As you may have noticed, over the past few weeks my podcast recommendations are leaning towards a few of the older, less podular casts. There is a good reason for this, time. With all of my recommendations I endeavor to be as knowledgeable on the topic as is possible and that means being absolutely up to date with each and every one. Now this is a requirement that has been enforced only by myself and as ridiculous as it sounds, I like to stick very close to the rules. Entire podcast backlogs can take quite a fair amount of time to listen to in full and that is the reason that I have been dipping into my back catalogue, while I catch up on the more recent feeds. Just like TV, novels and film, it is unfair to write off an old podcast because of its age and they are as valuable as any current release. This week’s recommendation is another enjoyable sound nugget pulled from the archive.
Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller are a British comedy duo that have been working together for almost twenty years. Over the years they have managed to reach out their comedy tentacles to the likes of stand up, radio, and television. Creating and starring in their own sketch show for both radio and TV, acting in various television shows such as Doctor Who and Primeval and hosting the outrageously popular game show, Pointless, between the two they are known as one of the most successful comedy duos Britain has ever produced. Back in 2008 it was the medium of the podcast that was molested by the tentacle for a short run of twenty-six episodes.
While the show is named after the real life comedians, it is hosted by their comedy creations, Martin Bane-Jones and Craig Children. These two date back to 1998, when they hosted the BBC Radio 4 show, The Children’s Hour and have popped up various times throughout Armstrong and Miller’s careers. Both work for The Times as, well it’s a bit of a sore topic so let’s just say that they both have “Zeitgeist Editor” in their title. Martin Bane-Jones is the posher of the two, hence the name and lives with his American sex-blogger and life-partner, Daisy Stern and their daughter Letitia or “Tits” for short. Despite his partner’s sexual appetite and feminist views, Martin has quite a conservative view on the world and quite possibly the most patronising voice you will ever hear. Crag or Craig Children, depending on how you pronounce it prefers the company of his cat, Catshagoogoo but don’t let that fool you as in his own words, Craig is “as straight as a die”. Of the two, Craig is the more opinionated of the two and is known to lose his temper at Martin and the world of culture in the blink of an eye.
This show is a superb satire of the world of cultural critics. Pompous, privileged and ridiculously out-of-touch middle-aged white men voicing their stupid opinions that have seemingly come out of nowhere. Of course as posh critics, they take the opposite approach from myself and only critique the popular culture that they haven’t taken a look at. As zeitgeist editors, they only talk of the most current events. In 2008, these included Heath Ledger’s performance of The Joker, Madonna and her money hungry brother, the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross scandal and quite a few more. In between their misguided musings on current events and tortuous metaphors, Martin and Craig share aspects of their home lives that are both ludicrous and hilarious. Daisy Stern has quite a loose hold on the term, “relationship” that Martin is apparently absolutely fine with and Catshagoogoo has never had a healthy day in her life.
Since these two are such fine professionals it is very hard to judge whether the show is scripted or spontaneous. Either way, the characters are very believable and this show is nothing but fun. The only slip-ups that can be heard are when one or both start corpsing. If you are not familiar with the term “corpsing”, this is when an actor will start to laugh during his/her performance. As a huge fan of bloopers, I only find these parts add to the humor and give you a sense of relief that these two know that they are talking complete bollocks.
If you are short for time then Timeghost is the podcast for you. With only twenty-six episode that average about twenty minutes each, Timeghost is something of a podcast mini-series. You can judge whether you are going to like this show right from the beginning because the characters are as developed in the first episode as they are in the final. So lay back and allow your ear canals be penetrated by the audio-gondolas, entertainment submarines and word-weavers that are Martin Bane-Jones and Craig Children.