We grew up with stories being told to us. Generally this happend at the magical time before we snoozed off. Something I enjoyed immensely as most kids do. I still remember my favourites stories, as I kept nagging my mum to read them. When you learn to read yourself storytelling tends to end and surely that is a shame. There is nothing like telling stories, doubly so when sitting around a warm campfire in great company. Something of our ancient ancestry stirs deep down within us.
The art of storytelling is something that we don't seem to have much appreciation or the time for when we get older though. But thankfully we have alternatives in this modern age we live in when we have to make do without campfires and storytellers. Those being audiobooks and podcasts. I mean who didn't love the audiobooks of the Harry Potter series as narrated by Stephen Fry. If you haven't heard them, I highly recommend listening to them. This post however isn't about audiobooks but rather podcasts. Something I tend to listen to on a daily basis when I'm not streaming music or audiobooks into my ears.
Podcasts have been around for quite sometime now and are the go-to means of sharing episodic audio & video content. Short stories, long-reads, interviews, reports, etc are available at your fingertips. The episodic part is handled by RSS. When you subscribe to a podcast and there are new episodes available they will be downloaded automatically without the hassle of manually checking. It's a great way to stay informed on matters that the mainstream media tend to avoid. This due to requiring a longer attention span than you normally would need for most of the daily news.
To conclude this post I wanted to share some of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. This is by no means the entire list, as it tends to change but the favourites are below. I'll also add some of my favourite episodes where applicable, it's a great start if you want to try-out some of these podcasts.
The title should tell you all you need to know about the contents, but it doesn't do this show justice. I'd rather tell you that this podcast is more of an episodic themed show with stories by different people that give you several points of view of said theme. Even that doesn't quite cover it so just head over to their website and have a listen. You could swing by the staff favourite episodes, which is a good place to start.
Tiny Desk Concerts is an NPR program/podcast that features musicians performing at the desk of Bob Boilen of NPR, which is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit that syndicates to over 900 public radio stations in the United States. If you like to hear new and upcoming artists this is the podcast for you. They have a video and audio only podcast. One of my recent favourite episodes was with Maggie Rogers.
The Allusionist by Helen Zaltzman on the origin of words that we use in our language. She explores the history, origin and the current use of words in depth, featuring a new word every episode.
If you are already familiar with Ted Talks you can guess what this podcast series is about. If you aren't then you might consider watching a few TED Talks. In short this podcasts tries to find a common theme between several Ted Talks and makes a summary podcast about that.
It's a great way to stay up-to-date with Ted Talks and an introduction of sorts if you want to know more about a certain subject before you actually watch the Ted Talk videos themselves.
Hrishikesh Hirway breaks down songs and how they were created with the help from artist in this podcast. Every episodes features an artist or band as they explain what the inspiration behind a song was and how that grew into to the final version, which you get to hear in it's entirety at the end of each episode.
Recently St. Vincent was featured with her song about New York from her new forthcoming album.
Incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams team up with Nigel Poor to create Ear Hustle. A podcast produced in the media lab at San Quentin about the lives of people within the American prison system.
A look at food from a history and science point-of-view by co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley. Every two weeks a new episode is released on a new food related subject and these women don't mind getting their hands dirty while discoverying the ins and outs behind food. A fun, refreshing and revealing show.
One of my favourites has to be The Maple Boom, syrups up!
If you ever wondered about the origins of certain design related decisions in our world, this is the podcast for you. And if you haven't it still is!
Roman Mars takes you on a journey of design inspired discovery through our world and finds out what comulated in the eventual final design of stuff.
Some of my favourite episodes:
The website is a great companion to all the podcasts to date. Featuring a transcript of every episode including visual information like videos and images to accompany the episode.
Oh and if you want to see how Roman Mars does this live, check out Ted Talk on why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you've never noticed. Actually watch this first and then dive into the podcasts listed above!
Stories from The Moth is in essence what storytelling is all about. It features two or more stories per episode by everyday people that get up on stage and tell their story infront of a live audience. That takes some guts and the stories show that, these can be quite the emotional rollercoaster.
Latin for invisible things, Invisibilia is about the invisible force that governs human behaviour. Hanna Rosin, Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller take you on a journey of discovery about what coverns human behaviour in a storytelling like narrative with scientific research to back it up. Look at your life through different set of eyes after every episode. Try the two part episode reality for starters.
A podcast that tries to cover cycling, from the technology behind bicycles to the life in the pro peloton. One of the last episodes was an interview with Bryan Fogel. If you've seen the documentary Icarus you should definitely listen to that one. Some other favourites are also listed below.
- An interview with Icarus director Bryan Fogel
- Does frame stiffness matter?
- True tales from the Tour de France gruppetto
- Adam Hansen, on racing 19 consecutive Grand Tours
Most of these podcasts and others are available via iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and their respective websites but also via other application. I currently use Pocket Casts on my phone.