Pies, prophecies and postman puns: 100 episodes of the PWU Podcast

This article first appeared in All Gone Latics 01, October 2014.

PWU toilet

Progress With Unity: Essential Toilet Material. (c)ArtNow314

I wasn’t at Sharpy’s Restaurant back in July 2012, when the Progress With Unity Wigan Athletic Podcast was first pitched to Vital Latics webmaster Barry Worthington. His moderately popular web radio show ‘Latics Speyk’ had recently disappeared from the internet in mysterious circumstances, restoring the black hole that had existed since WISH FM quietly phased out their Friday night Latics talk show.

Despite Wigan Athletic’s Premier League status, multimedia content relating to the club was limited to the odd weirdo phoning in to BBC Five Live to complain about the price of pies or how Manchester United shirts had taken over Wigan town centre. I know from experience, because I *was* that weirdo.

Hence, nobody present at that fine fish and chip establishment on that fateful fryday could have guessed quite how long the gleaming new Latics podcast would last. One season would be a success, two would be unthinkable. Yet we stand partway through Season 3 of Progress With Unity having recorded countless hours of Latichat spread across more than 100 weekly episodes.

By the time I came on board for show #7 in September 2012, one of the several hundred Latics fans already streaming the show to their respective mobile devices was my own father. “Here, have you listened to this new podcast thing? You should go on it.” Well, I had, and I did.

PWU Podcast on location

PWU Podcast on location.

My ‘interview’, such as it was, took place with Barry in the South Stand bar prior to a 2-2 draw with Stoke. At the time, I thought my opinions on Adrian Lopez might have swung things in my favour, but I later learned that it was my £500,000 houseboat recording studio on Wigan Pier that got me the job.

Beech Hill Book Cycle (actually in Swinley) quickly became the home of PWU, however. It is claimed the books ‘help the acoustics’ and ‘suit our equipment’, namely a thirty quid AAA battery-powered voice recorder from a local catalogue store. It is usually reliable, though it allegedly failed to record an interview with Neill Rimmer. Or so I am told – evidence of said meeting is scant.

Thank goodness the little red LED *did* light up during conversations with Jonathan Jackson, Ed Jones, Emmerson Boyce, Ali Al Habsi and Ray Mathias to name but a few. But my favourite has always been Statman Gareth and his exercise book, which has since become PWU’s bible of facts and figures. Apparently he’s in talks to get it published as a competitor to the Shoot Annual.

Progress With Unity recently celebrated its 100th episode, albeit very quietly indeed. This is in stark contrast to the previous 99, which had been a boisterous combination of questionable statistical analysis, therapeutic negativity and the obligatory Kevin Friend postman puns. If I’m still involved when we hit show #200, you have my permission to throw pies in my face – meat and potato rather than cream, because this is Wigan, after all.

Dan Farrimond, AKA Jesus Was a Wiganer

The Progress With Unity Podcast can be downloaded from www.progresswithunity.blogspot.co.uk and the iTunes store – simply search ‘Progress With Unity’.

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