I find it extremely difficult to switch off at night. While on tour with Storyman, or The Guggenheim Grotto as they were then known, Kevin & Mick dubbed me “tippy tappy”, such was my penchant for being interrogated by the glow of my teeny netbook, clacking loudly on the keyboard, while everyone else was trying to sleep. (More about Mick in a sec.)
Two years ago, I wrote a little post with some links to some things I had been listening to. One was an intriguing podcast called “Find The Conversation”. I never explained why I was recommending podcasts. I had discovered around that time, that listening to podcasts helped me to fall asleep more easily than ever before. Listening back the next day, or the following night, I’d sometimes realise that I only made it ten minutes into the show. It was effective because it allowed my mind to focus on something without having to respond. I was paying attention until I conked out. It worked like a dream. (Sorry.) Anyway, there are a few podcasts I listen to on a regular basis, which I thought I should recommend / thank, if anyone out there suffers from a similar affliction.
Firstly though, I’d like to link to just a few Irish friends who have released albums in the past few months. They are marvellous people, and make fantastic music. There are loads more, but I’ll give you three for now, in no particular order. Support them if you can…
I met Mick & Kevin of Storyman about ten years ago. On one particular US tour, all three of us spent 1440 hours in a row together. That’s two whole months. Yet, we’re still firm friends. At least, that’s what their lawyers tell me. This is Mick’s solo debut. (I highly recommend Many Moons – it’s a heartbreaker.)
Ollie is a fellow Meathman, and was a member of Turn, whose album Forward had a lasting effect on me. Always positive and confident.
Paddy’s debut is a little gem. Often at sessions, when Paddy’s breaking out in song, other musicians will audibly mutter “bastard!” in appreciation of the man’s talents. I think, in these parts, that’s pretty much the highest accolade going.
Albums versus Podcasts
So they’re some albums to keep you company for a while. I will never be able to listen to music while nodding off to sleep. I get too involved in it, and it just ends up keeping me awake. So, hence the podcasts for bedtime.
Second Captains (podcast)
I would normally never watch or listen to shows solely about the to and fro of sport. They usually speak in very grave terms about things which really don’t seem awfully important, like Mitchell & Webb’s Sky Sports ad parody. However, I love the Second Captains’ podcasts. Yes, it is about sports – but they make it compelling with their wit and intelligence. I got hooked on the show around the time the Lance Armstrong case was finally blowing apart. Also, they pepper the show with fantastic sound clips. Here’s one from Japan’s incredible defeat of South Africa in the World Cup featuring commentary from New Zealand, Japan, France & Italy. I will freely admit, my eyes well up every time I hear it. (For some reason I’m unable to link to the exact time in the podcast. Jump forward to the section in question – it’s at 1h 02mins and 41secs – just before the end.)
99% Invisible (podcast)
This is a podcast about design. If you like amazing stories, or have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, this will be right up your street. To be honest, the presenting style annoys me a little. But the content often more than makes up for it. My favourite podcast so far has been this gem about architectural engineering gone wrong, and then covertly made right – the Citicorp building in NYC.
No Such Thing As A Fish (podcast)
QI is a show on TV in the UK. The QI Elves are the researchers behind the scenes who seem to have the same obsessive need to collect stories and interesting facts, for no reason other than to just know them. Extremely entertaining and informative.