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'George's Podcast' is one you'll want to hear

Can a podcast be a vehicle for social change? Spoken-word poet George Mpanga – aka George The Poet – explores that question in the unique,  award-winning show Have You Heard George's Podcast?

George The Poet

George The Poet Photo: George The Poet / Facebook

Blurring the lines between music, social commentary, poetry, journalism and fiction, George's show has just cleaned up at the British Podcast Awards, winning 5 golds including Podcast of The Year.

George The Poet is a 28-year-old Londoner of Ugandan heritage. He studied at Cambridge University and one of his spoken word poems introduced the BBC's coverage of the Royal Wedding last year.

Realising the long-form possibilities of the podcast, George crafted eight episodes of the show over months in the studio with his collaborator and co-producer Benbrick. And crafting is the right word. Have You Heard... weaves together specially composed music, multiple voices, time shifts, and immersive sound design.

You hardly even notice that George is writing everything in rhyming couplets.

The show takes on some meaty topics too – policing, institutional racism, teacher shortages, the role of music, and in one memorable episode, the Grenfell Tower fire.

You can listen to all eight episodes of Have You Heard George's Podcast? here.

New life for old books: 'Backlisted'

Backlisted logo

Backlisted logo Photo: Supplied

'Backlisted' takes forgotten and neglected books that are chosen by a guest and talks about them; reading extracts, putting them into context and giving them new life for a modern reader. It's a bit like a clever book club where everyone does all the reading!

The show's hosted by Andy Miller- who chronicled his quest to read 50 great books in 'The Year of Reading Dangerously'- and by the publisher and author John Mitchinson, who spent lots of time here in New Zealand growing up.

We speak to John about how the podcast's getting people to read and buy more books, and play an extract from the episode about Angus Wilson's novel 'Hemlock and After' , featuring guest Dickon Edwards

'Conversations With People Who Hate Me'

Conversations with People Who Hate Me logo

Conversations with People Who Hate Me logo Photo: (Credit Phillip Blackowl)

"A sissy", "nauseating", and "a flaming homo"; these are not even the worst online insults that people have directed at the actor and activist Dylan Marron.

In 'Conversations With People Who Hate Me' he speaks directly to the people making these kind of hateful remarks.

The conversations don't always go smoothly, there are plenty of awkward, uncomfortable moments that Dylan has to gently steer through, but most episodes end with a resolution of sorts (even if that's just an acknowledgement that each side understands the other better).

Four years ago Colleen tweeted "I'm not sure I hate any celebrity the way I hate Amanda Palmer". So Dylan engineers a conversation between Colleen and Amanda, a popular musician and writer who you might know from her band The Dresden Dolls.

Episode 27 of 'Conversations with People Who Hate Me' is called 'I Hate Amanda Palmer', is created and hosted by Dylan Marron, and is a Night Vale Presents production.


'Words To That Effect': a brainy look at some big ideas

'Words To That Effect' is a brainy show looking at how some big ideas enter the popular imagination through books and film.

Zombies, overpopulation, steampunk and imaginary countries are just some of the topics covered by the Irish writer and researcher Conor Reid.

Words To That Effect Logo

Words To That Effect Logo Photo: Supplied

Conor Reid

Conor Reid Photo: Supplied

I share an episode called 'Dinosaurs: Palaeontology To Pyjamas' that grabbed my attention recently. 'Words To That Effect' is produced and presented by Conor Reid.

WTTE Ep25 Image

WTTE Ep25 Image Photo: Supplied

The Podcast Hour for Saturday 1 June 2019

The podcast poet: 'Have You Heard George's Podcast?' aims for social change. 'Backlisted' brings new life to old books. 'Conversations With People Who Hate Me' introduces online haters to their targets. Finally, 'Words To That Effect' looks at how big ideas enter the popular imagination through books and film.