Good morning Hear Here readers. Alexi is away this week, so I have the pleasure of guiding you through this week’s assorted audio gems. I am also going to take the opportunity to plug some of our other wonderful culture emails while I’m here. If you’re enjoying this email you might also like to read about the latest and greatest video games in Pushing Buttons, or get a handle on the week’s culture at large in the Guide. Both are available every week, and would come with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee if they weren’t already totally gratis.
With that out of the way, read on for some excellent pod picks, including a deep dive into the murder of Maltese anti-corruption activist and journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, a film show co-hosted by a little director called Quentin Tarantino, and five of the best literary podcasts to guide you towards your new favourite book (or keep you away from a stinker of a summer read). As someone who heads straight for the obligatory DDPOA (dusty, discarded pile of autobiographies) at every Airbnb I stay in, I can’t wait to dive into Celebrity Memoir Book Club (the episode on Ellen DeGeneres’s book about “absolutely nothing” sounds sufficiently cringe-inducing).
As ever, you can let us know what you think of our pod picks by replying to this newsletter, or emailing us at email@example.com
Hannah J Davies
Deputy editor, newsletters
Picks of the week
The Video Archives
Widely available, from Tuesday
In Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary’s blockbuster of a podcast, they revisit films they used to recommend when they worked together in LA’s Video Archives. Tarantino rescued the rich VHS library and now has a replica of the rental shop in his house, which is where their mission begins. “If we don’t have the video cassettes they can’t be counted as a movie,” says Tarantino as they get to work on films such as Messenger of Death. Hannah Verdier
Widely available, episodes weekly
Will Ferrell presents this talent-packed anthology podcast, shining the spotlight on fresh new comedians. First up is Greta Titelman with Stepmom Presents: The Husband Hunt. She’s delightfully terrifying as the woman who’s coming after your dad and his “old, dangling papaya balls”, kindly dispensing advice to anyone who wants to use her as a very disturbed role model. HV
Gangster: The Story of Curtis Warren
BBC Sounds, all episodes out now
Livvy Haydock hosts a lively deepdive into the life of the first gangster to be featured in the Sunday Times Rich List, speaking to those who did time with him and the customs officers who came up against him. Hollie Richardson
The Rise and Fall of T in the Park
BBC Sounds, available now
Scotland’s raucous music festival attracted A-listers and a notorious amount of drunken fun for two decades, but why did it come to an abrupt end in 2016? Radio 1 DJ Arielle Free brings all the festival joy to answer the question in bite-size episodes with many great stories, including the moment when Calvin Harris persuaded Will Smith to introduce his set. HV
Who Killed Daphne?
Widely available, episodes weekly
When Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb, there was no doubt she was targeted. Stephen Grey investigates the case, with input from Galizia’s son, Matthew. Grey uncovers corruption and abuse among the island’s powerful elite – and speaks to suspect George Degiorgio, who has since confessed to carrying out the hit. HV
There’s a podcast for that
This week, Charlie Lindlar chooses five of the best podcasts for literature lovers, from a show all about deceased authors to NPR’s bite-size book show
The Maris Review
In this intimate podcast from Lithub, writer Maris Kreizman goes deep with authors to peek into their process. Kreizman’s relaxed, freeform style and the show’s lo-fi feel sees conversation open up in unexpected ways, making this one of those rare interview shows that will actually make you miss your bus stop. Beside the unpredictable lines of inquiry, another strength is the diversity of its guests: one episode David Sedaris explains why he finds writing about joy harder than writing about pain, the next Yaa Gyasiruminates on why research is such a satisfying part of writing.
Celebrity Memoir Book Club
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, try this show tackling that most divisive of book genres: the celebrity biography. Digging into books by famous types from wrestlers to reality stars “so you don’t have to”, American hosts Claire Parker and Ashley Hamilton wade into memoirs with heaps of distinctly un-American irony. The pair’s mix of scepticism and heartwarming, genuine reverence for the medium feels very of our time, and though episodes run up to 90 minutes, they’ll fly by. Or at least they’ll certainly be far less painful than reading the actual books.
NPR’s Book of the Day
For a more bite-size books podcast, check out NPR’s Book of the Day, which the American public service broadcaster bills as “today’s great books in 15 minutes or less”. In each brisk episode, expect authors zipping through themes explored in their works, timely breakdowns of the latest must-reads, and NPR journalists picking the books that best address the topics at the top of the news agenda. If you’re stuck with what to pick up next, or want to gauge if that hot new release everyone’s talking about is really one for you, this is the podcast for you.
Marlon and Jake Read Dead People
Every listener knows the key to a co-hosted podcast is the natural chemistry between the presenters. Luckily, Booker prize-winning author Marlon James and his editor Jake Morrissey have that in buckets, in this podcast exclusively focusing on long-gone authors. To keep you on your toes, the two have a range of fun formats such as the best books to gift or their favourite unreliable narrators (and “good books by terrible people” could surely be its own show at this point). Plus, the two make sure to delve equally into books and writers they love and loathe.
Perhaps the original books podcast, Little Atoms started life back in 2005 as a radio show broadcast on London’s Resonance FM. Each weekly episode sees longstanding host Neil Denny interview leading writers from Juliet Jacques to John Waters on their work in thoughtful but pacy half-hour chunks. You never quite know who you’re going to get each week, but you can guarantee you’ll learn something. It also recently celebrated the remarkable milestone of 750 episodes – testament to the sheer breadth, not to mention quality, of authors and conversations in its archives.
Why not try …
Malcolm Gladwell considers more overlooked people and events from the past in a new series of Revisionist History.
From the treasures stored in its Marylebone museum to amazing alumni stories throughout the years, the Royal Academy of Music charts 200 years of musical history in Short Stories.
The story behind a shocking NFL retirement in Luck from The Athletic.
July 14, 2022 at 02:33PM Hannah J Davies, Hannah Verdier, Hollie Richardson and Charlie Lindlar