Alex is Concourse’s Editor in Chief and Lauren is Concourse’s Lifestyle editor and we had a chat about our shared love for podcasts.
Why are Podcasts one of our favourite forms of entertainment?
Lauren: I used to have a real aversion to podcasts, I’m not sure why but now I cannot get enough. In first year I used to listen to them when I ventured into the kitchen to cook in the hope not to speak to someone (sorry to my first year flat, it wasn’t you it was my social anxiety). In second year I used podcasts as an accompaniment to my commute and drives home at the weekend. And since the bug has infiltrated our lives I listen to podcasts on long walks and to avoid speaking to my family. I like podcasts for the convenience of them. I can easily do something else whilst I listen without missing out on too much. On the rare occasion I used to go to the gym or go on a run they make the time go so much quicker than a song.
Alex: In a similar way, I get so upset if I miss something in a film or TV show because of being distracted by my phone, so I find podcasts great to have on when I want to do something else (walk, run, redo my nails for the third time in one week…). That being said, there’s something wonderful about relaxing in bed, with a fresh cup of tea and your favourite podcast! However, I do sometimes find myself reaching for a podcast at times when I’m particularly worried, comforting voices I know so well providing some welcome distraction therapy!
What usually attracts you to a podcast? Are there particular genres you like more than other?
Alex: Usually, I like to laugh! I’m always scrolling through the top comedy charts to check for something new. In most cases my favourite comedy podcasts are people bantering, bouncing off one-another. Sometimes they can even just chat without a particular intention, the mundanity makes it feel like you’re overhearing a hilarious conversation between friends! Regarding other genres, my podcast interest usually focuses on topics I like or am interested in, or a host I like. I love listening to podcasts about film (Simon and Mark, Simon and Mark!), particular shows I like (Strictly, shamelessly Strictly), health and socio-political topics. Essentially, I either like to laugh or learn something with a podcast!
Lauren: Similarly to Alex, I like comedy podcasts. But as a criminology student I also love true crime – as my dad said the other day “she knows all the murders!”. So imagine my excitement when I found the genre True Crime Comedy. However, after hearing brutal descriptions of murder I sometimes find myself struggling to sleep and that’s when I turn to Snoozecast, it reads chapters from classic books in a claming voice that helps me fill the silence enough to fall asleep at a semi-normal time.
Have you previously recommended any podcasts to one another?
Alex: Once, in first year, I was having one of those stressful, sleepless nights, and whilst meaninglessly scrolling through Instagram, I saw someone reference Chris and Rosie Ramsey’s “hilarious new podcast”. I immediately opened my podcasts app to see that they’d just released episode 7 (if I remember correctly!). So, I began episode 1 and in that one night of delirium, all 7 hours of their banterous Geordie voices provided just enough distraction to get me to morning, and I never looked back. They released episode 100 a few weeks ago and I felt a little swell of emotion that they’ve got this far. I think that’s part of what makes a podcast so special to me, the intimacy between the listener and the faceless voice of the ‘podcaster’ is a strange, unexplainable bond, and for that reason Chris and Rosie’s podcast (affectionately known as SMA as the S stands for a word that the news presenters are too shy to say) really feel like my northern mates. There’s a uniqueness to their chat that makes it stand out to me, as they truly define ‘banter’ and have an ability to ping-pong off each others’ comments to an excellently comedic level. The podcast is separated into a series of segments, including a ‘lucrative, lucrative sponsor’ from Chris, Rosie’s mysteries (which, honestly, has me wheezing at the jingle alone) and the iconic “what’s your beef” segment, where they each bring to the table their ‘beef’ with each other for the previous week. The raw realness of their conversations and ability to make light of even the darkest of situations is what’s kept me and millions of others with them for over 100 hours. Even the questions from the public are clevely selected to fit the unique genre, which creates an ‘if you know, you know’ kind of community among the Smas and Das, that keep us all coming back for more.
As I’m sure you can imagine from my fan-girl style rambing, as soon as I learnt that Lauren liked podcasts I insisted she listened, and now I get random texts on a Friday (podcast release day) along the lines of “OH NO, THE JELLYBEAN STORY” and it makes my day!
Lauren’s Comment on SMA: The relationship between Chris and Rosie Ramsey that plays out on their podcast and Rosie’s extremely entertaining Instagram Stories is one that I strive to have in life. I’m not going to say that some parts aren’t edited to make it sound better but I love the playful banter that they have with each other.
Lauren: One night in my first year at university I was sat at home thinking about which programme on Netflix I could watch next whilst playing stupid games on my phone when my friend text me about a podcast they had found out about. Now, I hadn’t really listened to podcasts before and I thought they were mainly talking about clever stuff that would bore me to sleep but a podcast called “My Dad Wrote a Porno” didn’t seem like it would be too dull. And I am now very thankful for that friend for introducing me to a world of terrible erotica set in the world of pots and pans created by ‘Rocky Flintstone’ and commented on by his son and two friends. In the first episode we are introduced to Belinda Blumenthal in a non-conventional interview. She goes on over the next few books to take the pots and pans world by storm, sniff out an industrial spy and become a victim to a terrorist attack. Belinda’s story is peppered inbetween vivid descriptions of “sex, erotica and passion”. However, as Jamie, James and Alice make clear in the podcast, it is not sexy, erotic or passionate. It’s sort of weird, definitely anatomically incorrect and would probably be a good case for workplace sexual harassment. But Jamie, James and Alice manage to turn something that would make most people feel slightly nauseated into a hilarious award winning podcast of which I eagerly anticipate the release of Season 6 at some point this year (especially after the cliffhanger of season 5). I recommended this to Alex on my fourth or fifth time binge listening to MDWAP and felt slightly perverted for doing so, but after listening to SMA I think this podcast suits her down to the ground.
Alex’s Comment on MDWAP: Honestly, I was a bit cautious when Lauren suggested this podcast to me, and I have to admit I do worry that my housemates might walk past my room and overhear Rocky’s horrendous writing. But, it truly is hilarious – the group dynamic between Jamie, James and Alice (which, I think, is benefited by their already strong friendship dating back to their own university days) gives out the “chatting with friends” vibe that I love in a podcast, and there’s never an episode that doesn’t leave me cackling!
What podcast would you recommend to each other?
Lauren: I’d recommend Modern Love to Alex. Based on the New York Times Essays and Amazon Series of the same name Modern Love has these emotional essays read aloud by celebrities and then interviews the people that wrote them about that time in their lives. Honestly, I normally cut it off after the essays have been read because I like the poignant note that it has been left on. Truth be told I haven’t listened to this podcast in a while probably because comedy podcasts are an easier listen than hearing stories of love and loss, but as I know Alex is a keen fan of romance books this would be my recommendation to her.
Alex: I’d recommend When No One’s Watching to Lauren! I’m a Busted fan so when I heard that Busted God Matt Willis was releasing a podcast with Matt Richardson, I was ready to go. As self-defined guilty pleasures, ‘The Matts’ interview a celebrity each week and ask them to reveal their own guilty pleasures, which they then rank as either ‘Good Bad’ or ‘Bad Bad’. I love being nosey and getting a sneak peak into the funny lives of the people they interview and always have a full on chuckle at the various guilty pleasures and The Matts responding to them. Although I’d be lying to say that Matt Willis’s occasional Busted references aren’t a massive win for me, or that my two favourite episodes aren’t with his bandmates James and Charlie and with Tom Fletcher from McFly…
Have you discovered any new podcasts?
Alex: I actually recently discovered an old podcast which hasn’t had a new episode since March 2019! It’s Love Stories with Dolly Alderton, and she brings in a new guest each week to ask them to reveal their own love stories! Some are sweet first date stories and some are hilarious, awkward teenage love anecdotes, but nonetheless they are all extremely wholesome and enjoyable to listen to! I actually discovered it by searching ‘Gavin and Stacey’ into the search bar of my Podcast app (I’ll take all the G&S content I can get) and the episode with Ruth Jones came up. It was the sweetest episode and I love to cosy up with a blanket and a cup of tea and pop this podcast on! Regarding new podcasts, I also recently discovered Canadian Love Map (which actually sounds similar to Modern Love which Lauren recommended to me!) where a series of (usually couples) sit down and detail their love story. It’s slightly less humorous than Love Stories with Dolly Alderton – one recently actually made me cry, but they’re 20 minute short conversations which I always enjoy listening to. Just a side note, I discovered them because Alicia Mccarvell and her husband Scott are in an episode and if you aren’t following her on social media I recommend that you do so right away for some empowering, happy content! Oh and don’t even get me started on their love story…
Lauren: A few months ago I was looking for a new podcast because I was up to date with all my favourite ones. I stumbled across Jamie Laing and Francis Boulle’s Private Parts – definitely not a sentence I thought I would write. Private Parts is their podcast where they each read a segment from their diaries. I admit being drawn to this podcast because I was on around season 12/20 of a Made In Chelsea binge watch and even though I am aware in some part of my brain that it is to an extent scripted I was invested by this point. I have comments on the portrayals of both of these men in Made in Chelsea but I wondered what they would be like offscreen. Each episode is split into two parts with part one from Jamie’s diary and part two from Francis’. From the first episode I was trying to stifle my giggles as I walked around Newcastle on my state approved daily exercise. Jamie set the bar for what could be talked about on the podcast when he revealed that his girlfriend at the time and co-star could not poo at his house and had once resorted to pooping in the street. The reliability of this account could probably be contested but I found it rather entertaining anyway. Their diaries show a step away from the glamorous life and something slightly more real – despite their frequent reminiscence of their boarding school days.
Which Podcast are you most excited for a new episode of?
Lauren: I’m very excited for the new release of MDWAP but I only know that that is coming at some point this year, so on a weekly basis I get most excited for new episodes of Drunk Women Solving Crime. The majority of the time I don’t actually know who the guests are on this podcast but it doesn’t even really matter, once they’ve answered “have you ever been the victim of a crime?” I feel like I know them. As the podcast goes on our hosts get drunker and their answers to the mysterious crime case this week get funnier. If I was ever to be a guest on a podcast, this is the one I’d like to be a guest on.
Alex: is it bad to say SMA with Chris and Rosie Ramsey considering how much I’ve already gushed over them? Because it’s true, there’s rarely an episode which I haven’t already finished within 48 hours of its release. I have listened to so many hours of their chatting on repeat that there are probably conversations I could quote. I’m at the point now where their voices are so comforting to me that they can make me smile on those days that don’t feel like it’s possible.
Which, I have to add – is the same with Simon and Mark on Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review, they were how I discovered podcasts many years ago and while their podcast hasn’t seemed to fit any of the aforementioned questions, they are one of my all-time favorites and their voices have an incredible calming effect that get me after the very first ‘wazzup’ to the very last ‘down with the Nazis’, they are glorious.
Honourable mentions that we recommend:
Kermode on Film – as if one Mark podcast wasn’t enough, he blesses us with a second
Deliciously Ella – Ella teaches me things which make me feel healthier than I am
The Kevin Clifton Show – You know when I said shamelessly Strictly? Yeah…
VIEWS with David Dobrik & Jason Nash – it’s David Dobrik, need I say anything else?
Stuff You Should Know – I didn’t know that I needed to know how gin’s made, but I did
Redhanded – Hannah and Suruthi delve into true crime cases (Seriously was it going to be anything else)
Snoozecast – Insomnia? Listen to classic tales told in a soothing voice. Probably wouldn’t recommend if you sleep with another person – I’m perpetually single so this is on every night
That’s Messed Up: An SVU Podcast – Remember long running Dick Wolf drama ‘Law and Order’ and all its crazy spin offs like Special Victims Unit? Some of those cases are unfortunately based on real life events. God Help us all
My Favorite Murder – I mean its obviously more murder. Maybe I need help?