The Midweek Media Diet interview: Rob from Podcasting Is Praxis on the 'crab bucket' of British comment journalism...

... and some good things too.

As a bonus this week — and a transparent attempt to encourage you to upgrade to a paid subscription if you don’t already have — I’m publishing two Media Diet interviews open to everyone. If you want to receive the weekly Media Diet email on Monday and the Saturday roundup, hit the button below.

Today’s guest is Rob from Podcasting Is Praxis, the excellent leftist podcast that has been kind enough to invite me on as a guest a few times. It’s an excellent show and I highly recommend it even if you wisely stay away from the ones with me on them. My favourite recent episode is Episode 78 - Trawling Through Misery ft. Dr Eleanor Janega on the government’s ongoing meddling in higher education, which also includes a cursed book and the equally cursed AI Starmer.

Hello. Who are you in a single line?

I’m Rob, former Eurocrat, current resident of Switzerland, and freakishly obsessed with UK politics — for my sins I am part of the Podcasting is Praxis podcast crew.

How would you describe your media diet? Are you a glutton, a snacker, or a picky eater? 

Definitely a glutton, I’ll read anything and everything as long as it’s reasonably well written and interesting (as long as it isn’t sports). Partly because my brain is wired to be an omnivore, but also because we have a weekly pod to do - I need to have both a main story and small stories set up for discussion.

I do try to avoid most of the UK’s godawful right-wing press though; I don’t have the mental fortitude to stick my head in the crab bucket every day like you do. Once a week for our ‘Comment or Commentariat?’ minigame is more than enough…

[Mic: My crab bucket head plunging has made me a Comment or Commentariat? champion.]

What’s the first thing you watch/listen to every day? 

Usually first thing I do when I wake up is a quick scroll through the @Praxiscast Twitter account and Discord, just to see what’s up on the timeline, then usually a quick glance at The Guardian headlines before I get out of bed.

What would we find if we spied on your YouTube recommendations? 

Cooking and rock climbing videos, lots of essay-type material like PhilosophyTube, ContraPoints, lectures by Mark Blyth, a bunch of movie trailers, and some Warhammer videos – I think that’s mandatory if you’re terminally online and on the left in the UK?

I’ve been fighting a two-year running battle with the algorithm to finally get it to stop recommending Jordan Peterson’s nonsense to me. I thought I’d achieved final victory, but he’s back.

Which magazines, websites, and newspapers do you pay for? 

I have a subscription to The Financial Times as it’s the only paper that will actually tell you the truth about global politics; its audience is the real money and they, therefore, cannot afford to be fluff artists. Otherwise, I have Patreon subscriptions to the TrashFuture and Chapo Trap House podcasts.

The Guardian used to get my money but their coverage has gone markedly downhill since Katherine Viner took over – never mind the absolute freakshow that hangs out in their opinion section.

What artist or artists would we find on at the top of your most-played list on whatever streaming service you use? 

Recently it’s a lot of Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald – perfect for sitting on the balcony, reading, and having a drink. Iron and Wine is perennially in there, as is some modern minimal piano music like Michiel Borstlap, Joep Beving, and Dustin O’Halloran. Also, I can’t help it. It needs some Charlie Lownoise & Mental Theo 90s happy hardcore mixes on there – if you can listen to ‘Stars’ or ‘Wonderful Days’ without bopping, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

If you could only read one website every day, what would it be?

The Financial Times – as I said, it’s the only paper that will tell you the truth because their subscribers depend on them for it – unlike pretty much every other UK paper whose business model relies on keeping their audience in a frenzied state about who or what’s hiding under their beds. Their recent work on Greensill and Archegos capital has been exemplary.

What deceased magazine/ TV show/ radio programme would you resurrect? 

Justified. Although it ended so well I worry it would decline in quality.

Thanks to Rob — don’t forget to check out Podcasting Is Praxis — and thanks to you for reading down to the end. If you’ve enjoyed this interview, why not read Monday’s interview with Jake Yapp then smash the paid subscription button 👇