Associate L Glenny asked me for some podcast recommendations, though I’m not sure he realised what he was asking for at the time. After it passed the 1000 word mark, I thought I probably ought to make it into a post. Has been slightly edited from its original form. If I say things like ‘you probably won’t be interested in this’, I’m talking about Lucian.
Back to Work
The podcast wherefrom derives ‘turns out’ and a few other classic refs. It’s two people talking about stuff – notionally productivity and workflow and other stuff, but just as often they will find themselves taken on tangents (usually about comic books).
Recommended starting point: http://www.one-tab.com/page/Os8EDLUZR6CGU-57TXDa8w – a selection of the best episodes as selected by the host Merlin Mann.
Videogams podcast with some rather funny people. Almost certainly the best thing to come out of the rather expensive farce that is polygon.com. It’s less interesting than it used to be because they don’t really seem to understand what is/was good about the things that they do, but still a pleasant enough listen.
RSP: Topicality aside, their earlier material is much, much funnier. Just start listening from as far back as you can.
American politics podcast by a former NPR reporter who got sick of all the nonsense and decided to Kickstart her own show. Mind you, it still does that weird American journalism thing of sitting on the fence and refusing to acknowledge that most of the problem is the Republicans being dicks in a procedural way. But I Kickstartered it, so it must be good enough to listen to, I suppose.
RSP: There are few enough episodes that you can listen to all of them and not have missed anything. The 99% invisible crossover is a particular highlight: http://www.muleradio.net/decodedc/3/
Kieron Gillen talking to people about comics. You probably won’t be that interested, but I feel I should include it on here anyway.
RSP: http://gillen.cream.org/wordpress_html/4270/decompressed-004-matt-fractiondavid-aja-on-hawkeye-1/ – Fraction and Aja talking to Gillen about Hawkguy issue 1. Not technically the best episode, but Hawkguy, so.
Excellent videogams talk from the Giant Bomb people, which is, as all the best podcasts seem to be, largely composed of tangents about The Fast and Furious series, or pro wrestling, or ham radios or whatever takes their fancy on any given week.
House to Astonish
Scottish lawyers talking about comics. Again, probably not of that much interest to you, but it’s pretty much all I’ve listened to for the last few days, so.
In Our Time
Melvyn Bragg’s history of ideas podcast, which largely consists of his chivvying a series of academics into answering questions about their areas of expertise. Best when he knows nothing about the subject and therefore doesn’t feel the need to try and contribute himself. Worst when, like in that one episode a few Christmases ago, he accuses one of the academics of being racist and they’re really bitchy to each other for the rest of the episode and it’s super-awkward to listen to.
RSP: Depending on the sort of thing you want to listen to, there are archives on various sorts of topics (the topics vary A LOT. Looking at the page at the time of writing, the most recent episode was on Icelandic sagas, the next one is on cosmic rays, and the two others in the ‘next on’ section are Gnosticism and Montaigne. Plenty of variety, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Kermode and Mayo
The BBC’s flagship film review show. Mark Kermode talks about films very amusingly, and Simon Mayo is there. This is the podcast that I have listened to for the longest time. It’s amazing.
RSP: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL12D53CDE8190825A – youtube playlist of some of Kermode’s best shouty rants. Very amusing.
The Memory Palace
One of a whole load of podcasts which owes a clear debt to This American Life. Short episodes, very nicely put-together. You could listen to the lot in a few hours, and you probably should, because they’re dope.
More Or Less
BBC show about statistics in the news and their abuse. Sometimes a bit simplistic, but usually pretty good. Tim Harford, the FT’s undercover economist being jolly entertaining.
My Brother, My Brother and Me, a rather entertaining podcast from The McElroy Brothers, who are rather funny people. It’s their answering (alternately) questions sent in by their listeners, and bizarre or insane questions people dug up for them on Yahoo Answers.
It’s All Politics
NPR politics podcast. Can get a bit (in the words of webcomicist John Allison) a bit Krulwich argle-bargle, but usually insightful and entertaining for the 20 minutes or so a week of it there is.
NPR economics podcast, in some ways a spinoff of This American Life. Interesting little stories that highlight newsworthy or just interesting things in economics.
RSP: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/355/the-giant-pool-of-money – the first episode, which is actually an episode of This American Life, which is good, and gives you a good idea of the sort of direction this stuff is going in.
A gams jarnalism and the owner of a web hosting company talking nonsense for about an hour a week. I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to, but it’s fairly gentle listening.
BBC sociology podcast with the increasingly senile Dr Laurie Taylor. Still worth listening to, because his guests usually have interesting things to talk about.
This American Life
Immensely popular and influential radio show which has only gained fame and influence as a podcast. You will probably listen to an awful lot of it and then burn out, if you’re anything like me, but it’s excellent. Meticulously constructed storytelling.
RSP: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/favorites – some of their favourites.
Another podcast which owes a debt to TAL. this one is Like TAL but a bit more sciency. Jad Abumrad (does interesting things with sound) and Robert Krulwich (NPR guy who talks a bit funny) talking about all sorts of bits and pieces.
RSP: http://www.one-tab.com/page/tl4AH3Q6Q0uUU3a_anrXPA — three episodes that happen to occur to me. They’re all good really, though.
Valentin and The Widow
Andrew Wheeler, writer-about-comics, presents this serial audio adventure. It’s rather good. Aristocratic British lady Eleanora Rosewood and her valet, burly Russian sailor Sacha Valentin dash around the globe trying to foil the machinations of an evil secret society. Very good stuff.
RSP: It’s a serial, so you should probably start at the beginning.
If you like the Night Vale twitter, this is the podcast of that twitter, basically. It’s like Weird Twitter in audio form.
YET ANOTHER TAL derivative, this one all about design and architecture and stuff. And shorter. I kickstarted this, and they sent me some very nice notebooks.
RSP: http://www.one-tab.com/page/93SkZymmQ7KQSwldO-Qu7A — three dope episodes, but they’re all good.
The Ray Peacock Podcast
Finished several years ago, but in my opinion still probably the funniest podcast ever. Ray, Ed, and Little Raji James (Who Used To Be On Eastenders But Ruined It) are the best thing. I love this so much.
I would start with series 2, because it’s a bit more accessible than series1, but if you like it, go back and listen to series 1 later.