This episode is about other people’s podcasts that I love listening to and that I’d like to share with you. [Download]
This episode is not about podcasts for learners of English. It’s also not about podcasts made by LEPPERS. It’s just some podcasts that I love to listen to and that I’d like to share. They aren’t for learners of English specifically. This could mean they’re hard to understand for you. However – it could be really good for you to at least try listening to one of these podcasts and see if they click with you. It could be really good for your English, especially if there’s one that really grabs your attention.
I listen to podcasts on my phone, or on my mp3 player when I’m out and about or when I’m doing something. How about you?
Zdenek’s English Podcast
Guillaume’s English Podcast (www.talk2learn.ch)
Chris’s English Podcast
Learning with Myself
There’s also a Skype group which you can find out about in the forum. Click here for the LEP Skype thread in the forum.
My Favourite Podcasts
10. Wireless Nights with Jarvis Cocker (UK)
I just started listening to this so I don’t have much to say except:
– I discovered it on the BBC podcasts website (www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts) by just browsing and clicking.
– Jarvis Cocker is great. He used to the lead singer in a band called “Pulp” who were one of the biggest bands in the UK during the 90s (and after). They were one of the top bands in the musical movement known as Britpop, along with groups like Oasis and Blur. Jarvis is a really cool guy. He’s intelligent, ironic, humorous and has really wide-ranging interests. He’s pretty much interested in everything. Also, he’s my neighbour! I recently discovered that he lives just two doors away from me here in Paris and in fact I see him in the street sometimes.
– The podcast is called “Wireless Nights with Jarvis Cocker” and it covers all kinds of different topics. They’re all like mini-documentaries in which he deals with different subjects each time, all with the aim of “taking listeners on a nocturnal journey around stories of night people.” So, it has this cool, late-night atmosphere in which you go on a little journey into a fascinating new world. Recent episodes have covered subjects like The Moon (including tales of people who have somehow been touched by the various manifestations of the moon, including astronauts who actually walked upon its surface) and this one from last week: “In front of a studio audience, Jarvis Cocker and the BBC Philharmonic weave tales of insomnia, nocturnal inspirations and dark imaginings from the world of classical music – against the backdrop of a President embroiled in the Vietnam War.”
– It won the Prix Italia for Extraordinary Originality and Innovation, a top European radio prize. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
– Let’s listen to a bit from his most recent episode. Play the intro to the Moon episode.
9. Adam & Joe (UK)
This was my absolute favourite podcast for a few years, and it’s probably the podcast that inspired me more than any other. I’ve talked about Adam & Joe on the podcast before (in an episode about anecdotes). Unfortunately they’re not doing the podcast any more, which is a great pity, but they’re all still available in iTunes – not all of them, but what is available is a kind of ‘best of’ selection. By the way – avoid the Adam&Edith episodes – they’re crap, but all the Adam&Joe episodes are great.
– They’re comedians, radio & TV presenters, Joe is a film director.
– Personally I like the podcast because I feel that I’m totally on the same wavelength as them. Their humour is both stupid and clever at the same time. They observe a lot of funny details about life in the UK and typical experiences that everyone shares, like going to the cinema, how it feels to come back from holiday or going to the doctor. The podcast is full of amusing little jingles and ironic jokes. Adam & Joe have been friends since childhood and that really comes through on the podcast. They’re quite childish but really sweet, funny and charming.
– Play a clip called “Bikes on a train / Posh bloke”
8. John Lennon – The Rolling Stone Interviews (UK)
As well as being a great musician, John Lennon was also a fascinating speaker. I find all of The Beatles to be really interesting and funny, but John is the one who catches my attention more than the others. Paul is great, but I often get the sense that he’s being careful about his public image and putting on a slightly contrived ‘upbeat’ persona in interviews. George was very funny, dry and honest – in a similar way to John, but sometimes he could be a little bit evasive as well, and his spiritual beliefs could dominate his interviews. Ringo is great but doesn’t really have that much to say. John is perhaps the most open and honest of The Beatles – in a way that draws you into his heart and mind, revealing his vulnerability, his anger, his intelligence and his humour too. He had an extraordinary life, from childhood all the way through to his untimely death. This set of podcasts is an audio interview he did for Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, and it catches him at quite a vulnerable period in his life. At that time he was still dealing with the breakup of the Beatles, attempting to find a place for himself in the world, breaking down the Beatles myth and setting himself up as an individual in his own right, with Yoko Ono by his side. He’s outspoken, sincere, angry, defensive, aggressive, humorous, and passionate in these conversations. If you’re a Beatles fan, this is essential listening because it gives you real insight into the innermost thoughts and feelings of John Lennon, but if you’re not a Beatles fan I think you’d still find this fascinating because it is such an open, honest and frank interview with one of the most extraordinary people of the last century. The audio quality is a bit sketchy because this is taken from the original tape recording of the interview. The interviewer is not really audible – his questions are very quiet, but John’s answers are easy to hear.
7. Startalk Radio (USA)
Neil De Grasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with a talent for speaking in a very accessible, engaging and entertaining way about science. His podcast deals with all kinds of different subjects from a scientific point of view. For example, he did one all about zombies, one explaining scientific errors in films and others about robots, aliens, hip hop and sex. He brings intelligent guests onto his show, and is almost always joined by a comedian called Eugene Merman who provides some light comic relief. Ultimately, Tyson inspires your thirst for knowledge and wonder and also provides us with a sense that science can be a kind of spiritual pursuit, or certainly a very meaningful and emotional thing, not just a cold and soulless subject. He’s also very funny!
– Listen to the clip “The most astounding fact about the universe”
– Listen to another clip in which he deals with a question about UFOs
6. Desert Island Discs (UK)
This is an absolute institution on BBC Radio. This programme has been broadcast on the BBC for over 70 years, with a format that has basically remained unchanged for that whole period. As a child the radio was often playing in the kitchen at home and often this is the programme that would be on. It’s now part of the landscape of not only my childhood, but so many other children too. For me it is on the same level as The Beatles, Doctor Who, BBC News and all these other cultural landmarks of my life and childhood over the years.
It’s basically just an interview programme with a twist. The twist is that we, the interviewer and the guest all imagine that the guest is going to be sent to live on a desert island for the rest of their life. The guest (or ‘castaway’) is allowed to take a few things with them – namely, 8 pieces of music, a book and a luxury item. In the interview they talk about their life, explain their musical choices (usually these relate to specific moments or feelings from their life) and explain their choice of luxury item. The format is a success because it creates an intimate atmosphere in which the interviewee is encouraged to share deeply personal reflections on their life so far, and we get to listen to some of their favourite music too. It’s absolutely delightful and a great way to get under the skin of each guest, and there have been some really great guests on the show.
The interviewer has changed a few times. It used to be a woman called Sue Lawley, who spoke with a crisp RP accent. Now it is presented by Kirsty Young who comes from East Kilbride in Scotland. Kirsty’s accent is absolutely delicious – I mean, it’s very lovely to listen to (and it helps to know that she’s a very attractive and intelligent woman). She very deftly and carefully manages to ask some very revealing questions and guests are usually more than glad to take part and share themselves with the audience. The combination of Kirsty’s lovely accent, her intelligent questioning, the candid intimacy of the guests and the little bits of music we can hear make for a really rewarding listening experience. It’s a BBC podcast so the sound quality is excellent.
You can either subscribe to the current podcast with all the latest DID episodes, or search through the DID archives. I’d recommend that you search through the archives and find names of people you know, like Sir Michael Caine, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan, Morrissey or Emma Thompson.
Listen to: Morrissey
Search for Desert Island Discs in YouTube.