The Podcast Hour for Saturday 16 March 2019
Karaoke battles on giant container ships, David Walliams wants to get more kids into classical music, a show that's just one guy going for a walk, a Parisian podcast telling the French capital's hidden histories, and talk show host Conan O' Brien chats to some of the biggest names in showbiz to see if they'll be his friend.
Crew members on giant container ships crossing the world are singing karaoke to combat homesickness and loneliness. A recent BBC programme offers rare access to one of these super-sized ships – and the sounds onboard.
Richard Scott checks out 'Container Ship Karaoke'.
Access is tightly restricted to the super-sized, heavily automated, vessels which deliver to us most of the stuff we eat, use and wear – so 'Container Ship Karaoke' is a glimpse into a hidden world we hardly ever get to hear about.
He takes great pleasure in capturing all of the noises and sounds you'd encounter there, too, including one memorable sequence when the whole 400-metre long ship turns into a giant musical instrument.
It is produced by Sara Jane Hall.
His children's books have sold more than 25 million copies. And as well as being a writer, he's an actor, comedian, talent show judge, and a long-distance swimmer.
So what can't David Walliams do?!
It all began as a bit of a joke. The writer and journalist Jon Mooalem started recording the walks he took near his home on a wooded island in the north western US.
And all you'll hear on his podcast 'Walking' is the sound of his footsteps, his breathing, perhaps a distant hello when he meets someone out on the trail, and a short ad or two recorded out in the field: otherwise there's no talk at all.
It's a slice of Slow Audio, an anti-podcast, the opposite of some of those crafted, tightly edited, highly produced, heavily scripted shows you'll hear.
Then the influential podcast industry commentator Nicholas Quah wrote a review, more listeners discovered it as a result, and people started looking for the meaning in what Jon was doing.
Was it some kind of mindfulness tool? An antidote to the Great Busy-ness engulfing us every day? Or with Jon's interest in nature, was it a coded environmental message?
We speak to Jon Mooalem, the host of the Walking podcast.
Colleague Kim recommended Paname, a podcast she's enjoying.
All about Paris, it uncovers the city's hidden histories, exploring all kinds of strange and interesting stuff about the French capital, and the people who have lived there.
And it's a show with a strong sense of place- you'll often hear the traffic rumbling away in the background...birdsong...mopeds- it makes you want to visit!
The show's made by Amber Minogue who's from England but who's lived in Paris for the past 18 years. She works there as an English teacher, tour guide, comedian, actor and mother- but her real passion is podcasting...she listens to heaps of them while she's out walking or running, and- (pro tip!) they can make doing the vacuuming or washing up way more fun too!
What's On Your Headphones? Amber Minogue of the Paname podcast's listening recommendations
The Earful Tower ("Fun, informative and all about making Paris more accessible for tourists and locals").
The Europeans ("An excellent podcast about things happening in Europe outside of Brexit!!")
Wooden Overcoats ("...radio drama about some unfortunate undertakers").
The Allusionist (coming soon to The Podcast Hour!)
The US talk show host Conan O'Brien worked as a comedy writer for Saturday Night Live and on The Simpsons before getting his own late night chat show back in 1993.
In November he started 'Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend', the shtick being it's him trying to get find more friends, and to pay off the mortgage on his beach house!
After enjoying chats with Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly, we play some of his interview with actor, jazz musician, potential buddy, and Renaissance Man, Jeff Goldblum, a star of films including Jurassic Park, Thor: Ragnarok and The Fly.
'Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend' is produced by Sona Movsesian and Matt Gourley, and thanks to Matt and Adam Sachs for helping us to share it.