This American Life

Since moving house eighteen months ago I decided to live without a television, partly due to the rising cost of a TV license, but also wanting to make the most of my spare time by doing all those other things I’ve always put off, instead of sitting on the sofa and watching endless repeats of Come Dine With Me. As a result, Radio 4 has become the constant soundtrack to my daily life: the Today programme, Just a Minute, Woman’s’ Hour, Front Row, Desert Island Discs and even the Archers omnibus all keep me informed and entertained.

 But, you know, sometimes you just fancy something different. A good alternative I have recently stumbled across by following a friend’s recommendation is the weekly public radio show This American Life, produced by Chicago Public Media and distributed by Public Radio International. Each roughly hour-long episode explores a theme through a variety of stores, or chapters. It’s mostly true stories or everyday people’s lives, but proceed in such a way that there’s an original take on themes and experiences. Favorite so far is 'Break Up'  - following the end of a relationship a woman writes her own break up song and seeks creative advice from Phil Collins, who features in the episode through snippets taken from a recorded telephone conversation. Funny, sad and empowering, and all in fifty minutes. 

 You can either download it to your ipod or listen to it online. I listen to it in the evenings while sifting through emails. I love it. It’s feels like a well-kept secret, but one that is really too good not to share. 

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