With the newest episode of The More Trivial the Better out, featuring long stretches of silence from yours truly (please subscribe and review!), I thought it would be a good idea to devote this week’s Friday Five to my favourite podcasts. I listen to podcasts a lot — when I run, when I’m pretending to work, and when I’m baking — so I’ve had on-and-off love affairs with a number of great podcasts. Here are five consistently excellent ones.
- Caustic Soda. Based out of Vancouver, hosts Toren, Kevin, and Joe choose one horrible way to die every week and explain it, make fun of it, and discuss its representations in popular culture. I think my favourite recent episode was the one on cults, and I admit to going in to full on nerd-rage on my run a few weeks ago when they failed to mention that D’Arcy McGee was a poet AND skipped Pierre Laporte altogether in the assassinations episode. I like things that make me nerd rage. Hopefully one day they will need an expert in Canadian Literature for some reason and will call me to be on the show.
- The Film Vault. Any aspirations to Movie Buff-ness I have are due to this podcast. It’s a movie podcast, but instead of talking about new releases and upcoming industry news, Film Vault is a more thoughtful production, organizing the show thematically. Each episode has hosts Bryan and Anderson listing their “top five” of something — for example, my recent favourite was Top Five Disturbing Documentaries. The hosts have a good cop / bad cop thing going that works well, and the show is consistently funny and will definitely suggest movies you’ve never considered before.
- Okay, this one is actually multiple podcasts, but I’m more than a little obsessed with the How Stuff Works podcasts, especially Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff Mom Never Told You, and Stuff to Blow Your Mind. My husband describes these podcasts as someone reading you a Wikipedia page aloud, and that’s kind of true, but the hosts are all lovely and the material fascinating. Most handily, though, you don’t have to download and subscribe to these podcasts — there’s a fantastic streaming app for iOS that works wonderfully well. It’s the official app of me doing the dishes!
- This Week with Larry Miller. Do you love Larry Miller? Okay, wait, before you answer that, go Google him. I’ll wait here. Okay, now, see, you love Larry Miller, right, now that your memory is jogged? Character actor / comedian Larry Miller hosts this weekly podcast where, really, he just tells stories for half an hour. Moments from his storied career as an actor, stories about his childhood, stories about his family — it doesn’t really matter, because he’s incredibly engaging and you’ll hang off every work. I enjoy every episode. It’s like carrying a funny old man around in your phone. No, They Were Very Cold was a great episode.
- White Coat, Black Art. Okay, not really a podcast, but since I never catch the show when it broadcasts, it’s a podcast to me. Host Dr. Brian Goldman discusses medicine in Canada — the triumphs and failures — from a doctor’s perspective. He’s big on patient self-advocacy and demystifying medicine. He’s also funny and thoughtful, and very good at making complex issues accessible.