Saying “what a strange year” is both such an understatement and so obvious that I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said, but I can’t help but say it anyway. What a strange, strange year. Mostly I turned to books to get me through it, but there were also plenty of standouts in other mediums that offered entertainment and escapism through the weirdness of 2020. Here are a few of my favourites from the year in music, tv, film*, and podcasts.Continue reading “My favourite music, tv, and podcasts of 2020”
The last few weeks have been hard. I mean, obviously the last seven months have been hard, but the last few weeks have hit another downswing.
Cases here in Ireland are going exponentially back up, the government has thus far decided another full lockdown isn’t necessary despite the strong recommendations of the Emergency Health committee (citing mental health and unemployment as a reason despite having spent the last decade being criticised for underfunding mental health services, and the last few months claiming that unemployment support payments are too high), and with the weather changing to autumn (which in Ireland is aka winter lite aka endless rain), it’s hard to find things to get excited about after work when I know it’s going to be shit weather and I won’t even be able to go out for a walk and some fresh air.
When I start feeling like this, it’s nice to have some cosy, happy things to turn to. The media equivalent of comfort food, these are the things that have been making me feel good when everything else feels bad.Continue reading “Comfort food, in media form”
New year, new me, same old podcast addiction. The medium is producing stronger work than ever, with countless topics, and I love them all. I have at least 60 podcasts on my subscription list—although, in fairness, they don’t all run continuously and I don’t listen to every episode of every show. Anyway, I’ve given plenty of recommendations for podcasts in the past, but the start of the new year seems like the perfect time for a few more. Here are some great listens full of learning and growth to spark your curiosity and inspire your fresh starts.
I’ve written before about how much I love listening to podcasts during pretty much every waking moment. Walking to work? Podcasts. Freelancing? Podcasts. Out for a run? Podcasts. On a long drive? Yep, podcasts. Most of the time I listen to podcasts for entertainment, whether they’re fiction or true crime or, my favourite genre, folklore and paranormal. However, there are also plenty of great podcasts out there that can educate, inform, and best of all, help you with your creative work.
Obviously, podcasting is a creative medium in itself, but it’s also increasingly becoming a way for creative business owners to share their secrets, talk to other creatives, and discuss the process of creative work. Whether you’re a blogger, a wedding photographer, an artist, or just keen on learning about how you can enhance your creative process or maybe even turn it into a side-gig or a career, here are some of my favourite listens for getting the creative juices flowing.
Everyone always talks about making the perfect “road trip playlist.” There are two reasons I don’t think this as important as millions of Spotify users make it out to be. One: you don’t need to make the perfect road trip playlist because it already exists and it’s called Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. Two: while it’s true that driving down an empty highway with the windows down and the radio at full volume is a freeing, exciting feeling, listening to something that really grabs your attention is a better way to keep you alert and pass the time.
Some people enjoy listening to an audiobook while on the road; personally, I prefer podcasts. Steve and I started listening to podcasts on our road trip after we decided to check out NPR’s deservedly-hyped hit S-Town. We binged on all of the episodes over the course of several days, and then I learned that he had never listened to the first season of Serial. After that, it was the latest episodes of The Men in Blazers Show, the back episodes of Reply All, and more. Here are a few of my picks for longform listens to make the long hours on the road fly by in entertaining style.
My job as a copywriter means that most of my day at work is spent typing away at a computer. And our department’s unhealthy obsession with Slack means that we don’t talk too much out loud (look, you can’t speak a giphy of a kitten), so I usually have my headphones in. And since there’s only so many times I can listen to the music from Hamilton*, I generally turn to podcasts.
One thing I really like about podcasts is that, like other maker-focused platforms such as YouTube, there is room for a hugely diverse array of voices. Not relying on traditional production/publishing means that you can find podcasts about any topic, created by any type of person. While I listen to podcasts ranging from the paranormal to the musical to the educational to the financial, one of my favourite things about podcasts is how many are female-created and female-focused. Here are a few of my top picks:
*just kidding, I could listen to it on repeat for forever
Stuff Mom Never Told You
Who hosts it: Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin
What it’s about: How Stuff Works has a number of podcasts (another one shows up later on this list!) but Stuff Mom Never Told You is definitely my favourite. Some episodes focus on historical events or figures that may have been misrepresented or ignored in popular media and education; others explain common things that often affect women like colorism, cuddling, and comics.
Check out this episode: Feminist Witchcraft