I am not a luddite when it comes to technology. I am probably a bit above average for my age (old) when it comes to how successfully I use digital media in my daily life. I have, however, resisted listening to podcasts. Partially because the amount of time I am already”connected” makes me feel uncomfortable. I do not read literature as much as I would like. But mostly, because my kids all are addicted to podcasts and often walk through life and the house with headphone(s) attached rendering them even less communicable than normal. I totally get what it must be like for a stewardess who has to constantly ask the same question over and over again, multiple times, because everyone is listening to something or someone else. UGH. So I resisted until I read something somewhere on the internets about “top English history podcasts” It sparked my curiosity and it was quite a journey down the rabbit hole. I had no idea the breadth and depth of what you can find in the podcast cosmos.
I am a convert. I have had to stop subscribing to new podcasts because I am on the precipice of having more”unplayed episodes” queuing up on my phone than hours in a day. I listen to them while I cook, drive, and do menial tasks. Unlike my kids’, my brain is unable to listen to a podcast and read, podcast while watching TV, podcast and having a philosophical conversation or otherwise engaging with the internet simultaneously on multiple devices.
My podcasts tend to fall into three categories: History, Politics/Current Affairs, and Garbage.
History: I listen to two anglocentric podcasts. The first is the seemingly dry and academic History of England by David Crowther . This guy is committed. He has posted 168 episodes over the last several years and currently he is only at the War of the Roses (1455-87). So as you can imagine, there is quite a bit of minutia but its fascinating minutia, extremely well researched and witty in its presentation. Rude Tudors is equal parts history (one girl is an academician) and entertainment (the other is a comedian). It is a woman’s POV of both royal history and everyday renaissance life in mostly, as you would imagine, England. LORE is a more sociological look at humanity than history of. It takes a look at the collective mythology of humans across time and place. There is always a creepy hook and the end. Its like a history lesson told in a ghost story. I like to listen to this in bed.
Political/Current Affairs: I listen to so much news on my phone or computer that I have not actively looked for more political content but I do really enjoy The Bubble that I would strongly recommend to that small population of english speakers that are interested in the current events in Argentina. Its website is an awesome news blog and the podcasts are a nice accompaniment. Less obscure and a very well subscribed podcast is Another Round with Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, two BFFs that met working together at Buzzfeed. They are very smart and funny have great guests that talk about current events and how it affects women and specifically woman of color. Its definitely a chick podcast.
On to the Garbage: The garbage I listen to are HIGHlarious recap podcasts of two absolutely horrific television programs that I watch: Dance Moms and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I should be ashamed, but I am not. These programs are so ridiculous that even folding laundry, the worst, never-ending, but essential tasks known to man, becomes almost an entertaining proposition.
There are some published lists of recommended podcasts for more ideas if you are a newbie: