During one of those aimless time-killing trawls through the internet, I came across an article on the BBC website about podcasts and how they still appear to have a relatively niche audience.
Given that most of us need some entertainment or distraction on our daily commute (or during family gatherings) it surprises me that more of us aren't subscribing and listening to all this content that people have lovingly made for us. Apparently only 9% of the population download podcasts, which (if I knew anything about statistics) would probably mean more to me than it does. All I do know is, there are probably lots of great new podcasts that haven’t been flogged to death, just waiting to be discovered.
To start of, I stumbled across Gareth Richards' Lonely Hearts Podcast with David Trent, which describes itself as a musical comedy podcast chat show. I needed no more convincing and as there were only three episodes currently available, I went mad and downloaded the lot.
Recorded Downstairs at the Kings Head in Crouch End, the first episode brings together host Gareth Richards, sidekick David Trent and guests Adam Kay, Vikki Stone and Nick Helm for a chaotic, funny mixture of chat, song and occasional moments of stilted strangeness. It's not perfect, but what first episodes are? They exist ultimately to kick things off, to introduce the concept of what might be and hopefully to entertain you enough to make you return a second time. On this first taster, the podcast ticks all of the above. I laughed (always a good sign), there was clever wordplay, a degree of nonsense, hilarious observations and some excellent comedy songs. (If you think you don't like comedy songs, you're wrong. Just listen to Nick Helm singing about touching himself and you will see how wrong you are).
Gareth's self deprecating style forms a great basis for the show and David Trent provides excellent support, coming in to his own in episode two. Which, by the way ups the production value; we get soundbites and musical interludes to fill the gaps. Things are already starting to sound a little slicker. The comedy songs may not be quite so prevalent, but even I can see that that the musical comedy niche might be a little too narrow for podcasts to sustain. By episode three, Gareth and David are working as a great double act, we get explanatory voice overs from Gareth and hard hitting questions such as 'what's your favourite pair of shoes'? Whilst it does meander in places and occasionally falls a little flat, it's still developing and hitting its stride. Essentially it's a bunch of comedians sitting in a pub having a chat and if you were at the next table, you'd be eavesdropping. Be honest.
With some similarities to Alan Davies 'As yet untitled' (but with more drinking and swearing), the Lonely Hearts podcast will make you laugh and let you forget about being an adult for a bit. Which ultimately is what all want, surely? Who wants to deal with elections and the state of the world when we could be talking about memories from when we were seven and singing about bodily functions.
Gareth Richards' Lonely Hearts Podcast with David Trent
Tweeting at @LonelyHeartsPod
Get tickets Downstairs at The Kings Head
BBC article 'When did you last download a podcast?" (17.04.2017)