I have always found background noise enormously soothing. As a child, I had a ceramic lamp that rotated and, in so doing, danced little shafts of light across my bedroom wall. As it performed this never-ending whirl on its axis, it spewed out music. A few chords. Nothing special. Rather tinny, really. But boy did it help me fall asleep.
Later in life, I found that ‘background tv’ helped me to engage my brain in anything unpleasant like algebra or the naming of rivers in Wales. Sister Sister made good background fodder, as did Bird of a Feather. Latterly, Friends took up the mantle very well indeed. QVC was also a pretty good ally through times of hardship.
I’ll leave an exploration of what this all says about my state of mind for another post; this one’s just for those of you who similarly need a little something playing in your ears during your commute/when you’re going about cleansing and it feels like it’s taking an unfathomably long time because you’re unbearably tired and would really just like to be in bed without any such faff.
So, to podcasts. In this sphere more than any I’ve found I’ve benefitted from recommendation, and duly want to pass them on to you so that you too might enjoy these gems //
My Dad Wrote A Porno / If you’ve a British sense of humour, this is the one for you. The basic premise: three friends read aloud the porn efforts of one of their dad’s. So funny that hubs and I had to pull over on the road to the Cotswolds because we were laughing so hard.
You Must Remember This / If forgotten Hollywood stories of suspicious deaths, near suicides (most memorably, in my opinion, by Jean Harlow’s second husband Paul Bern, who tried to end his life by flushing himself down the loo), and strange beauty rituals are your thing, download this immediately.
The PanDolly Podcast / I’m including this on the strength of the half year of weekly podcasts that titillated me every Friday before Pandora Sykes (the ‘Pan’ of the portmanteau title – Dolly Alderton is the other half) left her job at the Sunday Times Style magazine and the podcasts ceased. If they return as promised, expect commentary on current affairs by two very clever, very witty women.
Woman’s Hour / I had no idea of how ridiculously uninformed I was on so many women’s issues until I started to listen to this on my morning dog walk. Keeping up with every single episode would be impossible, but the odd one is a really good idea if you’d like to be a bit more savvy on what’s happening in the world – and how it relates to we women.
Desert Island Discs / Surely everyone who’s ever listened to a podcast has trawled the DIDA archive but in case you haven’t, do. Start with Maya Angelou or Emma Thompson and work your way through – Princess Margaret and Lord Rothschild were high points for me.