Thursday, 19 November 2015

My favourite podcasts

I am obsessed with podcasts. I honestly don't think I would have gotten through my half marathon training without them. Some days, the only thing that gets me out the door for a run is the promise of a really good podcast.

When I was injured, one of the things I missed the most about running was my time alone with just the road and a podcast. My favourite podcasts are a "treat" for my long runs, and I save them til Sunday so I have something to look forward to.

But I don't just listen to them when I'm running - I listen to them while I'm cooking, when I'm putting the washing away, when I'm cleaning the flat, or really any time that I'm doing a task and just fancy some background noise.

Like most people, my love of podcasts started with Serial last year, but now I listen to at least a dozen on a regular basis. In fact, my iPhone is currently moaning about having no storage because I have 5GB of podcasts on there!

Some of these playlists are pretty popular, some not so much. You might notice that I have a bit of a "type" - stories, knowledge, interviews. When I'm looking for new podcasts I only really peruse the culture and society category, and I tend to get my recommendations from other people.

I am currently subscribed to 25 podcasts, but I would say I only really listen regularly to 5-10. I like long podcasts - I don't like to be flicking from one to the next during a run, and I am currently really mourning the loss of the Playlist feature in the iPhone podcast app which was lost with iOs 9.

If you are a beginner to podcasts, I would definitely recommend whetting your appetite with the first five on my list. If you are a seasoned podcast listener, I hope my honourable mentions has a couple of new podcasts for you!



I know, I know, everyone listens to This American Life. You know why? Because it's the best. I have never once been disappointed by This American Life, and every week I look forward to listening to it on my Sunday long run. I ration it, I savour it. It's just wonderful.
Why do I love it so much? It's storytelling in it's most sincere form. It covers a huge variety of topics which I would normally have no connection to. Sometimes it's dark, sometimes it's funny, but it's engrossing purely because it's real. It's real people, real stories and they do an excellent job of covering a wide range of topics that always feel relevant.
I talked about This American Life and my love of podcasts in the webinar I did a few months ago for work - I even quoted Ira Glass!



I was surprisingly late coming to the Bret Easton Ellis podcast, considering I would list "podcasts" and "Bret Easton Ellis novels" in some of my all-time favourite things. Bret Easton Ellis, as a person, is not everyone's cup of tea, I appreciate that, and this podcast is very much focused around his interests, his experiences and I want to say his favourite time period (it's very much grounded in 80s and 90s culture). Each week he interviews a different person on a range of topics, but in a relatively informal way - it just feels like two people who know each other well having a chat. One thing I love about this podcast is it takes me back to university. Literary theory and film theory are rife in this podcast, and I love being able to use that knowledge that I gained at university and feel like I'm involved in an intelligent conversation. That's not to say a lot of it doesn't go straight over my head!

Since discovering this I've been thrilled to have hours and hours of back catalogue to go through, so I'd probably say it's up there with This American Life at the moment for the title of my favourite podcast.


I didn't like Stuff You Should Know the first time I listened to it. I expected it to be straight-up facts and I didn't like all the chatting and tangents between Chuck and Larry. Now, however, I think that's what I love most about it. Each week, Chuck and Larry discuss a different topic, from "how Pez works" to "how circus families work " (I've listened to both of these). It's fun, it's playful, it's not all facts. I admit sometimes I come out of one of these podcasts not actually knowing much more about the topic, but I definitely enjoy listening to it.
This is quite a recent addition to my podcast app after reading about it on fellow-podcast-lover Rosie's blog. How to Be Amazing is hosted by Michael Ian Black and each week he just chats to a different person about their life and their achievements. Very easy, very relaxed, but very interesting and inspiring. 
The TED radio hour was the first podcast I ever really listened to. I love TED talks so I thought this might be a good way to learn on the go - and it is! Each podcast is themed around a particular topic, say Space or Learning or Hacking, and the podcast will then cover a few different subjects within this topic, using exerts from different TED talks. Very interesting and informative.

Honourable mentions

While those are my five absolute favourite podcasts, there are a few more that I listen to on a regular basis:

6. Love and Radio
I don't even know how to describe Love and Radio because it covers such a variety of topics. These are effectively short stories. Little snippets of lives and experiences. Some of them I like, some I don't, but it's definitely worth a download if you like stories.

7. Death, Sex and Money
Exactly what it says on the tin - Death, Sex and Money covers stories every week involving death, sex and/or money.

8. Criminal
If you like Serial, Criminal is much shorter, but covers a different story every week. Short but gripping.

What are your favourite podcasts? Do you have any recommendations?

Charlotte x

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