Man alive, The Heart has a beautiful website. Obviously, that’s not the defining feature of an audio podcast, but still. Have a look at it. After a long time of clicking on simple highlighted episode names to stream different podcasts, it is wonderful to see a podcast where the personality of the show is really revealed in its website design. The warm pink, the small, anatomical illustrations, the delicacy and clarity of the illustration, gives you hints of what’s to come.
I feel like a tiny bit of a fraud reviewing The Heart, because it used to be a show called Audio Smut, with episodes to listen to here, and I haven’t worked my way through past episodes of that, so I’m not starting from a position of full knowledge and understanding where the show has come from. I will listen. I’m looking forward to it.
But I asked out on Twitter what podcast I should listen to and someone answered with The Heart, and once I’d seen their Twitter profile description, ‘A radio show about the terrors and triumphs of intimacy, the bliss and banality of being in love and the wild diversity of the human heart’, I could NOT resist. Could you?
Anyway, since the show has been through a transition, with a new name, and a home on Radiotopia, it seems fair to review the Heart as a podcast in itself. Or at least, I’m probably going to be so positive and gushing, I would assume they won’t mind. Hopefully.
Listening to the Heart Radio really made me reflect on the paucity of the language, the experience and the manner with which the media discusses intimacy and relationships. It seems a world of problem pages and repetitive revelation, and presentations of outraged shock barely masking purient glee and celebrity gossip, and the general assumption that the every day relationships of people are boring, the same, a given. How refreshing it is to hear experiences reflected on, thoughtfully mulled over, not mined for revelation or shock factor.
There are shows about new relationships – forged in a day, or for a day only, long relationships and how they shift and change, relationships with our own bodies, and how we try and ignore or change them. Sex and intimacy is a given part of the discussion, and it’s the context and the experience of them is of interest.
The podcasts are what I think of ‘proper podcasts’ rather than online radio programmes – they vary in length and structure, with layers of voices and whispering, sounds and single voices, which suits the nature of the subject matter perfectly. It gives space to whispered secrets and huge belly laughs, hope and horror, and all the possible different subjects that the heart could touch upon.
I recommend the Heart hugely. It’s funny and brilliant and intimate.