The Wonderful World of Pod

iCatMy iPod’s changed my life.

I feel slightly embarrassed about this, because I am such a late adopter and I have been very snooty about them in the past.

But I love it. I love podcasts. They are like Radio 4 on steroids.

What a privilege to be able to spend the morning listening to highly entertaining lectures on the social, historical and religious context of Anglo Saxon literature. Not just any lectures. Lectures from Oxford University. It sure made tidying and cleaning my kitchen easier. (How come I have spent FIVE HOURS on it and it doesn’t look substantially different? How can that be?)

Instead of driving to and from work while listening to and immediately forgetting ephemera like Terry Wogan, or being alternatively depressed and angered by the Today Programme and PM, I listen to and immediately forget ephemera like Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History”, The FT Digital Business and stuff from the Harvard Business Review and I am entertained by the Now Show, the Reduced Shakespeare Company and Russell Brand. My brain does get a bit slooshy at times and then I revert back to Sir Tel or to Radio 3 if I really don’t want any words at all.

Some podcasters are definitely better than others. Skepticality Magazine’s main female podcaster has an “oh, wow, like, cool!” attitude to science which suggests a lack of any critical thinking ability at all, though maybe its some form of subtle American irony that I fail to appreciate with my literal British mind.

You don’t realise how high the audio standards of the BBC actually are until you listen to interview after interview conducted down bad phone lines. The Harvard Business Review is particularly guilty of this while their interviewees all seem addicted to saying “That’s a GR-r-r-r-R-R-R-EAT question!” as if they are advertising Frosties.

But the thing that astonishes and delights me are the university lectures one can listen to: Princeton, Berkley, Stamford and Yale. Oxford, Bath, Glasgow. What an amazing privilege. And I’m barely scratching the surface.

Isn’t the future cool?

PS – I apologise for the cuteness of the photo but I didn’t have a 50p piece to hand and I did have a rather small cat. Surprisingly, he didn’t scratch me.


4 responses to “The Wonderful World of Pod

  1. What a lovely picture! I’m sure he wouldn’t scratch anyone. He reminds me of our Tiggy, who’s 10 now, when he was younger.

  2. Oh, I had to crack down and clean my kitchen recently, too, and I listened to my mp3 player while doing so and had a similar epiphany. (Well, two epiphanies. I had the “isn’t it more pleasant while listening to radio programs” one and also the “how could I spend all day on it and still not get it done” one.)

  3. πŸ™‚

    This mirrors my experience, and explains why I am so consistently “out of the loop” on celebrity gossip and other… uhm… trivial news. I listen to technology-related podcasts a significant percentage of the time, and music (of my choice) the rest. When I turn the radio on, it absolutely infuriates me that my only recourse is to change the channel. I have been spoiled. – Tim

    P.S. Welcome to the dark side. πŸ˜‰

  4. He’s a very sweet cat, anticant, and I am getting fonder and fonder of him. Mind you, our local mice would not agree!

    Diana, what is it about kitchens? Mind you, mine is particularly easy to make untidy having almost no horizontal surfaces. You wouldn’t think that was possible, given the size of the room!

    But that’s what google’s for, Tim. It’s where I keep my celebrity trivia!

    I confess I feel very foolish arriving at the party this late, but I am completely converted now. Mind you, the quality really varies, and not very much of it is in any amount of depth. Still, it beats bad radio.


    Thanks, all, for commenting.


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