PENGUINS, DOGS AND PODCASTS: Escapism for self-isolationers and frazzled comms people


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‘He’s an escapist’, the writer Nathaniel West once wrote, ‘he wants to cultivate his interior garden.’

What is striking is that everyone has a tolerance for coronavirus news and especially if you’re in the public sector communicating it.

At times, a 24-hour flow of information can intoxicate. If only, you think, if I keep reading I’ll stay ahead of the game. But like a drunk at the gates of the Guinness factory who is deep into their second truck you soon realise you can’t process it all.

So you move to phase two, escapism because the news is serious.

Even those who are knee deep in much and bullets need to re-charge.

It’s completely fine to take a dive into the deep end of this as that’s what will help recharge your batteries.

So, enough.

I’ve blogged things to take your mind off things / get through self-isolation / recharge your batteries.


12 clips of Train Guy on Twitter

He’s every man – and it tends to be a man – who is on a train loudly telling the rest of the carriage how importantly on trend they are. Have a bend back. Geoff Linton’s going to be there. Bounce back post pitch?

phil collins

Find the videos here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Five clips of animals being cute from Twitter

Because we all need animals in our life.


Penguins jumping randomly down stairs. Watch them go here.

Koalas just hanging out here.

A cat being sung to here.

A polar bear learning to balance with their Mum here.

A budgie singing into a mirror here.

Cute Dog videos on TikTok

Cute dog gets confused on TikTok here with more cute dogs here, here, here and here.


Five shows I’ve road tested from BBC Sounds

When working, I have to have ear buds in. I’ve come to see them as a physical manifestation of the on-switch. So, here are five that I’d recommend and you can chobble through the back catalogue box-set style.


Elis James and John Robins BBC Five Live show here. It is what happens if a hip version of Swansea midfield general Alan Curtis collided with Alan Partridge.

That Peter Crouch Podcast is here. It’s what would happen if a your 16-year-old footer obsession self collided with a Radio One DJ.

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, who must now be 108 hosts a high brow Radio 4 programme that invites experts on a subject to talk about a specific subject. Often they’re obscure topics. It’s what happens when five University professors collide with podcasting equipment. This fills you in here.

Blood on the Tracks features Colin Murray and guests who talk about music that matters to them. It’s what happens when Fighting Talk meets a record shop. More here.

The Missing Crypto Queen features a podcast-style series tracing the woman behind a crypto-currency bubble. It’s what happens when a police procedural meets the internet. More here.

Four threads from Twitter that are an excellent diversion

There are still corners of Twitter that do it for me and the thread functionality flush them out.


THREAD: ‘Tell me what its like having your kids at home from school but describe them as your co-workers.’ Here.

THREAD: ‘Holker Street is gloriously old school and deserves to be kicking with the soulless identikit stadiums in the Football League.’ Here.

THREAD: ‘As a public service in these stressful times I’d like to offer, as a palate cleanser, the most embarrassing moment of my life.’ Here.

THREAD: ‘This is the story of the WORST GIG I’VE EVER DONE.’ Here.

THREAD: ‘I heard it was an emergency, so I emerged. As an actor, I can’t do much without face to face contact. But I can read verse. If me reading a particular poem would make you happy, let me know and I’ll post it on @SoundCloud I’ll try and do at least one a day. Here.


Four Spotify playlists

I can work with this on shuffle 386 songs.

Peaceful rain sleep white noise from the rain.

1000 best songs of all time. Well, 1001 actually.

Reckless Yes. Sarah Lay’s record label.


Three accounts on Flickr to lose yourself in

Tyne and Wear museums has a cracking archive of images and people from the region. Including shots of the Tyne Bridge being built. See them HERE.


Library of Congress have thousands of images from America history HERE.


Reykjavik Museum Oh, those Icelanders… HERE


Four places to listen to on the web while working or dozing off

youarelisteningto pulls in police radio snippets and plays ambient music uploaded from soundcloud. Its an oddly compelling mix. has the sound of heavy rain falling on the Irish Sea off the coast of Ireland on a loop. Endlessly.

onlineclock allows you to balance a range of noises to give you the perfect blend. Rain, sheep, wind, birdsong? Covered.

Hipstersound thinks people work better when they are in a coffee shop. So, there’s a range of cafes recorded from across the world.

Two things to explore if you’ve time to kill

Explore space with these free tools provided by the European Space Agency and NASA.

Or re-run the 1995-6 Premier League season Championship Manager-style with this android football manager app.

Pic credit: Flickr / Documerica


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