One of the benefits of self-isolation during the Age of Corona is the ability to binge listen to podcasts. This week I have gobbled up the ABC podcast The Eleventh.
Most Australians over 55 will get the reference almost immediately. The Eleventh of November is Remembrance Day, but politically aware Australians also remember it as the day our democracy took a beating.
On this day in 1975, the elected Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam and the elected government were sacked by the Governor-General.
I was 14, but I still remember it vividly. It’s hard to believe it was 45 years ago! I can also remember back to the night that that Labor Party was first voted in, in 1972. That night was the first time I had ever stayed up all night. My parents were at a party, gathered around the TV, waiting for the results. Unlike these days when things are all wrapped up by about 10 PM, results took all night.
This podcast, presented by Alex Mann, is an entertaining, in-depth and balanced analysis of the events leading up to the Dismissal. His team have made extensive use of the archived materials and recordings that have been available for researchers for some time. However one set of papers of vitally important papers, letters to the Queen, remain locked up.
Listening to the podcast was eye-opening. I knew about the event and the story in outline form, I did not realise just how deep things went. Was America involved? Did they play a part? Did they topple our government like they had in other places? This podcast answers some of those questions. Some can’t be answered.
Regardless of your politics and whether you agreed with the Whitlam Government’s reforms, it should never have happened. It had not happened before, and it has never happened again. The podcast spells out step by step and in glorious detail who had a hand in it and why it happened.
There is plenty of intrigue and mystery. Alex’s style is very easy to listen too. Even though the main players, Whitlam, Fraser and Kerr are all dead, the combination of archival footage, contemporary interviews with those who are still alive and Mann’s pleasant voice make it easy listening.
Regardless of whether you are a dyed in the wool Liberal or Greens voter, thank Gough and his government for universal health cover, childcare, no-fault divorce laws, ending conscription, indigenous land rights and many other things we enjoy here in Australia. I, for one, benefited from his free tertiary education policy, which sadly has been dismantled. You can read a quick summary of their achievements in this speech.
The other day I was listening to a podcast and letting my mind wander. The podcast was Radio National’s All in the Mind and the topic up for discussion was daydreaming and dementia.
Do you daydream? I hope you do!
Daydreaming has a bad rap, but as it turns out, we should not be so hard on ourselves when we wander off. Daydreaming is a very healthy brain activity and while it may get you into trouble if you are zoned out when someone (like your boss) is trying to get your attention, the fact that you CAN daydream, especially if you are older, is an indication of a healthier brain.
“people living with frontotemporal dementia – a form of younger-onset dementia – lose the ability to daydream. ”
We let our minds wander a lot! Up to 50% of waking time. Daydreaming allows us to explore the unknown, practice conversations and confrontations, escape from reality, plan and problem solve. I know I write my best stories when I am out running! Pity I don’t remember them when I get back! 🙂
People with frontotemporal dementia lose this ability and remain rooted in the present and stimulus bound.
“They become increasingly focused on what is immediately in front of them, such as watching TV, listening to a piece of music, or eating food.”
They lose the ability to create their own internal world.
I have a particular interest in dementia and have done lots of reading on the topic and even an online course through the University of Tasmania. I am concerned about developing dementia (and arthritis!). Being an old chook (a female over 55), I am getting dangerously close to dementia being a real thing in my life. While I can’t change the genetic road map I have been given or do much about getting older, I can do my best to look after the modifiable factors that influence dementia risk.
It turns out that the sorts of things we have been told to do to maintain heart health will also look after the brain and the joints because they reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a big contributor to both these conditions. We need to ensure that we keep our blood pressure at a healthy level, stay active and keep moving, maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet which is based mainly in plants, never smoke and drink alcohol cautiously. Easy!
Just by the by, if you are interested in things to do with the brain and psychology, the All in the Mind podcast is fabulous. I must say I have a bit of girl-crush on Lynne Malcolm, the show’s presenter!
(As this is published I’ll be in an aeroplane somewhere returning home after my epic Scottish adventure)
According to my stats, I have more than 400 followers. (434 to be precise at the time of writing) Despite this, I rarely get more than 30 views on each of my posts. Does this mean no-one out there is reading or are you reading via the WordPress Reader page? Perhaps you are reading in your email rather than on the browser?
Apparently you only get “views” counted in your stats if readers read your post on your actual webpage.
I’d like to get an idea of who is out there and why you’re reading (or not reading as the case may be)
Can you help me out by filling in this survey? Thanks! 😀
I have added a new item to my pre-travel checklist; downloading podcasts so I can listen to them offline. Twelve to fifteen hours worth! In addition to the 12 hours or so of downloaded TV series/HBO movies etc I am set for two international flights.
I haven’t listened to the news on the radio in my car since May. My car’s bluetooth picks up where I left off on the last episode of whatever it was I was listening to.
I have become a podcast junkie!
I have learnt many things and heard lots of inspiring stories. On the downside, I know all about Blue Apron subscription food services, more about mattresses than I care to, including how much cheaper they are in the US compared to Australia. Dry shampoo, bras that fit, shipping options, and how Uber is changing. Podcasts are usually free so to be viable they must have advertisers or some sort of paid subscription model.
I was not an early adopter and only discovered podcasts about 3 years ago. It’s now my preferred form of entertainment. It helps that I live alone and therefore don’t have to worry about having it interrupt other people.
If you are into reading blogs you probably already know what a podcast is but I thought I would do a little googling to find out the whys and wherefores of podcasting. I found this “quirky” (insert weird) little video which defines podcasts in some depth.
This infographic from podcastinsights.com shows that podcast listeners are loyal, affluent and educated. More men than women listen to podcasts.
What are the benefits of podcasts?
Nearly half the listening is done in homes, and over 50% of US households have listened to podcasts. Lots of listening happens in the car. I suspect the statistics are similar for Australia. The real driver behind podcasts has been the rise of the smartphone and the ease at which you can connect to the myriad of podcasts available.
While there have been lots of negatives that have come from smartphones this has to be a positive! Although decision fatigue may be a problem with so much to choose from.
Unlike books and movies or other visual formats, podcasts don’t tie you down to one spot. You don’t have to look at a screen. You can plug in your headphones and head off anywhere. Podcasts are 100% portable and allow for multitasking.
Many podcasts have an accompanying website which has “show notes” which includes links and more information about the content of the episode. Sometimes it has the whole transcript.
This is very handy because it’s frustrating when you are driving and the host mentions something you want to follow up but you don’t have the tools to write a note without breaking the law. (Hack: carry a little notepad and pencil! You can’t get fined for using that at the traffic lights!)
What I am listening to.
I have i-devices so I use iTunes although these days they have rebranded to Apple Podcasts. Here’s the rather eclectic list of the shows I subscribe to.
My current “A” list.
I try to listen to these each week.
Side Hustle School: Host Chris Guillebeau. https://sidehustleschool.com/podcasts/ American. Daily episodes of about 10 minutes with a monthly longer extended cut. I have had this one on high rotation and went right back to the first episode. Now I save the daily episodes up to listen to in one go on the weekend. It’s all about making money on the side without quitting your day job. Sometimes it makes me squirm a bit when I think about all the useless stuff people are trying to make and then sell as it does not fit in with my values of using less and re-using more. Still, it’s given me some ideas for ways to supplement my income which I hope to put into action in the next few months.
So you want to be a writer: https://www.writerscentre.com.au/blog/ep-244/ An Australian podcast hosted by Valerie Khoo and Alison Tait, both writers. Val is the head of the Australian Writers Centre. It’s free and has no ads except for courses at the AWC. It’s cheerful and Val and Al have a great rapport. The content includes interviews with writers and gives lots of writing and publishing tips. It also has a Facebook group you can join. One weekly episode, about an hour.
So you want to be a photographer: https://ginamilicia.com/category/podcast/ Another Australian one produced by Valerie Khoo but this time with Gina Milica. You can listen in the car but because they are talking about photography and have lots of images on the website you really need to look at the show notes. Includes interviews and tips. Val and Gina are a bit racier than Val and Al and some episodes are very funny when they have had a few drinks! Gina and Val are both great ambassadors for Australia. If you are not Australian, you’ll love their accents! Once again no ads except for Gina’s photography courses. One weekly episode, about an hour. A Facebook community supports the podcast.
My B list
I really enjoys these too but I save them for longer trips and listen to a few episodes at a time.
All in the mind.http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/ Hosted by Lynne Malcolm and supported by one of Australia’s national radio stations Radio National. It’s about all things psychology. They explain things very well and talk about psychological problems as well as wellness and positive mental psychology – one of my favourite topics at the moment. Some fascinating insights into people who experience things like synesthesia where they “see” sounds in colours or even flavours. Weekly and the length varies but it’s usually around half an hour.
Modern Love.https://www.nytimes.com/podcasts/modern-love A spin off from the New York Times column. Weekly, around 30 minutes. TV personalities read the essays published in the NYT about “love, loss and redemption”. Sometimes uplifting sometimes not.
Chats 10 Looks 3: http://www.chat10looks3.com/ Hosted by Australians Leigh Sales and Annabelle Crab, who are both political journalists/commentators. This is a very funny slightly rude look at all sorts of things but not politics. They have a bit of a cult following in the 30 – 50 year old female demographic. Good for a laugh. Weekly-ish about an hour. They also do live shows and there is a VERY active Facebook community.
The full catastrophe – Australian ‘celebrities” and pollies talk about embarrassing/terrible things that have happened to them and the War on Waste – a spin off from an ABC TV show.
My C list
I was listening but have stopped
The Minimalists. https://www.theminimalists.com/podcast/ Weekly-ish and often more than an hour. Josh Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemis are THE minimalists. I had this on high rotation in 2016 and 2017 and listened to every single episode and the entire back catalogue. Then I got the feeling they weren’t saying anything new. I also felt that they were “middle class privileged white boys” who could choose to be minimalist etc etc and it rankled my politics. The message however is on song – don’t use too much, conserve what you can, buy experiences not things. I haven’t listened for more than 6 months. I might catch up on my next long flight.
Happier by Gretchen Ruben. https://gretchenrubin.com/podcasts/ This was recommended by Chris Guillebeau (the Side Hustle guy). Weekly for a longer episode and one mini episode midweek. Gretchen chats with her sister and they offer advice on how to be happier. They are wealthy, white and privileged. It got on my political goat. Especially when they started talking about buying material goods to make themselves happy. While they talk about less materialistic ways to happiness, the conversation around getting the “perfect” black purse put me off. I am probably their target audience being relatively wealthy, white and educated, but I don’t know…I just couldn’t get into it. Having said that it was peppered with a few good ideas so maybe I will give it another go, perhaps I just overdosed and need it on a longer turnaround rather than back-to-back.