Jen’s Happiness Ten: The Podcast Edition

November 29, 2015

You know what’s making me really chuffing happy lately? Podcasts.

Well, the clue was in the title. Way to give the game away, Jen.

But SRSLY, Podcasts. Giving me life. I’ve actually altered my commute to longer but much less aggressive one, just so I can enjoy my podcasts with a slightly reduced risk of being either rugby tackled off the tube, or else catching an STI because my body parts are rammed that close to those of my fellow commuters.

Also, podcasts are very much my new running fodder. I used to favour the loudest Swedish House Mafia tracks possible with the hope of drowning out my gasping and tragic breaths, but turns out being gripped by knowledge is a really excellent distraction.

Who knew?

They also happen to make a great soundtrack for cleaning and cooking. You can have your earphones up to near full volume without the risk of scathing stares at 7am. I can almost guarantee they’re really nice companions on lonely car journeys, were it not for the fact that I no longer have a car and have not tested this theory.

So here’s what I’m listening to. Try it. I think you’ll like it. Even if you don’t like these.

1. Desert Island Discs

This is the beaut that got me sucked in in the first place. I’m pretty sure I’ve learned more about life and people from this than I did in my whole education. Also, Kirsty Young you have my dream job. And a dreamy voice. Favourites include poet Lemn Sissay, Stephen Fry, author Malorie Blackman and clinical psychologist Tanya Byron.

Desert Island Discs

2. My Dad Wrote A Porno

My friend Alice Levine’s friend James’s Dad (still with me?) actually wrote a porno. More title spoilers for you there. Here’s another: it’s called Belinda Blinked. Naturally. It becomes apparent very quickly that Belinda does a lot of other stuff besides blinking.

This has me guffawing like a maniac on the tube, but it’s totally best listened to in public environments because it feels like such a dirty secret. Even though it’s no secret, being a public podcast and also an actual piece of erotic literature. A very British LOLfest that I defy you not to love.

My Dad Wrote A Porno

3. Tyler Oakley’s Psychobabble

You can judge me on this one all you like because Tyler is *GASP* a YouTuber that we ‘adults’ (I use the term loosely) aren’t supposed to understand, but Tyler is a witty little so and so. Like Graham Norton, but less mean. Completely harmless chatter that is a whole load of fun.

Tyler Oakley

4. TED Radio Hour

I have two issues with Ted Talks, in general. 1. They’re short 2. You can’t watch them while on the move. HUZZAH, TED Radio Hour combines two or three TED speakers around a central theme, takes them from the stage and explores them further with the help of experts and guests. The discussions can be conceptual, like ‘How We Love’, or more scientific, but I always learn loads and loads, and come away with a nice fuzzy feeling about the world.


5. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons

If you haven’t heard of Elizabeth Gilbert, you’ve probably heard of the book Eat, Pray, Love, which she happened to write. This podcast series appeared as something of a teaser to her latest book, Big Magic. What I like about this is that she takes the conceptual ideas from Big Magic and applies them to different (real) people who are trying to overcome hurdles when it comes to their creative passions. If you have a passion of any sort this podcast will speak to you, and Liz is just a darling human being to have in your ears. I kind of wish I had her on speed dial.

Magic Lessons

6. 99% Invisible

Just balancing out the creative thinking with some more factual storytelling. Science isn’t usually my bag but this is an exception, and not just because Roman Mars’s voice is like drinking a glass of red wine while swimming in a bubble bath while being fanned with the wings of an angel. Smart and funny, ‘99PI’ explores aspects of design and architecture that we never normally take the time to think about.

88% Invisible

7. Serial

Putting this in here for the three people that haven’t heard of it. This is the most listened to podcast EVER. Largely credited as the reason for the recent podcast ‘explosion’, it tells the tale of Adnan Syed who is currently serving a life sentence in real life after being found guilty of murdering his high school ex-girlfriend. As a result of this podcast (which many thought was fictional), a review into his case has been opened.


I know, I know. Of course you’ve heard of Serial. Ok then, what about…

8. Limetown

This IS fictional, and it’s a good’un. Journalist Lia Haddock is on a one woman mission to uncover the truth about a town that disappeared 10 years ago. But Limetown wasn’t an ordinary town – it was a research facility conducting some funky experiments on humans. There’s suspense, mystery, intrigue, great storylines and fantastic editing. This one is particularly great as a running distraction. Get it.


9. Love + Radio

Ahhhh, I like this one so much. People are unequivocally at the heart of this podcast – people telling you about their lives, revealing things that you’re never quite expecting to hear. There’s wonderful narrative and beautiful production behind every episode, which takes it from a good listen to an utterly compelling and at times emotional one.


10. Audible

Ok, this isn’t a podcast but audio books are another commuting revelation for me, particularly as someone who wishes I could find the time to read so much more than I do. Here’s the answer – have someone else read it for you. For £7.99 a month you get a ‘credit’ which buys you any book to download and keep, and you get the option of swapping them out if you don’t enjoy. It’s run through Amazon so basically any book you can physically buy on there, you can also buy as an audiobook. As I said, a revelation.

What podcasts am I missing? Tell me, tell me!


  • Reply Felicity January 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Porno on a plane, porno in the street, porno in my lunch break…thank you for introducing me to this hilarity.

    • Reply missjengrieves January 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Ha! No worries at all, it’s great fun isn’t it?!

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: