Covid-19 has catalysed a period of change. As students, we’re having to adapt, yet many of us are struggling to find ways to occupy our time at the moment. Obviously there’s always work to do: things to read, notes to make, essays to write, and no matter how much we wish for it, the current global crisis isn’t going to let anyone out of writing a dissertation. But no matter your workload, you still need time to relax and have a break.
Before the dawn of social distancing and self isolation, many of us would have broken away from study by listening to music, and I’m sure many still do. At least twice this week I’ve re-immersed myself in the mopey angst of my teenage years by lying on my bed and staring at my bedroom ceiling, a playlist of MCR hits blasting in the background. I’m afraid we’ve all been there, but small confinement with housemates or family members makes even this simple pastime a lot harder than it once was. In fact, a lot of circumstances under which we’d have listened to music pre-corona have ceased to be an option. We can’t just hop on the 66 with our headphones on anymore, and even if we do just lay back and listen, it’s likely most of us want to feel more productive, like we’re not just wasting our time.
The recent outbreak has likely changed how most of us now listen to music, or if we even listen to it at all. Not only is it harder to get into our studies, it’s also harder to break away once we do. And even if we manage all of that, do we remember to put on our favourite tunes and chill? Can we completely switch off from our work and just simply listen? The current circumstances without a doubt make it ten times more difficult to have a truly effective study break. Sure, a TV break works a treat – I’m definitely guilty of binging an entire series in between writing paragraphs for an essay – but when you’ve been staring at a screen for however many hours, do you really want to be staring at another one for several more? Surely it’s a better idea to stop entirely and have a “proper” break, as my mother would say in an extremely broad northern accent. The answer is yes. We all need a proper break, and if (like for myself) music just isn’t cutting it for you at the moment, then Vision has the solution: podcasts.
As a great alternative to listening to music, podcasts provide an interesting and engaging way to switch off from work and focus on something else. Ranging across multiple genres, they cater to your every need, and all you need do is sit back and listen. Whilst a lot of podcasts provide the opportunity to learn something new and interesting, others appeal to listeners through their humour and general chatter. Many podcasts have also been said to have a calming influence on their listeners, with soothing voices that can help you relax (If the sultry tones of Stephen Fry don’t do it for you, then I don’t know what will). Regardless of what you want from your podcast, there is sure to be one that will deliver. However, we here at Vision do appreciate that to the untrained ear, podcasts can seem a mystical maze of audio. For those of you who don’t know where to start, we’ve decided to help you out by compiling a list of some of our favourite podcasts:
You’re Dead to Me – Hosted by Greg Jenner
First up is my own suggestion, and a podcast that definitely won’t disappoint. Hosted by York alumnus and recent York Vision interviewee, Greg Jenner, You’re Dead to Me is a unique blend of comedy and history. Each episode, Jenner invites two guests, one comedian and one historian, to discuss a particular moment, event, or important figure in history. Not only is the podcast often hilariously funny, but it’s also super engaging – and what kind of student doesn’t like learning things, right? There’s lots of episodes available so you can start off wherever you like. As a literature nerd, a particular favourite of mine is the episode on Lord Byron – who knew that Byron kept a pet bear at Cambridge University?
(Suggested by Scene Editor Tasha Croager)
Off Menu – Hosted by Ed Gamble and James Acaster
So this podcast is a brilliant listen and definitely one for all the food lovers. Each episode, hosts Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite a guest to their magical restaurant, allowing their guest to choose their all-time favourite drink, starter, main course, side dish, and dessert. Naturally, as the show is run by two comedians, you can be sure of some laughs. But in addition to that, the guests also discuss their food loves and food hates, as well as sharing a few funny anecdotes along the way. Vision’s Chief Subeditor, Lucy, says that the podcast is “pretty absurd at times and that kinda stuff really helps you destress if you’ve been having a busy/tough time”. If you want something lighthearted and easy to listen to (or even if you just want to sit and think about food for an hour), then this is probably the podcast for you.
(Suggested by Chief Subeditor Lucy Purkis Charters)
My Favorite Murder – Hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Another great podcast to start with is this one: a true crime comedy podcast ran by two lifelong enthusiasts. My Favourite Murder discusses all areas of true crime, ranging from unsolved crimes of the past to murders of more recent years. The podcast is hugely popular, both among fans of true crime and general podcast listeners, and offers a personable and well-humoured approach to a dark and interesting topic. According to Holly, this podcast is “for people who like dark humour, funny women, and true crime”. Once you give it a go, you’re guaranteed to be hooked.
(Suggested by Sex & Relationships Editor Holly Palmer)
The Wooden Spoon – Hosted by Ruby Granger, Jade Bowler, Eve Cornwell, and Jack Edwards
As another easy-listening podcast, The Wooden Spoon is for anyone that needs a bit of positivity. This podcast questions the meaning of success, and discusses problematic issues such as failure, perfectionism, and self-criticism. Each of the podcast’s four hosts bring a different perspective to the episode’s discussion, and maybe their wisdom could spark some ideas – the episode on study breaks and extracurricular activities might be a good place to start! Social Media Director Jasmine says that the podcast “was really relaxing to hear during A-levels”. This podcast is clearly one for times of stress and worry, the current crisis being the prime opportunity to listen to such a positive and relaxing podcast.
(Suggested by Social Media Director Jasmine Moody)
Revolutions – Hosted by Mike Duncan
Next up, we have another history podcast, but this one is a little different to my own suggestion. Revolutions specifically discusses the political revolutions of the past, and has several seasons with multiple episodes for you to get stuck into. This podcast attempts to make history accessible, with each episode providing the listener with 30-50 minutes of engaging history. And if that doesn’t sell it to you, then maybe our Deputy Managing Director Nick will do the trick, as he claims that “Mike Duncan’s voice is just beautiful, so calming and nice.” If Stephen Fry isn’t quite doing it for you, why not give Mike Duncan a go?
(Suggested by Deputy Managing Director Nick Lunn)
Reasons to be Cheerful – Hosted by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd
This suggestion describes itself as “a podcast about ideas”. Each episode, the hosts talk to intelligent thinkers from all over the globe about issues and problems that affect us all – the climate crisis and the UK voting age, to name but a few. Some episodes also discuss less political topics, and seek out opinions from experts in their fields. The podcast also has a weekly “cheerful person” (aka comedian) there, with the charge of discussing their own ideas to change the world. Our Sports Editor, Eilidh, says that her favourite thing about the podcast is that it “introduces loads of different people with different viewpoints, and tells you different ways of getting involved”. If you’re interested in discussions about problems facing the UK today, then this is the podcast for you.
(Suggested by Sports Editor and Deputy Travel Editor Eilidh Smith)
Briz and Burke – Hosted by Jamie Bristow and Rory Burke
Our final suggestion is a little closer to home, as it’s hosted by James College’s very own Briz and Burke. As their description aptly puts it, the podcast is essentially “two absolute weapons talking footy”, so what’s not to like? So far there are six episodes in total, with each episode featuring a different member of the James College football team as a guest. Each episode is obviously a discussion about all things football, but the latest episode is definitely one to pique your interest, as the hosts discuss all the things they hate about football. Vision’s Managing Director, Maddie, doesn’t even follow football, yet she says that she likes listening to the podcast because “it’s cathartic to hear your friends talk about what they love”. You might have heard them once or twice on URY, but if you want to hear more, then head over to Spotify to catch all of the episodes.
(Suggested by Managing Director Madeleine Jenkins)
And if none of these podcasts float your boat, then don’t despair just yet. Below is a list of podcasts that didn’t quite make the cut for us, but they might be perfect for you! Happy Podcasting!
TED Talks Daily
The History of Rome
My Dad Wrote A Porno
The Guilty Feminist
Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed
Fake Doctors, Real Friends
The Infinite Monkey Cage
As Others See Us
Featured Image by Tasha Croager