Podfluence 

It is always nice when you can change someone’s life for the better, even if only as a by-product of an over-active imagination.

So it happened yesterday, thanks to a quiet ten minutes at work and my insatiable desire to listen to podcasts.

I used to only listen to one or two, because my principal supply was Kermode and Mayo’s film review and they had such an enormous back catalogue that I was kept occupied catching up on the old episodes. The problem is I drive to work every day and I walk my dogs twice a day and with roughy 2.5 hours of daily entertainment space to fill, it did not take long to churn through the content and start looking for new hits.

I have blogged about the podcasts I listen to before: Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, The Bugle, Radiolab, Adam Buxton, The New Yorker Fiction, Comedian’s Comedian and more recently You Must Remember This, Scroobius Pip, Book Shambles, The West Wing Weekly and Soundtracking to name a few.

I have recently elevated Soundtracking to ‘download automatically’ status. It features interviews with directors and producers (so far) about the stories behind the soundtracks to movies they have done and features snippets of the songs they used and the songs that influenced their choices as the interview unfolds. This week Ben Wheatley was interviewed again about his new film Free Fire and as well as being a great interview, I found myself singing along to both, ‘Annie’s Song’ and ‘Leader of the pack’ on my way to work.

I contacted a colleague whom I know likes Ben W’s work by instant message and sent him the link.

‘You will love this,’ I explained. (This was not the amazing thing I did, btw).

He is about to go on holiday to Amercia – including NYC – and the conversation then turned to whether he would be able to see Free Fire before he left or whether he might be able to catch it in the US, given the weird system of release dates that make no sense to anyone but the guys making money (who actually now lose money because people want to see stuff when they know it is out and when they can’t, they find another internetty way of doing it.)

He had heard of a cinema chain that Ben Wheatley has talked about and a quick google revealed that it would be showing the film while he was in NY – in fact he was doing a Q&A with the film. (This was not the thing either).

I asked him whether he would go and he said no, he would probably see it over here but that he now had tickets to see not just one musical, but two. He had now added, ‘Groundhog Day’ to his trip (having previously booked ‘The Book of Mormon’).

Go see ‘Kinky Boots!’ I said (there is nothing like having someone go and see a show for you).

‘Nah’ he said. ‘I am not big on musicals. Two is enough.’

‘You said one was enough last week,’ I pointed out. ‘Then you bought tickets to Tim Minchin’s show.’

‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘but you gotta support the Aussies, so that doesn’t count.’

He loves Tim Minchin. The only guy is likes more than Tim Minchin is probably Derren Brown, the English performer who debunks mystics amd magic while performing, er magic and mystical stuff. He is very good and has done stuff on TV as well as live shows.

‘It must be nice, though,’ he carrried on, ‘to live in a place with this much choice.’ And he sent me the link with all the shows currently on in NY.

It was an impressive list – and included Kinky Boots – but before I had time to comment, a message popped up.

‘OMG. OMG OMG OMG’

‘What?’ I said, ‘what happened?’

‘OMFG.’

And then I saw it too.

Right at the bottom of the list, performing a preview of his brand new show was none other than Derren Brown, over in the Big Apple just when my colleague will be there.

‘Book it, Danno!’ I cried (I am very good at spending people’s money).

‘I have to check out dates and stuff,’ he said. Then about 15 seconds later, ‘Booked!’

That was the thing.

‘So there you have it,’ I said, ‘Thanks to me, you now are now going to see one of your favourite perfomers live and have something to do to keep you entertained while in New York!’

‘Er… well, not really,’ he said, ‘I mean I think we would have found something else to do in NY.’

‘Not like Derren Brown,’ I argued, ‘thank God I listened to that podcast, because in the end, it was responsible for the happy ending to this story.’

‘Maybe in the butterfly-chaos theory of your mind it is, yes.’

‘Deffo.’ I said, ‘It was all down to me. Because if not me, then who?’

Nobody, that is who – unless perhaps it was Derren Brown, the mystic – and that would be too ridiculous for words.

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