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The Podcast Hour for Saturday 16 March 2019 (radio broadcast 23.3.19)

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.

Container ship crew combat loneliness with karaoke

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.

The programme's presenter Nathaniel Mann is a musician and a member of the English folk band Dead Rat Orchestra whe grew up near a big container port in south-east England.

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.

Richard Scott discovered 'Container Ship Karaoke' on the BBC Radio 3 podcast Between The Ears.

It is produced by Sara Jane Hall.

David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast

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?!

Well now he can add 'podcaster' to his CV too with 'David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast' from Classic FM.

David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast logo (Supplied)

David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied/Classic FM


Walking, no talking

Walking Logo (Supplied)

Walking Logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied/Jon Mooalem

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.


Paris podcast: Paname

Paname Logo (Supplied)

Paname Logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied

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!

We play some of Episode 7 of Paname called La Guillotine.

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 (" drama about some unfortunate undertakers"). 

This American Life
The History Chicks

The Daily

Reasons to be Cheerful

My Dad Wrote a Porno 

Scummy Mummies

Ear Hustle 


This Is Love 

The Allusionist (coming soon to The Podcast Hour!)

99% Invisible


Without Fail


The Guilty Feminist

My Favorite Murder

Adam Buxton

The Lonely Palette

Very Bad Words

Where Should We Begin?

Circle Round


Podcast Radio Hour

Friday Night Comedy

Fortunately...with Fi and Jane

All Hail Kale

Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend: Jeff Goldblum

Conan O'Brien logo

Conan O'Brien logo Photo: Supplied

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.