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91 posts, in date order

2 min read

On Stage

Episode: "Hamlet's 'Advice To The Players' With Randall Duk Kim And Annie Occhiogrosso" | Podcast: The Working Actor's Journey | 22m08s

Practical advice podcast in which experienced actors share their wisdom with the next generation in their industry. This is a short episode, extracted from a longer conversation elsewhere on the feed. It focuses in on a particular text: the monologue from Hamlet in which the hero gives advice to the actors he has hired. "Let your own discretion be your tutor," he says, and the experts here speak to the necessity for actors to hone their own sense of discretion — an instinct and judgement to what each moment of a play needs (22m08s)


Dark Shadow

Episode: "Deep And Twisted Roots" | Podcast: Lore | 30m01s

Spooky retelling of the folklore surrounding vampirism. The fear of the dead rising has historic connections to the misunderstanding of real illnesses, the host argues, as well as being a way of characterising and demonising outsiders. Or, perhaps it was all real? "Maybe something evil and contagious has survived for centuries after all, spreading across borders and oceans. It’s certainly left a trail of horrific events in its wake, and its influenced countless tales and superstitions, all of which seem to point to a real-life cause" (30m01s)


Bonus pick: What do crosswords and crime fiction have in common? A surprising amount, it turns out. Find out more on the new podcast episode from Listener editor Caroline Crampton now. Listen to Shedunnit now at shedunnitshow.com or in your podcast app. Browser subscribers can also take part in the weekly crossword there.


Clowning Around

Episode: "Nick Walker / Daytime Snaps / @daytimesnaps" | Podcast: Show This Thread | 27m48s

Sadly short lived series of interviews with people who run unexpectedly popular Twitter accounts. This one is with the TV enthusiast who shares out of context screenshots from the surreal world of British day time television. The weirdest moment he's captured? "They had two professional clowns on the sofa having a very serious discussion and the topic was about the new IT movie and how it might ruin their careers — they were very stern looking clowns, thinking about their livelihood, but they were still dressed as clowns" (27m48s)




2 min read

On Foot

Episode: "On Practice: Walking" | Podcast: Serpentine Podcast | 32m08s

Examination of walking as part of contemporary art and politics. After a year of restrictions in which "going for a walk" has been the highlight of the day for many, this piece about how putting one foot in front of the other can be a tool for creativity or resistance feels apt. Exercises include intentionally observing the walkers in a busy street or park and noticing their purpose or lack their of, letting children take the lead when planning a walk, and mapping your area by what can be approached on foot and where access is restricted (32m08s)


Slip Shod

Episode: "North Shields | Time And The Shoe Man" | Podcast: High Street Tales | 17m42s

Storytelling podcast from the UK's Historic England organisation, which exists to preserve heritage buildings and widen access to them. This show consists of seven separate stories, each created by a different writer in response to the high street in a different place. The pieces combine folk tales and urban legends to create new fiction rooted in regional traditions. This one is from North Shields, a town in north east England, and combines the feel of a fairy story with a modern meditation on the passing of time (17m42s)


Bonus pick: Seishi Yokomizo, the so-called "Agatha Christie of Japan", sold over 55 million books during his lifetime but was never translated into English. Learn more about the rich tradition of the Japanese whodunnit on the new podcast episode from Listener editor Caroline Crampton. Listen to Shedunnit now at shedunnitshow.com or in your podcast app.


All Rise

Episode: "Trials Of The Millennia" | Podcast: A Hint Of Fiction | 31m18s

Intriguing twist on a common podcasting premise. The two hosts here talk through three stories on a particular theme in each episode, commenting off the cuff as different aspects interest them. What elevates this show above the run of the mill conversational podcast, however, is that only two of the tales are true. The other is a piece of fiction they've written and the listener has to try and spot it — a competitive element that adds to the experience. This instalment is about legal trials through history (31m18s)




1 min read

Family Time

Episode: "Shabbat Dinner with Whitney Fisch" | Podcast: Skillet | 40m22s

Podcast about food and the memories it evokes. This is a special episode about one family's shabbat traditions, with the host spending time with them as they prepare their Friday night meal. There's enough recipe talk to make the listener extremely hungry — the potatoes described here especially sound delicious — alongside the interview about the intersection of religion and diet. "For me, everything is Jewish food. What separates Jewish food from any other food? Nothing. Jewish food can be Spanish, Italian, it can be everything" (40m22s)


Start Up

Episode: "Pigs, Soap, Beer, Oh My! (History 101 feat. Greg Hand)" | Podcast: When Pigs Fly | 48m56s

Local business podcast about Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the very first episode of the show, which goes on to profile major companies in the city today and look at its culture of entrepreneurship. However, this first instalment looks back at the region's history, and gives listeners an overview of which industries have traditionally thrived there. Arguably the most fascinating portion of the show has to do with the meat processing industry, which relied on the natural topography for the underground caves beneath the town to keep products cool (48m56s)


Life Online

Episode: "Markus Robinson" | Podcast: Revision Path | 59m03s

Interview show featuring Black talent from the world of design and digital development. The guest on this episode co-founded Black Web 2.0, a popular source of information about people of colour in the tech industry, and now oversees the web presence for a media organisation. He goes into detail about how he learned to code and the personality good design requires: "I’ve always just been a tinkerer, I’ve always been just the type of person that would take a calculator apart and want to understand the different intricate circuits in it" (59m03s)




1 min read

Après Ski

Episode: "Guns, Skis And Corruption: Biathlon" | Podcast: Stories Of Our Times | 26m17s

Fascinating dive into a corruption scandal in a relatively low profile winter sport: biathlon, the one that combines cross country skiing and rifle shooting. The international governing body is dealing with allegations of corruption and a former president is accused of taking gifts in exchange for favours. Although this sport is niche, the story raises interesting questions about what integrity should like when a sport is gaining fans and looking to expand. Plenty of parallels with bigger sports are highlighted by the reporters (26m17s)


Prosecution Rests

Episode: "Becoming A District Attorney" | Podcast: Deep Background with Noah Feldman | 35m26s

Interview with a candidate for the position of District Attorney of Manhattan. This discursive piece both looks at the role as it is today and how it could be reformed to make prosecution more equitable and empathetic. A far cry from the extremely partial view of the US justice system we get from pop culture and news stories, there's a lot of information here packed into a short conversation. As well as speculating about the direction Biden might take on criminal justice, there are case studies given here that demonstrate the system's failings (35m26s)


Throw Pillow

Episode: "Princess Anne, Nicola Harding, Can't Change It — Make It Work" | Podcast: The Great Indoors | 46m13s

Plummy, cosy British interior design podcast. There are three segments here, of which the first is far and away the best. It deals with a recent viral photo of Princess Anne's living room, which shocked the public with its un-royal clutter and non palatial proportions. They find plenty to laugh at but also applaud the "make do and mend" attitude of one of the UK's wealthiest women. The practical tips section at the end of this show is also worthy of attention, since it has suggestions for how to have a more stylish space without spending money (46m13s)




2 min read

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Girl Musician

Episode: "Ivy Benson" | Podcast: Desert Island Discs: Fragment Archive 1970-1986 | 8m56s

Surviving fragment from a 1971 radio interview with groundbreaking British jazz musician Ivy Benson. Born in Yorkshire in 1913, she initially funded her musical career by simultaneously working in a factory until she could afford her own instruments. During WW2, her all female ensemble became the BBC's house band and were invited to play at the VE Day celebrations in Berlin in 1945. At the start of her career, she says, so called "girl musicians" were seen as freaks — an idea that didn't survive long once she started playing (8m56s)


Savoury Classic

Episode: "Worcester Sauce" | Podcast: Desert Island Dips | 46m42s

Conversational podcast about condiments, in which the hosts constantly evolve their list of the five sauces they would choose to take with them if they were being marooned on a desert island. This episode is devoted to the esoteric history of Worcestershire sauce, a thin brown salty liquid that has its origins in the fermented fish sauces beloved by the Romans but emerged in its modern form in England in the nineteenth century as a recreation of an Indian flavouring. Lea & Perrins is its most famous purveyor. Charming and surprising (46m42s)


Letter Head

Episode: "Aditya Bidikar and Going Postal" | Podcast: Desert Island Discworld | 62m39s

Book per episode examination of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. As with the best interview shows, though, the premise is merely an excuse to conduct wide ranging conversations with interesting people. The guest here is a comic book letterer and has fascinating observations on illustration and fonts. The lettering he does serves as "the final arbiter of how a comic book is read". There is also discussion of Pratchett's Going Postal, a delightful novel in which a con artist is punished by being made to run a city's unrunnable postal service (62m39s)


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2 min read

The Listener is an independent publisher showcasing fascinating, under-appreciated podcasts from around the world. It's only possible thanks to our wonderful subscribers, we'd love it if you were one of them!

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Origin Story

Episode: "An American Family" | Podcast: Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV | 43m05s

Pop culture history series about the origins of American reality television. In depth analysis of the antics of Lisa Vanderpump and Kim Kardashian are promised for later episodes, but this first instalment takes listeners back to the 1970s and a show that arguably began it all: An American Family. Produced as a documentary in 1973, it was billed as a chronicle of one Californian family's daily life. It became salacious when the parents' marriage broke down and when they accused producers of selective editing to bring out the drama (43m05s)


Island Paradise

Episode: "Cuba: A Vintage Playground" | Podcast: Teikirisi | 38m29s

Clever conversational podcast about Cuban-American culture and history. This one is the best yet and explores a myth often repeated by prospective visitors to the island: "I want to go to Cuba before it changes." Tourists love the vintage cars, the period architecture and the kitschy keepsakes, but they rarely think about what this sentiment means — wanting a place to stay stuck in the past means that its inhabitants don't get to access things the travellers take for granted at home, like high speed internet or new phones (38m29s)


Bonus pick: Crime fiction is incredibly popular today, with millions of books sold every year. But have you ever wondered what the first "whodunnit" was? Listener editor Caroline Crampton goes all the way back to Ancient Greece to find the answer in her latest podcast episode. Listen to Shedunnit now at shedunnitshow.com or in your podcast app.


Left Over

Episode: "Stash-Busting Tips" | Podcast: We've Made It | 42m11s

Crafting podcast talks through strategies for keeping your hoard of supplies under control. Anyone who has started a hobby like knitting or sewing recently will know how quickly the stash of wool or fabric grows as different projects leave left overs. To maximise limited storage space in the home and to minimise your crafting's environmental impact — producing fabric, for instance, uses a lot of resources – the hosts advocate choosing designs that use up every piece wherever possible before starting something with new materials (42m11s)


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2 min read

The Listener is an independent publisher showcasing fascinating, under-appreciated podcasts from around the world. It's only possible thanks to our wonderful subscribers, we'd love it if you were one of them!

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A Sign

Episode: "Prologue One: Community" | Podcast: Seen And Not Heard | 8m46s

Clever drama series about a newly deaf woman called Bet trying to navigate her changed life. This is one of four shorter prologues to the main series of longer episodes, and it tells the story of her first attempt to go to a sign language class. The other participants make assumptions about her, leaving her nervous and prickly, and she finds that she can feel just as alone among people signing as she can with her inconsiderate family. The whole show is well suited to audio, using sound design to share Bet's auditory perspective (8m46s)


Costly Flop

Episode: "From Page To Stage" | Podcast: Out for Blood: The Story Of Carrie The Musical | 47m17s

Very detailed oral history of an infamous Broadway disaster — Carrie: The Musical. The hosts discovered a bootleg recording of the show's brief run in the late 1980s during the pandemic and decided to investigate the full story of a production that has become legendary in the trade for technical malfunctions, ballooning budgets and critical disdain. This first episode focuses on where the idea to translate Stephen King's original plot into musical theatre came from and includes interviews with those who took the initial steps (47m17s)


Keep Talking

Episode: "A Romantic Revival" | Podcast: Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel | 49m05s

High point of a very good and rightly popular podcast. Each episode is a recording of a therapy session with the host and her clients. This one features a couple coping with a long history of trauma: she has experienced sexual assault and he lost his first wife to suicide when their children were small. As their therapist, Perel has an intriguing focus on the present physical ramifications of these events. Her practical advice to breathe, sing and move at moments of great difficulty makes a lot of sense (49m05s)


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