Two podcasts that will have you thinking, an article that have you engrossed and two comedies to help you switch off:
A podcast that will help you understand the news:
The New York Times' podcast, The Daily, is perhaps the best means of making yourself feel like less of an idiot that we've come across. Each episode guides you through one specific story, that is either currently in the news or is a piece of original reporting. At around 20 minutes an episode, it's the simplest way of ensuring that you're able to blag through any annoying pub debate about the state of the world.
One particular episode that stood out recently, running at twice the length of a typical episode, detailed a man, Sean Escobar, who had been abused as a child by a family friend and who decided to, 25 years later, track down his abuser for a conversation about what happened - a conversation which he recorded.
A podcast that will make you look at the world differently:
Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Blindside, did what he does best in his recent podcast series - lured us in by thinking it's about sport, only for it to be about so much more. As always though, it's totally worth it. Against The Rules is a series about the declining role of referees in society, and his first episode centres on basketball. Within basketball and across wider society, the results are the same, the referees, be they governments departments or actually NBA refs, are losing their ability to, you know, referee. If you enjoy stories of corruption and the inherent selfishness and greed of modern society, this is the show from you. It's brilliantly packaged by Lewis is the style of Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History. (Gladwell is an EP on the show and appears in the live show with Lewis in the final episode of the series.)
An article that will change your view of football:
A leak almost twice the size of the Panama Papers and sixty times that of Edward Snowden’s, and that is just what he gave the press.
Rui Pinto is the man behind football leaks, the site responsible for leaking more than eighty-eight million documents from the sport’s insiders. He now faces charges of cybercrime. In this incredible long read, Sam Knight dives into the seedy underbelly of football. It's a story that intertwines international officers of the law, global banks and various media outlets.
You can read it here.
A new Netflix comedy we absolutely love:
It's difficult to encapsulate the madness of Netflix's new sketch show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson in just a few words. It's surreal, disorientating and possibly the funniest thing the streaming service has ever produced.
The irreverent series presents an increasingly ridiculous cast of characters in bizarre situations of their own making without ever breaking its own internal logic. While many sketch shows feel obliged to deliver some sort of profound message, I Think You Should Leave doesn't care about anything other than making you laugh - and is all the stronger for it.
A RTÉ comedy classic so many people have somehow never seen:
It's a scary thing when you exclaim "Paths To Freedom is on the RTÉ Player!" only for the half the office to stare back at you with a look so blank you could write on it. However, upon mature reflection, it actually is possible that an entire section of Irish adults missed out on a cult classic during its original run - especially when you considered it first aired 19 years ago!
The series is only six episodes long and features Game of Thrones' Michael McElhatton in a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary about two Mountjoy convicts who are trying to reintegrate into society. If you have never seen it you absolutely have to check it out, if you watched it at the time then it's sure worth a revisit.
The whole thing is available on the RTÉ Player now.