Author Archive

Eurovisionaries

May 18, 2013

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… What with the ‘second screen’ being very much the in thing of this year’s Eurovision, I have just remembered the following section from the Answer Me This book. I have reproduced it here without asking the publishers, but, hey, we wrote it, and this is the bloody internet. We based it on our experience of watching previous contests, so why not refer to it tonight and let’s see how many we get right.

Acatia from Bar Hill: Helen and Olly, Answer Me This: Are there actually any rules for Eurovision?

It might look like a disoragnised, outdated cheese-fest but actually Acatia, yes, the Ten Commandments of Eurovision are:

1. Contestants must all wave and smile to the camera at one point during their performance, whether their song is a singalong spectacular or a mournful ballad about the war tearing apart their homeland.

2.
All hairstyles must be inspired by the 1984 production of Starlight Express.

3. All men must resemble either Ian McShane or H from Steps, and ne’er the twain shall meet.

4. Five points will be deducted from any song not containing the lyrics ‘la la la’, ‘yeah yeah yeah’, or ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’

5. Israel is in Europe.

6. Palestine is not in Europe.

7. The hosts of the award – one male, one female – must both be entirely without merit.

8.
The videos between each act promoting the host country must contain one of the following images:

– a couple walking hand-in-hand by in a fruit market
– some ropey old men playing chess
– a little girl spinning around in a white lace dress
– a crane shot of a bell tower
– some ladies with nice boobs smiling as if caught off-guard

9. All countries must give their highest score to their closest neighbours, except for France and Ireland, who must snub Great Britain.

10. Extra points will be added for dance routines involving clapping, twirling, or removal of clothes. If all three are achieved at once this will be considered the greatest cultural feat of all time.

(If you enjoyed this extract, please do consider buying the book. It will pass some time before you die.)

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Get ready for Isy

April 9, 2013

As revealed in AMT 251, Isy Suttie will be our very special guest in AMT 252, out on Thursday.

And here’s the proof.

As you can see, when you come to AMT Towers, we literally make you sing for your supper. Since Helen had made a tasty Chinese pork and aubergine feast on the night in question, this seemed reasonable.

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Podcasters On Podcasting

July 18, 2011

** Click here for Episode 183 **

If this isn’t all too Inception for you… perhaps you would like to hear a podcast about podcasting?

It’s a special edition of The Radio Academy‘s weekly podcast RadioTalk. The show is usually presented by benign Brummie overlord Trevor Dann, and is typically about Important Issues relating to the world of radio, such as, ‘DAB’s a bit of a mixed blessing, isn’t it?’ and ‘Where is Salford, anyway?’

But this episode is presented by us, and we took our opportunity at the reins to talk all about podcasting, and ignore radio almost entirely. On a show called RadioTalk! Hahahahahhaha! Hear for yourself:
You can also download it from the Radio Academy’s website here, or subscribe to it on iTunes.

We were very lucky to be joined by some awesome guests from the world of British podcasting: The Guardian‘s Francesca Panetta (producer of the Sony Award-winning Hackney Podcast); Luke Moore from the wildly popular Football Ramble; Andrew Collins out of Collings and Herrin and BBC 6 Music; and James Stirling, producer of our beloved Adam and Joe Show. We even managed to grab a few words with The Bugle’s Andy Zaltzman. How DID we manage to blag that?

The panel, L-R: Helen, Francesca Panetta, James Stirling, Luke Moore, Olly

P.S. If you enjoyed this, you can also hear us on the panel of the BBC’s College of Production podcast about podcasting, which you can find here.

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GOLD!

May 10, 2011

Our NEW SERIES starts on 26th May.
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Answer Me This!

We’ve only gone and bloody done it.

After years of being the Sony Awards’ equivalent of Todd Martin, last night we were properly sodding thrilled to win the GOLD Radio Academy Award for Best Internet Programme.

Well, I was thrilled. Helen and Martin were still on honeymoon, driving through Montana. Martin had food poisoning from eating some bison, apparently. But then they heard the news. And they were thrilled too.

Here I am getting the award from renowned podcast fanatic Kelly Hoppen. Rumour has it she once listened to Stephen Fry’s Podgrams, and thought it was adequate.

You can sometimes tell if you’ve won by assessing how far your table is from the stage (there are actually ALCOVES UNDER THE STAIRS for real losers). This year we were about two-thirds of the way back, so no clues there. We were seated with some very lovely people from Central FM Scotland, and they won a Gold Station of the Year award, so there was a lot of champagne flowing.

What with us producing the show in the Zaltzwick sitting room – and thus not having a Station Manager, Event Co-Ordinator, Publicist and that kind of thing – I was sitting with my girlfriend, mum, dad and grandma. I think I am the only person to ever bring my family to the Sony’s, apart from Ashley Tabor. (That’s a radio industry joke, hark at me!)

I don’t remember much about going to collect the award from Kelly and Chris Evans, because it was all over very quickly indeed. Helen had written me a speech to read out on her behalf, which she’d sealed in an envelope on the day of her wedding. The idea of opening it on stage for the first time petrified me, because obviously I assumed she would casually employ a clever word I would fail to pronounce or understand, so I couldn’t help but open it at home yesterday afternoon. It simply said, ‘IS NOW A GOOD TIME TO TELL YOU I HAVEN’T GOT YOU A BIRTHDAY PRESENT?’.

Yes, Helen. Now is a very good time.

Here’s what I actually said:

The Judges statement said: “The presenters of this podcast demonstrate a strong rapport that sometimes traditional radio struggles to replicate. The judges found this podcast engaging, warm and funny; with creative imaging and a strong connection to the community of listeners.” Which was jolly nice of them.

There are, I think, two groups of amazing people we need to thank.

First: our hugely talented group of friends who have supplied us with brilliant jingles, idents and sketches over the years (that would be the ‘creative imaging’ the Judges are referring to).

And Second? YOU. More than almost any other show I can think of, Answer Me This! is all about our listeners, and the incredible feedback and questions you supply us which makes up our content. If it weren’t for people like you, downloading our show every week, telling your friends and spreading the word, we’d have given up long ago.

So, thanks so much for sticking with us for the past four years. This Award is dedicated to you.

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Meet The Zaltzwicks

May 1, 2011

So, Helen and Martin got married last weekend.

I’ve been waiting to blog about it because I was waiting for the right photos. These beauties were taken by Rick, Helen’s brother, and only emailed to me today. He was lugging around a camera the size of a labrador at the wedding, so I’d suspected they would be worth waiting for.

Aw.

It was a really charming event, perhaps the loveliest wedding I’ve ever been to, and VERY Helen and Martin. They were super-relaxed – greeting guests as we arrived at the service, rather than making a grand entrance, and cracking jokes throughout – and the grub was a slap-up home-made afternoon tea, washed down with a LOT of pink champagne (they’re not drinkers). Oh, and a fish and chip van at 11pm. And a cheeseboard. Awesome.

The ceremony was al fresco, in a beautiful park in Kent (alongside a craft fair and fete – and even a meet-and-greet with celebrity porkchop PEPPA PIG!), but luckily the rain held back for the ceremony, despite hilarious and dramatic thunderclaps as the happy couple made their way down the aisle. Well, if you are going to have a resolutely secular wedding at Easter time, God will make His feelings known…

Back at the Zaltzman family pile, there were cracking tributes by various folks including friends-of-the-podcast Alex Thomas and Andy Zaltzman, but, it must be said, Helen and Martin’s dads pulled off the funniest speeches of the night.

Helen and Martin are now on honeymoon somewhere in the States, no doubt listening to discordantly intellectual audiobooks as they speed down the highway, stopping frequently to photograph funny road signs, or further snapshots of Martin sucking yet another ice lolly that looks a bit like a penis. They claim not to yet know what their new surname will be, but for me – as for all true AMT! fans – they will be Forever Zaltzwick.

Well done, chaps.

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Now, That’s What I Call Music. And Cheese.

February 9, 2010
* New series starts March 4th – click here for our most recent episodes *
*** And click here for our Jingle Challenge ***

So, how’s our Jingle Challenge going, then?

The first five entries are in, fighting it out for viewers on YouTube to win a very special prize. Shriek!

First out the traps was James S from Lincolnshire, who took our Question Line number and made it sound a bit like the Hollyoaks theme:

Then came this catchy effort from merbs42, which lingered a little too long on Martin the Sound Man for Olly’s liking, but was otherwise very charming, and achieved the rare feat of making leprosy seem in any way desirable:

If we were going to get all wanky about it, the third video response we received, from eucharyst, is more of an ‘ident’ than a jingle, seeing as it’s essentially a spoken-word sketch and not a song. But since it so excellently approximates the House Style of early Answer Me This!, (the rock n’roll years) we will most definitely let him have it:

There was a bluesy-folk feel to entry No.4, which came from a young man by the name of thethickisplottened:

(We confess to being rather partial to this. Though that is largely because we also like this video he made about cheese):

The fifth and final entry so far is from Matt1046: a knees-up, Los Colorados-style Soviet singalong with some accomplished animated visuals:

So, there you have it.

A strong start to what is shaping up, as always, to be a tremendous competition. And it’s certainly not too late to give it a go: remember, Brad and Josh’s victorious ‘double entry’ to our 2008 Camcorder Challenge wasn’t submitted until quite late into the process, and there’s still weeks to go – so it’s all to play for. Literally.

Best of luck!

Enter our 2010 Jingle Challenge here

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Well, that’s one way to achieve a work-life balance

January 27, 2010
* New series starts March 4th – click here for our most recent episodes *
*** And click here for our Jingle Challenge ***

Breaking News! Charlie from London, the adventurous chap who asked about swinging with his wife and colleague in Episode 123, has provided us with an update on three points:

The conversations I’ve had with my wife were not awkward for either of us as we have a very strong relationship and talk about everything without fear of upsetting each other. It turns out my wife Kim had been thinking about similar things for a while, so she has enthusiastically agreed. As for your last point: if I would have a problem with my wife sleeping with other men, I would never even have suggested swinging. Obviously.

Fair enough, and congrats to Charlie and Kim for embarking on this exciting new era in their relationship. We certainly make no moral judgements about sexual proclivities here, or else we could scarcely look Martin the Sound Man in the eye…

However, even if their marriage is as stable as Charlie claims, we’re yet to be convinced this will pan out well at Charlie’s workplace. How, exactly, are those ‘watercooler moments’ going to go? “Did you see Dancing On Ice last night?… Where were you thinking of having lunch today?… Do you fancy fisting this weekend?”

It’s fascinating territory and one that, thank the Lord, has never been broached at AMT! Towers. But, Charlie – keep us up to date.

In the meantime, here’s Bing Crosby singing about swinging. He certainly makes it sound lovely!


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Injury One-up Mann-ship

January 27, 2010
* New series starts March 4th – click here for our most recent episodes *
*** And click here for our Jingle Challenge ***

Following the full and gory details of OIly’s shoulder dislocation in Episode 123, Niall from Newcastle has been in touch with a horror story of his own:

I feel Olly’s plight. I went skiing over the Christmas week and after one day and a half day fell ill, and after two days I went to the doctors, by which time we knew it definitely was not food poisoning! I was immediately hospitalised with appendicitis and was operated on the next day which was Christmas Eve, which had many complications; the appendix having already split and part of my colon was removed. I had to spend 9 days in hospital, and bearing in mind I was in France, the only comfort I had was that my French was improving quickly! I arrived back in the UK on the 1st January, and still have an open wound on my side from the operations…

Sheesh! In the grand scheme of things, compared to Olly’s unspectacular 1 metre drop to the ground after only 90 seconds of skiing, it seems it could have been rather worse. We hope this picture of Olly looking glam in the awesome Canadian Rockies cheers you up, Niall:

I'm smiling now but in a week I'll be on Valium for back-pain

Meanwhile, Ben from Oxford writes:

Helen and Olly, Answer Me This: After my arm was put in a sling, why did my mother make me spaghetti for my first supper?

Well, Ben. I think that’s because, as we’re all learning, life can be CRUEL.

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2 boys, 1 Spoon

November 6, 2009

** Click here for Episode 116 **

In Episode 114, Olly revealed he can no longer eat even small quantities of cinnamon without suffering a gag reflex, because he and his friend Mr Will Brown recently undertook the ‘Cinnamon Challenge’ – a YouTube meme in which self-hating stupidity-junkies attempt to swallow a whole heaped teaspoon of pure ground cinnamon. For Fun.

Now, following popular demand, we are pleased to reveal the evidence, lovingly caught on camera by Answer Me This! jingle-voice Tom Price. Enjoy:

Let Olly’s fate be a lesson to you all: cinnamon is not to be taken neat.

(But, for those who fancy a bit more Friday Fun, more of our favourite examples of this particular phenomenon can be found here, here and here. Hee Hee!)

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That’s showbiz

April 29, 2009

** Click here for Episode 92 **

I just found this on YouTube and thought it was simultaneously the funniest, and saddest, thing I have seen in recent weeks. Thought I should share.

Whatever they gave that studio audience, I want some… and if anyone knows any of them personally, perhaps ask them to write us a review on iTunes.

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This month: ‘Q’. Next month: ‘Reader’s Wives’

February 26, 2009

** We’re back on 5th March; in the meantime click here to listen to previous episodes **

lilycoverfinal1

Ooh, what’s this?

It’s a photo of Lily Allen and some panthers.

She appears to have spent a lot of time getting her hair straightened, but has then forgotten to put a top on. Silly girl!

Or, perhaps she’s in a relationship with these murderous beasts and intends to deconstruct their failings in a future ska-influenced pop hit.

Either way, you’d buy the magazine, right?

Good! Because once you’d read the Lily interview (she wants to be President, apparently), you might stumble across THIS on page 151, in the ‘recommended podcasts’ section:

amtqreview

Thanks, Q!

We are very excited because:
a) we actually read Q and enjoy it,
b) you are the first journalists ever to spell BOTH our names correctly in an article,
c) we probably don’t have too many Stone Roses fans amongst our listenership at the moment, and it’s about time we cracked the lucrative ‘£50 man’ market.

Anyway, Q, if you require some cover stars for the April issue, you know where to come: Martin the Sound Man is more than happy to pose with his top off, whilst we two sit on the floor and growl.

** Read more reviews and articles about us in our PRESS OFFICE **

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Olly’s day job: the sordid truth

November 14, 2008

** Click here for EPISODE 75 **

To all of you who have been guessing valiantly as to what our day-jobs are, Olly is finally ready to come out of the closet and declare that, at the moment, he’s writing and producing a comedy clip show for Yahoo Video with the comedian Tom Price. Click here to watch it! If you stick around RIGHT to the end, and you’ll even glimpse a charming cameo by Mr Mann himself.

It comes out every Friday. If you enjoy it and would like to see more, or if this video player we’ve posted is being a shitter and not playing properly, you can see all ten archive episodes and related amusements at http://www.getyourislandon.co.uk.

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