Thursday Listening Party

August 27, 2015 by

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On the Thursdays with no new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

In the early days of AMT (episode 16!) a listener called Benjamin Partridge posed the question, “Is Bremen in Germany a weird place to want to go on holiday?” He found out the answer for himself in episode 20. In the intervening years, I’ve met Bremenjamin Partridge in real life, and now I learn he has started a funny new podcast, The Beef and Dairy Network, which will be your kind of thing if you enjoy Down the Line or Chris Morris’s early-career gadding about. Or beef and dairy.

True crime time: there’s a new podcast, Detective, in which a retired lieutenant recounts stories from his 23 years in the Homicide Division. Give it a whirl if you like hearing about police procedure and don’t mind some gore.

I’ve been enjoying Late Night Woman’s Hour, hosted by Lauren Laverne, and thought the episode discussing masculinity was particularly interesting, even if I did want to shout “Shut up!” at the radio whenever one of the speakers was talking. I’ll leave you to guess which one. (Not super-podcaster Richard Herring.)

Do you like The Moth or Mortified or Spark London or other shows where people get on stage and tell stories from their lives? I just hosted a pilot of one such show, Truth Be Told, and if you like it, do tweet and email BBC Radio 4 demanding a full series.

Tomorrow, there’ll be a new episodes of: i) The Media Podcast featuring Olly up at the Edinburgh Festival; ii) The Allusionist, featuring me sliding off my chair after staring at an edit screen for 16-hour days on end. Meanwhile, catch up on the most recent episode about word games (and Jenga!) at theallusionist.org/word-play.

Which is more agonising: having to help your parents with their computer, or being faced with your parents’ sex lives? Answer: BOTH AT ONCE, as suffered by a questioneer in AMT321. Hear their pain, and join us for a fresh dose of other people’s pain next Thursday.

What’s in your ears, dears?
Recommend shows in the comments.

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EPISODE 321: Who can tell what a fly is thinking?

August 20, 2015 by

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Answer Me This! Episode 321‘s questioneers are concerned about networking, Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood‘, and what they’ve found on their parents’ hard drives, as well as:

Mars 2112
confirmation names
butchers’ curtains
business cards
hiding XXX photos
the perils of Windows 10
the Mann school of networking vs the Zaltzman school of networking
the ‘Bad Blood’ galaxy of stars
flies
Picabo Street
Andre Rieu
Polari
and
adult colouring books.

Plus: Olly needs to spend more private time with the Victoria’s Secret catalogue; rather than giving Helen your business card, just put it straight into the recycling bin; and Martin the Sound Man wants you to preserve your parents’ sexual memories, and does NOT want any froyo.

There’s additional Bad Blood Chat in today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App. When Olly went for an MRI recently, did he wear a white rubber bikini like Taylor Swift does in the video? To find out, fire up the app on your iThings, Android and Windows devices.

If, like Martin, you’re about to build a new website, do it using Squarespace.com, who sponsor today’s episode. Use the code ANSWER to get 10% off their website-building and -hosting services for a year, which include a URL, loads of storage and 24/7 support.

We have a 24/7 yearning for your questions. Leave voicemails on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – and send emails to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. Pal up at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

We’ll return on 3rd September 2015 with AMT322. Until then, colour within the lines.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT321 Child-Friendly Rating: 47%. A couple of strong swears, and we don’t know which will be more appalling to your children: the conversation about parents’ saucy photos, or the conversation about networking. •••

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protest names

August 20, 2015 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT320

More child-naming intel has arrived from Edwin:

Your discussion in AMT320 of registering a baby reminded me of a story out of Sweden I read in the news once about a child allegedly named “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116”, pronounced “Albin”.

Wikipedia also tells me that protest names are not so unusual in Sweden.

Of course! Why not use your child to represent your own gripes? They’re only a HUMAN BEING, after all.

(By the way, were any of you given names because your parents were trying to make a political or sociological or some other kind of point? And how did that work out for you?)

Also, several of you wrote in to tell us what happens when you let children choose their own names: you get surgeons named Loki Skylizard. Apparently he was aged eight or nine when he opted for this, and kudos to him for sticking with it when it is perhaps not a name in which most people undergoing heart surgery will feel particularly confident.

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Angel Delight vs blancmange

August 19, 2015 by

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Here is a very important question from Katie:

I really like both blancmange and Angel Delight as puddings.

However my mother prefers blancmange and my father Angel Delight, so answer me this: which is the superior pudding?

Firstly: you are from a family of pudding retronauts.
Secondly: I discovered that blancmange used to be made with poultry or fish, which sounds even more disgusting than butterscotch-flavoured Angel Delight (which made me puke four times at my friend Olivia McLearon’s house in 1990).
Thirdly: this can only be settled democratically, so please VOTE:

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Naming the names

August 19, 2015 by

latest

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT320

Regarding AMT320‘s discussion about naming babies, Jeremiah writes:

You made a comment referencing the character Six in the beloved 80’s sitcom Blossom, in the context of a discussion of names and their derivation. I happen to remember watching an episode of Blossom in which the origins of the name Six were explained. Blossom and Six are having an intimate conversation in which Blossom asks Six how she got her name. Six replies without missing a beat, “That was how many beers it took my dad to think of it.” Cue laugh-track.

According to Wikipedia, “A later explanation is that she was the sixth child in her family”. But apparently the behind-the-scenes truth is “One of the show’s writers came up with the name ‘Six’ because he knew a girl in school called ‘Seven’.”

Whatever it is, perhaps Susan from Riverside, California will feel some relief about her own situation:

In episode 320, you talk about babies who aren’t named right away. I am one of those babies.

I was born on Easter Sunday in 1962. I made my parents leave Mass early. I always thought I was a special girl, but it wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s when I found out the truth: my parents didn’t know what to call me!

When my mom told me this, she was laughing about it the whole time. She started talking about the hospital I was born in and then she said, “You know they called and asked me, are you ever going to name that child?”

She was still laughing, but she sounded kind of pissed that they would bother her about it. I got the sense that she felt she’d name her kid when she was good and ready to name her kid.

I asked her about it after I heard your podcast. She “thinks” the hospital called when I was about 3 weeks old. But when she said, “We knew your middle name was going to be Alexa” my heart just sank. My middle name is Alexia. She couldn’t get it right, so I don’t trust her on the whole 3 weeks scenario.

I was afraid to ask her if she actually knew my name! I have always wondered what they called me during the alleged 3 weeks that I was __________ Alexa, Alexis (whatever).

The real pisser is that I have an older sister who had a name, no problem, so it isn’t like my parents didn’t know what to do!

But it all turned out alright, didn’t it, Susan?

We also heard from Nick Barker, who gave his son the middle name ‘Chu’. Chu Barker. Say it to yourself. Faster. Chu Barker. Says Nick: “I figure, as it is his middle name, he can choose whether to use it or not. At the moment he likes it.”

PS: This week, the Office for National Statistics released the list of the most popular baby names in England and Wales in 2014. For the second year running, Oliver tops the boys’ list. In the girls’ list Helen was 763rd. SORT THIS OUT, PODCAST FANS.

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Is there food-life on Mars?

August 17, 2015 by

xerts_3

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT320

Join Leigh in Melbourne, Australia for a journey through TIME and SPACE:

Your discussion in AMT320 about Martian-themed restaurants reminded me of a delightfully ghastly theme restaurant in a touristy region of Sydney earlier this decade. Depending on your perspective, the now sadly-closed Xerts Restaurant was either a tribute to all things Martian or a dissection of crimes against interior design.

Once you’d wandered into the restaurant, you were ushered into a “spaceship” (better described as a clunky lift) which beamed you up into the restaurant, where you were met with space pod tables and Martian-themed food. Don’t recall there being too much red food dye in the ingredients but it was definitely all very weird. I recall one particular highlight being a touchscreen ordering system at each table, which was inevitably smeared with greasy handprints from the kids who’d sat there just before you.

The Sydney Xerts venue is no longer with us and was subsequently converted into another alien experience: a Hooters restaurant.

‘Boobs’ does seem to be a theme that has, er, legs.

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Thursday Listening Party

August 13, 2015 by

Turtle-Wearing-Headphones-57388

On the Thursdays with no new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

Richard Herring, the man with more podcasts than all of the other podcasters combined, has recently added another: The Twelve Shows of Herring, as he performs all of his solo shows in sequence over the next few weekends. ‘Someone Likes Yoghurt’ is coming up this weekend; I remember laughing till my face hurt when I saw it in Edinburgh ten years ago.

Also twelve parts, but not much of a laugh, is the recently completed series about Charles Manson’s Hollywood on You Must Remember This. It’s exhaustively researched and pulls together all sorts of links with different cultural players; so, though the gore is unavoidable given the subject matter, it’s a learned take rather than sensationalistic. Hunker down for an audiobook-length task – I raced through four episodes whilst making a complicated birthday cake.

To soothe yourself afterwards, how about a dose of Jarvis Cocker’s Wireless Nights? I’ve had these stacked up for ages and am only just now catching up. But look how soothed I am!

If you’ve not yet heard AMT320, rectify immediately in order to learn about registering your baby, 80s classic Overboard, and sensible dominatrix-relationship management. Peeking over the hill, ready to leap into your ears by the end of this week: new episodes of Guardian Tech Weekly, and The Allusionist. Martin is covering Ben Folds on the new Sound of the Ladies Podcast; and on the latest episode of Passion Pods, I’m discussing my feckless mess of a career. If any of you are having a bad A Level Results Day, perhaps this will be comfort that, a whole other lifetime hence, it won’t matter a jot.

What’s in your ears, dears?
Recommend shows in the comments.

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EPISODE 320: cherrilets

August 6, 2015 by

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Ever been cured by a snake? No? Well, thought we should ask. Find out why in Answer Me This! Episode 320, as well as stuff about:

red velvet cake
the first romcom
Overboard
BDSM vs podcasting
baby names vs dog names
Ritz cracker apple pie
Frankie and Benny’s
sacred snakes
Much Ado About Nothing
Ghostface Chillah
points on your driving licence
registering your baby
Leavenworth, WA (see the bottom of this post)
the Rod of Asclepius
and
your local Munch.

Plus: Olly remembers his dad’s Martian business plan*, that is still up for grabs if any of you want to do it; Helen has ‘Baby On Board!’ windscreen signs in the crosshairs; and Martin the Sound Man’s parents named him Martin hoping he’d take after one of the nice Martins, rather than Amis or Scorsese.

*If you do decide to give this a whirl – or you have a less doomed idea for a business – build the website using today’s sponsor Squarespace.com. Tinker around during the free two-week trial, then you can have 10% off their website-building and -hosting services for a year if you use the code ‘ANSWER‘. You get a URL and loads of storage thrown in. AND Squarespace manages to make your site look nice on desktop, mobile and tablet, which is far more than most site hosts do (ahem ahem this one).

In today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App (available for iThings, Android and Windows devices) is a question from Kate about those metal bars that run around the bottom of bars. Bonus appearance from the town that plays Northern Exposure.

As always, we crave your questions. Leave voicemails on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – and send emails to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. And join the virtual cuddle-party at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

We’ll return on 20th August 2015 with AMT321. Be there. Or our hearts will yearn for you.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT320 Child-Friendly Rating: 34%. It opens with feedback regarding AMT319‘s dominatrix question, which, though heartwarming, may be riper than you feel your children should cope with. Some swears thereafter, but we suspect you’ll already have saved this for post-watershed listening. •••

PS Feast your eyes on LEAVENWORTH! The happiest place on earth (or at the very least, Washington State).

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glerpes

August 6, 2015 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT319

Let there be light upon this question from Lizzie from London:

Regarding the glitter discussion in AMT319, Sarah from Chicago writes:

Helen compared it to a virus at one point, and in the theatre world (my profession) we have to deal with it a lot. So much that when you happen to find glitter all over everything, with no idea where it came from (costume, makeup, set, etc), it’s known as Glerpes. Glitter+herpes.

And now you know the name of the affliction your questioneer has.

GLERPES.

Cheerleader-Throwing-Up-Glitter-Team-Spirit

Thanks Sarah.

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out of the darkness into light

August 5, 2015 by

light-beam

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT319

Let there be light upon this question from Lizzie from London:

I just got home and went into our bedroom to find my boyfriend sitting in the dark. I opened the blinds. He wasn’t sleeping, ill, watching a film or being Buffalo Bill (thankfully).

He claimed I was imposing my ideas on him. I said it was a universal truth that light is good in this world. We share the room and I was going to be in and out of it.

Help! (me win the argument)

Martin the Sound Man suggests that you illuminate the room for your own use, and make your boyfriend wear a blindfold. I suggest you VOTE:

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boring job

August 5, 2015 by

method_acting_edward_norton_fight_club

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT319

Go to the comments because I really want to read your answers to this question from Johan:

I work at the Swedish equivalent to UK’s Royal Mail. As a terminal worker at one of the biggest post terminals in the country my job is really boring and sometimes stressful. I sort packages big and small and unload lorries filled to the brim with packages, but it is allowed to have headphones at work and your podcast keeps me from dying of boredom.

So answer me this: what is the most boring job you have had?

That is a GOOD question, Johan. Now, as a freelancer with a very messy career path, I’ve had a LOT of jobs – so many that I can only remember about 30% of them. Which is probably for the best.

I’ve had jobs that plunged me into greater despair and discomfort, but for pure brain-chewing boringness, I nominate the job I once had compiling the index for a book about the Queen’s stamp collection. It was not only dullllllllll, but fiendish – I had to make sure there were different entries for, say, King George V the person and King George V the stamp, subdivided by country…Oh god, sorry; merely typing that sentence reopened the vortex of tedium, and this time YOU’RE ALL COMING DOWN WITH ME.

UPDATE: a giant thread on this topic has erupted on our Facebook page.

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double dads

August 5, 2015 by

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT319

John from Cambridge writes with a double dad dilemma:

My boyfriend and I are at the stage in our (same-sex) relationship where we can discuss adopting children to raise and provide a loving family for.

However, I find it hard in my own head to think of names that we can call ourselves to our children – using our first names seems both too relaxed and too formal at the same time, but the idea of having both of us called ‘Dad’ is a logistical nightmare when our kids want to get the attention of only one of us. Having one of us called ‘father’ and the other as ‘dad’ seems odd too.

So answer me this: what names can we call ourselves to our kids that allow us both to call ourselves ‘dad’ whilst differentiating ourselves from each other?

Readers, have you found a neat solution to this in your own lives? Summon up your helpfulness and go to the comments to assist John.

(A rather self-promotional aside: after the Allusionist episode containing people’s feelings about stepfamily terms, I did a Spoken AMA about it and there were a few interesting comment threads about the vocabulary for family members. Eg a numerical system; words that might be preferable to ‘step’; and, my favourite, someone’s uncle who has never called his wife by her name in THIRTY YEARS OF MARRIAGE.)

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