Autumnal Listens for Every Mood
The seasons have well and truly turned and October has finally decided that it is an Autumn month. We reckon that most people fall into one of two categories at this time of the year – you’re either seeking comfort or you’re seeking scares. We’ve got podcast recommendations for both camps in this article. So whether you’re in the mood for something spooky or something cosy, it’s the perfect season to add these shows to your queue.
Podcasts to make you feel comfortable
As The Season Turns
Hosted by nature writer Lia Leendertz (author of The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide) As The Season Turns is an audio almanac to keep you connected to the seasons in Britain and Ireland. Lia guides listeners through natural cycles like the time of sunrise, the moon phases, and what’s growing in the garden. We also get a ‘found sound of the month’ recorded in a natural setting to help us slow down. Listen to the episodes as they are released on the first of every month so that you can note nature as it happens – listen here.
As you’re pulling your jumpers out of the back of the closet, perhaps it’s a good time to join Candice Brathwaite and Coco Sarel in theirs. This is barely a year old, but it’s firmly established itself as a cult podcast through the focus on sisterhood and community. The hosts start by sharing their personal ‘closet confessions’ before commenting on a pop culture moment and inviting listener contributions. Whilst both hosts brought their own loyal followings from other work, they are reaching a wider audience with their honesty and a friendship we can hear grow before us – listen here.
Weirdos Book Club
If you’re heading towards hibernation and ready to cuddle up with a book, this new show from comedians and authors Sara Pascoe and Cariad Lloyd could be your companion. Their Weirdos Book Club is especially welcoming for the ‘lonely outsiders’ among us, and features references ranging between Wallace and Gromit and Carl Jung. They have a list of upcoming books if you want to read along – but you could listen to the episodes cold if you want to pretend you did finish it – listen here.
If you’re looking for a big hug in podcast form, you can’t get more on the nose than Cuddle Club. Started during COVID lockdowns, when cuddles were but a distant dream, Lou Sanders (Taskmaster) asks her famous guests slightly touchy questions – such as ‘which kid did your parents prefer?’. There’s also interesting little set segments such as guessing what item Lou is ‘touching’ as she describes the shape and feel of it to her guests – listen here.
Sticky Bun Boys
Autumn is of course Bake Off season, and if you’re a fan of the British TV staple, this will be the perfect side dish. Previous contestants David Atherton and Michael Chakraverty analyse each episode and give listeners behind-the-scenes tidbits. This is not necessarily family listening though – as the title suggests, they do it all with a large helping of innuendo, as well as some conversations about dating, queer culture and more. The listeners’ contribution section is always a highlight, as the pair share their opinions on ‘the soggy bottoms of the world’ i.e. listener’s pet peeves – listen here.
Podcasts to scare you
Mockery Manor is a fiction podcast that falls between funny and freaky. It’s 1989, and somewhere in deepest darkest England, teenagers JJ and Bette are just trying to half-arse their summer job at Mockery Manor theme park. But people keep disappearing, and it seems like it’s up to the pair of teenagers to catch a killer. Now into its third season, make sure you start at the beginning to get to know the characters and avoid any spoilers – listen here.
A spooky podcast about folklore from across the pond, this is focused on stories from Latinx and Hispanic cultures. Sometimes there is a discussion with friends, but it’s the solo deep dives from host Ayden Castellanos where listeners can learn about such creatures as the jungle-spirit Alux, and El Cadejo, the hellhound. The stories are often new to me, and all the more spooky for the mystery. But the storytelling doesn’t gloss over the wider cultural context. For his work of preserving cultural stories, Ayden was also recently recognised with an award supported by Wondery – listen here.
You may not have seen them. You may not even be aware of them. But it doesn’t matter, because the djinn are all around us. Djinn lore spans continents, cultures and centuries, but is most prevalent today in Islamic lore. The Hidden Djinn is a mix of mythology and journalism to bring these stories to a wider audience. This short-series was created by Rabia Chaudry – an attorney and the person who first brought Adnan’s story to the Serial creators – so you know you’re in good hands as you listen – listen here.
Honey and the Hex
Join the coven and dive into the origins, traditions and intersections of folklore in the modern world. Honey and the Hex comes from a sibling duo, Tansie and Tatum, who identify as modern witches. They explore well-known stories and traditions through personal anecdotes, and with a progressive approach that includes feminist, queer and disabled perspectives. After more than a year on hiatus, the show returned this month with a Friday 13th special (and some new artwork!) – listen here.
One podcast that can do both
This podcast appeared to be everywhere when it first came out (including a live show at the Sheffield DocFest, the first time a podcast was at the film festival). If you somehow managed to avoid it, I envy you, because now is the perfect season to listen. Presenter India Rakusen explores the concept of the witch, from the historical witch trials to the pop-culture of witches and witchcraft. There is a focus on feminism and the real-life consequences of superstition in history and modern day. This is a powerful listen – whether you believe in magic or not – listen here.