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Podcast column Dazed

Podcasts to listen to now that Christmas is cancelled

There’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like working in a strip club, a dive into contemporary queer British history, and a selection of field recordings from around the world

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… only, it isn’t. With the UK government announcing stricter tier-four measures across the country, effectively cancelling festive season, and Brexit looming over us like a creepy uncle drunk on his fourth glass of Baileys, life on Plague Island has never looked so bleak. Millions of people are stranded, unable to visit friends and family over the holidays, while most of Europe has quite literally barred all UK arrivals due to the dangers posed by the new COVID-19 strain. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a selection of our favourite podcasts to keep you going through these strange times.

There’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like working in a strip club, a bizarre account of one comedian’s year in the high-IQ Mensa society, and a selection of field recordings from around the world. Avery Trufelman’s limited series, Articles of Interest, returns for a second season and the creators of This American Life turn their attention to what is arguably the most powerful force in our schools: White parents.

On Strippers in the Attic, hosts Heaven and Buffy – both strippers – offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like working in a strip club once the lights come up and the punters go home. The six-part series tackles everything from their first auditions to the dos and don’ts of going under the knife in the name of stripping. They also reveal what it’s like to spend Christmas Day in a strip club.

QUEER RECOLLECTIONS

Queer Recollections explores contemporary queer British history by speaking to those who have helped shape it. Each episode features an interview with figures in the community – DJs, archivists, activists, booksellers, historians – who are working to preserve and celebrate queerness in all its varied forms. There’s co-founder of Stonewall, Lisa Power, on her lifetime of activism, Bangladeshi activist and academic Ibtisam Ahmed on the homophobia of British colonialism, and DJ Ritu on her legendary South Asian queer night, Club Kali. Tune in.

EXIT THE 36 CHAMBERS

A podcast for “true hip-hop heads”, Exit the 36 Chambers aims to spotlight rising and under-appreciated artists. Each episode features interviews, debates, and beats with artists and industry insiders, with highlights including drill pioneer AM, UK rap duo OthaSoul, and south London rapper Drillminister.

TELEKOM ELECTRONIC BEATS PODCAST

As its tagline “The sound and style of beat-driven culture” suggests, German broadcaster Telekom’s Electronic Beats offshoot champions all things club culture and nightlife – and its monthly podcast is no exception. At the intersection of design, tech, fashion, and art, each episode features an interview with a key figure from the underground. There’s French AR artist (and D100 star) Johanna Jaskowska, who shot to fame following the success of her cyborgian Instagram face filters, Iranian-Dutch artist Sevdaliza on uniting the Persian and Western worlds in her music, and more. What are you waiting for?

FIELD RECORDINGS

If you’re going stir-crazy and longing to be outside during yet another lockdown, don’t despair, as Field Recordings brings the outdoors indoors. The concept is simple: each episode asks a sound artist to go out into the world and record what they hear. Choose from a host of daily recordings, from bird calls in early morning Berlin to a walk through the snow in Massachusetts. There’s no introductions and no narration. Just gentle, everyday outdoor noise.

NICE WHITE PARENTS

In Nice White Parents, Serial Productions’ first new podcast since being acquired by the New York Times, host Chana Joffe-Walt (also This American Life) examines how white parents – even the well-meaning ones – get in the way of school integration and a more equitable distribution of resources. The five-part series looks at how white liberals (the sort you’d find satirised in a Rumaan Alam novel) are often the biggest roadblock to progress, even if they claim otherwise.

LOST NOTES

Described as a “collection of the greatest music stories never told”, Lost Notes looks at the stories behind songs and artists that range from household names to less familiar figures and moments in the music world. While previous seasons focussed on the golden era of rock and the stories of women in the 20th century heyday of the music-industrial complex, season three heads straight to the disco. Writer and poet Hanif Abdurraqib explores a single year: 1980 – the brilliant, awkward, and sometimes heartbreaking opening to a monumental decade in popular music. From Stevie Wonder and The Sugarhill Gang, to Ian Curtis and Grace Jones, Abdurraqib digs up forgotten stories from the era’s most exciting artists.

MY YEAR IN MENSA

Comedian Jamie Loftus takes you through her strange year in the high-IQ Mensa society. Told through a series of misadventures, from attending the group’s 2019 Annual Gathering to accidentally stumbling across an alt-right faction called Firehouse, the four-part miniseries is a tell-all account of her experiences. Less nerds and numbers, more rampant sexism and death threats, it’s a wild ride that gets increasingly unhinged at every turn.

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

This year, Avery Trufelman, a longtime reporter and producer for 99% Invisible, returned with a second season of her limited series, Articles of Interest. The six-part series will change the way you think about all things luxury, with each installment delving into a different aspect of dress. The season starts with a museum’s collection of creepy dolls and its role in preserving fashion in post-war France, before moving onto diamonds, suits, perfume, and wedding dresses. Each episode links thematically to the next, like a concept album in podcast form.