The Student
Podcast Review: Spirits
by Léa Brémond, 8/03/17

If I were to mention mythology to you, you would probably shiver, remembering dry history or classics classes about the everlasting Greek pantheon, or one of Homer’s epics that you had to read when you were at school.

But, fear not: mythology is actually one of the funniest and weirdest things to hear about, especially when it comes to religious and historical culture. That is the aim of Amanda McLoughlin and Julia Schifini, two long-time best friends who created this podcast to talk about mythology, legends and lore – while getting drunk. Each episode basically involves booze and a discussion about a myth or a particular character, where Julia explains everything to Amanda, who knows next to nothing about the subject.

The podcast features stories from a wide range of places, eras and cultures, and it is really interesting to go further than basic Greco-Roman mythology. While listening to Spirits, you will learn how to recognise the Filipino equivalent of a vampire/witch/ghoul (yes I know, it’s a lot), get to know some Haitian Voodoo, and discover the proper goddesses to summon when heartbroken (please avoid cultural appropriation). The tales go from really creepy – like, you-do-not-want-to-listen-to-them-just-before-going-to-bed creepy – to exceptionally funny and ludicrous. A big shout out to the story of Maui, the demi-god depicted in new Disney movie Moana, who lived a life full of adventures and heroic exploits, only to be finished off quite inexplicably and incongruously. I will say no more and expect you to listen to the episode to find out!

Apart from the well-executed pun in the title, the alcohol and the theme of the show go really well together. As I myself am the kind of person who tries to summon demons when intoxicated, I really enjoyed the combination. The two always try to drink cocktails or liqueurs that relate to the episode’s theme, and their tipsiness adds to the humour and atmosphere of the podcast. Additionally, it makes total sense that drinking mead while talking about Norse mythology will indubitably incite phallic jokes at the mention of Odin’s snake. Okay, it’s a cheap shot, but you’ll laugh anyway.

The episodes are not of the same quality, however: some are only fairly interesting, while others will make you die laughing. Overall, this podcast is really enjoyable and can provide you with some good quality facts to impress your friends. Because culture always involves a bit of showing off, right?

Image: Haukurth @ Wikimedia