The face-fanning, lust-driven podcast Thirst Aid Kit

Episodes consider the sex appeal of Tom Hardy, Colin Farrell and Tom Hiddleston.

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“Here’s what I’d like to do with Keanu. I’d like for us to go BLEEP picking. And I would like for us both at the same time to reach up and grab BLEEP BLEEP and then take the BLEEP home, OK? Then we BLEEP them together, yeah?” Part of a monologue delivered by one of the female presenters of a podcast that lusts loudly after actors.

For a while I scratched my nose. Like to go picking what? The mix of possible drugs and brand names and genitals made me feel like I was on the beach with Puzzler magazine doggedly substituting digits for letters. And why the beeps in the first place? It kind of defeats the purpose of a podcast.

Other episodes consider the appeal of Tom Hardy, Colin Farrell and Tom Hiddleston. There’s a lot of face-fanning between presenters Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins but not much, I dunno, work. Only once in the 45-minute Keanu Reeves confab is there much of an attempt to discover why he might be so sexy. He’s a conundrum. “There’s not a lot of heat, he’s not a pursuer…” (surely the very point of Keanu – he has the unfakeable secret weapon: innocence). Consider Tom Hardy – here praised as a “chameleon” – might I counter that we have yet to hear the actor talk like an actual human being. When people say they love Hardy they are praising a hulkingly stunning carnival of ticks and mannerisms and swallowed accents to rival only Johnny Depp. Regarding Hiddleston: an impressively sustained, lightly quizzical expression does not necessarily make a man Alain Delon.

To their credit, Adewunmi and Perkins don’t always bring the phrase “female gaze” into things, or imply important political feminist subtexts: that would only signify a paranoia that the whole enterprise is somehow depthless, floating in an online cottage industry of geek entertainment. But like so many podcasts without much of a structure, it can feel as if people are chuntering like DJs. The truth about podcasts is that they too often sound like the breakfast or afternoon show has gone on all day. As though Steve Wright and his posse have been translated into a whole form. What could possibly be more phoney than four people laughing in a studio while using phrases like “You guys!” Nothing! 

Thirst Aid Kit
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Antonia Quirke is an author and journalist. She is a presenter on The Film Programme and Pick of the Week (Radio 4) and Film 2015 and The One Show (BBC 1). She writes a column on radio for the New Statesman.

This article appears in the 15 June 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Who sunk Brexit?