Monday, September 26, 2016

The Giant Podcast Bin

A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to start writing about my heroes. It was an idea borne from seeing the way tributes pour out when a celebrity dies, and I wanted to write some things about the people I love while they are still beating about and being excellent.

I've previously written about Eddie Izzard here and David Jason here, as well as a piece on Robin Williams here (although sadly he had passed on already at that point).

Today, I want to do a bit of a weird one... weird because I know lots of internet fury types will be angry that someone would attempt to write a thing about someone without knowing the entire back catalogue of their work inside out, back to front and live and breathe everything they've ever done. The person I want to throw my homage pots at today is Adam Buxton, Dr Buckles. My favourite voice out of the car stereo.

I guess the reason I feel so strongly about wanting to throw a salute in this direction, is that Adam Buxton above all the comedy heroes I carry about in my head, is someone I respect and admire and ape more for who I perceive him to be, than due to his body of work. I hope that makes sense. It's the approach to humour and interviewing as well as his general presence and offered opinions that makes me aspire to him and be glad that he's operating out in the world.

I've never really watched any of his TV stuff with Joe Cornish, I know it's all there on 4OD for me to go through and I will get round to it, but to me Adam Buxton lives in a world of podcasts because that's where I found and loved him.

I love his humour; I love how puerile it can be. I love the sillyness and the voices and the absolute pursuance of nonsense (NONSENSE NONSENSE). The 6 music podcasts with Joe are some of the closest times I've come to crashing my car through laughing. There's a lot of talk in the comedy communities about not wanting to punch down in a joke (ie, don't make the victim of the joke someone who is already struggling for whatever reason) what I like about Dr Buckles is he doesn't seem to really want to punch anywhere.

It's a humour that, to me, is pretty timeless and I hope he goes on to be a classic. He has such a gentle giant approach to projects; seeming to care about creativity and originality before all else. I am so happy that there's still a space in comedy for stupid voices, silly songs, ridiculous jingles, talking dogs and odd catchphrases.

His new podcast endeavour is a marvel. Interviewing musicians, actors, comedians and all sorts of folks with a gentle delicacy and human touch that brings out a really varied and original conversation. I think the stories and feelings he gets out of people wouldn't surface in 100 other interviews with people, but his meandering approach to questions allows him to work out what they're talking about as they're going along and just ride the wave. It's nothing and a lot of somethings all the way through.

He has a humility and raw humanity to his work that is enviable. I know I seem a little sycophantic here but I truly mean it. There's no pretence that he's not overthinking things or being insecure, it's all laced into the work between the ditties and the shouting. I like seeing the working out of someone's thinking and how they've reached their point; it's a lovely change from the slick, long simmered final results of a stand up comedy routine.

At the turn of the year when he had some personal losses and was very moved by the death of his long time hero David Bowie, it resonated in his continuing on his way. It wasn't schmultzy or pepped up to keep the podcast light and breezy for the listener, it was just what it was. One minute he could be saying "hell this is hard" and the next losing his shit over something silly making him snort; I think it's magical to put that out into the world and sort of say "This is the way I'm grieving in case it helps any of you." Except that he hasn't even really said that. He's just done it.

Adam Buxton is someone who, I think, pushes... no, perhaps pushes is the wrong word... he doesn't push the boundaries, perhaps? He exists doing what he is doing and enough people like it that the boundary expands to include what he is doing? Is that fair? I think so. 

However it works, I am so utterly grateful to have an example of comedy and being regular out in the sphere that isn't polished and focus grouped down to the last second. I love that it is gentle and non incendiary, that it is sparked most often out of genuine human interaction and isn't a gun aiming anywhere. It's a heat lamp gently radiating in case you want it.

A lot of Buxton's work is focused on music; his live BUG shows are the big events you want to go and see. I'm not much of a music fanatic so I tend to stick to the interviews and the chat stuff but that is where my love exists and I'm happy with that. I'm going to buck a trend of having to call yourself a "nerd" in order to be allowed to like something. I have heard what I've heard and I love it off the strength of that alone. So there.

If you're not familiar with Adam & Joe, or Buxton's current podcast... I'd say there's a good chance if you've read this far and like what I do then you'll be besotted with his output. His is an audio world where you can be childish in a very serious way and it's pure joy. It's not cool, it's not trying to be edgy, it's not trying to sweep up any demographic. He's very seriously a huge comedy hero of mine who is a constant reminder to just keep doing things the way you like doing them and there will be enough people in the world who will love you for it.

Thanks Dr Buckles, I love you too. BYEEEEE!

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