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Podcast Round-up 2015

July 29, 2015

I suddenly realised that it has been a number of years since I last wrote something about my favourite podcasts. Unlike previous years where I’ve given a complete assessment of all the different podcasts I listen to, I’ll limit myself to two relatively recent discoveries:

 

NM

 

Novara FM started out as a regular radio show on London’s Resonance FM. Usually an hour long, the show basically involves a bunch of radical leftists discussing the issues of the day. Usually hosted by Aaron Bastani and James Butler, the show somehow manages to find the sweet spot between Marxism 101 and the deluge of jargon that academic leftism can so often become. A lot of Novara’s charm is down to the communication skills of its two primary presenters: Bastani is confrontational, intuitive and loves boiling complex issues down to amusingly polemical soundbites while Butler is more expansive, careful and alive to nuance. I have often found myself in the position of having encountered an idea and reached a conclusion only to completely reverse my position based on the analyses presented on this podcast. Particular favourites include:

 

YMR

 

You Must Remember This is the brainchild of one-time LA Weekly film critic Karina Longworth. The best way of describing this series would be to think of it as a storytelling podcast similar to Sarah Koenig’s Serial except that it deals with the scurrilous history of Hollywood. Closer to Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls than Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, the show explores the private lives of 20th Century Hollywood with an eye to how those lives intersected with the industry. The current series is taking a long hard look at Charles Manson, his Family, his crimes and how 1960s Hollywood allowed a murderous cult leader to get so close to them. While the current series was clearly inspired by Jeff Guin’s brilliant biography Manson, Longworth approaches her subject with a feminist slant that really sheds new light on old Hollywood legend. As brilliant as Charlie Manson’s Hollywood may be, it is also worth checking out earlier episodes including:

 

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