31 May Jules & James | Podcast Review
Since dipping my toe into the world of podcasts and listening to Serial’s S-Town, my love for podcasts has grown at an exponential rate.
I’ve downloaded apps such as Castbox and Player FM, my eyes lighting up at the treasure trove of intriguing material just waiting to be listened to.
Podcasts such as Serial, Lexicon Valley, Creative Pep Talk, and Welcome to Nightvale have all informed and entertained me lately.
Now, while I enjoy all of the above and they all have their own unique feel and merits, one podcast that has really stood out for me in the past couple of weeks has been Jules & James.
So many podcasts out there are focused on learning things, improving your life in some way or teaching you how to be more productive and chase your dreams. I love getting motivated by a good podcast and picking up practical tips. Or just you know, randomly learning about champagne (a recent episode of Stuff You Should Know).
There’s such a wealth of interesting material out there. I regularly feel really inspired by it all and lucky to be at a point in history where it’s all available to me.
Sometimes though, I feel really overwhelmed by it all and frustrated by the feeling of wanting to do everything but just not having the time or energy to do it all.
This is where podcasts such as Jules & James come to the rescue. Just a brief half hour that is nonetheless memorable and provides a welcome relief from the productivity, improvement and motivation onslaught out there.
A mis-dialed phone number is the premise behind J&J. That small interruption into a stranger’s life, that we’ve all experienced at least once, is taken a step further. The two young artists Jules and James end up having a conversation and agree to have a series of rolling half hour phone calls each week going forward.
This is such a simple idea but it holds such a level of novelty because it’s something we have all in one way or another probably wanted to do ourselves out of sheer curiosity for the lives of others.
The beauty of the concept of J&J is that their conversations can and do branch out into any number of topics. The natural way in which their conversations flow and the way that they have a very phone-like audio quality (yep, that’s a technical term) add a level of reality to the whole thing that almost makes you question if you should really be listening to it (in a good way I mean…). Naturally I continue to though because I’m just the sort of person who gets caught up in eavesdropping on other people’s conversations and building up an interpretation of their life based on the small snippets I hear at that point in time.
As the phone calls continue we learn more and more about the pair. We learn that James is an American artist who moved to Paris in a spur of the moment decision to make a living as an artist. We also learn that Jules is a British film maker currently directing her own film.
I started listening to J&J tentatively; not sure if I was quite ready to veer away from the acquisition of self improvement and making myself more smart. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s now my guilty pleasure, but I do feel a bit rebellious listening to it instead of doing productive things. It’s my rebellious pleasure. It’s only a half hour though. I can definitely invest in one half hour a week.
Plus, it’s just a wonderfully relaxing podcast to listen to. It’s like those memorable, multi-faceted conversations you have every now and then, that flow in such a natural way. The therapeutic type of conversations that reaffirm and assure your place in the universe and renew your energies.
J&J actually makes me a little bit sad/nostalgic at points. It reminds me of exactly the sort of conversations I used to have with an old friend who I no longer am in touch with. We’d just chat about life and sometimes poke at slightly pretentious topics about the meaning of life and our purpose, telling personal anecdotes and bouncing off ideas. And of course talk about random stuff that would end in laughter.
It’s not that I don’t have those sorts of conversations anymore, it’s more that J&J remind me strongly of having them over endless cups of herbal tea in cafes or friends’ houses whilst at university. I love that about the podcast. While it’s not necessarily motivational per-se, the half hour reaches a close and I feel refreshed after listening to it. Their conversations remind you of the free therapy found in sounding ideas off others and just talking over things with others.
“The universe has conspired to connect us so that we may each continue to create suitably fine works of art” – Jules
J&J will appeal to the romantic comedy lovers because there is definitely a “will they? won’t they?” situation going on akin to films such as Serendipity, Definitely Maybe, Before Sunrise and One Day (I didn’t realise just how many rom-coms I’ve watched and enjoyed until there now, wow.)
I find this movie-like feel inches into the realms of the unbelievable at points however. A couple of aspects I take issue with are the fact that they are both artists who are both 28. It is possible but still, what are the odds? Granted, they do talk about this and how unlikely it is.
Also, the fact that Jules’s favourite film (and the whole reason she makes film) is because of a film called Jules and Jim. I suppose it isn’t completely beyond the realms of the believable it’s more that it just feels a little bit mawkish.
There is definitely a mawkishness that pervades their conversations at points. A cringey element if you will. However, I don’t get too bogged down by this because some of the best conversations I’ve had have been at least a little bit cringey and pretentious at points. When you broach topics such as the meaning of life it’s inevitable right?
As I’m new to the podcast game, I assume that all podcasts have loads and loads of episodes that I can binge-listen my way through as I go on walks and knit (I’m an edgy individual). I worked my way rapidly through the first three episodes of J&J and then as I desperately searched for episode four I realised that it’s a new podcast and I’d actually have to WAIT for the next episode.
Definitely give J&J a listen to if you’re like me & wanting relief from the more informative podcasts.
Have you listened to Jules & James? Do you have any podcasts you’d recommend? Let me know!