Let’s start this newsletter with some conversations that have explored our mental health, in particular in relation to grief. The comedian and writer Jack Rooke, the creator of the sitcom Big Boys, is the first guest on the new series of the LGBTQ+ mental health podcast Bottoming this week. He talks candidly about the ways we talk about grief, to how humour can be tied to our most difficult moments: “Historically when I went through it, it was 2009 and 2010. We didn’t have as much of an open, broad conversation about mental health as we perhaps do now. It was tricky and people didn’t know how to treat me and I walked into school as the boy whose Dad died, rather than being the fat boy who might be gay. It gave me a new identity in school.”
Another good podcast to listen to is Mother of All Losses, a podcast that talks about the experiences of grief of mothers or maternal figures. It is presented by Emily Benita and Anna Burtt. “We have joined forces to create a podcast in the hope that we can provide what we feel we needed and still need in our grief,” says Anna. In their most recent episode, they are joined by the writer Matt Ortile, who talked about his mother Mary May Elaine.
Other great podcasts that explore grief in a helpful way, which we have featured in previous editions of this newsletter: Griefcast with Cariad Lloyd and On The Marie Curie Couch, where a bereavement counsellor guides a guest through a conversation about a loved one they miss.
NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK
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- Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, was on Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future this week, talking about the Bank of England’s role in the economy and how COVID has changed the way that we have used cash.
- Comfort Eating with Grace Dent is back out again, this time with the musician Self Esteem.
- Maisie Adam is on Hypothetical the Podcast with Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster.
- The fantastic podcast Growing up with gal-dem has returned for a new series, where guests look at how their youth has shaped them. Recent guests have included author Daphne Palasi Andreades and the multi-disciplinary artist Radam Ridwan.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
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Where You From? – A new Global podcast, presented by Lillie Almond, puts the question many people of colour have experienced at least once in their lifetime firmly under the microscope. The question being: “where are you from?”
“It means so many things to different people,” says Lillie. “So this podcast is a space to explore the rich variety in people’s lives, to hear the experiences that shaped them and above all, to find out what the question ‘where are you from?’ means to them.”
The first episode is with MP David Lammy. Their conversation weaves together identity and belonging, with discussions on working class routes, racial discrimination and microaggressions, and the issues that need to be talked more about in our society.
The Proper Class Podcast – This very good podcast explores what it means to be working class, by speaking to people who have made a name for themselves with working class roots. Returning for a second series after a critically acclaimed first run, the podcast series is presented by actor Laura Checkley (who you might recognise from King Gary) and theatre director Hannah Chissick (Little Wars).
Guests in the new series have so far included Bake Off winner Candice Brown and the stand-up comedian Darren Harriott. There’s also a great chat with Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure, which dabbles on why unreliable payments from companies within the creative industries can put off working class people from entering the industry.
Queen Bees with Jane Horrocks and Esther Coles – The weather looks glorious this weekend (note to reader: I am not a weather forecaster and I am not responsible if it is indeed raining where you are this weekend). This podcast celebrates all the joy of being in the garden or allotment. In each episode the national treasure and actor Jane Horrocks meets up with her friend and actor Esther Coles to talk about their gardens and planting, as well as catch up on each other’s lives. It’s a conversational joy.
The Music & Meditation Podcast – Our final recommendation this week is to help take the edge off Monday. Presented by the singer-songwriter NAO, the series features a mixture of meditations to knock down your anxiety and provide a bit of stability, plus helpful guidance on issues that affect us all: from how to trust your gut instinct, to move on from heartbreak and deal with burnout.
In a delightful twist compared to other meditations podcasts out there, this series is mixed with a lot of classical music and soundtracks to provide a sense of peace. It’s a good idea, especially as this podcast comes from BBC Radio 3.