Welcome to another week of pop culture podcast recommendations! This week I have bizarrely had ‘Set It Off’ by Strafe playing in my head every single day (don’t ask) but when I wasn’t listening to classic hip hop on a loop in my mind, I delved deep into podcasts about Old Hollywood glamour, how to make your business idea a reality and, on a more serious note, into a subject we should all care more about – homelessness.
Here’s my podcast recommendations for this week:
As a major bookworm, The Lit Up Show is one of my favourite podcasts. Last week I linked to a Live Los Angeles podcast with author Stephanie Danler and actress Teri Hatcher but I have to tell you, this interview is the best I’ve heard with the Sweetbitter author. Bonding with host Angela Ledgerwood over their mutual backgrounds in the service industry, Stephanie goes deep into the psychology of her characters – in particular Simone who has stayed too long in the one role – the importance of discovering your sexuality as a woman, why service staff go on crazy cleanses and actually says this is the most intensely she’s talked about the book in an interview. Hearing her talk about the service industry and the skills you learn – empathy and a good bullshit detector – made me have a flashback to the time a restaurant owner told me I was a ‘natural’ at waitressing. Instead of being offended, now that I think about it, I’m proud.
In the last couple of years, homelessness in Ireland has skyrocketed – the most recent figures show that there are 2700 homeless children in Ireland today. Every day when I walk past people in sleeping bags in the doorways of Dublin’s main shopping streets, I feel helpless but also worry that homelessness will become the norm, the way people talk about it as part of San Francisco’s scenery. Anyway, I listened to both of Fr Peter McVerry’s Roisin Meets podcast interviews this week and I can’t urge you enough to take the time and listen. In the first interview the homelessness campaigner who has helped homeless people in Dublin since 1974 talks about growing up in the North, the easy transition from Clongowes Wood to the priesthood and how he got involved in homelessness, almost by accident. He talks about how the majority of homeless people are invisible – not the drug addicts you see on the Rosie Hackett Bridge – and how he only has one pair of shoes. In the second interview, a young woman who has moved out of homelessness joins the chat and talks about her ambition to become a journalist.
Yes, I know, this BBC Radio 4 show presented by Matthew Parris is hardly an earth shatteringly original recommendation but…I don’t care! In case you’re the same as me and you’ve never bothered to listen to Great Lives before, it’s a short and sweet (under 30 minutes) run through of someone’s life who has been nominated by a public figure – in this case journalist Julie Burchill – and an expert joins to fill in the biographical gaps. Like me, Burchill is a committed fan of ‘Mogambo’ and in this podcast she describes her attraction to Ava Gardner as this feisty beauty who had an ‘I can take it or leave it’ attitude to Hollywood and fame. Author of the definitive Gardner biography ‘Love Is Nothing’ (and one of my favourite Old Hollywood reads) Lee Server joins the podcast from sunny Palm Springs and at one point they describe an incident at a house party where Ava chastises her friend for not watching her flamenco and then spits champagne in his face. Julie says there are worse things than having champagne sprayed in your face by Ava Gardner and you know what? I have to agree.
Whether it’s the poptastic soundtrack of Marie Antoinette or the Chateau Marmont backdrop of Somewhere, I just LOVE Sofia Coppola’s movies. This week she joined The Nerdist podcast to talk about her anticipated new movie The Beguiled starring Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst (who I’m also obsessed with). In the interview Coppola talks about lots of things: her writing process now she has kids, the nerve-wracking experience of whether Bill Murray was gonna show up for Lost in Translation, how she discovered The Beguiled in the first place (FYI it’s based on a book but also was a 1971 Clint Eastwood movie) and how she worries about this generation always being on our phones. I always berate myself for spacing out and spending so much time goofing off in my own head but if that’s when Sofia Coppola gets her best ideas…
I like blogs, vlogs, interviews that have substance and things I can learn from so I’ve gotten really into listening to podcasts with women who have started their own kickass companies. This week I downloaded a not-so-recent interview on Lady Lovin’ with CEO of Birchbox Katia Beauchamp. If you’re unfamiliar with Birchbox, it’s a subscription delivery service of sample sized beauty products delivered to your door for $10 a month. Even though I’m not a big beauty junkie, I know Birchbox kickstarted the whole subscription box business and in this interview, Katia joins Jilly Hendrix, Greta Titelman and Lo Bosworth to describe how she got the idea at business school. The lesson? Find a gap in the market and fill it. She describes the lessons learnt along the way – deciding on $10, cold-emailing brands to get the samples – and how she once emailed Steve Jobs with feedback. Ballsy.