Tag: Humour (Page 1 of 2)

Give me just a little more time, time, time

Athletico Mince review

Rating –

Athletico MInce logo

There are few things in this world I loathe as much as football. My feelings on the “beautiful game” are similar to Clarkson’s views on certain branches of the Windsor family tree. However, there are few things in the world I love more than Mr. Bob Mortimer.

Most people my age have grown up with Vic and Bob. From Big Night Out, to Shooting Stars, and now we are all old sods, Gone Fishing is must watch viewing. If you haven’t heard of this podcast, it should also be added to your list asap.

So what’s it about?

Originally conceived as a comedy podcast about football, hosted by Bob Mortimer and Andrew Dawson. Since about episode 20 though, this series has only a tenuous link to the overpaid prima donnas of the EPL and other leagues. The early episodes aren’t great. Bob and Andy even say you should probably skip the first few, and if you aren’t a football fan you can skip a few more.

The characters so brilliantly brought to life by Bob’s ramblings are football players or managers in name only. Harry Kane with his magic chin, Peter Beardsley’s joke book, Sean Dyche with his “motivational” songs and Steve McLaren and his pet snake Caspar could have any names as far as I’m concerned. They’d still be hilarious, although nowadays I can’t see pictures of Dele “Debbie” Alli without hearing Bob’s voice. It gets me in a right fluffery buffery.

Although that is not to say that the only celebrities getting rebuilt from scratch are footballers. Matt Allwright, Jeremy Corbin, Denise Welch, Sting and more all appear in increasingly surreal situations (the latter in Bob’s “crime” series Geordie Heat).

If you also add into the mix the South African gangbanger, Bob’s Crime Files (he does love his crime), the Scottish songs/stories and Barry Homeowner aka Train Guy, and you have such a varied range of hilarity that you are bound to find something that will elicit at least one laugh an episode (and probably a lot more).

Is it any good?

OF COURSE IT IS. I would go so far as to not recommend this to football fans. They get precious about people mocking the children’s game they devote vast amounts of time and money to slavishly follow. Seeing how things that originally started as throw away lines have developed into epic storylines (as the adventures of Steve McLaren and Caspar are testament to) show Bob’s skill as a comedy writer. I’m actually not sure how much of the show is written. There are stories where Andy supplies voices, so I’m sure that these are pre planned, but likewise I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff that just gets made up.

Up to this point, this has been a rather one sided review. As I said at the beginning, here are two presenters and so far I’ve only been talking about one.

Andy Dawson comes from a more sports oriented background, hosting the podcast Top Flight Time Machine (which is a football podcast, so there’s no chance of me reviewing it). He really holds his own, and whilst not having quite an equal split of the jokes, he provides plenty of laughs as well. Usually when he starts corpsing at Bob’s attempts at accents.

Final thoughts

If you like football then have a listen. If you don’t like football, but like Bob Mortimer then have a listen. If you don’t like Bob, or football then I suggest you listen anyway, because it is one of the best comedy podcasts out there. The only “downside” is that when Bob is filming then they release compilation episodes. So there’ll be a whole episode of Peter Beardsley, or Scottish tales or some such. Due to the quality of the writing they do hold up to repeated listening (hence my use of inverted commas around downside).

Wow, 684 words fell out of my head in about 2 hours. Just goes to show how much I love this show.

You can get Athletico Mince here:

https://athleticomince.com/

Or wherever you get your podcasts

Fry your brain

Great Leap Years review

Rating –

Great leap years logo

As someone who has literally grown up as a Stephen Fry fan, from A Bit Of Fry And Laurie, to Jeeves And Wooster, to QI. This review may seem somewhat biased. If Mr Fry puts his name to something then you can rest assured it will be quality. Having said that, I don’t think he did a podcast before this one. So is this another notch on his tally of greatness, or is it an uncharacteristic fail? Read on and see.

So what’s it about?

This series covers the history of human invention. That may sound like a lot, and indeed it is, but thankfully Stephen skips through the first 10,000 years or so rather quickly so we can get down to more “recent” technological achievement, starting in the middle ages.

Each episode follows along in a somewhat chronological order. Starting in earnest with the invention of the Gutenberg Press, and ending with the invention of computers, maybe even glimpses of the real bleeding edge of advancement.

I guarantee you there will be lots of facts here that you will have never heard before, even if you know about the actual inventions. The way that the most revolutionary things get invented, either by accident or as a “plan b” is truly mind-blowing, and goes to show that these guys are (usually) just ordinary people.

I think my favourite episode here was the reason I found this podcast (after hearing Penn Jillette mention it on his Sunday School podcast) about Fritz Haber, who was responsible for saving more people than anyone else in history, then killing more people than anyone else, and then saving people again. That one is as heartbreaking as it is fascinating, and goes to show the duality of technological advancement, especially during war time.

Is it any good?

If you like learning new things in a fun and interesting way then you’ll love this series. If that previous sentence doesn’t apply to you, I suggest you go back to Joe Rogan. Seeing as an awful lot of people know Stephen Fry from QI, then a series about obscure fact on well known subjects won’t be anything new.

Stephen Fry has a real talent for making things interesting. I suspect this is because he is genuinely interested in the subject matter too. I think this is why there are so many bad teachers in the world. They just aren’t really interested in their own subject matter, but I digress.

Final thoughts

Imagine, if you will, the chapters on recent earth history in The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy, and you’ll be somewhat close to this show. Yes, I know that Mr. Fry narrated that particular work of genius for the audiobook. That’s why I said it. He has now become as inexoravbly linked to that, as he has to the works of P.G. Wodehouse. Which is no bad thing.

The only thing that stops this being the best podcast I’ve ever heard is the fact that there is so much information that my brain does start to fry after a few episodes. If you’re not as greedy as I am, and you listen to one or two episodes a day then I’m sure you’ll agree that this is practically perfect in every way.

You can get Stephen Fry’s Great Leap Years here:

http://www.stephenfry.com/greatleapyears/

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

And the winner is!

Trophy pic

December 2nd marked the 1st anniversary of me launching this blog. In a rather preemptive strike on the traditional end of year lists that will invariably clog up all your timelines in a few weeks, I thought I’d get in with my rather unofficial awards celebrating the best (in my opinion) podcasts you can get. So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the first annual podcastgeek awards ceremony!

Some shows I will have reviewed, and I’ll be adding links to the reviews where available. Others will be reviewed as soon as I get round to it. Each category will have a shortlist of five entries in no special order apart from how they spring to mind. At the end of each shortlist we will have the winners. I hope you have the patience to read all the way through. It shouldn’t take too long!

Now, there may well be some glaring omissions, especially if you’ve been following this blog for a while, but seeing as this will be an annual event, there is always next year, and I promise no series will win more than once.

The drinks are flowing here at the podcastgeek enormodome and the guests are waiting with bated breath to see who takes the gongs home. So without further ado, I’ll roll out the red carpet as the spotlights rake the night sky, put on my best bib and tucker and heap praise on a multitude of shows. DRUMROLL PLEASE!

Best fiction podcast

This was a tough one, because the entire shortlist is excellent, ultimately though, the result will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read my reviews.

The winner is THE MAGNUS ARCHIVES!

Magnus Archives Logo

Best true crime podcast

  • Hunting Warhead
  • The Lazarus Heist
  • Death In Ice Valley
  • Deep Cover
  • The World’s Greatest Con

Another tough one. Another 5 incredible shows, but there’s only one winner tonight. This podcast won just for the fact that there is some resolution to the crimes, and the fact that there are no real trigger warnings.

The winner is THE WORLD’S GREATEST CON!

World's Greatest Con logo

Best gaming/geek culture podcast

I had originally intended to spend a month or so only reviewing this rather niche area of the podcastverse, but I didn’t want to lose either of my regular subscribers, so I decided against it. Anyway, these are five very worthy podcasts, but for the sheer range of subject matter there can be only one (as the highlander would say).

The winner is HYPNOGORIA.

Hypnogoria Logo

Best science podcast

Originally I avoided science podcasts, thinking they would be stuffy and boring (despite having an interest in science). How wrong I was. The podcasts here are all very accessible and very entertaining.

The winner is BIG PICTURE SCIENCE.

Big Picture Science logo

Best comedy podcast

Over the years, I have listened to plenty of “comedy” podcasts that are as funny as standing on a plug. The shortlist here though are all very, very funny indeed. That said, in much the same way the The Magnus Archives was a rather predictable win, so is this. This one is a very sweary win “fae Dougie, Lee and John the dug”.

The winner is A SCOTTISH PODCAST.

A Scottish Podcast logo

Best paranormal/folklore podcast

I could have happily had four of Danny Robins’ podcasts and one other to make up the numbers, but that wouldn’t be fair, especially with so many interesting paranormal and folklore podcasts out there. The winner of this category really takes top spot, like hypnogoria, for the sheer breadth of subject matter. This really is a great series.

The winner is BONE AND SICKLE.

Bone And Sickle logo

Best factual podcast

Possibly the hardest category to judge, due to the catch-all nature of the title. Again, the shortlist entries are all worthy of your time, and I recommend you check them all out. The contrarian in me has decided though that it has to be heroic.

The winner is HOW TO BURN A MILLION QUID.

How To Burn A MIllion Quid logo

Phew, that’s a lot of podcasts isn’t it? And I’ve obviously done a load of listening. That is only a small selection of the podcasts that I’ve pumped into my brain over the last few years. If the best idea is to “write about what you know”, you can see why I started writing about podcasts can’t you?

“Ha! Mr podcastgeek” I hear you scoff. “Why don’t you get a life?”

In response I will click my fingers and out of the shadows a group of no-necked toughs in suits will have these hecklers ejected from the venue.

We have had some great shows mentioned this year, and despite missing out on a win, I really need to give an honourable mention to The Good Friends Of Jackson Elias. When I posted my review of that podcast, it had so many shares and comments, it is BY FAR the most popular post I’ve written. So thank you to all the Call Of Cthulhu and Chaosium fans who took the time to help grow my blog. It is greatly appreciated.

I am become Seth…

Big Picture Science review

Rating –

big picture science logo

A month or so ago, if you’d have asked me who Seth Shostak is, I would have spent about an hour wracking my brain whilst cursing you. I’ve known the name for years, and I would have guessed that it was something to do with UFOs. I wouldn’t be too far from the mark I guess, because he is the senior astronomer for SETI. Despite hearing this podcast advertised on nearly every episode of Penn’s Sunday School, I never put the two things together (my ears tend to switch themselves off when adverts start so I skip forward a minute or two). After hearing him interviewed on Monster Talk, I subscribed and with some trepidation, pressed play.

So what’s it about?

I say trepidation, because whilst I love highbrow “brainy” (or “geek bullshit” if you ask my partner) podcasts, I don’t really listen to many pure science shows.

Big Picture Science is a weekly podcast that examines different subjects and interviews scientists in the relevant fields. Seth Shostak and his co-host Molly Bentley are excellent presenters. My indecision was unfounded and I’ve quickly fallen in love with this brilliant series.

The show cover a diverse range of topics including global warming, conspiracy theories, robots and exactly what it’s like inside a black hole. Of course, being based at SETI, there are plenty of discussions on the search for earthlike planets and astronomy.

Is it any good?

This is one of those highbrow podcasts that covers intellectual subjects in a very easy to understand manner. The sometimes complex subject matter is always put forward in a relatively jargon free and entertaining manner. Seth and Molly’s sense of humour shines through, yet is never inane, and they are both as eager to find out about new things as the guests are to tell them (and us) about it.

Being that the early episodes are 12 years old (on my podcatcher anyway), some of the news stories they cover have actually finished. The fact that I know how the stoires play out doesnt detract from them at all. There is always some little detail that I had missed, or that they explain in a better way. This is why its so good.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for something different to your main diet of fiction or true crime, then you really should check this out. It’s very similar in style to podcasts like Monster Talk or The Tetrapod Zoology Podcast, and is one that with its hundreds of episodes, will keep me amused for a very long time.

I appreciate that this is on the shorter end of reviews I’ve written, especially when I devoted about 800 words to a three brain show a few weeks back. I could have really just said “This is a brilliant podcast, subscribe immediately”. That isn’t really a review though is it? You should though. Subscribe immediately I mean.

You can get Big Picture Science here:

https://radio.seti.org/

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

Enter the echo chamber

Two Flat Earthers Kidnap A Freemason review

Production Company – Good Pointe

Rating –

Two Flat Earthers Kidnap A freemason logo

Due to my recent acknowledgement that I really need to be on Twitter more to try and  build some semblance of an audience, I have been on a real voyage of discovery with regards to new shows. I had got to the end of a rather mediocre series, when the first episode of this was previewed. Mainly due to the cast (who I shall get into later) I subscribed and started on this strange and hilarious journey.

So what’s it about?

Two Flat Earthers Kidnap A Freemason is a comedy show dealing with conspiracy theories and social media. It follows the adventure of two struggling flat earth YouTubers named Dunning and Kruger (yeah, yeah, I know), who decide that in order to stand out from the other flat earth YouTubers (who are gaining more views than them) they need to do something dramatic. Cue the premise of the show’s title.

Whilst I’m sure that certain sections of the conspiracy world are as silly and misguided as this series portrays, I’m not so sure if the Freemasons are. Although maybe they are. They wouldn’t say so either way would they?

The disappearance of one of their own throws the Freemasons into a panic, and the game is afoot to try to figure out just who would be audacious enough to do this, and recover their brother.

Is it any good?

Absolutely. The story is very well written, and silly without being inane. The production values are high, and the characters are (mostly) all well acted. Speaking of the cast, there is some stellar talent here:

David Ault needs no introduction on this blog. If you’ve read my previous reviews then you’ll know I have immense admiration for his work, and his mere inclusion in a podcast is usually enough to get me onboard.

Graham Rowat is brilliant as the Alex Jones-alike radio host Newsham. I recognised his voice instantly from his other work. He also played my all time favourite podcast character, Sir Henry Blackwood (a.k.a. SCP 1867. I highly suggest you search for this particular episode and give it a listen. You wont be disappointed)*.

Josh Rubino also deserves an honourable mention for turning Isaac Newton into Steven Toast. Whether intentional or not, it makes for a very entertaining interpretation.

The only real criticisms I have are that there are times when the background music is too intrusive. This is usually when the characters are listening to The Newsham Hour. I may be missing a joke here, I mean I am at work when I listen to this, so maybe I’ll go back through one more time. Also, there are a few of the voice actors who aren’t quite up to the level of the main characters.

These are really pretty criticisms really, and they are the only downsides to an otherwise perfect series. I think it shows the quality of the podcast that I’m really struggling to find fault with it.

Final thoughts

This is a great, genuinely funny show. It’s one that makes a refreshing change from the horror and drama, both fictional and real, that fills my ears for 8 hours a day. I think you’ll love this show, unless the characters are a bit too close to home. In that case I advise you to adjust your tinfoil hat and follow this podcast’s advice for negative reviews.

As I was searching for a copy of the logo to use, I see that this show has also been made into a TV show. This seems to be something of a trend nowadays, and I can’t wait to see if it’s as good as the original. Truth be told, I was disappointed with the adaptation of Limetown.

I would also like to point out that whilst I am a fan of long titles (My old band had one of the longest album titles since Marc Bolan released his first album), this podcast has played havoc with my SEO settings. Do I use an acronym or not? I vote not. To hell with Google’s algorithms this time!

*The character of Sir Henry Blackwood was so beloved to me that I actually named one of my Call Of Cthulhu investigators after him. Although I brought him forward to the 1920s and made him a bit more “Terry Thomas”, the DNA was there though, and I’ll love the mad old sod forever.

You can get Two Flat Earthers Kidnap A Freemason here:

https://pod.link/1582700456

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

This seems to be another one of those podcasts that doesnt have a proper website. The above link is to listen, the production company and podcast site is here:

https://goodpointepodcasts.com/

Church of the PENNtecost

Penn’s Sunday School review

Rating –

Penn's Sunday School logo

I heard about this podcast somewhere very recently (I can’t remember where) and instantly subscribed. I’ve been a fan of Penn and Teller since they were first shown on British TV at the end of the 80’s, so it was a no brainer for me. Teller (obviously) isn’t a character that lends himself to the audio format, but Penn certainly is. So without further ado, let’s head off to Penn’s Sunday School and preach some peace and love.

So what’s it about?

Penn’s Sunday school seems to be an excuse for Mr. Jillette and his friends to just sit around and “shoot the shit”. There are reminiscences of past lovers, starting out in the industry, and some “current” topics (current at the time anyway). Don’t let this fool you though. While I use the rather flippant term, there is much to enjoy here, and it is far from some droning ramblings to fill the silence, or gaps in Penn’s ego.

Each week he’s joined by regular guest hosts Michael Goudeau and Matt Donnelly. Occasionally special guests sit in (Piff The Magic Dragon was a particular highlight). There are also a few interviews thrown in too, just in case you should get bored of the regular format (you shouldn’t). These are usually people from or adjacent to Penn’s line of work, but there is very little “shop talk” here. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but as it goes they just talk about “stuff”. Shows they’ve seen, places they’ve been. As I said, “shooting the shit”. 

Is it any good?

Of course it is. If there’s one thing that Penn can do (apart from magic, juggling, and playing bass), it’s talking. He’s a phenomenal raconteur and all his stories are brilliant. This isn’t to say that the other guys just put a penny in the slot and watch him go, they are all very witty and entertaining, and are more than capable of holding court with Mr. Jillette.

One of my favourite episodes came very early on. It was the “McDracula” episode, when one of them had been to Romania and the whole hour was spent making various vampire jokes and arguing about why Americans would “do Transylvania better”.

I really don’t think there is anything better than genuinely witty people firing off each other and making each other laugh (and not in that irritating, smug way that “comedians” on Mock The Week or other panel shows do either). I guess that comes from being magicians or clowns. You need to engage the audience more than other professions.

This series has drawn more than one weird glance my way as I snort out loud at something when I’m on the train, or as I walk through town and a massive smile stretches across my face for no apparent reason. A particular example of this was when they Google translated a Japanese review of Penn’s album. That is something I don’t think will ever not be funny.

Final thoughts

You don’t have to be a magic fan to like this podcast, there’s plenty to enjoy here. Actually, if you are a magic fan then you probably won’t like it, if that’s all you’re after. They are less likely to discuss the “reverse faro shuffle” as they are to talk about books, or offering car rental companies money to trash a car.

I appreciate that I’m very late to the table here. I’ve got hundreds of episodes to catch up on, and this review is entirely based on the first 20 or so. There may be some format changes I don’t yet know about, or some groundbreaking new development. I really try to avoid skipping too far forward, so forgive me for maybe missing out on something important.

And remember, “we spinning dick, swinging play”.

You can get Penn’s Sunday School here:

https://pennsundayschool.com/

Or wherever you get your podcasts 

Its got to be HEROIC

How To Burn A Million Quid review

Production company – BBC

Rating –

How To Burn A Million Quid logo

In the entire history of music, there have been few artists that have genuinely pushed boundaries of their genre. The KLF are one of the even shorter list that pushed the boundaries of reality itself. So unbuckle your brain, jump in your ice cream van, and prepare for a story that proves truth can indeed be stranger than fiction.

What’s it all about?

The KLF (aka The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, aka The JAMS, aka The Timelords, and many other projects and pseudonyms) was the brainchild of Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond. Long story short, they started making electronic music that proved very popular, something that was at odds with their love of Robert Anton Wilson and the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Despite trying to prove that pop music was dead and going out of their way to be as unpopular as possible, they still became one of the biggest acts of the late 80s/early 90s. As fans of the trilogy will know, the universe has a dark sense of humour and is not averse to throwing a curveball your way just to be annoying.

From burning their albums outside ABBA’s studio, to firing machine guns at the BRIT awards. From wanting to build a giant pyramid from the ashes of their fans, to the stunt that gives this series its name, there isn’t much they didn’t try (or haven’t tried) in their mission to satisfy their artistic manifesto and discordian destiny. In 1994, they performed their final gesture ( the one that gives this series its name) and pretty much disappeared. 23 years later however, they reappeared with a few new, and no less remarkable projects.

I’m skimming over an awful lot of detail here because I really don’t want to spoil any of the insanity and hijinx. If you are my age or older, you’ll no doubt not only remember the music, but some of the stunts they pulled too. Thankfully, most of them get covered in this series, so you won’t miss out at all.

So is it any good?

100% yes. Despite really trying to make music that people would hate, The KLF were very good. The Illuminatus! Trilogy is very good too (but that’s something for a different blog), and the total commitment of two guys to put their careers in the hands of chance is bordering on unbelievable.

As anyone who’s ever read R.A.W. will testify to, there is no such thing as coincidence, and signs and clues are everywhere. Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond are two exemplars of that. Also, as anyone who’s read R.A.W. will testify to is that doing this is the sure way to “chapel perilous”. Something that Cauty and Drummond are also two exemplars of.

The production values are high, this is a BBC podcast after all, so you know it’ll be quality. The acting is great too, with the voice talents of Paul Higgins as Bill Drummond, Nicholas Burns as Jimmy Cauty and Jeremy Stockwell as the narrator Ken Campbell. I won’t go in to where you’ve seen (or heard) these guys before, because they are all very prolific, but you’ll recognise their voices straight away. Google is your friend in this case.

Final thoughts

I suppose that if you aren’t familiar with the band, or these stories, then you could just scoff and call bullshit. I mean, they are funny and ridiculous, and (almost) unbelievable. What they definitely are though is amazing, in the literal sense. This is a very funny series indeed and I will definitely recommend it to anyone whether you like the music or not.

I think what makes Drummond and Cauty so endearing here is that they are two ordinary guys bouncing from one stunt to the next without really being in control. They know they must do something “heroic”, and that it will probably all work out fine. There are times when that trust is tested though, as is usually the case in these spiritual journeys. There is no malice here, they arent nasty arseholes trying to get one over on people, it’s just that their idea of how reality should work is at odds with most of the other people they encounter.

I’ve actually listened to the whole thing three times and it never gets boring. There’s only one or two other series that I can say that about, so make of that what you will. It’s a testament, not only to the top notch writing, but the acting talent here that makes it hold up to multiple plays.

It’s also nice that on the BBC sounds app, most things are available for a month or two and then (just like in the days before Sky+ or even *gasp* video recorders) you have to wait patiently for a rebroadcast. This one is apparently available indefinitely. So now you’ve got no excuse not to check it out have you?

HAIL ERIS!

You can get How To Burn A Million Quid here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06x35s5

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

Be open to all to all possibilities

Dark Air with Terry Carnation review

Production company – Imperial Mammoth, Audioboom and Kelly&Kelly

Rating –

Dark Air logo

As you will have no doubt read in last week’s review. I’m a huge fan of Rainn Wilson’s curmudgeonly radio host Terry Carnation. When I discovered that he had his own show, I immediately subscribed. I wasn’t disappointed, and I don’t think you will be either (unless you don’t like the guy, but then I can’t help that).

So what’s it about?

Terry Carnation is a haunted man. An “expert” on the paranormal and the occult, he had his own late night radio talkshow that offered him some success. After the death of his wife, he had a breakdown and lost the only other thing he loved. The radio show. Now however, he’s back. He has a new intern, the puppy dog like uberfan Jeet, and he’s ready to answer any mysteries the callers can throw at him.

During his first show, he receives a strange call from someone who he believes is his dead wife. This sets him off on a mission to solve the mystery. Is she dead and calling from beyond the grave, or is she alive and being held hostage somewhere? He travels all over the country (within reason) desperately looking for clues.

Is it any good?

Absolutely. As I said in the Radio Rental review, Terry Carnation is a genius character. This show really expands on it though. In Radio Rental, he was just introducing each “tape” and passing judgement on some of the stories, my comparison to Crypt Keeper in Tales From The Crypt was justified I think. Here, he is a fully fleshed-out eccentric. The characters are brilliantly realised too, from the strange callers and the even stranger employees at the radio station. His nemesis (and ex-intern) Wes Popovitz now has his own radio show too. Wes is best described as Alex Jones turned up to 11 (if your brain could even fathom that). It’s a spot-on parody of right wing conspiracy shows so beloved of a certain section of society.

You will happily follow Terry as he upsets everyone he meets, tests the patience of his long suffering therapist, makes illegal adverts in exchange for out of date food, and generally acts like a tornado of profanity and bad habits. Despite this, there is (occasionally) a genuine pathos to him. He is a man adrift. He’s lost the only person he ever loved, and he’s lashing out at the world trying to stay relevant (and sane), despite the efforts of the world to knock him down continually.

Final thoughts

This is a show that I can’t recommend highly enough. It is laugh out loud funny (if you have a reasonably dark sense of humour) and it’s very well produced. As I said, the voice acting is top notch, as is the sound design.

As I had mentioned in my review of A Voice From Darkness, this is the opposite (and yet equally perfect) mix of darkness and humour. That is 90% humour, 10% darkness. It’s really a mirror image of that show, and also of Radio Rental. Very few podcasts have that ability to warrant more than one playthrough. This is one of those.

Just do yourself a favour and subscribe to this right now.

When I was looking for the logo image and some production company info, I visitied his website. I only mention it because it is such a perfect design for a man like Terry Carnation that it really deserves a mention (and a visit too). You can find it here.

You can get Dark Air With Terry Carnation here:

https://audioboom.com/channels/5046661

Or wherever you get your podcasts

Stranger than fiction

Radio Rental review

Production company: Tenderfoot TV

Rating:

radio rental logo

This podcast was recommended to me by a work mate, so thanks Sam! To be honest it had been languishing in my “unplayed” list for a while now (as so many shows ultimately do). A few weeks ago I needed a change though. I decided to take the plunge into the strange and spooky tapes of the Radio Rental video store.

So what’s it about?

Radio Rental is a series of true stories sent in by listeners. Now don’t for one moment think that these are the same tired old ghost stories that get trotted out elsewhere. These are some very strange stories indeed. I think I had to get halfway through season 3 before I actually heard a “proper” ghost story. That said, there are stories that would be decidedly less scary if it was an actual ghost responsible! There are tales of odd timeslips, deja vu, close calls with murderers, and a few stories of a very particular fear of mine (but I’m not telling you what they are!)

Each episode is introduced by the brilliant Rainn Wilson as his character Terry Carnation. He is a delightful blend of Al Ridenour from Bone and Sickle (who isn’t a fictional character), and Dr. Malcolm Rider from Voice from Darkness (who is). His dulcet tones and curmudgeonly manner add some comic relief to the rather dark content of the episodes themselves.

Unlike other similar (albeit fictional) series out there, there is no main story arc or even a Terry Carnation meta plot here. I mean, all the stories are from different people, and Carnation is simply a host. It’s a grab bag of stories, some that beggar belief.

Is it any good?

Absolutely. I LOVE THIS SHOW! Terry Carnation is a brilliant host, and has some real laugh out loud moments. So much so that as soon as I’d finished this series, I immediately subscribed to his other podcast Dark Air. This will also be getting reviewed here very soon indeed. Next week in fact.

The stories are all very diverse and it seems that the producers try not to have lots of similar stories cropping up in each episode, so they always feel fresh. The production quality is also high, and each tale gives the impression of one of those spotlit talking head type interviews so beloved of paranormal TV shows.

Having Terry Carnation present each story, and adding his own little skits between really helps too. He’s like a less cadaverous (though no less humourous) version of the Cryptkeeper from Tales From The Crypt.

A (very minor) criticism is that the concept of a video rental store is a weird one. Each story is a “video tape” played by Carnation, and these tapes are the “under the counter” type illicit tapes not shown the the general public. I wonder if there would have been a better way of doing it, especially as Terry Carnation is a radio host. I suspect that the only reason is to use the cockney rhyming slang of the title (radio rental = mental). I’m not even sure if there were “radio rental” stores in America like there were here in the UK.

Final thoughts

My only problem with this show is whether some of these stories are actually true or not. These people either get in touch with the podcast directly or are found on Reddit. Now I can believe that someone had a close call with a murderer, or met some creepy person, but my Skeptic-O-MeterĀ® starts to beep when people have the stranger, matrix like glitches in reality. None of these particular stories can be proved one way or the other and so have to be taken on face value.

Don’t let this put you off though. I don’t think there’s a single story that hasn’t totally gripped me, and now I’m caught up I really can’t wait for the next episode to launch.

You can get Radio Rental here:

https://radiorentalusa.com

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

Creature Feature

The Byron Chronicles review

Rating –

The Byron Chronicles Logo

In life there are a few names that guarantee quality, whether it be electrical goods, cars or clothes. In the podcast world, one of those names is David Ault. I think the first time I heard him was probably on the Shadows At the Door Podcast, but I was soon hearing him showing up in The Magnus Archives, A Scottish Podcast and many others. I would have bet anything that a podcast featuring his voice talents would be well worth a listen. Until this one*.

This particular podcast started an incredible SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO! For some reason it had completely passed me by, until I heard one of the other shows I subscribe to do a collaboration episode with this one. I subscribed as soon as I heard the dry humour and deadpan delivery of Mr Ault, and at the first opportunity pressed play and waited to be entertained.

So what’s it about?

The titular Byron, aka “The Pale Man Of Portland” (voiced by Ault) is nothing if not an enigma. He is an ancient being of indeterminate origin, and indeterminate motives. The pilot episode, strangely enough not featuring Ault as Byron, sees him being contacted by Lucifer and the archangel Gabriel to capture the daughter of God and The Devil.

Here comes the first hole in the story. Byron is literally centuries old, and used to communing with all manner of supernatural and spiritual beings. I find it remarkable that he gets surprised at the concept that God can be either male or female as it sees fit (in this case to give birth to a daughter).

Maybe I should write the pilot off as teething troubles. After all, it must have been popular enough for them to make more episodes right?

Each series is about ten episodes, which covers four separate stories. Each story sees Byron and his sidekick, again called Sparrow (what is it with plucky female sidekicks called Sparrow?) Encounter a different supernatural being, from the aforementioned angels and demons, zombies, werewolves and vampires.

***SLIGHT SPOILER***

Their take on Father Christmas was brilliant, and a really good way to end series 1.

Is it any good?

Yes and no. After listening to the pilot episode I very nearly wrote it off. It really wasn’t very good at all. While the story was interesting enough, the acting was poor (check out the bartender in the pilot episode for a prime example).

The first proper episode showed more promise. Now we have David Ault as Byron and this time he gets kidnapped by a shady Vatican group to capture the original zombie. None other than Lazarus himself. This episode sets the style from here on out, Byron tasked to battle some supernatural foe, and reluctantly doing his duty with all the deadpan humour of someone who has seen (and engineered) civilisations to rise and fall.

Final thoughts

It reminds me of a cross between Doctor Who (a lot) crossed with the comic book character Constantine but written by Neil Gaiman. If you’re a sarcastic and cynical old sod (like I am), and you enjoy listening to sarcastic and cynical antiheroes, then despite the generally poor voice acting from 50% of the cast, then you’ll love this. As in Wormwood, it is possible to overlook the flaws and enjoy the series.

Do not take this as an admission that it is a fantastic series. It isn’t. There have been times that I have wanted to turn it off and forget all about it. Thankfully I have the patience of a saint, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

You may have guessed that I wrote this as I was listening to it. I’ve listened to the whole first series in a day, plus the Christmas special. Despite having a serious aversion to stories that deal with werewolves, vampires and talking dragons, I am interested to see where series two goes. I could have written this review after listening to every episode, but would anyone else have the patience to slog through many mediocre episodes to get to the good ones? 

Ultimately I gave this a four brain rating, but honestly, two and a half of those were just for David Ault being in it.

*I reserve the the right to eat my words at any time!

You can get The Byron Chronicles here:

https://ericbusbypresents.com/category/the-byron-chronicles/

Or wherever you get your podcasts

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