Picks of the week
Murder in House Two (from 21 September)
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Michael Epstein reveals the story of his 15-year investigation into the Haditha massacre in this hard-hitting podcast. Right from the start, his mission is to find out how the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians by US Marines was covered up. He follows Frank Wuterich, the squad leader who was at the centre of the scandal, despite the evidence against him not adding up. “Most of the things you’re about to hear in this podcast were never intended to be made public,” he says, before launching into the story that’s consumed his life. Hannah Verdier
Sex, Lies and DM Slides
Cook and foodie influencer Gizzi Erskine teams up with model and writer Sydney Lima for this chatty new series about modern love, from sex pests to the rise of the dick pic, escorting to bodyshaming. While many of these themes have been explored before, Erskine and Lima bring an honesty that’s not always present, from discussing the hows and whys of financial domination (Lima) to worrying about airing negative feelings towards her weight online (Erskine). With guests ranging from Jon Ronson to dominatrixes, it’s also rather varied. Hannah J Davies
Chosen by Madeleine Finlay
There will be very few of us who didn’t at some point over the past few months need to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and search out the smaller, more positive moments in our daily lives. Yet, the onslaught of headlines, Twitter storms and never-ending Zoom calls can make it difficult to even approach the right frame of mind for relaxation. In my search for something that would take me out of myself for a short time and keep the waves of anxiety at bay, I gladly discovered Poetry Unbound.
As soon as the first episode began a sense of calm descended. Host Pádraig Ó Tuama’s soft, lilting voice is so close it feels as if it is almost inside your own head, contemplative and unhasty. Each episode takes the same format, of around ten minutes. Pádraig describes why he has chosen each poem, and reads it aloud. He unpicks the themes and imagery, and then pieces it back together, ending on a second reading. The poems are never long, and his explorations are clear, insightful and nuanced. He’s able to bring out meanings that make the second reading feel like you are hearing an entirely new poem. Every episodeforces you to slow down, notice what’s around you, and fill your lungs with air.
A Poem in Gratitude of Health Care Workers and A Poem About When We’re Disbelieved are particularly relevant, but with the whole of the first series to pick from and series two starting on 28 September, there will no doubt be something in there that gives you pause.
The London Podcast Festival returns to Kings Place, N1, from 21 to 27 September in a socially-distanced new guise, with the likes of Isy Suttie, Sara Pascoe and Nick Frost appearing live. Among the online highlights, a special episode of Brown Girls Do It Too, which scooped the show of the year award at this year’s British Podcast Awards.