We talk to James Keston, owner of Orange County Soccer Club. He explains why he bought a USL team, what he is hoping to achieve on and off the field and how hard the pandemic has hit live sport. James talks about the unique partnership with Glasgow Rangers, the CBS documentary about their deal and why all the Scottish players needed subtitles. He tells us that he doesn’t think a promotion and relegation system will happen in US soccer in the next 30 years, the importance of giving American youngsters a pathway to pro that avoids college and how close he came to owning an MLS team. And why he wants to share a highland whisky in a European pub with Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin.
We speak to immigration lawyer Lorraine D'Alessio, founder of the D'Alession Law Group. She talks about the 'hardest year' for her and her clients, battling the combination of the complex and ever-changing world of the Trump administration's immigration policy combined with the challenges of Coronavirus. She tells of the heartbreak of stranded families, jobs lost and her efforts to find novel ways of helping families. And hope that the new Biden administration will make immigration pathways clearer again. The former model also tells her personal journey from catwalk star to award winning lawyer. How her first clients were models and casting agents and some of the prejudice she faced both at the beginning of her career and even now. And Lorraine tells us why she wants to share a Jefferson 17 Presidential Select with her English grandfather.
We talk to whisky entrepreneur Steve Lipp, the man behind everything from Alexander Murray, to Costco's Kirkland whisky and also banana flavor bourbon sensation Howler Head. He tells us about how near-death experiences took him from the oil business to the whisky trade, why he named his brand after his great uncle and how a drowning fisherman helped Lagavulin 16 become his favorite whisky. He talks about banana bourbon - and his partnership with UFC owner Dana White, his beer/whisky partnership with Firestone Walker and what next for Costco whiskys. And why he wants to share a Lagavulin 16 with Sean Connery at the Pittodrie House Hotel.
For our 50th episode of the podcast, we have ex-CIA operative John Sipher. In a powerful and damning interview he talks about the damage being done to the Intelligence Community by the current administration, the risks to America from a delayed transition and his anger at the current relationship with Russia. He talks about how the pandemic will change intelligence gathering, the complications those currently serving face doing their jobs and how dangerous the politicization of intelligence work can be. John also explains how his company Spycraft Entertainment bridges the intelligence services and Hollywood, which shows are the most realistic (very few of them!) and how much material there is to work with at the moment. He also talks about scotch and espionage, taking a Russian defector to Scottish distilleries and why he wants to share a Lagavulin with Winston Churchill.
We talk to documentary filmmaker Tom Stubberfield, founder of Bullitt Films. He talks about his projects with the Chilean mine rescue, the Thai cave rescue as well as Hurricane Katrina and the Kilauea eruption in Hawaii. Tom talks about why documentaries are enjoying a golden age, the emotion of filming rescues and dropping dynamite out of a helicopter. He tells about his travels around America, the power of human story telling and why he wants to share a Laphroaig with Martin Scorsese in his garden. See more from Tom at www.bullittfilms.com.
We talk to former British Deputy Ambassador in Washington Patrick Davies. He talks about Biden's historic victory, the chaos of working with the Trump administration and what next for America. Having met President elect Biden many times, he talks about what sort of man he is, his relationship with Britain and his reputation for reaching out across the political divide. The author of a new book - the Great American Delusion - Patrick admits his fears about the huge divides in America, the myths that drive America to behave the way it does but his hopes for the country going forward. The former diplomat talks about conducting active shooter drills in the Embassy, how Britain and America are going down the same path and the need for electoral reform in the US. And why he wants to share a Macallan with historic Vice President Elect Kamala Harris on the White House lawn.
We talk to the multi-talented David Kwong about puzzling during lockdown, missing live audiences and his love of bringing magic to the big and small screens. David has leaned into the virtual world, hosting instagram live puzzles and now has a full set in his basement for the sold out 'Inside the Box' show. He tells us about compiling puzzles for the New York Times, his favorite magic history stories and working on movies like Now You See Me - where he had to literally tape a coin to Morgan Freeman's hand - and shows like Deception and Blindspot. We talk about the science of magic, taking advantage of faulty wiring in the brain and his TED talks about it. And he tells the amazing story of Chung Ling Soo. David drinks a Talisker 10 while I enjoy a Bunnahaibhain - which has the same Scrabble tile value as his name. Tickets for his new show are available here - https://www.geffenplayhouse.org/shows/inside-the-box/
We talk to the Sage of Saratoga, leading horse handicapper Andy Serling. He tells us how horse racing has grown during the pandemic, what makes the sport so special and how legal sports betting is inevitable in America. He talks about falling in love with his home track of Saratoga, how race tracks without crowds are "sad" and how a horse's name impacts its odds. Andy describes how much research he does on each race why he backs his picks with money and his hopes for big crowds after Corona. And why he wants to share a Blanton's bourbon with Philip Roth at Saratoga.
We talk to former Glasgow Warrior and Scotland rugby player Ruiradh Jackson. We talk about retiring early due to Covid and transitioning to a career in whisky and gin. He tells us about the re-launch of Glenturret, Scotland's oldest working distillery, describes his frustration at the recent closures of the Scottish hospitality industry and the importance of alcohol for a winter in Scotland. Ruaridh describes the highs and lows of his rugby career, mental health in sport and learning to drink whisky to unwind after games. He tells us about his Garden Shed Gin business, ignoring criticism on Twitter and why he wants to share a Balvenie 14 with Bob Marley on a Scottish beach.
We talk to Jael Ballard, director of corporate partnerships at LAFC. She tells us how much she misses live sport, how MLS has seized the moment with social activism and how the world has changed for women in sport. We talk about the principles behind the new Los Angeles MLS club, the passion of the fans and how there is enough room in Los Angeles for all the sports teams. She also talks about equestrian vaulting, family friendly soccer and why she wants to share a tequila with Michelle Obama.
We talk to British diplomat Richard Hyde, Her Majesty's representative to Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. He talks about diplomacy in the age of covid, diversity in Texas and in the British foreign service and his love for rodeo, bbq and breakfast tacos. We also cover the importance of teaching Americans to drink scotch while sharing Aberlour and Jura. He tells us about the importance of outreach to the Hispanic community in his States, female leadership in the British foreign office and growing up in Liverpool as the son of a disabled immigrant. The wide-ranging discussion also covers why Texans walk with a swagger, why the state is misunderstood in the UK and how comfortable cowboy boots really are.
We talk to David Laird, newly appointed Luxury Portfolio Specialist for William Grant. He explains why people spend thousands on good whisky, why sales are up so much during the pandemic and why even the most expensive whisky is made to be drunk. Over Balvenie and Glenfiddich 21 we discuss high-end whisky packaging, a $1k cocktail and the importance of drinking the best whiskys sitting down and with as few other people as possible. He also talks about running a bar in Memphis, his brief professional soccer career and wanting to share a dram with his family.
We talk to a Californian brewery owner about how pizza saved his business, running a bar during Covid and why a Scottish landscaper started selling English-style beer in Los Angeles. He tells us about how he protects his customers, why he doesn’t worry about their health and keeping inebriated people socially distanced. And how he wishes he could sell whisky alongside beer. He also tells us why he wants to drink an Oban with Sean Connery.
We talk to actor Brad Beyer who pays tribute to his 42 co-star Chadwick Boseman. He talks about working with the Black Panther actor and his portrayal of Jackie Robinson, how the film handled race and his sadness at the loss of such an acting talent. Brad tells of getting an appreciation for whisky from his acting teacher, mentor and friend the legendary Wynn Handman, who sadly succumbed to Covid in April. Brad also talks about his acting career, the difficulties of the industry during the pandemic and what might happen next.
We talk to Marc Benardout, British producer and director turned DUI campaigner following the death of his son. We talk about the social complications of drinking and driving, how DUIs are up dramatically during Covid and he tells the heartbreaking story of the untimely death of his son Noah. We use handheld breathalyzers to show what a whisky can do to you, talk about the legislative flaws around DUI and how Marc has turned tragedy into activism. This episode is brought to you in partnership with BACtrack, Makers Mark and the Noah Benardout Foundation.