Month: July 2023

Trip down memory lane

Jools And Jim’s Joyride review

Rating –

As I prepare this post for publication (the actual day of release, as is usual). I have just returned from a family holiday in Spain. Seeing as I have a few posts ready to go, I felt that with the spirit of travel somewhat prominant in my psyche, I would share this particular podcast with you. So buckle up and lets go on a joyride with Jools and Jim.

What with all the true crime and horror shows passing through the doors at podcastgeek central recently, I thought it would be nice to go in a different direction. This one was recommended to me ages ago, and to be honest, I put off listening to it. Once I did though, I was kicking myself for not getting to it sooner.

So what’s it about?

Each week, Jools Holland and Jim Moir (better known to many as Vic Reeves) interview a different celebrity where they discuss their love of motoring and travel in general. The conversation is as winding as a country road, and takes as many tangents as someone who can’t read a roadmap (I’m old school like that ok? You can’t really go wrong with satnavs can you?). That’s enough of the travel metaphors though, because there’s more to this show than that.

Rather than just modes of transport dear to the hearts of the guests, this show delves into everything from art to food. This really is a show of reminiscences. The interior furnishings of their fathers first car is just as likely to be discussed as the cafe in Brighton where they did the best fish and chips.

With Jools and Jim both being musicians (and indeed massive music fans), when musicians are guests, there is an awful lot of talk about related subjects. Whether that be touring in different countries, or the contents of the guests father’s 8-track collection, there is plenty to entertain. This isn’t entirely music and travel based though (despite Jools and Jim’s best attempts). The guests include sportsmen and women, actors, journalists, comedians and more. Bascially anyone the hosts find interesting.

Is it any good?

I’m almost loath to describe this show as “cosy”, but I can’t really think of a better word. Whereas Bob Mortimer has his Gone Fishing TV show with Paul Whitehouse, the other half of Reeves and Mortimer has got this show. They are both similar in feel, despite the vast difference in content (And Bob Mortimer is the first guest on the show).

It’s like Top Gear for people who don’t hold management positions in call centres. There is very little talk about modern cars. This is after all, essentially a show about memories. There is also discussion on boats, trains, buses and literally any other mode of transport you can think of.

Both Jools Holland and Jim Moir have an extensive knowledge of all things transport related and they make a great team. The sponsorship adverts are also genius, and it seems like Jim writes them without telling Jools what he’s got to say beforehand. This leads to some great bursts of laughter at the nonsense.

Final thoughts

This is a thoroughly charming podcast with two stalwarts of British entertainment. You can tell that they both clearly love what they are doing, and there’s always plenty of space for humourous digressions. I think that since Jim dropped the “Vic Reeves” name, he doesn’t seem to feel the need to be outrageously weird. Nowadays he is pleasantly eccentric and only slightly surreal. Not that I wasn’t a fan of Novelty Island, The Man With A Stick, Uncle Peter, Les, or any of the oddball characters that featured on his early TV shows.

Jools on the other hand, does what he always does. He comes across as a slightly socially awkward raconteur, with an enyclopaedic knowledge of almost anything, but particularly music and art.

If you ever feel like the current news cycle is too depressing, or the constant stream of horror, true crime and music based recommendations from this nerd are too much for your sanity, then give this a go. Seriously. You’ll love it.

You can get Jools And Jim’s Joyride here:

Some general housekeeping

some general housekeeping

The Pantaloon Society

Rating –

The Exorcist Files

Rating –

Tales Of The Echowood

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This is a bit of a different post this week. As I write this I have 72 unfinished podcasts, with 538 downloaded episodes! I thought my phone felt heavy. Some of these podcasts have already been reviewed, some have reviews half written, languishing in my Google docs folder blinking at the light as I start yet another queue jumper review. Some however will never get a full post review. Usually this is because I don’t like them enough to dedicate my time going through all the episodes. So in the interests of doing some general housekeeping, I’m writing this with an aim to clear these shows from my podcast lists.

This post therefore is a way to kill multiple birds with one stone. I’ll give each series a paragraph or so of a review and you can be free to check them out if you wish and comment on how I don’t know what I’m talking about. In the interest of fairness, I will listen to 10 episodes of each. I have usually made up my mind after one or two, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. As such, this post will probably be longer than a regular review, but that can’t be helped. So without further ado, let’s take a dive into the less favoured series’ in my podcatcher.

So what are they about?

the pantaloon society logo

The Pantaloon Society is an ersatz Rivers Of London but with clowns rather than the police force. This is not as entertaining as it sounds unfortunately. The writing in parts had a similar “psychogeography” style in the vein of Alan Moore or Peter Ackroyd, although this seems to be a style that was as quickly discarded as it was adopted. The series is narrated “The Racontereuse”, who tells the story of Jen, a clown who works inthe childrens ward of a hospital. After some strange events, she is approached to join the titular “Pantaloon Society”.

the exorcist files logo

The Exorcist Files dramatises the casebook of Father Carlos Martins. This is the podcast equivalent of those late night shows on Really. Most people here invite dark forces into their lives by accident or design. Don’t worry though, because the church is there to rush in and save the day. It’s also on hand to sternly wag a finger at any behaviour it considers unacceptable.

tales of the echowood logo

Tales Of The Echowood is a fantasy series following an as yet unnamed person (you, I guess) who walks through an ancient archway in a forest and finds an old inn owned by a fairy, or faerie as I reckon they’d prefer I spelled it. The question is whether a mute trespasser from the real world is able to save the Echowood before it’s too late.

Why don’t I like them?

The Pantaloon Society is a tough call for me to include here. The ingredients are all there for a 5 brain series that would have me recommending it to everyone. Just like all you need to make a cup of tea is tea, water, milk and sugar (if you like it like that), it amazes me that some people make the most awful concoctions with those four items. In a similar manner, The Pantaloon Society misses the mark, and leaves me wanting.

The Exorcist Files is possibly the biggest let down of the lot. I was hoping for something interesting, or at least spooky. What you end up with is something that is neither. It seems that demons are everywhere and they are just waiting for a chance to possess our fragile, fallible bodies. Apropos of nothing, I also find it irritating when people pronounce Ouija boards as “weejee”. Especially people who should know better. Catholic exorcists for example.

Tales Of The Echowood has nothing essentially wrong with it. The production values are high, and the music is epic in the manner of The Elder Scrolls soundtrack. I think my problem with it is that stories like this make me cringe. I had a feeling I wouldn’t like it before I even pressed play. As episode one started, I found my fears coming true. My first impression is that this is like season one of 13 Days Of Halloween, but for middle aged hippies who wear tie dye. 

Final thoughts

Originally this was going to be a one off post, where I would get through a few shows with one fell swoop. Unfortunately, this is going to be a two parter, maybe even three.

Part of me regrets setting the “ten episode” threshold, because some of these were very hard going indeed. I’m always pleased to be proved wrong though. I can be hasty in my judgement sometimes and I really want to enjoy every podcast I listen to.

Ultimately, there is nothing here that you can’t find better versions of elsewhere.

If strange, surreal, paranormal comedy is your thing then give Two Flat Earthers Kidnap A Freemason a go. If you don’t mind swearing then also try A Scottish Podcast. Wormwood is also a shoo in here too.

If creepy, true stories of the paranormal is your bag then give Radio Rental, or any of Danny Robins’ podcasts a go (Haunted, Uncanny, The Battersea Poltergeist, and The Witch Farm)

If fantastical stories with a modern twist is what whets your appetite, then give The Silt Verses, Bridgewater or The Magnus Archives a spin. 

You can get the podcasts here:

The Pantaloon Society

The Exorcist Files

Tales Of The Echowood

Errr, it’s quite upbeat actually

The Downbeat review

Rating –

The Downbeat logo

Another music based podcast this week. Not only music based, but drummer based, so if this makes you roll your eyes and sigh with boredom, then go back through my previous posts and find something else. Being a drummer myself, I can listen to drummers talk all day.

Craig Reynolds is a drummer that recently sprang to my attention after a YouTube post that caused a great deal of controversy. Whilst I recognised the name of his band, I don’t think I’d actually heard them. Most of his YouTube content is very funny, hilarious in fact. There’s a few videos I’ve watched many many times, not only because of his humour, but because the standard of the drummers he’s critiquing is (usually) so high.

So what’s it about?

Whereas the previously reviewed podcast  Drum For The Song sticks solely to drummers, Craig branched out and interviews drummers, guitarists, singers and producers. This is more in line with a show like Chris Garza’s podcast (although I prefer this one), even more so when he inevitably interviews his own band members. 

In a nutshell, this is a series by musicians, for musicians. There’s discussions on drum gear, problems with touring, problems with venues, problems with bands and problems with technique. Lots of problems and how to get past them. Don’t let this summary put you off though. The podcast itself is very light-hearted and the guests are just as entertaining as Craig.

Is it any good?

If you are even remotely interested in the workings of the music industry, then this is a must listen. Also this is essential if you are in a band and looking to progress. The industry insights and cautionary tales are invaluable, at least they have been to me. 

Craig is like the drum world’s Stewart Lee. His tone of voice is strikingly similar, especially when he starts talking about people who complain. Just by way of a little digression, I think that Stewart Lee is someone who casts a very long shadow. I hear his turns of phrase all over the place nowadays. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’d rather hear someone copying Stew than Mrs. Browns Boys.

This is easily one of the best and most entertaining music podcasts I’ve ever heard. While it’s different in style from his YouTube channel, it’s a lot less confrontational. Probably because he’s talking to people he actually likes rather than anonymous commenters on his videos. Having said that it’s still a great listen, and very bingeworthy.

Final thoughts

Now, I’m well aware that almost 100% of my limited reach on the internet will have absolutely no use for this show whatsoever. I like to think of this as something of a time capsule. One day, some young drummer will stumble across this post, go back and unearth the podcast and it will rock his world. 

If I’m honest here, I’d prefer this show if it was exclusively drum related. I know I’m probably being selfish for thinking that, but I can’t help it. That’s not to take anything away from the show. It’s brilliant, and I won’t be marking it down because of that. I’m not that petty. Sorry Craig, I know you can’t please all the people all the time, and you’ll probably be reading that first sentence in your whiney complaint voice. 

You can get The Downbeat here:

Stranger in a strange land

Re: Dracula review

Rating –

Re:Dracula logo

Back to regular programming this week folks. I’ve had loads of stuff going on outside the podcastverse, but now I’ve got the time to enjoy listening to shows without deadlines and embargoes to worry about (I do quite like deadlines and embargoes though)!

So what’s under the microscope this week? Well dear readers, we are dealing with a classic here. A classic in more ways than one. Read on and discover why this is almost the perfect podcast for this here podcastgeek.

So what’s it about?

Re:Dracula is an interesting take on the classic Bram Stoker story. I say “interesting take”, its more fathful than any of the other versions out there. It’s told in “real time” as entries in Jonathan Harker’s diary. Therefore the episodes vary in length, and they are released on the relevant days. Thrown into this are also reports by Doctor Seward as Renfield grows ever more agitated, and the correspondence between Mina and Lucy. Their innocent gossip in particular providing a contrast to the darkness of the events around the male protagonists.

I can’t really expand on it more than that. Everybody knows the story so this section is understandably short

Is it any good?

I really like most of it. The story is great, it’s told in an interesting way, and the acting is top notch (more on that in a bit). I’m not too fussed on the interviews with people scattered throughout. I appreiate why they did it this way, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with them, but they don’t interest me, so I tend to skip those episodes. It may have been a better option to have those as bonus episodes after the story has finished, as they have done with Scamanda.

I have also heard that some people aren’t really keen on the shorter episodes. Some are under ten minutes long. I could understand this if you are listening along in real time as well, but due to my other commitments, I just binged the whole lot, and to be honest I didn’t really notice that. So I guess you can do things properly , listen in real time and maybe get frustrated, or ignore all the hard work that the producers went to and plough through it all in huge chunks. It’s up to you.

Now, on to the voice talent. In my opening paragraphs, I mentioned that this may be the perfect podcast for me. The reason for that is the cast. The keen eared among you will recognize Jonathan Sims from The Magnus Archives, Graham Rowat who I have waxed lyrical about in various reviews before, and Karim Kronfli as Dracula. I immediately recognized Karim’s voice as gangster Bruce from A Scottish Podcast, a show you’ll remember my fondness for. Looking at his IMDB page, he’s been in so many classic podcasts I’m sure you’ll know him from elsewhere.

In fact, the only person missing from this cast is David Ault. If he shows up I would probably get all giddy and giggly when it’s on.

Final thoughts

Even if you know the story inside out (I mean, who doesn’t know the story of Dracula) I would recommend this. It’s such a great production (possibly the best thing Pacific S. Obadiah has done). Don’t get me wrong, I loved SCP Archives and The Sheridan Tapes, but this is next level stuff here.

If this is the shape of things to come from him, then we are all in for a treat indeed.

You can get Re:Dracula here:

You may remember that this line here usually says “or wherever you get your podcasts”. I put that in originally as a little fun quote to mirror what all podcasts say when they are advertising. I thought it was cute. However, Imran over at GreatPods told me about a site that provides links to every major podcatcher. So from now on, I’ll just post the new link and you can sort yourselves out. It’ll probably take me a few posts to get out of the habit though!

Do the right thing?

Alphabet boys series 2 review

Production company – Western Sound 

Rating –

Alphabet Boys logo

This should have been another release day special. Due to the fact that Into The Dirt was released a day later but scheduled first, this got pushed back to avoid two posts in two days (and ease my aching hands that have to type all this). So with a bit of jiggery-pokery, this one is being reviewed today instead. Phew, sorry for the digression, but I try not to miss release days. Not that I’ve ever had release days to stick to until recently, so another shout out to GreatPods for hooking me up again!

So what’s it about?

Alphabet Boys is an investigation into the shady activities of the FBI, the DEA and the CIA. Truth be told, I binged series 1 immediately before I got the advance episodes of series 2 just so I could familiarise myself with what’s going on. There was no need to though. Whilst the setting is the same, the stories are unrelated.

Flaviu Georgescu was born in Bulgaria. After becoming an American citizen, he got a job working with a relative in Las Vegas. He gained a reputation as someone who could acquire anything for his high class customers. His reputation must have preceded him somewhat, because he got approached to broker an arms deal for the Colombian militia group FARC. 

As the deal progressed, his deep love for America led him to contact the CIA to notify them, and soon (he thought) he was an official informant. Except he wasn’t. Due to a misunderstanding, Flaviu was working entirely on his own. Unfortunately, that was the least of his problems. Soon he is caught in a quite frankly unbelievable web of informants and undercover agents.

Is it any good?

Series 2 is a real mindbender. The nature of the story means it gets very hard to follow exactly what is going on, and who’s working for who. The only way I can describe it, is like the Charlie Day meme from Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia with the board and all the red strings pointing everywhere. The podcast logo for this series is absolutely accurate. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I won’t say more than that.

Being released by Western Sound, you know the production will be high. I was disappointed that I came to this series so late. I would have liked to listen to series one as it was released, but “better late than never” as they say.

Final thoughts.

I really enjoyed this one, although if I’m honest I preferred series one. Yet again there is a great sense of injustice as the lives of ordinary people get destroyed. This time it’s not even corruption, as in A Tradition Of Violence etc. but rather the complete lack of empathy shown to the public by the powers that be.

I’ll be interested to see what season three has in store. I really can’t get enough of this kind of thing at the moment.

You can get Alphabet Boys here:

Or wherever you get your podcasts


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