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Iain

Last Night, I Did A Mean Show….

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I’ve worked at various different radio stations throughout the years – LBC, Absolute/Virgin, BBC – and now I’m at the wonderful talkRADIO. The show has evolved and changed throughout the years, at least, it has to my ears. They may all sound the same to you, perhaps the shifts are too subtle, but for me, each show on each station has a different vibe and tone. I started off a bit mean, and that meanness has been pretty much worn away. I genuinely think the stuff I’m doing now is the best I’ve ever done. I’ve been trying to get as far away from the formulaic, hate filled radio that a lot of speech based broadcasting has become. Too much of it, in my opinion, is pointing the finger at differences and blaming the difference for our problems. Those difference might be accent, religion, colour, clothing, jobs, whatever. But so much speech radio is about creating division and scaring people. As Stephen Colbert said ‘if we’re not scaring you, we’re not doing our job properly’.

 

The TR show is generally an anything goes kind of vibe. There are no questions as such, and conversations can be carried on over hours, days or weeks. I have no obvious agenda (there must be one, but I don’t know what it is yet) and I sit and talk. I’ll say how great a film is I’ve watched that day, how I was staring at my kids and realised that when they grow into teenagers I will MISS the 4 and 6 year old boys I live with now, I’ll talk about feeling suicidal or how life affirming Jackie Chan is. Callers will chip in on these themes, or ignore them and call in with their own thoughts on their own lives. I guess it’s all about us trying to make sense of the insane world we live in, in any way we can. The only rules are you can’t call in about Trump or Brexit unless you have something new and unique to say about it. You won’t. No one does but sweet lord, listen to some shows and some entire stations and you would think that is ALL people want to hear.

My ethos could be wrong, it may lead nowhere. My listening figures are good considering it’s a brand new station, but they could be better, and I know they could be much bigger if I went on air and pointed the finger and screamed and stirred the shitty pot and told you how terrified you should be of everything.

 

Last night, I attempted an experiment. I’d been thinking for a while that I would like to try and do a mean show, one of those shows that is so popular and gets huge listening figures. A JHB or Hopkins type affair. I’d mentioned a few times on air I wanted to do it, but wasn’t really sure how to proceed. I’d planned to do it on Monday but bottled it. We’d had the delightful Dexter Fletcher on as a guest and he was such an inspiration that it seemed like a betrayal of him and the listeners to do a complete volt face and be all mean. So, Tuesday it would be.

 

I started by warming people up on Twitter. I posted some incredibly mean tweets about Trans people, immigration and terrorism. I changed my name on Twitter to 52% and told all the Bremoaners to ‘stop whining’. It is amazing how quickly people took the bait. Many got angry with me and were disgusted to find out these were my politics, while some were pleased to hear somebody speaking the truth #freespeech. I probably lost and gained an equal measure of followers!

 

The show itself started with a debate between someone from Leave.EU and a gentleman from Open Britain. I of course gave the Leave guy an easy ride, despite him having a terrible phone line, and ripped into the OB chap. I felt terrible but, and here’s the thing, a tiny part of me enjoyed the meanness. After the initial questions where I would recoil with horror after being so harsh to him, I actually got a buzz. That probably says more about me then it does about humanity, but nastiness, bullying does seem to be a powerful force.

 

They went and the phone lines opened. Now, I should say, TR is a newish station. It doesn’t get as many phone calls as I would like. I do very well on the phone call front, and it is improving, but…for something like this to REALLY work, I needed a full switchboard, so in that respect, the evening didn’t work. But, what we got was gold.

 

There was a gentleman who called in saying he had worn a 3 inch by 3 inch Vote Leave badge and he was confident that had swayed the opinion of a Roman Catholic and a black woman. There was a lady called Sylvia who agreed with everything I was saying regarding cancelling all foreign aid (‘why should we give money to stop Indian women dying during childbirth? Aren’t there enough of them already’ was my argument) and a few others. What was especially interesting was that these people MUST have been listening to my show in the past. I say listening, I guess they had it on but didn’t HEAR anything. Cards on the table, I am a left to centre leaning liberalish Vote Remain lets all love one another depression sufferer. So how on earth these callers hadn’t picked up on that before I’ll never know.

 

We had a rush of calls at the end. Someone telling me that I needed to calm down. I destroyed him by telling him I’d won 3 awards and that I would call him the next day and tell him that HE was crap at his job. A few other agreeing with me and a wonderful call from someone who ‘got’ the gag and fooled most people as a heartbroken snowflake. Simply wonderful.

 

What was most interesting to me was the number of long term listeners who got very angry with what I was doing. They didn’t find it funny (fair enough, it was a slow burn gag) or entertaining (again, I’m cool with that) and also didn’t think it was satire (it was, that’s not open for debate). Several called the show wanting to either tell off my producer Katherine Boyle, or come on air and criticise me for not giving them the radio show they were used to and wanted to hear. A real sense of entitlement. I would have thought that if they were such big fans, they would know that from time to time I like to challenge myself and the listeners. It was 1 show out of 170. You don’t like, that’s absolutely fine. Switch off and pop back tomorrow.

 

I ended the show with a delightful ‘And….scene’ just as the last ads fired in. It’s a phrase used in acting circles to denote the scene or audition piece is over and the audience are free to applaud if they see fit and discuss what they’ve just witnessed. Twitter was ablaze, I haven’t had so many tweets during a show ever. The talkRADIO listeners Facebook page had over 140 comments, a record. People got ANGRY. I know that both of those measurements mean very little, but they do mean something. Being angry, spouting complete untruths such as ‘train drivers earn between £30,000 and £100,000 and all they do is go forward, stop and open and close doors. Sack the lot of them if they go on strike’ go generally unchallenged. The phrase of the moment is post truth, and it really is, well, true. You can say ANYTHING and people will not pick up on it. I said that postal workers were ‘pissing on kids Christmases and they should all be sacked’. Beautifully angry nonsense. Only one person called in to say that was harsh. I destroyed him.

 

And this is the thing. It is so easy to destroy people on air. I am in a position of authority, of power. I have thousands of hours of experience. Most people calling have never done it before. I control the faders. If the argument gets a bit tough, I can cut them off and slag them off after I’ve got rid of them. It is so easy to be mean, to be nasty, to get people stirred up, to scare them. And British radio has too many of these trolls on the air. They’re not solving anything, a phone in show never solved a single thing. They’re not helping people. They are making things worse. They are making this country worse. They are making the whole world a meaner, nastier place. I am sick and tired of turning on my wireless to hear a bunch of shit stirrers frightening people. Stop it. Stop the meanness. Radio editors, be brave. Yes, people like Hopkins gets loads of listeners and you’re driven by listeners but can’t you see what people like her are doing? Phone Farage? Oh do fuck off. They are spreading hatred. Stop it. Stop it now.

 

EDIT

I forgot the Sharia Burgers! How could I forget that? Again, in the spirit of creating fear and talking non truths, I told one caller I was furious that a well known high street burger chain was only selling Sharia Burgers and that we didn’t have any choice in the matter and it was disgusting we had no choice. The caller very quickly jumped on board and shared my anger DESPITE THE FACT THAT SENTENCE MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER!

Mike Love

By | News, Podcasts, talkRADIO | No Comments

I am a huge Beach Boys fan. Easily one of the greatest groups of all time. I’ve been lucky enough to interview Brian a couple of times. Once he was disinterested and giving one word answers, while the first time he was engaged, honest and quite rude about Al Jardine! This goes against one school of thought that says Brian is ALWAYS polite in interviews (sorry Smilers, it simply aint true). Anyway, both times were a huge thrill and I was dead happy.

I’ve been trying for ages to get an interview with Mike Love, the lead singer and lead lyricist of the Boys for quite some time but he has always proved elusive. I met him briefly backstage at the Royal Albert Hall, and he couldn’t have been nicer. I was inspired to write an article for Record Collector magazine suggesting that popular folklore had got it wrong and that Mike wasn’t the villain in the BB story. So many people seem to hate him and raise Brian to a saintlike status. Both are human. Both are flawed. Both have made mistakes. Both have also contributed to my life in immeasurable ways with their music and lyrics. I am deeply grateful to both men.

Mike has a book out and it’s a cracking read. Because of this, I was able to get him to call my show one evening and chat to me for almost half an hour. Sure, he told a couple of old stories, and no one in the UK knows what Full House is or what a John Stamos does, but, but, but….I think I managed to get him to answer a few new questions that he hadn’t been asked before. Come on, how many times in an interview has he been asked if it’s true he taught Dennis Wilson about cunnilingus?

I enjoyed it, and I think he did too. I had so many people get in touch afterwards saying it totally changed their opinion of him. Hey, he’s messed up but who hasn’t? He’s been in showbiz for over 50 years, so of course so it would be impossible for him not to have made some missteps. Give My Regards to Broad Street and Press To Play are two examples of McCartney getting it wrong.

Here’s the interview. If you enjoyed it, please do subscribe to my podcast on iTunes by clicking on this link https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/late-nights-with-iain-lee/id1090367473?mt=2 or searching your usual podcast provider.

The Delightful Scroobius Pip

By | Podcasts, talkRADIO | One Comment

I’ve been aware of Scroobius Pip for a while. I first heard his music when Russell Brand picked one of his songs on Desert Island Discs. Thou Shalt Always Kill is absolutely brilliant. Musically excellent and packed full of ‘jokes’ but it’s not a comedy song, it’s much much more than that. Gets you finking as well, which is a novelty in itself in not just music but culture as a whole.

I’d seen him win an award at the Radio Academy a few years back, the same year my team and I won Best Breakfast Show for the BBC 3CR show. I was thrilled when I discovered he followed me on Twitter, but I still didn’t know much about him. I knew his podcast was good, because people who’s opinions I really rated said it was good, but I didn’t listen because I don’t really listen to podcasts.

I decided to buy his book Distraction Pieces (which you can get HERE)and was so pleased I did. It is absolutely inspirational, not at all preachy, and bloody enjoyable. I devoured it in 2 days.

People had suggested I ask Pip to come on the show but I HATE asking people directly, especially in a public forum like Twitter. What if they say no? What if they feel pressured to come on because I’ve asked them publicly? What if they think I’m shit? Genuinely, I have all of these negative thoughts and more. Anyways, I did ask him and he was incredibly gracious in accepting.

He came on my show last night and we got on so well. He’s lovely, taller than me, hilarious, charming, warm and sympathetic. If you’re a friend of his, you are a very lucky person indeed. I could listen to him for hours. He’s invited me onto his Distraction Pieces podcast (which I have started listening to and you can subscribe to by clicking this link https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/distraction-pieces-podcast/id929136539?mt=2 )

Click the player below to hear the hour of my show with Pip. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed hosting it. If you want to subscribe and leave nice comments (it all helps) please click this link here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/late-nights-with-iain-lee/id1090367473?mt=2 Thanks for listening, I really do appreciate your company.

 

Noel Edmonds Called My Cat…

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…well, not mine, but he DID phone up the cat of Peter Ormerod. Ages ago on the show we were looking at Noel’s website and spotted a feature on there where you could register details about your pet and he may call it up. We thought nothing more of it until an eagle eyed listener called Aaron spotted a wonderful story in the Guardian about how his cat received a phone call from Edmonds.

I had to get Peter on the show. Luckily for us, he was gracious enough to come on and talk about it.

Click the link below to hear the podcast or click this linkhttps://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/late-nights-with-iain-lee/id1090367473?mt=2 to subscribe to the daily podcast via iTunes.

 

Daily www.talkRADIO.co.uk Podcast

By | News, Podcasts, talkRADIO | 2 Comments

Some of you don’t know thatI now present a daily late night show on www.talkradio.co.uk Well, now you do. Immediately after leaving BBC Three Counties I fell into a massive funk, a very deep existential depression that threatened to tear me apart. I still haven’t really climbed out of it. Breakdown? Probably. I was heartbroken. Luckily, talkRADIO was being relaunched and they were more than keen to get me on board. And I was thrilled to be asked.

So, every weeknight from 10pm Katherine and I, along with Ed, host a phone in show unlike any other phone in show. That’s not me being immodest, it’s true. If I’m wrong, please do let me know because I am trying to make the kind of show that I would like to listen to. Anyways, it’s about nothing. I go in, turn the microphone up, open the phone lines and see what comes out. I have no agenda when I go. Well, mostly I don’t. Sometimes I have something especially shitty or brilliant that’s happened to me that day that I have to get off my chest, for example, what’s going on with my mum and her care home situation.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Sure, people can come on and be honest about their feelings. We’ve had alcoholics and suicidal callers sharing where they are, trying to grab a gasp of air before they get pulled back under the sea of whatever demons are haunting them. We also twat about a lot as well and have a laugh. It really is driven by your calls and what you want to talk about.

I also try and get on guests you won’t hear anywhere else. They have to be people who have had an impact on me and touched my life in some way. Sometimes people frown at the people I choose to invite on but USUALLY I win them round because I know the guest has something special to share, a unique story. Hey, look, we even had Mike Love of the Beach Boys call in! And so many people got in touch to say the interview completely changed their opinion of him. Have a listen and see what you think.

The show is fun, I’m still not sure I’m on the right track with it. I have gaping periods of self doubt about treading such a lonely path. If more people were doing this kind of show I’d feel more secure. Maybe there’s a reason people are going on air with heavily formatted shows and relying on the tried and tested call in subjects of Muslims, immigrants and whatever the front page of the Daily Mail is shouting angrily about that day. I dunno.

Finally, there is a daily podcast of the show as well. iTunes subscribers can get it by typing Iain Lee talk into iTunes or simply by clicking this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gaOa4H0xtw It’s available on all your usual podcast platforms as well, if you email me the links you use I’ll add them on this page. If you get the hooky full show pods, please do consider getting the official pods as well as the higher the numbers, the more secure my job.

Thanks for being there team.

Iainly

x

 

Performance Ring – Acts and Audience Wanted!

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A while I ago I floated the idea of hosting a variety evening in London where the acts were all made up of listeners. Keen amateurs, pro’s if there were any or people who just fancied having a go at…well…anything really.

The first night is on October 30th. Don’t look for tickets. It sold out like Billy-O. I immediately booked another night in for Sunday December 11th. We’re 3 months away from that and there are only 20 tickets left. Want them? Grab them HERE.

If you want to take part, then please get in touch. Your act can literally be anything. For example, on the bill for the show in October is a man pushing a wheelbarrow across the stage. That’s it. We’ve also got someone performing poetry via Skype and a short film being screened. Honestly, you can do ANYTHING. Acts need to be between 8-15 minutes, so it probably won’t work if you just want to get up and sing a song for a laugh. It CAN be a laugh, but it will need a little bit more.

You don’t have to have had experience, the audience is going to be lovely and want you to win, they really do. I’ll also be there to help you.

Fancy it? Email iain@iainlee.com and let me know what you think you might like to do. Let’s do it.

Iain

PS here’s a link to my talkRADIO podcast by the way, just in case you didn’t know I had a daily podcast and a late night phone in show…

Set The Agenda Returns…sort of…

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Anyone remember the variety night I hosted a few years ago? It was called Set The Agenda and took place in Camden. First off we had a tiny room above a pub but soon outgrew that and we ended up taking over a whole pub in North London. It was a lot of fun and we had a delightful variety of acts. Adam Hess, Pete Heat, magicians, harpists, contortionists, a card ninja – it was weird and deliciously varied. Proper variety.

Well, that came to an end as all things must eventually and life moved on. Now I’m hosting a late night show weeknights from 10 on www.talkradio.co.uk and it’s a joy. I received a call last night from an old friend of the show, Jim The Dancer. Jim’s been down on his luck a bit recently. His good friend Dennis passed away and Jim not only lost a friend, but also a place to record his wonderful videos. Here’s one here, absolutely brilliant stuff.

But Jim is a trooper. He’s got back up, dusted himself down and found a new outlet for his artistic needs. He now performs in comedy clubs. As he was telling me this, I was hit by a thunderbolt. Why don’t Katherine and I host a live evening of talent but not from professional acts I’ve found, but a night comprising of talent from the listeners, you lot. Now, you may be a professional turn, and that’s great, you’re very welcome, but you don’t have to be. You can be an enthusiastic amateur, or maybe a hopeless dreamer who has always wanted to do SOMETHING but didn’t quite know what.

Now’s your chance.

I’m looking for ANY acts to come and perform at a venue in London one Sunday evening, probably in October. It will be a completely safe environment, everyone will be in the same boat, and audience will be on your side. No one wants to see anyone fail. They all want you to succeed. So, even if you aren’t any good, you’ll be made to feel very welcome.

I don’t want to be too prescriptive on what acts we are looking for here, anything. I guess I don’t want too many blokes with a guitar but I don’t want to put anyone off for getting in touch. this may not work. Or it may be a triumph. Either way, I WANT this to happen. We’ll call it #TalentRing as it is different from STA and everything needs a hashtag these days.

If you’re up for it, email me iain@iainlee.com and let me know what you think you might want to do.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Iain

talkRADIO Daily Podcasts

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If you wonder where I am these days, you can find me weeknights from 10pm-1am hosting a nightly phone in show. Anything goes really, except sport. We don’t do sport. Or Muslims. Or immigrants. Or any of the usual phone in stuff. For me, late nights should be a laugh. And while we do occasionally get a bit heavier (it’s all cool, lot of talk about depression and mental health) it’s mainly just messing about.

Saying that, the shows are dictated by YOU. You can call in about anything you want. You won’t get turned away. A lot of the regulars are there – Vinny, Dennis, Barry from Watford – but also loads of new callers which makes me so happy!

You can listen in several ways. Download the smart phone app, retune your DAB radios to get talkRADIO, online at www.talkradio.co.uk or you can even watch the shows on my Periscope channel www.periscope.tv/iainlee

Katherine is still my producer (I rescued her from a life of mediocrity at the BBC). We also have a daily podcast. You can get it from your usual podcast providers. Type in Iain Lee talk radio and it should pop up. Any problems, let me know. I’m including the link for iTunes because that’s what I use. Hope that’s cool! Subscribe here Iain Podcast.

Do call in weeknights from 10 – 0844 499 1000 – don’t worry, we call you back.

Oh, and below is a clip of me arguing with a man about poppies. Enjoy.

I Made A Live CD!

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I know, incredible as it may seem, I’ve only gone and made an actual Live CD that you lot can buy for just 6 quid. Go to www.gofasterstripe.com/iainlee to buy it.

Last year I did my first ever solo show and solo tour. In fact, my first ever tour. A lot of firsts. I did it to see if I could, to see if people would come and to see if I’d enjoy it. Well, by the end of the run, the show was pretty good and made me laugh a lot. Most shows sold out (apart from Swindon, maybe Swindon hated the 11OCS?) and I didn’t really enjoy it that much. Well, 2 out of 3 aint bad.

By the end of the run, I was really proud of the show. It was pace, had some genuinely laugh out loud moments and had a pretty strong narrative. Apologies if you came to one of the early shows, they were good but not as good as the last half of the tour. The penultimate show was at the Luton Library Theatre which is an incredible little venue. It was when I still worked at BBC 3 Counties Radio so I was kind of playing to a home crowd. Over 200 people came along and enjoyed the stories I had to tell. Luckily, that was one of two nights I recorded (the other was at Jackson’s Lane, I may make that available as a bonus download).

Everything worked that night. The stories clicked, the clips were timed just right and everyone wanted to have a good time. Well, I’ve now released that show on CD for you all to enjoy for ever and ever and ever. Thanks to Chris Evans at Go Faster Stripe (who release loads of cool stuff including Miles Jupp and Susan Calman) you can buy the CD for just £6 plus p+p. No ones gonna get rich off this. But, I am just so thrilled to finally have a comedy record out.

One regret. Why the hell did I call the CD ‘Iain Lee Live’? And not ‘Iain Lee Vs Radio’? I have absolutely no idea. I am indeed a plum. Thanks as ever to Scott Balcony of www.balconyshirts.co.uk for designing the cover. Cheers man.

If you want the CD (and it is actually selling fast) then please go to www.gofasterstripe.com/iainlee

Ooh, there is bonus stuff on there too. You get all the animations I used during the show and they are hilarious. Here is one (and it’s very sweary).

Thanks a lot for your support. And yeah, I am working on a second tour that will tie in with the book. Book? Yeah. The book.

Live Tour – New dates added!

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Two shows down, a few more to go. The Iain Lee Vs Radio tour has been a lot of fun and I’ve really started to get to grips with the show. It’s constantly being tinkered with and updated and I genuinely think it;s pretty funny. Remember, it;s not stand up comedy, it’s me chatting and trying to convey my passion for radio to the audience. That makes it sound quite dry – it’s actually pretty funny. I should also warn you, it contains some very strong indoor language. VERY strong.

Anyway, here’s a list of shows. Some of them are selling very fast and the two shows in Birmingham are completely sold out. Sorry. There is now a London date. Jacksons Lane in Highgate is a wonderful venue that I played in probably 20 years ago. Back then I was playing bass for an experimental dance performance (actually true) this time, I’m talking bollocks about the radio.

If you come to any of the shows, I stick around after for photos and also sell a few t-shirts and badges. It’s all pretty informal and I’ll answer anything you want to ask.

Brighton and Luton are very close to being sold out so…hurry!

Do let me know if you’re coming!

 

10 September
Komedia, Brighton
£15/£12 concession
KOMEDIA TICKETS
0845 293 8480

 

11th September
Huntingdon Hall, Worcester
WORCESTER TICKETS
01905 611427

 

12th September
Arts Centre, Swindon
£13/15 tickets
SWINDON TICKETS
01793 524481

 

18th September
The Junction, Cambridge
£15/13
CAMBRIDGE TICKETS
01223 511511

 

26th September
Rondo Theatre ONSALE NOW!
St Saviour’s Road
Bath BA1 6RT
BATH TICKETS
01225 463362

 

October 8th
Jacksons Lane, Highgate, North London
LONDON TICKETS 

 

10th October (2 shows) BOTH SHOWS SOLD OUT
7pm & 9:15pm
MAC Birmingham

 

NEW DATE 17th October
Luton Library Theatre
LUTON TICKETS

 

22nd October
Hangar Farm Arts Centre, Totton
TOTTON TICKETS
02380667683