Have You Heard? is a series in which the team from Pod Bible meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! In this week’s edition we sat down with Mike Bubbins, Steff Garrero and Elis James to discuss their podcast, The Socially Distant Sports Bar.
POD BIBLE: Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
ELIS JAMES: We are three sports-mad Welshmen who love the past almost as much as we love sport, so watching old clips on YouTube for our podcast The Socially Distant Sports Bar has scratched the itch of sport being cancelled for the foreseeable future more successfully than you would think. ITV showing old FA Cup Finals every Saturday just means that other people are doing what I would be doing anyway.
MIKE BUBBINS: My name is Mike Bubbins. I am just another in the long line of podcasters who have travelled that well worn path from PE teaching, to professional sportsman, to award worthy* Elvis singing act, to stand up comic, to writer, to actor. The podcast is about three friends who love sport a bit too much, choosing and discussing their favourite sports documentaries, clips and books, in a virtual sports bar. Or at least that was the original intention. It changed, I’d say within the first five minutes, into a podcast that did all of those things, but which also veered wildly into tenuously related anecdotes, wild stories and surreal flights of fancy. It is very common for a discussion to begin by talking about of the strengths and weaknesses of the 4-4-2 formation, move seamlessly into Lionel Blair believing he’s witnessed the on air death Of Bobby Davro, before moving onto Peter Reid talking in glowing terms about having his King Prawns peeled by an iconic Black footballing trailblazer. (*I was robbed in the finals of the European Elvis Championships, in Birmingham, by a Maltese performer called Gordon Elvis. I am led to believe that his name was, at least partially, a stage name.)
STEFF GARRERO: I’m Steff and I try to stop these two from talking about Bobby Davro and Lionel Blair when we’re supposed to be very serious about sport.
PB: Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
EJ: We realised that we were all coping with competitive sport being stopped because of coronavirus in the same way – texting each other old clips of Aston Villa players from the 90s talking about their favourite foods or Jonathan Davies scoring a try against Scotland in 1988. It then made perfect sense to try and turn this into a podcast so we could claim that we were watching old Barry McGuigan videos “for work.”
MB: This particular podcast had been on the minds of myself, Elis and Steffan for a while. The lockdown gave us the time to get it started, whilst at the same time changing the focus from a weekly round up of that week’s sports, to a weekly round up of all the best bits of sport ever, and the three of us imagining what back garden YouTube fighting sensation Kimbo Slice might be up to, were he still with us. RIP Kevin Ferguson, aka Kimbo Slice, 1974-2016.
SG: I think it started as a semi-serious idea and spiraled into something a lot more fun and an awful lot better.
PB: What’s the first podcast you ever listened to?
SG: I think it was Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces, which I still listen to every week.
EJ: The Guardian Football Weekly, which I think set the template for a good football podcast. Knowledgeable and funny, it’s quite easy, really. It amazes me how dry some football podcasts can be. It’s sport, not climate change.
MB: The first podcast I ever listened to was the paranormal investigative travelogue documentary podcast, The Unexplainers Extra, based on the BBC Wales radio series, and featuring Goldie Lookin Chain’s Eggsy, aka John Rutledge, and comedian Mike Bubbins, aka me.
PB: Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
EJ: I love Matt Forde’s Political Party, for being funny, educational and accessible, and he gets incredible guests. Some of Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast episodes are fantastically funny, and I loved Adam and Joe. I think The Guardian’s Today in Focus and The Daily from The New York Times have been great during the pandemic, and if you’re into comedy, Stuart Goldsmith’s The Comedian’s Comedian is a goldmine.
SG: RHLSTP (as the cool kids call it) is fantastic and I adore the guys on Tailenders, especially Greg who has beautiful hair. I also really like Elis’ stuff with John Robbins but don’t tell him that.
MB: I love the production values and the amazingly bizarre and hilarious world created by The Beef and Dairy Network. I love Gossipmongers, both for being really funny and for not being worried about sounding like the presenters are all finding the whole thing very funny as well. Anything made by Simon Crosse, or featuring Colin Murray is always going to be a great listen, too.
PB: Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
MB: Two of my dream guests to appear on the podcast are sadly no longer with us, Mr. Kimbo Slice and Mr. Paul Sykes. From the world of the living, I would love to have golf royalty Mr. Peter Alliss on the pod, or Chicago Bears feared linebacker from the 1970s, Mr. Dick Butkus.
SG: Steve Bunce, he tells the best boxing stories and really understands his audience; also if he brings his 5Live Boxing audience with him then that would be a lovely coincidental bonus!
EJ: I think Ricky Hatton would be superb. A world class sportsman in his day who strikes me as being very down to earth and funny.
PB: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
EJ: Podcast listeners are hugely loyal. If you engage with them it’s possible to build a really exciting community of listeners, in a way that’s more difficult with other forms of media. I also don’t think podcasts should be too long. Other comedians continually recommend some of the US comedy podcasts, but I’m afraid I don’t have 9hrs to commit to listening to one episode.
SG: If you can create a club which people want to be part of, then you’re halfway there. You’re in people’s headphones when they’re commuting or running so it’s really personal.
MB: The biggest lessons I’ve learnt are: 1. Get the best mic you can. 2. Learn to listen properly. 3. Be consistent. If people are expecting your new podcast episode to be out every Tuesday morning, make sure it’s out every Tuesday morning. P.S. Ours is out every Tuesday morning.
PB: Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
EJ: They all work as stand alone episodes, but I think episodes 6 and 7 are really funny. I feel that the unlicensed, unregulated boxer Kimbo Slice being Welsh and Pete Reid’s love of garlic prawns might go on to be running jokes on the podcast.
MB: Start with Episode 7 “Mother Teresa’s Debit Card”. I don’t mean to sound heavy, or judgmental, but if you listen to that episode and don’t immediately subscribe to the podcast and tell your mates to do the same, there is something badly wrong with you. You are, essentially, a flawed human being.
SG: I think you should go in for Episode 6, I cried laughing at these two talking about Kimbo Slice and fighting…
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