Working from home a lot means that I naturally watch a lot of Homes Under The Hammer. The premise is always - without fail - buy something cheap at auction... fiddle around with some pipes and electrics... hoover the [new] carpet... sell for almost double the price.
Capitalism on point.
Now, apropos of nothing, I've recently been looking at how much it takes to buy a house / flat / small garage in London... and it is rather expensive. Way beyond my means at any rate.
But that got me thinking. What if I - like the HUTH model - gradually up-cycle and up-sell smaller things... could I eventually get to an affordable property in London? How long would it take? How far could I get?
So, I've started the ball rolling. First step on the property ladder starts with a paper plane set from the fine people at Guinness World Records. The perfect way to introduce thick, black, alcoholic liquid into your child's life from an early age.
In all honesty, the story of the one red paperclip has inspired me. Although, instead of the enthusiasm of followers, well-wishers and friends, I'm completely relying on pure, cold-hard supply-and-demand economics.I'm not sure if this is funny or misjudged... but I'll find out soon enough!
David McGuire Times podcast editor
In the second of a new series picking out the best podcasts on the web, David McGuire looks at a political show that’s also - most importantly - funny
“I wish [the Clegg v Farage Euro debate] happened in boxing shorts…and with gloves on. I think Farage would have gone commando.”
Matt Forde is one of the most underrated comic talents in the UK at the moment and his podcast The Political Party brings out the best in him. Since his days as an occasional sidekick on Jon Richardson’s BBC 6 Music radio show, ‘Fordey’, the self-confessed political nerd, has carved out a satirical niche for himself.
With no jingles, fancy editing or particular script to speak of, this no-frills production has built up a loyal following in recent months. Forde serves up a simple idea, giving his guests – and himself - nowhere to hide. The concept is simple. Recorded on-stage in front of a live audience in a theatre in south London, the show is split into two halves - part stand-up and part political interview - with a scattering of questions from audience members to finish up.
The first section, in particular, follows a popular trend in podcasting at the moment, often with regard to stand-up comics. Their use of self-publishing media is clever and it offers the listener a glimpse of what to expect if we were to delve deep into our pockets and pay to see a live performance in person.
However, it is the second section that pushes this podcast over the line for me. In the most recent programme, for example, Alastair Campbell is open, funny and revealing, and that is purely down to Forde’s manner.
The interview with Campbell swings from light to serious throughout to give a well-rounded perspective of his life and career - from private conversations with Blair days before the Iraq invasion to his crippling bouts of depression to writing erotic material in his younger days. He even calls an audience member a w**ker, which is both awkward and amazing… not something you would find on terrestrial radio.
The only negative I can see is the length. At nearly two hours, it goes way beyond the “recommended” industry standard of 20-30 minute time frame. But if you persist, it is worth it. Forde is politically balanced throughout. It’s respectful to most sides of the political spectrum and most importantly, more-often-than-not it is funny.
The Times podcasts are available weekly and are free to download:
The Game podcast is stimulating football debate, hosted by Times’ writer Gabriele Marcotti and available to listen every Monday. This week Rory Smith, Julien Laurens and Jonathan Northcroft join the panel.
Did You Read? Is a podcast brought to you by the Opinion pages at The Times and is hosted by Tim Montgomerie. Both podcasts also available on iTunes.
Follow David McGuire on Twitter: @dguigsy