Comfort Eating is a new podcast hosted by the ガーディアン’s restaurant critic, Grace Dent, where her interviewee reveals what lo-fi snack they like to eat behind closed doors. We’re talking sandwich spread on crackers; pesto from the jar; sausage sarnie, for the energetic. または, for Dent, fish paste on toast (“smells like cat food”). Her first guest, TV writer Russell T Davies, has his own preferred lazyitis munch, and he and Dent each dug into a plate of it, together via video call. It was “butter pepper rice” – white rice with a load of butter on top and a sprinkle of pepper. 本音をいうと? Yum.
Dent’s restaurant column is great – she’s a fantastic writer – but it doesn’t make me want to eat what she eats. It’s too far away from my non-foodie life. しかし、 Comfort Eating, when she got Davies to describe buffets at Swansea Rugby Club, pork pie from Oxford’s Woolworths and new potatoes from a tin bought at a corner shop in Rusholme, I could feel my mouth watering and my memories shift into focus. Davies also talked movingly about caring for his husband, アンドリュー, when Andrew was given 18 months to live. He loved cooking for him; he’d provide eight vegetables on Andrew’s plate every night. “I know the timings: 12 minutes for the carrots, nine minutes for the cauliflower, all the way down to three minutes for the peas.”
What a human and revealing interview. The soundwork, from the always brilliant Axel Kacoutié, was first rate, the editing excellent. But really, Comfort Eating works because it allows Dent to be herself. The best interviewers bring their real selves to meet their interviewee. Not in order to hog the microphone, but so that their own personality fizzes with and sparks off their guest.
The sentimental, sarcastic, warm, slightly egotistical Dent isn’t usually given enough space to be herself in her broadcast work (though she is in her writing). When presenting Radio 4’s The Untold, 例えば, she strikes a lovely, intimate tone, but she doesn’t do the interviews, and thus I’ve always felt that the show doesn’t quite use her properly. に Comfort Eating, her interests and jokes, plus her own real-life experience (she cared for her mother in her final months) meant that Davies opened up and responded beautifully. Listening to it made me remember how much I love interview programmes when they’re done well. There are so many that aren’t.
に Return to the Homeless Hotel, we were missing an interview. Reporter Simon Maybin was following up on the fascinating programme he made during the first lockdown in 2020. それで, a Holiday Inn Express in Manchester agreed to take in homeless people, as part of the Everybody In push to get rough sleepers off the streets during the pandemic. それ以来, その周り 500 homeless people have been through the hotel’s doors. 周り 100 were asked to leave, 90 left of their own accord and the rest have been successfully moved into accommodation – an astounding success rate.
One of the successes, Simon, who’s moved to a flat in Middleton, was meant to appear on the programme, but didn’t. We’d met him in the first programme, but he just couldn’t quite get it together to meet Maybin for the follow-up. Disappointing, but it meant that we spent more time with Kath Kath Meighan, the service manager at the hotel. What a woman she is. “I think we might have mothered people a little too much," 彼女は言いました, in between phone calls to sort out places for the remaining hotel residents. No easy solutions: the Holiday Inn was discontinuing the scheme, and Manchester’s interim director of homelessness, Mohamed Hussein, can’t magic a hotel out of thin air. Hussein admitted that Manchester’s established homeless hostels weren’t as attractive to rough sleepers as the hotel, which certainly raises a few questions. The homeless hotel was such a success, you have to hope that it leads to a similar scheme.
If It Bleeds, It Leads, another new podcast, takes its title from an ancient TV newsroom principle that a gory death is always the first story up. そう: true crime, encore une fois. This show, hosted by criminologist Professor David Wilson and actor Emilia Fox, から Silent Witness, is aiming for a different approach. The idea is to reveal the mind of the criminal and how differently they think from us law-abiding civilians. First up, under the heading Heist, was Noel “Razor” Smith, a clever, ex-career criminal who once made his living via armed robbery. Smith gave a fascinating interview as to techniques and mindset, how he’d dress, the way he’d spend the money, his talent for the job. He’s been diagnosed as a psychopath (“It helps in a prison situation," 彼は言った, evenly).
I’d have liked a little more analysis from Wilson: some “ology” to go with the “crim”. また, heists are crimes that are easy to forgive. I’m not sure this will be the case when If It Bleeds… gets to child killers or rapists. それでも, with a little more insight, as well as anecdote, the podcast could be a refreshing change from the usual two-murder-lovers-laughing true crime show.
Lots of football everywhere; personally, I can leave the repetition of past glories on the subs bench, though I know plenty of people are enjoying That Peter Crouch Euros Pod and other bants-type shows. それでも, the radio match commentary is better than the TV’s. Watching the matches with the red button tuned to 5 住む’s Conor McNamara, John Murray or Vicki Sparks is always the way to go. Golazo! etc.