In Praise of Podcasts and Patrons

If you have a hobby or interest there is good chance that you will find podcasts about them. Over the last 12 months I have slowly become something of an addict. I listen on Spotify but other platforms are available. I started out using Spotify as a source of music. I have created playlists including one for my granddaughter. We shall see how her taste in music evolves over time. At the moment she is torn between Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and the Hippy Hippy Shake. Anything from Frozen meets her approval but so do The Locomotion and Back in the USSR. The latter is coincidentally high on Vlad the Impaler Putin’s play list I believe.

Then I discovered the podcasts. My diet is a blend of photography and dare I say politics with a splash of investment thrown in. The meals last anything up to 2 hours. I tried one scheduled to run for 3.5 hours once but even when consumed over the number of courses that resembled a Chinese banquet I am afraid that after an hour or so I felt like Mr. Creosote before the wafer thin mint.

My favourite podcasts are Photography Daily and The Rest is Politics. PD is the brainchild of Neale James. The focus is on photography for the people, an aid to well-being. It is anything but elitist. Each week he does a photo walk and the listener joins him. Other cast members include ‘Car’ and ‘Sir Barkalot’. There are guests to be interviewed and listeners letters to enjoy. The quality is consistently high. It is supplemented by assignments you can elect to follow and if you wish you can participate in a community 365 (photo-a-day) on Instagram. You can become a Patron and support the podcast for a very modest sum. In return you get More. Here’s the link: You might even find my photo essay there but don’t let that put you off.

The Rest is Politics is Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell chewing over the political stories of the day at home and abroad. Both are entertaining and passionate about their different political positions. They endeavour to disagree agreeably. It is a refreshingly blunt and uncompromising assessment that finds far more areas of agreement than not. It makes you wonder where the centre has gone, where politicians worked for the good of the country not their own egos and pockets. Rory Stewart might one day make a decent PM if there were a party that would accommodate him.

It is through PD that I discovered Patreon, the platform for sponsoring creatives who need to fund their product. it costs relatively little. I sponsor 3 and the outlay is about £8- 10 each per month – a couple of coffees per channel. I support gmbAkash, a Bangladeshi photographer philanthropist, Neale James and Gabrielle Motola, another photographer who deserves higher recognition. Her street portraits are sympathetic and beautiful. She seems to have the gift of empathy that is reflected in how her subjects pose. It is another Patreon channel that has a strong emphasis on mental health and wellbeing.

Last time I mentioned I was having the Elmar cleaned and serviced. Somewhat cheaper than the service and 4 tyres for my Macan. A mere HK$450 to have my late father’s 1959 lens taking pictures again. It is only f2.8 but in reasonable light on a modern digital body the 50mm lens performs admirably. As they used to say on Blue Peter, here’s one I prepared earlier.

No. 1 BUN
The No.1 Bun Shop

Definitely softer than a 50mm Summicron or Voigtlander but there it is, over 60 years old, warts and all. Not unlike me.

Until next time.

8 thoughts on “In Praise of Podcasts and Patrons

  1. I started listening to Podcasts when I began exercising. My hearing aids act as ear buds with my iPhone/Pad so I can do whatever and become expanded…which I have become and why I exercise. Most are landscape photography themed but others such as Brooks Jensen’s (Lenswork) more general in coverage. Also a few about forests or mushrooms or wildflowers. Obvious I don’t stay up to date with all of those but it makes for a nice menu of choices.

  2. Well I feel honoured to be included in your write up… I agree about Rory by the way – seems a decent chap whenever I hear him talk. gmbAkash does some incredible work and I’m only just beginning to learn more about him and his story. You know, it’s easy sometimes, with the news, to forget that the likes of ‘gmb’ are out there doing what they do and genuinely caring about how empathy can bring about real change. Vlad the Impaler is ruining the Beatles for me by the way. I can’t bear the thought that he may even have a copy of Band on the Run in his record cabinet.

    • Someone should play Revolution for Vlad – that might cheer him up. There are plenty of gmb types around I suspect but they don’t get the profile. Bangladesh is a country where a small amount can go a long way. Supporting him means you don’t fund the expenses of an organisation and 100% of the funding can go to the end beneficiary. By election day today in Britain. Fingers crossed for another rout.

  3. I’m not much of a podcast fan. There are only two I listen to regularly. One is a hunting and fishing show that runs on a local AM station. Guides from up and down the coast call in with weather conditions, catches, and a little general gossip, and the fact that it begins at 4 a.m. makes a podcast convenient.

    The other is a social/political/cultural show out of SoCal that has two very smart and entertaining hosts. They pick up on and analyze articles from a variety of publications on a variety of topics, and bring in guests from time to time. They’re the closest thing I’ve found to Buckley’s Firing Line, and I enjoy them immensely.

    I support one person through Patreon. His name’s Levi Cowan. I met him on Weather Underground years ago, when he still was a high school student in Homer, Alaska. He had a passion for tropical weather, and pursued it. He started what I consider one of the most useful tropical weather sites on the internet (Tropical Tidbits) and I’ve used it to make my evacuate/stay decisions for innumerable storms. Today? He has a Ph.D. in meteorology from Florida State University, and is Senior Scientist at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii. Tossing a few bucks his way every month is worth it to keep those servers humming.

    • Patreon is such a simple idea and I am happy to support a few people. You have chosen a very worthwhile cause. I have also supported a Kickstarter project recently – also photography related – happy to try and give a little back as I get older and (hopefully) need less.

  4. How special to be able to use and enjoy your father’s old camera – it certainly does a lovely job. The No 1 Bun Shop sounds like a fun place to buy lunch. Are the buns as good as they say?

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