I remember a time when I’d never heard of a podcast.
Back then I didn’t have an iPod and couldn’t see the benefit of carrying music around on my phone. Mainly because I associated such practices with ‘those’ people on the train.
However in January 2008 I joined the rest of the world and bought an iPod Touch. Within in a day I’d ripped all my DVDs to iTunes and put them in the loft and a month later I was addicted to the damned thing. Then I found the section on iTunes called ‘Podcasts’ and was surprised to discover that they were not only produced by large broadcasting organisations but by small time idiots like me.
By this time, I had pretty much give up on stand-up as a career. Not because I was rubbish at it (honest) but because I couldn’t work out how to make it pay the rent. If I did it full time I would have to gig pretty much every night of the week and travel the country. This is and was a problem because I often found myself spending the money I’d got for the gig, getting back home. So I gave up.
This bothered me, because I like performing, which makes me a masochist I suppose or at least an idiot. However I had turned my back on my only outlet and in an attempt to suppress the urge I squashed down every impulse to be funny. Even now I’m just a shadow of the person I used to be, which was brought home to me when I went up to Edinburgh this year, where I was surrounded by comedians and actors. In the old days this would have been my cue to show off and be silly, but instead I was boring, sensible and quiet.
Now where was I, ah yes the podcast.
After listening to a few independently produced podcasts, I arrogantly believed that I could do better (what a c—), and after a number of test runs using an old microphone I decided that I would do a podcast, but not by myself. Frankly a podcast with one man talking about wanking just isn’t funny. You really need somebody to be the audience; so with this in mind I contacted my best friends Tom and Andy.
Over the years Tom, Andy and me have tried myriad ways of doing comedy together. At one point me and Tom tried writing a sitcom together but sadly our different ways of working derailed us before we got properly started. Another time I was approached by a production company to create a sketch show to be syndicated through local radio stations, so I met up with T & A at the pub and we wrote down some ideas, most of which turned out to be rubbish when we sobered up the next day. I even considered forming a sketch group but Tom doesn’t really like performing, something I’d forgotten when I suggested it again a few months ago and got a look of abject terror from him. Which is why we now have a double act called Wilson & Wolfenden instead of a sketch group.
Back to the story…
They agreed and an hour later I went on the internet and bought £600 worth of recording equipment, which would be delivered in 28 days. Plenty of time for me to get the nuts and bolts of the podcast sorted out – including a name. Back then I was a subscriber to The Chap magazine which promoted the sartorial and behavioural standards of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I loved the idea of trying produce a podcast that would exemplify those ideals and hopefully be funny.
It took me a few days of drinking before I happened upon a 19th Century publication called ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’, which contained article about stiff upper lips and such. It made me laugh and I thought it would be funny to name a podcast after it; especially as we were far from gentlemen. However the word ‘magazine’ had to go, it made us sound like GQ or FHM, both of which I loath. For ages I thought about just calling it ‘The Gentleman’s’ but that made it sound like a lavatory. Happily the solution came when we decided that the podcast would be us reviewing the weekend papers. So the world ‘Review’ was added to the title and we were ready to go – once I’d bought the website.
Meanwhile, writer and broadcaster Andrew Collins and comedian Richard Herring launched there own podcast. However instead of spending hundreds on recording equipment, they recorded it around a kitchen table onto a laptop. Not only that! Their format was exactly the same as ours.
It was at this point my brain belmed me.
However we were undeterred and three weeks later than Collins and Herring, we sat down to record the first episode.. For the first time in years I was actually nervous about talking into a microphone. You see, before then I only had myself to let down but now I could let down my best mates, it scared the pants off me and it showed. All the way through the first episode I sounded like I was made of wood, I even pulled the plug on the episode early because I thought we might overstretch ourselves. To the chagrin of Andy who was just getting into his stride. Sadly we can’t tell what Tom thought, because I forgot to sit him down and teach him some microphone technique. So he sounded like he was in another room and did so for at least two more episodes.
It took a little time but eventually we weaned ourselves off our papery boobs and began to improvise silly stories andimpromptu songs. To me episode 16 is the one where we finally got it together but I’ll leave you to make your own mind up.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m suddenly writing about The Gentleman’s Review. No? Fuck you then.
It is because we now have a revamped website with a few more features. There is a forum for instance, so if you fancy signing up we’d be delighted. Do people still use forums now we have Twitter? Well, we’ll find out. If it doesn’t catch on we can always post pictures of Dill.
Oh and we’ve binned the chap image, it just wasn’t us.