Standard Issue Podcast at the Boulevard Theatre, Soho

Hi there,

You get to hear from Standard Issue Podcast on the latest episode of Freelance Pod! So let’s forget about the actual news and take a little walk down memory lane to the neon-lit Soho of the last century, via 90s lads’ mags, shall we…?

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(L-R: Jen Offord, me, Mickey Noonan, Hannah Dunleavy: 3/4 of Standard Issue)

Standard Issue was first set up as an online magazine by comedian Sarah Millican, to be produced by women, for women. The concept has now evolved into a podcast, which has in recent weeks featured starry names like author Malorie Blackman, football legend Eni Aluko and comedians Sophie Duker and Sara Pascoe.

Sarah initially hired journalist Mickey Noonan to write for SI. One of my favourite discoveries of the recording is that, among many other print journalism jobs, Mickey once spent 9 months as a lads’ mag sexpert.

Mickey then hired Hannah Dunleavy (with a background in comedy and newspapers) - who would never have thought at that point that, thanks to this job, she’d one day end up on a stage with Janeane Garofalo, explaining what a Phillip Schofield is.

Jen Offord was brought onboard after she made the leap from the civil service to sports journalism, via blogging and publishing a book. Along that journey, she also had the misfortune of meeting Boris Johnson, alas.

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(The Boulevard Theatre in a former life - see the bridge? We recorded just to the left of that, just out of shot. It’s a lot calmer there now)

We got together to record the episode at the newly-refurbished Boulevard Theatre, Soho (have a look around here), because we’ve both got live podcast recordings there in November. You can catch Standard Issue’s women in TV-themed show on Sunday 10th November, from 6:30pm.

Freelance Pod’s live show is on the week after, on Sunday 17th November, from 6:30pm.

If you’d like to know more about what to expect from the Freelance Pod live show, there’s also a cameo appearance form my guest for that evening, science writer and soon-to-be-author, Gemma Milne. There’ll be some debunking of pseudoscience, a look at self-branding and freelancing, plus a peek at the process of getting a nonfiction book published.

It’s a raucous, fun, witty and wise episode - Standard Issue and Gemma can come back any time!

Listen Now


What I’ve been up to recently

I wrote about what it’s like when your parents leave home before you do, for Curbed

I also wrote about how cloud computing can revolutionise workplace training, for The Times / Raconteur

I was quoted in this podcast report, by one of the hosts of the Media Voices Podcast (speaking of which, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff’s episode is v.good)

I’m writing to you from a freelance pop-up - an event where freelancers work in proximity to each other, leaving open the chance to meet new people over lunch. Sounds like your kind of thing? Follow FJ & Co for info on more events.

What I’ve found memorable online recently

That’s all from me for now, if you’re coming to the live show, make sure you let me know! x

Special guest for Freelance Pod's November live recording revealed...

Hi all,

The science writer - and soon-to-be-author of Smoke & Mirrors: How Hype Obscures the Future and How to See Past It* - will be joining me onstage as my guest for Freelance Pod’s live recording at the Boulevard Theatre, Soho in November!

Aside from the writing, Gemma is a well-travelled keynote speaker and moderator, and co-founded Science Disrupt, which is all about discussions with innovators, iconoclasts & entrepreneurs intent on creating change in science.

I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone and learning some stuff about science, and it’s going to be a fun and interactive show involving you, the audience too!

Up for it? Let me know if you’re going to join us! Just hit reply to this email.

To anyone involved in, or who came along to my London Podcast Festival live recording: if you want to come along to this, please let me know if you’re thinking of buying a ticket?

Here’s the link for more information and tickets. It’s a huge honour to get to perform in this space, and so I can’t wait to welcome you to the perfect little Boulevard Theatre. It’s intimate, so, um, yeah, if you’re in the stalls and on the balcony edge, I’ll be able to see you from the stage… but I’ll only pick out people in the audience to contribute for fun reasons, promise! That’s the guarantee of a Freelance Pod performance.

*Gemma’s book is available for pre-order right now; pre-ordering is like shaking gold dust over a debut author’s career, just saying…


The next episode of the podcast is out soon, and it will be an interview with writer Rachel Vorona Cote about how we handle grief online. Episodes will be fortnightly-ish for the rest of the year.


That’s all for this little newsflash, I’ll write again soon x

"During war, all relationships are temporary"

Hi there,

The latest episode of Freelance Pod was recorded in front of a live audience at the London Podcast Festival in September 2019. Abdul Tahhan joined me onstage to guide us through his forced journey from Aleppo, Syria to London, and what’s happened in the six years since. As his own upcoming podcast aims to show, a refugee’s story doesn’t end when they get leave to remain in a safe place - but a new story of integration does begin.

While we did deal with serious subjects, Abdul is always keen to highlight the fact that refugees often respond to tough times as anyone else would do - with a lot of humour. That’s part of why Abdul is such a great storyteller, especially when it comes to experiences we don’t often hear enough about.

From the hierarchy of who gets to sleep on which floor in an abandoned Syrian post office that somehow keeps escaping the bombs, to whether or not he should add “love” on the end of his customer chat as a barista, Abdul’s perspective shines a new light on the things we take for granted.

I’m also incredibly pleased that the audience got into the spirit of things really quickly, despite the fact that, firstly, some of that laughter is going to be uncomfortable, and secondly that the Life in the UK Test questions they tried to answer are, yup, completely off the wall.

I loved pulling together a live show and performing it in front of the audience, so I’m thrilled to be getting the chance to put on a couple more shows this year - more info further down this email.

Listen now!

It's out! The latest episode is the recording of the #podcast's first-ever live show, courtesy of #LondonPodFest 2019!
Syrian refugee, stand-up comedian and journalist Abdul Tahhan takes to the stage with @suchandrika to recount his journey from Syria to London, via living in post offices, jumping borders, learning the word "loo" and being a barista.
Also - can you beat the audience on the Life in the UK Test questions? Good luck! Maybe all that pod merch could've been yours!!
You have two more chances to see the pod live this year. One's sold out, but tickets have just gone on sale for @freelancepod's show @boulevardsoho on Sunday 17th November.
#podcasting #refugees #refugeeswelcome #syria #migrants #citizenship #british
October 6, 2019

Here are the slides that provided the backdrop and structure to the 90-minute show. They’re worth a quick click through as we do refer to them on the episode, but you don’t need to look at them or have them up the enjoy the pod.

A huge thank you to Abdul for all the time and effort he put in; to London Podcast Festival programmer Zoë Jeyes for including Freelance Pod on the bill; and to my wonderful friends who turned up in the audience, answered silly questions and looked happy when they won even sillier prizes! Thank you so much for being there ❤️

Listen now!

(📸 by Bishakha Hughes)


Things I’m doing IRL

Two new live shows:

  • Unfortunately, this one’s sold out now - but it’s worth keeping an eye out generally for Refugee Journalism Project events, it’s such a great cause

  • Freelance Pod will be playing the newly-refurbished Boulevard Theatre Soho (see picture above for how it used to look), on 17th November, as part of their Sunday Service programme. It’s a gorgeously intimate space, and I’ve got a special surprise guest who I’ll announce soon. Come along and join us! It’s a lot less neon and X-rated now, promise 😂

Teaching:

What I’ve been writing

Events to look out for

A question for podcasters - please tweet Sarah back today if possible

What to watch

What to read

What to listen to


As always, if you have a moment and feel like it, please rate and review the Freelance Pod over on Apple Podcasts

That’s all from me this week, will write again soon x

Freelance Pod has been shortlisted for a Lovie Award!

Hi all,

A quick midweek missive to let you know that Freelance Pod has been shortlisted for an award!

The Lovie Awards celebrate the best of the European internet, and they’re also a spin-off of The Webby Awards, so it’s an incredible honour to be recognised by them. I’m utterly thrilled to even appear on the page for the Podcasts - Best Host category.

I’m out of the running to win the prize, but you can vote for either The Economist Asks (host: Anne McElvoy) or La Poudre (host: Lauren Bastide) to take the top spot. What a treat to be part of an all-female shortlist.

The Live Show from the London Podcast Festival episode of Freelance Pod is on its way to you soon, along with a proper newsletter!

In the meantime, if you feel like writing a review of the podcast, please do pop over to Apple Podcasts and do so. Leaving reviews helps other people find the podcast, and a growing audience helps me keep making it on zero budget.

Thank you!

All the best x

I did my first live podcast recording - and lived to tell the tale!

Hi everyone,

We did it! Freelance Pod went live at the London Podcast Festival on Saturday!

Here are some of the other podcasts that were playing on Saturday:

We had some fun questions for the audience:

And the podcast merchandise got an outing:

Stickers too:

The recording will be released as an episode soon! I’ve got tickets for The Allusionist, Beef & Dairy Network and Rule of Three at the festival next weekend, so I’ll be back at Kings Place, and there’s lots more podding to enjoy - see you there?


In other news:

  • Want to know how to pitch your podcast to the commissioners? I’m hosting a panel about just that, on 18th September at Kings Place, featuring an editor from Whistledown, among others. Tickets are free - just sign up on the Eventbrite.

  • I contributed a tip to this Journo Resources piece on podcasting advice, timed to coincide with the start of the London Podcast Festival

  • Poetry Exchange’s appearance at the London Podcast Festival married the interactiveness of in-person podcasting with deep, emotional, literary conversation - if my live show hadn’t been scheduled against theirs, I’d have booked a slot with them on Saturday

That’s all for now - good luck with this grey Monday… x

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