Ever listened to a long-winded podcast recommendation from a friend?
It’s like sitting through a two-hour Microsoft Word tutorial from the year 1989: tedious and nap-inducing. Which is why I offer the following podcast suggestions in a super-cool, fun and succinct list of five. People love listicles! Let’s begin.
Hello, did you need a reminder of why the world desperately needs real journalism? Here it is. The Dropout follows the rise and fall of young entrepreneur and master manipulator Elizabeth Holmes, and it took some of the ABC’s top business and tech journalists three years of investigation to put it together, so you know it’s going to be good. Stanford dropout Holmes became America’s ‘first self-made billionaire’ when she created blood-testing startup Theranos at the age of 19. Crazy. And also a big fat fib. The tech—which is meant to revolutionise healthcare worldwide and help diagnose hundreds of diseases—never worked. Holmes’ obsession with becoming the next female Steve Jobs (she started wearing black turtlenecks, poached Apple’s best employees including Jobs’ right-hand man, and dropped her voice a few octaves in a cringe-worthy attempt at having a deeper voice) allowed her to charm, bully, and lie her way to the very top. She graced the covers of Forbes and TIME, rolled with the country’s most influential policy-makers and businessmen, raised millions of dollars in investments from people like Rupert Murdoch, and flew on private jets with a four-bodyguard entourage. No quick summary will be able to do this insane story justice, so you’ll just have to go listen to her ex-employees, mentors, and whistleblowers (and Holmes herself, in deposition tapes obtained by the ABC) for yourself.
Who the Hell is Hamish?
By now everyone knows the award-winning investigative podcast Teacher’s Pet. The newspaper behind the podcast, The Australian, is having a go at living up to its worldwide success, and after one episode it’s looking very promising. If you’re into tales of entitled, vile conmen getting their just desserts, then Who the Hell is Hamish? might tickle your taste buds. Hamish McLaren (real name, not the countless other aliases he ran with over the course of his life) is a smooth-talking POS from Sydney’s Northern Beaches who managed to swindle over $7 million dollars from 15 victims around the globe. The series opens with Hamish’s ex-girlfriend—who believed he was a successful businessman named Max, who was orphaned at a young age and raised in foster homes—recalling how she met, fell in love with, and was ultimately duped out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by his well-oiled Ponzi scheme machine. While the stories of people left broke after investing their life savings in non-existent schemes is sure to be harrowing, you can listen with the knowledge he’s been forced to trade in his Tom Ford suit for a jail jumpsuit.
Unravel: Season 3
The ABC’s true crime podcast Unravel is back for Season 3, and this time they’re training their gaze on the disappearance of 19-year-old Belinda Peisley in Katoomba, two hours west of Sydney. Belinda disappeared one night in September 1998, after visiting the local hospital’s emergency department. A year before, Belinda had received a huge inheritance following the death of an uncle, which she used to buy her own house in the Blue Mountains. It was meant to be a fresh start for the mum of two, but she fell in with the wrong crowd, and her house soon became a hangout for what locals called ‘the junkies.’ Each episode in the series will be dedicated to one of the six persons of interest in her suspected murder, starting with her boyfriend at the time, whose alibi is about as rock solid as a plate of jelly on a mechanical bull. Seriously, you arrive to find your girlfriend’s house smashed up after she’s been missing two days, and you decide to pop down the servo for a pie and sausage roll before calling the police? Sure, okay. Featuring interviews with Belinda’s friends, family, police, and detectives, and audio from the coronial inquest into her disappearance that came a decade too late, just two eps in and this is shaping up to be a heavy investigation.
Married couple Jen and Sarah Hart adopted six black children from two different families. On the outside, they pretended to be the perfect image of a modern family, but on March 26, 2018, they drove the family mini-van off a steep Californian cliffside killing themselves and their adopted children: Markis, 19, Hannah, 16, Devonte, 15, Abigail, 14, Jeremiah, 14, and Sierra, 12. Two of the scariest things about this podcast: the realisation that a carefully curated Facebook/Instagram account can do wonders for hiding the ugly truth (in this case, child abuse and neglect), and that systemic failures in the adoption system let innocent kids stay in abusive homes.
The Hurricane Tapes
Bob Dylan wrote a song about it, Hollywood made a movie about it, and now the BBC are returning to the scene of the 1966 triple murder that put famous boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter behind bars for two decades. They’re not the first to rehash the case that divided the nation, but they’ve got one ace up their sleeve—40 hours of never-before-heard audio of Rubin Carter being interviewed by a close friend about his life, career, and the crime that he and associate John Artis were tried, convicted, and released for twice. One of the most incredible parts of the story involves John Artis, the 19-year-old who was accused of being Carter’s partner in the triple homicide. On the night of their arrest, after being held and interrogated by white police officers for almost an entire day, Artis was told all he had to do was name Carter as the culprit, and they’d let him off the hook. If not, they told him, he’d probably get the electric chair. The teenager refused to lie, even to save his own ass from being wrongly convicted, and spent almost 20 years in prison alongside Carter as a result. Go and give it a listen.