It’s been a long January but at last we have signs of spring; lighter evenings, happy birds, snowdrops and the new diary starting to fill up. A country winter is like no other with pitch black nights and deserted roads and villages as everyone hibernates. During our quiet times and long winters I’ve become a lover of podcasts. If you like them too here are a few of my recommendations.
- Giles Fraser’s Confessions. First podcast I ever listened to was priest and journalist Giles Fraser interviewing distinguished thinkers across all fields about events which formed their thinking – definitely not ‘celebrity’ interviews which I never listen to now (same old faces telling the same old stories.)
- Grace Dent The Untold on BBC Sounds. Grace Dent’s wonderful voice narrating untold stories of non famous people in 21st century Britain. A great listen.
- Ira Glass’s This American Life. Really a radio show, this great American institution is still running; first episode aired in 1995. Each hour long episode centres around a theme and tells the stories of ‘ordinary’ Americans.
- Jonathan Goldstein’s Heavyweight. Favourite podcast of all time. Again ordinary people who have been carrying a heavy weight for years. Jonathan helps them to resolve this in some way – ranging from trivial, to hilarious to wildly unbelievable to poignant to utterly tragic. Plus a great theme song.
- I have generally stopped listening to political podcasts – far too depressing – but Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith’s For the Many podcast is an unmissable listen in my week. The first and the best political podcast. Two people in the media or politics with different views discuss current events amicably. They are real friends and genuinely enjoy their discussions which can go on for a couple of hours. Plus lots of humour and swearing and personal stuff and gossip and no holding back. Like chatting with friends in the pub.
- I hate anything in general that discusses so called culture wars. Usually designed to wind everyone up and create problems where really there aren’t any. However, Jon Ronson’s first series of ‘Things Fell Apart’ is a real eye opener about how some of these ‘wars’ began. Plus another great voice.
- I usually avoid true crime – even after a dozen episodes you never find out whodunnit – and all the best stories have been done on Netflix. However, I did enjoy a recent listen, Million Dollar Lover on BBC Sounds by Sue Mitchell. A complex tale of love and/or exploitation set in in California.
I’m running out of interesting stuff although the This American Life archive should keep me going for a few years but if you have any recommendations please let me have them.