Posts Tagged ‘The Allusionist’

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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Thursday Listening Party

June 18, 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.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

We’ve been busy, churning out noises:

Olly has just laid a hot fresh episode of the Guardian’s Tech Weekly, in which he debates the future of your ear-tertainment what with Apple Music and Beats 1 entering the fray. Hear it here, and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for more Mann on The Media Podcast and his LBC show.

I make a tiny cameo on the new 99% Invisible, all about Sigmund Freud’s couch. And at MaxFunCon last weekend, I was a panellist in a particularly raucous edition of International Waters: under the jurisdiction of Dave Holmes, Nadia Kamil and I took on Paul F. Tompkins and his wife Janie Haddad Tompkins, and let me tell you, when you’re playing for Britain on American soil, they do NOT want you to win.

Almost certainly less raucous, but still fun and funny, is Radio 4’s News Quiz: I’ll be on it tomorrow night, 6.30pm.

In the new episode of the Allusionist, I reluctantly learn about emoji, and discover a world of misbehaving medieval nuns. Hear it at theallusionist.org/emoji.

Catch up with AMT316 to hear about dirty knickers, banana thrift and the undead Mike Oldfield, and rejoin us next Thursday for AMT317.

What have you been listening to, dear audiophiles? Tell me in the comments!

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Thursday Listening Party

May 21, 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.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

Friends, this evening I’m on a new Radio 4 panel show, Best Behaviour. It’s hosted by (AMT jingle alum) Holly Walsh and is all about manners. Hear it on R4 at 6.30pm, or afterwards on the BBC website. And you might as well remain tuned in to Radio 4 for eight days, because on Friday 29th I’ll be on the News Quiz! Finally we can test whether I really can convincingly pass as a Sandi Toksvig soundalike…

I’m also on the latest episode of the bicontinental gameshow International Waters, hosted by Dave Holmes. Arnab Chanda and I were pitted against Paul Provenza and Brigid Ryan. We recorded pretty soon after the election, so were in an emotionally weakened state rather than 100% combat ready.

The new Allusionist tackles one of the most pressing questions of our time: what IS brunch? I’m joined by Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast, who champions something called ‘the porklift’. Racy! There’s more information and different ways to hear the show at theallusionist.org/brunch.

Sustain your ears over this weekend with Olly on the forthcoming Media Podcast and on LBC in the evenings.

My book club-style Podcast Club met again last week. The winners this time were this very intimate (NSFW) episode of The Heart and a Pitch episode about bands using backing tracks on live performances. I can thoroughly recommend this exercise – it’s proving to be very fun and interesting to meet with friends in the pub and argue about podcasts all evening.

What have you enjoyed listening to this week? Let us know in the comments! I’ve just started on Nocturne, which is really beautifully made audio essays about the night; and I’m catching up on ARRVLS before their second series begins next month. The Norjak episode will appeal to any of you who were into the DB Cooper theory of Mad Men. Backed the wrong horse, didn’t you? Maybe it’ll happen in one of the DVD extras.

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Thursday Listening Party

May 7, 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.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

Election Day! The Media Podcast election special, hosted by Olly, will be out tomorrow on themediapodcast.com.

Meanwhile, I sought solace in etymology for the new Allusionist and found out the origins of lots of political words – visit theallusionist.org/electionlexicon to hear about hairy polls and ballsy ballots.

Election-unrelated: I was recently a guest on one of my favourite podcasts, The Sporkful! And I discovered that host Dan Pashman is possibly even more of a pedant than I am. Hear here.

In AMT313, we search for a foodstuff older than a questioneer and get stuck in poogatory. Catch up in time for AMT314 next Thursday.

A few shows I’ve enjoyed this week:

Radiotopia sibling Benjamen Walker just completed New York After Rent, a three-part series within his podcast Theory of Everything, and it’s a very interesting take on the gentrification of New York through the prism of rent, Rent and Airbnb. Hear at toe.prx.org. (On the subject of Radiotopia – if you’re in Dublin and free this evening, come along to the Radiotopia party and hang out with me and Nick van der Kolk from Love+Radio. Click here for details.)

I started listening to Millennial, in which recentish graduate Megan Tan negotiates the upward struggle that is so many of our twenties. (And thirties. And forties. Etc etc, up until one’s hundred-and-teens, at which point one probably has stopped worrying so much.) The show is pretty new, but is off to a very strong start. I had to check on this chart to find out whether I’m a Millennial, Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomer or Greatest Generation. Treat for Gen X-ers – Parker Posey was on WTF this week.

If you’re in need of some first person true stories that will punch you right in the emotional gut, let me steer you towards This Is Actually Happening.

What’s been in your ears this week? Share your recommendations in the comments.

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Thursday Listening Party

March 12, 2015

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On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews – and who in the podcast-listening realm isn’t? – apply yourself to Mark Kermode‘s recent Radio 4 series The Business of Film, also available as a podcast. It’s as entertaining and informative as you’d expect Kermode to be about the business of film, plus there’s some pH1 bitchery from film industry insiders (ahem, Matthew Vaughn).

Private Eye has a new podcast! Which is a surprise, given how their staff usually prefer to remain anonymous. Here it is, for you news, politics and satire fans.

As regular Thursday Listening Party attendees will have clocked, I have an apparently inexhaustible appetite for podcasts in which people divulge true stories from their lives. I’ve recently been listening to The Longest Shortest Time, which may be sold as a parenting podcast but is really about LIFE, and is very welcome to me even given my child-averse status.

Finally, I’m recommending The Sporkful to you again, because it’s so much fun, and particularly when Dan Pashman goes all agony uncle for food.

Oh, us?

Remember to listen to Olly host The Media Podcast and 1-4am weeknightmornings on LBC.

And please try my newish show The Allusionist. The new episode will confirm what you’ve always suspected when you’ve been going round a museum: the real exhibit is YOU. THEY ARE WATCHING.

See you next Thursday for AMT310!

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Thursday Listening Party

February 26, 2015

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On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

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 [UPDATE: it has arrived]; and here’s another in this documentary about podcasting:

See you next Thursday for AMT309!

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Thursday Listening Party

February 12, 2015

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On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

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!

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Thursday Listening Party

January 29, 2015

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On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

If you’re interested in podcasting, you might be interested in:

1. The newish weekly pod-newsletter Hot Pod, which recommends things to listen to, and mulls over what is happening in the field right now;

2. Several of the sessions from last autumn’s Third Coast Festival, particularly this one about making your own stuff if you need a little inspiration sprinkled with practical advice;

3. The ‘Burnout’ episode of StartUp podcast. Gimlet Media, the guys behind StartUp, are some of the most successful in the business, with the additional advantages of funds, skills, and This American Life stamp of approval; so if even they find podcasting a real slog, the rest of us should be sobbing in a heap by now.

But we’re not! We’re still churning out podcasts! Viz:

Have you heard AMT306 yet? You haven’t? With its hymn to chicken Kiev and Ainsley Harriott? Well, you know what you need to do.

Here’s the shining new episode of The Media Podcast, with Olly in the hosting seat to run down the latest news in TV, radio, news et al.

Here’s a new(ish) episode of Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown, featuring me and Holly Burn. I say newish: we recorded it last August late at night at the Green Man Festival, but it has only just been released, so the summer festival vibe feels very distant to me as I sit here typing with sock gloves on my hands.

In the new episode of The Allusionist, BuzzFeed senior editor Tom Phillips what linguistic sorcery he uses to goad you into making posts go viral. And there’s a cameo from AMTpal Roman Mars complaining that we’re all using the word ‘viral’ incorrectly anyway. SO THERE.

Remember, Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train about clever things, The Global Lab about smart cities and stuff, and The Sound of the Ladies music podcast. He’s about to add a couple more shows to his roster. Wait for us to catch up, Martin!

What have you been listening to this week, you treasures?

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EPISODE 306: sitting down is the new smoking

January 22, 2015

Fire up your podblasters; Answer Me This! Episode 306 has arrived:

Subscribe to AMT! on iTunes listen to the MP3 through your computer soundcloud-icon our podcast feed on Libsyn Share with Facebook

Today we consider:

Ainsley Harriott
Extreme Wink Murder
standing desks
Britney Spears’s haircare range
Barry Norman’s pickled onions
Paul Simon’s chicken and eggs
yellow dusters
skateboarding and similar activities
having ‘a bit of fun’ on Tinder
and
Chicken Kiev.

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 answermethispodcast@googlemail.com. 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. •••

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Thursday Listening Party

January 15, 2015

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On the Thursdays we don’t release a new AMT, we crank up the spoken word audio and have a Thursday Listening Party.
Click here to attend all previous gatherings.

Friends! I am very excited to tell you that my new Radiotopia show about language and etymology, The Allusionistwhich some of you generously Kickstarted last autumn – has landed. It’s at theallusionist.org and available via iTunes, SoundCloud, RSS and various other podcast-wranglers.

It kicks off with a double bill: the first episode is about puns, and features my punfortunate brother Andy (familiar to you Bugle fans), as well as AMT200 star Zack Zaltzman. The second episode is all about bras and pants. Together, the episodes = punderwear…?


On an etymological tip, I listened to this episode of Slate Working interviewing a lexicographer about her job, and it really made me quite relieved that in 2003 the OED rejected me for my dream job as a lexicographer so I had to become a podcaster instead. Seems like a lot of admin.

Also, if you are fans of The Conspiracy Theories of Olly Mann, you may well enjoy this episode of Reply All about One Direction conspiracy theorists. That’s a next level hobby…

Remember to update your Media Podcast feeds tomorrow, for Olly will be back hosting a fresh new episode.

By the way, I’ll be on Absolute Radio this evening with the very excellent duo Geoff Lloyd and Annabel Port. Tune in 19.10-19.30, or get the podcast afterwards.

Tune in to our usual gigs:

Catch up on AMT305, in which we contemplate a questioneer’s unusual lITerature-inspired tattoo, argue about olive-theft, and reflect upon our lack of audiobook-reading jobs.
AMT episodes 1-170 and the special AMT albums are all available at answermethisstore.com, and if you buy any of them you’re bankrolling the podcast, for which we are extremely grateful.
Olly’s on LBC every weekday 1am-4am. Chug that caffeine to join him.
I host the monthly Sound Women podcast.
Martin the Sound Man makes numerous other podcasts, including Brain Train about clever things, The Global Lab about cities and stuff, and The Sound of the Ladies music podcast.

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