Best Of The Week

Stepping Out

Episode: “Chris Grant” | Podcast: A Mile In My Shoes | 15m23s

Beautifully-produced first person story from an intensive care doctor, who describes his work as “very invasive, very aggressive” intervention, aimed at trying to preserve life long enough for patients to receive more nuanced long-term treatment. This is part of a series from the Empathy Museum, a roving art project aimed at revealing rarely-heard perspectives. There’s also, given the title, a pleasingly literal focus on the participants’ shoes themselves. In this case, the doctor gets through his day in “black size 11 crocs, which are a cross between clogs and sandals. . .” (15m23s)

Soil Searchers

Episode: “Peliti” | Podcast: Farmerama | 12m45s

Discussion of the “Peliti” seed-saving project in Greece, where volunteers travel the country to collect seeds from traditional varieties of crops that have begun to disappear as agriculture is dominated by industrial, genetically-narrow types. Preservation is the goal, but the participants also discuss their firm belief that a seed archive should not function like a library, perpetually preserving rather than improving farming: “Seeds are not meant to be kept in a refrigerator, they should be dug under the earth,” one says. Their work is political too — a statement of small vs large and diversity over homogeneity (12m45s)

Talking Sense

Episode: “Suzanne Moore” | Podcast: Stuart Hall In Conversations | 49m49s

Journalist describes what it was like to work for the cultural theorist and public intellectual Stuart Hall at Marxism Today in the 1980s. Suzanne Moore is now a leading British columnist and feminist writer, but here she reflects on how Hall shaped her thinking when she was at a formative stage in her career. In particular, she describes how he expanded her critique of right-wing thought while also being a thoughtful colleague who cared about her kids and asserted the relevance of “identity politics” — in the form of gender and race-based analysis — against the more traditional left-wing establishment (49m49s)

Fox Hunt

Episode: “Foxes And Forests” | Podcast: Soundproof | 47m20s

Hunting caps on for this stealthy trek through the world’s undergrowth in search of foxes. Host Miyuki Jokiranta keeps up a quiet commentary as the ambient nocturnal sounds of forests and cities filters gently through to the listener in a bewitching collage of sound. Every footstep and every breath is captured for the most accurate representation of the stalking experience. The noises of the foxes themselves are extremely weird and eerie. There’s a growing tension to the soundscape as the episode progresses that seems to ask: why look for these creatures at all? (47m20s)

I, Robot

Episode: “Bleachers — I Miss Those Days” | Podcast: Song Exploder | 16m26s

Singer and influential producer Jack Antonoff, who has masterminded hits for the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde and St Vincent, explains the creative process behind a single song on his own album. The genesis of the music was a random encounter with a floppy disk and a vintage emulator, but the lyrics came straight from the worst moments of his own life, from his sister’s death from brain cancer to his experiences of 9/11. Here, he plays the different versions of his vocal he tried, including one delivered through a robotic-sounding vocoder because he couldn’t bear to hear himself delivering such personal lines (16m26s)

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