Less than two months ago I wrote a blog post about podcast’s I’ve been enjoying, and let’s just say a lot of binging has been happening since then. Here are more discoveries helping me get through sweaty Parisian summer commutes.
The High Low
The High Low is definitely my favorite podcast of all time. I adore the co-hosts, Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, who are both intelligent, strong, witty, relatable journalists who manage to jump between light-hearted frivolities to important issues with incredible grace. The High Low is a weekly pop culture and news podcast covering everything imprinting upon the British zeitgeist that week. I am obsessed with it. In the last five episodes alone, they’ve discussed topics from Ireland’s abortion referendum to the royal wedding, Harvey Weinstein, the MET Gala and Kanye West. In their own words, “our podcast is based on the belief that a life well-lived is one that enjoys both the trivial and the political, from errant chin hair to Trumpian politics.”
Serial is from the same team that brought us S-Town – and although I don’t think it’s as good, it’s still highly addictive and I probably prefer the host, Sarah Koenig. Each of its two seasons treats a different subject across ten-or-so episodes: the first is based on the murder of Hae Min Lee and the did-he-didn’t-he accounts of her convicted killer Adnan Syed, the second season is about the US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his post and was captured by the Taliban for five years. The first season gets a little repetitive, but it is such good investigative journalism. (“I can’t get the phrase Paktika Province out of my head,” Lucy tells me one day in the kitchen).
There’s a reason why Fearne Cotton’s new podcast Happy Place has been topping all the podcast charts. She sits down with a different guest each episode to see what makes them happy, what makes them tick. The first episode was with Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black, and it made me so full of joy and hope and happiness that I had to devour all the others. I honestly challenge you not to listen to the first glorious episode and not come away beaming. She also holds meaningful, interesting and warming conversations with Gok Wan, Lena Headey, Stephen Fry, and Paloma Faith, among others. It’s soft and lovely and British and calming, and I can’t wait for her to bring out more episodes
For all fans of Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye (and let’s be honest, who isn’t), Getting Curious is the podcast for you. Known for his one-liners and skills will a hairdyer, he’s actually a smart (and curious) cookie who invites someone different onto his show each episode so that they can teach him something about what they specialize in. And it is varied. Saudi Arabia, Renaissance art, Brexit, bumblebees, Armenian genocide, all with an accessible and gloriously camp twist. If you are obsessed with Antoni from Queer Eye as I am, listen to the episode where he’s a guest and you will wonder how one single human could be so PERFECT.
Literary Friction is “a conversation about books and ideas” where hosts Carrie and Octavia invite an author each month to discuss their writing. So far I’ve listened to the episode with the lovely Dolly Alderton and another with the equally brilliant Viv Albertine. Each episode builds upon a certain theme – friendship, memoir, etc – and explores them. A little dry at times, but good for brain exercise when you can’t be bothered to hold an actual book on your commute.
Sorry for the 35349857th Dolly Alderton mention (I’m not sorry). When her The High Low co-host Pandora was on maternity leave, Dolly created Love Stories, a podcast where she interviews people about love – pretty self explanatory. It’s a ten-part series and the guests are so great – listen to the episodes with Ruby Tandoh and Cosmo Landseman – and she is generally just a dream to listen to and a brilliant interviewer.