How To Fail With Elizabeth Day
S7, Ep4 How to Fail: Tom Kerridge

S7, Ep4 How to Fail: Tom Kerridge

January 22, 2020

This week, the podcast welcomes its first ever Michelin-starred chef. Yes...it's Tom Kerridge! And what a chef he is. He failed at school, but found his way in catering college after the death of his Dad. He climbed the ranks of the profession, working hard and partying harder. Professional success followed, at the same time as personal failure - the long hours triggered a drink problem and he became unhealthily overweight. Faced with his own mortality, he gave up alcohol and went on a fitness regime that resulted in his losing 11 stone. His transformation was so impressive that it inspired a series of bestselling books, the latest of which, Lose Weight and Get Fit, is out now.

Tom joins me to talk about his failure at education, his failure in business, his alcoholism and the associated failure to live in the moment. We talk about living to the extremes, having an addictive all-or-nothing mindset, how you can work with your spouse in a stressful industry and stay married, what it means to fail in a high-pressure environment and how he once had ambitions to be a child actor because it meant he got to hang out with the girls from a local private school. What a lovely chap he is - I hope you enjoy!

 

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The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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Lose Weight and Get Fit by Tom Kerridge is published by Bloomsbury Books and is available to buy here

 

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

 

Tom Kerridge @cheftomkerridge 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S7, Ep3 How to Fail: Mabel

S7, Ep3 How to Fail: Mabel

January 15, 2020

My guest today has the middle name Alabama-Pearl, which is pretty cool but NOT QUITE AS COOL as the fact that she's a chart-topping pop-star who has racked up three top-10 hits and recently wrote one of the best Christmas songs of all time, Loneliest Time of the Year (and I say that as a die-hard Mariah fan). Plus, my guest is still only 23 years old. Revolting.

Yes, that's right, it's Mabela double Brit nominee and the creative brains behind the hit song Don’t Call Me Up, which was in the top 40 for four months. She was born in Malaga, went to school in Stockholm and now lives in London. Her creative lineage is quite something: Mabel's mother is Neneh Cherry, her dad Cameron McVey is a producer who has worked with Massive Attack, Portishead, All Saints and Sugababes, her uncle is Eagle-Eye Cherry and her  step-grandfather is the legendary jazz musician Don Cherry. But her talent and self-possession is all her own. Mabel joins me to talk about her failure to remember lyrics, her failure to stay vegan (which is hilarious) and her failure to sleep, which is a first on the podcast and I'm so glad she decided to broach the subject of insomnia as I know it effects so many of us and is such a debilitating thing.

Thank you, Mabel, for coming on the podcast and doing your research so well that you actually read my book first. I heart you hard for that.

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Talking of that book...the Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

 

This episode is sponsored by MEYA, a new meditation app that uses the power of music to switch you into a meditative state. Download the app here to experience the power of MEYA mind journeys and a new way to fit meditation into your daily routine this January. 

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Mabel @Mabel

MEYA @meya_app

 

 

 

 

 

S7, Ep2 How to Fail: Malcolm Gladwell

S7, Ep2 How to Fail: Malcolm Gladwell

January 8, 2020

My guest this week is Malcolm Gladwell, a man who has challenged and changed the way we think with six bestselling books including The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers. Gladwell also hosts his own highly successful podcast, Revisionist History and is basically 98% brain. Obviously this makes him quite an intimidating prospect to interview, but luckily he was extremely nice and, as luck would have it, his new book is all about how we can best talk to strangers. It is called, appropriately enough, Talking To Strangers, and I found it a fascinating read, written in Gladwell's trademark style which combines academic research with humour, insight and journalistic expertise, all of which makes for a curiously propulsive narrative.

Malcolm really engaged with the idea of this podcast and came up with three highly thoughtful failures, including a professional low-point which caused him public embarrassment and a deeply felt failure to stand by an alcoholic friend. We also chat about running, faith and whether prejudice can ever be a force for good. Talking to Malcolm for an hour felt like plunging into a freezing pool and emerging zingily refreshed from the experience. It was thought-provoking in the best, most meaningful way and I hope it stimulates you as much as it did me.

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The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell is published by Penguin Books and is available to buy here

This episode is sponsored by MEYA, a new meditation app that uses the power of music to switch you into a meditative state. Download the app here to experience the power of MEYA mind journeys and a new way to fit meditation into your daily routine this January. 

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Malcolm Gladwell @gladwell

MEYA @meya_app

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S7, Ep1 How to Fail: Andrew Scott

S7, Ep1 How to Fail: Andrew Scott

January 1, 2020

HAPPPPPY NEW YEAAARRRR! I hope you've woken up with a sense of rejuvenating freshness about the year ahead, but if you haven't - if you're hungover or feeling weird or sad or discombobulated or tired or like you haven't achieved enough - then fear not. You are simply caught up in this messy business of being human and that's fine. There is no need for a new year to mean a new you. The old you is great! The old you has stuff to say. And to remind you of this, I have the most wondrous of all special guests to help you usher in the first days of 2020.

Andrew Scott, as well as being an utterly lovely person, is an astonishingly talented and versatile actor. Yeah, ok, you might just have heard of him from the little-known, moderately successful television show that is Fleabag, in which he played the Hot Priest and somehow made 'KNEEL' the sexiest word in the English language, but he's also been in Bond movies and Shakespeare plays and in some of the best television shows and films of the last decade. I'd list them all here but there wouldn't be enough room.

He joins me to kick off a new decade and to talk about his failure at a drama competition aged 10 (a failure that ended up teaching him about the arbitrary nature of criticism), his failure to complete his degree and - his words - his 'failure to be heteronormative'. Along the way, we talk about the judgemental language of sexuality (why do gay people have to 'come out' when it implies you're hiding something? Why refer to someone as 'openly gay' when you wouldn't say 'openly Irish'? What does 'casual sex' really mean?), why acting should be playful, why growing older is an act of un-learning the things you think you know and why he still feels bad about a pizza delivery guy.

I love this man. I know you will too.

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The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out NOW in paperback and available to buy here.

 

This episode is sponsored by Secret Spa - the mobile app that provides you with all your beauty treatments in the comfort of your own home. Now covering London and Manchester, for 15% off your first booking, use the code HOWTOFAIL on the app or via the website secretspa.co.uk

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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

ANDREW SCOTT IS NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. (Yet another reason to love him).

 

 

 

 

 

S6, Ep 8 How to Fail: Jane Garvey

S6, Ep 8 How to Fail: Jane Garvey

November 20, 2019

*SEASON FINALE KLAXON* I mean...where does the time go? A minute ago it was summer and now here I am posting the final episode of Season Six and it's a mere 24 shopping days left until Christmas. Sheesh. 

But what a pleasure I have in store for you! She comes in the form of the ICONIC Jane Garvey: broadcaster extraordinaire, host of Radio 4's Woman's Hour and one-half of the brilliant podcasting duo, Fortunately...with Fi and Jane. I couldn't have asked for a better guest to bring this season to a close. (Well, I suppose I could have asked, but the point is, no-one would have been able to fulfil that request).

Jane so engaged with the premise of How To Fail that she sent not three but seven failures over email, saying she was 'struggling to narrow it down' and that it was up to me to choose which ones we talked about. We talk about her failure to listen, her tendency never to be seen to be trying too hard in case she doesn't succeed and her failure to appreciate fully what women were really up against in terms of equal pay at the BBC, partly because of what she sees as her own internalised misogyny and self-acknowledged white privilege. Most poignantly, Jane talks about her three miscarriages, and the long-felt emotional impact of each one. As anyone who has ever been through it will know, having a miscarriage is a specific form of grief that is difficult to describe but Jane articulates her feelings so beautifully that I know her story will be a great help to many of us.

'All sounds a but whiny,' she signed off her email, 'but I’m actually a laugh when I try!!'
 
You are indeed Jane. You're HILARIOUS. But you're also someone who isn't afraid to go deep and we're so grateful for it.
 
I'll be taking a little break now but will be back in January with eight more fabulous guests. I'm deeply appreciative of everyone who has listened, downloaded, rated, reviewed and subscribed. You make me very happy (and, on a practical note, you also make it more financially feasible for me to carry on doing this so YAY for that). Until next year: thank you and keep failing better!
 

Looking for a Christmas present? THEN LOOK NO FURTHER THAN MY MEMOIR, the Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong which is available here.

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You can listen to Fortunately...with Fi and Jane here

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Jane Garvey @janegarvey1

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
S6, BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Lemn Sissay

S6, BONUS EPISODE! How to Fail: Lemn Sissay

November 12, 2019

For this extra-special bonus episode, I'm delighted to welcome Lemn Sissay to the podcast. Lemn is a poet, author and broadcaster whose memoir, My Name Is Why, is one of the most moving I have ever read. In it, he writes about his childhood - the son of Ethiopian parents who was wrongly given up for adoption as a baby and fostered by a white, working-class family in Lancashire. At the age of 12, he was told by his adoptive family that they would be putting him in a children's home and would never contact him again. He spent the next five years in a succession of brutal institutions during which he had a mental breakdown. In these dark times, the light of his poetry began to form.

It is astonishing, then, that Lemn is such a gloriously expansive interviewee. You know when people talk about good energy? Lemn has good energy by the bucketload. There is not a trace of bitterness in his demeanour, in spite of what he has been through, and he's unafraid to be vulnerable and honest, even though his early life was a succession of betrayals.

He joins me to talk about his failure to belong to the family he spent his life searching for, his failure to marry or have children (Lemn is the first male guest to have chosen this as a failure, which in itself is pretty fascinating), why he gave up drinking and his failure to be the poet he wishes he could be. Along the way, we talk about the power of human resilience and what family really means. Oh, and his dislike of cauliflower.

This is a deeply inspiring and humbling interview. You might want to have the tissues ready.

 

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The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

 

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay is out now, published by Canongate, and available to order here

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This BONUS SPECIAL episode of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is sponsored by Sceptre, publishers of The Scriptures by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. This is the complete Fleabag. Every word. Every side-eye. Every fox. Out now. Available from Waterstones, online, and all good bookshops.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Lemn Sissay @lemnsissay

Sceptre Books @sceptrebooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S6, Ep7 How to Fail: Fearne Cotton

S6, Ep7 How to Fail: Fearne Cotton

November 6, 2019

Fearne Cotton blazed the trail for podcasts like mine. When she launched Happy Place in March 2018, it went straight to the top of the iTunes chart and has seemingly stayed there ever since. It has done so much to bring discussions about mental health into the mainstream, partly because Fearne has also been honest about her own experiences with panic attacks and anxiety.

So when I started How To Fail in July 2018, I always knew Fearne would be top of my list of dream guests. A few months later, we ended up sitting next to each other at the British Podcast Awards (spoiler alert: neither of us won but embarrassingly, we both presented awards to other winners) and having a good old natter, and then I was sent to interview her for a magazine and we got on so well that we hatched the idea of doing each other's podcasts now HERE WE ARE.

What makes Fearne so special is not just her impressive broadcasting career as a TV and radio presenter, or her bestselling books or the fact that she turned Happy Place into a full-blown festival, complete with yoga workshops and inspiring talks. No, it's that she is unafraid to be honest. She believes, as I do, that true strength comes from true vulnerability, and it's these qualities that make her a phenomenal guest.

Fearne joins me to talk about failing most of her GCSEs, a failed engagement and, in one of the most powerful passages of any interview I've ever had the privilege of doing, about her failure to be herself in her 20s and how she lived with an eating disorder for years. This is the first time she has ever spoken about it, and I am so truly grateful that Fearne felt this was a safe enough space to bare her beautiful soul.

Thank you, Fearne. Your words and your courage will help a great many people.

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The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead with Jess Phillips MP (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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You can listen to Fearne Cotton's Happy Place here

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Fearne Cotton @fearnecotton

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

S6, Ep6 How to Fail: George Alagiah

S6, Ep6 How to Fail: George Alagiah

October 30, 2019

For 15 years, George Alagiah has been a familiar face on our television screens as the presenter of the BBC's Six O'Clock News. Before that, he was one of the corporation's most respected foreign correspondents. Before that, he was born in what was then Ceylon, the only boy in a family of four sisters, and was sent to boarding school in England at the age of 12.

George joins me to talk about his self-perceived failures at fatherhood, the challenges of reporting from the front-line in times of humanitarian crisis, his nuanced relationship with racial identity and how he dealt with racist incidents in his youth. He also talks movingly about his bowel cancer diagnosis in 2014, which has seen him undergo over 40 rounds of chemotherapy and make his peace with death. What struck me most about George was his elegance: in person, but also in expression. He has no anger or bitterness or stored-up resentment, and this to me is the definition of a quiet sort of heroism.

(Obviously I also asked him about BBC equal pay and if he'd watched Anchorman.)

I loved this interview. It moved me and made me think. I hope it does the same to you.

 

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The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead with Jess Phillips MP (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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George Alagiah's novel, The Burning Land, is out now and available here.

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

George Alagiah @BBCAlagiah

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S6, Ep5 How to Fail: Shirlie Kemp

S6, Ep5 How to Fail: Shirlie Kemp

October 23, 2019

Today, I welcome Shirlie Kemp to the podcast. She was an 80s icon: a backing dancer for Wham! who ACTUALLY APPEARED IN THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'LAST CHRISTMAS', as well as being a best friend to George Michael until his untimely death in 2016 at the age of 53. She was also one-half of the pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie and the wife of Martin Kemp, of Spandau Ballet fame (fun fact: their son, Roman, is the Capital Radio DJ).

Shirlie joins me to talk about what went on behind the scenes of fame and her memories of George, including the last conversation they ever had. She talks about her challenging council estate upbringing, feeling a failure at school and developing an eating disorder in her teens. We also discuss her long journey to self-confidence as a woman and how she and Martin coped with his brain tumour diagnosis in 1995, and what got them through those tough times as a couple. And we touch on the mean photography teacher whose criticism she will NEVER FORGET (but more fool him, because now she's an amazing photographer so there).

Thank you for coming on How To Fail, Shirlie: you are truly the loveliest woman.

  

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The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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Shirlie and Martin Kemp are releasing a joint album, In The Swing of It, next month. You can pre-order it here.

This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Shirlie Kemp @shirliekemp

Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S6, Ep4 How to Fail: Lisa Taddeo

S6, Ep4 How to Fail: Lisa Taddeo

October 16, 2019

Lisa Taddeo is a phenomenon. Although she is too humble to recognise that description of herself. But this is a journalist and author who spent eight years - EIGHT YEARS - of her life travelling the United States and embedding herself in the lives of three 'ordinary' women in order to report back on that hitherto unexplored topic: female desire as it really is. Not as pornographic exploitation or rom-com fantasy viewed through the male gaze, but as women truly experience love and loss and expectation and sex and marriage and crushes and abuse and threesomes and motherhood and daughterhood and sisterhood and all the liminal spaces in between.

The resulting work of narrative non-fiction, Three Women, caused a sensation on its publication earlier this year. It shot simultaneously to the top of the bestseller lists in both the UK and America. Elizabeth Gilbert called it 'the best book of the year'. Dave Eggers said it was 'scorchingly original'. When I read it, I was blown away: I had never experienced a book quite like it. It turned out I had been desperately thirsty for these female stories to be shared, and Three Women was like a long, cool glass of water.

I'm so thrilled to welcome Lisa as a guest on How To Fail. Meeting her was like falling in platonic love. She speaks so openly about crippling anxiety, losing both her parents in her 20s, quitting university for a boy and professional rejection, that I'm pretty sure you won't be able to help falling in love with her too.

Along the way, we also discuss female desire and repression, the practicalities of writing Three Women, and her relationship with the women she wrote about.

Thank you Lisa, for your work, your empathy and your humanity.