P-P-P-Pick Up a Podcast #4

12:00 pm

It's been a long, long time since I've chatted to you about the podcasts I've listened to, and oh, how things have changed. Hold onto your ponchos and galoshes and other fun clothing words, this is going to be a long one.

Here are the ones that have stayed the same, by my side, through it all:

Call Your Girlfriend - Cortex - D&D is For Nerds - Rerun - Mystery Show - 99% Invisible - Invisibilia - Hello Internet - Plumbing the Death Star

(You can find out more about these and find links to them in my previous podcast blog posts here, here, and here.

And here are the ones I've not mentioned before that have made it through my very specific filter over the past couple of years:

The Allusionist - If you're a word nerd, The Allusionist is for you, covering the history of words and phrases, and the science behind speech. 'Small adventures in language' they call it, and of course they're right.

Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything - This is impossible to describe. It's journalism, it's storytelling, it's fiction, and it's non-fiction. It's surreal and musical and plain and simple and eclectic and eccentric.  You never know what you're going to get episode-to-episode, but it's always enjoyable. Just give it a go. You might enjoy it.

Desert Island Discs - The old faithful for music fans everywhere. The long and short of it: a recognisable name chooses the eight discs they would take with them to a desert island, and tells us why. We get a lot of their life story and inner workings. I usually only listen to the people I know, but sometimes I'll dip in on a stranger and it'll be pretty eye-opening.

Every Little Thing - I think we should just admit that Gimlet make the best podcasts. I think there are three or four of their podcasts on this list. The production value is second-to-none, and their presenters are always so endearing and fun. Every Little Thing teaches us about the small, everyday things we might not give a second though, like the ecosystem that lives on our faces, through office plants, to the badassery of the flamingo.

Heavyweight - Heavyweight is pretty special. It's the podcast about finishing those conversations you always dreamed of finishing, returning that favour you always meant to return, and telling that person how that thing they did really made you feel. Jonathan Goldstein helps you fix these situations, with some really interesting results. It's a very personal-feeling podcast, and I cannot wait for a second season to throw myself into.

Hidden Brain - Now, I love a science podcast, especially when it comes to the way we think and interact with the world around us. Through stories, presenter Shankar talks to us about a wide variety of topics, from face recognition and search engine algorithms, to coincidences and money spending, and how all of these things and more relate to us as human beings.

Movie Maintenance - A bunch of hilarious Aussies pick films and franchises that could have been better, and make them, sometimes astoundingly, better. Start with the recent episode about James Bond, have a giggle via the Fifty Shades of Grey live show, and then download all of the ones about the films you've seen. These people are ridiculously clever, imaginative, and creative. I leave every episode feeling blindsided by the fact these films weren't originally made in these ways, or disappointed that some of these films will never exist. Seriously, listen to the Bond one.

My Dad Wrote a Porno - If you listen to podcasts and haven't heard of this, I don't know what you're doing. Jamie's dad wrote some erotic fiction, and now he's reading it aloud with his friends to broadcast to the entire world. And it's bad. It's really really bad, but oh so addictively good. You'll never look at fruit, blue fluids, or the Titanic in the same way again. This podcast is the highlight of my week and actually makes me look forward to Mondays.

No Such Thing As A Fish - The podcast of the QI Elves, also known as the people with the best job in the world. The four presenters bring their four favourite (namely weird and wonderful) facts they've discovered from the last week and share them around the table. It's always funny, and I enjoy feeling smart when I tell people I know the things I've learned from the Elves!

Oh No Ross and Carrie - If you're into conspiracies, fringe science, the paranormal, cults, and religious groups, you would be mad not to listen to this podcast. Ross and Carrie, two of the most endearing people you will ever encounter, experience the strange and fantastic so you don't have to. They've experienced Scientology, gone to anti-vax marches, joined UFO conferences, awaited the end times, and vaped essential oils, just to name a few. I was lucky enough to interview the lovely Carrie a few months ago, so you can read that here and find out a little more about what she does.

Portrait of a Freelancer - Another of my lovely interviewees! Ariel chats to her listeners about her forays into freelancing, whether it's regarding money, taking risks chasing your dream, or interviewing other creatives about what they get up to.

Reply All - 100% no doubt about it my favourite podcast of all time. Reply All feels like home. It's a podcast about the internet, technology, and all of the weird things that come along with that. Their stories are so human and touching, with Alex and PJ treating everything with respect and a lovely sense of humour...except when it comes to weird tweets. They're just weird. The investigative journalism that goes into their stories is second to none, as they attempt to phish each other, intercept missing parcels, post their phone numbers online and answer all calls for 48 hours, and find out who are the people behind the viral photos of internet past. Among the fun stories are heartbreaking ones, and through the heartbreak there's always hope. They tackle topics like the death of a child, depression, and degenerative diseases, but always with grace and humanity. I'll always love Reply All.

Rookie - Rookie is the best place on the internet, and now there's a podcast, hosted by Tavi Gevinson, and discussing all topics for an audience of teenage girls, even though we all know anyone and everyone loves the loving safety of Rookie.

Science Vs - A relatively new addition to my queue, but it's already wormed its way into my consciousness. A topic is taken and put up against science, to find out the truth behind the claims. Nuclear power, artificial sweeteners, meditation, abortion, ghosts, and antidepressants are just some of the (sometimes controversial) topics covered. 

Song Exploder - Another pretty special podcast, this time chatting to composers and musicians about breaking down one of their creations. Now, I don't listen to every episode of Song Exploder, but here are some of my favourites: House of Cards theme music, 'Anna' by Will Butler, and 'In Cold Blood' by Alt-J.

Soundtracking with Edith Bowman - This is one for the film and music lovers out there! Edith Bowman interviews directors, actors, and composers about film music, whether music in their films, the music that has inspired their films, or their favourite film scores and soundtracks. James Gunn talks about the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mixes, and Edgar Wright chats about the soundtrack to Baby Driver.

Ungeniused - I don't know about you, but I love finding the weirdest Wikipedia pages possible, and now there's a podcast about it! Myke and Stephen read their favourite pages sent in my listeners and discuss their content. The episodes are short and snappy, but will give you that weird knowledge about very specific subjects that you can talk about at dinner parties and pretend to be real smart like.

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