If you have a seemingly never-ending commute, possibly on a long stretch of the A14, then you understand the struggle to block the depressing thought that you are wasting your life away in a car.
At the very least, a 40-plus minute commute on a straight road encourages a few too many yawns than you’d like to have behind the wheel.
I have a temporary commute of an hour and a half, so I have turned to podcasts to keep me awake, cheer me up and broaden my mind.
I might as well learn something useful in the many hours I am trapped in my car.
Some of the podcasts on the following list will be featured at the London Podcast Festival, which runs from September 13-17.
The festival lets fans experience their favourite podcast hosts in person at individual live shows.
Enjoy this roundup of podcasts that will satisfy your cravings to laugh until you cry, stay informed, investigate true crime and soak up a compelling story. Make sure to hit play on your mobile before you hit the road.
My Dad Wrote A Porno
If your 60-year-old dad wrote erotic novels, you’d probably run the other way, but host Jamie Morton has embraced the awkwardness and reads a chapter of his dad’s novel, Belinda Blinked, each week.
He and friends James Cooper and BBC Radio 1 presenter, Alice Levine, cringe as they listen to the hilarious and nonsensical adventures of Belinda, a sex-crazed manager in the ‘pots and pans industry.’
Cambridge is finally getting its own Pride festival – and everyone is invited
Jamie’s dad, who goes by the pen name, Rocky Flintstone, may not be skilled at imagining sexual fantasies, but he has created the basis for a podcast that consistently tops the iTunes chart.
The crew will be at the London Podcast Festival on September 14.
Anna Faris is Unqualified
Actress Anna Faris of Just Friends and House Bunny fame, invites celebrities to her self-described creepy Los Angeles home to take part in wacky role play scenarios and games.
Once the laughter dies down, Anna, the celebrity guest and her co-host and producer Sim Sarna call a listener to answer his or her relationship conundrum. Anna and her guests are ‘unqualified’, but they still manage to cheer up their callers.
No Such Thing As A Fish
The writers of the BBC’s beloved QI programme chat about the most absurd facts they’ve learned this week. The show is simultaneously smart and funny, causing listeners to look forward to its release each week.
My Favorite Murder
You wouldn’t think a true crime show would cause you to cry so hard tears spring to your eyes, but somehow comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have accomplished that feat.
The show is set up in an odd but reassuringly simple format: Each host reads aloud one of their favourite murders, usually cobbled together from several true crime websites, while the other intermittently chimes in with a funny observation. The funniest part of the podcast is when the pair inevitably veer off on a tangent. These off-track stories give you a breather between the gruesome but intriguing murders.
Host Phoebe Judge goes beyond just retelling a crime like most true crime podcasts but lets listeners get to know someone who has done something wrong, been a victim or found themselves in the grey area of the law.
Speed cameras: Find out which ones can land you a fine and which ones can’t
One gripping episode focuses on a woman who suspected someone was living in her attic while another is about scientists who put human bodies outside to study how they decompose.
Criminal will be at the Podcast Festival on September 16.
If you have ever listened to a podcast, you will almost definitely have heard of Serial from the producers of the beloved This American Life podcast.
When the Peabody Award-winning show launched in 2014 with a new look at the 1999 murder of Maryland teen Hae Min Lee, it trended around the world.
Host Sarah Koenig reinvestigated the murder case, interviewing Lee’s former boyfriend, Adnan Syed, who is currently in jail for her murder. Ms Koenig digs into every last detail of the case, at one point visiting the spot of a pay phone that featured heavily in the case.
Season two investigates the case of Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier accused of being a traitor.
It is hard to overstate how addictive you’ll find Serial.
Teach me something
Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It
If you can’t look away from the car wreck that is becoming American politics, then Pod Save America by Crooked Media is the podcast for you.
Former President Obama aides – Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor – interview politicians, journalists and activists about President Trump’s latest antics. The podcast is a smart but funny take on current events.
One host, Jon Lovett, has converted political discussions into a live game show format with his spin-off podcast, Lovett or Leave It. A panel of guests share their thoughts about recent shenanigans, play games and spin a ‘rant wheel’ to vent their frustrations on hot button topics.
Is it legal to drive in flip-flops or bare feet?
Radiolab, a two-time Peabody Award-winning podcast, investigates scientific concepts using sounds, music and stories. Even if you don’t think you’re ‘into’ science, you’ll enjoy this podcast for the curious mind.
The Guilty Feminist
Comedian Deborah Frances-White and her guests explore what it means to be a feminist in front of a live audience. The women share hilarious feminist faux pas and their empowerment challenges for the week. Ms Frances-White once challenged herself to leave her comfort zone, which found her in a pole dancing class that did not go as she planned.
The podcast will be at the festival on September 17.
In a truly original podcast topic, host Helen Zaltzman acts as a linguistic detective, delving into the origin of words.
The podcast will be at the festival on September 16.
For two decades, storytellers at Moth events all over the world have braved the spotlight in front of a live audience to reveal personal stories without the aid of note cards. The stories revolve around a theme and can simultaneously induce tears and laughter.
The Mortified Podcast
Adults read aloud the journals they kept as teens without any extractions or embellishments.
Most people would be terrified at the thought of their whiny teenage voices being exposed to the world, but they do make for hilarious stories.