I spend a good amount of time working from home, and like many other creative types, I have developed a love of listening to podcasts to get me through the day. I spend a lot of time working on visual, hands-on tasks, and feel more focused when I can keep both the visual and audio/language parts of my brain occupied (science!)
It’s also a bit like having really erudite colleagues you can listen to and switch off when you become bored of them. Perfect. Monti (pictured above), is also a fan.
Anyway – maybe you love podcasts too? If you do, please share your faves with me. I’m always interested to listen to new stuff – especially ‘creative industry’ podcasts, because as you’re about to find out, I don’t listen to nearly enough of those!
As I listen to a wide variety of things, I’ve split my list into neat little categories. Here we go…
Arrest all mimics – “The original thinking & creative innovation podcast!”- Ben Tallon interviews people who are work in the illustration/design industry. There is some seriously inspiring stuff and solid advice here, about all subjects from surviving as a creative introvert to working internationally. Love to listen while I work, or sometimes when I need an extra boost of morale to get started on an independent project!
Big Illustration Party Time – Kevin Cross and Joshua Kemble talk about their experiences in freelance illustration and cartooning, with relevant weekly themes (getting representation, dealing with rejection, developing your style). The podcast actually stopped recording a few years ago, but the informational is still relevant, useful and inspiring if you’re working as a freelance illustrator. Give it a listen!
Book Shambles with Robin & Josie – Robin Ince and Josie Long (love them) plus a notable guest review a selection of their favourite books. They regularly discuss literature, film, theatre, stand-up comedy, politics and the arts. Always interesting, and gives me regular inspiration for new books to read!
99% Invisible – This podcast explores the history behind the architecture and design which we don’t always notice, but is around us every day. Interesting stuff.
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People – aka Beautiful/Anonymous. “One hour. One phone call. No names.” Chris Gethard answers the calls, and whoever in on the other end has up to one hour to talk about whatever they want. Only the caller can hang up. Some amazing, deep conversations to be heard.
Reply All – A show ‘about the internet’, although that doesn’t do it justice. It examines our use of the internet and social media to tell fascinating, human stories. I don’t love every single episode, admittedly, but some are amazing – listen to the On The Inside shows, which have a ‘Making a Murderer’ vibe, if that’s your thing.
The Mortified Podcast – People read out their high-school diaries, in front of an audience, without comment or embellishment. This is everything you think it will be.
Lore – The website describes this podcast as ‘true life scary stories’, which is accurate, but doesn’t do it justice. Aaron Mahnke re-tells tragic or horrifying historical stories, which are occasionally supernatural in nature, but always creepy as hell, regardless of whether or not you are a ‘believer’ (I’m not). I try not to listen to this in the dark.
Risk! – The show where ‘people share true stories they dare not tell in public’. A bit like The Moth but grittier – stories of relationships, sex, death and all the things you might not want to listen to with your mum/kids.
The Skeptic’s Guide – Weekly discussion of science news and discoveries, with regular segments like Forgotten Superheroes of Science, What’s the Word and the weekly news. You (well, I) need to stay quite focused to follow what they’re talking about, but it’s always good to learn something new!
You Are Not So Smart – A podcast on the science of self-delusion. Learn about things like confirmation bias, crowd psychology and the Dunning-Kruger effect, and realise how you can be easily mislead by your own brain. Every episode features a bonus cookie recipe review. Yum.
The Allusionist – Helen Zaltzman talks about the English language and etymology. The podcasts are funny, concise and full of information for word nerds. I love.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – The opposite of ‘The Allusionist’, insofar as an episode can be 4 hours long and doesn’t typically have a lot of laughs. However, Carlin goes in-depth into a variety of ‘hardcore’ historical topics – the second world war, the siege of Munster, and the growth of the Mongol Empire. No punches are pulled, and we are left in no doubt as to how to unforgiving life must have been at other times in history.
The Infinite Monkey Cage – A BBC Radio 4 show released as a podcast, Robin Ince and Brian Cox plus guests talk about science in a funny, approachable way, following a weekly theme (The Science of Sleep, Artificial Intelligence, A Guide to General Relativity, etc).
Monster Talk – This podcast sceptically examines the science, history and folklore behind crypotozoological creatures and ‘monsters’, from Nessie to poltergeists. I think they occasionally give a little too much credence to the stories they’re examining, and I’m not personally interested in every creature they bring up (ahem, Big Foot) but I do enjoy hearing people’s stories, the history of legends both new and old, and understanding why people believe the things they do.
No Such Thing As A Fish – The podcast affiliated with ‘QI’ off the telly. The QI elves share the most interesting facts they find each week, in a typically amusing fashion.
Answer Me This! – People e-mail/call in with questions, and Helen & Olly answer them (kinda). Silly fun, tightly edited so it doesn’t outstay its welcome!
A Whole Lot of Nothing – Chris and Phil talk about the weekly news, share ‘hilarious headlines’, compete in a meme war and occasionally do drunk film reviews. Sometimes Ryan turns up to encourage everybody to remember to fact check, and go on about Unions. A bit like hanging out with your mates down the pub, but you can skip the bits when they talk about wrestling. They would recommend not listening to anything before about episode 12, which I can’t really argue with.
So, there are just a few of my favourite podcasts! What about you? I’m always on the lookout for something new, especially, as I said before, creative industry podcasts. Please leave a comment with your recommendations!