In Review

Podcasts of the week: political power and sibling relationships

Featuring Power Corrupts, Siblings in Session, Scratching the Surface, Circular with Katie Treggiden and 99% Invisible

Collage of podcasts

With lots of industry giants now pouring resources into podcasting, it can be tough for indie creators to make their mark, said Fiona Sturges in the FT. But Power Corrupts, an American podcast about geopolitics and the “nefarious practices which shape our world”, shows what can be achieved by two people with a “modest budget and a brilliant idea”.

Its host is Dr Brian Klaas, a Washington Post columnist and professor of global politics, who has teamed up with producer George McDonagh to create an independent podcast with the “narrative breadth and aural sheen of a major network production”.

Each episode tackles one broad theme – election rigging, smuggling, conspiracy theories, biological warfare, state-sponsored theft – and combines weird and wild stories with hard-hitting analysis. “Such is the intrigue packed into each episode, every one of them could feasibly be turned into a film script.”

Philippa Perry’s new podcast, Siblings in Session, is “eminently worth your time”, said James Marriott in The Times. Her previous venture, Families in Crisis, was compelling, but at times “almost too sad” to bear, with its tales of drug addiction and bereavement. This one is an easier listen.

For many of us, sibling relationships involve “an intensive 18 years of fighting, talking, competition, jealousy, games and holidays” that is then transformed, in early adulthood, into “something much more diffuse, composed of the odd phone call and Christmas gatherings”.

Yet from the therapeutic point of view, our siblings are important – connecting us with our childhoods in ways that can be “infuriating” as well as helpful. Perry is “thoughtful, probing and disconcertingly reliable in her emotional intuitions”, and her podcast (on Audible, so you have to pay for it) is “brilliant”.

Here are three podcasts to help you get “more creative and more inspired – whether you’re a designer, or just want to think like one”, said Elissaveta M. Brandon in Fast Company. In Scratching the Surface, Jarrett Fuller discusses the role of design in shaping culture with a “who’s who” of design luminaries.

British writer Katie Treggiden is a long-time champion of “circular design” – products designed so that they can be turned into something else when they are no longer useful. In Circular with Katie Treggiden, she explores the intersection of craft, design and sustainability, with a range of “thinkers, doers and makers”.

And 99% Invisible (which takes its title from the idea that good design often goes unnoticed) explores the way design pervades every aspect of modern life. “The takeaways will stay with you for months, if not years.”

The Week’s own podcast, The Week Unwrapped, covers the biggest unreported stories of the week (available on Apple and Google)

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