Thursday, October 30, 2008

At my house it is suddenly raining iPods. After years of unsuccessfully entering sweepstakes to win an iPod, in the past month I've had 2 of them show up. Since I am slightly (ahem) past the demographic that uses iPods for music, I have become addicted to podcasts. I was already a huge fan of the Ray Peacock and This Week in London podcasts, but recently I've discovered even more informative and entertaining podcasts. Here, then, are some of my favorites (all available for free download and/or subscription from iTunes):

Stephen Fry's Podgrams The actor Stephen Fry has apparently jumped on the whole web 2.0 bandwagon with both feet. He has a wonderful website with a blog, videos, podcasts and other assorted information. As he is also continuing to act, write books and appear in documentaries, I wonder how in the world he finds the time. He never exactly struck me as a whirling dervish of activity, but apparently I was wrong. In my favorite section on one of his podcasts, he goes into a hilarious rant against the compliance department, who have the final say on what can and cannot be broadcast on British TV. Just why is it, Fry wonders, that it would negatively influence children to see someone riding in a car without a seat belt, or using a cell phone while driving, but no one thinks twice about letting the kiddies see people being shot in the face? He certainly has a point, and his passion about the topic makes his indignation all the more amusing.

The News Quiz from BBC Radio 4 This program is the same format as the U.S. public radio show Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. The British version is hosted by the delightfully funny Sandi Toksvig, and features a panel of guests amassing points as they attempt to answer questions about news stories of the week. Of course, there are many references to people I'm unfamiliar with, but there is enough common ground to make the program enjoyable over here in the U.S. Unlike the U.S. version, no one seems to win Carl's voice on their answering machine, but I guess you can't have everything.

Russell Brand's Podcast I don't know how I managed it, but the very first Russell Brand podcast I downloaded happened to be his last. I actually only listened to a little bit of it, because I despise Jonathan Ross, and Brand was being rather . . . loud. Then, the news exploded that this very show was going to cause the downfall of civilization as we know it. I went back and listened, and (as I might have known) Ross was the one who actually said the offending words that have caused all the uproar. Then again, there was plenty more objectionable material throughout the podcast, but apparently that sort of language was acceptable and par for the course. At least no one seems to be protesting over anything else that went on during that broadcast. It's a shame (in a way) that Brand, who has made a career out of outrageous behavior, has resigned while Ross will probably keep his absurdly paid position. Jonathan Ross is just annoying on so many levels . . . the main one being that his speech problem makes for very hard going for the listener. During the podcast, even before the furor erupted, at one point he said to Brand, "Wussel, I feew vewy, vewy sowwy fow you." Cringe!!! Please, please, BBC bosses, use this opportunity to get this annoying person off the air for good!

Jon Richardson from BBC 6 Music The podcast contains the highlights of a Sunday morning radio show, with the music cut out. The host has some funny friends who stop by, and the humor is clean and fun.

The Contest Queen Carolyn Wilman is Canada's Contest Queen. She has written a book about all aspects of entering and winning contests and promotions, and she has the enthusiasm to make the subject really interesting. During her twice monthly podcast she interviews newsletter editors, motivational speakers, computer experts, promotion directors and other people who are involved in the world of sweepstaking. Very inspiring and educational for the sweepstakes enthusiast!

Rippercast At the recent Jack the Ripper Convention that I attended, I learned there is a podcast devoted to all things JTR. So far, there have been 30 episodes, so that gives me plenty of information to mull over. There are several experts on various aspects of the case who discuss a specific topic on each podcast.

Well, that's all I've discovered so far. Several of the podcasts have archives available for download, but the ones from the BBC only seem to let you download the latest episode. If anyone has any recommendations for other great podcasts, do please share!


Anonymous said...

Alas Jonathan has only received a hefty fine as of today. While Britain does have what is tantamount to our 1st amendment rights they still demand a certain level of decency most especially when it is hurtful to others. This is an idea I can support as I sit here today beaten down and worn out from all the election ugliness.
This wasn't the first time Russell has been in trouble. I believe he caused a fuss hosting the BAFTA's.
I never really understood Jonathan's appeal either. I feel the same way about him as I do Jay Leno. Not funny AT ALL!

By the way, you must fill me in on all the iPod sweepstakes! :)

Anonymous said...

I believe Jonathan was suspended from the Beeb as well.

Anonymous said...

Me again...sorry. Russell hosted the Brit Awards.

Lisanne624 said...

No problem, Melissa, I always enjoy your comments! :) I suspect Russell Brand is more interested in his film career at this point, so he might have been looking for an excuse to resign (not that I think the whole recent mess was planned or anything). I didn't suspect Ross would lose his job, so I suppose he'll be back and as annoying as ever in a few month's time. Oh joy . . .

Mancgurl said...

Watch David Mitchell's soapbox, available as a video podcast, the man is a genius.
Or you can watch it here

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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