Conspiracy Of Truth

6th August 2020

When I first met Dixie Longate, somewhere between Marseille and Rome, I was bent on not buying Tupperware.

For sure, she was pert and charming, spoke all the fine lines, and even, at one stage, straddled me whilst she pumped prices and serial numbers in my face.

My friends were highly amused, knocking back beers and guffawing at will. But a man deeply charmed does not laugh out loud. He just retains eye-contact. Smiling, he wonders what is going on behind those sparkling, mascaraed eyes?

Dixie had the saddest of tales.

She was a southern belle fallen on hard times, with a pronounced drinking problem and three abandoned children. All of which drove her to become America’s foremost salesperson of premium kitchen storage utensils. Beneath the drama of her sales pitch a vibrant intelligence lay, ready to pounce on anyone who might fail to order. 

But this was high summer. We were sailing somewhere between France and Italy. It was such an inopportune time to purchase premium kitchen storage utensils. But that evening, I relented. There was something so true behind the charming, bourbon-toting dame with a questionable name. 

Which brings me to the charms of another American with a vaguely suspicious backstory, a sparkling intelligence, and questionable name. 

Brace Belden is a recent podcast hero of mine.

I have met him through my ears, because the current state of viral affairs forbids me from travelling across the pond, or any other stretch of water. We Covidian Citizens must not set to sea. Or, as Brace would put it, we must avoid ‘the drink’.

Aged thirty, Belden uses language contiguous to my own.

Listening to his outstanding, provocative podcast, it is as though I have discovered a highfalutin dialect of English. Or perhaps, to the contrary, I have discovered that my own language is a dialect of his highfalutin original. 

He has a voice that necessitates good looks. [Some people sound so attractive, I feel fully prepared to date their vocal cords.] Not that Brace is embraceable. He’s pretty clearly straight, and annoyingly eight time zones away. ‘The drink’ is all well and good; ‘the brine’ is not his tipple.

But, even still, I hang on his every, eloquent phrase.

And hers. 

I do not know if it was Brace or Liz who first decided to create a podcast. Each oozes talent and wit. They are friends, and I could believe it was either. The best podcasts celebrate chemistry. They do not invent it. 

Their bi-weekly audio fare is called TrueAnon, a rather ticklish riff on the larger and scarier movement called QAnon, which currently nourishes those who seek out deep-state conspiracy, venerating Donald Trump as their high priest. 

Brace and Liz began TrueAnon as QAnon’s devastating counterpoint, inspired by the prospect of Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and the possibility of a load of hidden murk coming to the fore. 

It takes a while to tune to their wavelength.

What I appreciate most in TrueAnon’s coverage of culture, crime, power, politics, Covid and the media, is its hosts’ interest in questioning convention and satirising condescension. And they do it all with the style of a Savannah belle, pushing an Old Fashioned across the bar. 

I did a double-take when I saw Brace Belden’s name for the first time.

I’m not sure I’ve ever known a Brace.

Blaze, Bale and Barnes? Yes. But Brace? It just seemed so on-the-nose for a presenter of a challenging podcast of ideas.

Given his TrueAnon play on words, my mind juggled with the Belden-ness and the Brace-ness of it all. 

Until. Yes! There it was. In plain sight.

Brace Belden.     Belden, Brace.     Belt ‘n’ Brace(s). 

He’s made it up! At least, I expect he has…

Because to tell the truth, one must charmingly dissemble.

I learnt that lesson on the high seas with Dixie Longate, straddling my lap, selling me Tupperware. 

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