|What inspired you two to make this election podcast?
APS: I naturally realised that writing a daily column and two books was insufficient for me to say all I had to say on the endlessly-fascinating subject of Australian politics, and that another time-consuming regular commitment would really hit the spot. And I was genuinely excited about Dom no longer being constrained by being employed by our public broadcaster and therefore being free to express political opinions, not least since he’s erudite, articulate and hilarious.
DOM: Aw, shucks! The obvious thing to do after four years of getting paid to talk into microphones is to find a way to keep doing that for free. Mostly I’m just trying to ride APS’ coattails now that he’s the nation’s greatest political commentator (by volume).
How do you know each other and what are your roles within the podcast?
APS: Dom and I met via a mutual friend with whom I worked when I was Music Editor at Time Out Sydney, and we just kinda hit it off when he started inviting me onto 702 ABC to talk about music-related stuff on a semi-regular basis. And Dom’s very much taken on the “Producer” role because he’s got actual broadcasting experience. I’m just some jerk who rambles on about whatever’s at the front of my brain at that moment and is far, FAR better on the page than on mic.
DOM: What he said, only I didn’t really know the mutual friend either, and was basically gatecrashing a party. We’re recording it via Skype because none of us are in the same place, so I try to play the role of traffic cop and interjector with various off-topic witticisms. Also, I generally haven’t been following the campaign as closely as APS and the guest because I’m travelling, so I tend to spend most of my time listening agog.
Most memorable campaign moments either from this campaign, or campaigns gone by?
APS: Has there been a memorable moment yet? It’s the most soporific election campaign in Australian political history, it seems to me. A few mid-debate knife fights would perk things up rapidly, though.
DOM: Nothing willl ever beat Mal Meninga’s political career – but it’s a pity nobody watched the first debate, because it was a true contest of ideas, on topics that mostly mattered, between two leaders who genuinely knew their stuff and engaged with voters. So of course a cable channel during the week’s top-rating football clashes was the ideal place for it.
Dom, you’re in Europe at the moment, so how do you ‘sync’ up for Andrew to tape the podcast?
APS: I am entirely at his mercy.
DOM: Lots of emails, the first seventeen of which say “Nah, let’s do it tomorrow”. Recording across timezones like this with two busy people and one bludging holidaymaker is unnecessarily hard, but APS and I really wanted to do this, and weren’t likely to be constrained by the sheer impracticality.
What are you working on apart from this podcast?
APS: I’m writing a sequel to my book about the Abbott government [The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott] at the moment – like, literally should be doing that right now instead of this – and writing my “View from the Street” column for Fairfax five days a week, while also doing the odd bit of other writing in all that spare time I have. And occasionally getting abdominal surgery, although hopefully that was more of a one-off.
DOM: I’m trying not to work as much as possible, and editing a podcast feels like a massive failure. I’m also writing a bit for The Drum, Daily Lifeand whoever else will pay me to sling a few words about. I’m also currently pitching a book called The Long and Excruciatingly Prolific Writing Of Admiral P Street, but as yet have no takers.
The ability to download radio programmes is nothing new, so why do you think podcasting is seeing such a surge in popularity?
APS: Is it actually popular? I just figure that podcasts are sort of like official websites were in the early 00s: they’re not especially valuable within themselves, but if you’re any sort of public figure you need to have one in order to appear that you take your career the least bit seriously.
DOM: They are a bit like what the Fauves said about three-pieces – everyone’s getting one together. But coming from broadcast radio, I really like the ability to make audio that people can listen to when it suits them, rather than the other way around. And the freedom involved is really delightful – both in terms of content and the invigorating freedom from getting paid.
Most memorable story / media moment you’ve been involved with?
APS: Zia McCabe of the Dandy Warhols once stripped me down to my underwear and put me in a cow costume. It was backstage at the Big Day Out and it was in order that I might therefore dance on stage with the dozens of other similarly-costumed folks during the Flaming Lips’ set, but I feel that the first bit of the story sounds slightly more exciting without the second bit.
DOM: Probably gatecrashing the stage of John Howard’s election victory in 2004. Instead of pulling a Chaser prank, I definitely should have given him a heartfelt thanks for saving us from Prime Minister Mark Latham.
Coffee, lunch or drinks?
APS: That sounds like the correct order to me.
DOM: Espresso martinis for lunch?
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
APS: I don’t care for the implication that I don’t already possess superpowers. I’m not necessarily wearing underpants outside my trousers simply because I don’t get how pants work, you know.
DOM: I would like to be able to be able to devour an entire primary school’s worth of sausages and lamingtons without getting a heart attack, because nothing tastes as sweet as democracy.