Podcast roundup: Our picks for the week, from Desert Island Discs to Stuff You Missed in History Class

Harsh Pareek

January 13, 2019 12:43:17 IST

Podcasts have seen a rapid upsurge in popularity in recent years. From true crime to design, popular culture and modern relationships, fiction to in-depth reportage, podcasts have proliferated to the point where no matter how esoteric the subject, there’s bound to be a show that deals with it. Amid this cornucopia of audio delights, however, how do you pick the podcast that’s most worth your while? This is where our weekly curated playlist steps in; it’s a lowdown on the best episodes from a selection of podcasts that deserve a listen. Ready to tune in?

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— Desert Island Discs
Jeremy Deller, artist

About the podcast:
A radio show first broadcasted on 29 January 1942, BBC's Desert Island Discs asks a guest each week to choose eight tracks, a book and a luxury item that they would take if they were to be cast away on a desert island, whilst discussing their lives and the reasons for their choices.

About the episode:
Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller talks about his childhood, growing up in Britain, his incredible art projects and the inspiration behind them, and of course, the music he loves.

Runtime: 36 minutes

Listen to the episode (and check out Deller's playlist) here.


— The Guardian Books podcast
Should we stop working? And the books of 2019 

About the podcast:
A weekly look at the world of books, poetry and writing presented by Claire Armitstead, Richard Lea and Sian Cain, accompanied by in-depth interviews with leading authors.

About the episode:
Psychoanalyst Josh Cohen talks about his new book Not Working, looking at why we become more creative when we work less hard, and how everyone fits into four categories of worker: burnouts, daydreamers, slobs and slackers. Later, Armitstead, Cain and Lea discuss the books they are looking forward to this year.

Runtime: 41 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


— Stuff You Missed in History Class
A Brief History of Ballet, Pt 1 and 2

About the podcast:
Holly Frey and Tracy V Wilson discuss the greatest and strangest, as the name of the podcast suggests, stuff you missed in history class.

About the episode:
The duo discusses the origins and early evolution of ballet; how it developed from the court performers in Europe being asked to teach their audiences how to dance, blending the worlds of performance and social dancing, and creating a new art form.

Runtime: 27 and 34 minutes

Listen to part one of here, and part two here.


Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend
Marc Maron

About the podcast:
After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan O’Brien ventures into the world of podcasting, looking for a friend. As the podcast puts it, "Over the years and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that... Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out with the people he enjoys most and perhaps find some real friendship along the way."

About the episode:
Maron and O'Brien sit down to chat about beginner podcast tips, difficult interviewees, health scares, and why they don’t hang out.

Runtime: 54 minutes

Listen to the episode here.


— The Ezra Klein Show
Anil Dash on the biases of tech

About the podcast:
Vox's founder and editor-at-large, Ezra Klein, presents far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research.

About the episode:
Dash and Klein discuss a list of the 12 things everyone should know about technology. As Klein writes of the discussion, "What if the problem with a lot of the social technologies we use — and, lately, lament — isn’t the ethics of their creators or the revenue models they’re built on, but the sheer scale they’ve achieved? What if products like Facebook and Twitter and Google have just gotten too big and too powerful for anyone to truly understand, much less manage?"

Runtime: 77 minutes

Listen to the episode here.

Updated Date: Jan 13, 2019 12:43 PM