By Philippa May
Podcasts have become more and more popular over the last few years. Undoubtedly you’ve had friends swear blind that listening to one podcast or another will change your life (or at least your commute). But with such an incredible array of podcasts to choose from, getting started can be a bit daunting. So below you will find a list of five of the best to get you going. Just download iTunes, Acast or Podcast Addict and get listening!
Don’t be put off by the title: you will not regret listening to this. Every week Jamie Moreton gathers his friends James and Alice to read a chapter of his father’s erotic fiction (yes, you read that correctly) following the bizarre exploits of nymphomaniacal pots and pans saleswoman Belinda Blumenthal. Always hilarious but rarely erotic, this podcast is definitely one you want to listen to through headphones. The podcast is wildly popular and has just finished an international live tour but you’re not too late to jump on the bandwagon.
Sticking with comedy, No Such Thing as a Fish is brought to you by the researchers behind BBC’s QI. Fearing that too many good facts were going to waste, the four regular hosts decided to get together each week and share their favourites. The podcast won iTunes’ best new podcast in 2014 and has gone on to win three Chortle Internet Awards. The hosts are witty and silly in equal measure; something to look forward to all week.
Harry Potter fans, rejoice! You now have a whole new way to enjoy the series. Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile are two humanist ministers and graduates of Harvard Divinity School who wanted to find a text that secular people could engage with in the way Christians engage with the Bible or Jews with the Torah. The result is a whimsical, reflective podcast in which Casper and Vanessa guide you through the books, examining the text and meditating on the lessons hidden within it. You will find yourself feeling things you never felt about the books before and wondering seriously about the deeply flawed pedagogy of Hogwarts.
There is huge selection of True Crime podcasts out there but Casefile is definitely one of the best. It’s a very stripped-back podcast in which the anonymous host describes crimes in incredible detail. The horrific nature of the content is tempered by the host’s soothing Australian drawl. The superbly researched episodes cover cases ranging from the high profile disappearance of the Shannon Matthews and The Yorkshire Ripper to less well known cases like that of the Lin family. This a gripping, addictive example of podcasting done right.
From the How Stuff Works group, who produce 16 other podcasts, Stuff Mom Never Told You could be loosely described as a discussion of gender issues. The podcast has gone through several hosts but the format remains the same; an informal, yet in-depth, look at a given topic from the history of women and bicycles to black women in the suffrage movement to Miley Cyrus. Recently they interviewed Yeardley Smith, voice of Lisa Simpson to discuss our favourite 8 year-old activist. Some episodes can be US-centric but still worth a listen.
This is very much a beginner’s guide but as you listen you are likely to discover a whole world of specialised, hilarious, informative, touching or relatable (or a combination of several of the above) podcasts…Happy listening!
For more entertainment content, just check out Emma’s guide to the binge-worthy shows she’s been watching lately and Chloe’s 7 must-read books for Women in Translation month…