Picking up podcasts again

Podcasts are back in my life again after a long break. Five years ago I had a long commute by car between Oxford and Coventry. The round trip gave me 90-120 minutes per day to listen to podcasts. I subscribed to 20+ podcasts on a variety of themes and relished the time I had to dedicate to them each week.

When I stopped my commute the only thing I missed was the time to listen to podcasts. I found it hard to fit them into my new life and I soon became overwhelmed by the number of unplayed episodes mounting up.

Over the last six months I’ve found time to fit podcasts back into my day. I now tend to listen when I have an activity that occupies my body but not my mind, like walking or cooking.

This time I have a new approach to my podcast selection too. Rather than subscribing to a long list of podcasts I’ve started following recommendations and downloading single episodes based on my current mood and interests. Here are some of my recent discoveries.

Ctrl, Alt, Delete: Episode 41 with Lisa Owens

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a move to a portfolio career has affected my identity. Episode 41 of Emma Gannon’s Ctrl, Alt, Delete podcast gets a bit meta – Lisa Owens, a former editor who quit her job to write talks about her first novel which introduces us to Claire, a young woman who quits her job to ‘find herself’. What I enjoyed most about the episode was a discussion towards the end about how we describe what we do and the impression that gives to other people. As well as why we should try to avoid asking the question “what do you do?”

On Being: The Internet of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This interview with danah boyd is wide-ranging. Part nostalgia for the early days of the internet, part exploration of how we shape our identities online and offline, and part critique of what we’re really doing when we try to fix societal issues by blaming technology. It’s fascinating and a great introduction to danah’s work around teenagers and technology.

Hurry Slowly: I want my attention back

Jocelyn K Glei’s new podcast Hurry Slowly is wonderful. Episode 003, an interview with writer and technologist Craig Mod, focuses on how our smartphones are killing our attention. This is something I’ve been mindful of lately. I’m currently conducting a study of how I use my phone in the hope of reducing distraction. What I particularly liked about this episode was thinking about the quality of our attention and how it can change our relationship to something. I know that to produce my best work I need to be offline, working with something tangible, so Craig’s ideas about the “spatial relationship of ideas” are fascinating.

It’s Nice That: What is colour?

I’ve been reading It’s Nice That articles for some time and recently found out that they have a podcast. The first episode I listened to was what is colour? The hosts discuss how people respond to different colours with a colour psychologist and get an insight into how brands choose colours with someone from Pantone. The part that most interested me is an interview with artist Stuart Semple, who famously got into a feud with Anish Kapoor over the ownership of colour.

Image by Malte Wingen on Unsplash.

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