Sadly, summer’s here. Which means that I have to soon give up one of winter’s simple pleasures of riding to work on my motorcycle and opt for the climate-controlled box on four wheels. I’ll miss the cool caress of the morning breeze on my forearms and the sharp, olfactory mysteries of the morning vegetable market at Dadar wafting into my helmet. I’ll miss the after-midnight rides back home after a magazine deadline, on empty roads that just a few hours ago were clogged traffic, people and particulates, my head cocked back to listen to the basso profundo notes played, the exhaust pipe rising in concert with twists of the throttle.
The car commute will add half-an-hour to my trip, that too on a good day, the tedium of travel vented occasionally by cursing the ill-bred idiot in an Innova hogging two lanes. Since FM programming seems to be aimed solely at my fellow drivers in black and yellow, and having memorized all of the lyrics from albums in my 10 CD changer that I’m too lazy to change, once again, I fall back on my trusty iPod to relieve the ennui.
No, not to hear Dylan’s Modern Times once again to figure out what the fuss was all about, but to listen to the podcasts that I subscribe to through iTunes, downloaded automatically the night before and transferred on to the iPod by the time the coffee has brewed on the stove-top espresso maker in the morning. Good old Wiki says, “A podcast is a media file that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Like ‘radio’, it can mean both the content and the method of syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. The term ‘podcast’ is derived from Apple’s portable music player, the iPod. However, known synonyms for the word pod are capsule, case, container, hull, husk, shell and vessel. A pod refers to a container of some sort and the idea of broadcasting to a container or pod correctly describes the process of podcasting.” There, I couldn’t have put it better.
Consider podcasts as Web pages for your ears—and, in some cases, for your eyes. No matter what you’re into, there’s a podcast that’s perfect for you. From the practical to the profane, the professional to the puerile, these podcasts are guaranteed to improve drive-time aural entertainment.
I usually hook up the iPod to a Belkin Tunecast II FM transmitter (www.belkin.com) that transmits on FM channels 88.1MHz-107.9MHz and memorizes up to 4 FM frequencies and you can tune into the one with the best reception on your car FM radio. The TuneBase FM transmitter for iPod with a gooseneck holder is on my wish list. Sometimes, I find it simpler just to slip in a generic cassette adapter into the in-dash player and connect the iPod. You can get one for less than Rs500 at any half-way decent electronics store, in white or black to match your iPod preference.
The easiest way to get on the podcast bandwagon would be to go to http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ and download iTunes 7 for Mac or Windows. Once installed, go to the iTunes Store, click on podcasts and you can search and subscribe to the free podcast of your persuasion. You do have an iPod, don’t you?
Here are a few podcasts that I currently subscribe to:
I’m a big fan of David Pogue, the weekly personal-technology columnist forThe New York Times . His always irreverent, yet pertinent, column ‘State of the Art’, appears every Thursday and his blog (pogue.blogs.nytimes.com) always makes for a fun read. His related podcast is a good way to keep up with the latest in gadgets and personal tech, delivered in a laconic style, thankfully devoid of odious techie jargon. You always thought more megapixels in a digital camera meant better pictures? Let Pogue explode the myth for you.
Onion Radio News with Doyle Redlandid, www.theonion.com; explicit content
With its hilarious parody of news-writing conventions, The Onion has attracted a fanatical readership for its print and online incarnations. The Onion Radio News with Doyle Redland features 60 seconds of fake news that airs daily. Some recent gems: ‘Fired Muscle Magazine Editor Will Arm Wrestle For Job’, ‘Woman With Amazing Rack Told She Has Beautiful Eyes’, ‘Angry Girlfriend Has Trouble Storming Out Of Rotating Restaurant’.
All Songs Considered, www.npr.org/programs/asc
All Songs Considered is National Public Radio’s online music programme. You can listen to music, watch videos and slideshows and hear interviews with NPR reviewers about their favourite CDs. It’s a great way to discover and learn more about artists who often don’t get much, or any, airplay. Bob Boilen created All Songs Considered and hosts the podcast. One of my favourite podcasts featured the Beatles’ Love album producer George Martin and his son, Giles, about the great new remixes on CD—ever wondered about the guitar solo from While My Guitar Gently Weeps mixed onto Lady Madonna?
Radio 1 Best Of Unsigned, www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/unsigned/
Handpicked by BBC Radio 1 DJs and delivered to your iPod every week, the best unsigned acts are given primetime airplay. There’s a new show every Tuesday and you can let Rob da Bank, Huw Stephens, Ras Kwame and Fergie find new tunes from all different genres of music. Thirty minutes of new musical exploration—The Tinpots, Frakah, Organized Noise, The Jane Bradfords, The Greenland Choir and Dr. Meaker—bring them on!
Sowerby and Luff Show,www.btpodshow.com; explicit content
From the creators of top-rated podcast, Sowerby and Luff’s Big Squeeze, comes a brand new comedy series, created exclusively for Podshow. Big Squeeze built a huge cult following around the world and became one of the most downloaded comedy podcasts on the planet. So, isn’t it time you listened to Brian and Georgina talk about celebrities with three nipples, lady nappies or the Icelandic Penis Museum? A shoo-in for fans of British humour, others will love it or hate it.
Four Minutes, Once A Week,sage.libsyn.com; very, very explicit content
As host Sage Vivant proclaims rather throatily, “…the podcast that delivers four minutes of erotic literature or steamy smut, depending on your perspective.” Hey, everybody can find four minutes a week to dedicate to lewd literature, can’t they? Aural sex, anyone?
(Tell Harsh your favourite podcasts at firstname.lastname@example.org)