Thursday Listening Party

April 17, 2014 by

1920sradio

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Sorrynotsorry to harp on about our Radio 4 documentary Podcasting: The First Ten Years, but Part 2 is now out, and in it:

Roman Mars Kickstarts an extraordinary pile of dosh to fund 99% Invisible (which is worth every penny).
Richard Herring talks about Stephen Fry using his podcast to drop the bombshell about his suicide attempt.
Theresa Thorn of One Bad Mother talks dirty (diapers).
Welcome to Night Vale fans show their devotion by expanding the weird world of the podcast.
Keith and the Girl fans show their devotion through HORRIFIC FLESH WOUNDS. Warning: seriously gross.

We also hear from many other wise and captivating correspondents, including Nate ‘Wired at Heart’ Lanxon, Pete ‘Football Rambler’ Donaldson, Jemima ‘Seer of the Future’ Kiss and Ben ‘Invented the word “podcasting” but don’t hold that against him’ Hammersley. You can here more of them, along with Marc Maron and the Buglers, in Part 1, which should still be available here.

Listen and let us know what you think, then:

Catch up on AMT287 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, so consider yourself a philanthropist.
Olly’s on LBC every weekday 1am-4am. If you’re an insomniac, a night worker, or in a time zone where those hours are compatible with waking life, tune in.
On Saturday evenings I’m on BBC 5 Live’s Saturday Edition, available subsequently as the podcast Let’s Talk About Tech.
Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train, The Global Lab and The Sound of the Ladies.

To keep your ears busy until AMT288 next Thursday, here are some other podcasts we like.

Requests are welcome at the Thursday Listening Party. No need to dance sexily next to the DJ booth hoping to be noticed, just recommend shows in the comments.

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toast vs tonsillectomy

April 16, 2014 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT287

Toast our saviour

Toast our saviour

More retro feedback, harking all the way back to AMTs 180 and 181! This is from B in The Hague, Netherlands:

In two of your previous episodes, you answered a question about whether rough foods (e.g. chips, toast) are okay to be eaten after tonsillectomy or not. In a second episode, somebody emailed to say rough foods actually help in cleaning up the buildup at the back of the throat after the operation.

And because you guys are my main source of medical advice, I decided to eat a piece of toast three days after the operation. And guess what…it did help in cleaning up the wound! This resulted in my mouth smelling less of 10 dead rats – it is now a very tolerable 1 dead rat.

I am now on my fifth day post op and I eat one piece of toast in the morning and anothee one before I brush my teeth in the evening.

Toast, it’s a miracle cure! Buy official AMT toast, PROVEN to be medically effective, only £20 a slice!

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Statu[e]s Symbol

April 14, 2014 by

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Simon from Clitheroe, Lancashire writes:

Further to last week’s bit about street performance statues, last year my girlfriend and I were in Budapest. We noticed a very good statue that was earning lots of money. After quite a long time of not moving at all we saw a guy arrive and collect the money, this was when we realised that the “human” statue was just a grey painted mannequin!

That’s even worse than the statues who aren’t doing anything beyond wearing a crappy mask or a funny hat! OUTRAGEOUS and IMMORAL. Unless it’s all an art piece. You can get away with a lot of shitty behaviour if you pretend it’s an art piece…

OK guys, since we’re on the subject, let’s workshop my human statues sitcom idea . I suggested a working title of Statues at Liberty; Olly opted for Standing Still. James has raised the bar:

I think
Statue-Tory could be a success. Following an ageing Etonian Tory cabinet minister recently removed from office.

Or, along those lines, StatueTORI: cash-strapped Tori Spelling has to resort to working as a human statue to keep her family together. This is more a reality TV show and book than a sitcom, I’ll admit.

OK, how about: Statu[e]s Quo! Human statues by day, Status Quo tribute band by night! And in life they’re struggling to cling onto their current situation, running fast just to stand still.

Or: On a Pedestal. An adorably ingenuous young man/woman is crazy for human statues and thinks they’re the greatest thing ever – but upon spending time with the people behind the facepaint, he/she is forced to learn a few hard truths, and reconcile themself to the fact that nobody is perfect. Not even a human statue. Especially not a human statue.

Alternatively: Freeze!. Human statues are caught up in a stick-up, and a crime caper ensues as the statues have to prove their innocence and track down the real culprits, all without moving a muscle.

Any more for any more? COMMENTS. GO. Together let’s nail this pitch.

One thing’s for certain, whichever option gets made: the outro music would be ‘I’m Still Standing’.

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EPISODE 287 – a very expensive potty

April 10, 2014 by

Hello! You still have one day to catch the first half of our Radio 4 documentary to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the word ‘podcast’. The second episode airs 11am tomorrow, Friday 11th April, and features money-making from Roman Mars, baby-making from Theresa Thorn, and something absolutely puke-making from Keith and the Girl. UPDATE: here’s Part 2.

So please do listen to that, and also to Answer Me This! Episode 287:

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

Today we contemplate such topics as:

the Man from Del Monte
Tony Benn’s chair
catnip
human statues
snooze buttons
kissing gates
Miffy vs Hello Kitty
Telford vs Jamaica
CTRL+V vs CTRL+C
pedantry with partners
Artbox
netiquette
The Pageant of the Masters
and
listener Jessy’s missing colon, part II

Plus: Olly details the specifications for choosing his new alarm clock, so set your own alarm clock to jolt you back into consciousness afterwards; Helen comes up with a Doctor Who reboot for Matt Smith and an amazing sit- for a sitcom, so TV commissioners, prepare a bucket of cash and call her in for a meeting; and Martin the Sound Man won’t let you through a gate until you give him a little somethin-somethin. APPROACH WITH CAUTION.

Today’s Bit of Crap on the App, Helen gets doorbell envy. To hear all about that grievous condition, push the button on your iDevices, Android or Windows gadgets.

No need to envy other people’s nice websites – now you can build your own through Squarespace.com, who not only kindly funded today’s show, but are also offering you a 10% discount off their services for a whole year if you use the code answer. We used Squarespace to build answermethisstore.com and it was even easier to set up shop than it is to set up this shop.

Keep us in business by sending in your questions: call the Question Line (call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis) or email answermethispodcast@googlemail.com.

Back in a fortnight,

Helen & Olly

PS Get well soon, Dave from Smethwick!

AMT287 Child-Friendly Rating: 95%.
No unsuitable content, aside from the demystification of Hello Kitty. An F-bomb is detonated during the discussion of keyboard shortcuts, but thanks to the subject matter, there’s no way your kids will be paying attention.

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what a shower

April 10, 2014 by

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vagcake

Party poopers in the house toniiiiiite! Caitlin in Los Angeles, California don’t wanna have a good tiiiime! And frankly we agree with her:

I work in an office that has an unofficial celebration protocol: a group of eager party planners toss up some decorations in the meeting room, lure in the guest of honor, attendees muster a weak “surprise” and we all have brief and awkward conversation while enjoying pizza and cake until it’s back to work. Retirements, promotions, farewells, and baby-showers are handed this way. Repetitive, but fairly harmless and includes pizza.

When my supervisor became pregnant with her first child she immediately told everyone she did not want a baby shower under any circumstance. The very idea of sitting in front of coworkers as they stared at her pregnant belly made her painfully anxious. Fawning over baby-related gifts and embarrassing party games made her physically ill. And she was uncomfortable being given gifts by the people she supervises. She made me promise that, if anybody was trying to plan a baby shower, I would try to stop it and tell her. Thinking nothing of it, I agreed immediately and went back to business as usual.

Then I got a baby-shower e-vite in my work inbox. It announced a “secret” baby shower for my supervisor. I was aghast they would blatantly ignore her wishes this way. Unfortunately (but also to my relief), she had to take an early leave for bed rest. Problem solved.

Fast forward to now: she is pregnant again and the same series of events are repeating themselves: she insists to all who will listen there will be no baby shower. An urgent plea for me to tell her if our coworkers are conspiring. And another e-vite alerting people to a “secret” baby shower has recently arrived in my inbox.

I emailed the party planners and reminded them of her wishes. I suggested we plan a non-surprise party WITH our supervisor – no gifts, no games. Just food, conversation, and on with our lives. If people really wanted to give a gift, perhaps we donate to a charity in the future daughter’s name. It seemed like a good idea to me. This way, everyone gets a party and my supervisor is not miserable.

My idea was shot down completely within ten minutes. My supervisor’s supervisor, who she has told NUMEROUS times her feelings, wrote that he thinks the party should be left the way it was planned. He wrote that he felt “she will be happy and grateful. She works really hard and deserves this from us.” Everyone else agreed.

So I am back where I started two years ago: do I tell my supervisor and risk the wrath of my coworkers should she put a stop to it? Or do I leave my supervisor to the baby shower planning wolves and risk a breach of trust?

Oh noble Caitlin, your guilt is palpable even though you have done your best. Readers, guide her action with your vote:

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job vs job

April 10, 2014 by

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from someone we only know as K – K is female, though, so we know the email didn’t come from the star of Kafka’s The Trial. We can also gauge that from the cheerfulness of the content:

I have a great job in Stockholm, where I am treated very well, and am basically my own boss. Not to mention we all got iPads for Christmas!

I won out over around fifty other applicants for this job, but although I was very clear when I started that I would like to grow with the company, they have said that no one they have met could do my job as well as I can. Which means they’re not too keen on promoting me.

In the meantime, another company is interested in hiring me for their Nordic branch of their business. Because it is an American company, I would be getting an American salary (ie. not capped or structured through Swedish laws etc), so I would be making much better money and have a chance to grow. But the work environment could not possibly be as good as this one.

So do I mention this to my boss now, or later? I know I could use one against the other, but I am not sure I have the balls for it!

Hmm, what’s more important: nice colleages, or progress? Being your own boss, or more money? You’ve already got the iPad, so that’s not a deciding factor.

Readers, go to the comments and tell K what you’d do when faced with this dilemma, although we’d understand you don’t have much sympathy for someone choosing between AN AMAZING JOB and ANOTHER AMAZING JOB.

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smell my finger

April 10, 2014 by

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In AMT286, Ben from Northumberland complained of the assault upon his nostrils from his grandmother’s strong perfume. Chris from Hook writes:

A friend of mine used to work with a charity and in doing so she used to meet a lot of people who did not smell particularly good. She used to manage not to gag most of the time by dipping her finger into her perfume before meeting them. She’d let it dry, then she’d have a very strongly scented finger. She’d sit there talking to them, and when she needed to, she’d rub her nose or sit with her finger under her nose, and it worked like a charm.

That’s fighting fire with fire – perfume might not drown out perfume but intensify it into a super-perfume, like the MRSA of scents. Perhaps Ben should counter with quite a different sort of smell, like Roquefort or mackerel. It’s a risk, though, and also people might wonder why Ben permanently has his finger beneath his nose, as if he’s covering up a Hitler moustache someone drew on him with permanent marker while he was passed out drunk.

So perhaps Ben should try Kyle from London‘s advice:

I used to work for an organisation which served a sometimes distinctly pungent clientele. We used to dab a bit of Vaseline (or in extreme cases Vicks) under each nostril which apparently catches some of the smell particles. Always worked for me!

Smart! Now all Ben needs to worry about is whether his suspiciously glistening upper lip will make his grandmother whip out a hanky and give his nose a vigorous wipe.

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tea by post

April 8, 2014 by

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Teabagging-teabags
Fancy a cuppa? Ashley from Scotland does:

There’s been something I’ve been trying to find out for a decent amount of weeks now but I can’t find what I want.

Over the past few months I have been subscribed to Graze, a website you can paid £3 odd for a box of 4 healthy snacks and have them delivered to your home. One of the snacks I last got included a teabag (not just a plain PG Tips teabag, it was flavoured), and it got me thinking.

Answer me this, is there not just a website somewhere like Graze that you can only order tea bags? Like you choose which different types of tea you want to try and they give you ones of each.

Readers, do you know of any such companies? Advise Ashley in the comments.

From what I’ve found, you could build your own tea pick’n’mix from Chinalife or Olly’s favourite Teapigs, or buy yourself a selection box from somewhere like Post Tea or Fortnum and Mason. My brother got me a tea advent calendar from Imperial Teas of Lincoln, which was a delightful means of trying twenty-five different teas.

But all of those are a rather expensive way of getting a cuppa. It would be more economical to buy yourself several boxes of different types of teabag, removing them from the packaging and mixing them all together in a big box, then grabbing a handful, shoving it into a fancy envelope and posting it to yourself every week.

Of course, this approach would lack some of the serendipity and surprise you associate with Graze, so write your postcode with a minor mistake on the envelope and send it second class, so you’re thrilled when it finally turns up.

Alternatively, buy a fairground grabber and fill it with assorted teabags. Then every time you want a cup of tea, you have to play the grabber game. You’ll die of thirstFUN!

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Thursday Listening Party

April 3, 2014 by

outrageous-speakers

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This week, prepare yourselves for a FRIDAY listening party, because tomorrow, 4th April 2014, the first part of our documentary Podcasting: The First Ten Years will be on Radio 4 at 11am British Summer Time. The second part goes out at 11am on 11th April, so mark your calendar accordingly; and each episode will be available on BBC iPlayer shortly thereafter. A lot of people have been asking whether a show about podcasting will be podcasted, but that would be TOO obvious (ie we don’t know whether it will, but shall let you know if it is).

If you like podcasts, we’ll wager you’ll enjoy the documentary because we interview some really top notch podcasters, including: Marc Maron; Richard Herring; Jeffrey and Joseph of Welcome to Night Vale; Keith and the Girl; Roman Mars of 99% Invisible; Betty in the Sky; Ewan Spence of the ESC Insight and the Edinburgh Fringe Show; Theresa Thorn of One Bad Mother; Pete Donaldson of The Football Ramble; Adam Curry; and John Oliver, my brother Andy Zaltzman, and producer Chris Skinner of the Bugle. We also speak to the man who invented the word ‘podcasting’, Ben Hammersley, who frankly doesn’t seem all that proud of it. Cheer up, Ben; nobody seems to have any better suggestions yet.

So to recap: 11am Radio 4 on 4th and 11th April, and then on iPlayer. Alright? Onto some other noises:

Here’s a double shot of my Sound Women Podcast. Episode 11 features DJs Annie Mac, B.Traits and Monki:

Episode 12 is all educational, featuring university lecturer Kate Murphy and the work of the freshly Radio Academy Award-nominated Podium.me, plus a shedload of good advice from seasoned radio professionals:

Martin the Sound Man has been busy: in the new episode of Brain Train, he gets schooled about Frida Kahlo. And in th’s month’s edition of his Sound of the Ladies podcast, he produces a song by AMTpal Dave Pickering.

Dave makes podcasts including Getting Better Acquainted, and you should definitely listen because hooray, it is Personal Season! In episode 154 Dave talks to his dad about open relationships and losing his virginity, which I could not discuss with my own dad without a hellmouth opening and devouring the whole of south-east England.

Want more? Here are some other shows that we like, and here are other shows that we are in:

Catch up on AMT286 to learn how Olly wowed the ladies (and gentlemen) at his school leavers’ ball.
Olly’s on LBC every weekday 1am-4am. If you’re an insomniac, a night worker, or in a time zone where those hours are compatible with waking life, tune in.
Every Saturday I’m on BBC 5 Live’s Saturday Edition, available subsequently as the podcast Let’s Talk About Tech.
AMT episodes 1-170 and the special AMT albums are all available for a trifling price at answermethisstore.com, and if you buy any of them you’re bankrolling the podcast, so thank you very much indeed.

What’s on your own Thursday Listening Party playlist? Tell us in the comments.

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EPISODE 286 – code with a condom

March 27, 2014 by

Hello listeners!

Very exciting news: we’ve made a Radio 4 documentary to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the word ‘podcast’. It’s in two installments, out at 11am on Friday 4th and 11th April. It features many podcasting luminaries – including Marc Maron, Roman Mars, Keith and the Girl, Theresa Thorn, Betty in the Sky, the Buglers, the Night Valers, and also our old adversary Richard Herring. If you can’t wait for eight whole days to hear us talk to him, listen to the recent RHLSTP in which we air all that dirty laundry.

Amid all this talk of other things to listen to, don’t forget to apply yourself to Answer Me This! Episode 286:

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

In which we discuss:

castles
Oktoberfest
chilled red wine
velvet ropes
decorative sticks
babysitting vs kitten-sitting
Mardi Gras vs Pancake Day
Navajo rugs vs dreamcatchers
Glastonbury scheduling
EcuadorPanama hats
London’s cat cafe
mythical bestiality
and
the first ever porn film.

Plus: Olly was all business, no pleasure at his school leavers’ ball; Helen prefers the pong of garlic breath to perfume; and Martin the Sound Man worries about worldly souvenirs making him into a bellend. Don’t worry Martin, you were already a bellend! JK. (Or is it?)

Today’s Bit of Crap on the App contains more perfume-chat, in which Olly sabotages any future he had as a department store perfume salesperson. Pinch your nose and spray the app into your ears from your iDevices, Android or Windows gadgets.

Here’s something that doesn’t stink: today’s episode-funders Squarespace.com offering you a 10% discount off their services for a whole year if you use the code answer3. What a breath of fresh air!

And finally, we ask that you take a deep breath and send us your QUESTIONS: call the Question Line (call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis) or email answermethispodcast@googlemail.com.

Back in a fortnight!

Helen & Olly

AMT286 Child-Friendly Rating: 42%. First three quarters are clean, apart from a couple of questioneer-led swears. The episode ends on a question about porn films, but by then your children will probably have fallen asleep during the earlier question about road signs.

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wiry dilemma

March 27, 2014 by

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We so rarely receive questions of wiring, but here is such a thing from Mike:

I have an ethical dilemma.

I live in South Orange NJ, in a 100-year-old house which we bought last year. The lovely neighbors next door, who were very welcoming to us, including having us over for dinner, just moved to San Francisco on short notice due to a job relocation and put their house on the market last week.

Being a nosy sort I went to the open house to get to see the parts of a house you don’t see when over for dinner, and saw telltale signs of knob and tube wiring. Knob and tube, which I didn’t know existed until las year, is an old kind of electrical wiring which is perfectly legal to leave in place but prone to fires and impossible to fix of there’s a fault, so you can’t get insurance if it’s known to be there. It’s very common in houses of this vintage and it’s one of the things as a buyer you pay for an inspector to look for after you sign contracts. Unlike UK are contracts are done first and are binding unless defined unresolvable defects are found (no gazumping!).

Jonathan, the house inspector who looked at our house, missed it however, and we were stuck with a $10,000 bill getting the house rewired. We told Jonathan last year after the electrician we hired to do some minor work dropped this bombshell on us but he shrugged and said he can’t see everything, although now that I know what to look for it’s completely obvious, so I’d suspect he’d miss it again.

I just looked out the window and the neighbors’ house is under contract and the same inspector is there. Should I say anything to my new neighbors (whoever they are)? What about after they move in?

I’ve seen knob and tube in friends’ houses and my wife insists I keep silent. Is it ever appropriate to point out a potentially costly defect in somebody else’s house or is this something one keeps to oneself in polite society.

Oh Mike, I can smell your conscience from here. Although it’s too late for you (unless you sue Jonathan, which will cost you considerably more than the wiring), you’ll never be able to live with yourself if some other innocent gets hammered with $10,000-worth of rewiring. You have to tell. Doesn’t he, readers? What do you think? Advise Mike in the comments.

PS ‘knob and tube’. Fnarrr!

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AMT: the soundtrack to your sexy pleasure

March 26, 2014 by

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No need for this stuff with a dose of AMT

No need for this stuff with a dose of AMT

If you already were feeling a little queasy after the last post, this email from Hyder might push you over the edge:

I find myself in an odd conundrum.

I started listening to the podcast a few months ago when in my monthly scavenging of the internet for all things Zaltzman (I want to marry Andy*), I came across you guys and the rest was history.

The thing is that I listen to the podcast starting from the back episodes every night sleeping in the same bed as my girlfriend. Since she is very hot, we end up fucking almost every night and in the excitement, always fail to turn off the podcast.

It has therefore become the soundtrack to our love in a way that it induces Pavlovian responses every time I hear it in the day even which can result in fairly disconcerting scenarios.

Oh good grief. Usually we only hear what a boner-killer AMT is.

Couldn’t you just STOP listening to the show at bedtime? Listen to it at safely non-sexy times, such as in the waiting room at the verruca-burning clinic, or in a queue at a market stall to buy cut-price offal that’s been out all day.

(If you are somebody who actually finds those situations sexy, then you are too priapic to function in this world. But maybe you could get a job as a condom-tester, allowing you to hump all day in lab conditions.)

*Too late, ladies and gents: Andy is already married. Console yourselves with the knowledge that he’d never love you as much as he loves cricket.

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