It Just So Happened is a history podcast I don’t yet listen to.
I might now become an It Just So Happened subscriber as sitting in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe audience was an entertaining way to learn about stuff that happened on the same day in years past.
As the recording was an Edinburgh special, we also got some facts bout the city. I knew the real story of Greyfriars Bobby, but it was further explained, expanded and confirmed as enjoyable all over again.
We learned about Enid Blyton, who has deeply problematic views despite being a favourite author of my childhood. Noddy Goes to Toyland really now does like it should have been titled Noddy Goes to Toryland.
We covered Al Capone, Alcatraz and even ISIS! There was terrible poetry, volcanoes and a (for the time) shockingly explicit Ecncyopedia from Edinburgh.
What to Expect
Richard Pulsford hosts and has three guests for the recording. I attended when the guests were Jane Walker, Julie E Knight and Dylan Dodds.
Typically, I believe, guests are comedians or history buffs and sometimes both. Each guest has a slot to share interesting facts about a topic they picked and which has a connection to the date. We recorded on ISIS’s birthday. Now, there’s a thought.
It works! At least, it did on my day, with each brief history lesson easily holding my attention. I thought both Jane Walker and Julia E KNight did exceptionally well.
However, we don’t do all three history lessons in a row, so there’s some wriggle room and a chance for each guest to find their stride. Pulsford intersplices with history-based questions to which all three guests try and find the answer (or a funny suggested replacement).
Puns. Expect puns.
Vibe and Performance
Maybe it’s a geeky thrill thing, but it’s kinda cool being in a recorded audience. Edinburgh Reviews’ sister site Geek Native has a podcast, and I can confirm that the audience method with It Just So Happened is a far more relaxing way to do it.
Richard Pulsford is a good host. He keeps it moving without rushing and keeps the guests on track while giving them room to breathe.
I don’t know if the guests are always as good as the three we had, but it will matter. I think you will notice one weak link. The show I attended had no such problems, but I imagine cringe is a risk.
The audience has some interaction with the podcast, but these are generic and non-targeted moments when anyone in the room can speak up. It’s not like a comedian picking a victim from the crowd. In fact, the diversity of the audience helped. We had a geologist to guess questions about the formation of Edinburgh’s rocks, and I could see the Amerian family in front of me were fascinated about the city’s history and Arthur’s Seat in particular with its legends of King Arthur in particular.
I’m interested in history but not blessed with much of a concentration span. Things sometimes need to be explained clearly to me. It Just So Happened did a fantastic job of holding my attention, giving me snackable bites of history and all live and unscripted.