davidrakoff dontgetttoocomfortable

For the third KYD No. 15 teaser, Stephanie Van Schilt remembers the works of the late David Rakoff.

David Rakoff has accompanied me where most others haven’t: at the gym, in the shower, in bed, while washing dishes or driving. He’s taken long strolls with me and sat beside me on public transport, whispering in my ear and turning me into that most-loathed giddy passenger (ranked only below the olfactory assassins or affectionate couples). With headphones attached, Rakoff and I become the stars in my own silent movie: involuntarily, I express every emotion his punctuations dictate. Listening to Rakoff – on podcasts or reading audiobooks – can be an ostracising (and somewhat obnoxious) private-meets-public exercise. But I dare you to listen to a dying man announce (in character), with an educated, vengeful venom, that he’ll come and ‘knock the dick out of’ a conservative woman’s mouth and try not to laugh aloud, no matter how quiet the 96 tram may be.

Arguably best known for his contributions to This American Life – aired locally on ABC Radio National and mass-consumed via its podcast – Rakoff’s most recent audiobook is a reading of his debut novel Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish. He wrote Love, Dishonor while terminally ill and completed recording mere weeks before he passed away last year, aged 47. It’s incredibly affecting to hear how that recrudescent evil, cancer, punctures Rakoff’s regularly robust intonation.

Stephanie Van Schilt is deputy editor of The Lifted Brow and a freelance writer. She’s been published in Crikey, Junkee and Cineaste. Follow her on Twitter.

To read the rest of Stephanie’s piece, preorder a copy of Issue Fifteen, available online 1st October!