Some lockdown listening

When I wrote this article’s counterpart (Some lockdown reading) back in May 2020, I would never have believed that by March 2021, lockdown would be persisting in the UK and beyond. And yet, here we are.

Maybe you have got through all those spare books you had lying around last summer, when boredom and cabin fever were new commodities. Maybe you haven’t read anything at all, and have no desire to. This is where I step in, and tell you there is a solution to all of your lockdown needs.

Podcasts.

You can listen to them while you work from home. You can listen to them on your daily exercise. You can listen to them when you can’t sleep because you never leave your house so have constant nervous energy. You can talk about them with friends and family. They really have it all!

As inspired by Leena Norms, I have taken the liberty of sorting you all into potential listener categories, so you can happily skip to the category you think will fit you best.

First we have…

The “I need to laugh or I might cry”-ers.

Don’t worry. We’re all here.

If you want something to make you uncontrollably laugh, or gape in shock at the audacity of some Tinder dates, then Rosie and Chris Ramsey’s Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed is for you.

In this hoot of a podcast, married couple Rosie and Chris Ramsey delve into the hilarious, odd and frankly disgusting day to day lives of normal Brits. They recap their week, confront each other with a weekly “beef”, and then answer questions from the public.

(Let me tell you, you don’t know how disgusting the general British public can be until you’ve listened to Questions From the Public. Prepare yourself.)

I don’t exaggerate when I say this is my favourite thing that I’ve stumbled across in the past 2 years. The Ramsey’s are such a joy to listen to; their South Tyneside accents mixed with their witty, self-aware humour is the combination you never knew you needed. From candid chats about depression to questioning whether it’s normal to have a poo in the shower, the Ramsey’s tackle everything with a frank and funny attitude.

If you need your spirits lifted this lockdown, this is the podcast to go to. You have over 100 episodes to catch up on, so get listening!

The Fans

Can you quote the Marvel comics? Did you read all the Harry Potter books, and watch all of Lord of the Rings? Do you find yourself deep in #DracoTok of an evening?

I present to you Potterless.

In this hilarious podcast, Mike Schubert makes his way through the Harry Potter books for the first time with a new guest ‘expert’ every week. The catch is that 20-something-year-old Schubert (affectionately known as ‘Schubes’) has never read the Harry Potter books before. Schubes is wonderfully cynical, and his lovingly sarcastic take on the Potter series is refreshing in a fandom that feels like it’s done everything it can do.

This podcast is especially fun if you know all the plot points of the Harry Potter series, as Schubert makes some pretty outrageously wrong predictions. However, if you have also never read the books before, it could be fun to read along with Schubes; he does around 1 chapter per episode, so this would be a manageable way to make it through the books!

The Detectives

You’re a Detective if you have watched every murder documentary on Netflix, have made your way through most of Agatha Christie’s authorship and have contemplated becoming a spy at some point.

Now, it is well documented that the true crime podcast genre is often exploitative and irresponsible. Let’s be honest, true crime podcasts are generally quite dodgy on the whole ‘ethical sourcing’ thing. There are, however, some gems out there that responsibly uncover their facts and don’t just recycle the same, old, unresolved mysteries.

Just when we were despairing of all true crime podcasts, along came In The Dark.

This stellar, documentary-style investigative podcast has had some really important real-world implications, including changing the sentence of one of their subjects. Hosted by Madeleine Baran and produced by Samara Freemark, In The Dark really is a pioneer of the genre. In the 2 seasons of this podcast, Baran analyses the context of the crime, and the failings of law enforcement.

It’s gripping, it’s important, and you should listen to it. Just maybe not at 2am.

The Jocks

At this point I’m jumping back to Mike Schubert, and another podcast from Multitude Studios. For those who are avid sport fans, casual sport fans or you-wouldn’t-catch-me-dead-watching-football fans… I present HORSE.

HORSE is a podcast all about NBA basketball. Except it never mentions the wins, losses, game tactics or goals. HORSE takes a comedic look at all the on and off court drama, the player beefs, the rubbish owner decisions, interesting basketball fashion choices and that one time James Harden broke Covid protocols to go to an event that was ‘definitely not at a strip club.’

HORSE is hosted by Mike Schubert and Adam Mamawala.* Schubert is an engineer-turned-podcaster, and Mamawala is a stand-up comedian. This talented pair are the perfect gateway into the pop culture phenomenon that is NBA basketball.

While you’re at it, why not make it a Schubert trifecta, and listen to his podcast Meddling Adults as well?

*NOTE: HORSE was previously hosted by Mike Schubert and Eric Silver.

The Lifelong Learners

Are you the kind of person who listens to Ted Talks in the morning, has a book in your downstairs toilet called 365 Days of Facts and used to play ‘Teachers’ when you were younger?

Your new favourite podcast is Teach Me a Lesson.

This brand new podcast is hosted by husband and wife duo Greg James and Bella Mackie, and has a guest star teacher teaching the nation a lesson every episode. There is a new subject every week, covering topics such as “Are we born evil?” and “How to win an argument using RuPaul and Aristotle.”

Mackie and James exude charisma, and this podcast is jam-packed with loving banter, teacher appreciation and facts you can whip out at your next family dinner. Give it a go (“on BBC Sounds, or wherever you get your podcasts, but mainly BBC Sounds.”)

So there we have it! I hope you find something among this list that can tickle your earbuds for the remainder of this UK lockdown. And always remember the key 2020-21 manifesto: hands, face, space, podcasts.

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