Selections of the week
Better friend therapy
Widely available, weekly episodes
Elizabeth Day is following her wildly successful How to Fail podcast with a similar self-help-focused offering featuring her best friend of 20 years, psychotherapist Emma Reed-Turrell. The couple come together to address the emotional challenges we face in our daily lives, drawing on the details of their relationship in the process. The first episode is about boundaries: why we need them, how to define them, and how they can improve us. Ammar Kalia
Spotify, weekly episodes
This half-hour module takes a different occult topic each week and places it at the heart of joke-filled shots from the hosts of the true-crime comedy podcast And That’s Why We Drink. What discussions of the supposed existence of weather witches lack in exhaustive historical research, they more than make up for in laughs. Alexis Duggin
Fiasco: The AIDS Crisis
Audible, weekly episodes
Slow Burn’s Leon Neyfakh hosts this eight-episode podcast chronicling the history of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. There are records of interviews with witnesses, including activists who spoke out against being called “victims” as prejudice grew. Neyfakh centers them in his thought-provoking story. Hannah Greenfinch
Global Player, all episodes available
This Classic FM sleep podcast is equal parts bedtime story, meditation exercise, and opportunity to hear Myleene Klass enthusiastically perform soothing storytelling. There’s a surprising lack of music, but Classic FM presenters including Alexander Armstrong, describing exotic locales, make for a soothing (if slightly eerie) bedtime listen. AD
Widely available, weekly episodes
Nothing like the soft, reassuring voice of an NPR host to make you feel smarter, so Doug Fraser is perfect for revealing if you can tame a T rex or if celebrities are more interesting than civilians. His talk with therapist Lori Gottlieb on overcoming difficult childhoods is particularly helpful. excluding tax
Last week we highlighted five of the better bite size podcasts, and asked for your favorites. Here is one from reader Miles Smith:
moth is an amazing storytelling radio show/podcast – you never know what you’re going to get in each short episode, whether it’s a cringe-worthy memory of a childhood crush, a coming-of-age story -out candid or a devastating story about a young man in a coma. It’s really special and the archives are huge.
There’s a podcast for that
This week, journalist and host of The Last Bohemians Kate Hutchinson chooses five of the best podcasts about womenfrom a medical mystery show to an anti-stereotype series about South Asian women
Black Songbook for girls
Journalist Danyel Smith returns this month with the third season of her podcast about the enormous contribution of black women to popular music. Combining music and chat, Smith has the tunes on hand to show listeners what exactly makes Brandy’s voice so special, to explain the complicated history of blue-eyed soul via Teena Marie and Adele, and to provide analysis. depth of Rihanna as we all wait, and wait, and wait for her next album. The third season celebrates Aretha Franklin on what would have been her 80th birthday, as well as disco queen Donna Summer, Waiting To Exhale soundtrack and soul legend Deniece Williams.
Allison Behringer’s groundbreaking series bills itself as a “feminist documentary podcast” and, since 2018, has followed women and gender non-conforming people as they unravel the onion of their various medical mysteries. Many of the conditions featured are those you only hear about on the labor toilet, from menopause and fibroids to non-feeding babies. Others are even less talkative (think painful sex and uncontrollable orgasms). It’s a masterstroke in sensitive storytelling and bringing medical ignorance to light, and has also expanded into larger, shocking stories – like a recent episode about a school built on seeping and contaminated.
Now that Call Your Girlfriend is over and The High Low is long gone, there’s a gaping hole for a chatty British podcast about women in culture. Enter friends Carrie Plitt and writer Octavia Bright, whose long-running literary module – also a monthly show on NTS Radio, straight out of Dalston, east London – might just be your new favourite. Their guest list is a who’s who of must-see authors, including Maggie Nelson, Raven Leilani, Deborah Levy, Carmen Maria Machado and, yes, Sally Rooney (twice). But their warm crackle and the fascinating twists of their conversations elevate it beyond just an insider’s book club.
call me mother
In this podcast — told largely in a dreamy, largely first-person format — queer seniors tell Shon Faye, author of The Transgender Issue, about being pioneers and their journeys in the genre, with little of interjection. Conservation here is excellent; while it doesn’t exclusively feature women and non-binary speakers, there are key episodes with people like Kate Bornstein, a seventies transgender activist, theorist and performance artist who talks about their “gender difficulty”, pre-Stonewall days, through joining Scientology and ’80s cocaine. Their touching interview is a testament to the heart-pounding, gnarly joie de vivre.
Sangeeta Pillai’s award-winning Masala Podcast has gone from independent production to Spotify Original, and is more vibrant and brave than ever as it spreads cultural taboos and talks to South Asian women about all the things they’re not supposed to do. These blue topics include coming out at age 50, ending female genital mutilation, feminism, menopause, mental health, “nipple hair,” and whether the Kama Sutra is still alive. topical. Series one through three are available now, with series four available from April 16 and featuring American comedian Zarna Garg and writer and mental health advocate Poorna Bell.
Series 3 of The Last Bohemians with painter Maggi Hambling, blues musician Dana Gillespie and actor Cleo Sylvestre is now available at www.thelastbohemians.co.uk
Why not try …
Oprahdemics, a deep dive into the cultural impact of The Oprah Winfrey Show
Stories of major life changes in Totally Fine with Tiffany Philippou, with stories of HIV diagnosis, job loss and more
The latest episode of the Twenty Thousand Hertz sound module, about the people behind some of the world’s most famous announcements – those heard on the London Underground and New York Underground
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