Excitingly this COULD be the last of our remotely recorded podcasts! Sort of... we won't be meeting guests anytime soon, but as of 24 hours ago we CAN meet up in the park and record our chat at opposite ends of a park bench. Never have I been so excited about sitting on a park bench.
On this episode is Chris Maples, former UK MD of Spotify, a friend of Matt's and someone who's been off booze for two years. This is a great chance to find out what my future non-drinking self COULD look like.
It's a fascinating chat, and Chris is a BRILLIANT guest.
Enjoy... and remember to stay alert!
When we first sat down and started to plan this podcast there was a name we both wanted on the show. Bruce Daisley. Bruce wrote a book called The Joy of Work, presents a podcast called Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat and until recently was the European VP of Twitter. He's also a really good friend of Matt's.
I've seen Bruce give talks about workplace culture, he's incredibly engaging, so I probably shouldn't have been surprised when he delivered a compelling argument for why I should quit my year-long experiment.
But I'm not giving up yet...
... or am I?
We knew it was coming... this is the first of what will probably be a few episodes recorded separately.
It's weird isn't it. First I took away the alcohol from our friendship, then coronavirus took the pubs and now we can't even meet face to face.
On a serious note, it's a tough time, and there will be MANY people drinking more than usual. In the grand scheme of things this is unlikely to be any more than a footnote in the COVID-19 story, but for us it's become part of our year-long experiment.
The dynamic has shifted completely. I've suffered from anxiety in the past, and usually that's been accompanied by periods of heavier drinking. Matt on the other hand, doesn't drink at home, and with everyone confined to quarters... that policy is being tested to its limits.
So we've reached out to a friendly face: Chris - the landlord at The Rose & Crown - our local. He's joining us (via video call!) to chat about how pubs have dealt with having to close, his hopes for the MASSIVE party at the end of this, and why we'll all be ordering a spiced rum & tonic the next time we're stood at the bar.
Enjoy the episode, stay safe, and cheers!
We didn't release a podcast last week. Like everyone else we were adapting to the new world created by the spread of Covid-19. So much has changed, so quickly. It seems like only days since we were sat in a pub chatting to CAMRA about how great pubs are... and now we're not allowed inside them.
In this episode Matt and I try to make sense of this, and discuss some of the news stories you've been sharing with us.
Matt's also kind enough to bring up my recent professional success... one of my other projects (a cricket podcast for The Guardian called The Spin) won Sports Podcast of the Year at the Publishers Podcast Awards. Here I am with presenter Emma John picking up the award.
How times have changed.
Stay well, and wash your hands.
You don't hear as much Jacko on the radio these days do you? I wonder why that is. Anyway, Andy Smith is our guest this week, talking about how he changed his life, and it was triggered by Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror. He's a BRILLIANT guy to listen to - and apologies that this episode is slightly longer, but we've cut this down from the hour we spent together and we didn't want to lose any more. He talks a LOT of sense, and listen carefully at the end of the interview... I'm convinced you can hear Matt's brain wondering what it would be like to give up booze.
If you want more information about Andy's book you can find it here...
Matt and I met in a pub. Matt is one of my best friends. Matt has never been to my flat.
The pub is where we talk. We've written a pitch for a TV game show in one, theorised on whether 'Alpha' dads have 'Beta' sons, and answered countless Trivial Pursuit questions.
I've been introduced to more people in pubs in than anywhere else.
So how does that fit with a sober lifestyle?
We have both been inviting guests to appear on the podcast - and this week it's one of Matt's bookings; Katie Wiles from CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale). In this episode Katie guides us through the many services pubs provide - and gives us a history lesson on beer. Plus, I have a leap year offer for Matt.
Also - you may have noticed that we've had a bit of a restyle for the start of Spring. Hope you like it.
Sorry it's been a bit longer than normal between episodes. As you know I've been in Valencia, enjoying some Spanish alcohol-free beers.
But did I use my 'free drink' pass with my paella? Find out by listening to this episode.
We took a trip out to East London to somewhere called The Blizard Institute. Some serious science happens there. There was talk of curing Hepatitis C while we were there. We met Dr Will Alazawi, a consultant Hepatologist (Liver guy) to ask him some serious (and some not so serious) questions about the health benefits of taking a year off alcohol.
His answers weren't what we were expecting.
Wow! What a place to celebrate our second episode. We've traded in the freezing cold beer garden at the Rose & Crown for a state of the art, BEAUTIFUL gin distillery.
We sat down with Miranda Hayman, great-great-granddaughter of James Hayman the creator of Hayman's Gin, to talk about Small Gin - their new product which, although 40% proof gin is served in 5ml 'thimble' measure, so a glass is only 0.2 units, or roughly 1% alcohol.
We had so many questions!
We hope you enjoy the episode - we recorded this in the bar, next to the working stills. If you get the chance to visit Hayman's, do! There's a link to their website below.
We've done it! We've recorded the first episode.
We held a planning meeting last night at The Rose & Crown - which is appropriate because it's the first pub we ever went to for a drink together. We talked about several possible locations to record the first episode of the podcast, but decided here, our spiritual home should be where we first hit record.
So we met at lunchtime today, and sat in the beer garden (The music was too loud inside, but it was FREEZING outside. You can actually hear us shivering at some points.) You can also hear the beer delivery, a freezer unit having a breakdown and our lunch arriving. Oh... and us chatting.
The rules for my non-drinking are now set:
1. Alcohol substitutes under 1.0% are allowed.
2. Toasting with alcohol is allowed, as long as I don't finish the drink.
3. I have an option of a single drink on holiday abroad... if I chose to take it.
4. February 29th IS included in the booze-free year.
... and it's okay to use mouthwash.
Enjoy the podcast - let us know what you think!
We'll be honest... that's all we know.
Come back soon and we might have some more news for you.
Until then, relax, have a drink (or don't have a drink) and make yourself at home.
Geoff & Matt.
Geoff & Matt
Geoff turned 40 recently, and decided to have a dry year*. Matt is worried that this will make Geoff a really boring friend.