Despite the fact that the word itself is almost irritatingly ubiquitous, I have to say that I like a good podcast. And, as you’ll see from the following, I may not be averse to the odd bad one either.
I’m pretty certain (read: I can’t be bothered to check the archives) that I’ve mentioned a few of my favoured podcasts before, but as it’s Friday and it’s been a stunningly busy week, I thought I’d do a semi-cheat post and collate a list of the ones I enjoy, and want to recommend. They’re all issued on a weekly basis (most of the time), and are speech-based (though a couple of them are effectively radio shows with the songs removed for what I guess are copyright and royalty-related reasons), and I find them a pretty good way to cheer up a commute or jog or similar block of time where you may not want to, or be able to, read.
Anyway, onto the list, with – inevitably – my thoughts on them:
Adam and Joe – not quite on a par with their XFM podcasts (which I’m pretty sure are available on iTunes, and are worth hunting down), but these BBC 6Music shows are nonetheless very funny indeed. The ‘Song Wars’ feature is impressive – they put a lot of effort into nonsense songs on a particular theme, and the songs are frequently as accomplished as anything that makes the charts. Their banter is relaxed and suitably idiotic, and they make often each other laugh in a deeply unprofessional fashion, which makes it feel all the more jolly. In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that Adam is apparently a friend of a friend of mine, but I’ve never met him, and used to watch their Channel 4 show before I knew of this, so I consider this recommendation to be fairly free of nepotism. The show goes out on Saturday, and the pod is usually cast by midday on Monday.
Word Magazine – a weekly podcast only tenuously related to my (current) favourite ‘music and stuff’ magazine, with a rotating cast of voices, though it’s usually chaired by publisher David Hepworth and/or editor Mark Ellen. Recent weeks have seen guests such as Supergrass, Chris Difford and Claire Grogan, which adds amusing variety, though it’s not really needed; the subjects vary wildly, and given that most of the people involved have worked in music magazines or TV or radio for a long time, a lot of silly behind-the-scene experiences get shared. The sound quality’s pretty variable – though they acknowledge that and recent weeks have seen it improve – but it’s worth trying to ignore that and have a listen, as it often feels like a virtual version of sitting in the pub with some interesting people. There’s usually one podcast a week, issued on Tuesday (occasionally) or Wednesday (more frequently).
Russell Brand – I’ve mentioned more than once before that I like Brand, and this podcast, the edited highlights of his weekly BBC Radio 2 show, pretty amply demonstrates why. Alternately egged on and held back by his friend and producer Matt Morgan (who’s known him long enough to remind him of embarrassing incidents in his life, and not to take any guff when Brand gets prima-donna-y), there are frequently insane flights of fancy and all sorts of quick-witted wordplay, much of which will, I suspect, come as a surprise to people who think that Brand spends all his time having sex, or trying to have sex, with women (though that aspect of his life is a recurrent theme). Noel Gallagher of Oasis frequently phones the show to provide an antidote to the dandified behaviour, and as Brand’s recently been in the USA shooting and promoting a film, he’s had guests such as Kristen Bell and Seth Rogan in the studio, for semi-interviews which are more playful and less riddled with plugs than the average radio or TV appearance. The show goes out on Saturday nights, and the podcast is usually available by Wednesday.
Collings and Herrin – or, to use their proper names, Andrew Collins and Richard Herring. This gloriously lo-fi podcast started a couple of months ago, as Collins and Herring realised they used to enjoy their stupid discussions of the news and newspapers when they were on BBC 6Music together. It’s recorded on a laptop, often with them eating as they go, and they cheerfully admit they don’t listen to it or re-edit it in any way. It sounds like it, to be honest, but Herring’s tendency to take an idea and run with it beyond any usual boundaries of taste (a hallmark of his recent stand-up shows) makes it all worthwhile, as he often ends up making ludicrous comments which somehow aren’t quite as ridiculous as they should be. Collins is a good writer and broadcaster, so is able to marshal this madness into some kind of coherent shape, and is also very good at pointing out the hypocrisies of the press (such as them pretending to be appalled at photos of starlets spilling out of their dresses whilst still printing the pictures). They record this (usually at one of their homes) on Friday, and it’s often available to download the very same day. The wonders of technology, eh ?
… well, that wasn’t such a lazy-cheat post after all, was it ? As ever, I ended up running away at the mouth (well, keyboard). All of the above, by the way, are totally free of charge, and should work equally well on most mp3 players and iPods alike (the ‘pod’ bit of ‘podcast’ is rather misleading, I think), but I’m afraid I can’t offer any kind of techie advice or customer support, you download them at your own risk, and I will not be held liable. You must be *this* tall to go on the ride, please keep your hands inside the car at all times.
Now, I’ve shown you mine, you show me yours – am I missing out on any really good podcasts? Some people say that Mark Kermode’s film reviews are worth reviewing, and I’ve heard some good things (and some bad things too) about Ricky Gervais’s podcast, so point me in the right direction, I beg of you.