Top of the Pods
8 OF MY FAVOURITE PODCASTS
Podcasts are multiplying like rabbits. Everywhere you turn another magazine, social influencer or man and his microphone are churning out a shiny new podcast every other day.
If you’re baffled by what a podcast is, it’s essentially a radio programme that you can download and playback whenever you fancy. Podcasts are savers of boredom when you have a long shitty commute, when you’re at work doing a less than thrilling task, going for a sweaty run or when you’re faced with a stack of life admin to plough through… zzzzzzzz
Just stick on a podcast.
‘B-bu-but what about music?!’ I hear you cry. Yeah, well obviously listen to music if you want to listen to music, however, podcasts bring forth another audio option to your life. That’s all. It’s like watching TV in your head in some cases.
And there are so many. Whatever your interest, you can absolutely guarantee there’ll be a podcast out there catering to whatever floats your boat. Just pop a quick search into Good Old Google and be on your merry way.
I tend to listen to them on my phone (but feel free to plug in on desktops or tablets) and currently using the ‘Podcast Addict’ app but am also hearing good things about the ‘Acast’ app too.
One of the first podcasts I got into was produced by The Sunday Times Style section. Presented by all-round superstar journalists Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton, their pleasing-to-say portmanteau ‘The PanDolly’ podcast was like listening to a couple of pals at Friday night drinks. This year they’ve struck out on their own with a new show ‘The High Low’ and carried over their wonderful blend of serious news topics, zeitgeisty themes, social commentary and along with plenty of personal anecdotes and heaps of laughs. Inspired by Vanity Fair’s editor Tina Brown’s perspective that life is best lived with a mix of highbrow and lowbrow culture (the podcast is poetically billed as ‘from the trivial to the political’); expect to hear Pandora and Dolly’s thoughts on the latest books they’re reading, what low or highbrow thing they’ve done that week, discussions on world news / Kendal Jenner’s Snapchat / work / politics / memes and answering phenomenal listener questions. They’ve also recently added a new segment into the mix where once a month an author is brought in for an interview, which so far (Renie Eddo-Lodge, Elizabeth Day, Rosie Wilby – just the three at this point) has been an absolutely cracking addition.
Safe to say I’m a HA-UUUGGE fan of the show and both of them as individuals. I feel like we could be friends. There. I’ve once again publicly outed myself as a soppy sycophant for this wonderful double act.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: A Deep-Dive Into The Fall Of Hollywood’s Ultimate Sex Predator, Harvey Weinstein
Episode: Theresa May in Vogue and the Role of Fashion in Politics
The researcher elves from the hit BBC show QI crowd round a microphone to share an interesting fact they’ve learned that week. Each fact is as weird and wonderful as the one before it. Everything under the sun is talked about from science to the arts, bugs, fascinating people, words, unique places, unbelievable true events and other gems of quirky pub-fodder trivia. This podcast is perfect for general knowledge nerds who like information served with a side of clever humour. Caution whilst listening at work: brace for the sniggers, as jokes here come thick, fast and funny so the risk of snort-laughing out loud to your open plan office is exceptionally high.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: No Such Thing As Stare-Boxing
Episode: No Such Thing As Constantly Awake Beauty
If ever there was a podcast-Olympics for featuring cool, bright people, who are doing interesting things with their lives, then Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Dlt would be wearing the equivalent to Michael Phelps’s crown. Emma has interviewed Michelle Kennedy, Sali Hughes, Grace Victory, Seth Godwin, Tanya Burr, Otegha Uwagba, Anna Whitehouse a.k.a Mother Pukka, I could go on but I’d list about another 90 odd names. Emma’s nosey-nature questions guests about their work, life, money, the struggles of making things successful and keeping pace with the ever-changing digital landscape. It’s inspirational as hell listening to how these guys have taken risks, found inner grit, determination and battled against the odds. This podcast offers up a lot of real-life insights as well into the entrepreneurial world so if you’re that way inclined, give this one a whirl.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: #58 Sophie Kinsella
Episode: #40 Laura Bates ⬅️ should be compulsory listening for everyone
First off I’m going to point out how glorious Stevie & Tessa’s voices are. Stevie regularly slips into hilarious comedy accents and Tessa has a slightly clipped tone which lends itself perfectly to the funny arcs of conversation on the show each week. They’re both just lovely to listen to. The Debrief podcast follows a ‘How to’ theme, where the duo talk through useful, sensible, grown-up life stuff but with heaps of silly humour injected into the dialogue. They have covered How To Be A Morning Person, How To Kick-Ass At Work, How To Do Things That Scare You; basically they’re shedding light on some simple but life-improving nuggets through research, qualified expert advice and personal tips they’ve deposited into their own Bank of Adulting.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: Domestic hacks so you never have to ‘get a man in’
Episode: How to look after the environment ⬅️ A total eye-opener. EVERYONE LISTEN AND STOP USING PLASTIC STRAWS IMMEDIATELY
Following a fascination with all things horror, I stumbled on the Lore podcast and have been indulging my compulsion for something a bit creepy ever since. Adam Mahnke delivers twisted dark stories based on local legends, forgotten myths, old wives tales and original fairy-fables before the coating of child-friendly gloss was slapped on. Adam’s flat narrating voice and accompanying atmospheric music creates a weirdly unsettling, yet alluring combination which rips you from the bright warmth of reality to the most disturbing corners of folklore.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: THE REDCOATS
Episode: ALL THE LOVELY LADIES
Hello, my name is Emma and I’m addicted to fashion.
Although you’d hardly guess from my uniform of scruffy hair, one-size-too-big fraying TopShop jeans and T-shirts older than most YouTube stars.
Go ahead and raise those eyebrows, but I’m utterly in love with the business, industry and artistry that’s at its core.
Although I work in travel, I’ve devoured the fashion news/trade sites every damn day for years and Fashionista.com is one of my faves. Their podcast (although sometimes posted sporadically) is an unfiltered version of the smart sartorial pieces and opinions that are voiced on the site. They’ve talked about the recent game of designer musical chairs which left the fashion world chasing its tail, the Rei Kawakubo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art – with accompanying Met Gala and the outrage that it left behind – and have covered in depth the desert thirst from insta-influencers and brands milking the authenticity out of cultural events like Coachella. If fashion is your passion (yeah I went there), then do yourself a favour and hit subscribe.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: Jumping Off the Chanel Cliff
Episode: Career Week Edition, or, How We’re (Barely) Making It in Fashion
I could listen to original hosts Cristen & Caroline talk for hours. Their intelligence is cut with the sharpest of wit as they dissect painstakingly researched topics relating to things like race, feminism, stereotyping, history, relationships, pop-culture, modern anthropology and subjects that make you go ‘Hmm, yes. Why is that like this?’. Plus they’re another duo with the most enchanting sounding voices. After a few months break, Stuff Mom Never Told You has had a revamp complete with a new set of presenters (😊), Bridget and Emilie who are continuing to pay homage to the show’s essence. It’s still excellent but has a slightly different feel. I suggest delving into the back-catalogue first before listening to more recent episodes.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: When America sterilized women of color
Episode: Why do women wear diamond engagement rings? – The phrase ‘Betrothal Tag’ is how I’m going to refer to bridal bling from now on
The granddaddy of all podcasts in my humble opinion. The premise is a notable figure being sent away to a hypothetical desert island, and can only bring along eight treasured tracks to keep them company. Writers, designers, actors, poets, doctors, entrepreneurs, singers, comedians, artists, politicians and celebrities have their lives unfurled before them, vulnerable and raw.
Currently steered by Kirsty Young, her steadily calm and direct questioning is enough to gently thaw out the coldest of guests. They discuss career failures and triumphs, love and heartbreak, family and friends, personal demons and future dreams all in the context of their eight favourite pieces of music (or sounds in some rare cases). The Desert Island Discs archives stretch back 70 years – a whole lifetime’s worth of listening to work through.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: David Nott, vascular and war surgeon – Moved me to snotty tears
Episode: Kylie Minogue, popstar – One of her discs is her now ex-beau Joshua Sasse reading out the sweetly-sexy poem As I look Up by Dominic Sasse
BONUS – / Alice Isn’t Dead
Since writing the above eight I’ve fallen down a new podcast rabbit-hole.
Just a few episodes in has me hooked and frantically downloading the next, and then the next, and then the next part of this story. Alice Isn’t Dead is a fictional tale following the narrative of a female trucker who is searching America’s heartlands for her wife she once presumed dead – all told through her rig radio. It’s gorgeously creepy, paints a compelling atmospheric story and has the same sinister undercurrents of a Stephen King novel. It certainly begs the question, who the fuck is Alice?
Categorically, 100% do not listen to this podcast alone, at night or both. Even listening in the bright lights of a busy office, a serious case of the heebie-jeebies gets the best of me.
HAVE A LISTEN
Episode: Part 1, Chapter 1: Omelet
Episode: Part 1, Chapter 2: Alice
These are also on my roster –
Badass Women’s Hour, (the actual BBC R4) Women’s Hour, The Guilty Feminist (OBSESSED- got carried away with a word-blurb so thought it safer to include here), Criminal, Reveal, Sword & Scale, Deliciously Stella, This American Life, Serial , RISK!, The Moth, Mother Pukka, Get It Off Your Breasts, My Dad Wrote A Porno
Let me know if you have any must-listen podcasts 🎧