The first thing I discovered is that I simply can't listen to spoken word podcasts while doing, well, anything, really. The second I start typing, or reading something interesting, or even thinking too hard, I just stop listening in any detail. This inevitably results in the episode ending, or the studio audience howling with laughter, and me having to go back to the beginning to work out what was said. I need to listen to these podcasts when I'm doing something that requires minimal concentration - cooking works, as does taking the bus (although that's the only thing it's good for). I've just bought one of those waist strap pack thingies for my iPhone / keys etc., so I'll try listening while exercising too. I imagine that circuit training will be OK for spoken word, while cardio will require music. We'll see...
Current spoken word podcasts:
- Friday night comedy from BBC Radio 4 (I grew up listening to this stuff, it's hilarious)
- Nature (I tried Science and New Scientist too, but there's a limit to how much science I can take on top of work and my print New Scientist subscription, so I chose the only science podcast that features British accents)
- Ricky Gervais (really just short advertisements for his audiobooks - which also need my full attention when listening - but still very funny)
- Stephen Fry's Podgrams (wonderfully rich and fruity)
I tried CBC radio's comedy podcast too, but it is unfortunately just as lame as most CBC humour (Rick Mercer excepted, obviously. Where's your podcast, eh, Rick?). It's like Little Mosque on the Prairie - I wanted to like it as it's such a great concept and the mix of characters seemed so promising. But the set-up to the jokes is so obvious, in true Prairie fashion you can see the punchlines approaching from miles away. Give me CTV's Corner Gas instead, any day of the week.
Music is a whole different story. I'm happy to listen to music any time, anywhere, and I can listen to most music while blogging or actually getting on with my work. In fact, I often work best with music on.
As I've said before, I tend to rely on friends to introduce me to new music - I don't listen to much radio in Vancouver, as you don't get the mixed genre stations that you find in the UK. Everything is either pure rock OR pure country OR pure urban OR pure pop, which gets a bit boring. But now, podcasts are introducing me to more new artists than I can keep up with! I have to be able to pay just enough attention to jot down the name of each new artist as they're announced, and then erase it if I end up not liking the song. I've finally found a good use for the little purse-sized notebook I got in my stocking at Christmas, and I'm accumulating quite a list. The only grumble I have is that the BBC doesn't make all of its music podcasts available to people outside the UK - so while I can listen to various "Introducing" podcasts that feature unsigned indie bands who I can't find on iTunes, I'm missing some good podcasts of newly signed indie bands, and most other genres are completely blocked overseas. C'mon, BBC! Sort it out, eh?
Current music podcasts:
- Canada Live from CBC Radio 2 (this is the best of the bunch - live performances from around the country, featuring different genres every week. I've heard everything from hip-hop to traditional Celtic fiddle music. The first one I listened to featured a guy named Rob Lutes - I finished listening and went straight to iTunes to purchase all four of his albums, and even signed up to his Facebook group in the hope of hearing news about a West coast tour).
- Radio 1 Introducing
- Tom Robinson Introducing
- Scotland Introducing (all BBC, all unsigned artists only)
p.s. yes, I changed the template. All the cool kids are doing it, and I thought MacTavish deserved something a wee bit more sophistimacated. I've been thinking for a while that the old green colour clashed with the orange sky in the header photo, so this was a good incentive to actually do something about it...
p.p.s. does anyone else have problems with formatting bullet points in Blogger? Also, it really, really, really, needs an "undo" button.