Are we Megatron?

[00:00:00] Mark: Happy gDPR day. I hope the data protection fairy has been and left you something private in your stocking. No scratch that. I'll do it again.

[00:00:21] hello, Brendan and I are going to be out for a couple of weeks. Uh, I know this is a bit early to go reply all on you, but we're both busy and important and handsome men and we have busy and important and handsome things too. Um, needless to say, we'll be back in full with you in a couple of weeks, but we do have a show for you today.

[00:00:41] Early this week, I sat down with Jason Reed, the creator and host of stop and search, which took away two silvers at the second annual British podcast awards, which took place this. It's a podcast about drug culture that also takes on other addiction topics. We talked about his show, joining scribbious pips distraction pieces network, and the awards themselves. And I started off by asking him why a podcast about drug culture.

[00:01:06] Jason: It's a massive issue at the moment. It's. If you turn on the news, pretty much. Every other story is about drugs bust this, that, and the other, um, someone being assassinated in Mexico because of the literal war on drugs is going on out there in the Philippines.

[00:01:21] So it's a really hot topic. And plus it coordinates with work that we do. I'm in an organization called leap UK syrup. We're a group of international police. undercover officers, um, who are out there campaigning for drug law reform globally. And it's just a really good outreach tool. We. We don't always hit the target audiences of people that aren't interested in drugs and drug policy through conventional means.

[00:01:47] So we thought let's just take the conversation further. So then we'll be hooked up with scribbious Pitt is obviously just a podcast. Legend. It just made sense that we to do a podcast and have these conversations that we're probably not having in society just yet. So it's there to open up all these discussions.

[00:02:05] We really should be having when it's talked to you

[00:02:08] Mark: about that, because for anyone who doesn't know, uh, scribbious PIP is a well-known podcaster and spoken word artist. He had a big hit in 2007 with thou shalt, always kill and set up his own podcast a few years ago. So how did membership of his network

[00:02:24] Jason: actually come about?

[00:02:26] It was started from PIP in his own interviews. Collected us. He was like Pokemon. So he did Susie gage, who is just Susie gauges. Amazing. If you've not listened to say why to drugs, it's just, it's become a phenomenon. God, I shouldn't say that. Having not recently got out racing, um, as you can tell, my voice is still croaky because I'm still kind of suffering from the backlog of the podcast awards, even though I completely sober.

[00:02:51] I'm still kind of in that backlash. Um, so yeah, Susie gage, she did PIP show. Before me, and it was just about drugs, uh, and her, her realm in science. And it was just fascinating discussion. So I think that he straight away said, Susie, you know, I've had this idea for a little while with proper drug education, you know, not to just say no that some of us know from the eighties and Susie was like, yep, sounds brilliant.

[00:03:18] I've wanted to do that. So they started to form that up. Then a few months later he interviewed me because I've done some films. Again, the subject of drugs quite clearly, cropped up. And he said the same thing, right? This is quite an interesting discussion. So we should, we try and sort of do more with this and spread the awareness out there.

[00:03:40] And I said, absolutely what we want to do. And then he, he, he also met up with Jim Smallman, who's a wrestling promoter. He's got his own company called progress wrestling. Um, and again, Jim's conversation was so fluent and brilliant Pitt was like, right. Well, we need a wrestling podcast quite clearly. And it, and that's become really massively successful as well.

[00:04:01] And then, uh, Last year. I think it was. Yeah. Cause it just celebrating their year anniversary this week. I think Christian Stu pips, long-term friends who have done the drunk casts. If you listen to Pitt's podcast. So we soften him and his mate get together, get completely plastered and talk rubbish and it's brilliant.

[00:04:19] And that's Christian stew and they do hardcore listing. So the top five, whatever you want to be. So top five albums, top five times, you're embarrassed. Listing shows as work and they pull it off so perfectly. Cause I do live stuff as well, and that sounded network formed. It just become this organic process of personalities merging together.

[00:04:40] And we were all similar personality type as well. So that's nice. You know, it just means that no one is competing, we're all in this to help each other out. And it's just such a friendly. Place to be with like the, um, the walk-ins the podcast.

[00:04:54] Mark: Oh, nice. Happy family. Um, so how do you, how do you put an episode of your show

[00:04:58] Jason: together?

[00:04:58] We predominantly do it live. So we go to Tottenham court road, water stays mostly and put on panel discussions. So we think that this I'll put the first one we did was with Robin hints and Susan. And Simon Oxenham, who's a brilliant neuroscientist blogger that does. If you look up, um, what was his original name?

[00:05:19] I can't remember neuro bonkers. That is what you went out as, but he's, he's a vole since then. He's just fantastic. And who else are we done? Rufus hound has been on it. Marcus Brigstocke has done a one-on-one with us. Um, but we're also spreading out as well, because we're not just covering people that are authors now.

[00:05:35] Cause we've done quite a lot of people to that book people because it goes well at what was done. It's funny enough. And now we're doing things like, um, I probably shouldn't say this, but between us, we going to be probably doing one in parliament pretty soon. We've uh, with some of our friendly MPS. So that's going to be quite interesting because there's a lot of legal.

[00:05:54] Things towards that. Cause you, you, the amount of restrictions on recording in parliament is pretty huge. You know, most people don't know this, um, but we think that the. We've got a way around of doing it. You know, it's all above board. We're not going to be sitting in the cupboard doing it. Um, and it just really helps us because like I said, the conversation is in drug law reform that we have in so huge.

[00:06:17] And we're trying to put them out there that these little hooks of doing. And what was those in parliament? Um, during the universities, I just really helped push your awareness out there and it's, it works for the audience as well, because you know, the, the venues are call when they get to participate and.

[00:06:31] And it's just believe it or not, even though we're tackling some really tricky subjects, it's quite fun. And we have quite a lot of laugh with it as well, which I think is just great about podcasts world in general, we've done a few find that the relaxed nature of it

[00:06:45] Mark: really work. Yes, absolutely. Uh, and the, you know, the, the more relaxed you get, the less guarded you are and the more interesting conversations you can, you can have.

[00:06:53] Um, so yeah, absolutely. Um, so let's talk about, uh, the, the awards then. Um, we were both there on the, uh, Uh, in a, in King's place, uh, you got the, uh, you were nominated in two categories for smartest podcast and, uh, in current affairs and you took away the silver in both categories. So first off,

[00:07:13] Jason: congratulations.

[00:07:15] Yeah, that was weird. We've totally, wasn't expecting that because, you know, we, we overachieved, there's no doubt about it. BBC blue planet for goodness sake. That was what we thought. We straight away saw that it was like more acid. You know, the fish have one. There's no getting around that. And also like BBC five radio Brexit, um, radio Brexit, or there's a, there's a concept.

[00:07:34] Um, so yeah, so radio five Brexit podcasts. Lyra, they were there as well. So we thought, well, that's huge as well. Yeah. There's no getting away from that. And of course, ed Miliband's reasons to be cheerful. It's just become this, this legendary thing straight away. So if we don't stand a chance. So then when, when it was announced and we come up with these, you know, on aggregate did brilliantly, well, double silver, we just couldn't believe it was up well for a while we was in shock.

[00:08:02] We were just sort of sat there, going yeah. That day. And then it wasn't too afterwards. It's some kind of like, That does kind of, you know, excuse the crass way of wording this, but kind of insinuates with the best, second, best current affairs and the smartest podcasts in the country and was like, that's weird.

[00:08:20] How did that happen? Because we're just a bunch of. Muppets that sit there talking about drugs, but all of a sudden we've now got, this is a claim. So yeah. And the distraction piece in network guys, I would just blow now. I think it was that that made it sink in for us. The adulation that came our way from our friends and our colleagues, because we was, you know, on the night, just like, yeah, we'll take that.

[00:08:42] And then we went back to the. Bar and just had a drink then all of a sudden everybody's like, that's amazing was that, oh, you know, it's actually quite cold in it. So it wasn't too afterwards. It started to sink in. You did all right there. So, um, so, uh,

[00:08:57] Mark: how did you enjoy

[00:08:58] Jason: the night itself? Did you go low? Yes, I think it was, I mean, last year was great.

[00:09:02] Cause it was again, a very different way of doing it. Um, the, the lack of seat in was certainly an issue. So I'm glad that they addressed that this year. Um, so they're very two different ceremonies, wouldn't they? And I think this year it's certainly worked as an award ceremony. It, you know, it was. And many people say it works as the best award ceremony that you could have because it was so quick, you know, in a way it's slightly mean that the, the, the gold winners don't get to have a little bit of an acceptance speech, but I can see why the quick precession of it makes sense.

[00:09:33] And also being podcasts world, you can't get that comment afterwards, which was what they were doing. Um, so yeah, the actual Waterman itself, I think was absolutely on point. Anybody that watches award ceremony. So probably have a look at that one to show you how you can do it. Nice and quick. Um, and I think just in general, the atmosphere was just really nice.

[00:09:54] What I like about podcasts world is just, it's not competitive. It's everybody's working together. It's. We were almost like the, um, I dunno, what's a good analogy and it's going to be terrible. No, it is. But like the transformers that form up into one giant monster, I think we liked that the podcast world route with individual transformers, but once we form up together, that's when we can kind of take on Megatron.

[00:10:18] And I think we're getting to that point where the industry and I'm using that in quotation marks behind the screen. I think the industry has got to such a degree now that. We are actually competing with the mainstream media in its own way. And that's again, brilliant and bizarre. And at equal stakes, I think, would you, I don't know if you'd agree with that or not.

[00:10:37] Yeah, I think

[00:10:37] Mark: so. And that, that, like, it kind of leads into the question I was going to ask, like, what is the, what is the villain that the, uh, the us, as, as one assembled Megatron, uh, fighting, you know, what, what is the villain that, um, that we as a collective. Um, in our, uh, transformers get up. What are we fighting against?

[00:10:56] Is it the BBC? Is it media? Is it people who don't know what a podcast is? Is it apathy? Is it boredom? What are we, what

[00:11:03] Jason: are we fighting against? W we make a choice in this. I just gotta get my head round it, because if that's the case, I've done it. If I want to do it anyway. As much as there's a great character.

[00:11:12] I don't know if I want to be Megatron. Although, if, if you, if you, uh, this is a really cheap plug, but if you look at my Twitter, my actual Twitter handle is at Jason Tron. So I've kind of got an affinity with Megatron. Um, clearly if you listen to, uh, and this is a slight digress, I apologize massively, but if you listen to Pip's Christmas drunk cost, you'll actually, I I'm actually, uh, I don't drink, but believe it or not, it came out in the conversation that, um, my actual real name is Jason Truong.

[00:11:38] Changed it by Depot a few years ago. So that's kind of my class. I mean, I, my, my full name is Jason Reed, but I did slip in the middle name of Jason Shawn. Anyway. Now I've got that out in a way confessional. Um, I think, yeah, I think we are competing with the mainstream media in a way, but I don't think again, the word competing necessarily highlights what we're doing.

[00:12:00] I think that what we manage to do is potentially circumvent traditional. Formats. And by that, I mean that a lot of us having conversations out there that we want to have. So like the grief cost absolutely swept the boards because what other conversations are there that are like that she's completely.

[00:12:20] Got an original concept. Yes. And it's the same with a lot of the other podcasts that are on offer the fact that it Miliband can. Now it doesn't have to rely on news night to get his voice out there. And as we found out, it Miliband as a politician is a lot different in Miliband as the podcast. I see he's reinvented himself through it, which is again, just incredible to do that.

[00:12:44] And I think that's where we we've come into our own in the podcast industries that we can be ourselves. We don't have to rely on that. Right. Red light on we've now got either suited and booted thing because in my realm, you know, w we always do media. We're always on the BBC and mine on Sunday or whatever.

[00:13:01] So we have to come up with a certain apparel, you know, we have to look a certain way, sound a certain way. But we can drop that and we can be informal on podcasts and that's what you can't do on mainstream media. You get a snapshot, you get two minutes to get your stuff across, and then you're out of the studio and then it's on somebody else in podcast and you can actually get into it.

[00:13:20] And they're accessible conversations that we need to have as a, as I keep saying, which almost sounds like some awful tagline, but we are getting to that point where we don't need to have. The traditional and traditional media is always going to be there. There's no getting away from it, but I think it's doing the traditional media, some good having the podcast industry push along a bit, because you would have noticed like channel four news, they've gotten her own podcast out.

[00:13:45] Now that is on those things. You know, celebrities talking about things that are important to them. You know, Jonathan pion recently about free speech. They had, um, Oh, God, I can never remember his name. Um, the actor, Shane Barry, Shane Michael Michael Shane. Yes. I absolutely loved as an actor. He was on a channel four news, his podcast, literally this week, I think talking about Margaret Thatcher and the mining situation in Wales.

[00:14:13] These are things that you wouldn't be able to do on channel four news because why what's the point of, it's not timely, Michael Shane talking about Margaret Thatcher and, and the way it was in the mining situation, but it's timely because there's a podcast. Yeah, these are constantly on the shelf now.

[00:14:30] Yeah. Ready to be picked up. And that's where it's good. I think

[00:14:38] uh, set going into the podcast was that we, we totally had no expectations and we're all of our team. We're we're we're Muppets. Yeah. We were quite humble. We're silly. We're we're not a tole taking ourselves seriously in what we do, but the endorsement that we had within. Those two nominations were just huge, you know, excuse me.

[00:14:59] They, they really did give an endorsement to what we're doing in drug policy reform. And that's where it was important for us because we said we don't expect to win, but there's no getaway from it that out of all the people that are nominated because of the area that we frequent in looking for political lobbying drug policy reform changes within a social system.

[00:15:21] Those those nominations meant a hell of a lot. And also coming out. The two endorsements of, as I said, you know, in crude terms being the second best current affairs and the second best smartest podcasts in the country to us, that was just a massive endorsement to the issue, not just our podcast, but to the fact that drug policy reform conversations, a slit slipping through and getting into people's ears.

[00:15:44] And for us, if we can capitalize on that, that's going to be brilliant. So we do, we came out of it really infused and wanting to ramp it up, go right. If we can do this, if we can do this, we can do this. We're not looking to get the gold next year by any means. But if we think, we think, well, if that's the endorsement we've got now, because we still don't feel we got started yet, we still feel we're in the early stages.

[00:16:03] So

[00:16:04] Mark: it's really interesting. We're going to keep pushing, um, because you you've started in 2016, um, and you do

[00:16:10] Jason: one a month at the moment. It's one a month. Yeah. And I would like to increase that. I'd like to get it at least fortnightly and we've got loads in the bank at the moment. We've got some, some stacked up ones that we've, that we've recorded.

[00:16:22] Um, prime example, we've got a channel four hunted crew. We've got them on, um, that have already been recorded. Um, what else have we got? We've got, uh, Subjects on women and addiction, which they keep cramming up. There's a great journalist called Jennifer Lynn Tisha. I've just interviewed along with Millie Charles from, uh, BBC women's hour.

[00:16:43] Uh, we've recorded that one last week. So we've got those in the bank, but I need to do is try and increase that frequency a little bit. So I'm probably gonna start doing non-life ones as well. So just one-on-one traditional podcasts because I know there are conversations about. So, and, um, people that have been affected by drug laws want to have, but also, you know, there's no getting away from it from us.

[00:17:02] Public figures really work. They, they really help us spread it out there. So that's why we're really lucky to have the donation of public figures. We did, um, the former president of Switzerland reef Dreyfus a few months ago. And that one was a huge one that, that we didn't necessarily know where of listening figures were going to go with that.

[00:17:20] It was such a unique character, but it was so well received. And that's the reason why I love podcasts as well is you can never predict it. I don't know if you find that you think, right, this is a good episode polished. It's nice. It's got a big figure and it doesn't necessarily go anywhere. And then you get someone that no one's heard of.

[00:17:34] It's a. Off the cuff conversation. And then that's the big one that goes out there. Absolutely. Yeah. And that's why podcasts is brilliant because you can just never predict it. But yeah, we w we really want to amp it up. We want to kind of create more, we want to do more and just really go to town and to show aspect as well.

[00:17:51] We're lucky to have nightclubs interested in this as well. So I don't know if you know anything about drug testing, but it's quite on the news at the moment. So. Patrons go to clubs and festivals. We've drugs, get them tested by this agency called the loop, which a fantastic, yes, we're going to be interviewing the loop at a nightclub.

[00:18:10] Um, so things like that, we'd tap a tap in right into what the zeitgeists does. It work things that are in current mainstream news, and we're going that little bit more in depth. Um, and that's what is exciting to us is that we can just go that little bit. The more mainstream media. Karen. Fantastic.

[00:18:24] Mark: So, um, just to, uh, to, to finish off, I'm going to spring this on you.

[00:18:29] Um, do you have a podcast recommendation that is not on, um, the, uh, on the distraction pieces network? I do. Okay. Can I

[00:18:39] Jason: have two? Oh yeah, of course. That is allowed. Firstly, a friend of ours called tin and do. Uh, partly political broadcast. What TN and manages to do, is it pretty much does like the one, uh, the what's it called?

[00:18:51] What's the, um, you know, like the American shows that it's got a funny comedian just talking over the news. Oh yeah. Tiernan does that. Um, brilliantly is such a down to earth. Uh, that I can't recommend enough. He's just finished support in Frankie Boyle. Um, so he's, he's really out there in his, in his career tin and just manages to strip down the news.

[00:19:10] And he has interesting guests as well. So it goes again, gets him there forever. He has conversations with the guests that matter. So there's that one, but also if you want something. Brilliantly, take your brain out lighthearted. Uh, the dream factory with John Harrison, Joe growth from a cast. So what they do on that is they pick stupid random film concepts.

[00:19:31] Some of it can be puns. Some of it can be just things that go together right now. I can't figure out any example whatsoever, which is really bloody useful. What is it? It's, I've not sold that at toll wherever I, but honestly listen to it. It's it's funny. It's hilarious. And you will be coming up with your own fuel console concepts on it, and hopefully fingers crossed.

[00:19:51] I'll be on it fairly soon. Pitched just done it. Uh, tin has done during factory too. Um, it's brilliant. Yeah.

[00:19:58] Mark: Well, thank you very much and thank you for joining us on bit, right. It's been a real pleasure. And once again,

[00:20:03] Jason: congratulations. So thank you. Thank you for having us and hope it all goes where in your world as well, because you know, we're getting there together with.

[00:20:09] Uh, we then make a choice or Hartman what we decided, but yeah. Thank you so much.

[00:20:18] Mark: Huge thanks to Jason for joining us this week. We'll be back to our usual nonsense in a couple of weeks. So keep us in your app. There's a new version of Castro out now. So I might give that a try and let you know how I got on with it. Also, we need to follow up on the phenomenon so much to talk about. and we'll get to it all very soon.