What a rare pleasure the Leicester Square Theatre Podcasts are becoming. I am amazed at the guests I am getting and it's great that I can select who I want without agenda or because they're on the plugging circuit. Tonight I was chatting to classicist Mary Beard and producer John Lloyd, two massively brainy and interesting people who I knew would be great value. They might not make headlines like Stephen Fry or sell out the theatre like Russell Brand, but I knew they'd give great podcast and I wasn't disappointed.
Mary is the first non-comedy based guest I have had (though I love the way she uses humour in her books and TV shows to help get the information across) and though I was probably going to ask her different questions than most interviewers I knew we'd still be able to get some interesting history into it. If anything the Romans were more obsessed with cocks than I am and I regret the fact that I was born in the wrong millennia, because I would have been a massive star in ancient Pompeii. But we wrestled with why some of the more sexually weird artefacts in that city had been produced.
I forgot to ask her how it felt that she had never discovered the Holy Grail, which is the Holy Grail for archaeologists, but I was pleased with the interview nonetheless.
John Lloyd is head-hurtingly clever and it was hard to keep up with his whirring brain, but again we had a long conversation about issues that I don't think could be discussed in any other medium. I was a little tired and wish I'd been able to counter him a bit more eloquently in places or at least have a crack at answering some of his philosophical questions. But sometimes a dismissive sound or a question about self-fellatio can do that job for me.
The chat continued long into the night as we all had a drink after the show. If anything the stuff we talked about after the podcast was better than the stuff in it, but hopefully I can have him as a guest on the Edinburgh Fringe podcasts as well. We had a lot of common ground both comedically and philosophically - I am all about asking questions, though not so hot on giving answers, it seems.
John is a fascinating man, having been at the heart of many of the greatest comedy hits of the last three decades, but he's also put a great amount of thought into life. His friends have gone on to be multi-millionaires whereas due to the unique way that the BBC uses its producers ideas hasn't been massively financially rewarded for his work. He's done lots of adverts, but realises that his best work comes out of love, not money. I told him I had never done an ad and he advised me never to do so.
I hadn't meant to get drunk as I have a trip up to Edinburgh for another radio show tomorrow, but we were having such fun it seemed rude not to make the most of this opportunity. I just wish I could remember more of what we talked about.
I was delighted that both guests seemed to have enjoyed the experience. I don't know if there is a typical RHLSTP - they all seem to vary depending on the personality of the interviewee and what kind of mood I am in - but that's what I like about it. It does seem to have a unique feel, where guests are disarmed by some of the daftness, but open up and relax. Also, having been interviewed I know this makes a difference, they are talking to someone who knows a bit about them, likes them and is interested in them. There's no hidden agenda with it. It is what it is. And I am very pleased with how well it is going.
Please support it, either by paying for a download or by spreading the word to others who you think might like it. Next week is Russell Brand. I think that might be an interesting one!