We all love a salon visit, but time spent with a head full of developing foils can feel like minutes washing down the basin. The solution? Podcasts. Former Vogue.com.au editor and Manhattanite, Felicity Loughrey considers them the perfect hands-free, eyes-closed way to multi-task and make the most of that downtime.
Practical, effortless and convenient, a riveting podcast allows you to drift off into another world without even opening your eyes, making them an ideal indulgence while receiving your favourite beauty treatment (and a clever way to politely divert a chatty therapist). So next time you’re racing out the door to your hair appointment remember to grab your headphones and read on for our guide to the best of the best on the airwaves.
Ten years after Apple added podcast functionality to iTunes, I’ve fallen in love with podcasts. I know, I’m spectacularly late to this party by a decade. I mean, in 2006, Ricky Gervais made podcast history with his subscription show that won over 5 million listeners. Earlier this year, my Facebook newsfeed was obsessed with Serial, a true-crime story from the producers of that other podcast favorite, This American Life. Now the fashion, beauty and wellness world has entered the podcast fray with the launch of Man Repeller’s podcast "Oh Boy" with filmmaker Jay Buim. It’s a fantastic show where the conversation is as much about style as about new media, entrepreneurialism and growing up fashionably awkward. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of podcasts. My husband has been listening to podcasts through several iterations of technology. He had an MP3 player, a silver pager-like device, and would download episodes from our hulking desktop computer in the evening in preparation for his morning commute. On weekends he would lie on the couch and listen with a blank look on his face. Dreamy, distant, pointless. “Where are the pictures?” I would scream. “You know, they’ve invented things better than this!”
My resistance to listening to radio goes back to childhood. I grew up in a house without sounds. My mother is deaf so we had a television with subtitles, a telephone that made a terrifying fire alarm warble and there was never a radio sing-a-long in the car. (My mum now has two Cochlear ear implants and complains about all the beeping: "The microwave beeps! The dishwasher beeps! The tumble dryer beeps! When did all the beeping start?” “I don’t know, Mum, it just happened.”)
Like any good obsession, this one started while drinking with friends. They were so in love with podcasts. “Oh, Invisibilia. Amazing! It’s a show about all the forces that are invisible!" They were telling each other episodes to download. They were typing titles into their phones. They were so into it. You know when you see people really into something and you just want in? The deal was sealed when I was telling my friend how much I love Mr. Mom-era Michael Keaton. [“Honey, if you call and I’m not here, I’m either at the gym or the gun club”]. “Oh there’s a Marc Maron WTF episode where he interviews Michael Keaton. It’s fantastic.” I listened to the episode that weekend while folding laundry (Kon-Mari method, bien sur). Then I deep dived into Marc Maron broadcasting from his garage at the cat ranch (his name for his home). I listened to the Obama episode, of course, then Carlos Mencia, Kim Gordon, Fred Armisen. It was hard to hear parts of a special two-part episode of Maron and Louis CK that intensely unpackaged male friendship while I was travelling on the subway. A co-worker told me I needed better headphones.
Our most recent house move was powered by podcasts. Moving isn’t so bad if you have an iPhone tucked in your bra and dangling earbuds. I listened to Bret Easton Ellis and David Shields talk about the end of the novel on Bret’s PodcastOne show. I loved the podcast so much I listened to it twice. I was the one now with the distant, dreamy look on my face as I sat getting a pedicure, unpacking the dishwasher or putting out the recycling. Life has been transformed.
All this time I had been soundlessly travelling, doing chores, running errands, having my hair blown out when I could have been listening to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. I listen to LA comedienne Heather McDonald gossip on Juicy Scoop like she’s my best friend. I listen to Neal Brennan and Moshe Kasher on The Champs and soak up all of Hannibal Buress (my crush from Broad City). All of him. All of this. All of this I was missing out on and now I have it. I’m gorging. Bingeing. Catching up for lost time. Can my ears take it? I meet old friends, strangers, anyone and ask what podcasts they’re into and keep a list on my phone. I’m an evangelist. I need to convert those who were as foolish as I was. “No, it’s incredible; the most interesting conversations are happening on podcasts, right now. This is alive. Come listen."
1. Oh Boy by Man Repeller
Jay Buim interviews all the girls you want to hang out with: novelists, entrepreneurs and fashion and wellness stars.
2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry
Lee Tran Lam interviews the movers, shakers and eaters of the Australian bar and restaurant scene.
3. Call Your Girlfriend
Cross-country pals Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow discuss news, events and Drake’s relationship status.
4. Cry Babies
Writers Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre sit with a guest each week and talk about all the things that make them cry.
You don’t have to like your younger self, but it’s good to laugh at the person you once were. Performers read their teenage journals.
At press time there was only one Girlboss episode with Sophia Amoruso interviewing Charlize Theron. We’re excited to hear where this goes.