I love listening to podcasts to pass the time on my commute to and from work and now use them for pretty much any time I am waiting – at airports, in waiting rooms, at the hairdresser, even while having a massage. I use the Pocket Casts app which is reliable and easy to use. I first started listening to podcasts when I left Australia to continue to listen to the Hamish & Andy radio show. Friends recommended several other Australian podcasts which in turn contained podcast recommendations and so the ‘to listen’ list grows. I’ve picked up a local podcast, dabbled in the investigative journalism/true crime genre and delved into the Gimlet catalogue. I’m currently working out a plan of attack for the 300+ episodes of The Dollop which involves starting with the Australian episodes. Read on to find your new favourite podcast.
Podcasts are one way I keep in touch with Australia. I listened to the Hamish & Andy radio show when I lived in Oz and have been listening to the Hamish & Andy podcast of their radio show since leaving Oz ten years ago. Their radio show has ended, but the podcast continues. To keep up with the news each weekday I listen to The Squiz Podcast, for the daily roundup in under 10 minutes. I absolutely love Chat 10 Looks 3, Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb’s podcast in which they discuss what they’re reading, watching, cooking, listening to and excited about. Similarly I love ABC Radio’s Bang On in which music journalists and presenters Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe cover the week in ‘music, art, life and stuff’, particularly the episodes which cover Eurovision #guiltypleasure.
I listen to a couple of the Mama Mia podcasts, Mama Mia Out Loud (topical issues, news and current affairs) and The Well, Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey on wellness topics. The Mama Mia podcasts can be a bit overly feminist and some of the podcast hosts, particularly those in their twenties can be irritating, but I haven’t found this to be so off putting as to stop listening. Between Chat 10 Looks 3, Bang On and the Mama Mia podcasts I have a load of recommendations for what to watch, read and listen to including many of the podcasts that follow.
A great recommendation was ABC Radio’s The Pineapple Project, an entertaining and educational finance podcast with comedian and writer Claire Hooper. At ten 30min episodes (plus extras) you’ll race through this podcast, picking up tips to make and save cash. Another recommendation was The Berlin Patient, in which host Joel, his friends, comedians and therapist discuss the decade old audio files sent from Joel to his ex-girlfriend following their breakup in Berlin, where he remained after she returned to Australia. It is cringe-worthy and entertaining. Another Australian podcast I enjoy is Flight of Fancy the Traveller.com.au podcast, a great podcast on all things travel-related.
Another recommendation was the Gimlet podcast Homecoming. A scripted psychological thriller voiced by well known actors including Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris, and David Cross. The plot revolves around a caseworker at an experimental facility, her cutthroat supervisor, and a soldier who is attempting to rejoin civilian life. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the podcast equivalent of a book you can’t put down. Even better was another scripted pshychological thriller Sandra, voiced by Kristen Wiig and Alia Shawkat about an employee at the tech firm that produces Sandra, a Siri/Alexa-esque A.I. Both Homecoming and Sandra are slated to be made into TV series, watch this space. In more of a traditional documentary style is the fascinating Gimlet podcast The Habitat, which follows the lives of six individuals isolated for one year inside a small dome on top of a volcano in Hawaii on a simulated Mars mission.
There’s not a whole lot of Hong Kong podcasts, but as I can’t make it to all the Hong Kong Stories live shows, I love their podcast which is a recording of the same, storytelling (often by expats) to a live audience. My favourite episode is 30 May 2017 Austin – Shuffling Along, about the competitive contact sport ‘personal space’ at which local grandmas are grandmasters.
Investigative Journalism/True Crime
I dipped into the investigative journalism genre with the podcast everyone has listened to, Serial which delves into the murder of Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Masud Syed is serving a life sentence for the crime, but did he do it? I wasn’t too taken with Serial Season 2 about a U.S. soldier who returned after five years as a a prisoner of the Taliban, but I am looking forward to getting into the recently released Season 3, a year in a typical American courthouse in Cleveland, covering one case in a single or across a few episodes. Also in the same genre by This American Life is the addictive S-Town which starts as a murder investigation, but quickly becomes something quite different. It is worth listening to for the accents alone.
I was completely gripped by Dirty John, investigative journalism/true crime by the L.A. Times about a scam artist who targets women. I can’t wait for the TV series starring one of my favourite actresses Connie Brittan and Eric Bana. The team behind Dirty John has a new podcast called Dr Death that is on my ‘to listen’ list.
I also enjoyed a few Australian cold case podcasts, Trace, Bowraville and Teacher’s Pet but was disappointed that the podcasts ended with the cases remaining unsolved to date. There may be future episodes, particularly of Teacher’s Pet. All three are worth a listen, just don’t expect a resolution.
I am starting to get into The Dollop, in which comedian Dave Anthony reads an American history story to his fellow comedian and friend, Gareth Reynolds, who has no idea what the topic is. The stories are fascinating and it is at times laugh out loud funny. There are over 300 episodes, but some of those recommended are:
- 5 Hugh Glass (of The Revenant)
- 12 – The Rube
- 160 – Fed Ex Fight 705
- 227 – Whalesplosion
- 247 – The Falling Pilot
- 265 – Judge Roy Bean
- 271 – Uber
After these I think I’m going to focus on the Australian episodes. Wil Anderson joins Dave and Gareth on some of the podcasts in which they usually tackle Australian history, often live at Australian comedy shows:
- 76 – Australian Exorcists
- 110 – Burke and Wills
- 114 – Alexander Pearce
- 124 – The Fine Cotton Scandal
- 126 – RA Cunningham and Tambo
- 204 – The Modern Bushman
- 205 – The Sydney Ducks
- 207 – The Animal Horror of Macquarie Island
- 211 – The Tichborne Situation
- 222 – Marion Zioncheck
- 224 – Bundy 2: Oregon Takeover
- 225 – The Birth of Porn
- 299 – Errol Flynn
- 302 – Hume and Hovell
- 304 – The Modern Bushman
Other Australian history shows with comedians such as Celia Pacquola, Tommy Dassalo, Justin Hamilton, Lindsay Webb, Dave Anthony and Nick Cody include:
- 75 – Arthur Phillip and NSW
- 79 – New Australia
- 108 – Douglas Mawson
- 109 – Mad Dog Morgan
- 111 – The Emu War
- 112 – Prince Alfred Visits Australia
- 113 – Reg Spiers
- 118 – The Battle of Brisbane
- 119 – The Batavia
- 206 – William Bligh
- 208 – The Australian Sex Philosopher
- 209 – John Macarthur
‘To Listen’ List
That should keep me going for a while, but also on my ‘to listen’ list are the following podcasts:
- Dr Death
- Malcolm Gladwell Revisionist History
- Freakonomics Radio
- Stuff You Should Know
I’ll let you know my thoughts on those when I get to them.