Best Of The Week

No Regrets

Episode: “Nick Boles” | Podcast: The Political Party | 68m28s

Interview with “insanely modest” British Conservative MP conducted shortly after he dramatically resigned from his party over their conduct over Brexit. He had thought about it for a long time, but his actual declaration in the chamber of the House of Commons happened on the spur of the moment, the words coming to him mid-sentence as his frustration took over. “The final bit of elastic keeping me tied to the political vehicle to which I’d been attached for the best part of twenty years snapped,” he says. The first thing he did afterwards? Put on his jeans and got on a bus (68m28s)


Your Love

Episode: “Unchained Melody” | Podcast: Random Tape | 4m00s

Excerpt from a recorded singing lesson, in which the pupil is learning the 1950s classic “Unchained Melody”. The singer has great tone and control, but the teacher painstakingly corrects his unnecessary swoops between notes and modifies his vowel sounds into better, rounder shapes. It comes from a cassette that was found in a thrift store in a box of 20 other tapes — all containing singing lessons recorded in an apartment in New York. This one is from 1971, titled “Wayne Lesson”. Somehow, the utter anonymity makes it melancholy; I hope Wayne continued to sing (4m00s)


Look Down

Episode: “The PDX Carpet Love Story” | Podcast: Rendered | 14m07s

Exploration of how the 1980s style carpet at Portland airport in America’s Pacific North West became an unlikely design icon and a beloved local landmark. People wear clothing inspired by it, drink a beer that bears its name, or even get tattoos of its abstract, radar-inspired motif. New arrivals at the airport take and post a classic “airport foot selfie” in order to show off that they have walked on its bright teal surface. Why exactly this floor covering attracts such attention is delved into here; for some it’s appeal is nostalgic, a reminder of home, for others it’s just “secretly magical” (14m07s)


Worked Up

Episode: “Stephen Bradley, Laura O’Leary, Giles Brody” | Podcast: Phoning It In | 30m44s

Improvised comedy show that follows the format of a radio phone in, the twist being that the performers calling in have no idea who they are playing or what they’re supposed to be talking about until the host introduces them on air. This episode is ostensibly about the perennial subject of “DIY disasters”, but quickly strays off topic as in-studio experts give dreadful advice to the callers. The whole thing is an affectionate takeoff of a famous Irish radio show — Joe Duffy’s Liveline — except with a rotating cast of comedians on the line instead of Duffy’s usual lineup of outraged citizens. Great fun (30m44s)


Social Orders

Episode: “A Question Of Caste” | Podcast: My Indian Life | 23m04s

What relevance does India’s ancient caste system have to modern life? More than 65 per cent of the country’s 1.2 billion strong population is under the age of 35, and tension is emerging between young people kicking against historic restrictions and the traditional class hierarchies that have always governed society. Here, an activist from the Dalit caste (which was the lowest social strata, often deemed “untouchable”) talks about the abuse he suffered as a young man, and explains how embracing Buddhism has helped him and those like him escape Hindu strictures (23m04s)