Friday, December 9

Best podcasts of the week: What it’s like to spend your childhood on the run with domestic terrorists | podcast


picks of the week

The Boss Bitch Show
Widely available, episodes weekly from Thursday
Kirsten O’Brien and Rachel Green – comedians and self-proclaimed “International Sluts of Mystery” – have turned their sex-positive standup into a lively podcast. In each episode they hang out with comedians, sex educators and “gangbang organisers”. And in the Big Deck Energy Card portion of the show, the guest chooses a card that features a sex-related word that needs to be reclaimed. Holly Richardson

Curl Up and DI
Widely available, episodes weekly

This comedy-drama sees Vic Reeves and Morgana Robinson play hairstylists and wannabe sleuths enlisted to solve crimes in a North Yorkshire seaside town. It’s every bit as daft as you’d expect, full of silly sound effects, surreal asides and reports of crimes such as “20 people slaughtered at Greggs”. Alexi Duggins

Mother Country Radicals
Widely available, episodes weekly

This documentary sees playwright Zayd Ayers Dohrn revisit a childhood spent on the run from the FBI, thanks to his parents being part of the domestic terror group the Weather Underground. He interviews his parents of him and talks to political figures such as David Axelrod to look at what we can learn from the radical groups of the 70s in a show that’s personal, insightful and hugely considered. AD

boom
Widely available, episodes weekly

The tech boom of the late 90s is the backdrop to this new podcast, complete with Pokémon, No Scrubs and the sound of dial-up internet. Akie Kotabe is Jim, Enron’s finance manager who is thrown into chaos when he receives an email from the future. Sharon D Clarke and Omari Douglas also star. Hannah Verdier

Edge of Reality: The Story TV’s Too Scared to Tell
Audible, all episodes out now

Jacques Peretti explores the dark side of reality TV through the ages from Survivor to Love Island, speaking to creators and contestants. Challenging some of the more harmful show ideas isn’t easy because many producers refuse to talk, but Peretti shines a light on the human cost of providing entertainment, including more than 40 suicides. HV

There’s a podcast for that

Shon Faye, host of Call Me Mother. Photograph: Paul Samuel White/PR Image

This week, Alim Kheraj chooses five of the best LGBTQ+ podcastsfrom interviews with trailblazing queer elders to a true crime investigation into the killings of eight gay men.

Unread
In 2019, writer, podcaster and academic Chris Steedman received a scheduled email from his friend Alex. It was the message that many of us hope to never receive: Alex was writing to say he had taken his own life from him. However, in the email it was also a mystery: audio files containing conversations between Alex and Alice, a woman he met on a Britney Spears fan forum who sounded eerily like the princess of pop herself. Unread is a deeply touching and personal skewering of the investigative podcast formula, one that aims to tell you as much about Alex as it does Alice. Stedman also wrangles with the complex relationship between our IRL and URL lives, and the liberating nature of queer friendship.

call me mother
There has been a boom of podcasts uncovering our queer pasts, from The Log Books to Making Gay History. Call Me Mother brings an almost diaristic approach to this lineage. Hosted by writer Shon Faye, each episode features an in-depth interview with a significant LGBTQ+ elder, such as 73-year-old Kate Bornstein, a trailblazing and hilarious non-binary author, gender theorist and performance artist; Brad Becker, the brilliant founder of America’s LGBT National Help Center; Rebel Dykes agitator Siobhan Fahey; and HIV/Aids activist Mark Thompson. Faye is an erudite host who, like any great interviewer, rarely interjects, allowing her subjects the space to share their stories.

Uncover: The Village
True crime podcasts can often be ethically problematic and voyeuristic. The third season of CBC Radio’s Uncover, however, is the sort of richly reported investigative work that not only makes for compulsive listening but also unearths decades of injustice. Beginning by focusing on the killings of eight gay men in Toronto by 66-year-old Bruce McArthur, which went unsolved for seven years, host and journalist Justin Ling widens the scope, examining a history of unsolved murders in Toronto’s gay village dating back decades . Ling’s reporting paints a damning portrait of the Toronto police force, examining how discrimination and ambivalence driven by homophobia and racism has left crimes unsolved.

AfroQueer
Hosted by journalist and historian Selly Thiam, AfroQueer is a wonderful, often emotional, and beautifully crafted podcast documenting the lives and experiences of queer Africans living on the continent and in the diaspora. One early episode focuses on how people are using and misusing Grindr on the African continent, while a more recent episode told the story of Paula Abuor, a pioneering LGBTQ+ activist living in Kisumu in western Kenya, who opened her house to queer Kenyans in 2008, providing a dedicated space for them to gather in relative safety. So much of our current queer cultural landscape is filled with British and American stories that it is a real privilege to listen to something that decentralizes the narrative.

bad gays
Banter between podcast hosts can be irritating. Thankfully, Ben Miller and Huw Lemmey, the hosts of Bad Gays, a podcast about evil and complicated queer people from history, are so knowledgable and informed about their various subjects that their asides to one another often feel necessary. Lemmey and Miller go deep into many of the most infamous queers (the most recent episode is about Jeffrey Dahmer), and recontextualize figures such as Alexander the Great, Morrissey, composer Benjamin Britten and even former commissioner of the Metropolitan police Cressida Dick through their queerness. . Plus, they have just published a book based on the podcast.

Alim Kheraj is a writer and the co-host of the podcast Queer Spaces

Why not try…

  • If you’ve not had your fill of the Love Island duo yet, Iain Stirling and Laura Whitmore are the latest celebrities to turn true crime podcasters with Partners in Crime.

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