February 26, 2015
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!
February 18, 2015
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.
February 17, 2015
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.
February 16, 2015
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!
Aah, love is beautiful! And not munting.
February 12, 2015
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!
February 4, 2015
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.
February 4, 2015
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.
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.
February 3, 2015
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?]
January 22, 2015
Fire up your podblasters; Answer Me This! Episode 306 has arrived:
Today we consider:
Extreme Wink Murder
Britney Spears’s haircare range
Barry Norman’s pickled onions
Paul Simon’s chicken and eggs
skateboarding and similar activities
having ‘a bit of fun’ on Tinder
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. •••