Conversational Podcasts, My New Friendship Group

Jane Garvey and Fi Glover from Fortunately

Yes, sorry, I’m writing about podcasts AGAIN, but only because this darn flu has meant I’ve not been out much recently and when I have ventured out of the front door on a short spree,  I’ve needed to lie down in a quiet place to recover. And January and February are all dark days, Tupperware-grey skies and cold winds, not exactly ‘lets-go-out’ motivation.

But I’m thinking of giving up ever going out again TBH, since I’ve got such a fun group of friends on tap all the time at home! Yes indeed. Due to the rise in conversational podcasts by some of my favourite radio presenters, I’ve got a whole new bunch of people in my life. Who needs IRL mates?

The podcasts I love the most are the ones where it feels like you are in the office/round the kitchen table chatting to these witty, informed and entertaining new pals. I’ve already mentioned how Unzipped and The High Low helped me cope with flu, but this week my sister tipped me off about Fortunately, a rambling chatty podcast from the properly grown up Jane Garvey from Women’s Hour and Fi Glover from the brilliant Listening Project. I am now completely hooked.

Listening to Jane and Fi chat is like eaves dropping on your smarter, funnier mates. They are supposed to be reporting on the conversations that happen when the Radio 4 microphones are turned off, but it sounds more like a lunch time gossip between two very good and very funny friends, with wild and random conversations that range from the efficiency of a Turkey Crown at Christmas to why spinning classes might kill you. There is a brilliant review of 2017 where they give out prizes for things like best highlighted hair in an older woman (Gloria Hunniford) and git of the year (a skip driver near Jane’s house).

My new BFs

It’s brilliant and although they don’t know it, or me for that matter, they are my new BFs. I talk back to them, I shriek with laughter at some of the things they say and I have even got a new sound system, which I have up quite loud (old ears) so I can hear them properly. If anyone arrives at the door, it sounds like I’ve got a house full of women having a blast.

I know this could be viewed as sad, but I am of an age where I just don’t care what anyone else thinks. I am very happy with my new friendship group. And look at the upside, these friends are available when I need them – useful if you get menopausal insomnia. I can even repeat listen to their whole conversations if I don’t hear or understand them first time round, you can’t do that IRL too often without annoying people.

And they’re very definitely not Millennials or Gen Xers. Much as I admire Dolly and Pandora from The High Low, they chat intensely about issues I went through many years ago. I end up telling them the answers or explaining how it will all sort itself out in the end (yes, I know talking to my ipad is also sad). Unzipped is marvelous too, but it’s only grown up Lisa Armstrong who I count as my friend, although I do think Emily Cronin would be one of those BF’s who would reliably always offer terrific advice.

My only problem is the podcasts only come out once a week. I’d really like them once a day. As a freelancer I spend a lot of time on my own (too much, are you all thinking after this post?) and really LOVE the company of my new pals. I just need them to work harder.

Jane and Fi have promised a live show in 2018. I am beyond excited, but also worried, as I will act inappropriately. I’ll have to resist the urge to go and give them both a giant hug as you might your besties, which would be embarrassing and might lead to security being called. Perhaps I’ll have reengaged with real life and my real friendship group by then. But now I have to go because a new episode of Fortunately has just gone live….



  • Jacqueline says:

    These two make me laugh out loud. We have a similar duo in Aus who you might be interested in called Chat 10 Looks 3. They talk books, movies, baking and other important stuff. Fortunately introduced me to Adam Buxton’s podcast – so many interesting interviews. Alex Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing is also good particularly his interviews with Tina Brown, Grace Coddington, Barbara Streisand to name a few.

  • Sarah says:

    Love Fi and Jane, listened this morning whilst working (from home), they made me laugh out loud a few times. That live show must happen – and a daily podcast would be fab for all us work from homers.

  • Amanda says:

    Sarah, oh I think we should push for daily podcasts! Jacqueline thanks for the tip on Chat 10 Looks 3! Australian BFs! Ax

  • Ellen says:

    I love podcasts also when I am working from home! Have you tried My Favorite Murder? It is fun for those who like a bit of crime mixed in with the girlfriend chat.

  • Catherine says:

    I love Fortunately. They make me snort with laughter so best to listen alone I find! Not sure my husband finds it quite as hilarious as I do.

  • Poppy Seed-Bagel says:

    My husband introduced me to Fortunately – I love its gentle and generous humour, combined with skewering where necessary. It is as you say like eavesdropping on your wittier friends.

    I was at the BBC today, and walking through the Pizza I hoped to see them sitting chatting, but no; just a collection of pimped up cars.

  • Anna says:

    I agree with everything you say, Fi and Jane now feel like ‘friends’ of mine. Be warned though, so do all my favourite bloggers!!! I feel as though I know you pretty well. It’s odd because I bumped into a blogger I have read for years at the Tate and wanted to greet her (hug) like an old friend but of course she didn’t know me from Adam. I felt a bit like a stalker and just left her in peace.

  • Anna! You can hug either of us any time at all….Poppy Seed Bagel, how exciting, I too would be stalking the Pizza-Piazza if I was at the BBC, Ellen, you have just lost me another afternoon with My Favourite Murder, thank you, Catherine, my husband doesn’t get it at all….Axx

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