A podcast called The Pubcast: “Four friends, diverse chats, one pub”

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I’m participating in an evolving venture called The Pubcast, described more specifically as a podcast that takes place in a pub (Donum Dei Brewstillery off Grant Line Road in New Albany).

We’ll be doing our first “live” pubcast at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, 16 March — Day 1 of Donum Dei’s St. Patrick’s weekend celebration. The public is welcomed to flood the joint.

First, let’s begin in the beginning, all those years ago, by ignoring my burgeoning affinity for bars even prior to turning 21, and focus instead on a central reason why bars – taverns, pubs, watering holes and the like – became my favored habitat once I was of legal age, and was at long last unconcerned with being snagged in an alcohol police dragnet, thus being able to enjoy what I was drinking, and with whom I was speaking.

Yes, I’ve always enjoyed barroom conversations.

You’d start chatting with someone you didn’t know, and it might be fascinating, or not. Most often I learned something. By and large, I respected my elders, so whenever there was an opportunity to stand by as “pensioners” talked about their lives and times, I did my best to pay attention.

By extension, a consistent annoyance of mine through the ages has been barroom music played at such deafening volume that I cannot engage in conversation. It’s one reason I’ve cherished the art of day drinking and those quiet, timeless afternoons spent solving the world’s problems over beers, and maybe a cheeseburger.

As a recovering philosophy major, the aspect of bar chat that appealed to me the most was (and remains) the fact that diverse opinions invariably come from unexpected places. Some folks could be easily typecast, although fewer than you might expect. I did a great deal of sandbagging, refraining from leading with my hottest take, and instead, asking questions – and listening.

What a concept, this listening.

Granted, I could be strident given the topic and my own blood alcohol level. Consequently, at this precise moment lots of people are looking at me and saying, really Rog?

Or, “I remember that time when …”

Yes, of course. Those agitated times surely happened. However, you probably don’t remember the many other times when conversational strategies like framing the discussion, playing devil’s advocate, and finding ways to agree about what we could agree about were my primary objective, not slam-dunking on an intoxicated retiree spinning harmless yarns.

The Pubcast, which to me seems more like The Pubcast Project (we’re learning as we go, and improving), is about four of us coming together to have a conversation while enjoying libations in a pub: Josh Turner, Blake Montgomery, Rick Otey and me.

We’re friends, but we’re not all of the same political orientation. As a former Republican officeholder turned Libertarian, Josh’s affiliations are most obvious. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how Rick and Blake vote. I’m a pants-down Euro Socialist living in a dead zone where almost no one speaks my language. We all like adult libations; some of us pay attention to sports. We’re all married; my three colleagues have children, but I don’t. Rick owns a small business, and I used to.

Etc., etc., etc.

As we become more comfortable with the podcast format (and each other), a routine is settling into place. There’ll be locally-oriented main topics on most weeks, special guests on occasion, “cheers and jeers,” and basically whatever notions might arise when regulars walk into a bar and the bartender or server greets them with, “hi, what’s new?”

How self-aggrandizing are our motives?

I’d say they vary. Having been forcibly (unwillingly, non-consensually) retired from beer programming at Pints&union, I won’t pretend that keeping my name “out there” in just about any fashion is NOT a personal motivation. It is. I’m sure Josh would agree; he lost a job (council person) recently, too. Certainly Rick would like more customers at Donum Dei (The Pubcast’s sponsor), and as a productive salesman who once worked in radio, podcasting is effortless for Blake, like breathing.

But to repeat: The Pubcast is intended as an exercise in barroom conversation, with four participants who weren’t cut from the same block. This sort of talk seldom happens often enough in our America of armed silos (literally and figuratively), where already, only a few weeks into our project, I’ve been informed that sitting at the same table with Josh means that my lefty beliefs are being compromised.

Not that a ceaselessly corrupt, idol-worshipping local Democratic Party ever had anything except contempt (and moreover, utter incomprehension) for my brand of leftism in the first place, so $%@! the party chairman and the tricycle he rode in on.

Readers who think that my doing a podcast with a Libertarian, or having coffee with a Republican – and having earnest conversation with both of them – somehow disqualifies me from credibility amid this narrow and under-educated milieu of Nawbany Politicks is in desperate need of an epiphany.

I’ll be 64 in August, and frankly, Scarlet, I don’t give a damn. I’m trying to find common ground in a place, and at a time, when too many of my countrymen have summarily rejected it. Insofar as The Pubcast encourages conversation, and can be entertaining and informative in the process, it’s a minor yet meaningful contribution toward making things better.

And, besides … we’re refraining from being overtly political. It’s a conversation, remember? Maybe we’ll talk about the best fried chicken in New Albany, or the worst movie we’ve ever seen. Who knows what comes up? That’s what barroom communication is all about.

Find our pubcasts here, and thanks in advance for listening:

Pubcast page at Facebook

Pubcast at Spotify

Pubcast at Apple (coming shortly)