Yes, this isn’t podcast-related, but I argue always-online podcasters/freelancers/content creators in particular are probably in need of some good things to distract from the world outside. There’s many phenomenal lists written by phenomenal people showcasing hopepunk, comedy, and general escapist podcasts, this list covers things that do that for me when my brain isn’t in the mood for audio alone.
If, like me, you find the sound of people handling packaging/assembling plastic things soothing, welcome to Shangri-fuckin’-La. DancingBacons is a couple of YouTubers who bounces around Southeast Asia getting cool food. Their bread-and-butter are POV videos purchasing things from interesting vending machines and food-based robots. In addition, they’ve hit up Tokyo Disney and Universal Studios Tokyo for anything and everything food-based. I also highly recommend the scores of videos of them visiting street markets, they hit up Taiwanese, Thai, and Malaysian cities a lot and it’s always vicarious food heaven.
They always display the cost of an individual food item both in the local currency and in USD, so prepare to become an armchair expert in the going rate for all kinds of foodstuffs.
Jeff Barrier Videos
Here it is, the bit where Gavin gushes about train stuff for a bit.
Jeff Barrier Videos, unsurprisingly, is the channel of a fellow by the name of Jeff. Jeff’s not really a presence in the videos, as it’s purely text narration over footage of people working on steam locomotives. The above video is an hour-long doc following the crew of a Durango & Silverton Railroad excursion. You’ll see a lot of the inside of the locomotive, as well as the stunning Colorado landscape as the train snakes its way through a mountain pass.
All of his videos are soothing, giant-machine gold, but I particularly recommend How to Fire Up a Steam Locomotive, in which we follow the hours-long process of getting a steam locomotive ready to pull an excursion in the morning. From stone cold to a full head of steam and ready to depart, we see every step of the process in fascinating detail.
Cruising the Cut
Welcome to a man living a distinctly English retirement fantasy. A former journalist quits, buys a narrowboat, and becomes a YouTuber traveling the extensive networks of canals that crisscross the English (and Welsh) countryside. For my American friends, imagine a thinner RV in which traveling 5mph is considered an indulgent treat. There are all sorts of small challenges and quirks to living life aboard a long houseboat, and every one of them is presented in a wonderfully fascinating way. I somehow find peace watching sped-up footage of him going through flights of locks, raising or lowering the boat multiple stories in ways rail networks could only dream of (though, admittedly, at a snail’s pace).
Between his more chill travel vlogs and the ones about the narrowboat community/industry in which he breaks out his journalist toolkit (seriously, he even films interviews like they’re going to be edited for TV broadcast, it’s wonderful), you get a wonderful glimpse of this niche, oddly wholesome lifestyle a community of chill people have built on an ancient transportation network.
Also, the vast majority of the vlogs have exquisite pun titles.
The ultimate restoration channel. A lovely Swiss gentleman with a machine shop takes old tools and appliances, disassembles them, and restores them to the point they’re occasionally better than new. It’s all done with the ambient sound from the shop, all narration provided via subtitles. MM is paradoxically relaxing and exhilarating, as I find myself getting so invested in seeing certain steps happen I start cheering like a sports fan. My fiance and I have developed a Pavlovian response to the words “I make new one” because that usually means we get to watch something dope get made on a lathe. Do you like stuff getting sandblasted? Fucking forget about it, MM has you covered.