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It’s all about balance, life is. For every blast of COVID-19 reality, then, something lighter or maybe musical is required. With that in mind, this week’s podcast round-up softens a history lesson in government leadership in times of disease with blues, jazz and pleasingly mundane conversation.

Something classic: If you’re looking a snoozy 26 minutes, don’t sleep on The Insomnia Project. Comedian Marco Timpano is the laid-back host of a comforting show that soothes with chats on nothing all that important. A recent discussion about actress Glenn Close was softly opinionated. The latest easy-listening episode, co-hosted by Timpano’s wife, deals with slippers and cashmere socks. The question “what makes a good slipper” was asked. Warm, fur-lined and easy to slip on and off was the answer, which also speaks to the appeal of this biweekly show.

Something new: Does count? Well, the Toronto-based online-radio destination for all things jazz is only a year old, but its birth last spring seems like a lifetime ago. One of the show’s contributors is actor-musician Raoul Bhaneja, who concentrates on blues. His episode this week is a two-hour tribute to Nova Scotia blues, for sadly obvious reasons.

Something COVID-19: The viral pandemic is such a big deal that a possible economic depression would only be a symptom of a bigger problem, and historians in the future might divide time with BC and AC designations: before COVID-19 and after. An episode of CBC’s egg-headed Ideas this week – “Dear Leader: Lessons on leadership in the time of pandemic” – has host Nahlah Ayed interviewing historian Richard Evans on his book Death in Hamburg, about a cholera outbreak in Germany in 1892. The legacy of COVID-19, according to Evans, might be big government and a respect for science.

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