Top 5: Podcast Episodes of 2017

This might just be because I was late to the party (highly plausible) but 2017 really felt to me like the Year of the Podcast. My obsession began in January (see below), and ever since that fateful day I've been mainlining talk shows on my walks, my commutes, my long winding drives. Sometimes I wonder if I should maybe start reading again (I should), but then I listen to another episode of any one of my 500 favourite podcasts and the thought floats right out of my head. There's a solid argument to be made that I  need to regain a little balance in my life, but when the time for cutting back on the podcasts truly comes for me, there are a few I'd point blank refuse to give up. Listen to these episodes and you'll begin to understand why... 

Royal Court Playwrights Podcast: Lucy Prebble talks to Simon Stephens

First up, the podcast that got me into podcasts. And theatre. And Simon Stephens. And Lucy Prebble. Before cracking this on during a cold January commute, I’d existed in a world in which podcasts began and ended with catching up on Woman’s Hour, and theatre was impenetrable. After listening to Simon Stephens’ enlightening and generous conversation with his former student and subsequently celebrated playwright Lucy Prebble, I thought I should probably give both podcasts and theatre another chance.

For fans of: being a human being, theatre I guess (though not compulsory), warm laughs

Listen to the episode here

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Song Exploder: Solange ‘Cranes In The Sky’ 

Song Exploder is absolutely my favourite music podcast flinging itself around the ether. Each episode focuses on one artist as they unpick just one of their songs and in this stand out episode, Solange takes to the studio to deconstruct one of the best tracks written this decade, 'Cranes In The Sky'. She gives us insight into the minutiae of every part - each harmony, each piano chord, each note of that noodling bass - and describes their properties in a way that calls to mind a kind of alchemy. You’ll never listen to ‘Cranes In The Sky’ in the same way again. 

For fans of: being a nosy lil b, studio nerdiness, meditative voices

Listen to the episode here

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The Bechdel Podcast Ep 7: Whitewashing in ‘Angel’ at the Arcola

Forgive us for including a podcast that features one of our contributors (who’s also super nice about us in it), but this one really is important. The excellent women at The Bechdel Podcast invited Tutku Barbaros into the studio to talk about racial representation in theatre, using her review of ‘Angel’ at the Arcola as a starting point. Tutku is brave and open about her own experiences of whitewashing in the theatre, and the importance of nuanced and thoughtful approaches to stories that aren’t ones own. 

For fans of: lady energy, representation, 0 star theatre reviews

Listen to the episode here

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S Town Chapter II

Released in its entirety in March this year, S Town raised the bar for podcasts, and elevated the medium into something literary, intellectually rigorous, and deeply moving. Impossible to do justice with a snappy summary, Brian Reed uncovers the complex story of a 'shit town in Alabama' through the life of eccentric and affable John B. McLemore. An almost Dickensian social commentary, I defy anyone not to finish the series in a week after the gut wrenching developments in Chapter II. Dive in, commit to it, and then spend three days googling astrolabes, mercury poisoning and wondering if Tyler ever did find that gold. 

For fans of: true crime, binge-listening, abject confusion

Listen to the episode here

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The Debrief Podcast: How To Network

I could honestly have picked any episode of The Debrief Podcast, such is my undying love for its hosts Stevie Martin and Tessa Coates. Each episode is a helpful How To, directed towards millennials struggling to live adults lives without any adult things like, ya know, money or houses or stable jobs. More helpful even than their helpful advice is the fact that Tessa and Stevie are always totally honest about their own difficulties (always presented hilariously). I regularly find myself snorting in strangers faces on the tube while listening to them having a chat, but never more so than during their description in this particular ep of a failed attempt at a really intrusive technique to get people talking to you at a mixer.

For fans of: two pals having a laff, attempts at self-improvement, relatable content

Listen to the episode here

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