Month: November 2023

Dodging thunderbolts

The Last Podcast On The Left review

Rating – 3 brains

This is a podcast that I had talked about in the past, but never listened to. After hearing a particular episode mentioned on the Monsterfuzz podcast, I decided to check it out. What I wasn’t expecting was to find a series that dates back over 8 years, and clocking in at nearly 900 episodes!

I was expecting the rather usual fare of paranormal/true crime/gruesome history kind of podcast. To say this show caught me off guard was an understatement, but read on and I’ll explain my difficulty in rating this show.

So what’s it about?

The Last Podcast On The Left examines the dark side of life. From serial killers, war, folklore, the paranormal, pretty much any gory, scary or messed up subject has been analysed at least once over the last 8 years.

The hosts Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski vary in their depth of knowledge, and so each episode they get to learn about things at the same time as you do. Well, sometimes they do. They usually end up making jokes and some incredibly bad taste comments about the subject matter. This will be the dividing line for the listener. Either you will laugh along with the guys and let the last shred of humanity slough off your heart like ash, or you will turn it off and burn your headphones and electronic devices lest they have become tainted by what is quite obviously “The Devil’s Work”.

Is it any good?

Here’s where it gets difficult. In searching for the epsiode mentioned in Monsterfuzz, the first episode I listened to was about Japanese war crimes in WWII. To say that this series is in poor taste is something of an understatement. Having said that, I did find it very funny. I like dark humour, and this show has that in spades.

As they discuss the chosen topic, there are some gaps in their knowledge, and some things they just get wrong. I suspect this is more to do with misremembering rather than actual ignorance of the facts. They do have a wide range of knowledge, and I get the impression that this show is almost totally improvised. Thankfully Google is on hand to help clarify some matters.

The delivery of the episodes can only be described as “frenetic”. The hosts are so hyped up, a lot of the time there are interruptions and talking over each other. This can make things difficult to understand on occasion, but if there are any bits you miss, rest assured it will be a rather coarse joke rather than some nugget of new knowledge.

Final thoughts

It seems that most podcasts now have trigger warnings at the outset for various things that would upset people. There’s none for this show though. To list the trigger warnings would literally take up more run time than the show itself.

This show gets three brains because most people with a moral compass would feel nothing but disgust at the humour here. My god has forsaken me though, and there have been some genuinely funny moments  (if you find this stuff funny).

In short, I would personally give it 5 brains, but you need to be sure you want to listen to a show like this first. It isn’t for the faint of heart.

You can get The Last Podcast On The Left here:

(un)Happy Holidays

‘Tis The Grinch Holiday Podcast review

Production company – Wondery

Rating –

I grew up with the stories of Theodor Giesel, a man known to most as Dr Seuss. While they have been a beloved part of my life for nearly half a century, there have been a number of releases in the media of some of his more popular characters which have left me cold.

I was sent the first two episodes of this new show by GreatPods, after I waxed lyrical about my love for Dr Seuss books. I had expressed concern over how I thought this show would turn out given my disdain for the film releases.

So how does this podcast devoted to Whoville’s most unpopular resident fair? Read on and I’ll tell you, but not in anapestic tetrameter.

So what’s it about?

Every episode after some “hijinx”, The Grinch interviews a different person in his own inimitable style. Episode one sees Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson-East, who treats this curmudgeon with good grace. Even her charming personality can’t melt the shard of flint that resides in the Grinch’s chest though (not that you would expect it to).

And that’s as far as I got. As you’ll know doubt know by now, I can quite happily binge an entire series in one go, and I can listen to 8 hours of a show in a day. It took me two goes to make it through one episode of this. I actually had to force myself to go back and finish it just to write this review. I know, I know, I have a ten episode rule. Rules are made to be broken though. Even if there were ten episodes out, I just couldn’t do it this time.

Is it any good?


I was tempted to turn it off after about the three minute mark, but I stuck with it for the full half hour. I had said previously that I was very fussy about these characters. Every film so far has fallen well short in my expectations, particularly The Lorax, which the mere thought of is enough to give me a stress headache.

The Grinch himself sounds like a poor impression of Terry Carnation mixed with Les Claypool. Something that almost instantly added to my dislike of the character. The tired skits before the interview and the practical jokes show there is little originality here, and leaves the interview section almost redundant because the mood shifts to a somewhat more “sensible” tone. This means that its essentially painted itself into a corner, and it does neither very well.

Yes, I am aware that this show is probably for kids. I hope it is anyway. Kids deserve more than this though. So do Dr Seuss fans.

Final thoughts

I try to limit myself to between 500 and 600 words for a review, but I’m finding it difficult to stretch that far. I just don’t like it.

That’s not to say that you won’t like it. You may well have loved the film versions of Dr Seuss’ stories. Did that sound patronising? It wasn’t meant to. But I will say this. If you want your kids to get into Dr Seuss, READ them the books. Particularly The Lorax and Oh The Places You’ll Go. Stay away from the films.

You can get The Grinch here (should you want to):

Uncommon Valour

Down Range review

Production company – Tenderfoot TV /QCode

Rating –


I was lucky enough to get the first two episodes sent to me in advance for this review, and while I thought of posting this as another release day special (it actually launched on Nov 2nd), I thought it would be more apt to post this on Veterans Day instead.

In all honesty, this wouldn’t have been a podcast I would have chosen to listen to. After the great people at Tenderfoot TV got in touch though, and going on their past work, I was intrigued enough to give it a go.

So what’s it about?

Episode one starts off with a history of the most respected award in the American military. The Purple Heart. From its origins in the American Civil War, this is awarded to soldiers who get injured or killed in the line of duty, so called “essential service”.

This podcast tells the story of veterans who have performed acts of outstanding bravery. Hosted by former Navy SEAL Remi Adeleke, each episode is told by the veterans themselves. Some sections are dramatised using actors and sound effects, but it is essentially a monologue.

Is it any good?

This show really comes out swinging. The first episode is as exciting as I could ever hope a show could be. Episode one covers the career of Sgt. Michael Harryman. From his misspent youth, to his various tours in the Middle East.

To hear him tell these stories so nonchalantly is incredible. He does say that he had problems with PTSD and subsequent substance abuse. Despite the matter of fact manner in his storytelling, the first hand accounts of his struggles really adds a poignancy that I think would be lost any other way. I don’t think I could bring myself to talk about my experiences in the same way he did though.

I’m not going to go into what happens in episode two, because I’m not sure if it will be out by the time you read this, but it’s a very interesting change of direction from the opening episode.

Final thoughts

Despite not being a fan of military shows, I can’t deny that this show is something very special. There is something very intimate about how the stories are told. You can almost imagine a darkened room, with the interviewee lit by a single overhead lamp. 

The extra dramatised sections, along with the sound effects really put you in the position of the narrator during some extremely high stress situations. These add an extra dimension to this show that really sets it apart from series like Deep Cover or True Spies. I’ve listened to the first episode three times as I’ve been writing this review, and I only just realised that there is some subtle music in the background. This isn’t because the music is boring, but the story is so gripping you just don’t notice.

After all this unabashed gushing over how good the show is, you may wonder why it doesn’t have a top score. This is simply because I’ve only heard two episodes. Therefore it only gets a four (but it’s a five really). 

You can get Down Range here:

You’re not alone

Dawta review

Rating –

Not speaking from a personal perspective here, but it must be pretty tough to find out you were adopted. There must be many questions going through your mind, that I suppose can be hard to answer from either side. What would compound that is when you are a transracial adoptee. For those of you who don’t know (or can’t guess), a transracial adoptee is a child of one race that is adopted into a family of another. Not only do you have do deal with any possible prejudice, but you don’t have anyone who can really relate to it either.

So what’s it about?

Dionne Draper is a professional singer, actress and writer. She’s also a transracial adoptee (from now on abbreviated to TRA). This podcast sheds light on the problems she encountered being a black child not only growing up in a white family, but in an almost exclusively white area. The title (pronounced “darta”) takes its name from the one woman musical she wrote based on her life.

She is joined by poet, singer and long time friend (also a TRA) Lisa Marie Simmons. Together they discuss the problems growing up in this situation, and how it has affected them not only culturally, but psychologically too.

They interview other TRAs to get their (sometimes unique) perspectives and also therapists, charity organisers, and religious leaders. They give advice on the struggles of not only growing up separated from their culture, but going through adulthood living as a TRA. A lot of the time situations get normalised and the adoptee is unaware that they are psychologically affected. This is known as “The Fog”.

Is it any good?

I always like to learn about people’s experiences that differ from my own. This podcast is absolutely one way to do that. To say it is eye opening is an understatement. There are things discussed here that would never have crossed my mind. Why would they? I’m not being ignorant when I say that. A situation like that is beyond my comprehension. Ultimately, it is as funny as it is heartbreaking. Even the sadder parts of their life stories are met with humour and strength. These are two strong women who won’t let life experiences get them down.

If I’m being overly critical, occasionally some of the audio quality is rather poor, but from the sounds of it, the interviews are held via Zoom, which would explain that. As I have mentioned in other podcasts, I suspect that this one is also on YouTube. For some reason you don’t tend to notice stuff like that so much if you have the visual aspect too. This is my only criticism though, of an otherwise outstanding podcast. 

Final thoughts

As I said earlier, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a TRA, and I really can’t, not entirely. I can have some idea where Dionne is coming from though. You see, she is my cousin. I remember family holidays as a kid and being the youngest of my three cousins, she was always on hand to keep us entertained (including influencing my music and film tastes to this day!)

Hearing how she felt growing up was uneasy listening for me. I never knew any of this, I was only really a part of their lives for a few weeks a year. Also, being a kid, I suspect there would have been stuff that wasn’t discussed when my brother and I were around.

Interspersed through each episode are clips of her musical, the eponymous “Dawta”.  I will say that her depiction of “Jean” was pretty spot on. She had the turn of phrase perfect, and I could imagine “Jean” saying all those things (for better or worse).

You can get Dawta here:


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