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Being an absolute boss: podcasts of the week

The Guardian // 31st May 2017
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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Being an absolute boss: podcasts of the week” was written by Rowan Slaney, for theguardian.com on Friday 19th May 2017 06.00 UTC

It’s podday (what do you think of podday? I’ve just made it up and am trying to go with it), the day where all your podcasting dreams come true. It is also my birthday week, hooray! In the Slaney household, a birthday week means anyone who has a birthday coming up can be Veruca Salt for exactly seven days around the date. I’ve been stomping around, acting very superior – you should try it, it’s jolly good fun. So, this week I’ve chosen podcasts about being an absolute boss. Both literally and metaphorically. Shall we begin? NO, wait. Subscribe to our podcast newsletter! Now we can begin:

Funny memoirs with Patricia Lockwood – Guardian Books podcast

The ‘extremely unique’ Patricia Lockwood
The ‘extremely unique’ Patricia Lockwood. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer

Patricia Lockwood is boss. The utter definition of boss. If you were to look in a dictionary which I had written, it would look like this:

Boss = Patricia Lockwood

This edition of the Books podcast had me howling. If you want to hear about the woman whose father is an ex-navy, guitar-toting, borderline nudist Catholic priest (no, seriously), then this is the podcast for you. Sian Cain asks all the right questions, allowing the US poet to roll out a list of hilarious anecdotes combined with some quite difficult to listen to memories.

Too often sex, swearing and rebellion is used to shock us in a way I find so boring, and can be a shield for a lack of talent, but this couldn’t be further from the truth with the amazing Lockwood – the frankness with which she speaks feels massively genuine. I do not think I’ve ever related to anyone more then when she spoke about the horrors of having to move back home because she and her husband were too poor, and I genuinely gagged on my drink when she read a poem she wrote about Bambi.

That’s not to say this podcast is all fun and games. There are some very touching and some very difficult moments. It also brought me to the attention of Lockwood’s poem Rape Joke (a must read) and what it was like overhearing the way men talk about women in private, when one of those men is her father.

Do not listen to this if you don’t enjoy being shocked. It can be hard to listen to at some points. But for those of you who relish dark humour and a good old-fashioned family drama, this is a must.

I can even forgive her for saying “extremely unique”, it’s that good.

Movidiam

Movidiam podcast
Creative professionals from around the world contribute to the Movidiam podcast. Photograph: Movidiam podcast

From being an absolute boss to listen to, to being a literal boss, or rather talking to bosses from all over the world. Xaver Walser got in touch to tell me about Movidiam. This brilliant podcast is part of a project management platform for the creative industries, and its makers simply talk to some really impressive names in their network. I found myself raising higher and higher eyebrows with genuine surprise and respect at the number of bigwigs from notable brands they have spoken to. This is what Xaver had to say:

I was very excited to stumble upon the Movidiam podcast. Its guests are creative professionals from all over the world and in all different industries, so there is a little something for everyone. Guests share their insight into their personal journeys and discussions on the current state of the industry, opening up the conversation for what’s in store for brands, agencies and production companies in the years to come. Episodes feature chief marketing officers, top agency creative directors and producers giving listeners a unique perspective on the opportunities, challenges and changes facing these companies.

For anyone who aspires to be a senior creative, or who just wants to hear the behind the scenes on how major organisations work, then you have to listen to this podcast.

The Tennis Podcast

Catherine Whitaker and David Law from the Tennis Podcast
Catherine Whitaker and David Law serve up a compelling listen on the Tennis Podcast. Photograph: David Law

Now to being a boss in one particular subject. Can you guess what it is? That’s right, tennis! I’ll admit, I don’t care even a little bit about tennis (or any sport that isn’t the “Rescue the sad animals and give them the perfect forever home league”, or the RSAGTPFHL as I like to call it) but the sheer enthusiasm with which avid listener Matt Roberts wrote to me meant I had to give it a listen, and honestly, it was a real hoot. I could go on about the chemistry between the presenters, the impressive depth of knowledge they have, or the incredible guests, but I’ll let Matt say it all:

Five years ago, Catherine Whitaker and David Law brought us the Tennis Podcast, a weekly conversation about the nonstop world of professional tennis. Nearly 300 episodes later, it is still going, and better than ever. The pair discuss the week’s tennis news, reminisce, make bold predictions and often disagree. There are quotable lines aplenty – “trying to imagine a player better than Roger Federer is like trying to imagine a new colour” is a personal favourite.

Tennis has been littered with controversy recently – anti-doping cases, racism, match-fixing, sexism – and David and Catherine tackle these contentious issues head on. They have established a likeable dynamic, with gentle mocking and subtle ripostes. Crucially, their willingness to challenge each other means we always hear both sides.

Episodes last between 45 minutes and an hour, and fly by. The podcast often welcomes A-list guests for added prestige and insight: Andy Murray’s first interview as a father, Martina Navratilova saying she thought she could have beaten Serena Williams, even José Mourinho has been on, revealing he shed a tear after Murray won Wimbledon.

But the jewels in the Tennis Podcast crown are the daily shows produced from all four grand slam events. These mini episodes enhance the tournament experience by capturing the buzz from inside, with real-time reaction and press conference soundbites. With a thriving social media presence, followers can contribute by voting in polls and offering opinions on discussion topics. David and Catherine are experts at making listeners feel involved. Join them.

That’s it for this week. To get in touch with your recommendations, email podcasts@theguardian.com

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