September 28, 2023
Best podcasts of the week: Paul McCartney looks back on The Beatles and beyond
Picks of the week McCartney: A Life in Lyrics Widely available, episodes weekly from Wednesday Poet Paul Muldoon has had enviable access to Paul McCartney, as the two collaborated on a book about lyrics, so their podcast is delightful and detailed. McCartney proves he’s one hell of a storyteller as he describes the characters he’s created, revealing that the US audience thought Penny Lane was about selling puppies. With a huge back catalogue, there’s plenty more to come, from Back in the USSR to Eleanor Rigby and Live and Let Die. Hannah Verdier Black Earth Widely available, episodes weekly A brilliant ball of positivity and action, Black Earth is back for season two, in which host Marion Atieno Osieyo reimagines the environmental movement with the help of inspiring Black female figures. First up is gardener, forager and cook Poppy Okotcha, who jumps straight in to examine her relationship with nature. HV Comfort Eating Widely available, episodes weekly Nadiya Hussain (below) confesses her love of Minstrels, Milton Keynes and instant mashed potato topped with cheesy tomato soup as this Guardian podcast with Grace Dent returns for series five. It’s the usual lively fun, with plenty of engaging culinary chatter. Alexi Duggins Nadiya Hussain, a guest on the new season of Comfort Eating. Photograph: Comic Relief/Getty Images The Real Sex Education Widely available, episodes weekly Inspired by the hit Netflix series, the fifth season of this podcast – which actually isn’t anywhere as awkward as it should be – is hosted by sex therapist Cate Campbell and her inquisitive son Diggory. They dig into questions about sex and relationships, and start with “the ick” – when you are suddenly turned completely off by someone. The fact they are mother and son certainly doesn’t stop them getting into the nitty gritty. Hollie Richardson The Today Podcast BBC Sounds, episodes weekly from Thursday One of the UK’s biggest radio news shows gets a bespoke podcast. Nick Robinson and Amol Rajan host this show from BBC Radio 4’s Today, promising behind-the-scenes insights on how the programme is made and deeper dives. Plus, a slower pace that – less tantalisingly – will see Robinson “take a breath and kick off my shoes”. HV There’s a podcast for that Rylan Clark-Neal, host of How to Be a Man. Photograph: Gustavo Papaleo/The Observer This week, Charlie Lindlar chooses five of the best podcasts on modern masculinity , from tips on fatherhood with a good dollop of humour to sharing experiences of trauma and how to persevere Rylan: How to Be a Man Not a particularly simple question: what does it mean to be a man? “The rule book has been ripped apart”, believes the X Factor hopeful turned presenter Rylan Clark, host of this compelling podcast on modern masculinity. In his curious quest to answer that question, the charming everyman presenter meets men from boxer Amir Khan to the young gay footballer Jake Daniels and transgender journalist Freddy McConnell for their take. His opening question for each episode alone – “how masculine are you feeling today?” – immediately sees each one hit its stride from the jump. The Art of Manliness At first glance, The Art of Manliness founder Brett McKay is the antithesis of our last host – his online bio says he “enjoys barbell lifting, hiking, and burgers” – yet it has the same spirit: how do we become the best men we can be? McKay’s approach is more practical and less spiritual than Rylan’s, with gruff episodes on why men fight, which fitness supplements work and how to throw a networking event (there’s also a lot here on habits and productivity). But scroll through more than 900 episodes in McKay’s archive, and every man will find something to dig into. Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe’s Parenting Hell In the hands of lesser hosts, podcasts talking about how much of a raw deal it is to be a dad can be cringey. But these two successful comedians took on the prickly topic of fatherhood with humour, panache and a healthy dose of not taking themselves too seriously. Seven seasons later, the pair are still producing one of the finest podcasts – let alone parenting podcasts – out there. The key? A startling ability to go both low-brow and high, and extract compelling advice (and better yet, confessions) from their celebrity pals. skip past newsletter promotion Sign up to Hear Here Free weekly newsletter Podcast recommendations for unexpected audio pleasures. Our reviewers and audio producers pick the week's top shows Privacy Notice: Newsletters may contain info about charities, online ads, and content funded by outside parties. For more information see our Privacy Policy . We use Google reCaptcha to protect our website and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. after newsletter promotion A Gay and a NonGay “The UK’s #1 LGBTQ+ podcast” sees James Barr (the aforementioned “Gay”) and Dan Hudson (“NonGay”) challenge whether straight and homosexual men are all that different, and ponder what is driving increased homophobia and hate in the headlines. While the podcast – which has over 300 episodes since its inception in 2016 – naturally focuses on LGBTQ+ issues such as being queer in the Middle East or the scourge of heteronormativity, no episode is inaccessible to a listener pressing play for the first time. Everyone is welcome. Stories of Men: Beneath the Surface Podcasts on male tales of perseverance often focus on the business hustle, survivalism, or what it’s like to endure some genre of MILITARY training in the woods. Stories of Men dares to focus instead on male experiences of trauma, and how these experiences shape the people we become – and aspire to be. Host Alex Melia meets a range of men – in episodes that can be as short as 15 minutes – to hear the lessons they have learned from enduring the tough stuff. And while the show wades through deep topics such as family estrangement or why men avoid the doctor, Melia is unafraid to throw in curveballs such as a recent episode on why queer men struggle with the hypermasculine space that is the barbershop. Why not try … Hear about the quest for a business model that works for workers, not the other way around in Green Flags . Clinical psychologist and yoga teacher Elizabeth Rovere researches how awe-inducing experiences have important mental, physical and spiritual benefits in Wonderstruck . The companion podcast to the true-crime thriller starring Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon and Alessandro Nivola: Truth and Lies: The Boston Strangler . If you want to read the complete version of the newsletter please subscribe to receive Hear Here in your inbox every Thursday
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