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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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: