The first thing I did when I bought my iPhone last year was to check out the Podcast app. I’m a Podcast junkie. I love listening. I’m not a very visual person. I can never carve out 3 hours in my schedule to watch a movie in one go. I have a hard time keeping up with the latest release in theatres or the current Netflix obsession. When I make dinner and want to watch something nice, I inevitably choose an episode of Downton Abbey, Newsroom or Line of Duty. I don’t know how many of the people who are reading this are introverts like me, but if you are, then you probably prefer solitary activities such as reading, long walks, listening to music or taking up new projects. For those who do not enjoy being around large crowds and like doing things that are rejuvenating, the niche world of podcasts is exactly what you need to be getting into right now.
When I started listening to Podcasts, I realised that they can become quite addictive. So I started downloading episodes and stockpiling them, to be listened to at leisure. So if I’m cooking or travelling or walking my dog, it’s a good idea to have a podcast going on in the background. Make sure you’ve got a good WiFi connection and go through the handy list I’ve made to see if anything grabs your attention:
- My Dad Wrote A Porno: This is a British Podcast hosted by three friends: Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine. Jamie’s Dad, a a 60 year old Irish salesman who goes by the nom de plum Rocky Flintstone, wrote a series of erotic novels titled Belinda Blinked. But if you’re thinking this is a podcast to get you into the mood, you’re absolutely wrong. Rocky Flintstone’s fictional masterpiece is hilariously atrocious and there is no way you can listen to it without laughing out loud. Jamie’s narrative of each chapter is accompanied by the witty commentary of his mates, not to mention the constant ribbing and banter. I guarantee you will never look at erotic fiction the same way again. As of 2018, this podcast has 120 million downloads and has a fan following of actors such as Michael Sheen, Elijah Wood and Emma Thompson. You can check out the first episode here.
- The Guilty Feminist: Hosted by stand-up comedian, producer and author Deborah-Frances White, the Guilty Feminist is about men and women coming together to talk about their lofty feminist goals which are inevitably undermined by their insecurities. The podcast is a recording of a show conducted in a variety of theatres, with a live audience and a guest who is an unashamed feminist, albeit a guilty one. Each week the hosts set themselves challenges ranging from femininity, independence, nudity to having children, periods and hair removed. The podcast itself is incredibly funny but also pithy because it talks about things that men and women are afraid to talk about in an open space. Every week, you get to meet a guest, someone who has done incredible things for gender-equality but hasn’t lost their sense of humour in the bargain. You can check it out here.
- Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda: Star of M*A*S*H and West Wing, Alan Alda was one of my heroes when I was growing up. I can’t believe he’s so old, living with Parkinson’s and doing a podcast. Alan loves to interview interesting people, from actors and scientists to stand-up comedians and former judges, to talk about how to communicate better. Alan is absolutely fascinated by communication and how we can break down walls by learning communication skills. He’s all about humanity and his empathy makes it a joy to listen to his interviews. He’s done a lot of work for making science accessible, so his approach is quite methodical as he tries to understand how people who’ve beaten the odds, communicate. You can check out the podcast here.
- Secular Buddhism with Noah Rasheta: When I was 24, I started looking for ways to understand suffering and therefore manage suffering, not just my own but also that of my loved ones. Buddhism seemed like the only religion that would welcome me with open arms and provide some solutions to real life problems. What started with mild interest in the works of Thich Nhat Hahn, turned into absolute devotion to the Buddhist way of life. However, I did not know any Buddhists. For me, it had been a very lonely path that had offered a way out of strife, something that Buddha himself had experienced before he achieved enlightenment. I then found Noah Rasheta’s podcast, a companion guide to Buddhism. Noah Rasheta is a Buddhist teacher and has simplified Buddhism so that you can practice mindfulness in everyday life. With growing awareness about spirituality these days, it might not be a bad idea to give it a listen here.
- Unqualified: Anna Faris is unqualified to ask questions or give advice, but she still does it and she does it well. You might know her from the Scary Movie franchise or from the TV Show Mom and that’s why she’s incredibly popular. I know there are lots of podcasts out there which might be considered funnier, like ID10T or WTF, where actors are often invited to talk about their craft. But the truth is, I crave Anna’s silliness. She’s open, unassuming and informal and she loves to play these little role-play games with her guests where she’ll improvise a scene and ask them to react spontaneously. At the end of every show, they take questions from one or two callers who want to talk about messy relationships and I love how some of the biggest names in Hollywood will sit down and give their advice. You can check out Anna, here.
- GrownUp Land: Adulting is hard. There are lots of things newly-turned adults fail at. Getting a job. Renting a place. Dating. Tattoos. Money. Travelling. And it helps when you have a couple of 20-somethings at the BBC, just sitting down to talk about their experience with adulting. I find this show fun because you learn a lot about being an adult. It almost makes it easier to accept failure. You’re only going to turn 18 once, you’re going to fuck it up, and you’re going to figure a way out. I love the fact that these people don’t make a big deal out of stresses that this generation in particular deals with every day, but they somehow manage to give some great tips in being a better adult. Wouldn’t you like that? A manual on growing up? It helps to know that we’re all going through the same thing, though in different ways. This is the podcast for millenials and you can check it out here.
- Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations: I missed you Oprah. I used to watch you with my Mum every time I bunked school. She’d make tea and a plate of snacks and we’d sit in front of the television set, absolutely riveted. Oprah has been on a hiatus for a long time ever since she ended her talk show. But it’s good to know that she’s back with something new. If you’ve ever been through any kind of existential crisis, then Oprah knows how to help you. She calls over people from all walks of life. Brilliant, charismatic, awe-inspiring people who will talk about their journey to discovering themselves. I think the most successful people in the world are the ones who have found the secret to happiness. They’re doing what they love to do. So Oprah talks to people like Gloria Steinem, Malala Yousafzai, Ariana Huffington, Dr. Phil, Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts, Paul Coelho etc, who talk about their joys, sorrows and lessons learnt. This podcast is soul-food and anybody who wants to understand their true purpose in being here, can check out the podcast here.
To listen to your favourite podcast, get the app on your android phone (Castbox, Podcast Addict, Player FM, RadioPublic) or the Podcast App on your iOS iPhone.