Back in March of 2018 I wrote an article about my obsession with podcasts and recommended a couple of my favourites. Now almost two years on, I am older and therefore wiser, and, more importantly, have a couple of hundred more hours of listening under my belt. I listen to podcasts in bed, on the walk to rowing outings or to lectures, and even in the gym. They make me laugh, can help me wind down, and sometimes I might even learn something. Over the past two years I’ve discovered some truly brilliant podcasts and here are my personal highlights.
Reasons to be Cheerful
Presented by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd, Reasons to be Cheerful explores progressive ideas that could make positive improvements in the world and seeks to find a space for some optimism. Miliband and Lloyd speak to experts about the topic at hand and then end by asking the experts to design policies for the Geoffocracy – a fantasy utopia where Lloyd rules over us as our benign dictator. Recent episodes have looked at topics such as the case for compulsory participation in elections, a frequent flyers tax, and challenging the spread of disinformation.
My Dad Wrote a Porno
Jamie Morton’s dad wrote a porno. Now over five books in, Morton reads a chapter from the Belinda Blinked saga each episode, joined by James Cooper and Alice Levine. The writing is suitably terrible and their commentary absolutely brilliant. I managed to binge all five series over the Christmas vacation and found myself laughing out loud regularly. What was less funny was when I forgot to plug my headphones in properly before hitting play whilst on the train. That got some weird looks…
Tessa Coates and Stevie Martin are trying to adult. Same. Each week Coates and Martin tell us one ‘Adult Thing’ that they’ve managed to achieve before tackling one of life’s big or small life questions. I recently enjoyed How to Make a Decision and How to Cope When You See Your Ex (Cambridge is a small city – we’ve all been there). This podcast is very funny and extremely easy to listen to.
Guilt and Shame
Motivation, Fear, Rejection, Penises. These are all topics we can feel guilt and shame about. In this podcast, Gabriel Bisset-Smith, Robert Cawsey, and Vicky Jones get together to candidly discuss these topics and share anonymous stories submitted by listeners. Guests have included Deborah Frances-White, Jessie Cave, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. This podcast is incredibly binge-able and I managed an episode a night until I ran out of them.
The Unbelievable Truth
Presented by David Mitchell, the concept of The Unbelievable Truth is simple. Give a lecture where everything is completely made up, apart from five facts smuggled in between the lies. Spot a fact in someone else’s lecture, gain a point. Smuggle a fact past the other panelists, gain a point. The facts in this programme are truly absurd and really good bits of trivia to impress your friends with.