Friday 22 December 2017

Pattern Prep + Podcasts = Heaven! (An Update)

(image source: Julienne Alexander for Criminal Podcast)

I published a post nearly three years ago about listening to podcasts whilst sewing, and it is still one of my favourite a
ctivity combinations ever! A number of readers commented on that post saying that they enjoyed my recommendations, and left great recommendations themselves that I had fun checking out. These days, podcasts may be even more important to me, than three years ago: they can be wonderful entertainment, of course, but they also provide me with as a link to the wider world when I'm feeling that my life at the moment can be frustratingly repetitive at times. 

What has changed is that, nowadays, I tend to listen to podcasts during pattern prep (tracing or sticking PDFs together), cutting out fabric, or the quiet bits of sewing that require less attention (like hand-sewing or pinning). I find it annoying to be listening to something interesting then have chunks of it obscured by the whirr of my sewing machine. 

I still regularly listen many of the podcasts I listed previously, but during the three years that have passed I've heaps of new (to me) ones. Some of them I became obsessed with, rinsed the entire back catalogue, waited with baited breath for new episode, and moved on from, and some of which that have firmly stuck in my subscription feed. So here's what I'm listening to these days. Please leave your current podcast obsessions in the comment section!

Answer Me This

What is it? A comedy podcast where the hosts, Helen and Olly, answer all manner of questions submitted by listeners. Occasionally LOL inducing, always amusing, IMO. Fact: this is the first podcast I listened to where the presenters don't have an American accent (they're British, like me) and I genuinely had a hard time getting used to it.

Recommended Episode: Whatever is the latest? Doesn't really matter.

Circle Round

What is it? This podcast aimed at children shares folk stories from around the world, and my four-year-old daughter loves it. She still struggles with the concept of not being to 'see' it, but I love putting this on for her in the car, I feel like it's a little bridge between our worlds and interests.

Recommended Episode: Dolores would probably say episode #10 'Thunder and Lightning', whereas so far I liked episode #11 'Princess in the Mirror' best.


What is it? Fascinating and sometimes beautiful little true tales around the theme of illegal activity, usually only about 15-20 minutes long apiece. Warning: some of the episodes are a little on the dark side, so probs best not listen to this podcast when there are kids around or you're feeling a bit sensitive. I find that the presenter, Phoebe Judge, has such lovely way of speaking. 

Recommended Episode: episode #7 J.R.R Ziemba, and episode #70: A Bump in the NightI can't recommend this podcast enough, so if you listen to an episode and it doesn't quite float your boat, then please try another! 

What is it? Sometimes I think I like DSAM too much, although it's hard to describe what it's about as such. Often the episodes are interesting interviews where the host, Anna Sale, creates a gentle connection with the interviewee that draws out of them maximum truth. Other times the episodes revolve around a specific topic, like student debt, that features many contributors with fascinating insights and angles. Whatever's going on here, it's almost invariably very good. 

Recommended Episode: I think you're just going to have to take a stab at whichever peaks your interest. If you want to find out exactly what the amazing host herself is all about, then I heartily recommend listening to this episode where the tables are turned and she becomes the interviewee. Did I mention that I love this podcast?

What is it? Speaking of podcast-love that's hard to define, let's talk about Heavyweight. I'm assuming the title is being ironic, because this is an incredibly amusing and fairly light hearted (but regularly very touching) podcast where the host, Jonathan Goldstein, investigates other people's mysteries, whether they want him to or not. 

Recommended Episode: Milt, Jesse, Rose and Isabel were all awesome. 

What is it? Love + Radio is mental and captivating. The creators must have scoured the world to find the most interesting people alive to be the subjects of their shows, and then won their trust and honesty to make it the most absorbing chunk of time you could devote to listening to something. In short: It's. So. Good. 

Recommended Episode: Oh my! Literally each one is a work of art in itself, but the episodes I wish I could erase from my memory to be able to devour them again as if for the first time are: SuperchatThe Wisdom of Jay ThunderboltStrip, Pt 2 and The Silver Dollar

What is it? Radionlab is all the amazing stuff that you somehow haven't heard about before: topics relating to science, history, politics, ethics and much more, presented so wondrously. Radiolab has made me cry on a train before, I mean that as a compliment. Radiolab episodes are the ones that I'll most likely have to tell Pat (Mr So Zo) about at the earliest opportunity.  

Recommended EpisodeThe Trust Engineers was a fantastic one that I recommended in my previous podcast post, but there have been so many that have literally changed my life a bit. 

What is it? Each story Reply All features is connected, in someway, to the internet. I must admit that I accidentally became unsubscribed to Reply All somehow and it took me a couple of months to notice. So, therefore, I'd have to say that it's not my favourite favourite, however it is often funny and interesting and well worth trying out. 

Recommended Episode: Agh! I'm really struggling to pick one to recommend, however #76 Lost in a Cab is pretty typical of their output, therefore perhaps a good one to help figure out if this podcast is for you. 


What is it? If you got into the legend that was Serial: season one, then you've probably already devoured S-Town. If you haven't, then you really should give it a whirl. This series, unlike most podcasts, dropped all seven episodes at once so you (me) could binge them like a rabid dog. It's a fascinating tale of a real guy living in a real place and looks into real events, and I can't figure out how to make this podcast sound good without mentioning any spoilers.

Recommended Episode: As with Serial, you have to listen to all of the S-Town eposides in the correct order or you are a fool.

Savage Lovecast

What is it? If, like me, you'd enjoy a window into the personal lives of people you'll never meet, then this sex and relationships podcast is for you. I've also learnt A LOT about the issues and difficulties faced by the LGBTQ community from this podcast, which means that I'm probably a better person than I was before I started listening to it. Plus, it's enjoyable to listen to a podcast that makes no apologies for being transparently left-leaning, and sweary.

Recommended Episode: Any and all. 

The Adam Buxton Podcast

What is it? It could be loosely described as a (usually no very well known-)celeb interview podcast hosted by British comedian/actor/presenter/man, Adam Buxton. If you find him amusing, then each episode is an hour-long treat. If you don't, then I can't help you.

Recommended Episode: It really depends on which of the interviewees appeal to you, but I really enjoyed the chats with Zadie Smith (episode #40), Claudia O'Doherty (episode #36), Miranda Sawyer (episode #53), Simon Amstell ((episode #55) and all of the ones with Adam's bessies, Louis Theroux, Garth Jennings and Joe Cornish. Basically pretty much all of them. 

What is it? I'd say that this is the podcast that I'm most excited to see pop up in my 'new episodes' feed at the moment. Every episode is basically this: funny women talking about very important stuff. 

Recommended Episode: I'm still at the stage with this podcast where I'm hoovering up each new weekly episode when they drop, and going back through the archive and listening to older ones in between, so I haven't heard them all yet. However, I felt privileged to have heard Minefields (episode #64) and the Handmade's Tale one (episode #74) and Intrepid Women (episode #57), and found many others LOL-inducing.

The Longest Shortest Time

What is it? A podcast that covers all manner of parenting related topics and other people's parenting stories. I've only found a few of the episodes to contain anything that I can directly relate to, but it's so interesting to hear about all the other versions and experiences of family life out there. 

Recommended Episode: The recent four-part series on working mothers (#141, #142, #143 and #145) was 50,000 times more interesting it sounds like it's going to be. And I loved the Casey Wilson episode (#98), among many others. 

The Sporkful

What is it? If you enjoy eating food and finding out about other people, then The Sporkful will probably float your boat. Presenter/producer Dan Pashman has the best laugh in podcasting. 

Recommended Episode: The two Aleppo Sandwich episodes were incredibly moving, and the mini-series about food and race was really interesting and thought provoking too. 

What is it? The Big Daddy of podcasts! TAL has been going since the 1990's and has a massive following. Most of the hour-long episodes revolve around a theme and feature several stories that are loosely connected to the theme, but some episodes are based on a single factual tale. I got into TAL when my boss at Traid went on maternity leave and I worked alone for several months. I got thoroughly obsessed and used to rack up maybe five episodes a day.  

Recommended Episode: My goodness, so many but I'd say two episodes that really drew me in to this podcast are Switched at Birth and Act V. The wonderful thing about TAL is that, if you get into it, there is a backlog of over 500 episodes to dive in to!

Other podcasts I often dib into or used to be obsessed with: Strangers, Serial, Invisibilia, Mystery Show, Revisionist History, Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, The Doug Stanhope Podcast, Girl on Guy, The Butterfly Effect and WTF. Enjoy, my friends! 


Joo Mi said...

It is interesting to know there are so many "free" podcasts available. The reason I put the word free in quotation marks is because I cannot afford unlimited high speed home Internet wifi and the public "free" wifi spots can be unreliable with or without blackout caps. They are free to paying customers and I am unlikely to lug my sewing machine to McDonalds.

I have even greatly limited the free content I view and listen to from the web site. I never thought I would one day "boast" about this. The religion that is currently known as Jehovah's Witnesses was a huge influence on my life for most of my life. At this time I have not completely censored them out of my life because I do value the free online Bibles including the King James Version that they have made available for me.

Just because something is free does it mean it's worth introducung into my life? I have to ask myself "Will reading this or watching that improve the quality of my life?" and " Will this bring me closer to God?" I think you can now see why I only hope to bring one suitcase besides my rolling carryon case and backpack with me to South Korea.

People with a liberal outlook on life tend to be optimistic that they can solve all the problems on earth. They become more realistic after learning the fact that humans have reached the tipping point of overpolluting earth. That certainly happened to me. Earth does not have an infinite capacity to heal itself of death dealing strokes. Only someone in heaven can do that. It therefore behooves me not to consume information that would have me forget the facts of life.

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

Zoe I think I am a born podcast lover who hasn't as yet started listening to them! I love "proper radio" and often put a TV series on the computer to listen to when I am sewing, but the time I get to actually just BE at home and do things is so rare these days, I've not really had a chance.
This is ironic as I've been asked to host a series of podcast interviews as my alter ego, which I am really looking forward to!
I do hope the next couple of years lead to more time to just sew at home and hang out with some good podcasts. I think we both need to find a bit of balance actually, from opposite ends of the see saw <3

Naomi said...

Russell Brand's Under the Skin is good if you are in a heavier/more political mood or Dawn O'porters Get it on is fun (she is on a break from it though).

Erikadeperika said...

Criminal is one of my absolute favorites as well, it is always fascinating and although I had to get used to it, phoebes voice is so nice to listen to.

I also like how to be a girl, about the life of a mom and her transgender daughter (it is not updated currently because of personal circumstances, but the episodes that are available are very interesting and she has a nice way of involving her daughter in the making of her podcast.

Pancake said...

I know this is now an old post but I am a huge podcast junkie and wanted to add some more to your list!

If you love Serial and S-Town then definitely recommend Dirty John - I binge listened to all the episodes in this relatively short series as it was just gripping.

Where Should We Begin - a fly on the wall in Esther Perel's couple's counselling sessions.

SRSLY and Pop Culture Happy Hour are British and American, respectively, insights into movies/books/music from entertaining people.

Ok, I'm done gushing, now I have to go look at the ones from your list that I don't already follow!

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