Live Review, Athletico Mince, London Podcast Festival, Kings Place,

I used to think of podcasts as the kind of thing nerdy spods did in their bedroom for other nerdy spods to listen to in their bedroom, but in recent years they have gone overground. There are podcasts for all tastes and a lot of the best comedy-related ones are getting a live outing at Kings Place at the first ever London Podcast Festival. For the full line-up click on the link below.

One of the early highlights of the Festival was Athletico Mince, the podcast featuring Bob Mortimer and his chum Andy Dawson which contains a minimum of 8% football chat and has recently been nominated for Podcast of the Year in the Audio and Radio Industry Awards.

Putting a podcast onstage is an interesting thing though. The presence of an audience definitely changes the dynamic. At what point does it become a gig that just happens to be being recorded? Certainly from the moment Bob and Andy came on it felt very much like they were doing a show - a great one - rather than a recording.

It was probably just me but at the start there was an elephant in the room that is less obvious when one is listening through headphones. The opening (after a brilliant little animation featuring Steve McLaren trying to smuggle a snake through customs) featured a song from Bob and Andy - just like Vic and Bob used to do in the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. So the challenge of doing the podcast live was partly to stop fans thinking about Vic.

And after a few minutes when his ghost did seem to hover around it worked. While Andy Dawson is not the most experienced stage performer and some of his gags were lost in the sound mix, he and Bob had a great rapport. After a heavy sigh from Andy - renamed Mr Huff & Puff for the night - there was a discussion about the strength of sighs. Was that one that could dislodge a pube from a library book, wondered Bob.

As promised the performance - sponsored by Pearson’s Hand Oil, explained a trim-looking Bob in an Italia track suit top - mixed football chat and gossip with more typical flights of fancy. There seemed to be a few appearances from Mark Lawrenson. During a fictional story about marital infidelity involving Sam Allardyce, Mivhael Owen, a Fat Lass and Robson Greene Lawrenson’s name was unexpectedly mentioned again and Dawson suggested it was like Roger the Dodger appearing in a Minnie the Minx comic strip. 

Elsewhere Bob attempted and failed to prove that he was the world’s greatest memory man and sang a song about “the face of Brian McDermott” in a Scottish accent which seemed to owe a debt to both Robert Burns and Ivor Cutler.  

Much was made of the discrepancy between Bob’s success and Andy’s northern poverty. While Bob possibly has a golden toilet Andy revealed how he has a penchant for drinking Dolmio lasagne sauce from the jar and buying yellow-stickered goods from Asda. This shopping anecdote was the cue for a song about cut-price goods sung to the tune of Abba’s Fernando. Dawson also did another number about Gregg Wallace, the King of Masterchef, to the tune of Prefab Sprout’s The King of Rock and Roll. 

What was most interesting about the recording though was not who was onstage but who was in the audience. When I went to see Vic and Bob’s 25th anniversary show earlier this year the crowd was full of fans from the 1990s. This seemed like a noticeably younger podcast-savvy audience, who probably weren’t that fussed whether Vic was around or not. They were here to see Athletico Mince in the flesh and to see Andy Dawson drink Dolmio lasagne sauce straight from the jar. And they were not disappointed on either score.  

This episode will be released at a later date. Listen to old Athletico Mince here.

The London Podcast Festival runs until September 26. Details here.


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