Thursday Listening Party

February 26, 2015 by

film2_lewis

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

What have you been listening to lately, AMTpals? Share your picks in the comments.

Emerging podcast trend: episode-by-episode dissections of TV shows. I think it gathered momentum during the final act of Breaking Bad, and over the last few months more and more of such shows have sprouted up. I previously mentioned the Twin Peaks rewatch Fire Talk With Me, and I’ve just become aware of TWO shows devoted to Columbo: The Columbo Podcast and Just One More Thing. However, I’ve not actually formed a habit for any of these shows – until Slate’s TV Club Insider series on The Americans. In the podcast, the people who actually make the show talk about how they solve tricky plotting and shooting problems, manage to direct actors speaking foreign languages, and film scenes in which a [SPOILER] is [SPOILERED] and shoved into a [SPOILER].

I’ve been stacking up podcasts which I have not yet had time to hear; top of the pile is Employee of the Month with Catie Lazarus – the guest list looks great. I’ve also been chaining older episodes of Love + Radio. Now, kiddos, this is not a show to listen to with your nun friends, and it covers myriad topics of a sensitive nature; but it is very worth your time. Some of the episodes that made a strong impression on me: ‘Insane vs Unsane‘, ‘The List‘, ‘Dirty Balloons‘, ‘The Superchat‘. Go.

The gents of South London Hardcore came over to the AMT stronghold to chat with me and Martin about podcasting, Crystal Palace, Roman Mars, our sexually loud former neighbours, and soforth.

Listened to AMT308 yet? No? Shame on you! Shaaaaame!

A new episode of the Mann-helmed Media Podcast should be landing any moment, so keep refreshing your feeds.

On the latest Allusionist, I investigate something which had puzzled me for 20+ years: why a Finnish radio station broadcasts a weekly news bulletin in Latin. Renegades!

If you need yet more of me talking about myself: here’s one interview I did with the New Statesman; here’s another, with the women of Radiotopia and Invisibilia, on Ravishly; there’ll be another on The Timbre‘s site tomorrow; and here’s another in this documentary about podcasting:

See you next Thursday for AMT309!

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EPISODE 308: haunted by an image of my father’s penis

February 19, 2015 by

Answer Me This! Episode 308 is a surprisingly jobs-themed episode, with questions about whether your tertiary education should prepare you for one, to how your hair can affect your ability to get one, to what you do when you lose one.

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On today’s roster are such topics as:

cat-cleaning
pink hair
green hair
vocations
FDR’s hot dog banquet
Bill Clinton’s night out with the lads
redundancy
sleeping naked
fainting at Elvis
and
throwing knickers at Tom Jones.

Plus: a typo made Olly a lot more popular in 90s chatrooms; if you’ve been made redundant, join Helen at the Daytime Cinema Club; and Martin the Sound Man manages to make a big pile of underwear sound like the grossest, most unappealing, least sexy thing possible.

In today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the AppiDevices, Android and Windows gadgets – we continue to contemplate the question about how our nightwear-averse questioneer could dress for slumber. There must be a compromise between a tutu and a full suit of armour.

If you are struggling with a similarly grievous quandary, send it – or any question – to us, as a voicemail on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – or an email sent to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. You can also keep us company online at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

Thanks very much to Squarespace.com for supporting this episode, and for giving you 10% off their website-building and -hosting services for a year if you use the code ‘ANSWER‘. Which you should, to demonstrate your devotion to this podcast.

Since we are devoted to providing you with this podcast, we’ll return on 5th March 2015 with AMT309.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT308 Child-Friendly Rating: 64%. A few swears, though the strongest are right at the end, so you could cut out before then. Very mild bawdiness in the question about naked sleeping, but nothing that would startle a nun. •••

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surprise celebs

February 18, 2015 by

1533-620x400

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT307

Nathan from Manchester has written to share his various brushes with fame:

Back in 2001 I worked in a Levi’s store in central Manchester. Often celebrities would come in to buy overpriced jeans so I served Hollyoaks and Corrie actors, premiership footballers and even the drummer from Oasis. But I didn’t recognise any of them. It became a bit of a running joke with my colleagues as I would serve someone, then they would give me clues so I could work out who I had just talked to.

The one exception was Ainsley Harriott who was unmistakable, mostly because of his size. I had seen him on TV but was still surprised with how big he was. (He said Levi’s was the only place he could buy non-custom jeans from.) I got him some huge jeans and he also tried on some imported Levi shoes from America but even the one size 12 pair we had were too small for him.

Anyway, answer me this: have you ever interacted with a celeb or star without realising it at the time? And how did you find out about it afterwards?

I have, Nathan – also when I worked in a shop, in this case Hall’s Bookshop in my home town of Tunbridge Wells. One morning in the late 90s, I sold two old French paperbacks to a man who seemed quite tipsy even at that early hour, and refused to to take his 20p change. Then after he left, another customer rushed in to ask which books Tom Baker had bought. Having been too unborn/young to see him play Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981, I was oblivious.

(I just had a look on the new Hall’s website, and it appears Tom Baker is still frequenting the place!)

Readers, go to the comments to boast of your unwitting celebrity interactions.

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Parlo Italiano

February 17, 2015 by

italian-gestures1

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT307

A question about la bella lingua Italiana from Adam, aged 34 and 3/4:

I live in Gillingham in Dorset. I have recently taken a job that divides my time between England and northern Italy. I am just returning from my first week in Italy and I have had a throughly nice time. The people are very friendly, they all speak fantastic English and the job looks perfect for me.

Most of the time the Italians speak in English when I am there so I can join in with the banter around the coffee machine, butthere are other times where they speak in their mother tongue and I can’t understand a fucking word!! They could be mocking me and calling me a massive prick for all I know!?

Please answer me this: how do I learn Italian as quickly as possible? I don’t need to be fluent but enough Italian to be polite and understand at least what subject they are discussing and…so I know if they are calling me a wanker.

Readers, any suggestions? I’ve heard the Michel Thomas Method app is nothing short of miraculous, but I haven’t tried it yet, and also I don’t know how comprehensively it teaches you to recognise whether or not you’re being called a wanker.

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Marital Munters

February 16, 2015 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT307

Mark has something to say about an AMT from the very distant past:

I’ve bought the first two batches of back episodes and been working my way though them.

I had to email when I came across Munters in episode 16. While my wife Michelle turned up to our wedding in the fancy car, I arrived in my friend’s Munters Van!

Wedding-66-1954x1308
unnamed

Aah, love is beautiful! And not munting.

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Thursday Listening Party

February 12, 2015 by

HearMuffs-1111111

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

What have you been listening to lately, AMTpals? Share your picks in the comments. Here are some of the things that have infiltrated my ears:

Last weekend, to keep me company whilst I raced to finish a ridiculous craft project, I chained several episodes of Why Oh Why? with Andrea Silenzi and Date Night, both of which feel like eavesdropping on very candid conversations. More reliable than hoping you hit the jackpot on the train by getting a seat in front of a couple of people having a very juicy chat…

Also candid: latest Radiotopia recruit Mortified. During the craft project I watched the Mortified Nation documentary, and now I can get my fix of adults reading their embarrassing teenage diaries and letters on their new weekly podcast (here it is on SoundCloud and iTunes).

I’m SO glad I never kept a diary. All my teenage feelings, not saved for posterity! Thank goodness…

Many people have noted that this recent episode of This American Life about trolling is brilliant. They are right. Get on it.

I was rooting around in the Radio 4 archives and happened upon an episode of Chain Reaction in which Rebecca Front is interviewed by her brother Jeremy Front. Who doesn’t love Rebecca Front? That’s right, none of you raised your hands. Then I looked down the chain and saw who else was coming up in the series – Chris Addison! Derren Brown! Caitlin Moran! – and, well, that’s three hours taken care of. Then I noticed the other nine series, so that’s me sorted until March.

What else have we been up to since the hijinks of AMT307?

You can hear Olly every late night/early morning on LBC, and every fortnight on the Media Podcast, of which there should be a new episode later today.

You’ll enjoy the latest episode of The Allusionist, especially if you’re that listener who wrote in a few years ago to tell me he enjoyed hearing me say ‘cunt’. Because this whole show is about the word cunt. Find the show at theallusionist.org, iTunes, SoundCloud or those other places you like to find podcasts.

Aaaaand finally: here is my very last podcast for Sound Women. I’m taking early retirement. Aptly, my swansong is all about podcasting; I chat to Theresa Thorn of the very entertaining One Bad Mother, and to my new boss/patron Roman Mars of 99% Invisible. If you’ve ever wanted to hear podcasters moaning about what goes on behind the scenes, your ship has come in (on SoundCloud and iTunes):

See you next Thursday for AMT308!

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EPISODE 307: a rubber glove with no fingers

February 5, 2015 by

Overshadowed by a special guest appearance from Missy Elliott*, here’s Answer Me This! Episode 307:

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*Not really. She refuses to respond to our postcards.

On today’s question-answering slate:

female strippers
male strippers
drupes
Grumpy Cat
beckoning cats
Cats
Lil Bub: the Chris Martin of cats
Ben Lashes
fast food delivery
wedding diplomacy
Happy Meal toys
Ronald McDonald vs Carol Vorderman
human beatboxing
coconuts
and
Femidoms.

Plus: Olly’s brain or his wang can be stimulated, but never at the same time; Helen could have been the late-90s Beanie Baby trading magnate of Tunbridge Wells; and Martin the Sound Man exercises uncharacteristic restraint in the face of a question about beatboxing. Though he still manages to sound like he’s polishing a window with his own spit.

Today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App contains further contemplation of memes and cats and the internet’s favourite/Helen’s least favourite, cat memes. Hear on your iDevices, Android and Windows gadgets.

Thanks very much to Squarespace.com for supporting this episode, and for giving you 10% off their website-building and -hosting services for a year if you use the code ‘ANSWER‘. Use it use it use it!

With every fibre of our being, we yearn for your QUESTIONS. Leave voicemails on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – or send emails to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com.

Join us in the vale of online friendship at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

We’ll be here with AMT308 on 19th February, hopefully you will be too.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT307 Child-Friendly Rating: 39%. Swearing, strippers AND Femidoms. Maybe not. •••

PS As it sleets down upon the steeple of the AMT stronghold, here is Olly in more clement climes modelling this year’s hot look in drupes:

IMG_0681

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Schrödinger’s cat

February 4, 2015 by

20121113-catster-cat-in-box-video-hero

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT306

Here’s a question from Mark from Delaware:

What breed was Schrödinger’s cat?

It was a pedigree theoretical cat. The best breed, in my opinion: it doesn’t moult, piss on the carpet or claw at visitors.

Do any of you know whether or not Erwin Schrödinger actually owned a cat? Since his famous thought experiment involved dead cat, I always assumed he probably wasn’t a fan of the live kind.

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Bentwaters

February 4, 2015 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT306

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 19.38.51

Here is a question from Crystal:

I live in a very boring town in Iowa in the United States.

I was actually born somewhere near the Bentwaters air force base as my Dad was stationed there and I have never been back for a visit. I was 3 when we came back to the States so I don’t remember much about it.

Sooooo answer me this – can you tell me something interesting or anything really about where I was born?

I’ll do my best, Crystal.

Bentwaters…

1. …has its own Cold War Museum and Forest Centre!
2. …is near where UFOs were(n’t) spotted in 1980!
3. …is just inland from the charming seaside town Aldeburgh, a must-visit for Benjamin Britten fans!
4. …is a quick submarine-ride away from Old Dunwich, a town which fell into the sea and precipitated the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act!
5. …is where they filmed bits of Fast & Furious 6, as well as such TV series as X-Fire, Space Cadets and Dog Borstal!
6. …is conveniently situated if you want to visit one of Britain’s most important Anglo-Saxon sites Sutton Hoo, the 800-year-old Orford Castle, and Framlingham Castle which is proud of its chimneys!
7. …is handy for the Suffolk coast, an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!
8. …is also handy if you hate natural beauty and would prefer to visit one of Suffolk’s notorious power stations!
9. …is the starting-point for a magical summer daytrip to the Southwold Maize Maze and the PEASENHALL PEA FESTIVAL!
10. …is only 21 miles away from Wangford, tee hee hee!

That’s ten things, which is quite good going, I think. You’re welcome, Crystal.

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smells like old lady spirit

February 3, 2015 by

bathing-in-perfume-gas-mask

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT306

Here’s a question of pongs from Tom from Yerevan, Armenia:

I have recently given up smoking and as a result my sense of smell and taste have begun to return, which is bloody wonderful.

I am also dating a lovely Iranian woman who I like very much. However, there is one tiny problem. She wears perfume every day. In fact she wears a lot of perfume every day. Back when I was smoking I didn’t really notice and in fact I quite liked how she smelled, but now I have started to notice with my heightened senses that the scent can be a little overpowering at times.

Furthermore, the perfume she wears is a very popular brand where we live in Yerevan (Armenia) and many older women also wear it.

I don’t want her to stop wearing perfume altogether, but I think I would be happier if she wore less, or maybe switched to something that is a little different to what she wears now.

So please answer me this: How can I tell my wonderful Iranian girlfriend that she smells like an old Armenian woman without causing upset or some sort of difficult diplomatic situation??

First tip: avoid using the phrase ‘smells like an old Armenian woman’.

If my creaking old memory serves, we’ve addressed this problem before – I think one of you had an overly scented grandmother? – and solutions included 1) buying her a watered-down version of the same fragrance, eg the eau de toilette versus the full-power perfume; 2) pretending to be allergic to it by sneezing/painting on a rash. Readers, what would you do? [RWWYD?]

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Thursday Listening Party

January 29, 2015 by

dumbo-ipod-sad-song_l

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

If you’re interested in podcasting, you might be interested in:

1. The newish weekly pod-newsletter Hot Pod, which recommends things to listen to, and mulls over what is happening in the field right now;

2. Several of the sessions from last autumn’s Third Coast Festival, particularly this one about making your own stuff if you need a little inspiration sprinkled with practical advice;

3. The ‘Burnout’ episode of StartUp podcast. Gimlet Media, the guys behind StartUp, are some of the most successful in the business, with the additional advantages of funds, skills, and This American Life stamp of approval; so if even they find podcasting a real slog, the rest of us should be sobbing in a heap by now.

But we’re not! We’re still churning out podcasts! Viz:

Have you heard AMT306 yet? You haven’t? With its hymn to chicken Kiev and Ainsley Harriott? Well, you know what you need to do.

Here’s the shining new episode of The Media Podcast, with Olly in the hosting seat to run down the latest news in TV, radio, news et al.

Here’s a new(ish) episode of Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown, featuring me and Holly Burn. I say newish: we recorded it last August late at night at the Green Man Festival, but it has only just been released, so the summer festival vibe feels very distant to me as I sit here typing with sock gloves on my hands.

In the new episode of The Allusionist, BuzzFeed senior editor Tom Phillips what linguistic sorcery he uses to goad you into making posts go viral. And there’s a cameo from AMTpal Roman Mars complaining that we’re all using the word ‘viral’ incorrectly anyway. SO THERE.

Remember, Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train about clever things, The Global Lab about smart cities and stuff, and The Sound of the Ladies music podcast. He’s about to add a couple more shows to his roster. Wait for us to catch up, Martin!

What have you been listening to this week, you treasures?

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EPISODE 306: sitting down is the new smoking

January 22, 2015 by

Fire up your podblasters; Answer Me This! Episode 306 has arrived:

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Today we consider:

Ainsley Harriott
Extreme Wink Murder
standing desks
Britney Spears’s haircare range
Barry Norman’s pickled onions
Paul Simon’s chicken and eggs
yellow dusters
skateboarding and similar activities
having ‘a bit of fun’ on Tinder
and
Chicken Kiev.

Plus: Olly’s madeleine is the Bernard Matthews Mini Kiev; Helen is sitting all the way to skating glory; and Martin the Sound Man preaches discretion when encountering colleagues on Tinder. Got something to confess, Martin?

Today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App is another Stanley Mann Special, this time how he’s way ahead of his time with fashion trends. Full of surprises, that Mann. Hear on your iDevices, Android and Windows gadgets.

We welcome your questions with open arms and legs. Ask them by leaving voicemails on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – or sending emails to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. Do not bother to ask them via facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly, because we might forget about them when it comes to the fortnightly question-harvest; but we do love to hear from you there nonetheless.

Thanks very much to Squarespace.com for supporting this episode, and for giving you 10% off their website-building and -hosting services for a year if you use the code ‘answer’. WHERE’S THE ALL THE SHIT HIDING??? WHERE IS IT, I ASK YOU? Nowhere! No shit there at all! If only all of life were more like shitless Squarespace…

We’ll be back with AMT307 on 5th February, return then.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT306 Child-Friendly Rating: 47%. Quite a few swears. Some crudity towards the end, involving One Direction’s bodily fluids, polishing wood, and Tinder. •••

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