My top 5 podcasts of 2020

If I have a catch phrase, it’s “I was listening to this podcast…”.

My app tells me I’ve listened for 494 hours solid over the last two years. So while everyone is sharing their Spotify stats for 2020, I thought I’d offer you the gift of my top five episodes of the year.

No Title, The Allusionist

The inimitable Helen Zaltzman finds out why the English language is riddled with gender. Including a very common sense argument for why we shouldn’t get all het up about using “they” for non-binary people. Lots of swears and so many laugh out loud moments – be careful listening to this in public.

Ep. 142 – Benjamin Zephaniah, The Adam Buxton Podcast

Sure, I know Benjamin Zephaniah from GCSE English Literature 2004 and Peaky Blinders. But I had no idea that he was basically heading up a gang as a youngster and spent time in prison. Here’s how you go from gang leader with guns to having six honourary doctorates and publicly rejecting an OBE from the Queen. A wow.

Content warning: discussion around losing relatives to Covid may be upsetting.

According to Need series, 99% Invisible

To me it’s sickening that wealthy nations allow fellow humans to sleep on the streets, begging for basic needs like food and shelter. This 99% Invisible series dives into the question “What are we doing about it?”. At first glance, you see there is a system in place. But look again and you wonder why the system is even there. Totally relatable for me after a frustrating time volunteering and working in the sector in London.

Tired of Running, Ear Hustle

‘I would do anything for love,’ the song goes. Would you go on the run with your partner if they committed a crime? This woman did, for six years. Life on the run is living permanently in fear and stress. Another gem from the ever-fascinating Ear Hustle.

This American Life

A double cheat. For my fifth choice I’m picking two episodes – or rather, an episode and a segment of another one. And, they weren’t actually released in 2020 either. But they were repeated this year as part of This American Life’s 25th year on air celebrations. I had heard both before and they both merit repeat listening.

Rom Com – Act Four, This American Life

The funniest, most laugh-out-loud segment of a podcast ever. I won’t tell you any more than that. Just listen.

Switched at Birth, This American Life

Who isn’t fascinated and outraged by babies switched at birth? Well, apparently the mum of one of the girls, who chose to keep quiet even though she knew about the mistake. For FORTY years. Here are the consequences.

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