Listen up 2021! This month we’re talking to James Wright, founder of So It Goes.
This is year three of us asking our friends and acquaintances to tell us which podcasts they choose to listen to when they get the chance. That freedom to disappear into worlds outside our own may never have been more important than in a time like this. This month James Wright, founder and creative director of So It Goes shares his choice of listening.
After gaining a degree in Politics at Bristol, James went on to work for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and in the film industry in New York for studio head Bob Berney. In 2012, he founded So It Goes, which is both a magazine and a creative agency, based in LA and London. Published twice a year, the magazine’s pages have played host to names and faces from the worlds of music, art, fashion and film, including Mark Ruffalo, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Cillian Murphy, Father John Misty, Cate Blanchett and more. As if running the magazine wasn’t enough, James has also worked with some of the world’s biggest brands at the So It Goes creative studio, including Dior, Chanel The Kooples and Anthropologie.
Somewhere, during all of that, he also finds time to listen to the odd podcast. Here are three of his favourites:
The Slate Culture Gabfest
By podcasting standards, The Slate Culture Gabfest is a relative veteran. Launched in 2008, it remains one of the most diverse, educational and entertaining popular culture shows out there. The reason it’s so special is down to its hosts: Slate film critic Dana Stevens, Deputy Managing Editor of the LA Times (and former Chief Editor of Slate) and the polymathic and dizzyingly charming and clever host Stephen Metcalf. Like all my favourite podcasts, it’s a warm blanket; an hour long weekly highlight in which you can lose yourself in a conversation between three friends and colleagues, all of whom have contrasting styles, tastes and senses of humour. What makes the show so special is its range. In one episode you can have a segment on the ‘right to be forgotten’ on the internet, the next a debate on whether children should be taught more contemporary literature in classrooms, all to be rounded off by a review of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’. It’s never predictable and always entertaining, even if it shouldn’t be. Forever intelligent, warm and compassionate to the listener, it’s my desert island podcast.
The Ezra Klein Show
Ezra Klein – the Founder and former Editor-at-Large of the VOX media network, Klein recently jumped ship to be an opinion columnist at the New York Times. Thankfully, however, his long-form podcast show remains intact as it was. A policy ‘wonk’ in the truest sense and described as ‘Washington’s Wunderkind’, I don’t think there is anyone Ezra can’t shadow-box. The discussions could be anything from an expert on ‘world-building’, to an analysis and interpretation on the future of automation and AI, city-planning in sub-Saharan Africa, or the future of the Republican Party. He has the leading thinkers, academics and writers in the world on every week, and while the sheer weight of information can be a bit overwhelming at times, it’s a welcome antidote to bingeing a terrible show on TV and feeling better about yourself as a result.
Slow Burn started off with a six-part series on the Watergate scandal and the downfall of Nixon. It was held up as the finest example of the long-form, because no detail was spared and yet somehow the pace still felt brisk and gripping. Season 2 took on the Clinton/Lewinsky saga, season 3 changed pace and looked back at the Biggie/Tupac feud, while season 4 tells the little known story about the rise of KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, who in so many ways re-introduced white supremacy into the mainstream, and – arguably – paved the way for figures like Donald Trump to be able to hold elected office. For any long car, train or plane journeys, it’s a good one to sink your teeth into.