From jazz to sauce

Plus: Terry Pratchett's Discworld

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!

Join the Listener

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)


Get three outstanding recommendations on diverse and fascinating topics each day with a paid Listener subscription — no ads, and no fuss.

Join the Listener
You've successfully subscribed to The Listener
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in