[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

So where to I start. In September 2016 I decided that the only way to get through my days as an electrician was to start listening to podcasts. I thought podcasts were quite a big thing, but still people ask me what they are, but for those who don’t know its erm… whats is it, its like a radio show, but not. Im sure theres a better explanation about!


Anyway September 2016, in the van as an electrician, flipping through the many podcasts that were on offer and I come across Iain Lee. I remember him from my school days, just before heading off to school I used to watch a programme called RI:SE and it was the funniest thing to start you day with and so 10 years odd later I rediscovered Iain Lee’s TalkRadio podcast and instantly got addicted to listening to him. When I found him he had already been at TalkRadio since March and was releasing the full show on the podcast so I literally had hours of bingeing on the podcast.


Then in the same year of December I featured on the gardening podcast the Sodshow and 3 months later I brought out what was once know as the Weekend Tea Break Gardening podcast.


It was from listening to Iain Lee that I realised that its ok to do something different, try out different ideas. His radio Show is very much different to any other talk radio show that you will listen to. He steers away from the political news that many other shows use as an easy subject to get people talking. Without a doubt if he said ‘lets talk Brexit’ it would make an easier show for him to get callers, but wouldn’t make the show an easy listen, a relief from negativity and feeling that your part of a family, however slightly strange a family that may be. 


And so with my own podcast that is what I did, some may say copied.. actually id say copied too… no replicated.. replicated for a different audience, a gardening audience. Their was already fantastic podcasts like Sodshow out there that covered the interview and back story of garden designers. I wanted it to be just as it would be down the allotment or if you were in the garden chatting to a neighbour. If you popped into the garden you wouldn’t start integrating and asking for a life story. It would just be a chat, and who knows where that chat would go. 


Iain Lee does this perfectly, from the outside looking in, he makes it flow without making it look like anythings planned, it keeps you interested because you really have no idea where the conversation is going to go. I say it doesn’t look planned, although I suspect some of it is, and over the years he has mastered how to create it seamlessly. Its something I’m trying to learn as I go, but is not as easy as you would think. 


So this has turned out to be quite the review of Iain, but needless to say I really enjoy his show and there literally hasn’t been a working day where I haven’t listened to abit of his show or his Rabbit Hole podcast to see me through. 


Fast forward to Christmas 2017 and I get ticket to see him record his Rabbit Hole podcast show in April, next thing you know the day is here.. and I’m scared. Ive already emailed him to ask him to chat on my podcast, and he’s kindly said yes. Oh no.. now not only am I going to see him but now I’m going to be actually talking to him. 


From doing Skinny Jean Gardener ive never been nervous of speaking to anyone. But everyday for the past year and a half ive listened to this person, made him part of my daily life and now I’m meeting him! He’s the main inspiration to a lot of what I do AND NOW IM MEETING HIM!! 

I must not fluff this up, why does it mean so much to me? I don’t even know. Ive never cared really about what people think about me, I do what I do and I love it. 


But what if he doesn’t like me? It shouldn’t matter, but as I briefly mention in an upcoming podcast with him, he has a way of drawing you in, making you feel part of something, making you feel like he is your friend. Now I know he’s not my friend, I know he’s not going to be my friend, BUT he could be my friend.. he’s not going to be though, but I don’t want him thinking I’m an idiot.. thats the main thing. 


So I watch his show, luckily we sit down and a giant of man sat in from of us and we literally couldn’t see a thing.. I mean respect to the geeza he was a brink wall of tallness, and without knowing it he did us a favour, as we sat to the side it was a little bit like being behind the scenes watching Iain and Kath (Female Pal) work the crowd and phone lines like true professionals, absolutely seamless. 


Now I know, more than anyone (especially after a rather technical issued full live show the other month) that with any project it doesn’t always go to plan, and from listening them talk in the past I know they’ve been through this before, but they have it down to a fine art from what sounds like just rocking up to a mic, to actually seeing the work that has gone into it.


Then after he meets everyone outside for photos etc. and then I catch him just as he’s about to leave and he asks Kath just to wait for him for abit as he records something. 


Lee. Act. Cool. 


Well what a fumbling mess. All the interviews that I do mean a lot to me, but this more than any interview in the past or future will ever beat talking to the person that inspired me the most. And so shaking like a leaf I proceed to ask some pretty mediocre questions that he answers with such energy and enthusiasm, and I continue to explain to him that he’s the reason I podcast and do what I do now, and got me out of the job that I didn’t enjoy. 


I ask him questions and with the thought in my head that I don’t want to keep the guy for too long, I mean I don’t want him to think I’m some sort of stalker or anything.. like I wouldn’t want to write a blog just on Iain Lee.. that would just be weird, I look down at my recorder and its a blank screen! A blank screen! The battery has run out on the recorder! On one of the most important interviews in my life, the most important 10 minutes ill probably have on the podcast. I wrap it up, with no idea of whats recorded and thank him and get a iain lee hug, and say goodbye!


Ah man that was scary and exciting at the same time, but ended on such a low with the recording problem, and as I go away devastated with the possibility that it didn’t record I scramble through the recording to hear (if any) audio. With luck it only cut out on the final 3 minutes, which was a relief, but I can’t help thinking what it would have been like without me spotting the issue and cutting it short. 


It was a mix of emotions that night, of sheer delight at watching the show, to being completely terrified to meet Iain, to being upset that the interview didn’t go quite as I thought and thinking he may have thought I was some sort of idiot. Ive never felt all that before, and it left me with a sleepless night with it all running around my head. 


The next evening on his radio him and Kath talked alot about self publishing and creating new content, and was relieved to hear him talk about `me and what I do, which means I couldn’t have made too much of a plonker of my self. 


When I listen back to the audio which will be coming out this Friday, its not my usual interview style but it is with one of my heros, it may cover stuff he talks about all the time, but thats not to say my listener have heard it before. I suppose its abit like when people ask me how I become Skinny Jean Gardener you tell the story with as much passion as the first time you told it as its thats persons first time of hearing it. 


Anyway, people say never meet your heros as sometimes they never turn out to be how you’d think. I did meet my hero, and it was the best experience ever. I only really got to speak to Iain, but him and Kath were both really nice and kind people who really respect the people that follow them, I mean my wife went from ‘who is this guy’ ..to Iain Lee fan over night.


If you want to listen to his show Listen to The Late Night Alternative with Iain Lee 10pm-1am on TalkRadio or check out The Rabbit Hole Podcast at all good podcast stores! Oh and you can here a pretty average interview with him this Friday from 6am on The Skinny Jean Gardener Podcast Sponsored by STIHL. 

Lee Connelly