Whether in the middle of your Easter break, or just coming to the end of it (I feel your pain), we all need to make sure we put some time aside to unwind. With this in mind, here is a list of seven podcasts and books to help you chill out and relax. Why seven? Because it’s the holidays and I can do whatever I want.
Must-read books for teachers on holiday
Isle of Noises – Conversations with Great British Songwriters, Daniel Rachel
This does exactly what it says on the cover: it's a fascinating insight into some of the best songs and songwriters that Britain has produced over the past 40 years, focused around how they wrote their best, most famous or most influential tracks. The interviews cover the inspirations behind songs and how they were written, as well as discussing the previously unheard anecdotes behind some of Britain’s best-loved songs. With interviews from everyone from Joan Armatrading and Jimmy Page to Jarvis Cocker and Annie Lennox, it's a great read.
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The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson
The author behind the acclaimed The Men Who Stare at Goats, Ronson, in this darkly comic book, immerses himself in and investigates the concept of psychopathy, responses to it (including in popular media) and what he calls the "mental health industry". Interviewing psychotherapists, psychiatrists, CEOs and a range of others, Ronson’s story is at once intriguing, hilarious and thought-provoking.
You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney
Based on McRaney’s popular blog, this book focuses on statements and ‘"acts" that we all believe to be true but are very much not. Chapters take in everything from common misconceptions to the tricks and tools of advertising and the lies we tell ourselves to satisfy our wants and needs. Whether rationalising a vote for a certain candidate in local elections, or convincing yourself to get that new coat you’ve been desperate to buy, you are not so smart.
Fake Doctors, Real Friends, Zach Braff and Donald Faison
Whether you watched the original run of Scrubs or caught the many, many reruns of E4 and other channels, the relationship and chemistry between main characters JD and Turk is apparently not confined to the small screen. Here, the two friends reminisce about the show, sharing in-jokes and previously unheard stories. The pair, close friends since the show started, draw the audience in and we quickly feel part of discussions.
Off Menu, James Acaster and Ed Gamble
Hilariously funny, this podcast focuses on (and scrutinises) the dream menus of guests, asking weekly interviewees to discuss their favourite starter, main course, side, dessert and drink. Similar in style to the hosts' stand-up routines, much of the hilarity comes from the disgust the pair share when confronted with unusual or ridiculous culinary choices. A fantastic podcast.
Sh**ged Married Annoyed, Chris and Rosie Ramsey
Hosted by couple, and comedy duo, Chris and Rosie Ramsey, the podcast discusses the weekly experiences (good, bad and indifferent) of the couple. Covering a range of topics, discussion can easily move from parenting, sleepless nights and bottle feeding to friends, weddings and the mundanity of normal life. With an easy charm, the North East pair are equal parts relatable and hilarious in their analysis of their week, our week and life. There are also the inevitable insights from Chris’ time on Strictly and the couple’s recently released (and Times-bestselling) accompanying book.
The Joe Rogan Experience, Joe Rogan
The most popular podcast on Earth, it is likely you’ll be familiar with this podcast on some level. Passionate about MMA, and with a range of careers (including MMA expert/ commentator, TV presenters, stand-up comic, writer and fitness enthusiast), Rogan has interviewed people from a myriad of backgrounds. A list of his most famous guests is as interesting as it is diverse: Mike Tyson, Miley Cyrus, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk – the list goes on. Rogan rarely plays it safe and invites guests, for up to three hours, from all parts of the political and social spectrum.
Whether staying in the house this Easter break, or treating yourself to a trip to the garden, the above are sure to raise a smile, trigger a belly laugh or get you thinking for days and weeks afterwards.
Jonny Kay is the head of teaching and learning at a college in the North East. He tweets at @jonnykayteacher