When I cast my pod

Today was a podcast day.

That doesn’t mean I recorded a podcast or anything; the opportunity for that has yet to arise, and those who’ve been ‘lucky’ enough to hear me read aloud in public know that auditory media are not generally my best platform. Not unless you like streams of babble plunged into your earholes at 1000 kph, anyway.

No, I mean today was a day when I actually had the right environment to listen to a few podcasts. Which, in my case, means when I’m editing maths textbooks/manuscripts. That engages the non-verbal part of my brain and gives me something to do (and get paid for) while the verbal parts are free to take in conversation. It’s the only way that works for me; I can’t read while listening to a podcast, because the two verbal streams interfere with each other, and I can’t just listen to a ‘cast on its own because I start getting restless and antsy.

It’s a good word, ‘antsy’. Must try to use it more often.

So anyhoo, I spent today (and indeed most of this week) transcribing, editing and formatting maths docs, and so podcasts have done a lot to keep me sane and stop me from running amok with the contents of the big first aid kit under my desk. (No scissors, but so many bandages.) And in the spirit of sharing my sanity (in case any of y’all are running low), here’s a list of the podcasts I usually listen to, with links.

War Rocket Ajax: I’ve talked about WRA before, and it remains my favourite comics podcast. Hell, it’s my favourite podcast, thanks to its exuberance, energy and humour. In every installment, hosts Chris Sims and Matt Wilson talk about what they’ve been doing and enjoying, review a few comics, interview a comics creator and generally fuck about enjoyably. It’s the highlight of my podding week, particularly as it comes out on Tuesdays and is my refuge from all the meetings I usually have that day.

House to Astonish: This is also a comics podcast, but one with a decidedly different flavour. Hosts Paul O’Brien and Al Kennedy primarily focus on news, and more importantly some degree of analysis of that news, which they do with humour, insight and minimal negativity. They also review a couple of titles each time, with a fair amount of depth, before diving into the deconstruction and reconstitution of one of Marvel’s dodgier characters – and Marvel have a lot of dodgy characters. And it’s all done with excellent Scottish/British accents.

Boxcutters: A podcast about TV, which is odd seeing as how I don’t actually watch TV much (if at all). But these guys (and occasional gals) tackle a variety of TV news and reviews from a variety of angles and viewpoints, with an eye towards how Australian TV audiences actually view shows and how the media landscape is changing. There’s insight and humour, and a willingness to cast a wide net over topics.¬†Also, one of the hosts is my nemesis, and I feel it’s important to support him until he’s lulled into a false sense of security.

Decompressed: Another comics podcast, and another one I’ve praised before. While the others do reviews and news, this is a craft-cast about the ins and outs of writing (and sometimes drawing) comics, where host and writer Kieron Gillen interviews another creator about the processes and decisions that went into a particular issue. It’s smart, interesting stuff done in a chatty, informal style, and a must-listen if you ever plan on writing comics yourself.

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: The new hotness on the RPG-cast block is this show from luminaries Robin Laws and Kenneth Hite. It’s got a roving focus, best described as ‘they talk about what they want to talk about’ – history, game theory, alternate history, occultism, cinema, politics, the gaming industry, con appearances and whatever else is on their mind. It’s affable, engaging stuff that’s worth a listen.

Word Balloon: A comics ‘cast? How surprising! This is an occasional listen for me, as it’s entirely interview based and I tend to only check it when the interview’s with a creator that interests me. Still, they’re worthwhile interviews; host John Siuntres obviously knows most of his subjects personally, which lets him cover different ground to the usual press release stuff. I just wish he’d redesign his website; it’s like a time capsule from 1998.

Podmentum: I just started listening to this one today – it’s the new ‘cast from digital publishing imprint Momentum, done as a short round-table among three of their staff. They only have three under their belt so far, and it’s a bit conceptually hazy so far – but as a look at the business of digital publishing and reading, it’s got potential, and I’d like to hear more.

The Writer and the Critic: Alright, this is kind of cheating to list this, because I’ve only listened to it a couple of times and never the whole way through. But I certainly want to listen to it more often, so I’m listing it as an aspirational entry. This (mostly) spec-fic book review ‘cast, hosted by Ian Mond and Kirstyn McDermott, has won awards and critical praise from all over the place, and the bits I’ve heard have been great. The fault here is mine, as I’ve not been reading as much as I should this year – maybe if I listen to more bookcasts it’ll get me back in the habit.

…man, when I list them all like that there’s not very many. Certainly not enough about writing or publishing – or about roleplaying, oddly. (I’ve tried a bunch of RPG-casts but none of them have grabbed me.) So I need more! This would be an excellent time for you to leave a comment with some links and recommendations.

Especially as I still have a pile more maths work to do next week. Sigh.

One reply on “When I cast my pod”

My fave podcast is Hardcore History, which is a non-professional historian exploring things he finds fascinating. (He also does a non-partisan US political podcast that is amazing.)

Self-promo insert: I am working on a podcast myself which’ll start in December.

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