A revisit, and an apology of sorts

Disgraceland re-review

Rating –

Disgraceland logo

Back in September I reviewed Disgraceland, a music podcast by Jake Brennan about the seedier side of celebrity. At the time I gave it a three brain rating, owing to the fact that most of the episodes were Amazon exclusives. Since the calendar ticket over into 2023 though, Jake has started releasing the entire archive on ANY podcatcher you can think of. What a noble chap eh?

Because of this, I have decided to re-write (in parts) the old review and repost it. Not bcause I am lazy, and I havent got another review already written. Well, ok, that’s partly the reason, but this is such a brilliant podcast, I really want to revisit this and give it the rating it deserves. So read on, and ignore any feelings of deja-vu you may experience.

So what’s it about?

Disgraceland is a podcast covering the various scandals and misdemeanors of music’s great and good (and bad). Each episode covers a different story and they run the whole gamut of decades and genres. There are some wild tales to be found here, and also some heartbreaking ones too, but each is told with the amount of respect deserved. Just because someone is famous, doesn’t make them an exhibit to be held up for public amusement does it? Or maybe you think it does. Maybe you like to read the paparazzi infested gossip magazines. Whatever, I’m not your dad. I can’t tell you what to do.

The show is narrated by Jake Brennan. He also writes, produces and composes the music, so the credits list is rather short. I first heard Jake on his other podcast Dead And Gone, about people who disappeared following The Grateful Dead around the country. This true crime podcast is on my “to review” list, and will be getting 600 or so words dedicated to it very soon. He also has a very similar show to this one called Badlands, almost twin in fact, but delving into the lives and misdemeanors of everyone other than musicians. This will also be getting reviewed in the near future (and as soon as I can think of a snappy title to use).

Jake has the kind of achingly cool American voice that you would expect someone who narrates rock music podcasts to have. His voice sounds like sunshine, surf wax, petrol and pot (at least to a Welsh nerd anyway). I don’t mean any disrespect here. He’s not just someone who sounds the part. He has a deep knowledge of musical history and he has a real talent for bringing any story to life, regardless of the era. This is purely down to his skill as a writer, and he avoids the usual cut and paste from Wikipedia problems that other shows on music history (by much more well known presenters) have fallen into.

Is it any good?

Yes. Absolutely.

Now, I’m a massive music fan and I’m not really fussy about what I listen to. The playlist on my phone runs from Dixieland Jazz, to Death Metal, Psy-trance to 1970s Japanese Funk with some traditional West African music and Musique Concrete thrown in for good measure. There aren’t many stories told that I’m not familiar with, although there are a few. Because of this, I could rate it low and say “well, there aren’t any new stories here, I’ve heard them all before”. That’s not how I do things though. Just because I know something doesn’t mean that you will.

Want to hear about the time Jerry Lee Lewis wanted to murder Elvis? Or maybe you want to learn about Syd Barrett’s psychological fall from grace. Maybe you’re interested in the sorry story of Britney Spears’ lost childhood and subsequent mistreatment. If so, this is the show for you. Whereas some music podcasts will stick to one genre of music (because it makes the authors job easier) this one really covers everything, and each subject is given the same deep dive and respect it deserves. This can only be done by someone with a love for ALL music.

Jake’s style of writing is like a (much) better version of the journalist Mick Wall. He puts himself in the situations that occur, and that really makes for an exciting story. For my money, Jake is a way better writer than Mr. Wall anyway. I’d love to read a full length biography written by him, or even better an audiobook narrated by him.

Final thoughts

So there you have it. I’m man enough to admit I was wrong. Well, not wrong exactly I had originally said that I loved the show, and only marked it down because of the lack of episodes. Now though, I can set the record straight and give it the rating it truly deserved. You should also check out Jake’s other shows as soon as possible too. You’ll probably be watiting ages for me to review them!

You can get Disgraceland here:

https://www.disgracelandpod.com/

or wherever you get your podcasts

Fae Dougie, Lee & John the dug

A Scottish Podcast review

Rating –

A Scottish Podcast logo

This has been a long time coming. Despite winning one of my coveted (purely imaginary) podcast geek trophies in December, I have never got around to writing a review. While other, newer podcasts jumped to the front of the queue, this one has always been waiting, like me waiting to be picked for school teams in PE. Today is that day though, A Scottish Podcast gets reviewed!

The first time I heard of this podcast was an interview with the creator Matthew McLean on The Good Friends Of Jackson Elias. His self-deprecating style and sense of humour immediately impressed me. With Scott Dorward waxing lyrical about it, It struck me as something I needed to listen to forthwith, so I did.

So what’s it about?

Some might say that ex radio DJ Lee Power is unemployable. That isn’t strictly true. Lots of people have employed him, it’s keeping a job that is the problem. After his most recent sacking, Lee decides to start a paranormal podcast. After the genesis of “The Terror Files”, he decides he needs a hand to run things. He teams up with reluctant friend Dougie (Dougie would probably despute the term “friend”), a musician recently returned from London.

Soon we are introduced to a wide range of insane locals, gangsters, and all manner of Lovecraftian horrors that lurk in the forgotten catacombs and windswept remote islands of Scotland.

The storylines themselves range from impromptu urbex under the streets of Edinburgh, to derelict military facilities to… well, I’m not saying any more than that. You’ll just have to listen.

Is it any good?

This is one of the funniest podcasts I’ve ever listened to. As I type this I am listening to all the series for the fourth time. Honestly, it’s still just as funny as the first. This goes to show the talent of Matthew McLean as a writer, as well as the brilliant voice talent for bringing the characters to irreverent life.

Talking of voice talent, series one features the legendary (in my book anyway) David Ault as Councillor Byers. His deadpan delivery suits the corrupt politician perfectly. An honourable mention also needs to be given to Jim Balfour as retired footballer and crude Francis Begbie-alike George. I think he probably has more of the classic lines than any character. Even though I know what he’s going to say, I’ll still laugh out loud as he says them.

The series really comes out swinging. Lee’s first story recounting his meeting with a werewolf to media students setting the gloriously crude style of the rest of the podcast. The first epsidoe also ingtroduces the weird meta style of McLeans writing. Lee frequently references real podcasts such as The Black Tapes, and later on Lee and Dougie reveal that they know they are only characters in someone elses podcast. Again, thats just another great detail that makes me love this show.

The later series release schedule has been “relaxed” to say the least, sometimes only a handful of episodes in a year. While the storylines may go on hiatus, there will be a few random posts of poems McLean has written. These are also very good, the one for his brother was outstanding, and really heartbreaking. These offer a great contrast to the silliness of the main story and show that he is far from a one trick pony.

Final thoughts

Most people think that anything to do with horror, and particularly the work of H.P. Lovecraft has to be serious, stuffy and usually not very scary. However, I think it lends itself more to humour. Maybe that’s just me, but podcasts like this, Wormwood, The Lovecraft Tapes, or Ain’t Slayed Nobody are much more entertaining (and yes, those last two are roleplaying podcasts, but they play how I like to, so they get a mention).

As I think I’ve made clear already, I love this podcast. The only caveat I would give any prospective listener is that the language is VERY coarse. If you have a disposition that gets upset at swear words and euphemisms of an incredibly inventive nature, then “Turn the tape off now, this is not a pop album” (as Ice T once said). I happen to think that swearing is very funny, but that’s just me…

You can get A Scottish Podcast here:

https://scottishpodcast.com/

Or wherever you get your podcasts 

Give me just a little more time, time, time

Athletico Mince review

Rating –

Athletico MInce logo

There are few things in this world I loathe as much as football. My feelings on the “beautiful game” are similar to Clarkson’s views on certain branches of the Windsor family tree. However, there are few things in the world I love more than Mr. Bob Mortimer.

Most people my age have grown up with Vic and Bob. From Big Night Out, to Shooting Stars, and now we are all old sods, Gone Fishing is must watch viewing. If you haven’t heard of this podcast, it should also be added to your list asap.

So what’s it about?

Originally conceived as a comedy podcast about football, hosted by Bob Mortimer and Andrew Dawson. Since about episode 20 though, this series has only a tenuous link to the overpaid prima donnas of the EPL and other leagues. The early episodes aren’t great. Bob and Andy even say you should probably skip the first few, and if you aren’t a football fan you can skip a few more.

The characters so brilliantly brought to life by Bob’s ramblings are football players or managers in name only. Harry Kane with his magic chin, Peter Beardsley’s joke book, Sean Dyche with his “motivational” songs and Steve McLaren and his pet snake Caspar could have any names as far as I’m concerned. They’d still be hilarious, although nowadays I can’t see pictures of Dele “Debbie” Alli without hearing Bob’s voice. It gets me in a right fluffery buffery.

Although that is not to say that the only celebrities getting rebuilt from scratch are footballers. Matt Allwright, Jeremy Corbin, Denise Welch, Sting and more all appear in increasingly surreal situations (the latter in Bob’s “crime” series Geordie Heat).

If you also add into the mix the South African gangbanger, Bob’s Crime Files (he does love his crime), the Scottish songs/stories and Barry Homeowner aka Train Guy, and you have such a varied range of hilarity that you are bound to find something that will elicit at least one laugh an episode (and probably a lot more).

Is it any good?

OF COURSE IT IS. I would go so far as to not recommend this to football fans. They get precious about people mocking the children’s game they devote vast amounts of time and money to slavishly follow. Seeing how things that originally started as throw away lines have developed into epic storylines (as the adventures of Steve McLaren and Caspar are testament to) show Bob’s skill as a comedy writer. I’m actually not sure how much of the show is written. There are stories where Andy supplies voices, so I’m sure that these are pre planned, but likewise I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff that just gets made up.

Up to this point, this has been a rather one sided review. As I said at the beginning, here are two presenters and so far I’ve only been talking about one.

Andy Dawson comes from a more sports oriented background, hosting the podcast Top Flight Time Machine (which is a football podcast, so there’s no chance of me reviewing it). He really holds his own, and whilst not having quite an equal split of the jokes, he provides plenty of laughs as well. Usually when he starts corpsing at Bob’s attempts at accents.

Final thoughts

If you like football then have a listen. If you don’t like football, but like Bob Mortimer then have a listen. If you don’t like Bob, or football then I suggest you listen anyway, because it is one of the best comedy podcasts out there. The only “downside” is that when Bob is filming then they release compilation episodes. So there’ll be a whole episode of Peter Beardsley, or Scottish tales or some such. Due to the quality of the writing they do hold up to repeated listening (hence my use of inverted commas around downside).

Wow, 684 words fell out of my head in about 2 hours. Just goes to show how much I love this show.

You can get Athletico Mince here:

https://athleticomince.com/

Or wherever you get your podcasts

Fisher King

Splinter Cell – Firewall review

Production company – BBC

Rating –

As I had mentioned in my review of The System, I’ve been a fan of the Splinter Cell franchise for years. So much so, that the mere sight of three green lights conjures the high pitched whistle sound that actually became a trademark of Ubisoft. Therefore, an audio drama was a definite instant subscription for me. But despite my love of the games, any games in fact, I tend to avoid the associated works of fiction. I’ve never even read any of the Star Wars stuff. And I LOVE Star Wars.

So am I now a convert to the world of canon expanding fanfic, or has this proved my fears that I shouldn’t stray from “proper” works? Well read on and I’ll tell you. 

So what’s it about?

The Splinter Cell games, and therefore this story, is set in the present day. It follows Sam Fisher, an operative for shady  government agency Fourth Echelon. He’s like a cross between James Bond and Rambo. His life involves getting dropped behind enemy lines to carry out covert missions that the public side of the US government won’t want to admit to.

This story follows him as he tries to thwart the machinations of billionaire tech wunderkind Brody Teague. This is a job that would be much easier were it not for the recent recruitment of Fisher’s daughter Sarah to Fourth Echelon, unbeknownst to Sam.

They, and the other Fourth Echelon agents are in a desperate race against time to prevent a new weapon from getting into the wrong hands. As the story progresses, Sam and Sarah gain a new found respect for each other, and Sarah’s true talents as a Fourth Echelon agent start to shine.

Is it any good?

Honestly, this isn’t a podcast that will keep you gripped through its entire runtime, even if you’re a fan of Splinter Cell. I appreciate that calling fanfic of computer games cliché is punching down somewhat, but I was rather disappointed.

For the most part, the acting is good. The brilliant Will Poulter voices Brody Teague, and does a phenonemal James Woods impression (whether intentional or not). There is one Russian antagonist though, who’s accent seems to be more well traveled than a fourth echelon agent. It tends to slip from Russian to Spanish, to Italian and back in that space of a few paragraphs of dialogue.

The dialogue in general also seems to veer towards cliché, particularly as the tension cranks up, with the antagonists going all “I don’t expect you to talk Mr Bond, I expect you to die”. This can be fun now and again, but it does start to grate later on

Sound design is very good. It is a BBC production after all, and does its best to keep the tension high. This helps a lot during some of the more dubious moments of acting. It does occasionally intrude on the actual acting a bit too much. This is understandable due to some of the bleaker locations featured, but a few

The character of Sam Fisher is well realized as well. Voiced by the improbably named Adonis Anthony, he is perfect as the war weary curmudgeon that we all know and love. To be honest, if they hadn’t got him well cast, it wouldn’t be much of a splinter cell story would it?

Final thoughts

Don’t get me wrong, this is a long way from the worst podcast I’ve ever had to endure. Overall it isn’t too bad. I think I may be being overly critical because I feel a bit let down. After mistakenly subscribing to a previous series thinking it was this one, I was already bristling slightly. By the time this story had concluded, It had not exceeded expectations at all.

I would recommend this to my son, I think he’d love it. If he had the patience to sit through a podcast.

You can listen to Splinter Cell: Firewall here

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001fn5r

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Devil in the details

Deviltown review

Production company – Imperative Entertainment

Rating –

Deviltown logo

As I mentioned in my review of Hoaxed, there seems to have been rather a glut of “satanic panic” podcasts recently. I’m not too sure why. The latest of these to make it to my review list is Deviltown. I’ll be honest, I subscribed just because of the cool name before I even read the synopsis. This series is set in small town America, a seemingly endless source for crime podcasts. The chosen, sleepy community here is Gilmer, Texas.

As I said, there are plenty of incredible true crime podcasts set in small town America. Particularly The Piketon Massacre, which I will be reviewing in due course, but that is for another day.

So what’s it about?

The series is essentially two stories. It starts with reports of the disappearance of local girl Kelly Wilson. She vanished after finishing her shift at a video store, seemingly into thin air. As the investigation kicks off, one family is singled out, an arrest is made quite quickly, and the children come forward telling tales of ritual abuse, cannibalism and dark sacrificial rites in the forest. This secret cabal includes local police and politicians. I mean, they always do, don’t they?

As news of these atrocities spreads, the details become more and more outlandish. I will spare you descriptions, not because they are horrific, but because they are ridiculous and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I guarantee though, that when you get to that point, you’ll wonder why the investigation wasn’t immediately stopped and the affected parties released.

After the allegations were revealed to be ridiculous works of fiction, and the families were allowed to try and rebuild their lives, one question remained. What exactly did happen to Kelly Wilson?

This is where the second, less fantastic story starts. 

Is it any good?

It’s certainly a gripping series. Whilst my tone may be rather glib at the wild tales told by the children, there is definitely a very real case of abuse here. Unfortunately (probably the wrong word to use there), it isn’t at the hands of some mysterious group of satanists, but rather the people charged with looking after them in the care home. The way they were coerced is absolutely shocking and is the real horror story at the heart of this investigation. The damage done to that family when they should have been looking for a murderer is a real travesty.

Final thoughts

I don’t think I will ever get bored of learning how adults in positions of authority get completely fooled by stories of devil worship. I absolutely understand that children’s confessions should be taken with total seriousness in most cases. They should however, be used to start a proper, forensic investigation where the facts can be established.

These are modern stories, not some centuries old witch hunts. The ability is there to find even tiny traces of blood in murder scenes. Nowadays (and I use that term to include the last 3 decades) surely an eyebrow would be raised at some parts of this story? Or maybe that’s why I’m not a policeman.

At this point in the blog post, I would ordinarily link to the podcast or production company website with a helpful link to the episodes. Unfortunately, Imperative entertainment and the podcast dont seem to actually have any online presence. I guess you’ll just have to hope that your podcatcher of choice has it (I’m sure it will)

Have a Cool Yule Y’all

No review this week sorry. As I write this, I am elbow deep in wrapping paper and working out timings for cooking my Christmas dinner. As you read this, I will be elbow deep in shredded wrapping paper and seeing if my timing estimates are indeed accurate.

I can’t believe that I’ve managed to do this for a year without losing interest (this really is a rare occurrence). I have already paid for another year’s hosting, so I’ll stick at this for at least another year!

In case you want to get ahead of me, then the next few shows I review (in no particular order) will be.

A Tradition Of Violence
Deviltown
Badlands
Death In The Afternoon
The Lovecraft Tapes

I hope you all have a happy Christmas if you celebrate it, if you don’t then try to enjoy the endless crap on TV. You could always listen to a podcast instead…

Bah Humbug!

Fry your brain

Great Leap Years review

Rating –

Great leap years logo

As someone who has literally grown up as a Stephen Fry fan, from A Bit Of Fry And Laurie, to Jeeves And Wooster, to QI. This review may seem somewhat biased. If Mr Fry puts his name to something then you can rest assured it will be quality. Having said that, I don’t think he did a podcast before this one. So is this another notch on his tally of greatness, or is it an uncharacteristic fail? Read on and see.

So what’s it about?

This series covers the history of human invention. That may sound like a lot, and indeed it is, but thankfully Stephen skips through the first 10,000 years or so rather quickly so we can get down to more “recent” technological achievement, starting in the middle ages.

Each episode follows along in a somewhat chronological order. Starting in earnest with the invention of the Gutenberg Press, and ending with the invention of computers, maybe even glimpses of the real bleeding edge of advancement.

I guarantee you there will be lots of facts here that you will have never heard before, even if you know about the actual inventions. The way that the most revolutionary things get invented, either by accident or as a “plan b” is truly mind-blowing, and goes to show that these guys are (usually) just ordinary people.

I think my favourite episode here was the reason I found this podcast (after hearing Penn Jillette mention it on his Sunday School podcast) about Fritz Haber, who was responsible for saving more people than anyone else in history, then killing more people than anyone else, and then saving people again. That one is as heartbreaking as it is fascinating, and goes to show the duality of technological advancement, especially during war time.

Is it any good?

If you like learning new things in a fun and interesting way then you’ll love this series. If that previous sentence doesn’t apply to you, I suggest you go back to Joe Rogan. Seeing as an awful lot of people know Stephen Fry from QI, then a series about obscure fact on well known subjects won’t be anything new.

Stephen Fry has a real talent for making things interesting. I suspect this is because he is genuinely interested in the subject matter too. I think this is why there are so many bad teachers in the world. They just aren’t really interested in their own subject matter, but I digress.

Final thoughts

Imagine, if you will, the chapters on recent earth history in The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy, and you’ll be somewhat close to this show. Yes, I know that Mr. Fry narrated that particular work of genius for the audiobook. That’s why I said it. He has now become as inexoravbly linked to that, as he has to the works of P.G. Wodehouse. Which is no bad thing.

The only thing that stops this being the best podcast I’ve ever heard is the fact that there is so much information that my brain does start to fry after a few episodes. If you’re not as greedy as I am, and you listen to one or two episodes a day then I’m sure you’ll agree that this is practically perfect in every way.

You can get Stephen Fry’s Great Leap Years here:

http://www.stephenfry.com/greatleapyears/

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

It’s in the system…

The System review

Production company – BBC

Rating –

I feel somewhat tricked into this series. I was looking through the “recommended” list and saw a Tom Clancy Splinter Cell series so I subscribed. Not that I’m a massive Tom Clancy fan. In fact my only knowledge of his work is the Splinter Cell computer games. I figured maybe I should get to know the stories as well.

In the first episode they are talking about people with animal names. “Ah yes”, I  recall. “Something ocelot wasn’t it?” About 30 seconds later I remember that “something ocelot” was “revolver ocelot”, who was from Metal Gear Solid, not Splinter Cell. Old age doesn’t come alone I tell you.

So what’s it about?

The System is a rather gripping drama series focussing on the disappearance of Jake, a disillusioned young man with no prospects, stuck in a dead end job. His half sister Maya is thrown into a dark and violent world after a mysterious phone call from Jake telling her to recover a box from his flat. Following a near miss with some shady looking individuals who also seem to want the box, Maya is determined to uncover the truth.

From there, the story is told in a series of flashbacks that follow Jake’s initiation into “The System”, and the true motivation behind it. Is it just a seemingly innocent (but very intense) self improvement club, or something else? What is the meaning of the spooky list that ends in “Judgment Day”? And just who the hell is Beau Leech?

Is it any good?

It’s very good, yes. The series is well written, and the acting is very good. You may wonder then, why I rated it rather low. Essentially, the main plot thread is not as clever as I suspect the writers thought it was. In fact from quite early on you can see how this is going to play out. Having said that, whilst I did guess the general direction it was taking, the final piece of exposition that triggered the creation of The System was truly heart rending. 

The fact I guessed the twist is the only reason for the low score though. I highly recommend you give it a listen, if you don’t spot the clues, you’ll wonder why I didn’t give it a 5 brain rating. 

I desperately want to expand on the plot to compare it to other podcasts I’ve heard, but that will give the game away somewhat, so I will bite my tongue. As such this review will probably be a bit shorter than usual. When I get round to reviewing those podcasts though, I’ll be linking back to this one, so you’ll eventually see what I mean.

Final thoughts

This podcast series seems to have a diverse range of stories, the latest one being based on Splinter Cell. Each series is short enough to be binge worthy (fewer than 10 half hour episodes), and if the other stories. Rest assured I’ll be reviewing them all in due course. I may even skip to the Splinter Cell one next!

You can get The System here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000wdh0

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

And the winner is!

Trophy pic

December 2nd marked the 1st anniversary of me launching this blog. In a rather preemptive strike on the traditional end of year lists that will invariably clog up all your timelines in a few weeks, I thought I’d get in with my rather unofficial awards celebrating the best (in my opinion) podcasts you can get. So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the first annual podcastgeek awards ceremony!

Some shows I will have reviewed, and I’ll be adding links to the reviews where available. Others will be reviewed as soon as I get round to it. Each category will have a shortlist of five entries in no special order apart from how they spring to mind. At the end of each shortlist we will have the winners. I hope you have the patience to read all the way through. It shouldn’t take too long!

Now, there may well be some glaring omissions, especially if you’ve been following this blog for a while, but seeing as this will be an annual event, there is always next year, and I promise no series will win more than once.

The drinks are flowing here at the podcastgeek enormodome and the guests are waiting with bated breath to see who takes the gongs home. So without further ado, I’ll roll out the red carpet as the spotlights rake the night sky, put on my best bib and tucker and heap praise on a multitude of shows. DRUMROLL PLEASE!

Best fiction podcast

This was a tough one, because the entire shortlist is excellent, ultimately though, the result will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read my reviews.

The winner is THE MAGNUS ARCHIVES!

Magnus Archives Logo

Best true crime podcast

  • Hunting Warhead
  • The Lazarus Heist
  • Death In Ice Valley
  • Deep Cover
  • The World’s Greatest Con

Another tough one. Another 5 incredible shows, but there’s only one winner tonight. This podcast won just for the fact that there is some resolution to the crimes, and the fact that there are no real trigger warnings.

The winner is THE WORLD’S GREATEST CON!

World's Greatest Con logo

Best gaming/geek culture podcast

I had originally intended to spend a month or so only reviewing this rather niche area of the podcastverse, but I didn’t want to lose either of my regular subscribers, so I decided against it. Anyway, these are five very worthy podcasts, but for the sheer range of subject matter there can be only one (as the highlander would say).

The winner is HYPNOGORIA.

Hypnogoria Logo

Best science podcast

Originally I avoided science podcasts, thinking they would be stuffy and boring (despite having an interest in science). How wrong I was. The podcasts here are all very accessible and very entertaining.

The winner is BIG PICTURE SCIENCE.

Big Picture Science logo

Best comedy podcast

Over the years, I have listened to plenty of “comedy” podcasts that are as funny as standing on a plug. The shortlist here though are all very, very funny indeed. That said, in much the same way the The Magnus Archives was a rather predictable win, so is this. This one is a very sweary win “fae Dougie, Lee and John the dug”.

The winner is A SCOTTISH PODCAST.

A Scottish Podcast logo

Best paranormal/folklore podcast

I could have happily had four of Danny Robins’ podcasts and one other to make up the numbers, but that wouldn’t be fair, especially with so many interesting paranormal and folklore podcasts out there. The winner of this category really takes top spot, like hypnogoria, for the sheer breadth of subject matter. This really is a great series.

The winner is BONE AND SICKLE.

Bone And Sickle logo

Best factual podcast

Possibly the hardest category to judge, due to the catch-all nature of the title. Again, the shortlist entries are all worthy of your time, and I recommend you check them all out. The contrarian in me has decided though that it has to be heroic.

The winner is HOW TO BURN A MILLION QUID.

How To Burn A MIllion Quid logo

Phew, that’s a lot of podcasts isn’t it? And I’ve obviously done a load of listening. That is only a small selection of the podcasts that I’ve pumped into my brain over the last few years. If the best idea is to “write about what you know”, you can see why I started writing about podcasts can’t you?

“Ha! Mr podcastgeek” I hear you scoff. “Why don’t you get a life?”

In response I will click my fingers and out of the shadows a group of no-necked toughs in suits will have these hecklers ejected from the venue.

We have had some great shows mentioned this year, and despite missing out on a win, I really need to give an honourable mention to The Good Friends Of Jackson Elias. When I posted my review of that podcast, it had so many shares and comments, it is BY FAR the most popular post I’ve written. So thank you to all the Call Of Cthulhu and Chaosium fans who took the time to help grow my blog. It is greatly appreciated.

Agent of chaos

Hoaxed review

Production company – Tortoise Media

Rating –

Hoaxed logo

When it comes to factual podcasts, there are a few big players. Pushkin Industries is the one that immediately springs to mind, but one I was unaware of until relatively recently was Tortoise Media. I first heard of them when the presenter of the excellent Londongrad podcast was interviewed on the radio. That particular series blew my mind, so when I saw this podcast advertised, I dutifully subscribed.

So what’s it about?

Two children spoke out and told a story about how they were abused by satanists. These otherwise normal children recounted horrific crimes including cannibalism, sexual abuse and murder. The perpetrators of these despicable acts included local clergy, parents and school teachers. This may sound like something from 17th century New England, but this happened in 2014. In London.

As news of this spread all over the world, tempers flared in those who look to get angry about such things. People came to Britain to try and get “justice” for the children, and uncover the high-level conspiracy of silence. Could this be final proof of the global cabal of the reptilian overlords child trafficking?

Well no. The problem is that it was all a hoax. And this is where the real story starts. What possessed (pun slightly intended) two children to accuse innocent people of such awful crimes? And more to the point, how did this outlandish tale get so much traction? This is the point of the podcast.

As the series progresses, the truth comes to light, and the real people pulling the strings are exposed, as is the long lasting damage they caused to innocent people.

Is it any good?

In cases like this, I’m almost hesitant to say that it’s good. The facts behind the story are awful, and the emotions of (almost) everyone involved is apparent. For this reason, I would put it in the same league as Hunting Warhead. Hoax or not, this isn’t really a series to listen to if you’re triggered by such things. 

However, what is good is everything else. The research and journalism is faultless. The real need to try and get the reasons for the whole debacle, whether a fool’s errand or not, is absolutely necessary, and it is quickly becoming a Tortoise Media trademark.

Final thoughts

There seems to be a glut of “satanic panic” podcasts recently, and I will be carrying on this thread soon enough. I find it fascinating how otherwise rational people can get so fixated on what is nothing more than medieval grade religious hysteria. Not only that, but the actions of a few can convince so many into believing such things.

Another thing that is apparent in these cases is the real disregard for the very real harm done to people who get caught up in the furore. Mud sticks, and to be wrongly accused of anything, let alone such hideous crimes is not something I can fathom dealing with.

Tortoise Media is really producing some amazing content at the moment, and I can’t wait for the next story. 

You can get Hoaxed here:

https://www.tortoisemedia.com/listen/hoaxed/

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

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