My old drinking, smoking and swearing buddy, Jeb, wouldn’t agree to doing an interview. Instead I asked if he’d like to go for a drink and let me ask him a few questions, he seemed fine with that. As long as I was buying and that there would be a choice of pork-in-pastry products, which seemed fair enough.
To our local we went, trying to remember certain movie theme tunes on the way and descending into fits of giggles as we managed to turn every single one into the theme for Black Beauty. Surprisingly easy for Lord of the Rings, we discovered. But we knew that anyway.
JEB: We did that one in the first episode of the Bearcast.
DOUG: I remember that! You left jam all over my recording stuff. That’s one of the reasons we had to stop doing the Boxroom Podcast. That and the lawsuit.
JEB: Are you allowed within 50 feet of a Joss Whedon film again yet?
DOUG: Sadly not. What makes it worse is it wasn’t our fault! But as hosts we were responsible for our guests. So. Yeah. Still haven’t seen Avengers.
JEB: I wouldn’t bother, it’s crap.
DOUG: I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Will censor that comment out when I write this up too.
Jeb shrugged and kicked the door to the pub open. He’s a little fellow so has to take a run up to things like this. The barman looked up as the door crashed open, saw the familiar little rotund face and started pouring our usual. I ordered an additional couple of home made sausage rolls, which Jeb lunged after like a drowning man to a dinghy, and we sat in our favourite armchairs by the empty fireplace. After spitting out a tiny lump of gristle, Jeb downed half of his pint and belched with pleasure.
DOUG: Oh look, they’re open from 12pm on Fridays now. That’s good.
JEB: What time do they usually open? What is this? A pub or some kind of not-pub?
DOUG: 4pm, I think. I usually only come here after work and weekends. Didn’t pay much attention, to be honest.
JEB: Is this part of the not-interview?
DOUG: Sorry. So tell me about Lost Bearings, what was that. 2007, 2008? Can you tell me what your experiences were?
Jeb took a long drink of his bitter, up-ended the empty glass and stared at the bar until I got the hint. Handing him a new pint I sat back down and waited for him to gather his thoughts. He tapped his chin with the second sausage roll as he pondered before absently chewing his way through it and downing a good few mouthfuls of beer.
JEB: It was all right I suppose. You should know, you put the bloody thing together!
This was true. We started collaborating on this when we were living in Thamesmead as something to do to stop us going insane when the landlord locked us in for violation of The Biscuit Treaty which is far too long and tedious to go into here. But to be fair, it was all Jeb’s fault. Lost Bearings is a little five episode audio adventure type thing centred around Jeb and his ilk, sentient stuffed teddy bears primarily. It’s really good.
DOUG: What do you reckon to a sequel?
JEB: What do you reckon to a punch up the bracket?
DOUG: Then came The Bearcast, I believe. Your current co-host, Napoleon R Taverner from Wessex, wasn’t in the first series. What was that about?
Jeb shifted in his chair, looking around for ears that might hear before leaning in and staring into his pint for the right words.
JEB: Oh, I’ve almost finished that one.
I went dutifully to the bar. The Bearcast is a podcast type radio show sort of thing hosted by Jeb and Nape. They seem to have a good time recording it and thankfully Jeb seems to be travelling Wessex way more often than not to record it which spares the damages to my audio equipment, what there is left of it.
JEB: Yeah, so, right. Nape was doin’ bird at the old chokey institute for naughty bastards. What more do you need to know? Terry covered for him and then he was out in time for series 2. Is that Peter Gabriel outside? Over there look. Can’t see him now, just behind that tree.
I stared at the tree for a moment giving Jeb the time I knew he needed to compose himself. He doesn’t like to talk about bad times his friends have had and Napoleon’s prison experience appeared to be a bit of a no-go area. I turned back eventually to nod at him and saw that it was okay to carry on. After a quick trip to the bar, I didn’t realise I’d finished my pint already, we were ready to continue.
DOUG: Series 4 of The Bearcast is nearly done now isn’t it? Do you have any plans for the future regarding the show?
JEB: What have you heard? Who’ve you been talking to? Have a helping of shut the hell up and mind your own business.
DOUG: Fine! Sorry.
JEB: But yeah, exciting things afoot. Is that barman the same one who threw me out last week?
DOUG: I don’t know, I wasn’t here. I just had to pay for the damage.
Jeb stared at me as he drank. It was the kind of look that I’ve become accustomed to over the years. It’s a look that says “I will cut you up like a scotch egg, you just see if I don’t”. I stared back as I drank my own beer, and raised an eyebrow for good measure as if to say “Only weedy pigeons cut up scotch eggs”. Eventually he lowered his glass and thumped it on the table.
JEB: Shall we continue?
DOUG: Good idea.
JEB: I’ll need another drink.
I chuckled at his drinking prowess, he’s really rather good at it. But at prices like these it’s impossible to keep him supplied.
DOUG: I’m out of cash now, old chum. Sorry.
JEB: Fuck this, I’m off to the bookies.
And with that Jeb jumped down and strolled out of the pub pausing only to throw a suspicious look at the barman before he crashed out through the doors.
He’s my bestest friend.