women like us. “Let’s do it,” she said.
I’d made a deck. That’s New York advertising speak for a proposal. I had a name for the podcast: Head Ovary Heels. In the presentation there was pictures of a topless woman with a pregnant belly and hipster mums balancing babies on hips. I had an idea for t-shirts with the words head ovary heels (that I still want to make) and Snapchat geo-filters for each episode launch.
So we started meeting at Rachel’s house on Tuesday evenings. I would walk through the dark, suburban streets of south Brisbane, on edge at the threat of swooping bats and the rustle of possums, the size of cats, on overhead power lines. (New York City was so much less stressful to navigate at night.)
When I’d leave my house, my husband had arrived home, and my boys were just settling into bed. By the time I arrived at Rachel’s place, her three were asleep upstairs. It was that hushed time of night when the children are down and you have an hour on your own. An hour for wine, Netflix, endless blog-scrolling and all out podcast creation.
We started mapping out our podcast. On a Google spreadsheet we had a wish list of interviewees (Linda Rodin, you’re on there!), a to-do list of setting up social accounts and building a website. We downloaded GarageBand. My laptop crashed and did a spinning rainbow wheel thing so we settled on Rachel’s computer for editing episodes.
Come payday I started buying random audio appliances. My first purchase was a retro-looking microphone, that looks just like the microphone emoji. Then a gaming headset to hear and record Skype interviews. Then a nifty-looking Zoom voice recorder. There was also an external hard drive I donated to the Head Ovary Heels stash to store our episodes.
My childhood friend Frankie, now a Queensland ambulance officer, came over to my house to help me record on Skype. He sat next to me on the floor of our house as I Interviewed astrologer and writer Jessica Adams.
When my friend Clare Press came to stay (she had a book launch for her paperback, Wardrobe Crisis in Brisbane) I convinced her to sit in a cupboard with me; doonas and blankets on the floor to muffle sound, and a laptop balanced between us with the microphone resting on a cork IKEA trivet. If you listen to the episode there’s a hint of I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this in Clare’s voice.
Our grand Head Ovary Heels plan was to create four episodes and then release them and keep updating each week. Rachel interviewed Brisbane comic book artist, Cameron Davis the creator of Rose, a strawberry blonde Irish everygirl. And she started meeting women comic book shop owners to interview. We were getting closer and closer to our goal.
Then we did it! We finally did it! We had our four episodes, top and tailed with music from our former Brooklyn babysitter, Cal Folger Day. In stolen in-between moments of work, kids, hanging out the laundry and after-school cricket practice, Rachel uploaded our episodes to Soundcloud, iTunes and Google Play. I made Twitter-friendly avatars and banners on my phone using free apps (you guys, Canva is the best) while on the ferry to work each morning.
On the night we uploaded our episode with photographer and style polymath Kara Rosenlund to SoundCloud, there were six downloads and two hearts. Oh my gosh, this is craz! People have listened to our episodes. Throughout the process Rachel would say, “I can’t believe we’ve got this far!” Me neither but we did it.
Felicity Loughrey lives in Brisbane, Australia. She has an email newsletter that goes out every Wednesday night called What’s The Wifi Password? I Need It.