Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

EPISODE 345: all just a big teenage wank fantasy

December 1, 2016

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Changes are afoot as the approaches its TENTH BIRTHDAY next month. But it’s mostly business as usual in Answer Me This! Episode 345, to whit:

Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical
the Angel of the North
cheese juice
getting Discovered for a glittering showbiz career
amateur theatre vs professional theatre
Orange Marys vs Filthy Martinis
Samantha Janus Womack
Boots the Chemist
Plato’s Symposium
the platonic ideal of being a bed
and
a cat called Anus.

Plus: Olly petitions for the musical role of a lifetime, or at the very least a guest spot when Song By Song podcast does a Jim Steinman season; Helen actually read some trade publications about steel for this episode, lest her commitment to AMT be in doubt; and Martin the Sound Man doing an impression of Olly’s cat Coco will one day be Exhibit A in Helen’s murder trial.

In today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App – available for iPadPhones, Android and Windows devices – we take a trip to Winter Wonderland. Or rather winterwonderland.com, the perfect Christmas gift for only £500,000.

The perfect Christmas gift for only £2.49 is, of course, the AMT Christmas album – find out more about its contents at answermethispodcast.com/christmas, then tell Santa to buy it for you from the AMT store, iTunes or Amazon.

Thanks to our friends at Squarespace.com for sponsoring this episode, and for giving you 10% off their website-hosting and -designing services for a whole year if you use the discount code ‘answer‘. What a gift!

FREE festive fun for all the family is the Argos Game: we challenge you to find a product in the Argos catalogue that is more expensive than this £32,000 20ft swim tub (but be careful not to get too sexy in it, for your teeth’s sake).

Send us questions for the next episode: call the Question Line on 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis, and email answermethispodcast@ googlemail.com. Be our interfriend at twitter.com/helenandolly and facebook.com/answermethis.

BUT ALSO please send us affectionate voicemails – or email us voice memos – for our tenth birthday episode. Deadline is New Year’s Eve, and the episode, AMT346, will appear on 4 January 2017. Join us! Without you, we are nothing! Etc!

Helen & Olly

••• AMT345 Child-Friendly Rating: 40%. F-words R Us. •••

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The Administration System of Christmas

December 22, 2015

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT329

We speculated about the best way for a parent to handle the Administration System of Christmas in AMT328 and 329, but how do you actual child-rearers do it? Brian from Montana writes:

My oldest daughter came to the truth about Christmas’s “Administrative details” on her own.

But when she asked, “So were you lying to me?” I channeled my inner Obi-Wan and said, “That depends on your point of view. Is there a magical man that can break the known laws of time and space to deliver presents each year to kids around the world? Of course not. But, did a man dressed in a red suit stop by our house the past 4 Christmas Eve’s to bring you and your siblings gifts? Yes. (We know a guy.) Are there hundreds of thousands of such men around the world who love kids so much that they put on a big red suit and bring them happiness? Yes. So, in a way, Santa is VERY real, he just isn’t magical, but why is that so important? And now that you’re in on the secret, you can be a part of it.”

She was elated at such a prospect, and I dislocated my arm patting myself on the back for avoiding what was, for me, a traumatic revelation when I found out.

We’ve been treating The Administration System of Christmas quite flippantly in the past couple of episodes, but perhaps we should be more careful if the revelation is traumatic for people. I recall a particularly traumatised Administration System of Christmas victim in chapter 1 of the Lights, Camera, Christmas episode of This American Life. Can any of you outdo the parental deception efforts there?

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shitting log

December 22, 2015

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT329

Here’s the inside poopscoop on the Shitting Log that became our new favourite festive tradition in AMT329. Lauren in Mexico City writes:

Caga tió doesn’t actually have anything to do with uncles – it’s tió (‘log’ in Catalan) rather than tío (‘uncle’ in Spanish) so the name means “Shit log”. It comes from the imperative, “Shit, log!”, which is often part of the songs sung whilst hitting him. There are some examples in this multilingual video.

The tió is always made from a real log and many families buy several different sizes so the tió gradually “grows” over the weeks that the kids feed him. When it’s time for him to shit, the kids are sent out of the room for a minute while the presents are stashed under the blanket.

I lived in Catalonia for 8 years and have my very own little tió who now lives at my parents’ house. My mum is a big fan and brings him out of the attic every Christmas with the rest of the decorations. She usually sends me a photo of him for good measure, so I’ll do the same to you:

caga tió (1)

Like babies, logs are cute, till they start shitting.

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Thursday Listening Party

December 17, 2015

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On the Thursdays with no new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.

Friends! This is your annual reminder to pipe the Answer Me This! Christmas into your home, for festive advice and history and fun facts (and to drown out the sounds of Christmas rows). There’s a bit more seasonal content in AMT328 and 329 – and in this episode of The Allusionist, in which I learn that Christmas cards used to have bacon stuck to the front, and that Santa was almost called Captain Christmas.

Recently I’ve been racing through Woman of the Hour and Another Round, but because I’m currently mired in the immense annual task of compiling the AMT Best Of – out on Christmas Eve! – I haven’t had much time to listen to many other things over the past few weeks, hence the recent absence of Thursday Listening Parties. But please go to the comments to share the shows that have been delighting your eardrums lately.

We’ve received a LOT of questions about Monopoly over the years, so I think many of you will want to hear the 99% Invisible episode about it, the least enjoyable board game ever invented.

Here are three delightful episodes about music: Fugitive Waves by the Kitchen Sisters on Nick Drake; Björk talking about ‘Stonemilker’ on Song Exploder; and an Aaron Carter superfan on The Heart. What a party playlist!

Over Christmas and New Year, please sample our other podcasts:
Get your Olly dose on the Modern Mann, the Media Podcast and the Guardian’s Tech Weekly; and he’ll be on LBC over the festive period as well.
Martin’s shows include Song By Song, Brain Train, The Sound of the Ladies, and the Global Lab.
The Allusionist is my other main gig. My favourite episode is perhaps this one, even though I crumble as a human being during it.

Alright, back to scaling Mount Edit! See you on the other side. If there is another side…

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EPISODE 329: Log’s your uncle

December 10, 2015

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In Answer Me This! Episode 329, one questioneer wrestles with the ethics of breeding Christmas-truther children who ruin everything for the other kiddos; another introduces us to the Catalan Christmas tradition we now desperately need to appropriate. Listen to find out about those, and also these:

free coffee
safety curtains
Caffe Nero loyalty
the internet on disc
caganer
dehumanising apps
phosphor burning
Elf: The Musical
festive NORAD
and
the shitting uncle.

Plus: Olly rode the carousel we all dream of riding; at primary school, Helen reined in her Junior Richard Dawkins; and Martin the Sound Man manages to ruin Oral-B for everyone, thanks Martin.

In today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App, the talk of free coffee fraud turns to a far graver offence: Toys R Us fraud. To hear, fire up the app on your iThings, Android and Windows devices.

Thanks very much to today’s sponsor Squarespace.com, who’ll give you 10% off their website-building and -hosting services for a year if you invoke the code ANSWER.

Thanks also to everyone who has supported the show by buying the Answer Me This! Christmas album. If you haven’t yet, this is really the time of year to do so. April, not so much. It’s available at answermethisstore.com, as well as some of the online retail behemoths – links and further details of the contents are available at answermethispodcast.com/christmas.

We are now collecting your questions for AMT in 2016! Leave voicemails on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – and send emails to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. Befriend us online at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

We’ll return with the Best of AMT 2015 on 24th December 2015.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT329 Child-Friendly Rating: 5%. Some swears; some bawdy references; and the greatest peril of all: THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS OF CHRISTMAS GIFTS IF YOU KNOW WHAT WE MEAN AND WE THINK YOU DO. So, beware! Also, Olly encourages your children to break the airport rules, which will probably get them tasered. •••

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EPISODE 328: like it or lump it

November 26, 2015

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How do you tell your mum that she is a STUPID WOMAN who is RUINING CHRISTMAS by buying you the WRONG GIFT? Plus other polite and classy problems compose Answer Me This! Episode 328, in which we contemplate:

NaNoWriMo
sexist succession
breaking into your own house
vinegar vs menstruation
the novels of Katie Price
the novels of Ben Elton
pregnant Virgin Mary paintings
snooping on your Christmas presents
procrastination
the big piece of paper of Jack Kerouac
the little piece of paper in a box of chocolates
and
vinegar mother.

Plus: Olly plans never to get married, but maybe he’ll change his mind purely to have the themed wedding of his Jennifer Connelly-starring dreams; Helen turns her profound laziness into creative tips; and Martin the Sound Man puts the beats into his favourite Christmas carol.

In today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App, available for iThings, Android and Windows devices, Olly reveals the surprise hair inspiration of his mid-1980s barnet: Princess Diana.

Feeling festive yet? Click here to read about and then buy the Answer Me This! Christmas album; and click here to get the delightful Christmas podcasts from today’s sponsor Dobbies Garden Centres – and there’re plenty of Christmas tips and decorations to buy at dobbies.com and in store.

What have you got in store for us? Questions, we hope! Leave voicemails on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – and send emails to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. Befriend us online at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

We’ll return on 10th December 2015 with AMT329.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT328 Child-Friendly Rating: 60%. No bawdy content, but there are a few swears, and the possible demystification of the machinations behind Christmas presents IF YOU KNOW WHAT WE MEAN. •••

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EPISODE 305: chicken and egg

January 8, 2015

Welcome to the ninth year of AMT! Before we get stuck into Answer Me This! Episode 305, care to guess which literary work is the inspiration for this questioneer’s tattoo?

unnamed-2

Check your answers in the show, which is here:

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Today we consider:

stealing back gifts
cheese-slicers
small socks
chocolate mice (sadly not the kind you’d include in your pick’n’mix)
Winnie-the-Pooh vs It
Tim Curry
olive crimes
audiobook auditions
doro wat
tan leather goods
and
Carmen Electra.

Plus: Olly likes to hang loose, even in his gloves; Helen’s going to have to work on her offensive foreign accents if she wants a career narrating audiobooks; and Martin the Sound Man’s morals go to shit around olives.

In today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App Olly discovers the one type of present his dad Stanley IS happy to receive. Give yourself this gift by getting the app for your iDevices, Android and Windows gadgets.

Give us the gift of your questions, as voicemails on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – or emails to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. And be our online friend 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’. You want a nice website, don’t you? DON’T YOU? Thought so.

We’ll be back with AMT306 on 22nd January, so be ready.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT305 Child-Friendly Rating: 80%. Maybe we’ve forgotten something, but we think both language and content were pretty above-board today. Moments of parental concern may have occurred during the discussions of Stephen King’s It, and Carmen Electra. •••

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Christmas excuses

December 15, 2014

merry

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT304

Voice your opinion in the comments if you can think of a way to salve questioneer Peter‘s festive pain:

How can I get out of spending Christmas with my in-laws? My horrible, small-minded, racist, bigoted, climate change denying, Daily Mail-reading, UKIP-voting in-laws.

Or should I just suck it up, try and remain polite and go along?

I and my wife both are Guardian- (and Independent- and BoingBoing-) reading lefty libertarians. I really am not looking forward to three days of my in-laws banging on about immigrants being to blame for everything, as well as the EU, and their trotting out the Daily Mail and Express as evidence that renewable energy doesn’t work and is all just a big con (I work designing wind farms and marine energy installations), even though it reduced Britain’s energy bills by 10% compared to gas last winter! How the recession was really caused by the Germans (not the British bankers) as a ruse to take over Europe again (because, you know, The War).

I’ve had ten of this shit! I despise them. I despise their circular thinking nonsensical irrational arguments, and I regret every moment I waste in their miserly company.

So should I break a leg? Emigrate to Germany or France? Crash the car into a tree so we cannot drive there?
Or should I just suck it up, try and remain polite and go along?
Or something else?

Peter, you’re acting like this torment is all negative, but it does fuel bitchery for you and your wife for a whole year. Perhaps you could intensify this by turning it into a satirical game: your challenge is to access your inner Chris Morris and see just how ridiculous a point of view you can get them to agree with. Brush up on Brass Eye for ideas.

Or take the easy way out and just piss off abroad till January.

(If you can’t afford to go abroad, just tell them you’ve gone abroad and don’t answer the phone or doorbell.)

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Christmas sounds

December 15, 2014

CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP ON AMT304

Digging through the AMT archives the other day, I turned up this gem of a Christmas song by Martin the Sound Man from 2007:

Martin’s proper music, including several albums, can be found at thesoundoftheladies.com, http://martinaustwick.bandcamp.com/, thesoundoftheladies.bandcamp.com, and Spotify. The perfect Christmas gift! (If you think it is alright to give people digital files, which you obtained for free.)

Also, reluctant as I am to badger you, HAVE YOU LISTENED TO THE AMT XMAS ALBUM YET?

If not, redress before the festive season has expired: go to answermethispodcast.com/Christmas, whence you can follow links to buy it from the AMT store, iTunes and Amazon. It’s the perfect track with which to drown out the sound of the family row about the best way to achieve the crispiest roast potatoes.

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EPISODE 304: millions of Geoffrey, all under one roof

December 11, 2014


“Take two podcasts into the shower? Not me! I just use Answer Me This! Episode 304!”

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Today’s roster includes such topics as:

Wash & Go
roller derby rivalry
texting your ex
baby models
Geoffrey of Toys R Us
Facebook etiquette
advent calendar etiquette
Rod Stewart vs Barry Manilow
Rod Stewart’s train set
the Boston Bean
The Frog Chorus
Whip It IRL
and
the Swiss Cheese Pervert.

Plus: for Olly, giving is better than receiving (when it comes to picture messages); Helen does not belong on wheels; and Martin the Sound Man searches for logic in cartoon characters off adverts, which is really the wrong place to look.

In today’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App (available for your iDevices, Android and Windows gadgets) as we learn about reindeers and their antlers. For a whole further hour of festive fun, do listen to the Answer Me This! Christmas, available at answermethisstore.com as well as iTunes and Amazon.

All we want for Christmas are your QUESTIONS, so shove them into our stockings, by which we mean leave a message on the Question Line – call 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis – or send an email to answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. Also, forge the bounds of internet friendship at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly. Not LinkedIn, NEVER LinkedIn.

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’. That’s got to be better than anything you win in a cracker. (Except for the set of tiny screwdrivers or a bottle-opener shaped like an animal; both of these come in surprisingly useful. But, you know, the miniature pack of cards or tiny plastic comb or annoying puzzle made out of metal rings.)

The Best of AMT 2014 will be out next Thursday, 18th December. Return then!

Helen & Olly

••• AMT304 Child-Friendly Rating: 74%. Opens with further discussion of AMT303‘s cheese handjobs, but once the first couple of minutes are over, the rest of the episode’s topics are clean aside from two or three strong swears. •••

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Thursday Listening Party

August 14, 2014

radio

On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.

This week, a lot of you will want to hear the 2010 episode of WTF where Marc Maron talks to Robin Williams. Here it is, with a new intro from a choked-up Marc. Get your hankie ready.

You might also want to hear Lauren Bacall tearing it up on Desert Island Discs from 1984, here. Now please excuse me while I get lost in the Desert Island Discs 60-year archive. Again.

Not a million miles from Desert Island Discs is BBC 6 Music’s The First Time With…, in which musicians talk about the songs that made them. Sorry if you were expecting a show in which famous people discuss losing their virginities. (Does such a show exist? Aside from this one?)

I’m intrigued to listen to this programme about the politics of Dr Seuss: Dr Seuss and the Butter Battle. And if you’re intrigued to hear the AMT take on Dr Seuss, you can find it in the Answer Me This! Christmas album. You may think it’s unseasonal to listen to a Christmas show in the middle of August, but there’re only 132 days to go! (‘Only’. That’s still more than a third of a year. But it doesn’t stop a film called Santa With Muscles being played on one of the more remote Freeview channels every damn day.)

Finally: if you’re keen to start making your own podcasts, you can learn everything you need to know at the Essentials of Podcasting Guardian Masterclass on 20th September. I’ll be there to share all my podcasting knowledge, which should take around five minutes; luckily you’ll also be taught all about hardware, software, editing, production, formatting, publicity etc from the likes of Bugle producer Chris Skinner, Guardian podcast producer Jason Phipps, and software inventor Drew White. Book your place here.

PS: if you’re at Green Man festival this weekend, say hi to me and Martin! I’ll be doing Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown at 1am on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Martin will be playing songs on the Solar Stage on Friday and Sunday, and demonstrating 3D printing in Einstein’s Garden every day. 3D printing at a folk festival? Apparently so.

Which shows have been delighting you lately? Recommend some in the comments.

Tune in to our various other gigs:

Catch up on AMT295 and the episodes preceding it.
AMT episodes 1-170 and the special AMT albums are all available for a piddling little price at answermethisstore.com, and if you buy any of them you’re bankrolling the podcast, for which we are extremely grateful. At this time of year, whisk yourself away on the AMT Holiday – a bargain minibreak at only £2.49.
Olly’s on LBC every weekday 1am-4am. Set your alarm.
I host the monthly Sound Women podcast and am on Let’s Talk About Tech from BBC 5 Live.
Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train, The Global Lab and The Sound of the Ladies.

EPISODE 292 – phallic noses

June 19, 2014

Listeners, who is the bigger idiot: the questioneer who is too big an idiot to make toast, or the podcasters who talk about that big idiot for nearly ten minutes?

The only way to decide is to listen to Answer Me This! Episode 292:

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In which we discuss:

Alexander Armstrong
McDonald’s weddings
Pop Tarts
Christmas booze
30 years since Gremlins
metal thieves vs Barbara Hepworth
graphic design vs alternative medicine
tiny toaster troubles
sass
Greyhound Buses
Olly’s next rotten criminal scheme
raccoons
and
The Raccoons.

In today’s Bit of Crap on the App, we delve deeper into the grotesque and terrifying world of novelty toasters. Join us if you dare on your iDevice, Android or Windows toy.

If you’ve invented your own amazing multi-functional toaster (“Guys! It can heat soup at the same time as cutting the toast into perfectly equal croutons!”) then build yourself a snazzy online store through our benevolent sponsors Squarespace.com, deploying the code Answer for 10% off their services for a whole year.

When you’re not too preoccupied with (re)inventing kitchen gadgetry, send us QUESTIONS: call the Question Line on 0208 123 5877 or Skype ID answermethis, or email answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. And be our imaginary friend at facebook.com/answermethis and twitter.com/HelenAndOlly.

We shall return on Thursday 3rd July with AMT293 – but we’ll also be appearing on this Radio Academy panel about podcasting on 25th June; and as we mentioned, we’re also available at our side project podcasts The Media Podcast, Sound Women and Brain Train. Furthermore, to accompany all the SPOOOOOORT that seems to be happening at the moment, you can hear us talking as sportily as we are able on the AMT Sports Day album, available now at answermethisstore.com.

That’s it! We’re off to make some toast. We could be gone for some time.

Helen & Olly

••• AMT292 Child-Friendly Rating: 40%. Swears. Cartoon phallic noses. Kicks off with feedback about parental sex, the very notion of which can be traumatic for your progeny. •••

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