Over the past couple of months, I’ve really gotten into podcasts. I don’t really know why – I needed something to while away my commute, and was perhaps sick of books after of reading 500 pages worth of strife in the form of The Grapes of Wrath. I also only have four songs downloaded to my phone, three of which are from Gustav Holst’s The Planets Op. 32 suite, and the other being It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé. A bit dire, as I’m sure you’ve gathered – so I decided to try a podcast.
Firstly, the app Podbean has been a life saver. They have pretty much most podcasts on their database and within seconds, you can safely download episodes and listen to them offline – on the tube, on the plane, wherever.
Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd
After the fairly dismal election shambles, everyone’s favourite bacon sarnie-eating politician Ed Miliband has teamed up with radio presenter Geoff Lloyd to talk, in their words, ‘about ideas.’ Although I was disappointed when I realised the episodes weren’t just going to be sixty minutes of Ed saying am I tough enuss?, I soon got over it. The great thing about each episode – which mulls over a variety of issues from land tax to the war on drugs, air pollution to transgender rights – is that they are extremely accessible to people who don’t have a whole lot of grounding in that topic. On each episode they invite a variety of guests to talk, which normally includes an ‘expert’ on said subject, someone affected by it, and a comedian at the end for a bit of light relief. Lovely Ed is genuinely funny in this and it’s refreshing to see how he communicates outside of the Westminster bubble.
The Banging Book Club
This podcast brings together Hannah Witton, Leena Norms and Lucy Moon, who are all probably better known for their Youtube channels, who discuss a book about sex and/or gender each month. Although not quite at the highest analytical or perceptive level in terms of their commentary, it’s a funny and accessible podcast which unpicks ideas in an unpretentious way. Books discussed have included both highbrow and lowbrow lit, from Fifty Shades of Grey to Lolita to How to Build A Girl (of which the latter I wrote about in 2016!). They also throw in the occasional minisode where they review films, answer Q&A’s, etc.
S-Town begins as a murder mystery but becomes so much more than that. The entirely true account, which has been downloaded millions of times around the world, is about a man named John who despises his Alabama town, which he dubs ‘Shit Town,’ and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian Reed, an investigative journalist, to look into the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, and the search for the truth leads to all kinds of twists and turns. This all happens in real time, as Brian is in Alabama, and the amount he manages to record and play back is astounding. I listened to all seven hour-long episodes in three days. It’s addictive, thought-provoking and so well done. Thanks for the recommendation, Hannah!
SRSLY is a podcast from the New Statesman which “aims to take pop culture seriously.” It’s hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz (who I raved about in my last post) and each short episode of around 30 minutes discusses the big cultural happenings of the last week. Not only are the two women who present it witty, eloquent and intelligent, but there’s such a great variety — they usually discuss three different things per short episode. The last few episodes alone have discussed The Oscars, Lady Bird, Queer Eye, Arrested Development, and Call Me By Your Name. By the way, I watched CMBYN a few nights ago and it broke me into a million teeny tiny Timothée Chalamet-shaped pieces. You’ll find me crying in the corner.
RuPaul What’s The Tee? feat. Michelle Visage
Oh hoooooooney! Ok so, just scroll right past this if you don’t watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. There’s 142 episodes to get through, so buckle up. Essentially, on each episode RuPaul and Michelle Visage invite a guest to yak about nothing in particular. It’s often past RPDR contestants, but they’ve also had everyone from Baby Spice to Graham Norton. As the hosts are best friends, the content is always hilarious and wacky. Plus it fills the RPDR shaped void in heart, when I can’t watch it every day. Also I live for Michelle’s love for mattresses and squarespace.
My Dad Wrote A Porno
I featured this in my December 2017 post ‘Things I’ve Loved This Month‘ so head there first – I won’t go into too much detail. Also if you’ve not listened to this already, have you been living under a rock? I’ve now listened to all three books of hilariously bad pornography read by the author’s poor son, Jamie Morton. I really hope Jim Sterling’s monster prick is doing OK and that Belinda hasn’t been kidnapped by the German Intelligence unit. My personal favourite characters are Grigor Calanski and the Youngish Man.