Umbrellas of Edinburgh – podcast

click on me to hear
The Umbrellas of Edinburgh is a book of new poems, covering a wide range of city scapes.  The Scottish Poetry Library has taken some of these, read by their creators, and made them into a podcast which lasts about 43 minutes.

Each brief poem is written specifically about a different place, ranging from well known central landmarks to deprived outer city estates.  The voices in your ears will take you to a variety of places and times – including the resident who remembers catching his first glimpse of Rolls Royces in his street, during Festival time.

A delight to hear, and it will give a flavour (if ears can have tastebuds) of various parts of the city.  A great addendum or introduction to a visit.



English as she is spoked

A brilliant podcast helping learn English as a second language has just won third prize in the British podcast awards: Luke’s English Podcast.

One fun sideline he does is a ‘Phrasal verb a day”.  This is truly useful – they are ways of saying something in a common ways of speaking – difficult to learn as a new speaker of English.

And of course, doing one a day, makes it a bitesize way of learning.  So whether you are an American learning the quaintness of English spoken across the pond in the UK, or someone learning English as a second language – this is a wee gem.


Podcasteth Thou?

The human voice in its immense variation carries words to us in a bandwidth broader than black lines of words on a white page or screen.  It’s one of the oldest media in the world – predating writing – each person’s voice so unique that when we hear a familiar voice it brings all the emotional connection with that person, as individual as a thumbprint.  In the womb, it’s our first experience of the world, before we emerge into the light and smells of life and see what it is all about (and get slapped as a welcome!).

Podcasting is the welcome sound of an accompanying voice, without the pain of the slap.  It’s the more personal follow-on from radio, downloadable onto a mobile phone and carried anywhere – even places without mobile phone signal.  And because it doesn’t need to be looked at, you can listen to a podcast on knitting while driving the longest trains in Australia (according to award-winning”Shinybees” podcast by Jo Milmine).

IMG_0188.JPGListening is less taxing than reading – we can take in information, hands free.  Because of its simplicity and directness, hospital radio is available to even those feeling unwell, in pain, away from their home environment.  The sound takes us to another environment – “Pictures are best on radio” – it’s one person’s voice at your ear, telling experiences of long ago, far away, or right now (the news) bringing you into their world.  And of course this may be thousands of light years away on a Vogon spaceship where the last living human (or so it seems), Arthur Dent is listening to the excruciating second worst poetry in the universe, while a galactic Encyclopaedia lets us know what is going on.  This is the type of set up we find on the classic radio comedy sci-fi show “Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” – terrific and hilarious as a radio show – slightly leaden and unconvincing on television and film, despite advances in visual special effects.

From there, it’s just a step to a vlog – and you can be in your eighties (the inimitable “atree3”), making a quilt and talking about the big stuff – time and eternity.  As the quiltmaker says, the videomaker is making a quilt of sorts too, cutting and pulling together pieces into the overall assemblage.


If the fancy takes you to podcast, there are helpful online places to give tech advice and inspire confidence to get making – try the Podcast Host for easy to understand counsel as you go. https://www.thepodcasthost.com/

Where will a podcast take you – or someone listening to your voice – today?  Anywhere the podcaster likes and (this is key) has the imagination to go.

Music history in 5 minute bites

A history of music in 5 minute bites.

This is a series of 50 podcasts – pieces of music chosen by Howard Goodall, which represents changes in music, through time. (And yes, he does acknowledge at the start that music is not linear, it goes back and forth, and yes, it is his personal choice, other people would choose other music.)


But if you fancy learning a great deal about music in bitesize pieces – then this podcast is for you.