Let’s start this week’s newsletter by looking at several podcasts that are doing rather interesting things with audio at the moment.

The first is the new podcast Matt Edmondson’s Not Another Love Song, which features the radio broadcaster attempting to make his own album, despite having no singing or songwriting experience (spoiler alert: turns out that it is a rather hard feat.) To help, he is teaming up with ten musicians such as Sigrid, Tom Grennan, James Arthur and Maisie Peters, but each record must be based on a silly or obscure subject (not conventional love songs, hence the title). It merely highlights the complexity in creating a popular music record, even if you’re not a fan of the artist. And in a delightful twist each episode is accompanied with the track separately so you can listen to it over and over at your heart’s content. 

Our next suggestion comes from the BBC Good Food Podcast. Recent episodes feature recipes that you can read in the magazine, but can be followed step-by-step in the podcast. You simply pause between each step. Recent recipes include super green mac and cheese, chocolate cream pie and Christmas red velvet cake

Finally, there’s Neutrinowatch. The series by Jeff Emtman and Martin Austwick released earlier this year only features seven episodes, but thanks to some smart coding the contents of each episode changes ever so slightly every single day. One episode, which features a song, contains more than 573,000 different variations. I hope a voice artist didn’t have to record them all individually.

NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Sweet BobbyA podcast that has been firing up the podcast charts in recent weeks is this chilling, bewildering and captivating story by the ‘slow news’ website Tortoise Media. Presented by the investigative journalist Alexi Mostrous, it follows the story of Kirat, a marketer and community radio presenter, who was drawn in and became the victim of a sophisticated catfishing campaign (aka someone pretending to be someone they are not on the internet).

And when I mean ‘a sophisticated catfish campaign,’ I mean it. You might think that you would be able to easily identify a catfish on the internet, but Kirat’s was extremely manipulative and at first, far more subtle. They started their relationship as online friends, it took more than four years before it became something more romantic, he then used a form of physiological and coercive control that took over many aspects of her life, resulting in her losing many of friends and causing huge damage to both her career and her personal life.

At the start of this series Kirat does not know who was behind this elaborate catfish, so over the course Mostrous tries to find out who, and why they did it. It is hugely engrossing. Make sure that you give this series a listen.

How I WriteWe’ve featured podcasts that explore the highs and lows of writing. There’s now this series, presented by the journalist and broadcaster Al Horner, which delves into the art of good screenwriting. Thanks to the rise of streaming services, great writing and original ideas are being sought out more than ever. Here Horner asks well-known and respected screenwriters about their process and the setbacks that they have experienced. It’s an interesting career guide, but it is also just a fascinating insight into a competitive industry focused on telling truths about the way we live.

You also hear tips and advice for anyone who wants to give it a go. Their first episode is with Misha Green, behind the critically acclaimed HBO series Lovecraft Country: “Even though the things I have done have been set in the past, it is very much about the present,” Green says. “I am very much telling stories about trying to find the truth right now.”

Spotify Podcast of the Week: ‘Inner Monologue with Olivia Neill’

YouTuber and self-confessed chatterbox Olivia Neill joins Spotify this week with her brand new show ‘Inner Monologue’.  Popular with Gen Z audiences, Olivia has amassed a following of millions across her TikTok, YouTube and Instagram profiles. Her fans love her, and she LOVES to talk. In her weekly podcast, she’ll be bringing her unfiltered honesty and chats about navigating her life in London as a 20 year old from Northern Ireland, relationship dramas, friendship and sharing advice and anecdotes in response to her fans’ questions and stories.

‘Inner Monologue with Olivia Neill’ is a Spotify original show produced by Spirit Studios. New episodes released every Wednesday exclusively on Spotify.  

Paul McCartney: Inside the Songs – Paul McCartney is in the God Tier of being able to tell fascinating or witty anecdotes (the other celebrities in this tier are, of course, Miriam Margoyles and Alan Cumming). This new BBC Radio 4 series simply consists of McCartney dishing out monologues about how he came up with some of the most distinctive and celebrated Beatles songs of all time, from ‘Penny Lane’ to ‘Eleanor Rigby.’ You’ll also hear early versions of all of famous Beatles tracks.

What I love about McCartney is how he slips in so many good stories about songs you’ve heard countless times. Heres one about ‘Yesterday,’ which he wrote at the age of 22. “I lost my mother about eight years before that,” he says. “It has been suggested to me that it is a ‘losing my mother’ song, to which I’ve always said, ‘no, I don’t believe so.’ But, you know, the more I think about it, I can see that might have been part of the background. 

“It was so strange, the loss of our mother to cancer, was simply not discussed. We barely knew what cancer was. But I’m now not surprised that the whole experience surfaced in this song, where a sweetness competes with a pain you can’t quite describe.”

Pepp Talk PodcastThis podcast is hosted by the influencer and content creator Brenny Lee, who has an engaging self-help series with lots of pep talk style advice. There’s interesting advice on how to trust someone after being hurt (“take your time, there is no rush to trust again”) and how to invest in your own ability (“you are nothing without a vision for your life”), with a lot more besides.

Each episode is clear, useful and concise, with each episode rarely going over 15 minutes. Ideal for these sort of intimate podcasts.

As we approach Christmas, if you know of a podcast that is doing a great Christmas special this year, or is great at making you feel festive, please let us know about it! All you need to do is fill in this simple form and it might appear in a future edition.

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