Last night a podcast saved my life...
Okay, I'm being dramatic... But I can't remember what life was like before podcasts. Did I really listen to music everywhere I went?
For me the podcasts I find online and on iTunes aren't just a source of entertainment, they're a resource of 'infotainment'. Yes, I like to be entertained, but with podcasts you can choose what your 'take away' will be.
For example, if you're looking for inspiration there are plenty of podcasts that can motivate you to work smarter in the gym, maximise your output at work or get you out of 'thinking rut' and widen your perspective.
Equally, if you just want to be entertained then there are podcasts that'll make you laugh yourself silly, tell you a gripping story and let you sit in on a conversation with a show and its guests.
Then there are the passion podcasts. For me this is movies so I have half a dozen shows I will not miss, whether it's a round-up of the latest films to hit cinemas or a look at how movies are made.
Here's a list of my Top 10 podcasts, why I love them so, and why you might want to listen to them too.
1) Kermode & Mayo's Film Review
My love of movies runs deep; I love the story-telling, the escapism and the distraction, but I also really enjoy the community of being a film fan. This weekly podcast is more than just brilliant reviews and 'lively debate' about movie releases. The emails from listeners and brilliant interviews with actors and directors make this a you-don't-want-to-miss-it weekly conversation. I urge anyone to find Mark Kermode's review of Entourage: The Movie, dubbed on Twitter during the live show on BBC 5 Live, as 'Entou-RAGE', such was the disdain, because it's well worth a listen. As are his thoughts on Sex and the City 2...
2) The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss is an author, angel investor and a 'human guinea pig', and the last thing he needs, given that his podcast has been ranked No 1 on more than one occasion and is nearing the 100m download mark, is someone to say how good his show is. It's fairly obvious from the stats, no?!
While his podcast may not have saved my life, (I told you I was being dramatic), his blog post - 'Productivity Tricks' for the Neurotic, Manic Depressive, and Crazy - came pretty close...
Tim's objective in each show is to deconstruct world class performers to reveal the 'tools, tricks and routines' that listeners can then apply to their own lives. Notable episodes include his podcast with Triple H, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Robbins and Jamie Foxx.
3) London Real
The London Real Podcast is a recent addition to my podcast library, but the interview with Will Young is one I've listened to again and again. Subjects covered and the kinds of guests you can expect on the show are leaders in business, entertainment, health and fitness, and relationships.
4) The Joe Rogan Experience
A few weeks ago I was stuck for six hours in a massive traffic jam on the motorway. It was a blistering hot day and I was not amused - until I plugged into this show. Joe Rogan is a stand-up comic, commentates for the UFC and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and an expert in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
This is definitely 'infotainment' at it's best and I love quite how 'real' Joe is. It's topical, info-rich and funny as hell.
His episodes featuring Gad Saad, Whitney Cummings and Louis Theroux are stand-out shows. Oh, and hot damn if Joe's voice isn't incredible...
The show is also recorded as video and can be watched on YouTube if you won't want your participation to be quite so passive as plain audio. It's well worth watching the chat with freerunner James Kingston as video, just to watch Rogan's reactions to James' clips,
5) Anna Faris is Unqualified
Anna Faris won me over when she played Shelley in The House Bunny, but with this weekly podcast we've slipped into dangerous territory where I think we may actually be friends. Here's the premise: each week Anna and a guest(s) answer listeners' questions about love and relationships. The show lands on a Tuesday and is regularly split into two parts, with the first being an interview/catch-up with her celebrity pal, and the second the following day featuring calls to the show.
Anna's kindness and love for her listeners is so incredibly sweet (another reason I think we're friends) and in a recent episode with Johnny Galecki, who gave some valid but firm advice, she leapt the caller's defence saying that she didn't want anyone feeling 'attacked'.
The tag-line for the show is 'Not so great advice from completely unqualified Hollywood types', and some of those 'types' have included Chris Evans, Patti Stanger and Anna's husband Chris Pratt.
Special mention has to go to her best friend and producer, Sim Sarna, and the occasional cameo from her son Jack.
6) The Nerdist
The Nerdist Podcast is hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick and his pals Jonah May and Matt Mira, and you get a whole lot of funny for tuning in. The Nerdist plays host to some huge stars and the chats are always relaxed and playful - in fact, they get some of the best interviews out of their guests - and Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain is a great example. Daniel Radcliffe, who is always an excellent interviewee was especially so in his show, and the often uncomfortable-in-interviews Daniel Craig was like putty in their hands...
7) RuPaul: What's the Tee? with Michelle Visage
You wouldn't take advice from someone who didn't have any experience now would you? And that's the genius of this podcast featuring Ru and best friend Michelle Visage. They often talk about the rollercoaster of fame - what it feels like to be loved, then forgotten, then loved again - and are both incredibly open about their own lives. They answer listeners' emails (I may or may not have written in a few times) and they get really fun interviews out of their guests.
If you're a fan of Drag Race - and why wouldn't you be - you'll love the fact that Queens from the show often appear as guests. Most recently Manila Luzon, Bianca del Rio and Latrice Royale joined Ru and Michelle for the show that runs for about an hour. The show drops on a Wednesday morning, in the UK, and has also featured names like Lisa Kudrow, Nicole Scherzinger, Candis Cayne and Moby.
The best news of all is that having been fortnightly until now, Ru and Michelle just announced the show will be going weekly from October 2017.
8) Fat Man on Batman
Clerks 2 might just be in my Top 10 films. "You never go..." In actual fact, I struggle to think of a Kevin Smith movie I don't love. Fatman on Batman is hosted on the SModcast Podcast Network and doesn't follow a regular schedule like some of the other shows in this list. When Kevin, and his co-host Marc Bernardin, do drop an episode though it's well worth a listen.
There's a clue in the title and if you like Batman, comic books and comic book movies then Kevin and Marc's show will tick every need-it-want-it box. As someone who goes to watch comic book movies on the day of release so they aren't ruined by spoilers on Twitter, I adore the insights these guys have.
I literally hung on every word, in a recent episode, when Kevin essentially posited that it wouldn't surprise him if Ben Affleck were to write, act in, and direct an Oscar-winning Batman movie. With that said... I was reluctant to go and see Suicide Squad in the cinema because word, before it's release, was that it was a flawed movie, but after Kevin's review - where he all but mouth-kissed the film - I reconsidered. So what I'm trying to say is, Kevin owes me £8.
9) WTF with Marc Maron Podcast
The first thing to love about this podcast called WTF is that Marc Maron, who hosts the show from him home dubbed 'The Cat Ranch', usually starts off with some permutation of, 'Hey, let's do this what-the-fuckers, what-the-fuck-buddies and what-the-fucksters'.
Marc is another stand-up comic who gets great interviews out of his guests. You may think you know someone, for example Kristen Wiig, and then she turns up on WTF and you realise you love her even more.
10) The Generation Why Podcast
If you like mysteries, the real-life kind, or you're intrigued by a conspiracy theory then this podcast has a huge back catalogue of episodes for you to dig into. Some cases you'll know, like the high profile Jon Benet Ramsey case, other will be completely new. It was while listening to this, when I was in the supermarket, that I was so shocked by one revelation that I actually dropped a box of Burford Browns. It. Was. That. Shocking.
If you're looking for distraction, but the kind that's well-researched, and will make you sound incredibly well-read when you repeat all the show's findings at your next night out with friends then definitely subscribe.