So today is Friday, your shoes were off the moment you stepped through the door. You’re now wearing your fluffiest socks and drop onto the couch, flannelette pyjama pants on, hot tea in your favourite ceramic mug ready to drink. You trim your candle wick and sit it on a glass tray before lighting it (because you’re safe like that). The woody, slightly sweet scent of mulberry and sandalwood drifts through your living room as you open your podcast app and play your favourite...
If this sounds like your ideal night, here are a few I’d recommend:
There is something about the voice of Phoebe Judge that is both soothing and arresting. The topics range from the illegal trade of the rare Venus flytrap, to the story of the escape from Alcatraz, through interviews with the escapee’s now elderly sister. Every episode is perfectly suspenseful and has that satisfying story arch. Phoebe interviews characters who are often relatable and always intriguing. If you enjoy hearing the personal and bizarre side to true crime tales, give this award-winning podcast a listen.
Aaron Mahnke is the genius behind this beautifully written, shudder inducing podcast. These stories weave together folk talks from around the world to create connections between common folklore and ghostly urban legends. I’m always hooked by the first line. From legends of demonic birds large enough to whisk you away, to the sad and at times revolting vampire panic, he knows his craft. If you enjoy spooky tales accompanied by soft, foreboding piano, this is the podcast for you. These classic tales are woven into seamlessly connected chapters, spoken in the perfect scary story tone. With several seasons of listening in the catalogue, you’ll have plenty to binge leading up to Halloween.
These human tales of forgiveness and reconciliation melt my heart. I love the quirky dryness that is Jonathon Goldstein. This podcast is all about relationships and you end up caring deeply about each protagonist. This is due to the endearingly awkward narration from Jonathon and the fascinating characters he engages with. The story arch always ends with him helping to build connections between those who’ve been torn apart. From a perpetually cynical and detail oriented guy, who is hellbent on retrieving stolen tapes from Moby (yes the famous one), to his own father and uncle, who attempt to bridge a divide of years of unintended slights and painful misunderstandings, this podcast is emotional healing on tap. With two seasons on Apple Podcasts and another beginning soon, you should begin binging now. Listen for warm and fuzzy feelings.
This podcast is always surprising. It showcases the everyday world in beautiful ways. One of my favourite recent episodes was called ‘Smarty Plants’. As the name implies it is about the reactions of plants that we don’t yet understand. Plants are amazing! Another great episode that my third grade class have listened to (just the appropriate bits) is Bigger than Bacon. This episode connects a tiny sea creature, submarines and heat hotter than the sun. It blew their minds and mine too. Oh and then there was the episode about the ‘Alzheimer’s treating Christmas lights’ and did you know your brain has a cleanup crew? Be warned, a side effect of listening to this awesomeness is you’ll be full of random trivia after listening too).
If you were worried that none of these were Australian, don’t worry, here is one for you. Science Friction is an ABC podcast about moments of tension in the science community. Stories of sexism in science through the lense of medical testing pain medications on rats, of two children building nuclear reactors in their backyards (one ends up targeted, alone and desolate, whilst the other is supported by nuclear scientists in an Ivy League University lab at fourteen), of the forensic testing of trafficked endangered species. All of these stories are told by a brilliant ABC presenter, Natasha Mitchell. I highly recommend this one if you enjoy science. I personally find it fascinating and humbling to know all that’s changed and still changing in the scientific community.
Let us know in the comments if there are any you enjoy, I left all but one of my crime shows off the list because there are so many great ones. They may need a separate list...
I hope your night is a good one!