By Ellen Morgan
Published: Monday, July 26, 2021
So, you’re at home and you’re reigniting your very on-again off-again relationship with your couch and microwave. But what else can you do to while away the time?
Alright… meals out are being replaced by cookbook adventures you’ve been ‘meaning to’ tackle for a long time. You’ve re-organised your sock drawer, you’ve cleaned the fridge and you’ve scheduled those video calls with friends far away (well done, you).
But you need a little something else – you need something to inspire you and transport you from within your living room walls to somewhere else.
We’ve listed our top 3 podcasts, films and books to help whisk you away, fascinate you, make you smile, or even teach you a couple of things.
They’ve become commonplace in our everyday lives, and now podcasts are more useful than ever – providing that comforting hum of people nattering away; of conversation or chit-chat, that you can enjoy while you potter about the house, relax on the lounge, or go for a walk around the block.
Whether you like crime, fiction, interviews, comedy or science (amongst a thousand other categories), there’s a podcast for you. Here are a few we’re listening to right now.
Conversations, ABC Radio
Join Richard Fidler as he speaks to a different interview subject each episode and simply has a conversation with them (hence the name). Step into someone else’s shoes and deep dive into their life. Learn all there is to know about a range of fascinating individuals, from broadcast presenters and English teachers, to cardiothoracic surgeons and historians and everything in between.
NASA’s Curious Universe
This one will transport you not only out of your living room, but out of our atmosphere, thanks to NASA. Launched in 2020, each episode of Curious Universe gives you 15 to 30-minute trips to space, featuring interviews with a variety of fascinating people including NASA employees, scientists and astronauts.
Host Padi Boyd is a NASA planet hunter (you’ll learn what that means through the podcast) and she’s also passionate about black holes (don’t worry, you’ll find out about them, too). She covers everything from what it would feel like to be sucked into a black hole, to what it’s like inside the lab at the International Space Station. To infinity, and beyond!
If you’re a 4-wheel fanatic, you’ll love this one. Australian automotive commentator and journalist Greg Rust speaks to motoring enthusiasts and professionals from all walks of life. Think race-car drivers, journalists, bike-enthusiasts and avid collectors.
Hear all the thrills and spills from the racing industry as you listen-in on conversations between the motorsport media veteran and a whole range of fascinating folk.
Turning the pages of a crisp new novel, or perhaps a dog-eared treasure, is still a much-loved delight for many. Or perhaps you delight in a freshly charged Kindle or iPad with a library at the tip of your fingers (quite literally). While our busy lifestyles often don’t give us much time to get stuck into a few meaty chapters, all this extra time at home means we can now.
Get stuck into some new page-turners or revisit an old classic, with a cuppa by your side. Here are some of our favourites.
The Dry, Jane Harper
You might’ve seen the recent film adaptation starring Eric Bana, but we’d encourage you to get your hands on the book. The multiple award-winning novel by Australian author Jane Harper is set in drought-stricken Victoria, and is a country-town murder mystery.
Transporting you to the dry, dusty farmland plains of outback Australia, the words are achingly too familiar for many Aussies. The story is also strangely comforting in its ability to paint a picture of our great southern land, and the people housed in its remote communities.
The Anthropocene Reviewed, John Green
Author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down, John Green has been listed by Time Magazine as one of the world’s most influential individuals. His latest book – The Anthropocene Reviewed – delves deep (and we mean really deep) into a collection of weird and wonderful things that exist in our world.
Based on his popular podcast, the book reviews topics and objects from diet Dr Pepper and the teddy bear, to sunsets and Canada geese. Each review finishes with a satirical star-rating, which becomes something you excitedly anticipate, as you read each chapter.
The description of each chosen object is mesmerizing, and covers things like how humanity has created it, what we use it for, and even how we perceive it. It’s a reflection of us, as humans, and the world in which we live.
Paul Kelly, Stuart Coupe
He’s one of Australia’s much-loved musicians, with lyrical masterpieces the likes of How To Make Gravy and To Her Door strumming their way through the weatherboard households of suburbia for decades. We’re talking about Paul Kelly. A man of few words himself, this biography tells the story of Kelly from the fingertips of his ex-manager and successful journalist Stuart Coupe.
Coupe cleverly crafts the tales of Kelly’s life, with some personal anecdotes in between. Learn about the musician’s childhood right here in Adelaide, step back in time to ’80s Australia and hear from some of the poignant people in his life.
There’s nothing quite like a good flick to transport you to another world, be it a different universe, another country, or perhaps even just back in time. The best part? You can go back again and again, with the touch of a button.
Here’s a few we recommend right now…
The Truffle Hunters
Part of the Adelaide Film Festival’s 2020 program, The Truffle Hunters will take you from your couch in Adelaide all the way to the breathtaking forests of Italy – following the nose of some clever hounds and their life partners.
The film crew follow the arduous, hard-working lives of 3 truffle hunters, all elderly Italian men who call Piedmont (Italy) home and hunt for the delightful rarities, day and night.
While uncovering the world of truffle hunting, buying and selling, the film also tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways. It’s one of those films that makes you want to hug the characters. It’s the soul-warming you need right now, we promise.
The Breakfast Club
Many of you will have already seen The Breakfast Club – a cult classic since its release in 1985 – but while you’re stuck at home, why not relive the joy? Let shoulder pads, impromptu detention dancing and Simple Minds musical genius spin a little sunshine into your days at home.
Take a Saturday off with 5 American high school students as they while away the day in detention. It’s a film about young hearts and minds, and how the human character can change and be influenced by those around it. The Breakfast Club never gets old (ever).
I Am Woman
One for the history buffs and music lovers alike, I Am Woman takes you through the career of Helen Reddy, an Australian-American singer-songwriter. Made famous by the song ‘I am woman’, Reddy made her life and fame in the US after moving there in her twenties.
While beautifully portrayed through captivating storytelling, and exquisite set and costume design, the film is also pertinent to Adelaideans as it stars one of our own. Adelaide born-and-bred actor Tilda Cobham-Hervey plays Reddy stunningly. It’s definitely a must-watch, and an excellent piece of Aussie music history to soak in.