Sharing is Caring
Just like my favourite albums and books, the podcasts I enjoy the most are the ones that have come recommended by the people I love. The podcast listening experience is delightfully singular- you don’t tend to listen in a group. But getting into podcasts by recommendation means that you do get to share the experience. Here are five of my favourite podcast listens that have come my way via recommendation.
Bear with me. I know this podcast is well trodden ground, but I would never have listened to it unless a friend insisted. She told me she wouldn’t speak to me again until I did. What was my initial resistance to Fortunately? It’s so hard to imagine now as I practically count the days between episodes, but I think, and I squirm a bit as I write this, I was worried it might just be a bit middle aged, horror. I suppose, the truth is, one aspect of it is middle aged. At its heart are two middle aged women sharing things about their lives, and it’s a celebration of every aspect of that. Presented by radio royalty- Fi Glover and Jane Garvey- who are joined in each episode by a broadcasting heavyweight. What I adore about Fortunately is the delicious interaction between Jane and Fi at the start of each episode. Warm, snarky, fascinating, hilarious and so very human. It’s this intimacy between Fi and Jane as they share the minutiae of their lives, which makes this such a wonderful podcast. In this brilliant episode they chat to Kirsty Wark.
Armchair Expert with Dax Sheppard
How does one wade through the glut of American interview podcasts out there? There’s a conversation and a host for every taste. Dax Sheppard is a comedian who also happens to be married to Hollywood Royalty, Kristen Bell. There’s something about the humour and the openness of Dax that makes this podcast so appealing, it’s hard not to engage with him and what he is able to draw out of the people who come on the show is fascinating. Dax is “endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human”, he likes to hear about the challenges that people have faced in their lives and careers, and has a great talent for getting people to open up to him. These are not bite size, some of them are 2 hours long, so I tend to listen in installments. The first episode is him interviewing his wife, and as the friend who recommended it to me suggested, it’s a great entry point.
Love and Radio
Love and Radio is one of the most beautifully produced podcasts out there. Ever since it was passed my way by a fellow media lecturer many years back, it’s something I often reference as an example of rich multi-layered storytelling and I often dig it out when I’m in need of inspiration. The stories are incredible and they’re always told in a way that is surprising. You’re taken through a narrative arc to end up at a point you would never have expected. Check out their secrets hotline: It’s a staggeringly simple idea with extraordinarily powerful results. But meanwhile, I am pointing you back into the vaults for a recommended episode:
Dear Joan and Jericha
Podcasts are the perfect home for comedy, but sadly there are shedloads of unfunny ones. Recommended to me by a fellow audio head, ‘Dear Joan and Jericha’ is most definitely not that. Written by and starring Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine, it’s almost impossible to describe this podcast, Inappropriate agony aunts really doesn’t do it justice. Recorded very simply on what sounds like a stripped down set up, these two comic geniuses offer up toe-curlingly outrageous advice. Not for the faint hearted, it will make you snort out your tea on the commute. Start with episode 1.
Invisibilia is produced by NPR, the home of This American Life of course, the benchmark against which all podcasts are judged. I love This American Life of course I do, but you don’t need that one recommended to you, do you? Try this one instead. Invisibilia is described as ‘a podcast that fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.’ In a nutshell, it’s interweaving stories around big themes. It’s a podcast that has in turn moved me to tears on planes and fire off links to others, imploring them to listen. The research involved in finding the stories, seemingly disparate but colliding beautifully to explore some of life’s biggest questions and issues is mind-blowing. Endorsed by the friend who is forever sending me podcasts to check out, now I’m recommending it to you.
Listen to this one: I, I, I, Him