Saturday, 30 April 2016

Earl Slick & Bernard Fowler play David Bowie's "Station To Station"

Strangers who have died that have made me genuiely upset: Kurt Cobain, Rik Mayall, and David Bowie. David Bowie's was the one I felt the most I think as it came almost immediately after releasing his superb final album, Blackstar. His was the first gig I ever went to, in 1987: The Glass Spider Tour. It's not seen as Bowie's greatest period, but having said that, it's still underrated, and I would still recommend that people check out the live DVD of that tour.

The highlight for me, after waiting for so long in the old Sunderland football stadium, Roker Park, for most of the afternoon watching The Violent Femmes (who I hadn't heard of) and Big Country (who I had but couldn't stand), was hearing David start the show by saying "HELLO NEWCASTLE!" followed by the biggest good natured crowd boo I've ever heard.

I bought a ticket to see long time Bowie collaborator, Earl Slick, playing alongside Rolling Stones backing singer, Bernard Fowler, performing the entire Station To Station album, which is definitely in his best 5 albums, if not THE best. It was a great show, and I had a spare ticket, as my mate couldn't make it, and perversely I couldn't even give it away!

I got close to the front but man, it was packed. I got chatting with an older guy who was even more excited than me. He regaled me with stories of seeing Bowie in years gone by.  A big guy pushed past us, saying "Excuse me", so I decided to follow, literally in his wake.

Somehow I got to the front and had loads of room. After a while I realised I was in front of the rope, and not long after that I was told I was standing in front of the disabled area and getting in the way. I apologised to both the security and the guys in the wheelchairs and
stood next to the bar. Bad, bad Andy!

But still, now I had loads of room! Anyway they played the entire Station to Station album all the way through, pausing for Bernard to tell us that this isn't a time to think about death, but to celebrate life. We all cheered and  we all were on the same page. After the album ended, there were renditions of Diamond Dogs, Valentine's Day and Win. What a night! They then went on to play some blues stuff by Buddy Guy, and although I'm sure the rest of the gig was fantastic, I felt I had all I needed. Sure, they may have tricked us by playing more Bowie later, but I was happy to slip away, having seen exactly what I came for.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Podcast: The Complete Guide To Everything

Podcasts are great aren’t they? I’ve been listening to them since I discovered them back in 2009, mainly accompanying me to and from work, which is around 2 hours most days. The ones I really got into first were what I like to call “two guys talking” podcasts. Collings & Herrin and Precious Little being the ones that spring to mind. But as time has gone on, the podcasts I listen to have generally got more focused:

·         Comedians talking to other comedians: Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, The Comedian’s Comedian Podcast with Stuart Goldsmith
·         Panel shows: Do The Right Thing, Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown
·         Comedy and sketch shows: The Bugle, As It Occurs To Me, ManBuyCow, POTOm
·         Comedy review shows: Film Fandango, Vitriola Music

I heartily recommend all of these shows, but there is one “two guys talking” podcast that I have fallen in love with that I don’t think many of you know about. I’m talking about The Complete Guide To Everything.

Tim Daniels and Tom Reynolds (from now on known as Tim and Tom) are two friends based in New York who, at the end of 2015 have over 300 episodes under their belt. Tim and Tom aren’t professional comedians; however they could easily take up that career if they chose to do so. Tim is shrouded in mystery but we do know that he is a drummer, while Tom is a successful author, having now written the third book of his superhero series, Meta.

Every week a subject is chosen and in the 60 minutes or so that the podcast runs for, they may spend 10 minutes discussing the topic before getting distracted by each other and veering off, quite often into territories such as Tim’s dislike of baby boomers and teens as well as his fear of horses (especially on aeroplanes) or Tom’s latest Apple product or the latest Batman movie. So you can really pick any show to get started and not worry too much if the topic  is one that interests you.

They are based in New York, but not long after the show started they got picked up by the UK iTunes and were made a featured podcast. This has led to the strange situation of them being an American podcast that has a substantial UK listenership, which is often addressed. This has also meant that Tim and Tom have come to the UK on a number of occasions to do live shows. I went to one in Kings Place in June and had a whale of a time at the show, and just as much fun when a suvstantial chunk of the audience joined the guys in the bar for a few beers afterwards.

Andy and Tim outside Kings Place, June 2015
They help fund the podcast through Patreon. I pay $5 per month and this gets me a Google Hangout every month (which I have not joined in with yet because I don’t really know what it is) as well as a shorter podcast, around 15 minutes, every week called “Amazing Facts” which is a competition between Tim and Tom to find the most amazing fact about a subject which the Patreon supporters can vote on each week. One of the targets on their Patreon was to bring back their rather more focussed “Pop Everything” podcast which does manage to stay on topic right the way through. Pop Everything is for everyone, not just Patreon supporters so you can easily subscribe to it.

So guys, our podcast listening habits often get stale; sometimes months go by without looking for new things to listen to. Sometimes we keep listening to the same shows that we have grown tired of and never get round to unsubscribing. So give your podcast app of choice an injection of freshness, and subscribe to The Complete Guide To Everything today.