Five awesome Australian podcasts

02 February 2015

I'm always on the look out for new podcasts and while I started out listening to a lot of American shows, now I find myself turning to some great local offerings week after week. Here are a few of my favourites.

1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry

Lee Tran Lam writes an excellent Sydney food blog that highlights new cafes, restaurants and bars in the city. Her recommendations are so reliable and totally influence where I eat when I'm in Sydney. Tony and I actually got engaged at an Italian restaurant I picked from her blog!

I was stoked when she launched a podcast, where she talks to industry insiders about their paths into the food industry (which are often really unconventional) and where they like to eat in Sydney. Beyond the food, these interviews are fascinating profiles of creative people and are pretty motivating as a result.

I've especially loved hearing from Nick Smith (Rising Sun Workshop)Hetty McKinnon (Arthur Street Kitchen)Andrew Bowden (Hartsyard) and Ambrose Chaing (Momofuku).

2. Finetooth Radio

My brother Derrick started podcasting from his lounge room two years ago and now has a weekly show on a community radio station in Sydney. Growing up, I used to wander into Derrick's room to hear his latest musical discoveries, which I would later claim as my own. Now I find most of my music through his show and love the cool beats and random disco tracks. One of the best things about Finetooth is that it's not a one-listen podcast. The music's also super energising and eclectic.

Here are a handful of episodes that I keep replaying - NYE (especially for the '90s section in the middle), Nuggets 2014 (because many of these songs became my favourites too and featured in wedding playlists he made for us) and RnB classics.

3. Conversations with Richard Fidler

One of the perks of working in a radio station is that the radio is on all day and piped through the building. This means I hear snippets of Conversations with Richard Fidler as it goes to air. Often I'll catch a compelling minute or two of an episode and know I'll want to revisit it in full.

Richard Fidler interviews a mind-boggling variety of people and spends an entire hour with them. His interview style is so genuine and friendly and the episodes are often about someone's life as a whole and the moments and people who have shaped them.

Recently, I've really enjoyed his interviews with Loren O'KeeffeAnnabel CrabbGeraldine DoogueHelen GarnerBernadette Black and Pat McGorry.

4. Chats 10 Looks 3

Late last year Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales started a podcast and I instantly became a mega-fan. I may have tweeted and emailed them to say so. I love the behind-the-scenes details they share about their high-profile TV jobs and just enjoy hearing two clever women talk about everything from books to Twitter to what they'd baked that week.

There are five very funny episodes of their podcast so far and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll keep recording in 2015. This is one you might have to ration, though each episode is packed with enough recommendations to keep you busy for awhile yet.

5. 20 Questions on AWAYE!

In 2014, the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney's Surry Hills staged 20 Questions, a production that featured a surprise Indigenous performer each show and became 'a cabaret and talk-show rolled into one', hosted by director Wesley Enoch.

Despite its name there were actually over 300 questions put to each mystery guest, who performed inbetween sets of increasingly personal questions. On stage it was electric, deeply revealing and in a way, like a funeral for person who was still alive. According to Enoch, you can't help but answer the questions in your head as they're asked, which I definitely found to be true.

RN's AWAYE! recorded 20 Questions over its theatre run and broadcast a performance every few weeks in 2014. They're excellent episodes that take you as close as possible to the live performance, which is great because having attended one, I left wishing I could've seen many more.

You can lucky-dip your way through this series or listen to my favourite guests, who have been Leah Purcell, Trevor Jamieson, Wilma Reading and Wesley Enoch. 

Thanks to Will Reichelt for the pic of Lee Tran Lam and Kelvin Saik for his photo of Derrick Gee.

If you have any podcast recommendations of your own, I'm all ears :)

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