WE ANSWERED THESE!
Here is a list of the eclectic inquiries which have made it to air so far. May there be many more.
To submit a question of your own for Answer Me This!, use the contact details at the top of the site.
241 questions answered in 2010!
1459 questions answered since AMT!P began!
aired 17th June 2010
Amelia from London: is it wrong that I want to watch The Human Centipede?
Daniel from Barking: my friend and I have had a regular debate over who would be better in bed, swimmers or trumpet players. So answer me this: who would you rather sleep with, a swimmer or a trumpet player?
Karen from East Grinstead: I am making a mash-up of songs called or about New York, so answer me this: what’s your favourite New York-related song so I can put it in my megamix just for you?
Ben from Stafford: my sister is listening to some craptastic song very loudly while I’m trying to revise for my GCSEs and I can’t help but pay attention to its fucking terrible lyrics.
Some person who is speaking quite fast and is trying to pass it off as music keeps mentioning someone called “shorty” and I’ve just realised that I hear of this person in a lot of songs, mainly in this shit-storm of a genre, but I still don’t know who it is. Answer me this: who the fuck is Shorty, why are they so popular, why don’t rappers just use random names (I’m assuming Shorty was a person’s name), and why is Shorty used so much?
Jeannette from Torrance: my coworker was nibbling on prunes today (which is weird, since she’s only 24 and doesn’t appear to be badly constipated), and this led to a discussion about why dried plums are called prunes and dried grapes are called raisins, but all other fruit is just called “dried [fill in fruit name here].” Why don’t other fruits have cute names for their dehydrated versions?
Anthony: I live in Moscow and tend to travel a lot. As a result I spend a lot of time in hotels. Answer me this – why do they put phones near the toilet in a hotel room? Does anyone ever use them? I have never seem anyone do this in their house, where it’s a lot further from the toilet to the phone.
Kirsty from London: if the Queen was pregnant with Siamese twins and gave birth by caesarian, which one would be King?
Terri from Stockwell: is it true that the location of the BT Tower used to be an Official Secret, even though you can see it from all over London?
Andrew in Australia: I have recently acquired a German girlfriend of whom I am quite fond. She is completing her studies in Germany while I continue in my job here in Australia.
In the coming weeks I am flying over for a visit where I will be introduced to her parents, who by all accounts are quite nice. Naturally, I am eager to make a good impression…so much so that I have studied up on her father’s business and various hobbies (both of which I have no interest) so that I can engage him in intelligent conversation and engender bonhomie.
So answer me this: what other steps can I take to put on a good show for the parents so that I may gain tacit approval for the debauched activities I enjoy with their daughter? What kind of things have you guys done to impress the parents of a partner?
Debbie in Paderborn, Germany: I have a Siberian Husky that needs long walks every day to burn off all of his energy. I achieve this by either going out on my rollerblades or cycling with him in tow.
On numerous occasions I have ended up wrapped around a lamp-post or in a ditch because the stupid mutt has slammed his anchors on mid-run with no prior warning to go for a shit, thus him stopping and me carrying on while still attached to the other end of his lead!
So, answer me this: in the Iditarod Great Sled Race in Alaska, how do they prevent all the dogs from stopping all the flipping time to knock one out without sending the Musher into a fir tree every ten minutes?
Doug from Arbroath: a friend of mine has planned a surprise party for her girlfriend, and of course I have been sworn to secrecy. However, I have also discovered that the girlfriend in question has found out (through no fault of my own) about the ‘surprise’ party, and has also sworn me to secrecy about her illicit knowledge. Do I keep quiet about the potential disaster that will be the ‘surprise!’, and also run the risk I will be blamed for the divulging of the secret, or do I tell the party planner that the secret is out, which may give her an opportunity to plan a double bluff surprise?
aired 10th June 2010
Pete in Cheltenham: a bloke I know who does not work and claims benefits has entered a clinical trial. It pays £1000 for four days of his time (seems high to me). The trial requires he be a non-smoker which he is not, so has stopped smoking a week prior to his “interview”. Answer me this: will they suss him as being a smoker after a week’s abstinence and will it interfere? Also does this trial count as “work” to the benefits office, and does the work-shy layabout have to inform them?
Jamie: in The Lord of the Rings, why do the eagles not fly Frodo all the way to Mount Doom?
I recently passed my driving test (woopah) and I immediately bought two nodding dogs off eBay. A month later I got my car, and I tried to put the nodding dogs in there on the dashboard in front of the passenger seat. However, they slipped off. I then used Blutack, which was rubbish and didn’t stick (Blutack is not what it used to be); I then tried sellotape in vain and folded it over so it was sticky on both sides, but this was to no avail. So answer me this: what should I do to get my nodding dogs to stick?
Gareth from Ipswich: why are turkey eggs not sold commercially? Are they a lot bigger than chicken’s eggs, or are they unsafe to eat?
Freyja from the Wirral: what is your favourite salad? Mine is made with red cabbage and feta cheese, but I can’t remember what else because my mum made it once at a family party and has never found the recipe again and we’ve never been able to recreate it.
Sam from Cheltenham: I’m at a sleepover with a bunch of friends and we’re playing Truth or Dare. What is the rudest thing you’ve ever done in a game of Truth or Dare?
Chelsea from Wisconsin: where did the whole ‘stork bringing babies’ come from? It makes no sense at all!!!
Dan from Wolverhampton: who else lives on Downing Street apart from the prime minister and his family?
Rebecca: is there any relation between ‘chum’, as in a good friend, and ‘chum’, the bloody fish guts that are thrown in the water to attract sharks?
bloke in restaurant in Newcastle: what happened to Chambourcy Hippopotomousse?
Kenny: having just discovered the podcast, I have just spent the last two months or so listening to every Answer Me This! episode, and I am completely sick of it! Answer me this: when will I be sufficiently un-sick of the show, so that I may resume enjoying the show?
Eleanor from St Albans: I’m in Year 13, and as of Friday, will no longer have to attend any school lessons ever again. To mark the occasion, Year 13 always do a themed Muck-up Day where we try to disrupt as many things as possible. This year our theme is ‘circus’, and we have accordingly hired a bouncy castle, popcorn and candyfloss makers, and decked the lower corridor out to look like a circus tent.
However, because we’re a posh private school, there are really strict rules about what we can do to cause serious havoc, which means the pranks are pretty tame. It involves stealing the clocks from the classrooms, hiding tables and chairs in obscure places so no one can sit down in classrooms and putting alarm clocks in the ceiling so that annoying circus music will play at certain times of the day.
So, answer me this: when you left school, how did you mark the occasion and what pranks did you play?
aired 3rd June 2010
Luke from Tunbridge Wells: I just spent about an hour and a half in bloody Hobbycraft with my girlfriend. Martin, how do you cope with Helen being so obsessed with arts and crafts?
Garry from Sussex: I notice Wikipedia doesn’t have an early life section for Jools Holland so answer me this – is he the bastard offspring of some shady liaison between the Queen and Kenneth Williams?
Katie from Delaware: I just saw the 2012 Olympic mascots. I was sure it was a joke, a fever induced vision, but sadly I was wrong – those things are real! I read what they are supposed to be, but surely London could have picked something more prestigious? I don’t know – a dragon, a lion, even one of the queen’s corgis…If you where in charge what would you have designated as mascot?
David from Stirling: why the hell are the adverts for that Ped Egg thing always on during dinner or when people are eating??? I don’t want to see those shavings while eating!
Matthew from Huddersfield: why at sushi restaurants does the food go round on conveyor belts? Why don’t other restaurants use conveyor belts?
Leann from Council Bluffs, Iowa: I was on a business trip recently and stayed at a hotel that touted a free “continental” breakfast for its guests. The breakfast consisted of sorry-looking fruit, lumpy oatmeal and powdered scrambled eggs. Answer me this please – why is it called a “continental” breakfast? Is it to make road weary travellers think they are getting something fancy?
Keir from Brighton, via Mount Airy, Maryland USA: what is the protocol to follow if you were to get an erection at a nudist colony? And I’m not talking about being on a beach where you could just lie down and drill a little hole in the sand. I’m thinking that the old fella might decide to pop up in the queue for a lolly, or while lining up to shake hands at the end of the obligatory volleyball game.
Tim from Watford: why are unemployment benefits called ‘the dole’?
Nicole from Surrey: why in theatre do people say ‘Break a leg!’?
Matt in Heswick: having convinced a friend that Wakestock is a cheese festival and that I was in Bernard’s Watch, what is the best thing you’ve made one of your friends believe?
James from Houston, Texas: what is the original of the phrase “Busman’s Holiday”?
Becky from London: why is a wake called a wake?
Jesse from Palm City, Florida: my friends want me to drop acid with them at an upcoming music festival. I’m all for trying new things, but I heard that if you do acid you can’t go to space. With technology progressing the way it is, I know that at some point in my life I may have a chance of taking a trip “out of this world” and wouldn’t want to ruin my chances at an early age. So answer me this: can I go to space if I do acid?
aired 27th May 2010
Patrick in Germany: I like my men big and chunky, so can I be the founding member of the official Gay Men Who Fancy Olly Mann Club?
John in Glasgow: why are personalised numberplates so damned popular? Here in Scotland they seem even more common than other parts of the country. Only this morning I spotted SC07LND, WH0 4WHO and F2ACK on my way in to the office. Have people no sense?
Will from Sydney: what happens if an ant colony doesn’t have a queen? If I go and get a bunch of ants and make a farm, will one of them be elected queen?
Hannahhh from Bridgnorth!!!!: me n ma frends wanna no is big dik big feet true?????
Derek: if the Lottery draw on Saturday night is live, how can the voice of the balls come up with facts about the number of times a particular ball has been drawn or that it was last drawn 5 weeks ago, or over so many millions (depending on the ball drawn) has been spent on whatever charity?
Sam from Cheltenham: what is a haiku?
Sophie: why do people clap pilots after a landing? I was on a flight back from America and when we landed in Heathrow some rather enthusiastic Americans started applauding the pilot – like he could even bloody hear! Why do people do this? I mean the pilot’s just doing his job. I don’t applaud shop assistants or bar staff…Maybe it’s because people think flying is more dangerous that driving a car (idiots) but it’s not like I clap my taxi driver when he delivers me home. Is it just Americans that do this?
Matthew from Halifax: has Scooby Doo ever encountered a real ghost?
Karen from Hampshire: why are teenagers so stroppy? Please, I’m a mum and this puzzles me.
David from Tavistock: I am 17 years old and currently doing my stupid A-levels at a shit college in a deadbeat town. A month ago a friend of mine (not a particularly close one I hasten to add but a friend nonetheless) split up with his girlfriend of nearly three years, which at our age is a very long time. Shortly after the split (about 2 or 3 days) she started texting and Facebooking me, which she had never done prior to the break-up, we hadn’t even talked to each other save for exchanging pleasantries about the weather or something equally mundane. At this point I should mention that she is the most boring fuck I have ever met but is also really, really hot. Anyway we kept flirting via text for about a week and then decided to meet up for a drink. As I was driving her home she told me to stop at a parking space on the moors so I did…and we ended up having sex in my tiny car (really uncomfortable btw). We then continued meeting up for casual sex for a couple of weeks (this time in our homes), until she told me she couldn’t carry on with things as they were because she was getting feelings for me but did not want another boyfriend.
So answer me this please:
What the fuck is wrong with girls!? Why can they not separate sex from emotions? Is this just a teenage girl thing or am I likely to encounter the same problem later on in life? And finally: even though her ex isn’t a great friend of mine, am I a massive dick for sleeping with his old girlfriend?
Andy from Bangor: where do the phrases left- and right-wing come from? How did they decide which was which?
Flatpack Flapjack: what happens to ballot papers after elections? Do they all get stored in some deep dark warehouse for twenty years in case of electoral dispute, or do they just go into the nearest skip?
Richard from Birmingham: a friend of mine got a tattoo today. She is really happy with it, telling everyone it’s the Japanese character for strength… However, I used to study Japanese, and that’s not what it means; in English it’s much closer to ‘mosquito’, ‘passable’ or you could consider it the Japanese question mark. Answer me this: do I tell her what her tattoo really means and ruin her new tattoo for her, or keep my mouth shut, with the chance it might cause embarrassment if she ever goes to Japan?
aired 20th May 2010
Olly’s mum: why is it that some people don’t listen to their mothers but take the same advice from other people?
Sharon from Glasgow: There is a dead fox in my garden. How do I get rid of it?
Karen from Sydney: how do I tell a Bride I do not want to be her bridesmaid 5 months out from her wedding? She has become a real bridezilla and what’s more the DRESSES ARE FUCKING UGLY…
We are not close friends so was surprised when she asked me as we used to work together many years ago. Originally I said no, then a while after she came to me crying and said that she really wanted me to be part of the bridal party… Well stupid me relented – and I am fucking paying for it now…
So is it too late to tell her to fuck off, that I want no part of it??????
Illbilly: Are there any advantages of using chopsticks or are the chinese too embarrassed to admit that knives and forks are way more convenient?
Matt: on the wall in my grandparents’ front porch they have a small wooden decoration of a house and when it’s raining a miniature old man in a raincoat comes out. When it’s not raining his miniature wife comes out. I don’t know what these things are called but it’s starting to freak me out with its accuracy about the weather outside. It looks like a simple bit of wood so how the ruddy hell does it work?
Natasha from London: how many calories are there in the bits of bread they use at church for holy communion?
Jamie from Milton Keynes: I go to a boarding school. Does that mean that my parents don’t love me?
Brendan from Cork: what the fuck is up with unicorns? Who the hell thought they would good for little girls to play with? They’re horses with horns – wouldn’t they kill them?
Mike from Belfast: why is the word ‘blue’ used to describe dirty movies or rude language?
Olivia: counting sheep to help you get to sleep – what’s that all about?
Jeni: I stopped eating fish at the age of 4 and have refused to eat anything living from the sea ever since. The reason is lost in time, but my hatred (and feeling of nausea) has grown over the years and has now developed into a fullblown fear of the horrible creatures. A few years ago, I rashly promised friends and loved ones that I would try to eat some fish before I turned 30. With my birthday fast approaching (19th July), I am planning to face my fears and am going camping in June to the south coast with the aim of trying some food of the piscine nature. So answer me this: what would you recommend to the novice seafood eater? Preferably something not too adventurous as I would hate to throw up and waste my money.
Jon from Burgess Hill: Just seen David Cameroon giving his speech outside Number 10 and it made me realise a horrible truth: that I’m now older than the Prime Minister. What has happened to you to make you realise that you’re getting older?
aired 13th May 2010
Alice from Chester: why are the Conservatives called the Tories?
Helen from Bristol: which day of the week were you born and did you turn out as the song prophesied?
Jessica, 16, in mid-Wales: why do Jelly Babies have flour on them? Also I always call the blackcurrant flavour “purple” but my friends correct me saying it is black when it clearly is not. What is the correct colour to call this flavour jelly baby?
Eleanor from St Albans: why do they make you take the tops off bottles at Wembley Arena?
James from Bath: who the fuck buys Filet O’Fish?! I’ve literally never seen anyone have it.
Rob from LA: what IS salad cream?
Kimi in Shrewsbury: when, and by whom, were zips invented?
Tim from Watford: why is it said that kings were the only ones allowed to wear corduroy?
Chris from Birmingham: why is it that some suit pockets (coat and trouser) are sewn up when you buy them? I’m never quite sure if they’re ok to cut through or if they’re structurally integral to the entire garment. is it just tailors fucking with us?
Acatia: if the Queen dies, will we have to give back all our coins and notes to get ones with Prince Charles’s head on?
Harvey: in the airport when things like knives are confiscated, what happens to them?
aired 6th May 2010
Ben in Letchworth: what would dinosaurs have tasted like?
Flora and Grant from Dundee: why do Fox’s Glacier Mints have a picture of a polar bear rather than a fox?
Tim in New Cross: how did the fonts on Microsoft Word got their names? Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond etc. Is it just the whimsical fancy of Bill Gates? And for that matter, why does Wingdings even exist?
Steve in Dubai: which building was first crowned the world’s tallest and when was this?
Jacob from Bloomington, Indiana: we’ve all seen cartoons/movies where someone bakes a file or some other tool into a cake and sends it to a person in jail. Answer me this: where does this come from? Was this something that people actually did, or is this just yet another one of those absurd stories that someone came up with that has somehow become ingrained in our culture?
Aaron from Canada: what is the most athletic thing you’ve ever done?
My mum’s been really grouchy and I think she’s menopausal – how should I approach her about it and make life a bit more peaceful for both of us?
Lauren from Kiddiminster: do either of you have a diary? And if you did, would you let the other person read it?
Kamal from Manchester: why do the buttons on men and women’s garments button up on opposite sides?
Mike from Crewe: where does the saying ‘telling porkies’ come from?
Chris from March: why is the penis called a dong?
Jamie, 14, from Milton Keynes: Olly, if you could would you suck your own dick and is it immoral?
Ian from Florida: I am a huge nerd and I am Jewish (sound familiar, Olly?). Well, in an effort to get my social life going again, I joined JDate. The problem is I am totally bombing! I’ve chatted with a couple women there, but they started talking to me. Any time I try to contact someone I never hear back! So answer me this: what is so creepy about my profile that people refuse to give me a reply? What are some ways that I can sound interesting and interested without it coming off as egotistical and sexually predatory?
aired 29th April 2010
Justin Bieber: Two episodes in a row you’ve mentioned Justin Bieber. The question was also brought up from the wiki page “does Justin Bieber answer his phone?”
I can say for a fact that he used to. I know because my name IS Justin Bieber. My phone was ringing 20 to 30 a day until I got annoyed and changed my phone number and put the phone under my wife’s name.
Just recently teenage girls have found my number again!
Now my phone just rings constantly! 20 years ago I would have loved teenage girls constantly calling, but now it’s just creepy.
My question is this….
Is there any legal way for me to profit from this?
Rachel from Birmingham: is there still a calling for shepherds, and how do I go about becoming a shepherd?
Simon: why do people (mostly old) keep a box of tissues on the parcel shelf of their car? Hardly handy for anything really.
Mr Anonymous: I’ve recently had an ex-girlfriend get in touch with me through Facebook. Haven’t seen her for 17 years. We started going out when we were 16. She was my first true love and I was hers. It lasted three years, but hit the rocks when I went away to university, as is so often the way. We’re now in our mid 30s and married to long-term partners.At first, I was wary of replying but curiosity got the better of me. After a few “catch-up” messages, we got onto reminiscing about our past. And before long, those reminiscences were including the fruitier aspects of our relationship… she brought the subject up, not me!I can’t work out if she’s just being nostalgic, or if she’s playing games with my head, or if in fact she’s up for it and is testing the water for something more than just reminiscences… Helen, you’re a lady, what the hell do you think is going on in her head? How long do you think it will it be before we’re having full-on cybersex? And how long will it be before we move on to arranging a meet-up for proper sex despite living over 200 miles apart? And if it did end up going that far, is it inevitable that we’ll both be disappointed with the grown-up versions of each other?
Hannah: who came up with the idea of snowglobes and why? They’re so weird, especially because you get them often at popular tourist spots. Why would you want to see your holiday destination encased in a plastic dome and drowned in with water and glitter?
Tim from Watford: why does Claudius poison Hamlet’s father through the ear?
Dean from County Armagh: where does the term ‘past the watershed’ come from when people in television are talking about the time after which you can swear?
Keir from Glasgow: if you could swear on any television programme, which would it be?
Gordon from Stamford Hill: I am about to become a father for the first time. Since being pregnant, my wife seems to have her blood pressure taken a lot, so answer me this: how does the blood-pressure-blow-up-sleeve-thing (technical term) work?
Jamie in France: when Star Wars is translated in to other languages, does Yoda still make an arse of his basic sentence structure?
EPISODE 132 – guest starring Andy Zaltzman
aired 22nd April 2010
Matt from San Diego: is “The Bugle” at all a reference to Cocaine? Niall Griffiths often refers to nose candy as ‘bugle’ in his novels.
Giles: Andy Zaltzman, answer me this – are the Zaltzmans born funny or did your childhood environment make you funny?
Chelsea from Wisconsin: Andy, what was it really like growing up in your house? Were you really not allowed candy?
Alan from Ramsgate: in the 1985 film Brewster’s Millions, Richard Pryor had to spend $30 million in 30 Days. In today’s money, how much would he need to spend with today’s exchange rate and today’s finance to get like for like?
Jason in Colchester: Andy, what product do you use on your hair?????
Harry from Chesterfield: what is two girls one cup? From the reaction videos on YouTube, I don’t want to google it.
Dom in Twickenham: which is better, Chinese or Indian take-away?
Sara: Andy, you appear to be some sort of comedy cricket ambassador. I need your help – I’m living a lie! I have been with my lovely boyfriend for 4, nearly 5 years. We got together after a raucous night out celebrating England winning the Ashes in 2005. He says he noticed me because I was the only girl in the pub actually enjoying the cricket. What he doesn’t know is that I have NO IDEA what the scoring system, rules, or indeed the “LBW” is/are. I dont know if I like cricket – I’ve never had the patience to watch a full match. I was only so excited that night because I had a shameful crush on Flintoff and was, if I’m honest, completely trashed. Every summer I manage to get out of going to a match – but I can’t put it off forever. Answer me this – should I come clean, or try to learn to enjoy it? I think my boyfriend suspects I don’t like cricket, and is trying to test me by buying tickets to county matches. I didn’t even know there were county teams!
Ed in London: can the queen vote in the election?
Kathryn from Denver: one of the US Senators recently asked if the addition of 8000 marines on Guam would cause the island to tip over and capsize….So answer me this, are your politicians as stupid as ours?
Fred: I have recently decided to sell my flat and have had a few viewings! Unfortunately one of these viewers noticed a brown patch on my ceiling. I decided after much deliberation to paint over it. It is quite a nasty patch and had started to ‘bubble’, although it was not damp so I believed the structure to be sound…
I bought some paint and a mini roller and went about priming the area to paint when, lo and behold, a cavern revealed itself in my roof with crumbling roof matter falling all around me.
So what do I do?
Do I cover it up, paint over and hope for the best?
Ask the managing agent to come over and sort it out?
I live on the top floor of a 5-storey building and am afraid this may become quite a serious issue with various builders etc having to fix my ceiling.
My first instinct was to cover it up which coincidentally was also the advice of my mum. My dad told me to get the agents to sort it out but to keep having viewings on the condition that it would be sold fully fixed – apparently there is some kind of contract that allows for this, although who in their right mind would buy a place with a hole in the roof?
I have been looking to move out for a while so that i could shorten my commute and this would mean at least another 6 months of waiting around.
I really want to move out and just cover it up although it may be discovered by the surveyor (yes I do have moral doubts on the matter but these have been replaced by the more immediate question of practicality).
Matt from Norwich: who do you think will win the 2010 World Cup?
Nathan from Launceston: I am in a long-term relationship with a wonderful lady who is much too good for me, and am hoping to trap her in marriage before she realises her mistake.
I’d like to propose in the traditional bended-knee-and-diamond-ring fashion, but here’s the problem: she doesn’t have any rings and never has. So, how should I choose the right size?
All I’ve been able to think of so far is surreptitiously measuring her fingers while she sleeps. I can only imagine this would end with me waking her up and then I’d be forced into proposing to someone who is grumpy and confused while I’m wearing striped pajamas. Can you come up with a better plan?
aired 15th April 2010
Harry in Chesterfield: is Justin Bieber castrato?
Graham from Plymouth: can I have Helen’s tin of yacht varnish?
Patrick from London: what is the origin of the name of the tomato drink Bloody Mary? All I can think of is it is a reference to the holy mother and that alcohol makes her bloody and dirty.
Brendan, 16, from Cork: why does Axl Rose’s bride die in the in the video for ‘November Rain’? It makes no fuckin sense.
Ben from Brighton: I just headbutted my housemate. What’s the best way to clear the air?
AJ from Nottingham: I am a happily heterosexual male; however, recently I have found I have developed an enormous mancrush on Brian Cox. Is there something in particular about Professor Brian Cox? Am I turning? Or is this just an aberration?
Adhish: I am a medical student studying in Bangladesh, originally from Nepal, two places you’ll never ever be bothered with. I always wanted to be a writer, I still do, but very likely I am not good enough. Anyway like cliches even stereotypes must have some truth behind them, so answer me this: are good writers always depressed and does depression lead to better writing?
John from Leeds: why can’t you use your mobile phone on a petrol station forecourt? My friend says its because if you dropped it it could spark a flame, but if that’s true why can’t you even use it inside your own car?
Laurence from York: why is the missionary position called the missionary position?
Joy from Ash Vale in Surrey: what is the origin of the game Rock, Paper, Scissors?
aired 8th April 2010
Tyler from Nottingham: what came first, the McChicken Nugget or the Egg McMuffin?
Chris from Bedford: I work night shift for a supermarket and was stunned by the obscene amount of salmon we had delivered in the build up to Easter weekend. What is it with salmon at Easter?
Tristan from London: why do I sneeze when I pluck my nasal hair with tweezers?
Craig from HMS Atherstone: I’m a technician in the Royal Navy, currently detached out in Bahrain. I won’t lie to you: it’s terribly dull work and the night-life expensive. Being a nautical person, here is a nautical themed poser: I have heard many theories on this (not least of all by a wisened old taxi driver who looked like Kris Kristofferson, in Norfolk Virginia), and you would be surprised to find they don’t teach us this in the Navy… but what are the origins of the terms “Port” and “Starboard”?
I was once watching Star Wars (it was Return of the Jedi, actually, and it was the original print, not those ridiculous special edition facelift versions), and got to thinking this about light-sabers. (I told you it was dull out here.) I noticed that in the movie (the climactic battle between Luke and Vader) that the light saber “blades” were casting shadows. If they are composed of light, surely they would not cast a shadow? Am I wrong? Am I just thinking about this too much? Should I get back to work? (Probably)
Henry: I have recently become a student again. Being single and in a house full of single lads we have take the opportunity to become a bunch of slags.
It may be chauvinist but it’s a lot of fun, well it was supposed to be, but until lately we have all been trying to hard and the pulled/not pulled board was looking pitiful. Apart from one of the group – let’s all him Steve (that is his name after all!!!) – he would pull almost every time he went out and was no better looking or no better at chatting up women than the rest of us. recently he let us into his secret. After sex he shoots his load into a bottle, lets it stand then mixes it with water, next time he goes out he sprays it on like aftershave. not believing him, but being up for anything we all tried it.
Well to cut some long and interesting stories short, we can categorically say that it works, a good spritz before we go out means we pull, we even had a non spritzed control group and it would seem he is onto something.
so…. why oh why does this work?
Stuart from London: what’s the name of the emotion you feel when you want someone to bequeath you something, but you don’t actually want them to die?
Tom in Brighton: how much is acceptable to drink on your own?
Simon in Exeter: with Summer just around the corner and spring having most definitely sprung I have begun to plan a barbecue. Why is a barbecue called a barbecue? It seems an odd word that is dissimilar to every other word. The only thing I can think of is that it is related to the Greek barbaros which means uncivilised (i think). Is this true?
John: how is tuna in cans cooked? No one has ever been able to tell me. You are my last chance!
John from Chester: where did the phrase ‘skeletons in the cupboard’ come from?
Fiona from County Durham: if a corpse has been dug up after being underground for about a month, and you chopped it into bits, would it bleed?
Davie in Crouch End: if I were to download a song, copy it, sell it and then profit from it financially. I’m sure my balls would be chewed as I’m dragged to court by some pony-tailed record company bigwig. Yet if I were to stand in Oxford Circus, belting out the same song as a busker, the pony-tailed record company bigwig would probably walk on by. Perhaps even lobbing a 50p into my open guitar case. So please answer me this. Is busking technically an infringement of copyright law and as a result illegal?
aired 1st April 2010
Alex from Leeds: what is an arachnologist?
Tom from Harefield: does Martin feel like helping me with my Physics revision? I’m slightly struggling and I have an exam in mid-April.
Jamie, in France but not French: often the last thing you do sing or write is referred to as your “swan song”. Why is this so? I have on many occasions tried to tempt a swan in to a musical outburst but I have yet to succeed. Am I doing something wrong or does this saying make no fucking sense at all?
Nicole from Surrey: why do people throw rice at weddings?
Nicolette, on the rather beautiful although bloody windy rock of Alderney: I took the MENSA home test and they emailed to say that my score is 155 which would put me in the top 1%. Now problem is do I book a supervised test? If it was a case of the day off work and a bus ride then i would without hesitation but I live on a rock, just off the coast of France and the nearest test center is on a larger rock at least £100 flight away!!! I took 25 minutes to do complete the test and they allow 45 and it wasn’t exactly difficult. 155 is great, do I take the chance that my real score is only 87?
So, Helen and Olly, answer me this. Would it be worth it, Is MENSA membership worth having or are they just a bunch of elitist twats?
Sara from California: why is it that sideburns in the context of a period film look fine, even dashing but in the context of the modern world they just look creepy?
Kat from Sevenoaks: what makes Red Leicester cheese orange-coloured?
Sean: whose idea was it to make a stretch limo?
Wayne from St Catharine’s, Ontario: “Spotted dick is a steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit (usually currants) commonly served with custard.” SUET. aka raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys.
Are you fucking kidding me? People actually eat this stuff!??!
No one’s holding a gun to a person’s head forcing them to eat it?
Evan and Dave from New Hampshire: why is ‘awesome’ good and ‘awful’ bad? Because ‘some awe’ should be not as good as ‘full of awe’, and ‘full of awe’ is apparently bad.
Wigwam from Guildford: why do you sing in church?
Kev from Grimsby: as a student sharing a house with two other lazy undomesticated blokes, we often ran out of toilet roll and had to improvise. Numerous things were used including a tea towel, a fish and chips wrapper, a poster of Jo Guest and on one occasion I wiped my arse with a flash bathroom wipe. It stung like a bastard but my nipsy has never been cleaner. So answer me this what is the worst thing you have used to wipe your bum?
Ky from Harrogate: last week some fucker hacked my email account and tried to transfer $400 out of my Paypal account. After contacting MSN, a serious (but fairly entertaining) game of cat and mouse ensued, with both myself and the hacker continuously resetting my password. On my final attempt I discovered the hacker had inserted his personal details into the security section and as a result I have his postcode and email address. So Helen and Olly answer me this, should I use this information to wreak a terrible revenge (I’m thinking letter bombs and so on) or should I be fearful of reprisals incase he has more of my personal information!?
aired 25th March 2010
Harry from Chesterfield: what’s the point of those little arrows on the bowling lanes?
Josh from Arkansas: Dear Helen and Olly,
This isn’t a question for you. This is for your listeners.
To the query of Answer Me This listeners:
Marry, Boff, Kill: Helen, Olly, or Martin the Sound Man?
Bill and Mary Anne in New York: was the grapefruit the first fruit (only fruit) to have its own utensil?
Ben from Chatham: why don’t they make scratch’n'sniff porn, and what smells do you think would be fitting?
Beth. County Durham: I’ve recently been cast in my college’s production of the musical Grease, that well-known feel-good cheese fest. But answer me this, WHAT THE MERRY HELL?!
I’ve just been reading the script and it seems to me to be mainly this: sweet girl falls for wanky guy. Wanky guy is ashamed of sweet girl so acts like a dick to her in front of his mates. She is made fun of for the way she acts and dresses, and the fact she isn’t into drink and sex and pierced ears, by all her fellow students, and in the end succumbs to the peer-pressure and becomes a slutty caricature of herself in leather trousers who goes about calling people ‘stud’. How is this a happy ending?!?!
So yes, in conclusion, AMT Team, why on earth is this seen as a happy cheesy play, when to me it seems like a bleak and hopeless snapshot of teenage existence?
Rosie: how do mood rings work and what are they made of?
Zak: why are there bristles In letterboxes?
Felicity from Blackpool: who decided that a Marathon should be 26.2 miles? A friend is running one for a local charity, but who decided the exact number of miles all those years ago?
Jon from Twickenham: what’s the difference between stalagmites and stalactites?
Heather from Manchester: what does the queen do in her spare time? Does she watch Harry Potter films or listen to Lady Gaga or play specially hand-crafted, gold-plated board games with the rest of the royal family?
Martin the arachnologist: does the queen have a passport?
Rob in Hitchin: I am marrying my Nigerian girlfriend of 5 years and would love to say something in her language but just cant find a definite answer online. Answer me this, how do you say “I love you” in the Nigerian language of Igbo?
aired 18th March 2010
Tom from Harefield: Olly, AnswerMeThis, why were you nearly kicked out of school? I’m intrigued
Alice from London: we all know that orange doesn’t rhyme with anything. But what other words don’t? We can only think of ‘opaque’.
Daniel from Borehamwood: why do people throw bottles at ships on their maiden voyages?
Sam of Leeds: is it possible to eat a pasty on the move while retaining any kind of dignity?
Luke: I’m just sitting in Heathrow terminal five about to go on my travels and IT IS AMAZING. But answer me this… Has ANYONE ever bought a Rolex or something as expensive in an airport – surely there is simply no market for luxury goods at a departure lounge?
Sarah: why is an Egyptian mummy called a mummy? I will admit that there is a passing resemblance to my mother-in-law but this hardly seems reason enough.
Alice in Egypt: why do mosquitoes love me so much? The first time I came here I got bitten 37 times on my face,
neck and hands. A few weeks ago I went to a party at a friend’s house, and I exaggerate only slightly when I say that I was sitting in a swarm of mosquitoes while everyone else was left alone. So what is it about me?
Martin from Featherstone: the strangest thing happened to me today – I found a stray parrot in my back garden. It had beautiful green plumage and appeared to be quite tame, so I took it inside. Unfortunately when I got it inside the house all it would say was either “good morning you ugly bastard”, “good afternoon you ugly bastard” or “good night you ugly bastard”. So Olly answer me this: is it yours?
Richard from Edinburgh: why do they have bibles in hotel rooms?
Tim from Watford: why do fruit machines have cherries etc?
Cameron from Alexandria: : does radioactive waste glow green in real life like it does in the movies?
Rupert from Greenwich: if you had a standard DIY stepladder, could you fingerbang a giraffe? Or would I need a larger ladder?
LeighAnne from Easton, Pennsylvania: since I’m an English major with a focus on Elizabethan & Stuart drama, I’ve spent the past three years of my life alternately contemplating and trying to erase from my brain some of the most gruesome images known to literature. Pondering such horrors as heartsicles (see ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore) and men using the skulls of their dead girlfriends to poison old men (see The Revenger’s Tragedy) has me wondering: what do you think is the most gruesome work of literature ever written? What’s the most disgusting scene you’ve ever read?
aired 11th March 2010
Lewis from Liverpool: what is the relation between cancer and crabs?
Daniel from Luton: how old are you guys?
Kirsty: do the police still use Graphology, and if so, what does this mean in terms of our own autonomy? If my handwriting is that of a serial killer or sexual deviant, does this mean that I have no option but to be those things, that it has been predestined and revealed in my own handwriting, and can you train yourself out of this? If I practise hard enough, can I change my writing to be that of a multi-millionaire, or a genius?
Stuart from Chichester: what’s up with dalmatians and fire trucks? Recently I was playing with a small child and its Fisher Price fire truck and noticed that there was a dalmatian included in the set. Then remembering back to my childhood I have seen plenty-o dalmatians and fire trucks in cartoons and movies.
I would shit a brick if I was trapped in my burning flat and a dalmatian showed up to help me.
Tim from Croydon: if you were fleeing your burning house, what three things would you take with you?
Rebecca from London: what are the origins of the word ‘widow’?
Brendan from Cork: is Turkish Delight actually from Turkey? My friend says it is but I don’t believe because he’s an idiot.
Luke from Stafford: what would happen if you addressed a helium balloon and took it to the Post Office? It’s weightless, so would you have to pay?
Tom from Windsor: I work in a bar and last month a guy came in at ten to closing and had a drink. It then became apparent that he was mentally unstable and took me 45 minutes to get rid of him in a nice way. This ended up later on me and him at the bottom of the high street with him in floods of tears telling me his crazy stories. Tonight he returned and I wasn’t in the mood so I told him to fuck off before getting someone to eject him. I now believe I might have been harsh no matter how crazy he is and realise that I have no knowledge over how to kick a person out of a bar. Is there an etiquette?
PS. He liked to imagine me as a female.
aired 4th March 2010
Simon from Hampstead: is it true that Finchley Road in London marks the line where a glacier came to in the last ice age? It sounds far-fetched, but I’ve heard this from several people now and doubt my own intuition.
Chris from March, Cambridgeshire: what’s the difference between a cheese sandwich and a cheese toastie?
Sean: recently my friend Jim and I invented a new drink. Chilli Vodka with a spam chaser. The raw burn of the chilli complements the greasiness of the spam. We were trying to think of a name for this but the best we could come up with is vodka-con-carne but we think this is a bit of a rubbish name. Helen and Olly, Can you suggest a better name?
Andrew from the Wirral: is it appropriate to put deodorant around your genitals?
The Riddler: in what could be the ultimate rickroll, I recently discovered that the no 1 single on the day I was born was Rick Astley – ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. Helen, Olly and Martin the Soundman, answer me this: what were the number 1 singles on the days you were born and do you feel they would make a good basis for an internet phenomenon of the future?
Sam from New Winton: why do lion tamers use chairs?
Lauren from Croydon: today at work I was asked to go through one of my boss’s emails to do some stuff for him. Whilst doing the work I noticed an email from my other boss sent to him yesterday called “letter to Lauren”. Curiosity obviously got better of me and I read the email. She was asking if he had any comments on the letter to me. The letter basically said I haven’t been doing enough work and that if my work doesn’t improve in the next four weeks they are gonna sack me. Helen and Olly answer me this, have you ever been sacked and how do I tell my mum I might not have a job this time next month?
P.S I really hope my bosses don’t listen to your podcast or I’m definitely getting sacked for reading the email.
Alex from Leeds: why do witches ride brooms?
Tim from Watford: why are illegal copies of things called ‘bootlegs’?
Ollie and Paul, somewhere in the land of OZ: we are two Scots travelling around Australia in our camper van Bella. On cheering on our fellow scot Andy Murray in the Australian Open- C’mon my son!!! – I, Ollie, am not a very sport-savvy kinda guy, pondered why they score tennis in an irregular fashion? Love and deuce seem a bit poncy and old fashioned……So can you put our minds at rest and explain how the scoring system came about?
Dan in Weymouth: do you like coconut? Personally I hate it, however my mum loves it, and she cannot comprehend anyone not liking it.
What is the book that you hated most from school? Mine is Death of a Salesman. Why couldn’t the make character just die at the beginning and not drag it out over 100 bloody pages?
Would you like to come to our spring ball in may?
aired 28th January 2010
Liz: where does the expression “Sod’s Law” come from?
Jenny from Mississippi: do y’all have little sayings to remember how to spell things?
Angela in the wilds of Shikoku, Japan: what exactly is a bunny boiler? I’ve heard it that many times over the years (not aimed at me, of course) that I’m simply too embarrassed to admit that I don’t know what it means. And have you ever gone for years not knowing what something means because you didn’t want to look stupid in front of your mates by admitting your ignorance?
Craig from Kentucky: just like everything else that is successful in the UK, have you considered creating an American version of your podcast? What differences would there be from the original?
Rebecca from London: my boyfriend, who is lovely and perfect in most respects, has pictures of scantily clad women on his walls which I really don’t like. We’ve been together for a couple of months and I’ve never said anything about them; how do I make him get rid of them without embarrassing him?
Mike from Washington: why do hugs feel so good?
Andy from Boston: how do I politely get my wife to remove her teeth from the shower without going into a pussy time-out? She got those invisible braces (Invisline) a few years ago and they worked, but she has to wear the retainers every once in a while. In the morning she takes them out when showering and hangs them on the wash cloth. Gross. When I shower they are staring at me like dentures that haven’t seen Effident in 20 years. Her pre-shower morning breath is rancid and the brace colour is now a brown since the plastic is aged, which is totally gnarly if she still is wearing them. If I tell her the truth, despite my love for her, I won’t get laid for a month so help!
Alex from Lewes: why are coin sides called, heads and tails, when often, the tails side doesn’t feature a tail of any sort?
Bennett from Minneapolis: why are celebrities so messed up?
Lottie from Oxfordshire: my mum bought me the True Blood box set for Christmas and thought it looked good so wanted to watch it with me. How do you watch a sex scene with your parent or guardian without feeling embarrassed? Where do you look?
Richard in Bermuda: the wifie and I went out for a meal with 4 friends. The following day we noticed the restaurant had made a mistake and not divided the bill evenly but had over-charged us, and under-charged our friends. The
restaurant aren’t giving us our money back as they say we should make spotted the mistake on the night. We kinda of accept this; but, in our defence, we were properly drunk. Helen and Olly answer me this, should we ask our friends for the money?
Steve from Rotherham: taking my little boy to school, yesterday we went down an alleyway and there was a huge pile of dogshit. It was still there today, but someone had chalked ‘shit’ underneath it, which I found funny. So answer me this: when did graffiti start?
Alice from St Mary Hoo, Kent: for Halloween I went to a fright night at Thorpe Park, where two interesting things happened to me:
- I got stuck on a roller coaster for a couple of hours
- While waiting in the queue for Saw, the pond life couple in front of us started full on groping each other, you could see her hand down his trousers while she was tossing him off……WHY? What is it that would turn you on about being in a queue????? It was really difficult trying not to laugh and I was wondering if there was anything hilarious (besides the obvious “can I join in?”) I could say should this situation occur again?
aired 21st January 2010
Jason in Colchester: an ex work colleague has offered me £100 to write the financial paper for her Leisure and Entertainment university degree. Should I do it?
Aubrey, 15: my very short friend is scared of vaginas. Whenever they come up in conversation, as they do, he covers his ears and moans in a sensory-overloady kind of way. Now, I do realise that vaginas are quite disgusting but not so much as to inspire a phobia. So Helen, Olly and possibly Martin the Soundman, answer me this: how do I cure my friend’s irrational phobia without resorting to exposure therapy? I don’t have any female friends who are willing.
Olly from New Zealand: why do men get down on one knee to propose? Where did this bit of prescient subservience originate from?
Katie from New Zealand: is it true that the kiss at a wedding originated from the newlyweds having sex in public?!
James from London: my other half has a thing about her weight, and always checks the backs of packets for the calorie count. She also has a habit of biting her toenails. What’s the average calorie count of a human toenail?
Bas from East London: if I were to piss in a Brita water filter, would it be drinkable?
Kieren from Hastings: why do you not do your own voices for Tomtom? I for one would like to listen to you whilst driving along.
Odile from Birmingham: I am reading a book, a nice thick 500+ pages book, it’s not mine… answer me this: how can I read it without damaging the spine?
Heather from Manchester: if Pinocchio says “This is a lie”, does his nose grow?
Lesley-Anne from the side of the road: do fish have livers?
Charlie from London: my wife and I have been invited by a couple we know from work to join the swinging lifestyle. I am very interested and my wife hasn’t said “No” outright, which intrigues me. I am quite keen to get a legitimate “yes”, as I have been seeing the other woman for a few months now. However, I will stop seeing her if my wife says “No”, but would rather not. How do I convince my wife?
aired 14th January 2010
Seana in Belfast: I just broke up with my boyfriend of 7 years and I’m going to Berlin to be miserable and get lost for a week. I’ve never been and I don’t speak German – what should I do there?
Jason: What is the largest animal do you think you could kill with your bare hands?
Polish Greg: one of the traditional Polish dishes is soup called FLAKI which is made from cleaned strips of beef (or chicken) tripes. I know that it sounds disgusting but I loved it and I would kill for a bowl of hot, spicy soup. Do you have any dish which sound disgusting but you really loved it?
Rob from Portsmouth: I was driving along the other day having just picked up my lovely boyfriend (Nathan) from work when he asked if he could lick me (I am not keen on being licked so he does it to annoy me). I said “NO”. He then asked when it would be an appropriate time to lick me and I replied, “When I am dead.” He said that his taste buds would not be working when I am dead, they would be worn out and he wouldn’t be able to taste anything. So answer me this – do taste buds wear out when you’re old? Will I lose the ability to taste marzipan when I am 93?
Tim from Watford: why at movie premieres do stars walk down a red carpet?
Why are STDs known as the clap?
Claire: I have an English interview at Oxford University tomorrow, and as a result am simultaneously excited and, quite frankly, SHITTING MYSELF. So Helen and Olly, as fully-fledged Oxford English graduates, answer me this: what sort of questions popped up at your interviews, and do you have any pearls of wisdom for all us nervous university applicants out there?
Ellie, 13, from Brussels: why on EARTH is the ‘R’ in Toys ‘R’ Us UPSIDE DOWN???????????????????
Nicky: why do we shiver when we’re cold?
Lyndsay from Dundee: you know the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”. My mum asked me the other day if I knew how the phrase came about and I explained how I thought it was something to do with the story about Shrodinger’s cat. Is this true or was I just talking rubbish?
Jordan from Edinburgh: me and my girlfriend are going on our first solo train journey in a few weeks and we’ve mutually decided that we want to have sex on the train. So answer me this, what is best way to have sex in the train toilets without getting caught?
Steve in Fukuoka: I was very disheartened to hear as a medium term listener that you don’t like the creamy chocolates in boxes of Quality Street. In my family it is always been the purples and blues that get left behind. I was sad because I thought we might get along if we met in a non podcast setting but this could be a friendship deal breaker if not for the fact that it actually would work out for both of us. Sweets for all!
My question is what a friendship deal breaker is for you guys. I once broke up with a lady because she liked Charlie’s Angels and Jeremy Clarkson said that not liking the movie Local Hero could make him reevaluate a friendship.
aired 7th January 2010
Fraser in Japan: the secretary at the school I work at likes to ask questions about random things from the English language, such as dry humping. She didn’t understand what it meant. So being the gentleman I am decided to demonstrate it by dry humping her. Let’s just say I broke her mentally, and now whenever I see her she calls me humper while cowering in the corner. So answer me this, how can I get her to forgive me and regain her trust?
Chris in Wandsworth: why is it that whenever I visit a second-hand bookshop it always makes me want to take a shit? Is it that the bookshop I visit is most often My Back Pages in Balham, which has been ceremonially re-dubbed My Back Passage by everyone I know? Hmmmm.
Heather in Atlanta: 1. I need to get back in the dating scene, and the only hope I can have of finding a date is via the Internet. How do I select a good dating profile nickname?
2. I am a 6 foot tall female. Does this mean that a serial killer is less likely to select me as a victim? Do serial killers only go after shorter females, and, if so, what do you figure the cut off is?
Vicky, 15, in Oxted: I just watch the film Lolita online. Answer me this: WHAT THE FREAKING FUCK?
I was in floods of tears at the tragic and powerful ending, when a caption on the screen says they both die????? What kind of a shitty ending is that? I think I’ve lost all my innocence for ever.
Jason: why are condoms called rubber johnnies?
Neale from Leeds: do snakes have arseholes, and if so, where? As I’ve don’t think I’ve ever seen one with an arse.
Rhys from Bridgend: what are the origins of the expression ‘Dutch courage’?
Will: who originally decided what colour a crisp packet should be, relating to its flavour. i.e. Salt and Vinegar Blue, Cheese and Onion Green, Ready Salted Red, etc? And why, do Walkers, insist on swapping blues and greens around?
Sarah from Melbourne: why is it that estate agents are the only people who put their photos on their business cards? How did this tradition arise? Far from making me want to trust them, it just creeps me out…not the kind of people I want in my wallet.
Andria from Fake London, Ontario: I’m about to have half my liver removed. How come the liver is the only organ which regenerates?
Paul from Hampshire: what is the origin of Welsh Rarebit? Is it anything to do with Welsh people or rabbits or is it just a posh form of cheese on toast?
Bunty: I have a problem: I’m scared of sharks but my boyfriend isn’t. When I go on holiday with him I make him swim on the outside so that I am nearer to the beach should a shark attack – the idea being that he is nearer to any potential sharks who could be nearby. If there are lots of people in the sea then I plot an imaginary line through those furthest out to sea and do not approach it: they will be first. While mentioning this to friends recently I got a reaction from most of them that seems to indicate that my behaviour is slightly unusual.
So answer me this: am I being ethical?
Rick from London Town: are humans red meat or white meat?