There are so many podcasts on the market and whilst some are… not great, others, are brilliant acts of subversive or revolutionary journalism, insightful and inviting personal stories and hilarious comedy shows. Here are some of the podcasts I’ll be streaming this month.
Dolly Parton’s America
Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad brings us this limited series which dives deep into how our queen, Dolly Parton, came to be the fabulous public figure she is today. Dolly Parton is not only able to span the great political divide, appealing to fans on all points of the spectrum, she wrote and performed some of the most well known songs in the world too and most importantly, she is renowned for being kind, generous and self deprecating. This series promises to shine a bright, sparkly, rhinestone encrusted light on Dolly’s history and offer an insight into her personal views.
This podcast brings to mind Secret Room because they both deal with real life narratives in which members of the public expose themselves in a way that is terrifyingly, and impressively, vulnerable. Here, Jonathan Goldstein coaxes people through the narrative in which they explain where everything changed: where they made a decision that altered the trajectory of the rest of their life. This podcast tells stories that are touching and sweet and disarmingly human.
Desert Island Discs
The bitesized podcast version of the Radio Four classic programme; Desert Island Discs is not only the best first date game ever, it is also a great insight into the lives and loves of some very accomplished business people, philanthropists, artists, celebrities and academics. The variety of guest on the show is infinite and so is the programme’s ability to surprise with certain straightlaced guests choosing desert island tracks you’d never have predicted and vice versa. Desert Island Discs is somehow quintessentially calming and cosy; the podcast equivalent to catching the last few minutes of University Challenge on TV.
If you’ve not already listened to Serial then you need to have a very serious think about what you have been doing with your time. It’s the podcast equivalent of not having seen The Wire (if you’ve not seen The Wire then you need to have a very serious think about what you have been watching…) Serial is a true crime podcast which is now on its third series. I personally prefer the first two because they follow specific non-fiction stories where as the third is following the events in a Cleveland courtroom but either way, this podcast is an incredible production.
Here to Slay
This is a black feminist perspective on all the good stuff: pop culture, mental health, the news, politics… Roxane Gay, authour of the incredible Bad Feminist and Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of the fabulous Thick and Other Essays. Predictably, the pair do not hold back on their thoughts and ideas and they invite their guests to be outspoken and honest too. This podcast is only available on Luminary but it is worth the sub.
How to Fail
Elizabeth Day’s semi-self therapising show asks its (very very successful) guests how, why and when they have failed. Sometimes their responses are disarmingly honest and thoughtful and sometimes, they are irritatingly half-boasting (Phoebe Waller Bridge) but they are always an interesting insight into the guests feelings and life experiences. Day is very much open and gentle about communicating her own failures and difficulties and she makes a caring and nurturing host.