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Best podcasts of the week: What does it take to win? Man City’s Kyle Walker knows the answer
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Best podcasts of the week: What does it take to win? Man City’s Kyle Walker knows the answer

Picks of the week

Pack One Bag
Widely available, episodes weekly from 5 Jun
“If fascism takes over your country, do you stay or do you try to flee?” David Modigliani opens this beautiful podcast about his family history with the question his Italian grandfather Franco faced. Modigliani reads love letters between his nonna Serena and Franco, learning about their escape to the US, where Franco won a Nobel prize. Then, executive producer Stanley Tucci brings great-grandfather Giulio into the story. Hannah Verdier

You’ll Never Beat Kyle Walker
BBC Sounds, episodes weekly
What does it take to win again and again? “A lot,” says Manchester City and England’s Kyle Walker, who joins Chris Hughes for a weekly podcast that’s like a ride on the team bus. Self-doubt, bromances and his childhood are all up for discussion as the affable Walker rolls out the anecdotes. HV

‘Force of greatness’ Jayda G, a DJ, climate scientist and now host of Here’s Hoping.View image in fullscreen

BBC Sounds, episodes weekly
Investigative journalist Livvy Haydock goes beyond the gangster cliches with her thoughtful interviews in this new series focusing on Viv Graham. With his imposing demeanour and full control of Newcastle’s bouncers, there’s no doubt Graham was feared, but Haydock shows the heartbreak his family felt after his 1993 murder, which remains unsolved. HV

Here’s Hoping
Widely available, episodes weekly
Grammy-nominated producer, environmental toxicology scientist and house DJ Jayda G is a proper force of greatness. Now, she adds podcaster to that impressive mashup, with her new series about hope. She’s joined by voices from the world of fashion, grime and ocean conservation to talk about life on the frontline of the climate emergency. HV

Slow Burn: Gays Against Briggs
Widely available, episodes weekly
Slate’s modern history podcast is one of the finest around, and this season sees host Christina Cauterucci explore the Briggs Initiative, a proposed ruling to prevent gay people working as teachers in California. Hearing about so much bigotry goes from ridiculous to sickening as it becomes relentless, but it’s a tale that needs to be heard. HV

There’s a podcast for that

Elon Musk, the subject of BBC series The Evening Rocket.View image in fullscreen

This week, Charlie Lindlar chooses five of the best tech podcasts, from an examination of being a woman online to a tell-all history of Elon Musk

Reply All
It was the digital culture podcast that had it all: a clear niche; humour and life lessons in equal measure; and hosts you genuinely looked forward to spending time with. Anchored by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman for the bulk of its eight-year run, Reply All specialised in stories about human relationships online, and how technology shapes the way we exist together. Its back catalogue runs to almost 200 episodes, but if want to know where to start check out this newsletter’s own list of the five must-listen episodes, including music mystery The Case of the Missing Hit, which the Guardian described as “perhaps the best-ever episode of any podcast”.

There Are No Girls on the Internet
More than 50% of the population may have no difficulty imagining the hardships of being a woman on the internet. But this iHeart Radio series, hosted by Bridget Todd, not only examines how online spaces can be anywhere from awkward to outright hostile for women – it retells the history of the internet from the perspective of the female innovators and culture-creators who are building it. Each week, Todd and her knowledgable guests break down topics ranging from Nicki Minaj’s toxic online fandom to TikTok’s impact on digital journalism and the alternatives to increasingly rabid social media sites such as X.

Click Here
Every Thursday, former NPR investigative journalist Dina Temple-Raston surveys the world of cyberintelligence and security, revealing the hidden ways malware, misinformation and state-backed hacking masterminds are now inextricable from our online world. That may sound niche, but the podcast has in recent months extended itself to look into the internet’s impact on the war in Ukraine and the spread of misinformation amid the war in Gaza. Alongside those ongoing storylines, Temple-Raston adeptly hosts breakdowns of the Kremlin’s cybercrimes, the story of NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, and the Mexican army’s “love affair” with spyware.

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Elon Musk: The Evening Rocket
A lot has changed in the tech universe since this 2021 quest to understand Elon Musk and his vision for the future. But three years (and $44bn blown on a social media site) later, much of journalist Jill Lepore’s imaginative BBC series still rings true. Framed around the science fiction novels that have inspired billionaires, thinkers and scientists alike, The Evening Rocket “explores Musk’s strange new kind of extravagant, extreme capitalism where stock prices are driven by earnings, and also by fantasies.” Is there such a thing as “Muskism”? How damaging can a single Musk tweet be? And does he really think we can colonise Mars? All that and more, answered across six 30-minute episodes.

Black Box
This six-part Guardian series launched in February this year, and delves into seven separate stories, from a Detroit man falsely accused of robbery thanks to faulty facial recognition technology, to a disturbing deepfake scandal targeting young women. The one thread connecting each tale? The feats and failures of artificial intelligence, and the damage it can do when in the wrong hands. In an era where AI is already transforming our lives, host Michael Safi describes Black Box as “a snapshot of the first moments when everything started to change”. Catch up with the whole series here.

Why not try …

  • From Anne Hathaway to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, the NYT gets up close and personal with A-list guests in The Interview.

  • Another corrective to male-centric art elegies, as Death of an Artist returns for a series on “the woman who made Jackson Pollack famous”, Lee Krasner.

  • A 13th-century monarch with a taste for murder is under the microscope in The Iron King, a spin-off series from the This is History team.

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Source: theguardian.com