Episodes
Published 05/28/22
36 years after the original, Tom Cruise returns for Top Gun: Maverick, plus we don our parkas as we listen to the new album from Liam Gallagher, Come On You Know. Legendary music writer and broadcaster Paul Morley, joins us to talk Island Records, Factory Records, and ALL records, and we get comfy in our nests, to watch the latest major Sky adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos. And Jelena heads out to the Southbank Centre to speak to International Booker Prize shortlister, Mieko Kawakami.  Hear...
Published 05/28/22
Monkeypox has hit the headlines with its spread in Europe. What is it? How do we deal with it? And should we be worried? With people on high alert to illnesses due to COVID, we unpack the differences and put context around what’s really going on. Dr. Charlotte Hammer, a fellow in emerging infectious diseases at Downing College Cambridge, explains the virus to Jacob Jarvis.  “Monkeypox actually does not come from monkeys, it comes from rodents in central Africa.”  “The symptoms are pretty...
Published 05/26/22
As scientists seek extraterrestrial life, what would we do if we actually found it? How would we manage first contact, and could we even communicate with aliens? Franck Marchis, a senior planetary astronomer from the SETI Institute, unpacks the prospect with Andrew Harrison – and the idea aliens might already know we’re here, but we’re too boring for them to care. “The most important question is intelligent life.”  “This discovery will not be a big surprise for a lot of humans on this...
Published 05/25/22
As the Prime Minister is caught red wine handed, we discuss the crises facing Britain alongside the partygate furore. We unpack the further issues looming as the cost of living situation goes from bad to worse. Is there an end in sight? Plus, why do we still pay so much attention to newspaper front pages? Lord Peter Ricketts, former national security adviser and ambassador to France, is this week’s guest.  “I don’t know why you would bring someone along to photograph your crime.” – Ahir...
Published 05/24/22
Sue Gray’s final partygate report is due, meaning a long week ahead for Boris Johnson. What can we expect it to contain? Meanwhile, the cost of living crisis continues to deepen. Is a windfall tax on energy companies inevitable? Plus, we discuss Australia’s new Prime Minister and the latest from Ukraine. Justin Quirk is joined by Alex Andreou to tee up the days ahead. “It’s damaging the Government all the time because it has reversed all their soft ratings.” — Alex Andreou  “The charge of...
Published 05/23/22
NEW PODCAST: In a brand new 6-part series, Ian Dunt and Dorian Lynskey explore the histories of the most misrepresented ideas in politics. Here’s a taster of the first episode: McCarthyism. Was it really a crusade against communists or just a grifter’s opportunity that got out of hand? How did a witch-hunt morph into a way to denounce any critic, no matter who? And did Joe McCarthy really write the rulebook for Trumpism? Get the full episode here: https://kite.link/OS1McCarthy Back Origin...
Published 05/23/22
Blows to the head are commonplace in a range of sports – why do the risks often go unspoken? What happens to the brain when athletes take these knocks? Alex Rees speaks to Hana Walker-Brown about her book A Delicate Game: Brain Injury, Sport and Sacrifice, in which she chronicles degenerative brain disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and the tragedies which have gone under the radar.  “There are things that are changing, but they’re changing very slowly.”  “The rules need to come...
Published 05/22/22
Pop culture roundup: Can we plumb the depths of Kendrick Lamar’s dazzling, disturbing Mr Morale & The Big Steppers? Has Harry Styles squared the teen idol/suave-pop circle? UK hip-pop talent Murkage Dave joins us. The songwriting genius of Michael Head. And Night Sky, an Amazon drama about the portal to outer space in Sissy Spacek’s back garden. Really. Journalist Johnny Davis of Esquire and The Face rounds out the panel.  Hear all the music on our rolling playlists. Spotify:...
Published 05/21/22
Authoritarian leaders are dominating 21st century politics. How did this new generation of strongmen rise to power? Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times, joins Nick Cohen to discuss his new book The Age of The Strongman, which covers the rise of the modern-day dictator, and what their leadership means for the world. “There was always going to be a backlash against the ‘end of history’ way of doing things.” “With the West having gone through the...
Published 05/19/22
Eleven of the fifteen postwar Prime Ministers went to Oxford. How did their privileged upbringing change the U.K? The FT’s Simon Kuper talks to Ros Taylor about how the entitled atmospheres of Oxford and Eton shaped modern Britain, detailed in his latest book Chums. “Boris Johnson was probably the best known person at Oxford in his day.” “It’s a great advantage in politics to have a recognisable brand, and Eton encourages that.” “Johnson learnt all his debating tricks from the Oxford...
Published 05/18/22
We look at the Government’s culture war push as people are told to just work harder to beat the cost of living crisis. What bargain bin policies are being used to shift attention from the hardship so many are facing? Plus, as those struggling are told to budget their way out of poverty, we look at the ludicrous money saving advice being dished out. And finally, the panel marks the end of the iPod. Freelance writer and columnist Hannah Fearn is this week’s guest.  “All politicians, no...
Published 05/17/22
As Finland and Sweden look to join Nato, we unpack the latest from Ukraine as Putin faces consequences for his invasion. How will the Russian leader react amid signs of defeat? Then at home, we discuss the latest Brexit wranglings over the Northern Ireland protocol. Plus, questions of Keir Starmer’s leadership persist. Is he really in trouble? Ros Taylor is joined by Yasmeen Serhan to tee up the week ahead, and glance back at the weekend’s Eurovision contest.  “Ukraine has exceeded people’s...
Published 05/16/22
Joe Biden’s poll ratings have been underwater for months. What is the state of his presidency? Dorian Lynskey speaks to Dr. Thomas Gift, founding director of UCL’s Centre on US Politics, to discuss the Democrat’s tenure so far. Is a Trump rematch on the cards, and could Biden win again? And if not him, could anyone else come to his party’s rescue in 2024? Plus, what will the prospect of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade mean for the Democratic leader? “If I look at the democratic...
Published 05/15/22
Hear all the music on our rolling playlist: https://bit.ly/CultBunk This year’s Eurovision is upon us – but is it full of Boom Bang-a Bangers or a bit of a Waterloo? Linda Marric and Michael Hogan join us to chew on this year’s line up, and new albums from Florence and The Machine AND Radiohead offshoots The Smile, and Conversations with Friends, the latest Sally Rooney adaptation from the BBC   Plus, you wait years for a Multiverse and then two turn up at once - we wrap our minds around...
Published 05/14/22
How do we talk to radicals and terrorists who are bent on reshaping society through violence? Charlotte McDonald-Gibson was at Brussels Airport during a terror attack in 2016, and wanted to understand what drives people to such acts. She joins Justin Quirk to discuss her book Far Out: Encounters With Extremists, where she finds out what lures people into fringe groups.  “The human emotions that lead people to these groups are universal across ideologies.”  “Everybody in the book was under...
Published 05/12/22
With the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned, we unpack the movement against abortion rights in the United States. A leaked draft Supreme Court decision indicates the landmark decision is set to be struck down – what would that mean for American society? Iowa-based writer Lyz Lenz joins Ros Taylor to discuss how the country reached this moment of reckoning, and what could happen next. “Since 1973 we have seen a slow erosion of the ability to access abortion services.” “There has been...
Published 05/11/22
What was spicier, Starmer’s curry or its aftermath? We discuss the Labour leader’s standing and his bluff-calling gamble. Plus, who were the real local election winners and losers? Then, as the cost of living bites, the panel unpacks just how out of touch the Government is with working people. Jamie Driscoll, the Labour Mayor of the North of Tyne, is this week’s special guest and Belfast-based journalist Amanda Ferguson also drops in to unpack the Northern Ireland assembly...
Published 05/10/22
Brexit tensions spike in the wake of Northern Ireland’s assembly elections – what will come of the fallout? Plus, Putin is to address Russia on the nation’s Victory Day – how will he look to reframe his ongoing invasion of Ukraine? Then, back at home, the Queen’s Speech is due this week. Andrew Harrison is joined by Gavin Esler to tee up the days ahead.  “This has all been done as part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit derangement syndrome.” – Gavin Esler “If you really think Boris Johnson has...
Published 05/09/22
News of Elon Musk buying Twitter has enraged some users – but what could he actually do with the platform? Could he break it in the ways some fear? Alex Andreou is joined by Charles Arthur, former technology editor of The Guardian and author of Social Warming: The Dangerous and Polarising Effects of Social Media, to discuss what the billionaire tech mogul might do with the site.  “You have to distinguish between the Musk you see on Twitter and the one who's in business.” “Twitter does have...
Published 05/08/22
In our pop culture roundup: Does the new Dr Strange go a multiverse too far? Reunited Deutsche electro legends xPropaganda join us as our special guests. New albums from sophisticates of seediness Soft Cell and the Smiths you can dance to, Dubstar. And does Mike Myers’ conspiracy comedy The Pentaverate hit the spot? And Katie Puckrik of The Word fame joins the panel too… Hear all the music on our rolling playlists. Spotify: https://bit.ly/CultBunk Tidal:...
Published 05/07/22
You may have heard of China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, but what actually is it? And what are Beijing's underlying motivations? Jelena Sofronijevic speaks to Eric Olander, co-founder and managing editor of The China Africa Project, and Raffaello Pantucci, a co-author of Sinostan - China’s Inadvertent Empire, to uncover the truth about Chinese economic investment abroad.    “The BRI, in many respects, is like a Rorschach test, where you can see anything you want into it.” - Eric...
Published 05/05/22
With the Tory tractor bogged down in scandal, can diversion tactics help them at the local elections? We look at the latest Westminster sleaze and whether Boris Johnson’s party is set for a reckoning. Plus, we cast an eye to Russia and unexplained explosions amid their invasion of Ukraine. And, with an open call for new emojis – what does our panel think is needed? This week’s guest is Daily Mirror senior political correspondent Rachel Wearmouth.  “The expectation management from all...
Published 05/04/22
We assess the latest political rumblings as local elections loom. How will the latest scandals sway public opinion? Will the results be a litmus test of Boris Johnson’s campaigning clout? Plus, certain news outlets’ obsession with Angela Rayner and Keir Starmer, the PM’s upcoming address to Ukrainian parliament and cast an eye to Supreme Court controversy in the United States. Alex Andreou and Yasmeen Serhan tee up the days ahead.  “It’s going to be a performance review on both leaders.” –...
Published 05/03/22
Someone has to pick up the pieces after a disaster. What’s it like to deal with the aftermath of a catastrophe? Siân Pattenden talks to Lucy Easthope about her new memoir When the Dust Settles: Stories of Love, Loss and Hope from an Expert in Disaster. Lucy has been first at the scene of countless major crises over the last twenty years, from 9/11 to the Grenfell fire. She discusses planning for emergencies, and her belief most of the world's tragedies can be prevented.  “I'm not letting...
Published 05/02/22