Thursday Listening Party

September 11, 2014 by

On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

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Noises from home:

Exciting news: Martin’s got a new album coming out on Saturday! Go here to preview three of the tracks and to buy; it’s £5 to preorder but pay what you want when it is released. Or, if you are a retronaut who prefers your music on a physical format, wait a couple more weeks and then buy one of the forthcoming limited-edition CDs with a handmade papercut sleeve (if you follow Martin on Instagram, you may have seen some sneak peeks).

There’s a new news-themed episode of the Sound Women podcast, in which Olly’s LBC colleague Petrie Hosken tells me how she felt safer nearly getting kidnapped as a war correspondent in Bosnia than as a woman working in British radio. Good times!

Apparently there’s been some Royal News this week? [Shrug] It’s an ongoing mystery at AMT that none of us give a shit about the royal family, and yet questions about them are always fruitful on the podcast. So whether you give shits or not, have a go on the Answer Me This! Jubilee album for an hour of regal hijinks.

Noises from elsewhere:

The show Strangers is always worth your time, but particularly the recent Love Hurts episodes (part 1 and part 2), in which Lea Thau transforms the question ‘Why are you single?’ from an awful thing Smug Marrieds say to a very personal and reflective investigation into why she has been reluctantly single for the past four years. At least, judging by the exes who appear on the show, she’s dated some Good Sports during that time…

From Strangers to friends: I really enjoyed this Woman’s Hour/Men’s Hour collaboration all about friendship. Of course, they cover the When Harry Met Sally adage that men and women can’t be friends, which Olly and I have been disproving throughout our fourteen-year friendship. If you need additional on-air partnerships as evidence, I direct you to the programme’s guest Geoff Lloyd, whose brilliant Hometime Show on Absolute Radio with Annabel Port crackles with sexless tension.

Various AMT friends have been busy piping up this week. Ruth Barnes from Amazing Radio made a terrific Radio 4 documentary about folk singer Judee Sill, who had a beautiful voice and a tragic mess of a short life.

And finally: I was thrilled to hear two AMTpals and primo podcasters team up, when Little AtomsNeil Denny went on Dave Pickering‘s Getting Better Acquainted. They talk about reading books, prayer, and masturbation – all the solitary entertainments, really.

I’m always listening out for shows to try; please recommend some in the comments.

PS In case you missed it: my Bugling brother Andy and I were interviewed by the Guardian about why the Zaltzman family communicates in jokes rather than human emotions. Click here to read it.

Tune in to our various other gigs:

Catch up on AMT295 and the episodes preceding it.
AMT episodes 1-170 and the special AMT albums are all available for a piddling little price at answermethisstore.com, and if you buy any of them you’re bankrolling the podcast, for which we are extremely grateful.
Olly’s on LBC every weekday 1am-4am. Set your alarm.
I host the monthly Sound Women podcast and am on Let’s Talk About Tech from BBC 5 Live.
Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train, The Global Lab and The Sound of the Ladies.

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Salad days

September 10, 2014 by
Green peppers even hate themselves

Green peppers even hate themselves

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT297

Zora in LA writes in defence of the indefensible (ie green peppers, the scourge of AMT297):

Green peppers aren’t totally worthless. In many cuisines, they’re used in cooking. Creole cooking is the main example. The bitter pepper adds a note of pleasant sharpness when contrasted with sweeter cooked vegetables. It’s also excellent on pizza, as it provides the same contrast.

And, working in a supermarket as I do, I can confirm that they are indeed cheaper.

But eating them raw? Only sickos do that.

Well, now I’m torn, Zora – I hate green peppers, but I love Creole food. Let me wrestle with my feelings while we contemplate this email from Simon in Germany:

Your recent conversation on Pizza Hut reminded me of something I once saw in a Pizza Hut in China. There they seem to have a “only one visit to the salad bar” policy. So this led to some ingenious solutions as to how to beat the system.

As you can see from the photo attached, the basic idea is to use the more solid and brick-like pieces of salad to build a wall around the lip of the bowl – luckily in China there is a large supply of cubed water melon – and then to fill in the middle using the less structurally sound greenery.

-1

One I saw was about twice the height of that pictured, took 45 minutes to make, and a further another 45 minutes to carry back to the table as any jolt or shake would have brought down their towering shaft of salad.

P.S Surely if you owned a Pizza Hut in China you would have melon balls rather than cubes!

I’m impressed people manage to build such structures on the rim of a small salad bowl. Readers, do share your buffet-cheating tactics and triumphs in the comments.

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EPISODE 297 – buffet psychology

September 4, 2014 by

Hello listeners!

Got any great tips for gaming a hotel breakfast buffet? Do share in the comments; but first, listen to Answer Me This! Episode 297 to learn from the master (ie Olly Mann):

Subscribe to AMT! on iTunes listen to the MP3 through your computer soundcloud-icon our podcast feed on Libsyn Share with Facebook

In today’s buffet of audio delights, we’re serving:

Sea Monkey refills
second hand wedding dresses
green peppers vs red peppers
Bob Dylan vs grapefruit juice
Steve Wright in the Afternoon vs heroin
Harold Von Braunhut
the Pizza Hut salad bar
Oxford divorces
cryptobiosis
spying on your children
and
gobbing in the pot.

Plus: if you see Olly roving towards you armed with a Tupperware tub, he’s either going to take advantage of your buffet or imprison you with fatal consequence; Helen will be survived by a sackful of raw gingerbread; and Martin the Sound Man is a masochist for grapefruit juice.

In today’s Bit of Crap on the App, we tackle another Great British Bake Off question from Katherine from Sheffield. To find out how we go from that to the Sword of Gondor in just four short minutes, fire up the app on your iDevices, Android or Windows playthings. As a happy by-product of buying the app, you’re funding the show – likewise if you splash out on any of our albums or vintage episodes at answermethisstore.com. So you know that along with your purchase you’ll receive a free dose of our eternal gratitude.

We are also eternally grateful to receive your QUESTIONS: call the Question Line on 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis, or email answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. And be our imaginary friend at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

And because we’re simply brimful of gratitude today, let’s throw a bucketful over Squarespace.com, for sponsoring this episode, for allowing people to build and host websites easily and beautifully, and for offering you 10% off their services for a whole year if you use the code Answer.

By the way, if you’re keen to start your own podcast, book a ticket for this Guardian Masterclass and on 20th September, Helen and a host of other podcasting mavens will teach you all you need to know, and then some.

We will return with AMT298 on 18th September, and we hope you do too. Cheerio!

Helen & Olly

••• AMT297 Child-Friendly Rating: 88%. Light on profane language. Unfortunate TMI about Olly and Martin’s bodily fluids. Question from a parent running surveillance ops on their teenager, which may instill trust issues in your own offspring. •••

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stinky surprise

September 3, 2014 by

4297787895_e6f087ac32

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Here’s an email from Claire from Brooklyn, NY. Don’t read it while eating, because it contains the term ‘rancid spunk’. Thanks Claire!

When my husband and I first moved into our current apartment it was a slight fixer upper and I spent an afternoon deep cleaning the kitchen (scrubbing all surfaces, soaping up the fridge, going through cabinets and drawers, etc).

In the process I discovered a used ‘French letter’ wrapped in some takeout napkins. Not to gross you out too much, but the stench was alarmingly horrific! You seem like nice people, so I hope you never have to find out what rancid human spunk smells like. I think being forced to actually realize that rancid spunk is a thing felt as much like a punch in the face as the actual, repellant particles hitting my nose did.

Anyway, we still wonder whether this lovely cadeau was courtesy of our building superintendent (an illicit encounter during the pre-move-in renovation?), or of the previous tenant having a last hurrah after all the trash cans had been loaded into the moving truck.

Who do you think is the likely culprit, and if this had been you, would you have tried to exploit the situation for a deal on rent or other perk? We didn’t say anything-we just speculated ad nauseam about such questions and over a year later, I still think about it sometimes!

By leaving it for more than a year, you’ve rather spunked the opportunity to use this as leverage for cheaper rent. But if you’re so hell-bent on identifying the culprit, Claire, send off that putrid prophylactic to a lab – there’s plenty DNA to be swabbed.

Readers, have you ever found an unpleasant surprise left behind in your new home? Let us know in the comments.

PS Claire, I do admire that you used such a coy expression as ‘French letter’ in the same breath as ‘rancid spunk’.

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separated at mirth

September 3, 2014 by

H Andy dolphin

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT296

Here’s a funny* thing: my brother Andy (of the Bugle podcast) and I were interviewed by the Guardian about why GSOH runs in the family.

It’s here, if you’d like to read it; it’s worth a look just for the childhood photos.

*as in funny peculiar; the interview isn’t funny haha, despite the subject matter.

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small French lunch

September 2, 2014 by

13d22e8d5b9b17fbb2ab3912671b5976

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT296

Here’s un petit question from Amy:

We are having a debate in the office – how do French people say they’re having a small lunch, if that expression is already bagsied?

As in petit dejeuner, literally small lunch but meaning breakfast? Usually the adjective follows the noun in French, so would that make small lunch ‘un dejeuner petit’? Readers with working knowledge of French, am I right? Help me out in the comments, because I haven’t spoken French since 1994 and my memory is mauvais.

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Thursday Listening Party

August 28, 2014 by

images-1

On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.

Noises from home:

In the latest episode of The Media Podcast, Olly’s coming from the Edinburgh TV festival – with June Sarpong! Listen here, or here:

This month’s Sound Women podcast is all about SPOOOOOOOORT, which as you know is my favourite topic…

COUGH COUGH COUGH. OK, you know that really one of my favourite topics is My So-Called Life, and since this Monday was the 20th anniversary of the show, hear me banging on about why I love it on this episode of Little Atoms from earlier this year.

Noises from elsewhere:

Another TV show for which, over the years, you may have noted my fondness is Twin Peaks, so I’m intrigued by this new podcast Fire Talk With Me, contemplating the show episode by episode. Good luck to them when they hit that three-episode arc starring James Hurley in the second half of series two, amirite?

When I was at SXSW last year I saw the documentary An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story, about a man who was exonerated after serving 25 years in prison for murdering his wife. He was a local man, so many people in the audience had been following his case since the 80s and throughout the film were booing the corrupt lawyers and cheering the good guys. Then at the end, when Michael Morton came out on stage along with the lawywer who spent a decade proving his innocence, the audience went APESHIT with joy – screaming, crying, it was truly amazing to watch. The facts of the case are pretty horrific, though; here is Michael Morton talking about them on Outlook from the BBC World Service.

At the more cheerful end of the spectrum, here’s a sweet episode of 99% Invisible about Ikea Hacking. I’m fond of an Ikea hack myself – in fact the urge runs in the family. Back in the 80s, my grandad used to do such hacks as turning an Argos flatpack black ash bookcase into a desk (he went through an inexplicable black ash phase; such were the times, I guess). A few years ago, before Ikea Hacker was even born, I was working on a daytime TV show and was asked to pitch ideas for a home improvement segment that they could do easily in the studio. I suggested getting a designer to rejig cheap, easily available flatpacks in a slot called ‘Flatpack Revivified’ or ‘Flatpack Chimera’. It didn’t happen, because OBVIOUSLY NO SLOTS ON DAYTIME TV SHOWS ARE CALLED THINGS LIKE ‘FLATPACK CHIMERA’.

But regarding the act itself, grandad and I were clearly way ahead of our time.

By the way, if you’re a big fan of 99PI host Roman Mars, check him out on 100 Words Or Less talking about creating his podcast empire and being a straight-edger.

Aaaand finally: Radio 4 is repeating the very charming and funny Susan Calman Is Convicted. Get on board.

Learn to make your own noises:

On 20th September you can learn all you need to start podcasting at the Essentials of Podcasting Guardian Masterclass: hardware, software, editing, production, formatting, publicity, building an audience, making a show that isn’t shit, etc etc from the likes of Bugle producer Chris Skinner, Guardian podcast producer Jason Phipps, software inventor Drew White, and meeee. Book your place here.

Which shows have been delighting you lately? Recommend some in the comments.

Tune in to our various other gigs:

Catch up on AMT295 and the episodes preceding it.
AMT episodes 1-170 and the special AMT albums are all available for a piddling little price at answermethisstore.com, and if you buy any of them you’re bankrolling the podcast, for which we are extremely grateful. At this time of year, whisk yourself away on the AMT Holiday – a bargain minibreak at only £2.49.
Olly’s on LBC every weekday 1am-4am. Set your alarm.
I host the monthly Sound Women podcast and am on Let’s Talk About Tech from BBC 5 Live.
Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train, The Global Lab and The Sound of the Ladies.

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EPISODE 296 – Mammary Ridge

August 21, 2014 by

AMT legs
Are you ready to hear who’s the winner of AMT295‘s beauty pageant in which the only entrants are the knee-to-ankle portions of Olly and Martin? You ARE? Then waste no time – listen to Answer Me This! Episode 296 (which some would argue IS wasting time. Those people can shut their damn cake-holes):

Subscribe to AMT! on iTunes listen to the MP3 through your computer soundcloud-icon our podcast feed on Libsyn Share with Facebook

Today we discuss:

having a kip
Kendal Mint Cake
The Great British Bake Off leftovers
Louis XIV
ballet vs gymnastics
Bill Callahan vs Barry Manilow
Catherine de Medici
Matthew Bourne
Barnoon Cemetery
Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery
A Chorus Line‘s sweaty gussets
Mary Berry’s Lemon Curd Surge
extra nipples
and
Gromit.

Plus: Olly’s not taking trip advice from Tripadvisor; Helen admits to being a philistine about ballet; and Martin the Sound Man recommends a lovely holiday touring London’s most beautiful burial grounds.

In today’s Bit of Crap on the App (available for iDevices, Android or Windows gadgetry), we continue workshopping our Cynical Statistician Catches The Bride’s Bouquet film, with a little stop to revist Britney and Kevin: Chaotic. (Fun fact: they got married on the very same day as Helen’s brother Andy. Sadly, there’s no shitty reality show about Andy’s nuptuals.)

If you’re not too busy shanking people in the supermarket scrum for freeze-dried raspberries, send us QUESTIONS: call the Question Line on 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis, or email answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. And be our imaginary friend at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

And finally, big thanks to this episode’s sponsors Squarespace.com, without whom website-building would be a far uglier business. For 10% off their services for a whole year, enter the code Answer.

We will return with AMT297 on 4th September, and we hope you do too.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT296 Child-Friendly Rating: 42%. Several swears. Intermission concerns waxen genitalia, but at least we use some long words in it. Saucy remarks about Mary Berry. •••

Ooh Mary, behave

Ooh Mary, behave

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still Fresh after all these years

August 20, 2014 by

educatingrita

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT295

Here’s further comfort for Sammie, AMT295‘s mature student apprehensively awaiting Freshers’ Week. Ian, aged 28, writes:

I’ve just finished my degree as a ‘mature’ student, and like you said last week, there’s really nothing to worry about.

No one really cares how old you are, as long as you’re not a nob! You soon make friends (it’s a cliché… But true) and societies can be a great way of meeting people. Freshers’ Week is what you make of it. Getting smashed isn’t mandatory but getting involved will help your younger peers see that you are just a normal bloke (I assume) and aren’t going to be the weird older guy (I assume).

Just remember: they’re more scared of you (and the situation) than you are of them (cliché 2).

Aah, young students are just like house spiders! That’s reassuring, isn’t it, Sammie?

Freshers’ Week is just around the corner now, so any of you have further advice for freshers of any age, bestow it in the comments.

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ulcers: due a comeback?

August 20, 2014 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT295

The following question from Joe got lost on its way to a nostalgia list show:

What happened to ulcers?

Growing up in Canada in the 70’s I remember hearing about people getting ulcers, or worrying about ulcers, but now nobody ever speaks of them. I have some hypotheses:

1. I’m wrong. People still get ulcers and worry about them just like they always have but I am a statistical anomaly living blissfully in an ulcer-free bubble of reality.

2. In the 70’s complaining about ulcers was code for “I need valium”. So nobody really had ulcers; it was all a grownup scam that my child brain didn’t understand. As the fashion in over-the-counter medications have shifted, so to did the disease to which they were attributed.

3. In the intervening years since my youth a cure for ulcers has been discovered so people are diagnosed with them at the same rate as always but they just take a pill and it goes away.

4. Ulcers are now better understood and what we though was one ailment is really a set of sypmtoms that can be atributed to various different causes. So the term itself has been dissolved because medical science has better way to describe the and diagnose the problem(s).

Be it the health of the company I keep, the place in which I live, or the topics deemed suitable for interesting conversations, I have been privy to a consistently small amount of ulcer-chat throughout my life. But readers: can you answer this for Joe? Are his observations correct or not?

Perhaps he’s right and ulcers have simply gone out of fashion in the way of other classic 70s things, like velour bell-bottoms, key parties and Brotherhood of Man.

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shit on a dick

August 19, 2014 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT295

Banana-Man-comic-club-30654566-1600-1200

Here’s an appetite-suppressing question from Ciara from Dublin:

I’ve been trying to eat healthily for the past year to lose a bit of weight. Unfortunately that means bringing a lot of strange-looking and -smelling food into work, and getting a lot of weird stares and questions about my odd concoctions of quinoa and lentils.

Recently however, I have developed a food obsession that is rather obscene. I have become completely addicted to almond butter. That alone is ok, but the worst part of my addiction is that I like to eat it smeared on a banana. I lovingly call this “shit on a dick”.

This is fine when I freak my fiancée out at home eating my shit on a dick, banana smeared with almond butter. But I want to eat my banana-almond butter combo in work as well. I’ve taken to sneaking into the kitchen to eat it, but the worry that I’ll get caught is giving me an ulcer.

Answer me this:

Is there any way I can eat my shit on a dick in a socially acceptable manner?

You could start by giving it a name that DOES NOT INDUCE THE HEAVES.

Once you’ve done that, consider presentation. Which looks more pleasant: a whole banana smeared with a lumpy brown substance, or daintily-topped slices of banana that look like little beige canapes? Aesthetics may be the reason why a lot of people prefer to consume their banana and almond butter blended into a smoothie. But you’d just call that ‘diarrhoea’, Ciara, because you’re clearly not to be trusted.

Readers, have you suggestions for prettying up Ciara’s shitty dick snack? Share your classy ways in the comments.

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Thursday Listening Party

August 14, 2014 by

radio

On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.

This week, a lot of you will want to hear the 2010 episode of WTF where Marc Maron talks to Robin Williams. Here it is, with a new intro from a choked-up Marc. Get your hankie ready.

You might also want to hear Lauren Bacall tearing it up on Desert Island Discs from 1984, here. Now please excuse me while I get lost in the Desert Island Discs 60-year archive. Again.

Not a million miles from Desert Island Discs is BBC 6 Music’s The First Time With…, in which musicians talk about the songs that made them. Sorry if you were expecting a show in which famous people discuss losing their virginities. (Does such a show exist? Aside from this one?)

I’m intrigued to listen to this programme about the politics of Dr Seuss: Dr Seuss and the Butter Battle. And if you’re intrigued to hear the AMT take on Dr Seuss, you can find it in the Answer Me This! Christmas album. You may think it’s unseasonal to listen to a Christmas show in the middle of August, but there’re only 132 days to go! (‘Only’. That’s still more than a third of a year. But it doesn’t stop a film called Santa With Muscles being played on one of the more remote Freeview channels every damn day.)

Finally: if you’re keen to start making your own podcasts, you can learn everything you need to know at the Essentials of Podcasting Guardian Masterclass on 20th September. I’ll be there to share all my podcasting knowledge, which should take around five minutes; luckily you’ll also be taught all about hardware, software, editing, production, formatting, publicity etc from the likes of Bugle producer Chris Skinner, Guardian podcast producer Jason Phipps, and software inventor Drew White. Book your place here.

PS: if you’re at Green Man festival this weekend, say hi to me and Martin! I’ll be doing Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown at 1am on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Martin will be playing songs on the Solar Stage on Friday and Sunday, and demonstrating 3D printing in Einstein’s Garden every day. 3D printing at a folk festival? Apparently so.

Which shows have been delighting you lately? Recommend some in the comments.

Tune in to our various other gigs:

Catch up on AMT295 and the episodes preceding it.
AMT episodes 1-170 and the special AMT albums are all available for a piddling little price at answermethisstore.com, and if you buy any of them you’re bankrolling the podcast, for which we are extremely grateful. At this time of year, whisk yourself away on the AMT Holiday – a bargain minibreak at only £2.49.
Olly’s on LBC every weekday 1am-4am. Set your alarm.
I host the monthly Sound Women podcast and am on Let’s Talk About Tech from BBC 5 Live.
Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train, The Global Lab and The Sound of the Ladies.


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