As many readers will know, my first encounter with podcasts was co-hosting one with TJ Cosgrove, pencil guru and all-around good egg. I’m sure the vast majority of you are familiar with the concept of podcasts, but in case there is another me out there, here we go.

A podcast is a recording of one or more people talking. That’s it. They all exist on the internet, and the vast majority of them can be listened to for free. Many of them produce regular episodes, every month, every week, even every day. If you have an interest - rest assured that there will be several podcasts for it. If you have an iPhone, you have a stock app imaginatively called “Podcasts”. There you can subscribe to any that you would like to automatically appear as they are released, or find individual episodes to try out. On Android I think "Google Podcasts" is the stock app. Try some out. You could start with Stationery Adjacent, that I record most weeks with Justin Twyford, a man of Canada, no less.

Anyway, I quickly got into a load of shows to which I subscribe. Nerdy stuff that appeals to me. The Pen Addict for example. (Told you there are podcasts for everything.) For a long time, podcasts have been slightly marginal, not really mainstream. My favourites tend to be conversational ones that are not slick or over-produced. However, of late, “big media” has got interested. I now listen to several current affairs shows hosted by household names and the BBC has produced some absolute humdingers too. Have a listen to “The Missing Madonna”. 9 short episodes that left me open-mouthed. Readers from across the pond might enjoy the Liverpool accent of the narrator, it’s a cracker.

Anyway - for our last episode (number 120) coming out on Wednesday the 13th of September, Justin proposed that we each list “ten bands to get to know you by.” Subscribe to the show. You don’t need to listen to the first 119, we were just warming up really.

What a revelation this topic was! Pre-podcasts, I would always have music on when I worked, but I now have so many podcasts in my feed that there are insufficient hours in a week for me to listen to them all. As a consequence, music has all but disappeared from my life. Doing the prep for the show, I took a meander through my life, identifying its soundtrack. Bands that I love, or loved. The memories that came flooding back! It was awesome. I resolved right then to trim my podcast listening to make time for some music each day. Essential for the soul. Go listen to your favourite album. You’ll feel great.

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