Listen/Watch/Read Pip-Life

7 Rad Podcasts I’ve Been Listening To Lately

Boombox madonna

I listened to The Teacher’s Pet podcast last week in a marathon after work binge-listening session, and it of course raised many more questions and made me very sad for Lyn Dawson and her family and friends.    It’s a really tough listen, isn’t it?

Obviously an important one, because it’s sparked fresh investigations into what happened to Lyn … But also super dark, the latest in the crime-as-entertainment genre that many of us find pretty painful to listen to.

(And honestly … what is all this dark listening doing to us? Is it squashing our spark? Is it piling a hefty, hopeless weight on our shoulders? Is it wearing us out, wearing us down, making us less enthusiastic and grateful for life? Is it … okay for us? I really am not sure, and it worries me.)

When I went looking for other things to listen to the recommendations were mostly more true crime.

I’m not sure my addled self can take more of that, at this time. The constant confirmation that there are horrible people amongst us is hard … and makes me wish we heard many, many more stories of the good people. Sometimes I think we hear about the good if it’s been turned into a commodity by someone or become prescriptive or a bit too formulaic.

I am kind of into unplanned good, unassuming good, regular good, simple good.

Anyway, I didn’t find many podcasts that were about simple good.

But I did find some excellent podcasts you might like that (mostly) don’t involve hour upon hour of listening to chatter about people harming other people/harm done to other people.

Last Seen

This is a brand new (true crime! again! sigh!) podcast from WBUR and the Boston Globe – and it’s really great. There is a tiny, tiny bit of rough stuff – because it involves a robbery, in fact the biggest art heist of all time – but it’s brief and the story doesn’t revolve around that rough stuff. Episode one went up yesterday and it’s looking to be super addictive. There’s a brilliant companion website that you can read along with each week, too.

Kind World

This is a short, sweet, people are good baseline to refer to if you are starting to think the world has gone mad. Short stories about the goodness of people and communities around the world. There are lots of episodes up and the very first one is a gripping tear-jerker – in a good way. Maybe start at the start, with ep one, if you fancy? It’s a pretty amazing one.

The Untold

Grace Dent’s The Untold podcast shares all kinds of stories, brilliantly produced and told by seemingly regular people. They dip into what makes humans tick, how people live and how we respond to difficulties and one another. I really like this. It’s so nice to hear people talk about the things that matter to them, even if they are things we might not have experienced or realised we were interested in. It’s eavesdropping on a conversation with no expectation … and the bits you most enjoy are where you really get to the heart of what matters to that person. That’s kind of when true human to human connection happens and you feel more grounded amongst your people. At least that’s how it felt for me. Snippets of simple goodness ahoy, basically.


This podcast is always a favourite, because it takes plenty of time to dig deeper into subjects’ lives. It’s a clever, rolling ramble into interesting stories, told simply and carefully. I like hearing people chatter back and forth … and catching the unexpected moments that might be uncovered. Sometimes it’s just one sentence or the way someone says something, but those things tend to stay with us and sort of urge us on. Conversations is a brilliant one for spotting those kinds of urge-y gems.

The High Low

I have recommended The High Low lots of times, and I shall do so again right now. It’s a pop culture and current events podcast by two excellent journalists who dig deeper into the nuanced nature of things – and take the time to ponder the many sides to every story in a very open-hearted, open-minded way.

Bang On

What could be better than two brilliant Australian women (Myf and Zan) giggling their way through music, pop culture and current event-ish stuff? I love listening to Bang On because it’s like chortling into a fizzy drink and salt and vinegar chips with two clever and irreverent girlfriends. Sometimes that’s just what you need when everyone else is talking about murder and the world is heaving with difficult and/or awful stuff. (Also – I like it that you can’t get away with any sh*t with Myf and Zan. They’ll call out terrible behaviour and round it off with a stern warning for said bad-behaviour-doer to DO BETTER and cut the crap.)

Do you have any simple and good podcasts you like listening to?

x Pip

PS: If you’re new to podcasts (as many, many people still are) you can search for these in your favourite podcast app on your phone – or via Google on your computer – if you’d like to listen.

Other stuff I’ve written about podcasts:


  • Sharon Smith
    October 30, 2018 at 7:22 PM

    I love podcasts…Chat 10 Looks 3, Conversations, Ladies…We need to Talk, Mum says my memoir is a lie – just a few that I can think of and I don’t mind Mia Freedman and also depending on her guest. Sometimes I google a person to see if they’ve been on a Podcast…ie Robert Redford as I have just been watching some of his old movies.

  • Melinda
    October 6, 2018 at 2:01 PM

    Thanks for the list! I’ll look into these!
    I’ve just discovered ‘Truly Myrtle’ podcast which is a friendly & chatty one from a NZ knitter and designer. Episode 81 ‘Knitting through hard times’ is a good one to start with 🙂 I also enjoy ‘On the Ledge’ – a UK one all about houseplants.

  • Naomi Bulger
    September 23, 2018 at 8:42 AM

    Hello my lovely Pip! Have you come across the podcast Dispatch to a Friend? It is a funny and sweet and thoughtful podcast about food and gardens and books and friendship, and more than once it has made me think of you! xo

  • Kristy
    September 19, 2018 at 2:53 PM

    Ladies we have to talk.

  • Isabel
    September 19, 2018 at 7:24 AM

    Hey Pip! I agree re your comment that it’s hard thinking about how awful (some…mostly male) people can be. The Teacher’s Pet was recommended to me and I started listening while breastfeeding my newborn baby. Got to about Ep 5 and thought, no, I cannot listen to this while staring at my beautiful little boy. It makes me simultaneously angry/sad/despairing about the world I have brought him into…so I stopped! And feel much happier as a result! Thanks for the links to some more uplifting poddies. Much appreciated xx love your blog as always, keep up the great writing and crafting

  • KWadsworth
    September 19, 2018 at 6:04 AM

    I was a fan of the show MYTHBUSTERS and followed it into the Podcast world, where one of the co-hosts Adam Savage started his own podcast – he couldn’t think of a name, so it’s been called “Still Untitled”. It’s a mish-mosh of topics – usually it’s him and two friends talking for about a half hour about whatever they want to talk about. Often the things they want to talk about are about “making things” – which sometimes can cover advice for model builders, in-depth conversations about tools and supplies, and extensively detailed descriptions of the lengths someone’s gone to in order to make something, and those episodes I kind of tune out. But there are a lot of episodes that talk about movies, and other episodes that take a more general approach to “making things” that are actually quite helpful and inspirational.

    I actually can credit this podcast for starting a project of my own – in one episode, Adam said that whenever people asked him how they could become more knowledgeable about movies, he told them simply to “watch a lot of movies and talk about them with people”. I thought, “Huh, I can do that,” and started doing that on my generic-everything blog as just A Thing I could Write About Now And Then – and I’ve gotten so carried away that I’m going to be moving that all onto a second blog that’s just about movies because I am REALLY into it. And that actually leads me to another podcast – “The 1001 Movies Podcast”, which is by someone who’s really trying to watch all 1001 movies in the 2012 edition of “1001 Movies To See Before You Die.” Each of his episodes are pretty short – only about 20 minutes tops, and he gives a lot of information about the production and history of each film before telling you what he thought of it (sometimes he just plain doesn’t like it!).

    Finally – Public Radio in the US has a weekly panel quiz show kind of like the BBC show “Have I Got News For You”, and they release each of their episodes as a podcast each week. The show is called “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and is great fun; a good chunk of the questions concern United States news, but some of them involve “unusual and funny news” from other parts of the world, and sometimes you aren’t even necessarily expected to know about the news in advance (in one of the games they play, they read one true “quirky news story” and two made-up stories, without saying which is true and which is made-up, and the game is to guess the real story). They also have a different celebrity guest each week and subject them to a brief game as well – asking them questions about things that have almost nothing to do with the reason for their fame, but are usually jokes, or are puns (asking Glenn Close questions about rabbits, asking Jaques Cousteau’s son questions about the band Phish, asking the chef “The Barefoot Contessa” questions about shoes, etc.).

    Incidentally, I’m hunting for other movie/film history podcasts myself, if anyone has a recommendation there.

  • Jane Toft
    September 18, 2018 at 8:37 PM

    Fortunately with Fi and Jane, cheers me up every time. x

  • Reannon
    September 18, 2018 at 8:37 PM

    I never listen to true crime because I just don’t need those vibes in my life.
    I know Mia Freeman isn’t for everyone but I like her so I’ve kistened to a few of her No Filters lately- Rick Morton, Caitlin Moran & Moana Hope. I still love Spilled Milk (I’ve got one of Mattews books on order). Bang On is a fave, as is Chat10 Looks3. I listen to some parenting stuff, dip in & out of Conversations, pick & choose from Take5. A new fave is Dispatch to a Friend. It’s so cosy & best for when you want some friendly chatter. I think you’d love it!!!

  • Zanni
    September 18, 2018 at 7:50 PM

    Love Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist Histories -sharp and so revealing! And The Garrett. Thanks for these!

  • KD
    September 18, 2018 at 1:54 PM

    I was going to excitedly tell you about Mystery Show, which I binge-listened to last week, and then I realized you had been the one to recommend it in the first place! Absolutely loved it!

    After reading a slew of thrillers and post-apocalyptic tales, I have been craving something light-hearted and positive. Judge John Hodgman was the antidote today. He arbitrates people’s silly disputes, and occasionally makes some really astute observations about human nature.

  • Sarah
    September 18, 2018 at 10:56 AM

    I was new to podcasts until all of a month ago when a friend got me into Chat 10 Looks 3 – Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales laughing and hanging shit on each other on their way through books, podcasts, TV, film and current event-ish stuff. I binge-listened to the last year and miss their voices now I have to wait for the next episode!

  • Nancy J
    September 18, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    You must be a mind reader! I was just looking through my podcasts this morning thinking they are all doom & gloom. One of my favourites though is Dispatch To a Friend – it’s such a sweet & gentle listen about life, food & friendship.
    Heavyweight is another favourite but there haven’t been new episodes for a while – it’s about people going back to an event in their life that they think had an effect on how their lives turned out. But with hindsight, many of the events didn’t turn out the way they remember – it sounds heavy but it’s beautiful. And totally random is Stoic Meditations. It’s only a 2-3 minute podcast but I love it.

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