My morning routine usually consists of getting up, having a coffee (or if I’m feeling virtuous and chi-chi, a green smoothie) before putting on my active wear and heading out for a walk. Sometimes I might go and get a proper hipster coffee at my local, or I might trudge down to the 7-11 for a cheap and cheerful number on my way to proper breakfast (refreshment on the way to more proper refreshment is just the way I roll). (Also: Judge ye not until you also enjoy a perfectly good $1.00 coffee from the humble Sev.) Other times I go for a river walk with my cuppa in hand, saying good morning to my elderly Italian neighbour Albert with his alarmingly large pitbull and greeting the pairs of Greek ladies going for their morning stroll, arm in arm.
Fact is, I’m one of those people who feel like they need to squeeze every last darn drop of productivity out of my day – which means that walking is not only my daily exercise – it’s also an opportunity to learn something new. Thus, I listen to either audiobooks or podcasts on my sojourns. These not only teach me about so many new topics, they also stop me from anticipating the day ahead of me, or obsessing over the day behind me: sometimes walking, running or doing dishes (yes! another reason to avoid doing dishes!) can send me into spirals of negative or unhelpful thought. Paying attention to podcasts or audiobooks removes that temptation towards the dark side, with the added bonus of providing me with the feeling of listening in on someone’s particularly interesting conversation.

Taken during a photoshoot earlier in the year, these images show the painstaking process of hair and makeup from scratch. If my hair and makeup artist Shella Ruby Martin (below) weren’t such a brilliant conversationalist, session in the makeup chair would be an idea time to tune into a podcast!

So here they are: my favorite podcasts for this Summer.

In which Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales have a casual chat while their respective partners and children bob in and out of recording earshot. Utterly charming and like having a cup of tea with the women you fangirl over, Chat 10 Looks 3 is a mish-mash of culture, politics and Crabb and Sales’ experiences. Friendly factor 5!

As any regular Ruby Assembly reader might know, Australian culture is my bag. From Helen Garner to Robert Hughes, convicts to Clarko, I’m into it. Rum, Rebels and Ratbags is a podcast version of Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, and is an accurate yet highly amusing, irreverent look back at the pervy botanists and social engineers who colonised the place we call home.

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and you’ve not been accosted by friends geeking out on This American Life, this is pretty much the highest form of radio documentary available in podcast form. Exploring the small stories that make up the narratives of our lives, This American Life explore the uncanny, large-scale drama of everyday existence.

Melbourne’s very own literary centre which streams podcasts on a multitude of political and literary topics. From Russel Howcroft to Paul Keating, David Marr to Bret Easton Ellis.

A podcast about (and for!) terrible people. (That’s you,  by the way.) Not the slickest production, but still very entertaining: a podcast which looks at the world’s biggest lies. So far I’ve learned about 9-11 Frauds, John vs. Joan and the darknet.

I love me some politics. This is an American politics, policy and culture podcast which keeps me up to date on things which I’d like to better understand. It also makes me a ripping dinner party guest who can opine on a variety of subjects!

I haven’t included the ubiquitous (and masterful) Serial in this list: rather, here’s the follow-up podcast by Rabia Chaudry. It isn’t sophisticated in a narrative sense – it doesn’t have a story like Serial – but it does fill in a lot of gaps in the Adnan Syed case.
Let me know if you listen to any of those podcasts – or share your favorite podcasts below. I’m always up for your recommendations!