Archive for the ‘contrition’ Category

AMT312 corrections

April 29, 2015


Make the following amendments to your MP3 of AMT312. Jonathan writes:

I wanted to comment on your discussion of the word “yogurt”. The word indeed comes from Turkish, and is spelled “yoğurt” there, with the root of the word being the verb “yoğur”, which means “to create [something] by adding water to a condensed fermenting agent”. The suffix “-t” transforms this root to give it the meaning “a product of”. Thus the final word, i.e. yoğur + t, means “a foodstuff that is the product of curdling/condensing”.

In terms of the pronunciation, I’m afraid you were a little off. The accented g, i.e. “ğ”, which the Turks refer to as “soft g”, isn’t really a “g” sound at all, nor is it the harsh, throaty “chhh” sound (similar to the “ch” in “challah”) you made in the episode, which wouldn’t be a sound found naturally in the Turkish language (except in maybe a tiny handful of imported foreign words, and even then, in significantly softened down form).

Instead, the Turkish “soft g” is not at all assertive. In fact, it’s barely a sound. The closest approximation of “ğ” is like a soft throat “w” but without the lip-rounding. Often times, most foreigners pronouncing a “soft g” can away with simply lengthening the vowel that precedes it.

So the Turkish pronunciation of yogurt is simply yo-urt. You can hear this yourself at this link. Of the three pronunciations available, the best and most accurate one is the first, recorded by user “zlvrzz”.

Lee in London comments:

I felt the need to correct Olly on some of the things he said regarding the books/props in the House of Commons.

The books on display in the front are not bibles but are in fact the books listing the orders for the house, and the procedures that need to be followed for all debates and discussions in the chamber. Though he was correct that MPs do need to swear an oath on a bible which are also available in that massive central bit.

The burnt bible Olly referred to as having been damaged by WW2 bombs in actually in the dispatch box for the opposition side, and a fresh new bible is in the dispatch box for the Government side. This is I was told similar to the swearing to tell the truth as you would on a bible in court but on a simpler scale.

I know this little tidbits of information as I use to work in said building and knew people who had worked there for decades who imparted this knowledge to me as I impart it to you.

And now we impart it to you. Pass it on!



October 2, 2014


Apologies to Malc from Beaminster, and all the Beaminster buddies:

Just listened to episode 298, which although excellent as usual did have me shout obscenities at one point regarding the article about Henry vacuum cleaners.

Olly mentioned the history of the little happy robots and gave a shout out to my hometown, unfortunately as everyone who has never been there does HE WRONGLY PRONOUNCED IT.

The small Dorset market town in question is pronounced Bem-minster and not Bee-minster as Olly said.

It drives the locals mad, as no-one except the local news ever gets it right (including Mel Smith who mis-named it in a Not the Nine O’Clock News sketch).

Although a small dwelling of only about 3,000 people, it is famous as not only the birthplace of the Henry but has the home of Clipper Teas, national treasure Martin Clunes (who lives there), author Lynne Reid Banks (The L-Shaped Room, The Indian in The Cupboard) birthplace of Thomas Hine (of Hine cognac fame) and as Emminster in the Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Carry on.

The curse of British place names strikes again. Let’s all memorise this list to try to avoid future slip-ups.


Blame Canada (for breeding multitalented Olympians)

March 12, 2014

clara hughes


We apologise to Olympians, every Canadian alive, and listener David, who says:

Love the podcast, but must indulge some Canadian pride.* In the discussion about medalists in both Winter and Summer Olympics in AMT284, you didn’t mention** Canada’s own Clara Hughes – the only athlete to win multiple medals in each. She won two bronze in cycling in Atlanta in the 1996 summer games, and gold, silver and two more bronze in speed skating over three winter games (2002, 2006 and 2010). Very different than sprinter/bobsledders. Plus she is generally awesome in her own right. Some love for Clara please!

* Don’t worry, David, the two are not incompatible.
** Of course not – it was a question about sport, so frankly it is remarkable that any of us had anything to mention at all.


sick note

November 7, 2013

No new podcast today because I’ve lost my voice! You: “That’s no disadvantage, Helen.” Me: “Hey, go fuc-cough cough cough cough cough cough coughcoughcoughcoughcough… sigh.”

To fill the silence in your headphones, you could catch up on recent AMT episodes, attempt some classic episodes, treat yourself to one of our hour-long albums, listen to some of the podcasts we like, try my Sound Women podcast or Martin the Sound Man’s Brain Train, Sound of the Ladies or Global Lab podcasts, or sign up for our free one-month LoveFilm trial and watch all of The West Wing and 24.

That should keep you going until AMT278 next week.

H biohazard


manual labour vs Mann-ual labour

September 18, 2013

se7en Sloth Scene B


Oh dear, another listener irked by AMT271. Vent your grievance, Craig:

I’m sorry but I won’t be able to download your podcast any longer as I am working class and work with my hands, and as Olly said on Episode 271 I couldn’t possibly have any concept of what a podcast is or that people could carry out a type of work that involved only using a magical device called a phone!

What a snobbish patronising attitude you seem to have to us lowly manual labour types, let’s see how stupid you think we are next time something like your boiler breaks and you need one of us to repair it!

In Olly’s defence, I think what he was clearly trying to express was: anybody for whom the concept of work does not mean ‘sitting on a deckchair listening to one’s own voice’ – ie everybody – would deride Olly’s ‘work’. Like Rachmaninov would scorn David Guetta’s ‘music’, or Gordon Ramsay would scream at any of his Kitchen Nightmares victims that served ready-prepared food. Oh. Hang on…


vanilla phone death

July 14, 2010

** We’ll be back on July 15th; meanwhile click here
to listen to past episodes of
Answer Me This! **

Here’s a long, sad story from Andreas in Sweden, but it’s a good one, so strap in:

Last week, while doing my job involving making food colouring, aromas and being cooked alive because it’s 30 cunting degrees in Sweden, you destroyed my phone and made my day shit overall.

I was going to produce something called “Vanilla Extract” to be sent off to a ice cream company for them to make vanilla ice cream. To get the obvious flavour of this concoction I needed to, through a tap mechanism, pour a undiluted mixture of ethanol and vanilla seeds into a bucket as an ingredient. This ingredient is kept in a big, cylindrical tank that holds 200 litres of the shit. To check if there was enough left in the tank for me to finish my assignment, I took the lid off of it and put it aside. Pleased with what I saw, I knocked off for lunch.

Upon my return I did what I always do when my boss is on a business trip (he’s a right shit, by the way): I got out my phone and put on some Answer Me This! To hear it better I put it on top of the tank. Instead of your funny banter streaming into my ears, I heard a splash, a gurgle and my phone hitting the bottom of the tank.

I hurried to find something to stand on. I got up on an empty cardboard box and from there climbed onto the tank and shoved my entire arm into the alcohol and vanilla. Having a bunch of tiny cuts on my hand did not make this a more pleasant experience.

I finally got the phone out of the tank and had by now sort of lost my footing on the side of the tank. I quickly put one foot on the box I had used to get up there. I had forgotten it was empty and put my big, fat foot right in the center of it. I fell onto my knee, hitting the shitting corner of the rig the tank rests on.

Long story short, you destroyed my phone and ruined my day.

We’re terribly sorry, Andreas, that your phone died in the effort to manufacture the most boring ice cream flavour. But we don’t feel directly responsible for your calamity, therefore will not be buying you a new phone. Or knee. Also, worse things have happened in the name of vanilla, viz:

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Human Centipede

June 29, 2010

** We’ll be back on July 15th; meanwhile click here
to listen to past episodes of
Answer Me This! **

Uh oh, Kat from London is angry. At us. Must’ve been something we said in Episode 140:

Dear Helen and Olly – or, as you shall be known hereafter, you utter bastards.

There I was, happily walking to work and enjoying the double chocolate-chip goodness of my breakfast cookie treat, when suddenly Helen starts talking about mouth-to-anus films.

I haven’t been able to look at a double choc-chip biscuit OR get that horrible image out of my head since, and I can’t even listen to the podcast in case Helen strays from her usual topics of classical education and word games and starts dissecting Two Girls one Cup instead.

So answer me this: how the fuckety balls do I get the image of a human centipede out of my head? Is a lobotomy really the only way?

Fortunately, Kat, we have found another way. Stare for long enough at this cheerful chap, and all thoughts of horrible mouth-stitched-to-anus-until-everyone-chokes-on-faeces movies will be banished from your mind.

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run for your Rolex!

March 31, 2010

** Click here for Episode 128 **

Apparently there were more errata than usual in Episode 128, which obviously is a real blow to our status as power-Googlers. Let’s get to it. First up to the Plate of Sorrow is James from London, who warms up with an earlier gripe first:

My love for your podcast turned to anger and rage two weeks ago when you answered, or rather, attempted to answer the question: do people really buy expensive things such as a £5,000 watch from the airport.

You missed the two critical words that describe airport shopping: DUTY FREE. Therefore, when people of limited means such as myself see a lovely watch in Harrods priced at £5,875, and think, if only there was a cheaper way to get that, we book a weekend in New York and whilst waiting for the flight to depart, nip into Harrods and buy the choice watch at a bargain price.

Have you been sniffing glue, James? Firstly, the weekend in New York surely costs more than the savings on the watch; and anyway, the only things which count as a bargain when they cost over £5K are houses or racing elephants. Go on then, unleash part 2 of your wrath:

A week later, you suggested that the distance of a Marathon is distance run by Pheidippides from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. Google Maps calculates this as 22.6 miles (although there may have been a different route available at the time) but in any event, this run was only recorded by Herodotus who wasn’t born until six years after the battle ended.

The reason that the route is 26 miles and 385 yards is because this is the distance between the starting line at Windsor Castle and the finishing line at the newly built White City Stadium during the Marathon of the 1908 Olympic Games.

Approximately 30000000 of you wrote in to tell us this, citing Wikipedia and QI as witnesses for the prosecution. Now, let’s not get wound up with the accuracy of those sources [although: ahem!]. This is a tug of love, people. Whom do you love more, AMT! or QI and Wikipedia? Huh? Huh???

OK, don’t answer that. We don’t want you to see us cry. Let’s enjoy some more criticism instead. Nathan, formerly of Tunbridge Wells, now of London, says:

As an ex-Tunbridge Well-ian like Helen, I wanted to point out an error in your last podcast.

There is a bowling alley in Tunbridge Wells and there has been for at least a decade, in the North Farm Industrial Estate, besides the large Odeon. I remember watching The Matrix there when I was on my year out so it must have been built pre-2000, the Odeon that is.

Thankyou for that, Nathan; now I know that if I ever have to go back to my hometown, I’m assured of a cracking night out on the industrial estate. Why did I not think before to go there for my leisure enjoyments? Idiot Zaltzman! Although like any true Tunbridge Wells native, I know that anything built in the town after 1898 officially DOES NOT EXIST.

Let’s cheer ourselves up with this from Mike in London:

Following a listener’s recommendation I have started playing “Answer Me That” with my year 1 class. If they can ask me a question I can’t answer they get a sticker (they love stickers).

I told my school’s other year 1 teacher about this game and now she had adopted it. I soon envisage “Answer Me That” becoming part of the standard school curriculum.

That would be an election pledge we would love to see. By the end of the year, all primary school teachers in the land would be a super-race of question-answerers!

And finally, a few words from Lorraine:

In a recent episode you discussed mood rings. It might be of benefit for Martin to buy Helen a mood ring as it will help him better judge her mood. If she’s in a good mood it will turn green, and if she’s in a bad mood it will leave a red mark in the middle of his forehead.

Ber-bam! In both senses.

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December 2, 2009

** Click here for Episode 119 **

Oh dear. Olly’s answer to Dean in Peterborough‘s question about wresting last week caused quite the ruckus amongst listeners, who furiously wrote in to correct Olly’s pronunciation of Vince McMahon, his misapprehension of The Facts, and, essentially, everything. At considerable length. First up, Mike:

The history of pro wrestling becoming fixed you gave was as fake any wrestling match!

Unfortunately you’ve bought in to the “official” history as promoted by Vince K. McMahon and the WWE. The idea that Vince J. McMahon – the current Vince’s father – was responsible for the faking of pro wrestling is utter, total bullshit.

The fixing of Pro Wrestling matches dates back the William Muldoon in the 1880s who would have men under his employment go to towns, perform matches and build up the appearance of the champion Muldoon would then come into town, draw a big crowd and beat one of his men. In January 1890 the Police Gazette magazine reported that Muldoon and Evan ‘Strangler’ Lewis had “been giving wrestling exhibitions in Philadelphia” and in 1905 the same magazine stated “nine out of ten bouts are now prearranged affairs”.

The reason for it being fake is very simple – to avoid getting injured in order to have more matches and make more money.

I’d also raise issue with the statement at the McMahon’s took wrestling into major arenas and out of ‘dirty little clubs’. Pro Wrestling had been a regular fixture at Madison Square Gardens since the 1880s and in 1908 a match between Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt main evented at Chicago’s Comiskey Park in front of 30,000 people.

The government regulation issue you raised was almost correct. The McMahons announced that it was fake in 1989 to avoid the athletic tax in New Jersey, but they certainly didn’t make it fake at that time.

Maximilian sees Mike’s beginner’s guide to wrestling, and raises with the following tract:

Here is a quick history of fakery in the world of wrestling.

Let me just interject here: Maximilian is fibbing.  Strap in for the duration!

Wrestling as a touring show began in the late 19th century in America and was originally distinct from the legitimate sport of catch wrestling. Carnival wrestling exhibitions would wow audiences with spectacular matches, colourful costumes and on-going feuds in much the same way as they do today. The term for the showy, fictional elements of a wrestling show, ‘kayfabe’ comes from this period. It is thought to be a contraction of the name Kaye Fabian which carnival workers would use when making a reverse charges call to loved ones at home. Upon hearing the name from the operator the person receiving the call would know the person had arrived and was safe, well and making money.

At this time though, most wrestling contests were still legitimate contests although most championship and big stakes matches were openly corrupt. The line started to blur more between these two forms after the retirement of catch wrestling legend Frank Gotch in the 1920s. With few big names in the sport, its popularity began to wane. In response to this, three wrestlers, Ed Lewis, Billy Sandow and Toots Mondt, known as the ‘Gold Dust Trio’, formed their own promotion and introduced many more showy elements from carnival wrestling into the professional wrestling world such as tag teams, distracting referees, bouncing off the ropes and of course, more pre-determined results. This is largely seen as the time when wrestling switched from mostly real to mostly ‘worked’.

Eventually this model of carnival style exhibition over legitimate contest spread to other countries like the Mexico, Canada, UK, Germany and Japan. The WWF (formally WWWF, now WWE) did indeed pioneer nationwide TV coverage of a single pro-wrestling product but then they also pioneered story lines involving incest and necrophilia and are by no means the leading lights in the great working class entertainment tradition that is professional wrestling.

It is important also to respect the distinction between the words ‘worked’ and fake. Wrestlers find the term fake offensive when applied to what they do because it implies that being suplexed or fallen on by a 25-stone man somehow doesn’t hurt. The outcome of matches is pre-determined but much of the action cannot be completely faked and performers risk their lives and their careers every time they enter the ring, injuries such as torn muscles, fractured bones, broken necks and shattered pelvises are commonplace. The term worked simply means the opponents are co-operating in creating the best possible story for that particular match and distinguishes it from a ‘shoot’ or legitimate wrestling contest.

The WWF and McMahon family can be said to have had, at best, a mixed effect on the form of entertainment they have popularised and do not require any more credit than they already have.

Thankyou, Mike and Maximilian, for that primer. I have learnt many things from it, primarily the word ‘suplexed’, and never to let Olly do research again for fear of the resultant tide of retribution.

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Ben vs. Ben

October 7, 2009

** Click here for Episode 111 **

Dearie me, we made a blunder in Episode 111, in which we answered a pair of questions from Ben from Oxford. Or so we thought, until we received the following complaint from Ben from Oxford:

After many weeks of sending questions to you, I finally heard the words ‘Ben from Oxford’ read out on the podcast. But after my brief glimpse of cyber-ecstasy, it was revealed that the question was not mine, but of another ‘Ben from Oxford’.

You read the other Ben from Oxford’s question [about doctorates], before going on to state that HE had a doctorate in question-asking, and reading out MY QUESTION about why ‘X’ means sex. But what really annoys me is that you gave him the credit!

Let us take this opportunity to apologise to Ben from Oxford for robbing him of his due questioneer glory, and to clarify that the doctorates question was asked by Ben from Oxford, whereas the X-rating question was in fact asked by Ben from Oxford. I hope we’re cool now, Bens.

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Eggy apology

May 26, 2009

** Click here for EPISODE 96 **

Oh deary dear, we’ve had a Strongly-Worded Letter of Complaint arising from my allusion to ironic 1980s cookbook Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche in Episode 95:

OI! I’ve got a bone to pick with you (which in itself is an odd phrase; answer me this – where did it originate?)

But onto my point. I like football, I swear a lot and I have tattoos. In short, I am a real man.


It is not unmanliness, it is simply a lush foodstuff that goes nice with salad (which is also manly, if you omit the celery). I demand you make a public apology.

Slightly Miffed from Treorchy

Well, here’s your public apology, Slightly Miffed; and I hope you don’t get similarly riled by my reference to the culinary classic Salad Cream is for Dickwads in the forthcoming Episode 97.

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The future Queen – doing her bit.

December 10, 2008

** Click here for EPISODE 78 **

Leave it to the Away team to point out the glaring errors in our knowledge of modern British history…  Olly spent a portion of Episode 78 fantasising about the young Queen Elizabeth II doing her bit for the war effort on the tanks, and not even knowing that she would one day be crowned Fairy Princess of the West; suffice to say that, like most biopics, this misty-palmed reverie was lacking a little in the ‘factual accuracy’ department.

Fortunately, a couple of our Stateside listeners have been in touch to restore the ‘edu’ to the ‘edutainment’. Firstly, Nancy from Pennsylvania points out:

When the Queen was working on jeeps and such during the war, her father was already the King. Meaning, she knew she was going to be the Queen. Olly said that her father was not yet King when she was doing her bit. Wrong!

Peter from Chicago even shows his working (albeit relying upon the encyclopaedia equivalent of a tombola):

I checked on, King George VI’s reign began on 11 December 1936, well before the start of World War II. (

Since his daughter Elizabeth ( was the granddaughter of King George V (, she was a princess from the time she was born (

She joined the WATS in 1945, and yes, she was mechanic and truck driver. (Would you say lorry driver?) (

Now THAT’s another tip-top movie plot: the young queen as a trucker!  Follow the future monach as she pluckily trundles up and down the B-roads, scratching her balls and subsisting off three fried breakfasts a day!  I’m sure one could persuade Helen Mirren to take the role again.

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