I know podcasts have been around for yonks, but 2017 was the year I became obsessed. As a self-employed photographer, I can easily (and often do) spend entire days by myself. Sometimes my boyfriend will come home from work and I'll find myself tongue-tied trying to greet him, having not breathed a single word for nine hours. Listening to podcasts while I work somehow makes me feel less alone. I've made a list of 9 podcasts that have carried me through the year. As with anything in life, podcasters sometimes take a while to find their stride and rhythm, so I've included links to good episodes to start with.
Nate DiMeo has my heart. Nothing I write here could do justice to the beauty and power of his storytelling. I beg of you to click the link above to my favourite episode. It's only 5 minutes and 48 seconds long but I promise that's all it will take for him to steal your heart too.
Its comedian hosts call it the "anti slut shaming" podcast. In earlier episodes, it was pure lighthearted fun as Krystyna and Corinne took turns to interview guys they'd had sexual encounters with, opening discussing issues that really shouldn't be (yet still are) taboo. Right now with the momentum of #MeToo, it feels like we are on the brink of revolution, and these ladies are not afraid to tell it like it is.
Truth be told, the first time I listened to S-Town, it took me until the big plot twist (end of Chapter 2) to get fully immersed. Then all of a sudden I was hooked, and have since listened to the whole thing several times. This year I saw Brian Reed, the podcast's host, give a talk at Theatre Royal. Such a brilliant role model for any aspiring writer.
Both Nathaniel and myself have become huge fans of this podcast, and are in awe of its effectiveness. Usually when I can't fall asleep, it's because I've got far too many thoughts muddling my mind. All I have to do is concentrate on Dearest Scooter's lilting voice and rambling topics, and I'm asleep within 15 minutes... every time.
Sara Tasker is my hero. She is creative, kind, smart, vulnerable and – I'm unashamedly embracing it – authentic. It's a weird and wonderful world, this social media malarky. Even though I've been a part of it for over 6 years, everything is constantly evolving. Sara's podcast is like a supportive hug for us freelance creatives. Every episode has me enthusiastically nodding along and inspires me to both challenge and forgive myself.
If you're a fan of psychology and the superhero genre, definitely give this podcast a go. The story is told (rather cleverly) via recordings of therapy sessions and answering machines. I binged 30 episodes in one day.
Just so you know, the episode I've linked above had me crying in the shower. Well, ugly-sobbing is more accurate. I love the way This American Life ties a few seemingly-random stories together with a clever common thread. The reporting is spot-on, succinct and unbelievably moving.
I have definitely featured my fair share of intense podcasts so far. A lot of the time, I want to listen to something without bawling my eyes out or feeling like the world is a miserable place. Step in the QI podcast. Every week, each member of the team (researchers for the TV show) present their favourite interesting fact. I have learned hundreds of mind-blowing and hilarious things from these guys.
I struggle to articulate why true crime fascinates me as much as it does... but this article makes some strong points. My Favorite Murder is the one podcast I'll drop everything and play immediately as soon as a new episode is up. The hosts Karen and Georgia have the perfect chemistry. They're witty, passionate and (most importantly) just so real. They tell true crime stories using humour as a coping mechanism for how awful some humans could be. Beyond the horrific murders, I love how they explore issues like criminal psychology, the judicial system and human rights. I'll sign off this list with their signature adieu – stay sexy and don't get murdered!