A great podcast has to be the best way to ensure a long commute is an enjoyable enterprise.
My regular commute often totals around three hours (there and back again*) so it’s in my own interest to fill those hours with interesting company.
If I were involved in longer drives I might consider an audio book but for the commute to work a podcast or two fills the gap just nicely.
My favourite podcasts currently include:
- Chat 10, Looks 3. “Think of it as time well wasted.” Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales chat for half an hour at a time about everything and nothing. What they’ve read, seen and talked about in the previous week or so. It’s hilarious, interesting and even occasionally informative. I am totally addicted. Annabel and Leigh (I feel I know them well enough now to call them by their first names) produce an episode every week or two but there’s no need to listen in numerical order.
- Conversations with Richard Fidler. “Stories from scientists, carers, musicians and philosophers; from boxers, prisoners, princes and prime ministers. Some strange, some sombre, some funny; some mind-bending and many, unforgettable.” Richard Fidler is an interviewer par excellence. For an hour at a time he gently coaxes extraordinary stories from ordinary (and extraordinary) people. He regularly speaks with well-known people but often the best stories are from the people you have never heard of.
- A History of the World in 100 Objects. “Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, narrates 100 programmes that retell humanity’s history through the objects we have made.” This is not new but oh my goodness is it good. MacGregor chooses a single object and uses it as a starting point for exploring the era and the relevant issues. A 5000 year old pestle, for example, sparks a conversation about ancient cookery techniques. MacGregor is great but he also includes grabs from interesting people – for the pestle he talks to a chef; for an ancient stone axe he talks to David Attenborough; for a beautiful Greek artefact he speaks with a sculptor. Each episode only lasts 15 minutes and for this one it is best to listen in order as we are taken, object by object, from the ancient world up to the modern-day.
- Various Writers Festivals (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide). As much as I’d love to find time to attend in person, knowing I can skip the festival and later listen – one at a time – to the author interviews and panel sessions is a big bonus. All the fun of the fair and none of the risk of being Mark Lathamed!
In the course of my extensive (cough cough) research for this post, I found this lovely list from The Melbourne Writers Festival: 10 Great Storytelling and Literary Podcasts for Your Daily Commute.
So what’s your favourite podcast?
*Hands up who caught the Tolkien reference? Anyone? Anyone? Sigh.
NBN have just connected fibre right to my front door, no copper for me! So with decent broadband I will have no excuse for continuing to blame Belmont library for the limited range of audio books I currently endure. Only the best books and podcasts from.now on, starting with RN Books &Arts that I’m always out of range for.
Lucky you! NBN remains a distant dream for us…
I agree with you about all three – and also like Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time, especially as they are all archived and you can pick out topics that interest you.
Yes! I’ve been listening to In Our Time recently too. It’s good but I sometimes think they try to cover too much ground in too little time.
Chat 10 Looks 3- check. Richard Fidler- check. Writers festivals- check. We’re obviously enjoying the same things, so I must check out The History of the World in 100 objects. Now- did you realize that Richard Fidler was one of the Doug Anthony AllStars? (I’m wondering if I’m showing my age here….)
Yes, I knew! A very long time ago I worked for a committee chaired by the real Doug Anthony and he was a very good sport about the staff calling ourselves the Doug Anthony No-Stars (complete with daggy t-shirts featuring Doug’s head…)
I’d love to listen to podcasts but I don’t commute – even when I worked my drive was barely 20 minutes. I know some people listen when they walk but when I walk I like to be IN the walk – with nature, the environment and my thoughts. But, I so wish I could find time to listen to podcasts too.
I won’t listen to things while I’m walking either, for the same reasons as you. There are so many excellent things to read/watch/listen to that I sometimes just need to take a step back and breathe deeply. Life still goes on without all that.
It’s nice to find some fellow-podcast listeners. Podcasts have been my discovery of the year. I love Chat10Looks3, also Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast, and I listen to a variety of history podcasts. My latest favourite (thanks to residentjudge) is Revolutions. I have been enjoying the Great British Podcast too, although it does have a rather military focus, but I’m only up to the early British history part, which understandably involves lots of battles against the Romans. And as a bit of an Americanist, I’m also a big fan of Liz Covart’s Ben Franklin’s World.
Thanks Jen, I’ll look up your suggestions and give them a try.