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Having a podtastic summer
Best breakfasts, Chief Heat Officers, unlucky cards, journalism and work, Cuban podcasting, lookism, people pleasing.
If there’s one time when I can actually just sit still while listening to a podcast it’s on a warm summer night. I love just sitting out on the balcony, noise cancelling headphones on, podcast playing, staring at the clouds as the sun sets. I have such a vivid memory of doing this last summer while listening to episodes of The 11th and with such a beautifully immersive show like that, it makes for the perfect escape. When you picture yourself in a scenario like this, is there a podcast that comes to mind that you’d listen to in this moment? If so, I wanna hear about it! If not, let’s find you one!
This week’s podstack
If you like breakfast, this episode is a buffet of thoughts and flavours about the foods we eat for breakfast. After doing a series all about breakfast, host Lucy Dearlove combined some of her favourite samplings into this fun platter of perspectives. The clips take you into different people’s kitchens where they cook up breakfast dishes and discuss what they like about them. Lecker has always been so great about actually taking you into the kitchen and it results in some very raw audio but really fun cooking scenes. From Australian brunch culture, to exploring outside the “typical” breakfast options, this episode will absolutely make you hungry for breakfast, whatever you choose that to be. Plus, I think it’s a really great way to showcase content that’s available to paid subscribers. (transcript)
Did you know there are cities that have Chief Heat Officers who are in charge of implementing resources and programs to help with extreme heat? And so far, a lot of the people filling those roles are women? This is a surprisingly hopeful episode about how we can live on this ever heating planet. People don’t need to die from heat, but in order for that to be the reality, we need systems in place to protect and support people affected by extreme heat. One of the most surprising things about the work is that they realized that giving heat waves a name, the same way we do hurricanes, helped people and governments take them more seriously. I always like science shows that put people and storytelling first, and this one does a great job of that! (transcript)
Is Gil just unlucky? Or is he fated to be a loser? It feels like something is always not going Gil’s way, but when a card reading confirms to him that it’s not just a feeling, it’s the universe against him, a switch flips in the way he looks at his life. Pair that with the fact that he’s starting a class on metaphysics and questioning his existence and you’re in for a transformative journey. Gil, played by Connor Ratliff (Dead Eyes), immediately charmed me and made me want to know what happens to him. He can be so positive even when his toaster is electrocuting him, but now I’m worried he’s going to lose that positivity after his reading. I’m loving the performances and story so much! I devoured the first two episodes so fast and now I can’t stop thinking about Gil. Whether or not you believe in tarot readings or psychic abilities, you’ll enjoy being along for the ride.
Elise and Ari Shapiro’s conversation is like listening to behind the scenes of the journalism industry. They’re swapping stories and sharing really interesting insights that are helpful regardless of if you’re a journalist. They talk about their love of memoirs and what makes for a “good” memoir. And the power of storytelling during devastation and why it helps for people to be able to talk about their story when they’re going through something difficult. One of my favourite things they discussed was the dismissal of “soft journalism”, which is something Sam Sanders has spoken about before. It’s the way we treat some kinds of journalism, like politics, as “better” or more important than journalism that focuses on arts and culture. Both are needed and necessary! I love the way the intro segments for this show mix Elise’s description of the guest’s work with some really strong quotes from later in the episode. With an inspiring music bed underneath, it really pulls you in! I also really enjoyed this episode with Bruce Feiler, and his thoughts around the concept of the linear life no longer existing and how having several transitional periods is the new norm. I highly recommend that episode and how it will make you rethink jobs in a way I haven’t heard before. (transcript)
A news podcast in a country that highly regulates and restricts media, including internet access, seems unlikely but Camilo Condis is making it work. This is such an interesting look into how his podcast operates in Cuba and what his interactions with the government have been regarding it. Even though there’s a lot of danger to doing what he does, Camilo feels so strongly about the importance of continuing to inform people through his show. A lot of what you can learn from this conversation isn’t really podcast related, it’s a look a life in Cuba from a lot of different angles. Host Jesse Brown has his own perceptions about what life is like there and he shares those with Camilo to understand what it’s really like. In return, Camilo shares his first impression of Vancouver and how he feels about all the Canadian tourists who visit Cuba. Thank you to Julie Shapiro for putting this episode on my radar!
Have you ever heard of lookism? It’s appearance-based discrimination. It kinda plays into the idea that good looks lead to a good life and not having “good looks” is a personal failing. Elise Hu saw this in happening a lot in Korea, where she also saw her body being treated as always needing improvement. The emphasis society put on physical appearance made it hard not to think about and seek ways to fix your appearance. She also makes the great point that so much of self-care doesn’t have to be consumption based, even though right now it is. “Beauty is hustle culture that reaches into our skin and muscles and tissues” – let that idea sink in for a bit. She brings this up when equating all the technology and entrepreneurial spirit that maintaining a certain standard of beauty has. Your body is not a project to be worked on forever. As the mark of a skilled interviewer, host Lee C. Camp goes off script a bit to reference a personal example that applied to what Elise had been discussing and it leads to even deeper analysis of the different ways we all interact with appearance-related thoughts and practices. (transcript)
My inspiration for the opening thoughts in this newsletter was The Heart. I was looking for some good storytelling with sound design and structure that would completely captivate me and The Heart was the answer. I randomly went back to old episodes where Kaitlin Prest is first introducing Mermaid Palace, her dream of what her work and company and collaborations could grow into. Then I continued on to the Divesting From People Pleasing series. Throughout three episode, it’s like a coming-of-age story that covers sexuality, connections and relationships, and gender. There is something about the scripting and editing of The Heart that bring such rhythm to every episode that you can’t help feeling the rest of the world melt away as you listen. (transcript)
More sweet treats
Great advice on what makes a good podcast (with some from yours truly).
Top 8 favourite podcasts right now.
Thank you for reading! If you listened to something this week that made your heart sing, your imagination wander, or your brain ponder, I’d love to hear about it!