Best podcasts of the week: Slow Burn shines a light on the LA riots

Best podcasts of the week

Joel Anderson takes us back to 1992, unpicking the events leading up to Rodney King’s brutal beating and historic unrest. Plus: Hugh Hefner’s rise and fall, and northern writers tell the stories of their home counties

Picks of the week

Slow Burn
The sixth run of Slate’s podcast on pivotal moments in history focuses on the LA riots of 1992. Joel Anderson expertly guides listeners through Rodney King’s brutal beating at the hands of the LAPD in 1991 and the chaos that erupted the following year, drawing powerful parallels with the current moment. Interviewees include King’s family and friends, and the man responsible for capturing the infamous footage of him. Hannah J Davies

Power: Hugh Hefner
“How did this little man in a silk robe bend the world around his fantasies? And did he understand the cost others paid to bring those fantasies to life?” Journalist Amy Rose Spiegel delves into the murky legacy of Hugh Hefner, speaking with some of the women who made Playboy and unpicking some big social questions. She also discusses evidence that claims he was controlling and abusive (along with other famous friends). Ultimately, she asks: what can the Playboy saga tell us about sex and power?
Hollie Richardson

Carrie Low VS.
“By the time I did the third interview, I was starting to question – are they believing me?” Canadian investigative journalist Maggie Rahr and CBC examine a rape case in Nova Scotia, which left its victim, Carrie Low, wondering whether the police were on her side. Chilling yet humane true crime. HJD

Not Another Love Song With Matt Edmondson
The very definition of background listening, this new series sees the Radio 1 DJ feed his new songwriting hobby with the help of chart-topping friends. First up, he collaborates with James Arthur on a ditty dedicated to hay fever. HR

Car Crash
Eddie Robson and Sara Pascoe’s charming 10-part romcom follows Grace and Elliot, who meet on a blind date for a magazine. As Grace (Aimee Lou Wood) points out, such things only tend to go viral when they’re really bad. Cue her showing up late and loose-lipped to meet Elliot (Alfred Enoch). HJD

Sex Education’s Aimee Lou Wood, who stars in Car Crash. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Chosen by Hannah Moore

Manchester’s Portico Library has tasked five artists from the North of England with telling the stories of the places they call home, in beautiful sound, with new episodes released every three weeks. Released this week, episode one follows broadside ballad singer Jennifer Reid, who presents her A to Z of Lancashire dialect, a rollicking collection of rolled vowels and hard consonants, interspersed with her childhood memories of the county. Episode two takes us to the East Yorkshire coast, where writer Adam Farrer provides a meditation on loss, touring a town that’s destined to fall into the sea – and unearthing the remains of a whale that washed up on its shores one Christmas Eve.

Each short episode serves as a love song to places that have long been overlooked, and ways of life that are at risk of being forgotten.

Talking points

  • If you’ve got Cop26 and the climate emergency on the brain, you could do worse than listening to Amy Westervelt’s insightful investigate series Drilled. The environmental journalist has also recently launched a separate series, Rigged, looking at the murky history of disinformation.

  • Why not try: Anxiety Bites | Nice Try | The Negotiators

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