HomeTech Best Podcasts of the Week: Is Bruce Springsteen an Unlikely Queer Icon? Two fans defend the case

Best Podcasts of the Week: Is Bruce Springsteen an Unlikely Queer Icon? Two fans defend the case

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 Best Podcasts of the Week: Is Bruce Springsteen an Unlikely Queer Icon? Two fans defend the case

Picks of the week

It was counterproductive
Audible, weekly episodes

Slow Burn, Think Twice, Fiasco – Leon Neyfakh has a ton of quality podcasts in his back catalogue. Now his focus is on vaping, something he’s desperately trying to quit (even co-host Arielle Pardes finds out). They tell the story of the search for a cigarette that doesn’t kill. What is thought-provoking is how the United Kingdom promotes vaping as a smoking cessation tool, while the United States attempts to eradicate the habit by banning flavors. Hannah Verdier

A better paradise
Widely available, weekly episodes.
This atmospheric near-future podcast from the writers of Grand Theft Auto brings together a high-quality cast. Andrew Lincoln is Dr. Mark Tyburn, who sets out to invent an addictive game before stopping the project, but will it finally see the light when it is discovered years later? high voltage

Leon Neyfakh’s Backfired investigates the rise of vaping. Photograph: Nicholas.T Ansell/PA

Because the boss belongs to us
Widely available, weekly episodes.
Bruce Springsteen may not be the first name that comes to mind when asked about queer pop idols, but hosts Jesse Lawson and Holly Casio are “two queer nerds” who are obsessed with the Boss and want you to know him as ” the queer.” icon we know he is.” They got to work on this fun but very well-justified group. Hollie Richardson

Pull the thread: wildlife
Widely available, weekly episodes.
This intriguing series from Drake’s production company follows investigative journalist Runako Celina and a spy known as “Wolf” on an undercover operation against one of Africa’s largest wildlife trafficking syndicates. It’s an immersive journey that takes you from environmental conferences at the Shard in London to eavesdropping on phone calls in Uganda where criminals get caught up in ivory deals. Alex Duggins

Fesshole
Widely available, weekly episodes.
A new series from the creator of the scandalous account X based on confessions. It ranges from an episode ranking the top 10 secrets of the week to an extensive interview with Philippa Perry about why people go out of their way to anonymously share their terrible secrets. Given how fun it is, it’s worth seeing where it goes next. ADVERTISEMENT

There’s a podcast for that.

Afua Hirsch, host of We Need to Talk About the British Empire. Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Observer

This week, Raquel Aroesti choose five of the best podcasts on Brittanyfrom Armando Iannucci’s irreverent vision of Westminster to Afua Hirsch’s look at the complex legacy of the British empire

Londongrade
London is obviously an international city, but there are moments in this darkly fascinating podcast from Tortoise Media’s Paul Caruana Galizia that will make you wonder exactly which country wields the most influence over our capital. The first series of the show focused on the Russian money that has flooded into London through the purchasing power of super-rich oligarchs, who have invested in property and, in the case of the Lebedevs, multiple newspapers. Meanwhile, the second series focused its attention on Iran and the government-ordered “hit squads” that have repeatedly attempted to assassinate London-based critics of the regime on British soil.

We need to talk about the British Empire
A deeply personal memoir and insightful analysis of British history, Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book Brit(ish) is a must-read for anyone seeking to better understand the history and politics of blackness in this country. In this podcast series, the author expands her scope even further and uses guests’ personal stories to shed light on the legacy of colonialism from multiple angles. Anita Rani offers insights on Partition; the late Benjamin Zephaniah analyzes Windrush; Diana Rigg talks about growing up in the final days of the British Raj; and musician Emma-Lee Moss (formerly Emmy the Great) recalls her childhood in British-ruled Hong Kong.

Westminster reimagined
One of our leading satirists, Armando Iannucci, has spent his career exposing the follies and foibles of this country, from government filth in The Thick of It to the banality of mid-tier broadcasters via Alan Partridge. For this New Statesman podcast series, he teams up with the magazine’s British editor, Anoosh Chakelian (who also presents the publication’s core group), for a slightly less irreverent take on old Blighty’s most pressing political issues. Topics range from Britain’s “ramshackle” constitution and the old boys’ club energy of partisan politics to the shortcomings of lobby journalism and the deterioration of our supposedly special relationship with the United States.

Northern News
Edinburgh-nominated comedians Ian Smith and Amy Gledhill are northerners who have moved to London but still long for messages from their home towns: Gledhill hails from Hull, Smith from nearby Goole. In the Northern News, the pair combine freewheeling chat with regional newspaper readings, focusing on the strangest, silliest, most toilet-ridden stories they can find (the opening of a “haçienda-style” nightclub in a Bury furniture store, outrage over a badly decorated Christmas tree provided by Goole council). They also welcome a large group of guest comedians, who share the peculiarities of their own territory: Paddy Young sheds light on Scarborough’s day away, while Lucy Beaumont explains Hessle’s party.

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The rise and fall of Britpop
The story of Britpop is not just the sensational rivalry between Oasis and Blur: it is a story that tells us a lot about the heritage and history of British pop culture from the 1960s to the present day. As co-hosts of Radio 1’s modern Evening Session at the time the scene was created 30 years ago, Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley are exceptionally well placed to tell this particular story. With the help of guests Stuart Maconie and Alex James, the duo takes a trip back in time to trace Britpop’s trajectory from an unloved alternative to fashionable American grunge to a cultural force that revised our national identity.

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