REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL, INDEPENDENT: **
Host(s): Geoff Lloyd and Ed Miliband
When your second response to one’s interviewee, coming after 6-minutes-straight of uninterrupted technical talk, is:
“What would you say to those who said that this is just a more sophisticated version of the political and commercial advertising that we, you know, at the moment have on tv, and, you, you know, it may be a more targeted form, er, version of that but it isn’t qualitatively different?”,
you have a problem. Unlike eyes, our auditory organs cannot so easily skim back over complex sections of text. They like to be tuned in with context and a narrative hook; they will absorb information attentively when one passage flows gently to the next. Unfortunately, this podcast provides neither.
What simultaneously redeems this podcast yet frustrates Ed Miliband fans is its potential. Clearly, the podcast is bursting with brains. Ed asks, “Your research has been about how public input can achieve better decision making. Does blockchain have a role to play there?”, and one yearns to hear about Alice Casey’s research. But alas, it is merely mentioned as an aside. Similarly, Ed’s enticing comment that some form of centralisation of technical infrastructure could be one solution to turgid tech monopolies is also said as if by accident.
But, this critique is perhaps too hasty, after all, the podcast only claims to tell you ‘what you need to know’, and no more. The format is somewhere between a slow Sunday morning easy listener (classic Geoff), and an attempt at a hard-hitting social science talk show (classic Ed). While the pairing does bring about a nice bit of banter, it also leaves the listener a little confused.
The namesake, however, is excellent. The comedians come up with some stellar reasons, or more accurately, ideas, to be cheerful about: emoting classes in schools, twice as many ladies toilets as mens’ in public spaces or league tables for newspapers based on quality of factual content. The debate about these ideas at the end of the podcast leaves one feeling refreshingly thoughtful and positive. However, for the most part, and in its current form, this is a podcast to put on if you’re alone at home and want some background sound to distract you from the fact.
If one thing had to change?
This podcast should hire an editor with a keen eye for storytelling, and turn that brainpower towards illuminating the work of its intelligent interviewees, which is at present left lightless. Too much waffle, not enough syrup. Two stars.
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