- Caroline Thirlwell
Monday Motivation: 10 Podcasts to get you Through
The start of a new year and a new semester calls for some Monday morning motivation. I’m often tempted to snooze my alarm for as long as possible before getting out of bed and making my way to classes or to the library. However, my morning walk into uni has become much more enjoyable since I started listening to podcasts. From light-hearted comedy and gossip to more informative and educational conversations I’ve come across an array of podcasts that help to take my mind off assignments and the stresses of uni life. So here is a list of some favourites:
Artwork by Ruby Tait (IG: @Rubyt.art).
1. Off Menu
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a comedy podcast is perfect to lift your mood. I’ve regularly embarrassed myself laughing out loud in the meadows whilst listening to Off Menu, a podcast hosted by James Acaster and Ed Gamble. The two comedians may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for some stupid, meaningless comedy then they are the men for you. Each week they welcome a guest into their ‘dream restaurant’ where they are greeted by James who takes on the role of a genie with the ability to grant all of their food based desires. The guests tell Ed, James and the listener their dream starter, main course, drink and desert. This simple formula generates some hilarious conversation between the hosts and a star-studded collection of guests, from actors such as Timothy Spall, Joseph Quinn and Miriam Margolyes to comedians such as Greg Davies, Rosie Jones and Joe Thomas, and other well known celebrities like Brian Cox and Dynamo.
2. Gossip Mongers
Another entertaining comedy podcast which was recently recommended to me is Gossip Mongers with David Earl and Joe Wilkinson. Listeners send in their ‘gossip’, stories which are usually outrageous, beyond belief and hilarious. David and Joe choose their favourite piece of unsubstantiated gossip at the end of the podcast which then goes through the gossip World Cup finals. Both Off Menu and Gossip Mongers are the perfect podcasts to listen to when you want to switch off and have a laugh.
3. The Girls Bathroom
One of my favourite light-hearted podcasts has to be The Girls Bathroom with YouTubers Sophia and Cinzia. Each week, listeners send in their dilemmas which often concern friendships, relationships, work and uni life. Sophia and Cinzia give their advice, discussing what they might do in the same situation. This weekly dose of girly gossip is especially entertaining because of the chemistry between best friends Sophia and Cinzia and their funny takes on love and life, and the agony aunt format is the perfect listening for when you want to take your mind off your own worries. The episodes are around an hour long so they are perfect to listen to if you’ve got a mundane task to get on with.
4. Culture Vulture
One podcast which I listen to religiously every week is Culture Vulture from Shit You Should Care About. The Hosts, Liv and Luce discuss the latest pop culture news including celebrity scandals and controversies, the newest music and movies and social media trends. Whilst the podcast has a lighthearted tone the hosts often discuss extremely relevant and often hard-hitting subjects, discussing culture within an intellectual framework. They often explain how pop culture is significant today in terms of politics, law and psychology, revealing its deeper meaning and impact. This podcast has helped me keep up to date with news and culture, whilst also providing some entertaining and thought provoking conversation.
5. Obsessed With…
Obsessed with is a BBC Radio podcast in which the latest BBC shows are discussed by their celebrity fans and occasionally the writers and directors. This podcast is great if you want to learn more about your favourite TV shows as it provides an in-depth discussion of the making of the shows and the response they have received. TV shows such as Killing Eve, Inside Man, Happy Valley, Normal People and Peaky Blinders have been dissected on the podcast as they have come out.
Another entertaining podcast for TV lovers is Unreal from BBC Radio 4. This documentary series hosted by Pandora Sykes and Sirin Kale discusses reality TV shows over the years, their impact in our lives and the ethical questions surrounding them. From Big Brother to Love Island, the 10 episode series reveals how reality TV has changed over the years and the different issues the format presents. Interviews with former reality TV stars and creators give an insight into how they are made and the aftermath and effects of appearing on reality TV.
7. Where You From?
Where You From? is a conversational podcast by Global, hosted by journalist Lillie Almond. The podcast explores what the question ‘where you from?’ means to people and how it makes them feel, investigating why people feel the need to ask it. Lillie speaks about her own experience of this question and how her first answer, London, is often met with another question: “but where are you really from?” Lillie wants to find out why her initial answer isn’t enough for people. This podcast gives an insight into the experience of people from minority backgrounds in our multicultural society, and the prejudices which are inherently connected to the question ‘where you from?’ The podcast is great if you’re wanting something informative, enlightening and engaging to listen to with guests such as Nish Kumar, Jaspreet Kaur, Nadia Hussain, Shannon Singh and Benjamin Alexander sharing their experiences of racism and othering, and how it has affected their careers and plays a huge part in their industries. Each episode follows a different personal story and guests discuss varied issues and prejudices they have encountered in their lives.
Another engaging conversational podcast is Exactly with Florence Given. This feminist podcast includes conversations with authors, psychologists, doctors, celebrities and cultural commentators surrounding topics such as sex, relationships, sexuality, queer dating, social media, envy, boundaries, masculinity and body image. It’s educational, insightful, hilarious and fun, the perfect podcast for anyone who wants to feel informed and empowered.
9. Today in Focus
I recently started listening to Today in Focus, a podcast by the Guardian. Hosts Nosheen Iqbal and Michael Safi give a deeper understanding of the news through insightful analysis and conversations with writers, editors, journalists, critics and producers. This podcast is a great way to keep up with the news each day. Recent episodes have covered issues such as the strikes, the war in Ukraine, the experience of NHS workers, the arrest of Andrew Tate and upcoming film, TV, and music releases.
10. In Our Time
In Our Time is one of the best educational podcasts I have come across. I’ve been listening to it since I was at school, and as a history student, it has been exceptionally helpful throughout my time at uni. Covering subjects such as history, philosophy, science and culture, In Our Time is the perfect study companion for any student. The host of the BBC Radio 4 podcast, Melvyn Brag, gives a comprehensive explanation and analysis of historical events, philosophical and scientific principles, and aspects of culture such as literature, music, and art. If you’re in need of a quick synopsis and analysis of a book, or an explanation of a philosophical theory, or you just want to learn more, this podcast is a good place to start.
All of these podcasts are available to listen to on Spotify.