Belfast Telegraph

How Mad Notions hosts Mick and Nathan are using their podcast for good

Mick McCullagh and and Nathan O’Regan, hosts of the Mad Notions podcast, are on a mission to do their bit.

Omagh man Mick, 32, and Co Cork-born Nathan, 26, have racked up over 60,000 downloads since they launched the podcast in January 2017.

Weekly episodes of Mad Notions see the two musicians talk about a 'music myth' and share anecdotes about the "curious stuff" they witness gigging in popular Belfast bars.

The pair were inspired to team up with the Welcome Organisation, a Belfast-based charity providing vital services for people affected by homelessness, for a live recording of the podcast at the Palm House, Belfast, in December 2018.

They started the conversation about homelessness on an episode when they noted noted that they were seeing more and more people sleeping rough in the city.

They requested that audience members at the sold-out show to bring items that could be donated to the charity which was close to their hearts.

”We were just thinking it’d be no skin of our nose to tell people to bring stuff, so we met up with someone from the Welcome Organisation and asked him what could people bring that would be useful. He sent us a great list of all the things they needed," said Nathan.

“For the cost of a pint, you could go into Tesco and buy a heap of rice and bring it with you.”

The pair said their listeners "really turned out" for the food drive and praised them for their generosity.

Now, the pair are hosting a live recording of the podcast in association with Guide Dogs Northern Ireland as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (CQAF) programme.

Mick and Nathan, who are both self-confessed dog lovers, said the aim of the sold-out event is to raise awareness for venues being sight-loss friendly. The chosen music myth will focus on a blind musician. 

“If we’re able to raise a bit of money or help at all, we’re happy to. What they’re doing is far more noble than what we’re doing,” said Nathan.

“We have a platform and if we can get 100 people into a room in Belfast and ask them to bring a couple of quid for a charity, or a tin of beans, it’s quite literally the least we could do.”

Mick took part in a blindfolded walk with a guide dog in training around Holywood to experience what life is like for guide dog users.

He said: “It was an experience to say the least. The vulnerability I felt and dependency on Obie was terrifying, it gave me a huge appreciation for the challenges facing people who are visually impaired."

Mad Notions Live: In Association with Guide Dogs Northern Ireland will take place at the Black Box on May 6, 2019.

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