As someone who spends a large portion of my life sitting on buses, podcasts have been a life changing discovery for me. It’s only been over the last year or two that I’ve become a fan, and it’s an industry that’s recently boomed – meaning there’s a lot of crappy content to wade through to get to the gems. Thus it’s taken me some time to build up a list of amazing podcasts that genuinely make me excited to board the Translink 261, but I’ve finally compiled a list of both golden oldies and the new and notable that you need to be listening to!
- The Guilty Feminist
Despite being one of my very first podcasts, recommended to me by my sister, this is still probably my absolute favourite. It’s host, comedian Deborah Frances-White, is joined each week by a panel of guests in front of a live audience to discuss the big topics facing modern day feminists – while admitting the ‘guilty’ ways in which we often fall short of being the ‘perfect’ feminist. This podcast is an absolute scream at times – the opening segment, where Deborah and her guests admit their feminist downfalls by saying, “I’m a feminist, but…” is ever relatable and always leaves me chuckling to myself like a mad woman on the bus. It’s also a really accessible way of keeping up to date and in the loop on the ever changing face of modern feminism, and of scoping out amazing new female comedians, influencers and activists who are game changers for 21st century feminism. If there’s one podcast I would recommend you should be listening to, it’s this one.
- This American Life
A bit of a variety show in the form of a weekly podcast, this show centres around a different theme each week, bringing together collections of ordinary stories from ordinary people, which actually, are often a little extraordinary. The first episode I ever listened to was 597: One Last Thing Before I Go, which told the stories of people making a final effort to get through to their loved ones. One story featured told of a telephone box at the bottom of a garden in Japan where hundreds of bereaved people and families flock every year to make a final phone call to the loved ones they’ve lost. I was blown away and almost brought to tears – and each week since has brought similarly heartfelt and beautiful stories of the magical everyday realities of human life.
This is a true crime podcast with a twist. Criminal doesn’t settle at simply recounting the grizzly tales of gruesome real crimes, but seeks to delve into the deeper context behind them. It gives a really fascinating alternative insight into crime and the people who commit it, as well as those who clean up the mess left behind. If you’re the sort of weirdo like me who finds themselves binge watching serial killer interviews because you wish you could understand the inside of their head, you’ll love it. Also, I could probably listen to the smooth, soothing voice of host Phoebe Judge on repeat until I die…
Another True Crime podcast and one of my first and firm favourites in the podcast world. Series 1 of Serial explores the story of Hae Min Lee, a murdered high school senior, and the murder case which is subsequently brought against her boyfriend, Adnan Syed. The case is presented in a documentary style series of snippets of phone calls, interviews and evidence from key suspects and the Baltimore Police – basically, like Making a Murderer for your ears. I was hooked from the get go!
- The Sunday Social
This is a newbie to my list as it hasn’t actually been around for long, but this has very quickly become a solid Sunday night staple for me. Youtuber Lucy Moon and her guests discuss pressing topics in the digital world, like online activism and the rise (and fall) of certain social media platforms. Lucy creates a chilled out and chatty atmosphere that makes this the perfect wind down listen!
- The Thick and Thin
Another newbie from another Youtuber. I’ve been subscribed to HelloKaty for probably a few years now, so naturally I sort of feel like she’s a personal friend of mine, despite her living thousands of miles away. Totes normal then! Katy is very relatable as she has, like me, recently graduated from University studying communications, and has since moved out of home to work at a graduate job in the city. The big difference is, I sadly don’t work at L’Oreal and live in a one bed apartment in New York City…not so relatable! But regardless, Katy’s rambles about life as a new, fresh Grown Up in the Real World are incredibly reassuring, and a brilliant reminder that even those who look like they’re living the dream still struggle with the little things in life!
And last but not least….
- My Dad Wrote a Porno
I couldn’t not include this one, but beware those who are easily offended or even slightly squeamish – this is not for the faint hearted! Jamie Morton is joined by his pals Alice and James as he reads aloud from the erotic novel “Belinda Blinked”, written by his dad under the penname ‘Rocky Flintstone’. Just imagine the cringe factor of Fifty Shades of Grey, but on steroids, with bonus hilarious commentary. I had to actually ban myself from listening to this on the bus after ending up in silent tears of laughter one two many times. If you’re in need for a chuckle, whack on Series 1 and brace yourself…