I’ve been catching up on some of the series that I fell behind on during lockdown recently. Because I wasn’t travelling anywhere, and I wasn’t listening to as many shows as I ordinarily would, I had digital stacks of episodes from Work in Progress and This American Life downloaded on my phone, and I have loved getting back up to date (Ira Glass’s voice is so soothingly American to me).
Anyway, that doesn’t mean that I’ve not also listened to lots of other cool programmes in the last month or so. Here is a brief collection of the best podcasts I’ve come across lately:
Rumble with Michael Moore
We all know Michael Moore from his engaging, clever documentaries about systemic issues in America’s legal system, values system and economic system. He is the incredible brain behind the films Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Fahrenheit 11/9 and Capitalism: A Love Story. It is no exaggeration to say that I adore him. Hence, my recommending his podcast.
Moore began broadcasting so that he could discuss and narrate the election process, and the climate in America in almost real time. Rather than dedicating months to making a documentary, this media method allows for Moore to remain up to the minute instead of becoming outdated almost straight away (remember that week where Trump’s tax scandle broke, the debate happened and then he got C19? All in 7 days?!). At the time of writing, Moore was on episode 127 so there’s some catching up to do!
Happy Sad Confused
In this podcast, Josh Horowitz (no relation to Cher) conducts in-depth interviews with movie stars from various backgrounds and at various stages in their career. From Jesse Plemons to Dave Franco to Cate Blanchett to John David Washington, Horowitz gets the kind of responses from his guests that make truly great broadcasting. An absolute must listen for any film buff.
And another brilliant podcast for film fans! In fact, the makers of the podcast also publish a film magazine specifically for children written by under 15 year olds. Such a brilliant thing to get involved in. Anyway, each podcast episode features two films and the presenter discusses specifically how they were made. There’s no flouncy fanciness, just straight forward radio journalism.
Love Stories with Dolly Alderton
This podcast is a bit of a golden oldie. I mean, it’s not like archived Marc Maron, but it did finish last year. Never the less, every single episode is a really lovely interview/discussion between Dolly and a changeable guest. Although the podcast has finished, it bares a re-listen if only because it is gentle and calming in these less than calming times!
The Last Archive
This podcast is such a brilliant find- the professor of American History at Harvard, Jill Lepore leads us through a journey of uncovering America’s history, and how exactly America has built and edited that history. Listening to this will boost your iq by, like, ten points immediately. It is such a fascinating deep dive into a topic that is much discussed, but rarely examined as it is here.
Nice White Parents
I really truly wish that someone would make a podcast like this about schools in the UK. But for now, I must content with the American version. This series narrates and dissects the schooling system in Brooklyn, New York. Exposing the classist undertones of the way in which education works in America (and, I would argue, the UK) and how certain people and families are able to ‘get ahead’. It is galling to be exposed to these truths, but the discomfort is essential. Galvanizing stuff.