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Five podcasts you really, really need to listen to

Truthfully, it took me a while to get into podcasts. Being somewhat (ok, completely) technologically-challenged, I didn’t really know what they were or how to ‘download’ them – and anyway, I would rather read words than hear them…

Turns out, they’re super easy to download (just click ‘podcasts’ in iTunes and download individual episodes, or click ‘subscribe’ so that the series downloads new episodes automatically—that’s literally it. Or download a dedicated podcast app) and open up whole worlds you didn’t know existed, on everything from tech to sport to cooking to music, and everything in between. Plus most of them are free, and you can listen to them on the go – great for train journeys or when you’re going for a run.

To get you started, here’s the best the internet has to offer. We guarantee you’ll be hooked in no time.

1. Best for… a laugh: Adam and Joe

Adam and Joe originally ran as a Radio 6 talk show and, sadly, it finished in 2012. But we promise: this might be an oldie, but it’s a goodie and there’s a huge back catalogue to plough through. A silly kind of comedy, this is basically two blokes who are best mates (and happen to be hilarious), discussing everything under the sun, in the most relatable way.

Also try: WTF with Marc Maron

2. Best for… a good cry: Strangers

We all have days when all we want to do is curl up in bed and wallow. For those times, look to Lea Thau’s Strangers, in which we hear the stories of (you guessed it) two strangers, and how their lives have intertwined, for better or worse. Not all of them are outright sad: some will make you weepy in that overcoming hardship, happy-and-sad-at-the-same-time way; others will full-on make you howl.

Also try: The Memory Palace

3. Best for… storytelling: The Moth

You never know what you’re going to hear next on The Moth: it could be a pole-vaulting champion talking about their rise to success, a dad struggling to explain what it is to be black to his kids; a millennial talking about the struggle to figure out what it is she wants to do with her life. Some will have you snorting tea out your nose with laughter, others will really make you think. But all of them are well worth a listen.

Also try: This American Life

4. Best for… empowerment: The Guilty Feminist

Ah, to be a strong independent woman who don’t need no man… but also really not want anybody to see you all sweaty post-exercise / without makeup on / insert every-day-girl-worry-that-we-we-really-shouldn’t-care-about here. The struggle is real, my friends – but the ladies over at the Guilty Feminist have your back. It’s often thought-provoking, always hilarious, and makes you feel better about life in general and the fact that we are all, essentially, walking contradictions.

Also try: Stuff Mom Never Told You

5. Best for… learning: Oh No Ross and Carrie

If, like me, you can’t quite bring yourself to dedicate your spare time to something obviously educational, try listening to Ross and Carrie. Together they do things like sign themselves up for scientology indoctrination, get baptised and join a group of Mormons (they loved it, despite not being religious, and are still friends with them), explore homeopathy, find out about acupuncture and visit psychics. If you’re into the weird and wacky, this one’s for you.

Also try: The Radio Lab


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