How To Fail With Elizabeth Day
S5, Ep4 How to Fail: Francesca Segal

S5, Ep4 How to Fail: Francesca Segal

July 17, 2019

This week, my guest is the writer Francesca Segal whose recently published memoir, Mother Ship, details the birth of her twin daughters 10 weeks prematurely. Her first failure is, in Segal's own words, her failure 'to stay pregnant' and the feeling of shame that came from not having managed to provide the requisite 40-week gestation period. 'I felt I had failed at my first ever task of motherhood,' she explains. 'That my body could not be a safe space for them felt a spectacular failure.'

She and her husband, Gabriel, were pitched into a nightmarish situation where they did not know whether their baby girls would survive. When they were born they weighed only 2lbs each. The girls could not do anything on their own and they suffered harrowing, life-threatening infections. Segal joins me to discuss what happened next.

Even if you are not one of the 100,000 women in the UK who, every year, give birth to premature babies and even if, like me, you are not a parent at all, I promise that you will find Segal's insightful eloquence both enlightening and moving.

We also talk about her failure to be a rebellious teenager, her conflicted attitude to social media and how, as a writer, she deals with the eternal nagging of her fractious internal critic. Listen, be moved and then order her wonderful book via the link below.

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. 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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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Francesca Segal's memoir, Mother Ship, is out now and available to order here 

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If you were affected by any of the issues raised in this podcast, help is available via Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick.

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Francesca Segal @francescasegal

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S5, Ep3 How to Fail: Emeli Sandé

S5, Ep3 How to Fail: Emeli Sandé

July 10, 2019

This week, I chat to the chart-topping singer Emeli Sandé about life, love, fame...and all the nitty gritty bits in between. Emeli has sold over 19 million singles, won four Brit Awards and is about to return after a three-year break with her hotly anticipated third album, Real Life. Her rise to fame was rapid and overwhelming. Celebrity, she says, took some time to get used to.

She joins me to talk about her body image and the long journey to self-acceptance in an industry that frequently made her feel like she was never 'enough'. She talks about letting go of the need to be perfect, and embracing failure. Plus we discuss her visit to Zambia to reconnect with her family there, and what impact that had on her. Emeli also opens up for the first time about the breakdown of her marriage, to a man she had been with from the age of 17, and the feeling of shame she had about admitting she was getting divorced before being forced to confront herself as she really was.

Emeli speaks as powerfully as she sings: like an old soul channeling all sorts of wisdom. I'm so grateful she came onto the podcast and I hope you get as much from it as I did. Thank you Emeli!

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. 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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How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

Emeli Sandé's forthcoming album, Real Life, is out in September and is available to pre-order here

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Emeli Sande @emelisande

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

 

S5, Ep2 How To Fail: FLEABAG IS BACK

S5, Ep2 How To Fail: FLEABAG IS BACK

July 3, 2019

Yes. That's right. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is back.

One year on from her debut appearance on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, my first ever guest returns to talk about the craziness of her last 12 months, during which she has written and starred in Fleabag 2 (described as a televisual masterpiece by...well...almost everyone), made Killing Eve (described as a televisual masterpiece by...well...almost everyone) and been brought in by the James Bond producers to work her magic on the franchise.

It's a year that, from the outside, has seemed to many of us to be the epitome of success. But what failures lie underneath the surface? What about those private moments of vulnerability and self-doubt we are so rarely privy to?

Phoebe joins me to talk about three failures from the past year, including her failure to connect with her family, her failure to speak up for herself and her failure to Marie Kondo her bedroom. Along the way, we discuss what makes the perfect water bottle, filming THAT final scene in Fleabag (apparently the foxes were total divas), sexuality, exhaustion and why female creators are often unfairly assumed to be writing autobiography. And yes, the Meryl Streep apple crumble anecdote makes an appearance.

Thank you, Phoebe, for coming back onto the podcast and being such a generous and wonderful friend.

If you haven't already listened to her first episode, you can do so here

 

***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT KLAXON***

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are *not* recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

 

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.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

S5, Ep1 How to Fail: Nigel Slater

S5, Ep1 How to Fail: Nigel Slater

June 26, 2019

We’re BAAACK! As House of Pain once rapped in their immortal hit Jump Around, ‘Just like the Prodigal Son I’ve returned’. Yes, here we are for Season 5 of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day: eight sparkling new episodes featuring eight marvellous guests.

And for our opening episode, I could not be happier to welcome the legendary Nigel Slater to the podcast. The bestselling and beloved cookery writer, whose books have adorned every kitchen worth its (Maldon) salt for decades, joins me to talk about his failure to be a proper chef, his fear that he let his father down and his failure to be a good friend. We also talk about sexuality, children, neatness, ceramics and whether or not he believes in an afterlife. Nigel was an utter joy from beginning to end and arrived in my flat for the recording bearing a bunch of flowers he had picked from his garden and a packet of green tea so delicious I promptly devoured it and had to order a massive packet of it online.

Thank you Nigel, for being so lovely. I hope you all enjoy the episode as much as I enjoyed doing the interview - and if you do, I’d be so grateful for any ratings or reviews you’d like to give us.

 

***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT KLAXON***

I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

 

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

 

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.

 

Nigel Slater’s latest (wonderful) book, Greenfeast, is published in two volumes. Spring / Summer is out now and available to order here. Autumn / Winter is out later this year and available to pre-order here.

 

 

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Nigel Slater @nigelslater

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

 

 

S4, Ep8 How to Fail: Jamie Laing

S4, Ep8 How to Fail: Jamie Laing

May 22, 2019

'And now, the end is near / And so I face the final curtain...'

Yes, it's the SEASON FINALE! I know, I know: it's gone so fast hasn't it? What's that they say about time flying when you're having fun calling your brain Becky? (That's a podcast in-joke, peeps, don't panic if you're a new subscriber and you haven't got a clue what I'm on about, but do check out my episode with Mo Gawdat, S4, Ep4).

Anyway, don't be too sad because I have one solid-gold, cast-iron, brilliant guest for you to usher out this season. Step forward, Jamie Laing. Some of you might know him from E4's structured reality show, Made In Chelsea. Some of you might not watch reality television and believe it to be ushering in the end of days. But I implore you, even if you have no interest in the show and even if you've got preconceptions of who Jamie is, to give this episode a listen. He is such an sincere, funny, generous and self-aware person and so willing to talk openly about the times in his life when things didn't go according to plan that I truly think you will get a lot from it.

Jamie joins me to talk about he impact of parental divorce, panic attacks, anxiety, sporting injury and what happens when your idea of your entire future seems to collapse. We also talk about why he's never managed to have a lasting long-term relationship. Along the way, he quotes life lessons learned from Socrates, William Blake and, that seminal 21st century philosopher, Lucy Watson.

I hope you enjoy the final episode in this season. Thank you for all your incredible support. We'll be back in July with eight new fantastic guests for season five. In the meantime, if you felt like rating, reviewing and subscribing, I'd be eternally grateful.

 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

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.

You can buy Jamie's delicious all-vegan Candy Kittens sweets here and you can listen to his and Frances Boulle's podcast, Private Parts, here.

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Jamie Laing @jamielaing_UK

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

S4, Ep7 How to Fail: Nesrine Malik

S4, Ep7 How to Fail: Nesrine Malik

May 15, 2019

This week on the podcast, I'm delighted to welcome the brilliant Nesrine Malik, a British-Sudanese writer and newspaper columnist who has recently been longlisted for the prestigious Orwell Prize and whose forthcoming book, We Need New Stories, is a riveting assault on our tired old ideologies. (She's also really funny, by the way.)

Nesrine joins me to talk about the not-so-terrible-yet-somehow-devastating shame of not getting the A-grade she was predicted in her GCSE English (a failure so personal, she has never told anyone about it), why she's never grown out of 'mommy and daddy issues' and why she finds it difficult to put down roots anywhere. Along the way, we talk about the shock of sudden death, going to school against the backdrop of a military coup and when it's obvious someone has cooked Ottolenghi.

I adore this woman and I know that after 45 minutes in her intelligent, inquiring company, you will too.

 

We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik is available to pre-order here

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

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.

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Nesrine Malik @nesrinemalik

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

S4, Ep6 How to Fail: Andy McNab

S4, Ep6 How to Fail: Andy McNab

May 8, 2019

You could say that my guest this week became famous because of failure. Andy McNab led the Bravo Two Zero SAS mission during the first Gulf War but his team was compromised soon after they were dropped into Iraq in 1991. This was the most horrific kind of failure. It resulted in the deaths of three of the squad, a cat-and-mouse chase across the desert and McNab's eventual capture. He withstood six weeks of torture and imprisonment, later turning his harrowing experiences into the bestselling book, Bravo Two Zero. He was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his courage behind enemy lines. In 2017, he was awarded a CBE.

But this SAS hero did not have the most auspicious start in life: abandoned as a baby in a carrier bag on the steps of a London hospital, he was brought up by adoptive parents on a Peckham council estate and dropped out of school as a teenager, barely able to read or write. He fell into a life of petty crime. After an arrest for burglary at the age of 16 he decided to turn his life around, and joined the British Army.

Andy joins me to talk about the failure of that Bravo Two Zero mission, about what the SAS taught him about how to fail, about how someone who struggled with literacy managed to make a career as a bestselling author, about why he's been married so many times (four, since you ask) and about how he's now found lasting happiness with his wife Jenny (partly to do with a laminated strip in his wallet...listen to find out more). Oh, and he tells me he's a certified psychopath, but not - apparently - one of the bad ones. So that's a podcast first.

 

Andy McNab's books are available to buy here

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

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.

 

 

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Andy McNab @the_real_mcnab

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S4, Ep5 How to Fail: Charly Cox

S4, Ep5 How to Fail: Charly Cox

May 1, 2019

I have my FIRST POET on the podcast this week - and my, what a poet. Charly Cox is not only a beautiful soul but a beautiful chronicler of what it is to be human. Her first collection, She Must Be Mad, became the bestselling poetry debut of 2018 and Cox was named by Elle magazine as one of their 20 ‘power players’ of the year.

Although still only 23, she's accumulated an astonishing store of wisdom and I was so, so happy to have her on the podcast because what Charly has to say is deeply important for anyone struggling with how to value themselves for who and what they are rather than how they aspire to be perceived. She's been dubbed an Instagram poet for the millennial generation, but I think her work has relevance for all ages.

We spoke about anxiety, depression and her diagnosis with PTSD and Bipolar II disorder. We also discussed dropping out of school and failing to find lasting romantic love (and her fear that she is ultimately unloveable. AS IF, CHARLY). And we chat about a career failure that left her on a hotel bathroom floor in the grip of a panic attack at which point she remembers thinking: 'I will never work again. I can't believe it's taken this long for everyone to finally see I'm an imposter. I can't do this.' 

One of my favourite things about Charly is that she made me realise that the personal can be universal - that by being open about our vulnerabilities, the things we feel most shame about, we not only diminish the shame, but we connect with others who experience exactly the same emotions. And that, my friends, is what creates SOLIDARITY as a force for meaningful change.

 

Charly Cox's bestselling She Must Be Mad is available to buy here

Her brilliant new collection, Validate Me, is out in October and available to pre-order here 

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

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.

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. This is NOT being recorded, so the only way to be part of it is to be there or...erm...be square?

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Charly Cox @charlycox1

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

 

 

S4, Ep4 How to Fail: Mo Gawdat

S4, Ep4 How to Fail: Mo Gawdat

April 24, 2019

Just occasionally in life, you meet someone who changes your way of thinking about the world. The shift might be subtle or it might be seismic, but afterwards, you are never quite the same again.

This is what happened to me when my path crossed with that of Mo Gawdat who spoke to me about what it is to live a contented life in a way that had an immediate and practical impact on my outlook. Gawdat is the former chief business officer at Google X (Google's so-called 'moonshot factory' responsible for off-the-wall ideas such as self-driving cars and a balloon-powered internet) but for a long time in his life, despite having professional, personal and material success, he realised he wasn't happy. So he set about solving this problem by applying his scientific research skills to the issue: how can one individual be happy?

After 12 years, he developed an algorithm for happiness, eventually arriving at an equation which states simply that happiness is greater than, or equal to, your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how life should be. He even wrote a book about it, Solve For Happy, which became an international bestseller.

Gawdat joins me to talk about how that algorithm was put to the ultimate test when his beloved 21-year-old son Ali died in tragic circumstances. We talk about how to survive depression and grief; how happiness is like fitness; how to cope with break-ups; why social media is driving us further apart and what to do about it; why life is like a computer game; the illusion of time and why we should always, always be polite to Siri.

This episode is slightly longer than normal just because I didn't want to cut any of it. I hope you take as much from Mo's words as I have.

 

Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path To Joy by Mo Gawdat is available to order here.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

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 nowand is available to pre-order here.

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

 

 

 

S4, Ep3 How to Fail: Tracey Thorn

S4, Ep3 How to Fail: Tracey Thorn

April 17, 2019

My guest this week is the fantastic Tracey Thorn, who I basically grew up listening to. She was one-half of Everything But The Girl, guest vocalist on Massive Attack's phenomenal Protection album and lately has launched her own solo career alongside writing three critically acclaimed memoirs, the latest of which, Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia has won rave plaudits from Julie Burchill, David Nicholls and Dolly Alderton, to name but a few.

Tracey joins me to talk about failing to get into the university of her choice (but meeting her husband as a consequence so...y'know...swings and roundabouts), being an utterly terrible driver, as well as living with stage fright and bouts of serious anxiety that have shaped much of her life. Our chat also takes in the jostle between career and motherhood (three kids, including twins), the difficulty of understanding our own parents, the experience of ageing as a woman and why she'd never, ever consider growing her hair long.

I'm so grateful to Tracey for being so warm and generous and to Teatulia in Covent Garden for lending us their beautiful tea-shop for the recording. Teatulia sells a wonderful range of teas, some of which you can buy online here, and also makes absurdly good tea-based cocktails. Do pay them a visit if you're ever in the area.

 

Tracey's Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling memoir, Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia, is out now published by Canongate and is available to order here

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

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 nowand is available to pre-order here.

*IMPORTANT NEWS KLAXON* 

I’m doing a live How To Fail With Elizabeth Day event on 5th May at The Bridge Theatre in London with ZAWE ASHTON (who is amazing). There are still some tickets available here. 

  

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Tracey Thorn @tracey_thorn

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks