A conversation with my Mum about The Beatles, and a language point about ‘used to’. Full transcript available below.
Transcript of Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast episode: Music / The Beatles
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Hello and welcome to episode 3 of the podcast. Thanks very much for listening and downloading, and possibly subscribing to the show using iTunes, that’s fantastic. In today’s show we’re going to be talking about music and I’m going to talk to my Mum about The Beatles because she was a big Beatles fan in the 1960s. I’m also going to respond to a couple of emails that I’ve had and then in the last part of the podcast, the language part, I’m gonna talk about habits, habits and behavior in the past. So things like ‘use to’ and ‘would’ and some other useful language. So stay tuned for that.
Now, I’ve had an email from Alessandro in Italy in response to the question that I asked at the end of the last podcast. That question was: What kind of music is popular in your country at the moment? Is it kind of English language music or do you have music that is just exclusive to your country? And Alessandro from Italy says that, he still thinks that ‘Opera’ is the most famous Italian music, of course. Everyone knows Opera, erm, people like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli of course that’s the most famous Italian music, but also in Italy, Rock music is very popular and they have all English language bands, the ones we have, obviously have here as well. Things like, you know, U2, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay. All these really big bands are popular in Italy as well. But also there are lots of Italian Rock bands. They’re really popular there but (they) aren’t very well known outside of Italy and I think this is probably true in most countries, erm, I know it’s true in Japan, that there are big very successful bands, they’re just famous in that country and because the lyrics are not in English, they’re not famous in America or in the UK. So it’s probably, hmm, a bit lazy, in terms, sort of British people. We don’t listen to very much music that isn’t in English. We’re probably missing out on quite a lot of good music. So thanks very much for your emails. I appreciate that very much and remember, if you want to email me, you can. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org and I love hearing from you. So send me your emails and all your comments and stuff and I’ll get back to you through the podcast.
Ask the girl what she wanted to be
She said baby, can’t you see
I wanna be famous, a star of the screen
But you can do something in between
Baby you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you
A little bit of Beatles there. That was ‘Drive my car’ from the ‘Rubber Soul album’ and I’m playing that because the Beatles and Apple Corps which is their company and EMI music have finally decided to re-release all of the Beatles studio albums in remastered form. So they’re all going be digitally remastered and so that means you’ll be able to listen to them and hear them sounding better than they’ve ever sounded before. Some of the albums that they released, particularly the early ones were recorded in mono, and there are CD versions of those albums in mono but now they’re going to be digitally remastered, so that they’ll sound really crystal clear and perfect and they’ll be all in stereo which obviously makes the listening experience a lot better. Now, right, so with me here now, is my Mum.
LUKE: Hello Mum
Mum: Hello Luke
LUKE: How are you?
Mum: I’m very well.Thank you.
LUKE: Now, umm, I thought that I’d talk to my Mum today because she used to be, back in the sixties, a massive Beatles fan. Is that right?
Mum: That’s right, yes.
LUKE: Okay, so, umm, right, so I hope you don’t mind if I ask you some questions.
Mum: No, that’s okay.
LUKE: Umm, so how did you first hear about the Beatles then when you were younger
Mum: Umm, oh, it’s very hard to remember but I can, I have, do have one memory of being on the school bus and hearing two other girls talking about this group
Mum: called the Beatles and looking at pictures of them and saying ‘ which is your favorite?’ and I think maybe that was the first time I heard of them but I, I really can’t remember the first, the actual first time.
LUKE: Yeah, now they, they were a really massively popular band, weren’t they?
Mum: They were
LUKE: I mean, everyone was crazy about them. Umm, so, you obviously heard about them from some friends and then started
Mum: And then started to talk about them and look at pictures of them, listen to the music and I didn’t actually buy any records of theirs until the 2nd LP which was called ‘With the Beatles’ which my parents bought me because I didn’t really have much money of my own in those days.
LUKE: That’s nice of them. How old were you in those days, tell me?
Mum: Umm, I would have been about twelve or thirteen, I suppose.
LUKE: Twelve or thirteen, so you would have been the target audience really
Mum: Hum, I suppose so, yes.
LUKE: So why did you like them? Well, they were so popular but why, why did you like them?
Mum: Oh, it’s very hard to explain why. Umm, they were, they were just so unusual, just so different, all the Pop music we’ve had up ’til then seemed to be mainly from America. I mean there were one or two the English people like Cliff Richard and Adam Faith. Umm, but they were just so different. I mean the first time I ever saw a group, you know with three guitars and drums. Before it was just a singer.
LUKE: They had something else about them, didn’t they?
Mum: Oh yes!
LUKE: They had a kind of personality
Mum: Yep !
LUKE: They had a good sense of humor, they were sort of charismatic
Mum: They were from Liverpool, which, and so they had these wonderful Liverpool accents which, um, of course I didn’t really know about in those days. I had never heard about another Liverpudlian I think.
Mum: And they were very witty and very funny and very quick and just wonderful really.
LUKE: Right, so, did you actually ever see them?
Mum: I did, I saw them twice. I think the first time I saw them was in 1963 I think in Wolverhampton and then I saw them again in Birmingham the following year.
LUKE: So they were probably playing in a theatre or something like that, right? Umm, I can’t remember were they were in Wolverhampton. It was probably a Cinema or a Theater or somewhere like that and in Birmingham there were the Odeon in New Street which again was a Cinema but it had a stage and so it could be used for concerts as well.
LUKE: So, what was the experience like? I mean, what was it like actually seeing them, what was the audience like, first of all?
Mum: The audience was completely hysterical. We were all screaming and shouting and it was, I remember, the compere the shows sort of, that’s the man who did, who introduced the acts. When it got to the Beatles because they were the last on the bill and he sort of start the audience up even more by saying ‘Do you want to see them, do you want to see them?’
LUKE: And everyone was like ‘Yeah,
Mum: Everybody was shouting and screaming and the curtain came up and we could see their feet, and then we could see their legs and then you could see them and then the music started and that was all extremely exciting.
LUKE: There’s lots of video footage of The Beatles concerts where they’re playing and you can’t really hear the band. You can just hear all this ridiculous screaming .
Mum: Yes, that’s what is was like. I don’t really think we could hear them properly at all.
LUKE: So, it was just total madness, really.
Mum: Yeah, absolutely.
LUKE: Yah, Yah, I expect probably at the time because it was the early 1960s, young people didn’t really have anything, you know, interesting like The Beatles. They just, I mean, I think, I might be wrong but I think that life was kind of boring, right?
Mum: Umm, no, I never thought it was boring. It’s just the way it was in those days but it was very different from the way it is today. There wasn’t
LUKE: Now, now teenagers have just got so much, so many, you know so much music, so many, hmm, movies and all kind of things there to entertaining them.
Mum: And it’s so much more accessible than it was in my day. You had to actually go to the cinema or buy a record.
LUKE: Yeeah, Yeah
Mum: There was no downloading stuff from the internet or watching DVDs or anything like that.
LUKE: Right, so erm, which Beatle was your favorite because everyone had a favorite Beatle, didn’t they?
Mum: My favorite Beatle was, it was a toss-up between John and Ringo.
LUKE: Yeah, okay
Mum: I think, mainly my favourite was John, because he was so outrageous.
LUKE: Yeah, he was controversial, wasn’t he?
Mum: He was
LUKE: Yah, okay, so just the fact that he was controversial and outrageous, that, that
Mum: That was mainly it, yes he was very witty and very funny.
LUKE: Yah, he was, wasn’t he? Yeah, and what about now? Is John still your favorite now?
Mum: Ha ha,umm, oh it’s hard. I can’t really think of it in those terms anymore really, because I, I just, I’m very fond of George now.
Mum: I appreciate him more now than I did then, I think.
LUKE: Yah, okay. So do you still listen to The Beatles these days?
Mum: Not very much, no,hmm
LUKE: Why not?
Mum: I find it quite strange listening to them now.
Mum: It just, it’s, hum, I don’t know, it’s very hard to explain. It just reminds me of those days and I don’t really want to go back and think about those days anymore. I’d rather live here and now.
LUKE: Yeah, alright, okay, thanks very much for talking to me.
Mum: It’s a pleasure.
LUKE: Yeah, hmm, alright, well, that’s, that’s it then. Oh, I think I might buy a couple of these new CDs when they come out.
Mum: Okay, right
LUKE: Because you knoz I’m a big fan.
Mum: Yes, well, I might listen to them if you buy them.
LUKE: Yeah, you’ll probably enjoy them.
LUKE: Okay, well
LUKE: Thanks very much
Okay, so now it’s time to do the language part of the podcast. This is where I teach you something and in the last episode you heard my Dad talking about his Easter experiences when he was a child. And so he was talking about things that he usually did, things that he did regularly or every year when he was a kid. So we’re going to look at some language that he used and that you can use to talk about regular habits in the past. Now there are some really common ways of doing this. The most common way is to use ‘used to’.You’ve probably studied that, you, you probably know about ‘used to’. Erm, so it’s erm, u-s-e-d t-o, used to. So for example, hum, something my Dad said was ‘ we used to paint our easter eggs different colors, okay? Hmm, another example for me would be ‘I used to live in Japan’, right? Or I used to smoke. I don’t smoke anymore, because it’s very bad for your health, right? I used to smoke but then I gave up.
So this is something really useful. Now, you may know about ‘used to’ and you may have studied it but do you actually use it? Now the most, this is very important, you might know about different kinds of grammar. You might have studied different bits of vocabulary but the difference between a learner of English and a native speaker is that a native speaker uses all of this stuff. They actually use it regularly when they speak. They use a variety of different grammar and a variety of vocabulary, okay? And ‘used to’ is something that people use all the time when they are talking about the past, when they’re talking about things they did regularly in the past, okay? So you should use ‘used to’ a lot. You might think that this isn’t a new language for you but the most important thing is that you’re actually using it okay? Umm, something I always tell people is, it’s not important what you know, it’s important what you do in English. So the important thing here is that you actually use something like ‘used to’, okay. Hum, just some other important points about ‘used to’ , pronunciation. So obviously it should be ‘I ‘used to’, so that’s ‘used to’ not used to, and not ‘used to’ or ‘used to’ (listen to the audio to hear the pronunciation Luke is de,onstrating here). Hmm, I sometimes hear people saying ‘used to’ or ‘used to’ but it’s not that , it’s ‘used to’, ‘used to’. Also in negative or in question forms it doesn’t have a ‘d’, so that’s when you write, ‘used to’ in a negative it doesn’t have a ‘d’ . So I didn’t use to smoke. Right? So it’s without a ‘d’. So it’s didn’t u-s-e t-o, right? And it’s the same in questions,right? Did you use to, for example.
Umm, now ‘used to’ is commonly confused with, erm, another, erm, very similar structure and that is ‘to be used to doing something’. For example, I am used to living in London. Okay? So you’ve got ‘used to’, which is ‘I used’ to live in London and ‘be used to doing something’. I am used to doing something. I am used to living in London. So those forms are completely different.
Right? So, hum, I’ve told you about ‘used to’ to talk about past habits, now let me tell you about ‘to be used to doing something’ or ‘I am used to doing something’. Right? Which is totally different from just ‘used to’ okay. So, hum, okay let’s see, so if you say ‘I am used to doing something’ or ‘I got used to doing something’ it means that before something was difficult or strange for you but now it’s okay. Now you’re okay with it. You got accustomed to it. Okay? So for example something that you might say, you might say ‘when I first moved to London I thought it was very difficult to live here but now I’m used to living here. Okay, now I’m used to living here. So, it could be ‘now, I understand the culture a bit more, I can speak better English, I remember that people drive on the left, so I’m used to living here now. So that is totally different from ‘I used to’ live in London, which means that I lived in London in the past but I don’t live in London now. Okay? Right.
So another way of talking about a past habit which is similar to ‘used to’, is the modal verb ‘would’. Now ‘would’ is usually, when it is used to talk about a past habit we use ‘would’ but in the contracted form. Okay? So for example you may have heard my Dad in the last episode say something like this:’ We’d roll our easter eggs down a hill and then we’d eat them at the bottom’ Okay? So, um, this use of ‘would’ in the contracted form, for example ‘we’d eat them at the bottom or ‘ we’d buy each other chocolate eggs every christmas, not christmas, what am I talking about? Not Chrismas! Sorry! We ‘d buy each other chocolate eggs every easter. Right? Um, this use of ‘would’ is very similar to ‘used to’. We use it to talk about things we did regularly in the past. Okay? For example for me, when I lived in Japan, I’d see businessmen asleep on the underground everyday, okay? I’d see businessmen asleep on the underground everyday. Or I’d sometimes get woken up by noisy motor bike gangs in the middle of the night. Right? I’d sometimes get woken up by noisy motorbike gangs in the middle of the night. That’s true actually. I used to get woken up all the time by motorbike gangs because I lived in, I lived near Yokohama and sometimes in the summer there was these big motorcycle gangs, they would ride around, hum, in the city in the middle of the night and that was so loud, so for example, you know, I used to wake up to the noise of these motorbikes and I’d get up and I’d go out onto my balcony and I’d look down on the street and I’d see all these motorbikes riding past. It’s quite frightening because they were quite scary because some of them had samurai swords on their backs which is quite scary.
Anyway, anyway, I was talking about ‘would’ so for example’ I’d sometimes get woken up by noisy motor bike gangs’. Okay? So try to use ‘would’ like that in the contracted form to talk about regular things that happened in the past. Now, it’s very similar to ‘used to’ but it is different. The only difference with ‘used to’ is that we don’t use, we don’t use ‘would’ like this with state verbs, okay? Now, you’ve got state verbs and you got action verbs. Action verbs are the most common ones. Action verbs all describe an action. Right? For example, something that you do rather than a kind of state or condition that you’re in. So an action verb might be to go, to play, to eat, something like that, okay.
Right so we don’t use, okay that’s action verbs. play, go eat an so on. Now, state verbs are not used to describe an action but they describe a situation or a state or a condition. Right? These include verbs like live, know, like, understand, hate, okay? Now, we can’t, we don’t use would in the contracted form to talk about past habits with state verbs. Okay?
So for example, you can say ‘I used to live in London. Right? ‘Live’ is a state verb. You can say I used to live in London but you can’t say ‘I’d live in London’ if you’re talking about the past. Okay? That’s because ‘live’ is a state verb. So you can say ‘when I lived in London, I’d take the underground to school everyday and I’d often go to the pub after school on a friday. So you can say that because ‘take’ is an action verb and ‘go’ is an action verb. Alright?
So, remember that, you can only use, ‘would’ contracted for past habits with action verbs and not state verbs. If you’re interested in, action verbs and state verbs and what the difference is, it’s really simple. Just go to Google. Right? Go to the Google search engine and type ‘state verbs’. Have a look at the results and you’ll see lots of grammar pages from, you know, Oxford, um, University or something like that and they’ll show you lists of state verbs and action verbs and the differences between the two. Okay? Umm, that’s it. That’s, that’s the end of the language section.
Um, so, erm, yeah, I hope you found that useful. Don’t forget you can email me questions. If there is something you don’t understand or there is another question you have about language, email me. The email address is : email@example.com and I will answer questions that you, that you sent me in the podcast. Now, I might not be able to answer every question that is sent to me because I, I get quite a few questions. So if, if I don’t answer the question, you’ve sent me, I’m sorry. I’ll try to answer all the questions that I get sent but sometimes I can’t answer them all. Umm, okay, so that’s, that’s the end of the podcast.
Now, I’m gonna end with a final question and the question this time, umm, is about skateboarding. Now, it’s about skateboarding because erm, I was talking to my brother recently and he loves skateboarding, right. He’s, he’s a, he’s a skater, he skates a lot. Now, I was talking to him about it recently and I was thinking that I might interview him for the podcast in the future. So I might have an interview with, with my brother James about skateboarding but I’d like to ask you a question about skateboarding. What do you think, is skateboarding popular in your country? Right? And do you think skateboarding is vandalism or is it okay? Now what does vandalism mean? Vandalism is when people damage public property. Okay? So what skateboarders do, is, is, they use public property, umm, for their skateboarding. So they do things like, eh, they will ride on, hmm, on like a bench or they will ride on a handrail for their skating and it damages the bench and it damages the handrail and a lot of people in this country think that skateboarding is vandalism, that it damages public property but a lot of people think it’s kind of like an art form or a sport or something. So what do you think? Do you think skateboarding is vandalism or do you think it’s okay? So that’s the question.
Umm, that’s the end of the podcast. I hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m looking forward to hearing from you. So, that’s it! Cheers, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye……..
(Thanks to Bettina for providing this transcript – Thanks Bettina, I appreciate it very much and I’m sure the listeners do too)