EPISODE 294 – eggy Michael Jackson

July 24, 2014 by

Shout out to you if you’re listening to Answer Me This! Episode 294 whilst ultra running! Shout out to you if you’re listening whilst participating in some other unusual activity! Shout out to you if you’re listening whilst sitting on your lazy arse! (We don’t want to alienate our core audience.)

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On today’s slate:

10 Downing Streetview
Macunian capers
bowling shoes
streaming Number 1 singles
band t-shirts
band coffins
Marlon Brando
Bastille
The Grateful Dead
port
pole vault
penile sunburn
and
loom bands.

Plus: Olly’s recipe for romance involves half a bottle of ketchup; Helen wasted the opportunity to do a funny joke for the Google Streetview car; and Martin the Sound Man does a spot on impression of Jameela Jamil. No wonder the passport inspectors barely recognise him.

In today’s Bit of Crap on the App (available for iDevices, Android or Windows gadgetry), we consider such novelties as revolving restaurants and hotels that make your late-night toilet trip into a terrifying mission.

It’s not a terrifying mission to build a website thanks to this week’s episode sponsors Squarespace.com, because you can use their easy drag-and-drop templates to spruce up your online empire. And when you do, enter the code Answer for 10% off their services for a whole year.

It’s very very easy to send us QUESTIONS, so do it: 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.

As mentioned on today’s show, here we are at the Regent Street Apple Store, talking about our podcasting lives with Bugle producer Chris Skinner and Football Rambler Pete Donaldson. And here are our side project podcasts The Media Podcast, Sound Women and Brain Train.

If you feel like soundtracking your holiday with the AMT Holiday album, or the Commonwealth Games with the AMT Sports Day album, both are available now at answermethisstore.com, along with AMT1-170 if you’re really planning to go for it. After that AMTglut, you’ll surely still have an insatiable appetite for more, so please rejoin us on Thursday 7th August for AMT295.

Toodles!

Helen & Olly

••• AMT294 Child-Friendly Rating: 86%. No bawdy content; even a question about nude sunbathing remains innocent. There are two F-bombs, but face it, it’s hardly the first time your child has heard that profane word. •••

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father and son

July 22, 2014 by

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Another listener has found herself in a sex pickle. Inger writes:

When my last relationship ended after two years, I decided to do some proper dating (following an acceptable period of “grief”, of course) and a few weeks into the dating life I found myself dating two men regularly at the same time. One of these men was around 25 years older than me and the other my own age, and as I am a honest person I told both men that I was dating the other.

After about 6 weeks I went to the older man’s house for dinner, and as I arrived he was still cooking (a fantastic three-course meal) so I wandered around in his house looking at pictures and trinkets he had in his shelves. I reached a shelf with photos of him and a little boy, I figured it was his son (whom I did not know about) and as I moved along the shelf the little boy grew older and to my horror I realized (about mid-shelf) that it was the other man I was dating.

I sat through the whole dinner knowing that I was dating his son as well and then came up with the fastest excuse to get me out of there. So, Helen and Olly, answer me this: what is the hell do I do now?

Firstly, Inger, check you’re not starring in a sitcom.

Secondly, find some other people to date and discard both of these men immediately. Unless you want your life to turn into an actual farce, you don’t want to keep seeing one of them in case the relationship becomes serious and you have to endure a hideous meeting-the-family scenario – and all the subsequent meetings with the family forever after. And really, would you be able to cavort sexually with either of them again without being beset by such thoughts as, “Hey, my other lover came out of those very nuts!” or, “That’s not as big as his dad’s”?

Don’t worry about them too much, they can comfort each other.

Readers, what would you do? Become celibate? Keep this set-up going? Sell your story to Chat magazine? Elaborate in the comments.

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Thursday Listening Party

July 17, 2014 by

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

Now now, I did warn you last week that AMT294 won’t appear till Thursday 24th. Please don’t give me the puppy eyes… NOT THE PUPPY EYES! Look, here’s a picture of Martin the Sound Man enjoying his holiday on a lava field.
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Stuff to stuff into your earholes instead:

A couple of weeks ago, we gathered at the Regent Street Apple Store with Bugle producer Chris Skinner and Football Rambler Pete Donaldson to talk about our podcasting lives. Audio and video of the event is now available here.

Here’s a new episode of the Sound Women podcast, in which the first female DJ ever on Radio 1 (and still going strong there, 44 years on!) Annie Nightingale is an absolute bloody legend:

I popped up on last week’s Media Podcast*, with Newsbeat’s Alex Hudson and guest host Miranda Sawyer:

*And if you chipped in some cash to save the show, thanks! After a Kickstarter win, the show is galloping on for the next year.

Other audio for your attention:

Here’s a rather excellent documentary about Jeff Buckley‘s tour that brought him to London twenty years ago.

Fans of barbed wire are generally neglected by radio, but Radio 4 has thrown you a bone with ‘The Devil’s Rope’.

This week I discovered a cache of three-year-old Adam and Joe podcasts still lurking on my phone. God I miss those guys… Have any of you found a worthwhile substitute yet?

Our various other gigs:

Catch up on AMT293 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. Who needs sleep?
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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Blame Canada’s biscuits

July 16, 2014 by

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Forget Led Zep’s Immigrant Song; often the real immigrant song is a plaintive wail about how you can’t get proper teabags and the bacon’s different and your mum has to send you parcels of Marmite. Newly Canadian Alexis writes:

I recently moved from Australia to Canada. On the whole, it’s be a rad move and I’m having a great time. BUT the range of chocolate that’s available is very lacking. There’s barely anything fruity, it’s all just in the nuts, caramel and biscuit range of flavours. Not only that, but their Cadbury range is very limited. No Topdeck, no Cherry Ripes, and no Freddos! (Just to name a few.)

So answer me this! Why is the chocolate range here so crap? Where has all the Cadbury gone? Why don’t Canadians like fruity chocolate more?

Readers, can you assist with Alexis’s query in the comments, summoning all your expertise upon Canadian tastebuds/trade patterns/commerce? And is it not the case that the particular confectionaries Alexis cites – Cherry Ripes etc – are exclusive to the Australian market? Perhaps our Northern Hemispherical mouths are not adapted for such taste sensations.

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What could have been

July 12, 2014 by

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This morning, I stumbled upon a relic from before Answer Me This! was born. A terrifying relic that shows how different everything could have been.

In November 2006, Olly and I met up in a long gone basement bar in Covent Garden, and over a plate of mezze brainstormed our plan to start a podcast. Here’s the list of names we came up with:

AMT brainstorm

Let’s call this a lucky escape.

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Thursday Listening Party

July 10, 2014 by

On the Thursdays which don’t involve new episodes of AMT, join us for the Thursday Listening Party.
Because the dull roar of football spectators is…dull.

Let’s start with some ANNOUNCEMENTS!

Announcement the First: You know that Olly-hosted Media Podcast I’ve harped on about during the last couple of Thursday Listening Parties? The campaign to kickstart it for a year ends TOMORROW, so reallocate your potato salad budget and click here to fund Olly’s dream hosting job. (Also listen out for me on this week’s show, guest hosted by Miranda Sawyer, which will be out imminently.)

Announcement the Second: We’re all going on our summer holidays, no more podcasts for a week or two – indeed two, because the next episode of AMT will come out on Thursday 24th July rather than 17th. Before you get pissed off, just look at how happy holidays make Martin the Sound Man:

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How to break the silence in our absence:

I want you to have nice things, dears, so I direct you to the episode of Bullseye featuring Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. Then treat yourself to a Judy Greer and Richard Ayoade chaser.

I’ll bet there are a few of you who are keen to hear from Zaltzman family associate John Oliver, so here’s a thorough interview with him on Fresh Air.

Add a bit of science to your summer with podcasts from the Royal Society Summer Exhibition.

As you may have deduced from all these Thursday Listening Parties, I am always keen on a podcast in which people recount their true stories, so this week I’m guzzling Here Be Monsters.

And of course, there’s the AMT Sports Day album for all the sportytalk you need before/during/after the big Shirts vs Skins game.

Our various other gigs:

Catch up on AMT293 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. Who needs sleep?
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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Room with a Viewer

July 9, 2014 by

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Here’s another ‘Does this make me a prostitute?’* dilemma from a lady called Terry:

I went to look at a house as I have recently broken up with my now ex-boyfriend and I need to move out of our currently shared house.

I have found a perfect place, huge bedroom, en suite bathroom, private balcony looking over the river, close to my current work and the three girls that currently occupy this 5-bed house are all really lovely people.

The best part is no rent!!

Yes, you heard me right, no rent. In return for all this amazing lifestyle, I would have to take a shower once a week with an audience, an online audience at least of around 300 paying customers. I would also have to put on a sorta show.

Porn has never bothered me I enjoy the idea of being watched but… Answer me this: does this make me a sorta prostitute?

Please help!! What if someone I know sees me? I have a couple of quite unique tattoos and I’m worried that through the steam and bubbles I will be noticed by someone I know…

Here are some questions to ask yourself, Terry:
• Is this a Carling ad?
• Is this My Little Eye?
• Is this We Live In Public?
• Is this something the other three girls are doing, or is this a special set-up for you?
• I know rents are expensive at the moment, but if 300 customers are paying to watch you in the shower every week, wouldn’t it be more profitable for you to pay to live somewhere and run your own webcam-showering racket?

Readers, what do you reckon? Go to the comments to shower Terry with advice.

Also, since we’re on this topic: five years on, I wonder whether this questioneer decided to go for it.

*Which, if you have to ask, and it’s not a profession you wish to pursue, it’s probably best not.

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Tyler’s toaster triumph

July 9, 2014 by

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It gives us such a glow to learn that our advice has changed a listener’s life. Given our usual schtick, this happens extremely rarely. But thanks to us, AMT292‘s lovable toast-moron Tyler from Manchester has triumphed over (self-inflicted) adversity:

Thank you for reading out my letter about my toaster trouble and for correctly identifying that I am a bit of a mooncalf when it comes to toasting bread.

I just wanted to thank you for alerting me to the fact that toasters come in different sizes – I had always blithely assumed that they all had the same standard-sized slots, and had never shopped around for toasters with the room to accommodate a slice of Warburtons, crusts and all.

I have now done so, and am the proud owner of a large red one, with ample bread-browning docking areas. In honour of you guys, I have christened it Olly. I hope you don’t feel left out, Helen, but this toaster is definitely masculine. Which might make you wonder why I called it Olly. The simple answer is that calling a toaster Martin the Soundman is just a bit too nutty.

Of course, naming a toaster ‘Olly’ is not nutty at all. Keep on keeping on, Tyler.

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EPISODE 293 – horny warlords

July 3, 2014 by

Hello listeners,

When you’re trying to make new friends, what’s the best icebreaker? One of today’s questioneers thinks talking about death is the way to go. See if you agree in Answer Me This! Episode 293:

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We also consider less morbid topics, such as:

Viagra calorie content
I Love Lucy
Wayne Rooney’s new hair vs Kyle Beckerman’s old hair
Vancouver vs Pinner
chocolate vs chocolate flavoured chocolate-esque solids
fire hazard fiances
Jason Biggs
jetlagged hamsters
Crystal Creams
Russian Roulette
giving references
borrowing a cup of sugar
and
fucking a pork pie.

Plus: Olly explains the difference between Jewish front gardens and gentile front gardens; Helen will be hibernating all summer (correct term: ‘aestivating‘); and Martin the Sound Man has a restaurant ratings system that will render Michelin stars obsolete.

Since this episode kicks off (yes I went there) with football, one of our least favourite topics, we address another in today’s Bit of Crap on the App: zombies. We could scarcely feel more ambivalent, but since so many of you love them, do your special zombie walk over to the app store in order to listen on your iDevice, Android or Windows toy.

If your brain hasn’t been eaten, please 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.

TTFN!

Helen & Olly

••• AMT293 Child-Friendly Rating: Squeaky-clean first third, then a question about Viagra. This is alright, until around 19 minutes into the episode the conversation turns to American Pie, whence it degenerates horribly. The rest of the episode is fine aside from a few swears, but realistically you’ll already have had to switch over to Fun Kids, so overall we have to rate this episode as 27%. •••

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dating as do-gooding

July 2, 2014 by

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Here’s a question from an anonymous 22-year-old lady from Boston:

I am a bisexual young lady who has just moved to Boston. As is unremarkable for someone of my generation and sexual appetite, I have an online dating profile on OKCupid.

To put it bluntly, I fulfil societal standards of beauty. I modelled for some years. I get asked out on this website multiple times a day – and usually decline because of disinterest (more often then not because a lot of men here fetishise my race).

Here’s the kicker. I am a dedicated to animal welfare and also the promotion of sex education – in a land where the Republicans have slapped their sexually suppressed balls all over the school system.

Answer me this: should I start accepting dates from people I’d usually be disinterested in if the man/woman sends me a screenshot of a donation to the ASPCA/Planned Parenthood? e.g. ’50 bucks to support birth control for poor women, and let’s go for drinks!’

I am a broke graduate without much money to support these organisations myself, but I can help in other ways than volunteering, right? Does this count as prostitution?

What do you reckon, readers? Would our anonymous hottie exchanging her company for charitable donations be smart altruistic leverage of the current situation, or would the people paying for the dates merely think they’re getting an escort for an unusually good price? Express your opinions in the comments (£10 to Marie Curie Cancer Care per comment).

At the very least, if she does do this, the questioneer would be guaranteed to be featured in an article on Jezebel. They can’t get enough of dating experiment stories.

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football tossers

July 2, 2014 by

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orig_human_football

Here’s a question of SPOOOOOORT from Arj from Canterbury:

I’ve been watching a lot of the World Cup recently, and I don’t really get the point of the coin toss at the start of the match to decide which end the winner chooses to shoot from. Is there some tactical advantage to be gained from choosing one goal over another? In cricket, at least, the coin toss makes sense: bowl or bat. But in football, all that really changes is the direction you’re running in…

Maybe that’s not all, Arj. Maybe it’s so you can’t blame the pitch for anything that went wrong and put you at a disadvantage, because we all know how footballers love to whinge about the slightest thing. Maybe the sun is blinding at one end. Maybe you don’t want to start/finish the game with all the opposing team’s fans standing behind the goal flipping you off. Maybe the pitch is on a 15 degree gradient. Maybe half the pitch is cursed because it is laid on top of an old burial ground.

Help Arj out, readers: explain this in the comments. I know I could look it up, but I…can’t be arsed because it’s football.

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Toaster mystery SOLVED

July 1, 2014 by

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Domo-Toaster

It’s the news you’ve all been waiting for! OK, some of you have been waiting for. Not like you wait for an exciting parcel to arrive, or for you tea to be ready; more how you might wait for a dental appointment, just to get it out of the way, or you wait for someone to hurry up in the loo because SERIOUSLY WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN DOING IN THERE FOR 40 MINUTES?

Yep, that’s how to feel about feedback about the toaster latching mechanism as considered in AMT292. Sean from Waiheke Island, New Zealand appears to be qualified to explain it:

In a previous life I spent several years traipsing around toaster factories in China, inspecting their wares and production methods, helping them improve their quality and designs, and buying them, quite literally, by the truckload for the eager British public.
In this capacity, I can advise you with some confidence, that the reason a toaster won’t latch when it’s not plugged in is because the mechanism is held in the down position by an electro-magnet. And as the term suggests, electromagnets need the “electro” component in order to work.

Basically, there’s a small electronic timer (a chip on a circuit board) which powers the electromagnet for the period set by the “browning control”. While the electromagnet is powered on, it holds on to a small metal plate attached to the lever and the bread carriage. When the time’s up, the power to the electromagnet is cut, the magnetism stops, and the whole mechanism is released, with springs bringing the bread carriage back to the up position.

In the “olden” days, all of this was done much more mechanically using latches and bimetallic strips, which was a great system, but with varied results. But because it was purely mechanical, you could latch the bread carriage down without the power being switched on. The fancy new electromagnetic timers are cheaper and more reliable, and the reason why the toaster needs power before the mechanism can be latched in the down position.

So there you go… mystery solved.

Thanks, Detective Sean! And for all of you still wondering whyyyyy this is necessary, here’s a cautionary tale to illustrate the vital role the toaster-latch plays in our lives. Josh from New York writes:

When I was in high school, my parents had an older toaster with a latching mechanism that allowed you to push in the bread even when the toaster was not plugged in.

One fateful Fourth of July, I was in the mood for some toast. I put some bread in the toaster, pushed the bread down, and waited five minutes before realizing toast was not being made because the toaster was not plugged in. (Yes, like your original questioner, I was apparently too stupid to make toast.) Without pushing the bread back up, I reached to plug in the toaster. As soon as the plug was in the socket, the toaster short circuited and lit on fire.

I was burned badly enough that I had to go to the emergency room, where I waited two hours so a doctor could tell me he did not believe my story and insisted that I had probably been playing with fireworks for American Independence Day. And on top of that, I NEVER GOT MY TOAST.

In short, if you’re as bad at making toast as I am – and the original question asker apparently is – you should probably just eat your bread cold.

There we go. Those electromagnets are just looking after us, knowing that we’re too stupid to be trusted. I’m going to delegate all my life admin to electromagnets.

PS Star Wars fans, I have found THE toaster for you. HERE. No need to thank me.
PPS If your tastes fall more on the Olly Mann end of the spectrum, I also have the toaster for you.

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