In this episode I want to talk about two things: My first impressions of the US Presidential election result, and then some things I said in the last episode of this podcast. I just want to clear up some comments I made last time. I just want to get straight into it. So here we go.
Oh my god, can you believe it? You’d better believe it because it’s true. More on that in a minute.
I just want to record this episode and get it out there to you quickly without spending time on pre-production and all that stuff so it might be a bit rambly and a bit sketchy.
The main reason I’m recording this is that I have a couple of things I want to get off my chest in response to the previous episode of this podcast. Just some things on my mind that I want to communicate to you, and that’s the main reason I’m recording this quickly now on Tuesday 9 November.
But also, of course the big news of the day is the US presidential election – and that’s what’s going on, certainly in my world – probably in your world too – it’s all about the election because the result came in just a few hours ago that Trump has been elected president.
Let me say that again – Donald Trump is the 45th President of the USA.
So, I have got to talk about that a bit at the top of the episode here.
I hope you don’t press stop ❤️
Please do stick around for the whole episode. I do hope you listen to it all because I have some sincere things to say to you. Yes, don’t press stop! Please do listen! Please feel completely welcome at all times while listening to this! I hope you don’t press stop! In the last episode I know that I said some dismissive and glib things like “you can stop listening if you don’t like it” – sorry, I hope you didn’t feel that was dismissive and unfriendly sounding. I was just feeling a bit… ‘hangry’ or frustrated. Of course I always want you to listen and I am extremely happy when people do listen. I’ll talk more about that stuff later. I’ve got some things to say to you my audience – so I hope you do stick around for that.
But first – Donald Trump
Yes, the joke going round is that the UK is no longer the most stupid nation on earth. After Brexit we had the title for about 5 months and now it’s gone back to the USA, back to normal. Back to that good old feeling that we had when they elected George Bush twice in a row. Ah… That is the joke that people are making…
Except this time it seems worse somehow – at least it seems more shocking, I don’t know – what do you think? Are you shocked, glad? A lot of feelings will be flying around today I expect, especially if you care about this subject at all.
That Brexit feeling is back again.
It’s a strange feeling.
A huge event has happened. It’s a historic moment.
Hello and welcome to part 2 of this conversation with my friend Alex Love. If you haven’t already heard part 1 I suggest you go back and listen to that. I’ve divided this episode into two parts just because I thought it was a bit long and that it would be easier for you to deal with two slightly shorter episodes than one epically long one.
So, just to remind you – I invited Alex on the podcast to talk about his Edinburgh show called “How to Win a Pub Quiz” but we spent most of the episode talking about stuff in general, including quite a lot of unspecific rambling about nothing in particular – which is one of my favourite topics. If you remember, part 1 ended with Alex going into his bathroom in an attempt to get a better internet connection on his phone because the signal kept breaking up, making it sound like our Skype call was being invaded by evil robot aliens or something.
So, we carry on now with Alex in the bathroom in Manchester and me in the SkyPod in my flat in Paris. So here we go.
Title: Alex Love – How to Win a Pub Quiz
Venue: The Stand 5 & 6 (Venue 319) Dates: Aug 4-14 Time: 12:00 lunch time Length: 1 hour
Description from the Ed Fringe website: This highly interactive show is part stand-up, part actual pub quiz. Expand your trivia, compete against other teams, witness results. After playing to capacity crowds in 2015, this unique hour is back with more facts, prizes and niche-referenced nonsense. Reviews: ‘Alex Love is great fun’ (Scotsman). ‘It takes quite a show to create such a sense of engagement that one music question can become a full-blown sing-along, but this is the spirit of How to Win a Pub Quiz.’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Such a quick brain’ (We Are Funny Project). Bookings:tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alex-love-how-to-win-a-pub-quiz
On the podcast today I am in conversation with Alex Love, who you might remember from some previous episodes of this podcast. Alex is a friend of mine who I first met while doing stand-up comedy in London 7 years ago. He has featured in podcast episodes before, like the Brighton Fringe Festival podcasts (ep 104, 105 & 106), 109. The Drunk Episode and 226. On a Boat. All those episodes also featured our friends Paul Langton and Moz – both of whom have been guests on the podcast recently.
Alex Love regularly performs stand-up comedy gigs in London and in Manchester where he now lives. At this moment he’s preparing for the Edinburgh Festival where he will be performing a one-hour show which he has written himself, called “How to Win a Pub Quiz”. The show is a mix of stand-up comedy and pub quiz trivia and it has had some good reviews at previous festivals. If you’re in Edinburgh this August you can see Alex’s show at a venue called The Stand in rooms 5 & 6 (venue 319) at 12 o’clock midday from 4 to 14 August. Bookings:tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alex-love-how-to-win-a-pub-quiz
As well as doing comedy Alex has also done a number of different jobs in his life, including doing a paper-round, working in a call centre, and writing journalistic pieces for The Guardian newspaper.
I invited Alex onto the podcast today mainly to talk about his Edinburgh show, but in fact, the conversation mainly involves Alex and me just wittering on about nothing in particular! That’s why I’ve called this episode “Talking about Nothing with Alex Love” because although we do talk about his show a little bit, I’ve found it quite hard to put my finger on exactly what it was that we talked about for the majority of this conversation. We just seemed to be talking about nothing and I actually think that’s a really great thing and a worthwhile thing for you to listen to.
Because, in my opinion, regularly listening to unplanned and slightly rambling conversations between friends, like in this episode, is genuinely good for your English, long-term. This is, after all, the way that we communicate with friends in the real world, isn’t it? Real conversations are not scripted or planned out in advance like the recordings you hear in published English learning course books, like this www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MVxesy1AFI 5.22. That’s an extract from a Headway course book published by Oxford University Press, which is a very good book and everything, but the audio conversations are a bit fake sounding because they’ve been written in advance and are being used to present certain bits of language. Of course, the vast majority of conversations we have with our friends in the real world are not planned in advance and usually involve responding to little moments that come up in the conversation, changing from one topic to another and simply rambling on about stuff in general. And we build relationships with people by rambling on about stuff in general, we have fun with each other by rambling on about stuff in general and we release stress by just rambling on about stuff in general, and this is why simply rambling on about stuff in general is actually rather a wonderful thing indeed.
So, I invite you, in this episode, to listen to us rambling on about stuff in general. Your job is to try to follow the meandering flow of the conversation, take note of certain phrases or aspects of language that you hear, and generally just let the English wash over you like some kind of refreshing language shower. An English language shower. A languashower if you like, or perhaps an Englashower.
One technical detail before we start: There are some moments when the Skype connection breaks up and Alex sounds a bit like an evil robot. That happened a few times and it actually really annoyed me during the recording because it was quite disruptive to our conversation. For some reason, whenever we started talking about something serious some connection problems occurred and Alex started sounding like an Aphex Twin remix or a drunk robot or something. You’ll hear it happening sometimes in the conversation and you’ll also hear that I got a bit annoyed by it later in the conversation and I said the phrase “This is doing my head in” which means “this is really annoying me and making me angry and frustrated.” To be honest, I have managed to fix the vast majority of the technical issues in the recording because I have done *a lot* of editing, so in fact you probably won’t notice any of these technical issues and all of this explaining that I’m doing here in the introduction is probably completely unnecessary, so I’m now going to stop doing it and just move on.
I hope to have Alex back on the podcast again soon for another episode in which we do a kind of podcast pub quiz of our own, which you can take part in. That would be good, wouldn’t it? Yes of course it would. Everyone likes a pub quiz. That’s another episode for another time, perhaps while Alex is in Edinburgh and has a better internet connection.
I should also mention that there’s a little bit of swearing in this conversation. So, “there’s a little bit of swearing in this episode.” There you go, you’ve been told, and I know that the vast majority of you are now thinking – “fine, that’s absolutely fine Luke. Not a problem. In fact, good – that’s good. We fucking love swearing Luke. IN fact, swearing is sharing.” Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about but I’m glad you’re happy. I encourage you not to swear too much though OK, even if you hear it on the podcast. Do what I say, don’t do what I do. OK.
Well, right then, without any further explaining, let’s now get started, and we’re going to jump straight into the conversation mid-flow right now so this is it, off we go, it’s time to get started so let’s get down to business right away without any further hesitation or messing around or time-wasting and so here it is then, let’s start, we’re all set, you’re set, I’m set, everything’s set and ready to roll so here we go, on your marks, get set, get ready, get steady, let’s get ready to rumble… OK GO.
By the way, what’s a “Pub Quiz”? Well, it’s a quiz that happens in a pub. Typically, pub quizzes happen in the evenings in pubs all over the country where teams of people get together to answer questions which are read out by the quiz master. It’s just a game and a good excuse to get together, have a few drinks and test your general knowledge. The winning team is usually awarded some sort of prize – typically restaurant vouchers, bottles of wine or something like that. Pub quizzes are very popular in the UK. In fact, according to Wikipedia, “a 2009 study put the number of regular weekly pub quizzes in the UK at 22,445.”
Everyone loves a pub quiz, they’re very appealing. So, Alex’s Edinburgh show is quite a clever combination of a stand-up performance and a pub quiz in which the audience have to answer various funny questions read out by Alex.
Title: Alex Love – How to Win a Pub Quiz
Venue: The Stand 5 & 6 (Venue 319) Dates: Aug 4-14 Time: 12:00 lunch time Length: 1 hour
Description from the Ed Fringe website: This highly interactive show is part stand-up, part actual pub quiz. Expand your trivia, compete against other teams, witness results. After playing to capacity crowds in 2015, this unique hour is back with more facts, prizes and niche-referenced nonsense. Reviews: ‘Alex Love is great fun’ (Scotsman). ‘It takes quite a show to create such a sense of engagement that one music question can become a full-blown sing-along, but this is the spirit of How to Win a Pub Quiz.’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Such a quick brain’ (We Are Funny Project). Bookings:tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alex-love-how-to-win-a-pub-quiz
Now, go and make a jet-pack and your dreams of flying will come true! Yes you can!
End of Part 1 – ‘Outro’ – Transcript
Hello everyone – I’m interrupting the conversation here because I’ve decided to divide this episode into two parts and I thought that this dramatic moment where Alex has moved into the bathroom to find a better mobile internet signal is a suitable moment to do that. So this is the end of part 1. Part 2 should be ready for you to listen to right away – so go ahead and get stuck into it now.
OK then, so that’s it for part 1. Don’t forget to join the mailing list at teacherluke.co.uk and then you’ll get an email whenever I upload a new episode and the email will direct you straight to the page for that episode where you will find notes, transcriptions, links, videos and other details that relate to the episode.
Thanks for listening, and I’ll talk to you again in part 2.
Here’s a 2-part episode featuring a conversation with my cousin Oliver in which we talk about first some challenges he faced over the last few years (including dramatic things like a scooter crash, a tropical disease, a burglary and how he completely flooded his own house) and then some more positive things about being a father and predictions for how society will be different in the future. Also, listen for some general news and announcements about Luke’s English Podcast.
I hope you enjoyed the episodes I recorded as a tribute to David Bowie. Unfortunately, so soon after we lost Bowie, the news came that another great person has died – the British actor Alan Rickman, who like Bowie was 69 years old and died from cancer. He’s most famous for playing the part of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, and the part of Hans Gruber the bad guy in the film Die Hard with Bruce Willis – both very enjoyable and distinguished performances, but he played many other roles too. Alan Rickman was known for his sardonic humour, his wonderfully rich and unique voice, and for bringing a great amount of weight and humanity as well as humour to his roles. He will be missed too.
And, I haven’t even mentioned Lemmy – the lead singer of the group Motorhead, who also died recently. Lemmy played a massive part in the invention of heavy metal music, and was generally a huge personality in the world of British rock. He was on the scene all the way from the 60s until this year when he passed away due to cancer. Lemmy was known for his gravelly voice, his appearance (he looked like a biker dressed in leather with big mutton-chop sideburns and moles on his face – he wasn’t a pretty guy like Bowie by any means), his hard-drinking speed fuelled lifestyle and his bizarre obsession with Nazi regalia – clothing, weapons and so on from the Nazi era. He wasn’t a bad guy, he just liked the designs and imagery from that time – it had nothing to do with the ideology, and at heart he was just committed to playing loud and fast music and living a loud and fast lifestyle – and he will surely go down in history as a true legend of the music world. So, that’s three people, at least. So, can famous British people stop dying please!? If we carry on at this rate there’ll be none left by the end of the year.
But let’s not dwell on these dark things any more! I’m glad to present you this episode today because this one is all about the future, and new life because my cousin Oli is going to be a Dad for the first time – his wife is expecting a baby daughter at any time, so let’s look to the future, with new life and positivity and all that stuff! We’ll start that in just a minute, but first – a little bit of admin…
The comments issue on the website is fixed. I just needed to do a few updates. You can now post comments on the homepage again. No worries!
Email subscribers – are you still receiving emails when I post new episodes? I had a couple of messages from listeners recently who said they hadn’t received emails with new episodes. How about you? If you’re an email subscriber, could you let me know if you received emails for the David Bowie episodes, the episode called With the Thompsons, and the Star Wars spoiler review.
Picture comp is finished – so, don’t send me any more photos please! Thank you for the photos I have received in my email account, and, of course, I have loads of pictures. They’ll go up on the website soon and you can pick your favourite. I’m a little bit concerned about how that’s going to work because there are about a billion photos, but I’ll work something out.
I’ll be meeting Paul and Amber again soon. Firstly to catch up with them both – because quite a lot has happened since we last spoke on the podcast. Amber went to Costa Rica, and Paul Taylor is now something of a celebrity as his comedy video about kissing in France went super-viral over the last few weeks. His video, “Paul Taylor – La Bise” is about his frustration with the French custom of kissing people when you meet them. It was uploaded onto Robert Hoehn’s YouTube channel French Fried TV on new year’s day and within the space of just a few days it got over 1 million views. He was featured on lots of French websites, radio and TV, and then the video went global on the BBC’s website and more. Paul also has a new solo comedy show every Saturday (as well as the one with me on Thursdays) and it’s completely sold out for the next 10 weeks or something. Wow! Remember when he was on this podcast talking about how he quit his job to do comedy? Remember how difficult it was in Edinburgh? Well, things seem to be working out for him now! Good news!
Also, I hope to get Amber and him on this podcast again (if he’ll come on now that he’s such a big celebrity) in order to do that interactive version of the Lying Game – remember that? Listen to “318. The Rematch (Part 2)” to find out the details. Basically, this is a chance for you to get involved in another version of the lying game. All three of us said some statements, and you now have to write questions in the comments section for episode 318. IN the episode we’ll ask each other your questions, and answer them. Then you can decide if they’re true or lies. Again, listen to 318. The Rematch (Part 2) for all the details (listen until the end).
Introduction to this Episode
As you know at Chrimbo I want back to the UK and stayed with my family, and with my cousin at his home in Bristol. It’s been a while since he was last on the podcast, and quite a lot has changed with him. In our conversation we talk about lots of things and I really think this is an interesting episode, and a very valuable one from a language point of view. The topics we talk about are diverse and quite in-depth and as a result we use lots of different features of grammar and vocabulary. I always encourage you to notice language while listening to native speakers on this podcast, so try to do that in this episode if you can. First we talk about what happened to Oli since the last time he was on the podcast, so watch out for the ways in which we talk about the past – tenses, and other forms. Oli faced a few difficulties and challenges, so watch out for the ways he describes those things. Essentially, he tells me a few anecdotes about some of his difficulties in London, watch out for past tenses and so on. Then we talk about the future, and about various predictions for the next 10-20 years, so naturally you can try to notice the specific language, tenses and modal verbs that we use to describe the future, make predictions and make judgements about the future. As well as that, there’s a lot of vocabulary related to technology, transport and communication.
In my opinion this is a very useful conversation for you to listen to. I loved catching up with Oli and I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to it, and by the way, listen all the way to the end to hear Oli play a bit of guitar – and he’s a really good guitarist.
Hi everyone, this is it – the 300th episode of the podcast. This is a landmark episode. I’ve been doing this podcast now for 6.5 years. If you value my work and if you feel like I’ve helped you or at least entertained you with these free podcast episodes, then please consider supporting me and my podcast by giving me a donation. It’s very easy to do – just find one of the yellow “donate” buttons on my website. It’s all done through PayPal which is probably the world’s most popular online payment method. You can choose any amount you think my podcast is worth – it’s completely up to you. Also, there’s no obligation to do it at all if you don’t feel like it. But if you do contribute a donation, that’s going to help me continue this podcast and help me to record another 300 episodes in the future, and it is probably the most sincere way for you to say thanks for the episodes! Now let’s get started!
[DOWNLOAD] It’s here – 300 episodes of Luke’s English Podcast.
In this episode I’m just going to mess around a bit, talk about some stuff that comes into my head and generally enjoy the moment of having recorded my 300th episode.
I’m going to talk a little bit about the significance of the number 300 in history, because obviously this is a deeply significant moment which no doubt resonates through time, across the ages, as the stars align and the universe is united in one moment of peace and tranquility. So, we’ll do that, which should be nice.
We will also be taking a little trip down memory lane as we remember some of the moments and some of the people I’ve spoken to in previous episodes of the podcast, over the 6.5 years I’ve been doing this. I’ve received a few voice messages from some special guests and I’m going to play them to you in this episode.
Finally we’ll hear some messages and impressions of me from some of my listeners.
300 episodes in 6.5 years.
48 episodes a year on average.
That’s about 3.8 episodes per month.
That’s about 7.5 minutes of me speaking to you every day.
Imagine if I just called you every day for 7.5 minutes, for 6.5 years. That’s kind of what you’ve got with the whole back catalogue of LEP.
I was wondering whether I would do anything special for the 300th episode…
The Instances of 300 Throughout History
I’ve been thinking of all the famous instances of the number 300 in history.
It’s just the movie 300 isn’t it? The 300 spartans who fought against the Persians. That’s it.
It’s a perfect score in bowling. But that’s not particularly relevant for LEP.
As far as I can tell by looking at historical reports, absolutely nothing happened in the year 300 AD.
So, 300 is almost insignificant in history.
Maybe I will be the first to stamp the number 300 into the human collective consciousness.
The Significance of the Number 300
In my search for significance behind the number 300 I’ve ended finding a page which relates to numerology, which is a superstitious belief in the divine and mystical power of numbers. I don’t really believe in that stuff. Personally I think it’s a load of old tosh if I’m honest, and the scientific community seems to agree as numerology is often labelled a pseudoscience as there’s no proper evidence of the psychic power of numbers.
That being said, let’s have a look at the significance of the number 300 shall we?
So according to sacredscribesangelnumbers.blogspot.fr/2011/08/angel-number-300.html here’s what the number 300 represents. I’ve got absolutely no idea of the source of this information. It could just be completely made up. Nevertheless, let’s see the significance of ‘300’. Does this resonate with you at all?
Number 300 is a combination of the vibrations and attributes of the numbers 3 and 0, with the number 0 appearing twice, amplifying and magnifying its own energies as well as those of the number 3.
Number 3 relates to optimism and enthusiasm, communication and self-expression, inspiration and creativity, expansion and growth, manifesting and manifestation. Number 3 also relates to the Ascended Masters, who help you to focus on the Divine spark within yourself and others, and assist with manifesting your desires. They are helping you to find peace, clarity and love within.
Number 0 brings a message to do with developing one’s spiritual aspects and is considered to represent the beginning of a spiritual journey and highlights the uncertainties that may entail. It suggests that you listen to your intuition and higher-self as this is where you will find your answers. Number 0 carries the ‘God force’ and Universal Energies and amplifies the vibrations of the number 3, making 300 an important and powerful number.
Angel Number 300 is a signal to get your attention and make you take notice. It is time to listen to and follow your intuitive messages and angelic guidance and take appropriate action in the direction of your Divine life purpose. You are encouraged to communicate with the angels and the higher spiritual Beings to receive constant guidance and protection.
Angel Number 300 is a message from your angels and the Ascended Masters that they are with you, assisting and supporting you. The strong and clear connection you have with the spiritual realm allows for communication, assistance and guidance from the angels whenever you need it. Angel Number 300 encourages you to accept and develop your spiritual gifts and abilities and use them to enhance your own life as well as the lives of many others.
Use your natural creativity and communication skills to teach and enlighten others.
What It Means To Me
Regardless of what the numerology says… Let me say a few things about having reached 300 episodes.
I’m really pleased to have hit 300. The last 12 months have been particularly productive, with nearly 80 episodes recorded. That’s over 1.5 episodes per week. Which is about 12 minutes a day on average, probably more. 12 minutes of me speaking to you every day for the last 12 months. Not bad for your English I’d expect. I didn’t realise I’d been so productive, especially since this has been one of the busiest years of my life, with my wedding(s), honeymoon and work. Obviously, I absolutely love doing LEP and I think I’m somehow compelled to do it out of some sort of obsession.
Here are a few things that I love about it:
– It’s a chance to be creative. Every episode is like a blank canvas and I can choose to fill it with whatever I want. The possibilities seem endless. As long as you find it useful and enjoyable and I’m satisfying some creative urge, then I’m doing the right thing.
– It helps people around the world. After all the many many messages I’ve received, I’m convinced that regularly listening to my podcast can significantly help your English. I’ve been doing this for over 6.5 years and some people who have listened for that length of time, and who started out with pretty basic English can now contact me and communicate really well. They often say that LEP is what gave them an edge.
– I get responses from my audience.
– My audience are cool, lovely people. I guess like-minded people gravitate to my podcast and I’ve discovered that the people who contact me seem lovely, enthusiastic, intelligent and open-minded people. That’s awesome. I reckon if I got everyone in a big room together and we had a big party with food and music, everyone would get on really well and people would make friends, and fall in love, families would be created that would last for generations. It would be like an injection of clever, attractive and of course very literate people.
– This is a platform for other projects. I really think it has only just begun and I’ve only just scraped the surface of what I’d like to achieve. I’ve said it before, but I intend to transfer a lot of the teaching skills, knowledge, experience and expertise I have from the classroom online in some way, to help people improve their English. The podcast will stay free, but I’m currently working on other ways to help you improve your English more directly.
– I’m into the technology side of things these days, with nice microphones and stuff.
– Podcasting is becoming more and more established and I’m proud to be part of that.
– It’s good to be a bit independent and out of the school system.
A Journey Through Time – Messages from Former Guests on LEP
Some messages from guests and other special appearances.
Dad – 2. Easter, Family Arguments & Debates, Rickipedia, Marooned with my Music + more
Mum – 3. The Beatles, Family Arguments & Debates, Marooned with my Music
Howard – 5. Joaquin Phoenix, Men vs Women
Ben – 9. Travelling in India
Lee – 32. Doctor Who
Andy – 45. Luke & Andy’s Crime Stories, Culture Shock: London
Claudia – 48. Travelling 49. Stand up comedy
Jim – 53. Discussing Grammar with my Brother, How to Swear, Going to the Pub, Luke’s English Braincast, Skype Chat, Dislocated Shoulder, Making Choons & more…
Paco – 63. A German Comedian in London
Oli – 76. How to use the London Underground, Luke vs Oliver, Criminal Law
Paul – 104. The Brigton Episodes, The Drunk Episode, On a Boat
Moz 104. The Brigton Episodes, The Drunk Episode, On a Boat
Alex 104. The Brigton Episodes, The Drunk Episode, On a Boat
Kate Fisher – 107. Messing Around with Accents and Voices
Pierre G – 129. A Cup of Tea with Pierre Gaspard
Seb – 130. A Cup of Tea with Sebastian Marx
End of Part 1!
Please leave your comments below, and do consider giving a donation. It would make my day. :)
Hello listeners and welcome back. This is part 7 in this series which is based on my recent trip to California. I didn’t expect this to be a 7-part series, but it just keeps going because I’ve found more and more things to talk to you about! It’s like the podcast episode that refuses to die, it keeps coming back for more! It’s like the Lambton Worm or something – just when I think I’ve finished it off, it gets longer! I think this will be the last episode, but who knows. Time seems to shrink when I’m recording episodes of this podcast. An hour seems to disappear in just a few minutes because I get really involved in what I’m saying. I wonder if it’s the same experience for you. I hope so.
If you haven’t heard the previous 6 episodes in this series then I suggest you go back and listen to them first. So far I’ve talked about lots of things including the history of California, some British & American English, Venice Beach, Segways, Baywatch, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hollywood & Celebrity Culture, Hotel California by The Eagles, Yosemite National Park, bears, The church of Scientology, an interview with AJ Hoge from Effortless English, a biography of Robin Williams, and descriptions of the things I did and saw while on my honeymoon with my wife.
In this episode I’m planning to talk about San Francisco, earthquakes, the hippie movement, customer service, the California coast and some more British and American English vocabulary.
A lot of what I am saying is transcribed on the page for this episode at teacherluke.co.uk. Look for episode 294.
*I’m expecting a package to be delivered by the postman at some point, so you might hear a knock at the door or the buzzer. It goes ‘buzz’, so it’s not a doorbell it’s a buzzer.*
Let’s get straight into it.
Cemetery & view of Golden Gate Bridge.
Fisherman’s Wharf & tourist area. Sea lions that weirdly arrived in the harbour just after the 1989 earthquake. Why did they suddenly arrive after the quake? Perhaps their previous social spot had been damaged or something like that. I’m not sure.
Cable car. Long delay and pretty grumpy service but it’s a great experience, hanging on to the side of the car as the driver pulls various weird levers, making the car move up and along the steep streets. We met an American couple who had been married for over 30 years. The wife did all the talking. Apparently they’d been to a Giants game (baseball) and he had caught a loose ball that had flown into the crowd. Apparently this is quite an honour in the states. You can keep the ball.
I met AJ Hoge in the afternoon. Listen to the previous episode for that interview.
That evening we ate dinner in a really well-reviewed Japanese restaurant just near our hotel – Sanraku – incredible sushi! This is the best Japanese food I’ve ever had outside Japan, and I had a load of sake and a couple of beers. Sake is really nice and a little dangerous to drink because you get drunk without realising it because it has such a light taste.
Earthquake in the morning!
A bit about earthquakes.
They move against each other. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they press against each other.
Sometimes pressure builds up and then the plates suddenly move at the fault lines. This causes ripples of movement through the ground, or the whole ground to suddenly shift position. The movements, ripples, vibrations or whatever you want to call them can last some time, and they can cause huge amounts of damage.
If the quake happens off-shore, then there’s likely to be a big tidal wave or tsunami after the event. As the ground is displaced very quickly, it can displace massive amounts of water. For example, it might cause the water level to rise suddenly. Imagine filling a plate with water and then tipping the plate slightly. It would cause some of the water to run off the side of the plate. It’s like that but on a much larger scale of course. The water has so much volume and mass that it is almost impossible to stop. When it reaches the land it carries lots of earth and all kinds of detritus with it, turning the wave into an incredibly powerful and unstoppable wall of destruction. You can see footage of this from the Japanese tsunami of 2011. What a tragedy that was (although the Japanese showed characteristic strength and determination in the way they recovered from it).
It pretty much impossible to predict an earthquake, but it seems that along the San Andreas fault at this particular spot near San Francisco, there is a really big earthquake every 70 years or something, and the big one is long overdue. In fact, the whole region of California is subject to earthquakes quite regularly.
San Francisco style
Everyone’s wearing sports gear and they’re all really health conscious. They’re constantly in their gym gear and they look very active and healthy. In fact, being healthy and looking after yourself seem to be important aspects of life in this part of the country.
My wife persuades me to switch to these instead of the big plates of pancakes and its a good move.
Acai are berries that grow in Brazil and apparently they contain everything you need. Vitamins, nutrients, amino acids and all that stuff. These acai bowls are popular all along the coast. They’re a bit hipsterish, but they’re good. The acai berries are turned into a kind of powder, which is mixed with things like almond milk or hemp milk, and frozen fruits, and then blended to form a sort of sorbet. This is then put into a bowl and mixed with granola, nuts, cut banana and strawberry, and is topped with coconut flakes or other things. They’re really good and they keep you going for ages without making you feel bloated. In fact, you don’t feel that full, but you’re not hungry either, and it gives you plenty of energy and no guilt.
My wife is now on a mission to make acai bowls popular in Paris!
We then walked towards the Haight Ashbury area. The plan is to walk all the way over to that part of town, picking up some coffee on route. Then we’d walk through HA, pick up lunch at Wholefoods there, and eat a picnic in Golden Gate Park where apparently there is live music every Sunday. I’m quite curious about Haight Ashbury, because I’ve heard about it and read about it so many times, especially in documentaries about music and art from the 1960s.
History of Haight Ashbury & the Hippy Movement
What happened in Haight Ashbury in the 60s? What was the hippy movement all about?
There was a counterculture movement, a youth movement in the USA (and in many other places of course) that started in the late 1950s but really gathered momentum in the 1960s, seemed to peak in the middle of that decade, and was pretty much over by the early 1970s. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, as I know that a lot of you listening to this are fans of the music that we associate with that time, and you may well know as much about this subject as I do, but nevertheless here is a brief history of the hippy movement.
This was a subculture and ideological movement which started with the beatniks earlier in the decade. “Beatniks” – that’s kind of a nickname given to the movement that came before the hippies. The beatniks were writers, artists, intellectuals and radicals who were united in a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the status quo. They rejected materialism (e.g. the idea that happiness in the USA can be found by marrying, getting a steady job, buying the right home with the right car, and the right modern accessories in your home and all that kind of square thinking). The Beats were more interested in soul-searching and trying to find some deeper meaning to life. This seems pretty normal now, and part of the dominant culture these days. Everyone has their soul-searching teenage period where they write a diary, write poetry and get all deep and meaningful. Well, that was common for teenagers of my generation in the UK, who got into indie music, started dressing like goths and smoked self-rolled cigarettes. The beats were the first to do that (although I expect there were other movements in Europe that did essentially the same thing, like the Bohemians). The Beats were heavily inspired by jazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis and like this kind of jazz music, life for the Beats was a free-form search for truth and inspiration in the creative process. It was like a big improvisation with no boundaries. Sounds pretty groovy, hip and cool right? In fact those are words that come out of that time. All of them were probably coined by jazz musicians, but the beat generation appropriated them, or at least used them too. So, if things were good they were ‘cool’, or ‘hip’. You ‘dig’ things which are ‘cool’. The opposite of ‘cool’ was ‘square’.
We associate the Beat movement with certain writers, who are called the Beat writers, or Beat poets. These are people like Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, William S Burroughs and Ken Kesey. Some of the beats were into buddhism, sexual liberation and drug use. Out of this subculture came the hippies, who pretty much based their whole way of life on the ethos of the beat generation, and used books like “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac as a starting point for their own rejection of materialism and ‘normal’ life.
The word ‘hippie’ comes from the word ‘hip’, meaning ‘cool’ or in tune with this way of thinking. People also used the word ‘hipster’, but now we know we use the word ‘hipster’ for another kind of modern subculture – those uber-cool people who you find in East London who grow their own denim butter, have long beards and skinny jeans, use no electricity, ride fixie bikes, reject mainstream products in favour of vintage or handmade stuff, reject the dominant political system, and live in an apartment paid for by their rich parents. They’re similar to the beat generation or the hippies but today’s hipsters just seem to be more interested in just being cooler and more culturally aware than everyone else, and don’t have the same sort of communal spirit or mission as the hippies did.
Anyway, a whole generation of young people in the USA and in other parts of the world in the 1960s were really influenced by the beat generation and took on their values, and pushed them further – not everyone did this – not everyone at the time was a hippie. No, it was a subculture after all, but enough people lived the lifestyle for it to be a significant cultural movement. The hippies took it a bit further and embraced the whole concept, forming communes (shared living communities) in certain places – notably Haight Ashbury in SF and Greenwich Village in NYC (where the likes of Bob Dylan were playing protest songs and folk music in cafes).
The introduction of certain drugs, especially LSD into these communities really accelerated the whole movement, along with certain key events like the escalating conflict in Vietnam and the release of records like Bob Dylan’s first album, and albums by the Beatles. LSD was a drug that was created by accident by a pharmacist/chemist. It ended up being appropriated by the hippie movement because of the way it gave users incredibly transcendent mind trips, which made the hippies feel like they were experiencing things on a whole new level of consciousness. The innocence, youth, energy and vitality of this movement peaked in 1966/1967 particularly in the community of Haight Ashbury where, according to the accounts of lots of people, there were all kinds of open, free gatherings of people who took LSD, danced, made love and generally were very peaceful and transcendent, when they weren’t organising protests against the Vietnam war or other injustices. The hippies were for harmony with nature, sexual liberation, the use of drugs for mental liberation (aka consciousness revolution), peace, free love, communal living and eastern influenced spirituality. For the hippies, their immense optimism, fuelled by psychedelic drugs and perhaps a certain amount of naive idealism created the feeling that their love was going to change the world, and that there would be a sort of consciousness revolution which would cause the whole world to realise a totally new way of thinking and to start living in peace. The soundtrack to this period was albums like Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band by the Beatles. The thing is though, all the drug taking and free love did not come without a price, and it was naive of the hippies to think that their lifestyle was sustainable. True spiritual transcendence could not be achieved by simply taking a 2 dollar hit of acid, and many people just ended up mentally damaged by their use of LSD, and when harder and more addictive drugs like heroin arrived, the scene became much darker. In fact, hard drugs and other things like the later threat of AIDS pretty much killed the innocence and youthful spirit of the movement.
The optimism of the hippie movement and its decline were really well described by writer Hunter S. Thompson in his book Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. There is one particularly famous passage in which he describes the essence of the movement as like a wave that travelled across the country, then broke and flowed back again, leaving a sort of cultural high-water mark, or a cultural mark on the country. This is probably Thompson’s most celebrated bit of writing. There is a film version of the book, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp, who does an amazing acting performance in the role of the main character, who is a version of Hunter S. Thompson. Let’s listen to the scene from the film when Thompson talks about Haight Ashbury and the hippie movement. This is Hunter S. Thompson, played by Depp, in 1971, looking back at the previous 5 or 6 years, surveying what had happened before.
Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas – The High Water Mark
The Woodstock Music Festival was probably the culmination of this whole movement. It didn’t take place in San Francisco, but near New York. That was a massive happening, with hundreds of thousands of people who gathered together to celebrate love and peace, with some of the great bands and musicians of the time, like The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills & Nash playing the soundtrack.
The end of the dream came with a few events that showed the dark side of all that drug taking and chaos – Charles Manson, Altamont (a Rolling Stones concert that involved the Hell’s Angels who killed a guy), hard drugs and their damaging effects, AIDs.
How does this relate to that Eagles song? They’re singing about people damaged by loss of innocence – the same people who used to be idealistic, but ended up lost in decadence and the temptations of sex, drugs and rock & roll.
Talking of rock & roll, let’s listen to George Harrison, who of course was a member of the Beatles and someone who was at the heart of this whole scene. Here he is from the Beatles Anthology documentary talking about how he visited Haight Ashbury in 1968 expecting it to be a kind of hippie heaven of peace and love, but in fact by 1968 it had become quite a scary place with lots of people just living in the street, begging and taking hard drugs (he described them as ‘bums’). I think it was quite a shock to him and that’s when he decided to stop taking LSD and he sort of rejected the hippie movement and instead chose to embrace Indian transcendental meditation – a much more disciplined and well-established form of spiritual exercise.
George Harrison (originally from Liverpool, UK) – Haight Ashbury 1968
What’s Haight Ashbury like now?
It still has that general atmosphere, but the original feeling is long gone I think. But it’s still a really cool place, and I was very interested in visiting it in order to see what it was really like. Now it’s artisanal coffee shops, a mix of branded clothing stores and unique clothing boutiques. Really it’s just another tourist destination where you can buy Bob Marley posters, hippie clothing, bongs, pipes and fake retro t-shirts. It’s a bit like Camden Town or something. It’s not a genuine place of consciousness revolution any more although there are still some communes of hippies living there and I think that there’s a lot of housing which is offered to homeless people, or people of no fixed address. In the surrounding streets I saw quite a few homeless people, or homeless looking people and people who seemed to be suffering from mental illness, or on medication for drug addiction. You also find some interesting murals painted on the walls with anti-capitalist messages written on them. That’s partly the feeling of the area, but also there’s a sense that the place is a bit of a tourist attraction. There’s Nike store there for example, which is like a temple to individualism and materialism.
Many people think that the place is not what it used to be. I can’t help feeling a bit sad about this, because the hippies were onto something good. Their intentions were good, but maybe they were idealistic and naive. Maybe they were reckless with their drug use and their free sex, or maybe their movement got crushed by the establishment. Anyway, now in Haight Ashbury there are just remnants of those old values. Lots of organic shops and incense and stuff like that, and certainly some people who believe in ethical and sustainable living, but still a sense of increasing commercialisation. I wonder about some of the locals who have lived in the area for a long time and who now find themselves living in a commercialised tourist attraction.
I think I may have come across one of these people during a visit to CVS – a chain of pharmacies that you find all over the USA. We went in to buy some bottled water. We chose one bottle of Californian water and one bottle of Fiji Water, which is bottled in Fiji and then shipped to shops around the world, including California. We got to the counter to pay and the middle-aged woman who served us just said, in a very passive aggressive manner, “Yeah, why NOT buy bottled water from the other side of the world”.
I recognised the sarcasm, and immediately felt judged. What was she really saying?
Guilt trip! This made me feel pretty bad for a while, until I snapped out of it.
What do you think? I expect most of you are thinking – ignore her, she was being really rude! And you’re right, but…
I think she had a point to be honest, but I’m not sure if she made it in the right way. (I mean, giving someone a guilt trip about a product they are selling someone may not be the best way to get your message across, or maybe it is – it had an effect on me!) The woman was certainly rude to me, but does that matter if her point is valid? I wonder what it must be like for her working in CVS, while having these values. Maybe she doesn’t have to work there, maybe she has no choice. Who knows. I don’t even know her background, but just that one comment tells me a lot. What do you think? Did she have a point? Is it wrong to buy bottled water which is sourced in another country? Should the woman have said something to me? Is she a hypocrite for working in the shop even when she disagrees with some of the products it sells? Let me know your thoughts as usual.
I did have another couple of experiences with slightly passive aggressive, weird behaviour.
Another guy by the side of the road who seems to be homeless, tried to attract my attention: “Oh did you drop something…hey!” I just kind of shook my head and smiled a bit, but said no. He said “oh no it’s just my brain entrails you’re stepping on” There is a slightly bad vibe from some of these old hippies, but nothing more than that really. I didn’t feel unsafe there or anything, just a bit freaked out by some of these people.
In the park there was a guy who could have been homeless, or mentally ill, I’m not sure really. He was busking, and by busking in this case I mean playing classic American songs, like Motown, The Beach Boys, Elvis on a loud tape player and just singing along – loudly and badly, like a bad public version of karaoke that nobody wanted to listen to. There were three youngish people sitting on the bench next to him, looking pretty awkward because this guy was pretty loud and acting quite crazily and I think it was a bit off-putting for them. After a while they got up to leave and didn’t really acknowledge him or give him any money, and he said “Hey, thanks for the tip!” – A pretty passive aggressive comment considering they hadn’t given him a tip. I think they were a bit put off and possibly slightly scared of him, and they didn’t respond but kept walking away. He repeated, louder and louder “Hey, thanks for the TIP!! HEY THANKS FOR THE TIP!!!” – a slightly disturbing moment, but nothing bad actually happened.
Despite some of these little scenes had a really nice relaxing time in Golden Gate Park, even though there was no music when we were there, except for the “thanks for the tip” guy. We lay on the grass reading and napping a bit, digesting our food.
The two books I’d like to recommend are associated with the Beat movement of American literature, which was so important to the values of the later hippy movement.
“On The Road” by Jack Kerouac
This is probably the book which inspired the hippy movement more than any other. This is what is written in the summary for this book on audible.com: Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “beat” and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that “set them free”.
Do you fancy listening to an actor read that book to you? Visit www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke to sign up to a trial membership. You can download any audiobook you want, and then either cancel your membership and keep the audiobook, or continue as a member and enjoy more audiobooks every month.
“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey
Ken Kesey was part of a group of writers called The Merry Pranksters, which also included a man called Neal Cassady who was one of the inspirations for a principle character in On The Road. Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were a group who advocated a particular way of life that inspired the hippy movement. The Merry Pranksters sounded like a cool and funny bunch of people. They drove around America in a big bus. That was the inspiration for The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” film. Basically, Ken Kesey is a very important figure in the American counter cultural movement of the 1960s. A key writer in the Beat generation. Beat writers like Kesey influenced so many important cultural figures that followed them, including pretty much all of the famous rock musicians who emerged from the 60s and 70s, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Byrds, Neil Young and everyone else basically. They’re the ones who defined that whole lifestyle that is now so globally pervasive.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is the story of a charismatic criminal who ends up in a mental hospital when he’s not really mentally ill. He fakes it in order to avoid prison, thinking it will be much easier. What he discovers is that the mental institute is far more sinister than he’d imagined, and he ends up in a great mental power struggle against the strict nurse who runs the hospital. It’s all about the corrupting nature of power, about fighting against the establishment, about the fine line between sanity and insanity, and the idea there is something rotten at the heart of the American administration. What’s more, it’s just a great dramatic story, terrifically well written with some fantastic surprises. The main character is a lot of fun, and the evil Nurse Ratched is a great villain.
It’s sad, joyful, moving, and powerful, particularly at the end. There’s also a great film of this book, starring Jack Nicholson.
You can download the original version, narrated by Kesey himself (abridged and only 3-4 hours), but I recommend the 50th Anniversary Edition read by actor John C. Reilly (who I’m sure you’d recognise if you saw him – he’s a brilliant actor, with a really distinctive voice). It’s unabridged, so you get the whole book which comes to 10+ hours of audio.
End of Part 7. Part 8 coming soon, and I’m sure it will be the final chapter in this series. :)
Hi everyone, how are you? As you know I got married a couple of weeks ago (applause & congratulations) and in this episode I’m going to tell you about my wedding day, including the preparation, the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions, and what happened on the day itself. I’m not sure how long the episode will be, but I’ll aim to keep it to just one episode.
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So, this is The Wedding Episode. You’re going to hear specific vocabulary related to weddings and you can just follow this personal account of my marriage in France between an English guy (that’s me) and a French girl (that’s my wife, of course). I’m going to describe lots of things in this episode, including how we organised our wedding, the roller coaster of emotions we experienced, why we chose a civil marriage outside and not a religious one in a church, and what marriage really means to me and to my wife. That’s what you can expect in this episode, so strap yourself in and join me on a little journey in to marriage-land, for this special episode of Luke’s English Podcast.
On my wedding day I got a really fantastic surprise which is related to LEP, so I will talk about that in this episode too.
First, let me make a few announcements
– The situation in which I’m recording this episode
– Welcome to any new listeners. I seem to have picked up a lot of new people recently, and I’ve had quite a lot of comments on the website from people saying they’ve just discovered Luke’s English Podcast and that they’re now addicted. That’s great! Welcome to the club. I hope you enjoy being a part of the LEP gang. Join the mailing list. Hello to these recent commenters ROBERTO BISPO DOS SANTOS, Eriko Kato, Kristina Fadeeva, olgaverb, angela, Roberto Geronimo, CFA, deniz from Istanbul, CalMaFdd, Javier (thanks for coming to a recent live show at The Paname), ptholome, Anonymous (a regular contributor), Martin, lotusmar629, Juan Mora, Rhogen Tandayag – I’m not sure where you are all from, some of you are quire regular commenters, not all of you are new, but thank you very much for your comments.
– If you’ve sent me a donation recently then thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are keeping this podcast alive and I wouldn’t be able to do it without your support.
– I joined periscope and did a live broadcast recently. You can see the video on my website (the previous post) and you can follow me on Periscope by searching for my twitter name @englishpodcast or just search for Luke Thompson. You can watch periscopes without the app by clicking here watchonperiscope.com/users/englishpodcast/6862923 From time to time I’ll do live broadcasts, probably when recording podcast episodes.
– I’ve been quiet recently and that’s for the usual reasons. Life has been very busy. I got married, we went away to Italy for a quick romantic getaway, I’ve been occupied at The British Council teaching English all day every day, and we’ve been planning our proper honeymoon which begins in just a couple of days. Also, I’ve been doing quite a lot of comedy in the evenings – various opportunities for comedy gigs arrived over the last two weeks and so I’ve been quite busy. That includes a 1 hour special show that I did with Paul Taylor. We did 30 minutes of stand up comedy each, last Thursday evening. The title of our show is “Taylor & Thompson – Sorry, we’re English”. It’s a show that we expect to perform on a regular basis here in Paris, on either Thursday or Friday evenings. More details to follow.
– I’ve had lots of positive responses to episodes I did recently with Paul Taylor and Amber Minogue. I do plan to have them both on the podcast regularly, and in fact I have plans to record something with Paul later this afternoon, and with both Paul and Amber on Tuesday afternoon. Amber has a young child to look after, as well as her normal working life and so on, so it’s a little bit more difficult to get her on LEP but she loves doing it (and recording episodes of the podcast! -joke) so she’s happy to come over and talk when she has the chance.
– I’m going on my honeymoon in a few days. I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. I’m recording a few podcast episodes in the next couple of days and I plan to upload them all before I go so you’ll have some stuff to listen to. I might record some things when I’m on my honeymoon. We’ll see. I’ll be on holiday with my wife so I’m not sure I’ll be in the mood for podcasting, but then again we’re going to California so there could be some great opportunities to talk with American people and give an account of our trip. We’ll see. My wife is totally cool with me recording stuff while we’re there (in fact she wants me to interview some of the locals) but I’m not sure if I want to be thinking about that when I’m on my honeymoon. I might want to just relax and enjoy being a tourist. Still, I am going to bring a microphone and a recorder, so we will see what happens. If I get a chance to record something from inside a toilet on another mode of transport then I will take it. I’ve never recorded something from inside a helicopter or a hot-air balloon, so we will see if I get the opportunity to do that :)
Now, let’s get down to business and talk about this wedding!
So, I got married and I am now wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of my left hand. It’s only been a few weeks since the wedding. We’re in marital bliss, or the honeymoon period as it’s known. Hopefully this feeling will continue for some time.
I am planning to do another episode after this one, in which I deal exclusively with the vocabulary of weddings. But, in this one I’m not going to teach you any words directly, I’m just going to tell you about my wedding, but of course plenty of wedding-related vocabulary will crop up naturally during in my descriptions. I’ll go through that more explicitly in another episode.
You might be thinking – are you really going to reveal so much about your wedding? That’s a bit personal isn’t it? Are you sure it’s wise to tell people so much about your wedding?
Yes, I am aware of those things. I know that I’m revealing quite a lot about myself online. I know, for example, that students of mine at the university might hear this and they will then find out this personal information about their teacher at university, and this might affect my professional relationship with them. But, I don’t feel I have anything to hide, and I share this story with my listeners here with the expectation that you’ll listen to it with a sense of respect for me and my wife, and that you’ll be respectful with the personal info I’m giving here. I share this information in good faith, and that is what I expect in return from you as a listener. Of course, I don’t really need to say these things to the LEP community because I think there is an implicit level of respect there, but still… I’ve said it anyway.
I do realise that revealing personal things about yourself online is a bit risky. The thing about the internet is that whatever I upload here could end up permanently ‘out there’ in the online world. Even if I decide to remove this episode from my website, people could have already (and probably will have) downloaded it, re-uploaded it or whatever – even if I get rid of the original version, it could still be available on torrent sites or file sharing sites, or other places like YouTube or whatever. I don’t mean to say that I’m super important and that information about my wedding, leaked online, could cause world war 3 or anything, no, I just mean that personally I have to be careful about what I upload because ultimately it will be in the public domain forever. Sometimes I think it would be wise for me not to mention anything about myself at all, but I’m willing to do it – but understand that I do it with the expectation that you’ll treat me with the same level of respect that I treat you, and something personal like my wedding I expect you to treat with the suitable level of care and discretion. I’m sure that most of you understand all that, so it’s fine. I just wanted to mention it though.
So let me now tell you the story of my wedding. Remember, I plan to do another whole episode in which I deal specifically with the vocabulary of weddings, so that will come later.
Where on earth should I start?
This series of days was the culmination of not just months and months of planning, but years of a relationship I’ve had with my girlfriend, who is not my girlfriend any more, because she’s now my wife. It was a very emotional few days, full of the joy of life. I’ve never experienced anything like it and my wife and I, and many of our family and friends are still buzzing about it today. It went better than we could have expected. Let me tell you about it.
You might be thinking – but you already got married! You mentioned it in an episode not long ago. Yes, that’s right, but I got married twice! If that’s confusing, don’t worry because I’ll explain it in this episode.
Notes (not a full transcript)
How did you meet your wife?
Was it love at first sight?
Was it hard to keep the relationship going, long distance?
What made you move to France?
Why did you choose to get married?
-I was never a huge fan of marriage, neither of us were. We used to talk about it and agreed that it wasn’t really necessary. It’s never been that important. But somehow, it felt like the right thing to do. In fact, I decided to propose to her not because it was necessary, but because I wanted to do it as a declaration of love and commitment to her – not because I felt any social pressure to do it, because, as I said – I’d never felt any pressure to marry. I’m not from a conservative or religious background. It made my parents happy, and hers too, but they didn’t put pressure on us to marry (I think they’re more keen for us to deliver grandchildren than to get married…)
So, I proposed as a surprise, and as a statement of my love and commitment. That’s the spirit in which we got married.
How did I propose – that’s between me and her. I’m not sharing that.
I’ll talk more about what marriage means to us, and how that affected the wedding day in a moment…
How was the wedding planning?
-Some parts were great, like visiting places in the south of France and doing wine tasting with friends, writing the vows and imagining the event.
But a lot of it was quite stressful and was a lot of work.
We argued a bit, mainly over the fact that she felt she was doing more work than me (I think that was true, but I certainly did a lot too).
We chose to plan it ourselves. We didn’t use a wedding planner. Our parents didn’t organise it. We did it all ourselves. It’s a huge undertaking, with many different things to organise, and it all has to be perfect! That’s a lot of pressure, especially when you’re the ones in the middle of the day. We never really cared about weddings, but suddenly it becomes important because everyone else is going to be there to see it happen, and because of photos and videos, and you only have one wedding day (hopefully) so it becomes more and more important to make it special, unique and wonderful. As a result you end up micro-managing and planning it. That’s time consuming and costly. As a man it’s not my natural position. I mean, I think I can say that most men are more laid back about their wedding. I mean, they don’t require so much detail in the planning. I think that’s generally true. It doesn’t mean we don’t care – of course we care and we want it to be a brilliant day, but we’re probably a bit easier to please. So, what I’m saying is that my wife had a slightly more specific vision of the wedding than me, and that meant she was pretty much the driving force behind the planning. That frustrated her a bit and the argument went something like this: I’m doing everything and you’re doing nothing.
I’m not doing nothing – I’m doing loads of things. That’s unfair, you can’t say I’m doing nothing.
Well, you’re doing less than me.
Yes, well, you don’t let me do more than you. You’re in control everything. You can’t just control everything, and then complain when I’m not doing it.
Hmm, okay I suppose you’re right. In fact, yes Luke I expect you’ll be right about everything from now on and I should just get used to it.
Yes, exactly. Get used to it. When we’re married I’ll always be right. That’s how marriage works.
Obviously, that dialogue at the end became a joke – I’ll never be right again! ;)
Don’t get me wrong – we didn’t argue all the time. Just whenever we did any wedding planning!
No, that was a joke again.
We didn’t argue that much. Most of the planning went fine, and in fact a lot of it was great fun – especially the visiting of locations in the south of France, choosing/tasting the food & wine, writing the vows, practising songs with my brother Jim and my cousin Oli and just looking forward to spending a couple of days in an amazing location with our closest friends and family.
The most difficult things were: choosing the guest list, the table plan, the dress (I was not involved in that), giving people travel and accommodation advice (it was quite complex) and choosing/planning the ceremony.
*Break for Audible offer promotion: www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke*
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
This is the perfect story for this episode about marriage because it is one of the absolute classics of romance fiction. It was published on 16 October 1847 and tells the story of a woman called Jane Eyre who begins her life living through hardships and mistreatment, she gains her independence and education, falls in love with a man who appears to be out of her reach, and enters the tricky world of love, commitment, family and loyalty in the mid 19th century. There are a few twists and turns in the story and plenty of romance! It is read by Juliet Stevenson who is one of the UK’s most beloved actresses. She hasn’t appeared in many international movies, but she’s well known on television, and has an absolutely beautiful and warm voice which is perfect for this kind of story.
The audiobook version has a rating of 4.6 out of 5, which is extremely high. This truly is one of the UK’s favourite books. You can get it from Audible.com free if you’re not already a member. It’s very simple. Just click one of the audible buttons on my site, or go to audibletrial.com/teacherluke to sign up to a trial. You can download any audiobook you want and after 30 days of trial you can cancel your membership but still keep the book. So, the audiobook is free. All the details of this offer are on my website. I highly recommend you make the most of it, and even continue with a full membership of Audible.
What did you have to plan?
-email addresses and home addresses for contacts
-best man and bridesmaids
-music and entertainment (bands, playlists, audio equipment)
-wording and the person to deliver it
-readings in the ceremony
-location of ceremony
*At this point I skip to the bit below entitled So what happened on the big day? Talk us through it.
-gifts for guests
-wine and champagne orders
-other entertainment for the wedding party
-directions for how to get to the wedding (including all the different travel options)
-taxis for all the guests
-food for the Sunday brunch
How did you find the location for the wedding?
Did you consider getting a wedding planner?
Why did you get married twice?
What about the London wedding? What happened?
Why did you have a civil marriage? Isn’t it a bit meaningless if you don’t get married in a church?
– No, quite the opposite. I’ll come back to this question.
What about your stag do? And her hen do?
So what happened on the big day? Talk us through it.
-Travelled down on Thursday
-Rented a car and on Friday went to the place.
-Had a small gathering with close friends on the Friday night.
-Saturday – less stressful than the London one.
-Very hot indeed!
-Setting up the seats and everything
-Putting up signs and balloons to guide people to the venue
-Getting ready with my best man and friends
-Didn’t see my wife all afternoon
-All guests seated, I lined up with everyone to walk in.
-I walked in with my Mum
-Best man and bridesmaids walked in together
-No pictures and no FB please
-My wife arrived on the arm of her Dad and walked very slowly down the aisle.
-Ceremony started, beautiful conditions.
-Vows (emotional! Everyone cried)
-Song (too slow)
-Final parts – ring, “you may now kiss the bride”
-Walk out then cocktails, champagne and canapés
-Band playing, people chilling out with their feet in the pool
-Speeches, lighting, food, wine, champagne pyramid
-The band (Be Combo)
-Dancing & music playlist
THE VIDEO FROM LEPSTERS CONGRATULATING ME!
At this point I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Guillaume and everyone else who contributed to this gift.
So, Guillaume from Switzerland decided to make a video for my wedding day as a way of saying congratulations and also thank you for doing the podcast. He contacted LEPsters all around the world and asked them to record a short video message of congratulations for my wedding day. He then collected the video footage together and edited it all into one video. The cool thing about it is that it looks like a BBC news report, with correspondents from different countries in the world.
There were contributions from Guillaume from Switzerland, Zdenek from the Czech Republic, Jan from the Czech Republic, Daniele from Italy, Denise from Sao Paulo in Brazil, Rafael from Brazil, Sam in the UK, Edison from Colombia, Edgar from Mexico, Chriss from Mexico, Teodora from Romania, Takako from Japan, Trally from Vietman, Gloria from Argentina.
Thank you all so much for the messages. It was absolutely AMAZING to receive them. It was like the icing on the cake. I watched it together with my wife, my brother, my parents and a group of other people and everyone was blown away. They didn’t realise that I was a bit famous around the world. My wife and I were both touched by the messages and the bits of advice about marriage too. We certainly learned that “a marriage is a workshop in which the man works and the woman shops”.
You can see the video on the page for this episode here:
Other stuff (not mentioned on the podcast I think)
-Bed at 5AM
-Sunday – hangover, hangover cures, food truck, pool, weather
-Monday’s plans – massage, lunch, pool, fancy dinner, friends.
-The atmosphere of the location – lavender, nature, landscape, birds, seeing wild boar at night
-The ride home (with too much luggage)
-Back to normal (but marital bliss)
What was good about the wedding?
There are too many things to say really!
How about the question of the civil marriage – was it meaningless?
It was more meaningful to me than a religious wedding would have been.
Some people, not in our closest circle of friends and family expressed some doubt and scepticism over our decision to have a non-religious wedding in a neutral space (not in a church). Not only is this a little bit disrespectful in my opinion, it’s also a bit short sighted.
Is a non-religious wedding meaningless? Absolutely not. First of all, religion does not have a monopoly on feelings, emotions, sincerity, and sombre promises of faith and respect. These are all things that come from a natural well-spring of humanity that we all have inside us. We’re born with these things, in my opinion, so I believe it’s entirely possible to have a meaningful and emotional wedding without the presence of religious faith. In fact, that’s exactly what happened because it was a very moving and positive marriage.
Ultimately, my wife and I don’t have religious faith, so it would be hypocritical of us to have had a religious marriage.
But it was a very touching wedding – everyone agreed. So many people cried during the ceremony because it was so emotional. But that’s because it was a true and sincere statement of love and commitment from me to my wife. We wrote the words of the ceremony, not a priest. The promises came from us, not from above. The vows were witnessed by our friends and family – and they’re the ones who define the world around us. They’re the communion in which we joined together, and they are the community in which we will continue to be married. It was important for me to share that sincerely with them, and it was their audience that gave the weight and power to the proceedings.
I’ll give you an example. A Japanese couple who I am very close to, but haven’t seen for about 10 years came to the wedding. They travelled all the way from Japan which is a long and expensive flight. It must have been very difficult for them to come, but they did it for us. This is a huge and sincere statement of support for our decision to get married. By travelling so far they reinforced our marriage – I feel the wedding is even more validated by such a sincere act of friendship and support, and I believe the marriage is stronger as a result. They added extra weight to our commitment to be together. We really mean to stay together and hold true to our promise, and we know that our closest friends and family are there to help us stay together. That is genuine, tangible support for our union.
Also, the wedding was a significant moment for me as an ex-pat living away from home in a foreign country. It was an event at which my UK life and my French life joined together (and my online life too). Suddenly my UK friends saw my French life with my French friends. Also, my French friends saw me with my UK friends and understood me more. These friends who didn’t know each other suddenly spent a weekend together. It was very important in bringing my circle of friends closer together, giving me extra security. I feel that my life is less disconnected than it was before. The wedding brought people together and that’s important. Luckily everyone got on with each other and there was very little drama or trouble or anything. That’s just because we’ve got awesome friends and it was really cool to mix them together.
In fact, seeing all my closest friends and family all in one place was quite incredible. Every person there was special to me in some way. It was overwhelming really.
So, the wedding was a celebration of friendship, love and commitment, and it was a success.
What do you expect from marriage in the future?
I don’t expect it to be a solution to problems. I think that’s a mistake. Some people might believe that getting married means that suddenly your problems disappear and that life is all just a mission to get married to the right person, but I don’t agree with that. I’m well aware that it requires work and patience. It can feel restrictive and all that, but I think that if you don’t hide from this reality, and you’re honest with yourself and each other, and you don’t live in fear of conflict, and that you celebrate each other every day in some way, and make an effort to reward each other and communicate and so on, then I think it can be a really wonderful thing. In fact, I already find it very fulfilling and rewarding. How? You might ask… Well, there’s a sense of security and family that you have in joining with someone and becoming an official team. Also, I just enjoy calling her my wife. I’m sure there’ll be moments of hardship, but I really believe you can’t escape the difficulties in life. In the end hardship will come and find you somehow. I was ok with being single, and being alone (because I wasn’t a massive player or anything) but I prefer being in partnership with my wife. I’ve lost my single status and whatever freedoms that involved, but I have gained something more than that – the companionship of my wife and the influence of her on me. I think it’s a good choice. I just hope that we stay close like this for the rest of our marriage and that we find new depths to our relationship, and that it doesn’t go wrong at any point. I think that’s up to us really. As long as the spark is still there, it’s up to us to nurture it and turn it into a warm and nourishing fire.
Are you having a honeymoon?
Yes, we’re going to California (even though it appears to be on fire at the moment, and San Francisco is expecting a big earthquake at any time).
We originally planned to visit South America, but we have postponed that because we left the planning too late. We want to trek the Inca Trail, but it’s fully booked.
It’s easier for us to arrange a Californian holiday, but we will be back in Peru/Bolivia and hopefully other places in the future. We would both love to visit South America, and plenty of other places! In fact, I imagine many of you are thinking – oh Luke don’t go to the USA again, come to our country to celebrate your wedding!
Places we would like to visit:
South America (Peru/Bolivia & everywhere else)
A tour of the UK!
Is your wife going to be on the podcast?
Maybe… we’ll see. Her English is good enough, and I think she’s charming, but I’d quite like to keep her to myself, so we’ll see…
LEP is back! You might be wondering where I’ve been, or what’s going on at LEP headquarters. In this episode I’m going to explain my absence, fill you in on what’s going on at the moment, and also talk a bit about what’s coming up in the future. [RIGHT-CLICK TO DOWNLOAD]
As I talk during this episode I’m going to use a range of different language (some tenses and vocabulary) that relates to the past, the present and the future. See if you can notice the different language I use. What are the different ways that I refer to the past, present and future? I’m trying not to plan this language too much, I’m just going to see what expressions and phrases come out of my mouth naturally. At the end of the episode I’ll review that language so that you can pick it up and start using it yourselves, broadening your English in the process. So, not only am I giving you some news, we’re also doing some language study. You could say that we’re killing two birds with one stone (and not for the first time on LEP).
Here’s the plan for this episode
– Explain why I disappeared for about a month (The past)
– Talk about what’s going on at the moment (The present)
– Mention a few plans, intentions and upcoming events (The future)
– Present and review some grammar & vocabulary
Listen to Everything!
Please listen to the full episode to get the complete experience – remember, this is a podcast and not a blog. It’s all about listening!
Where have you been Luke? (The Past)
– I’ve been super-busy and I haven’t had a chance to get into the sky pod to record anything for a month. I’ve had to focus on other things. It’s been a busy and important time.
– First of all, I got sick with flu. That knocked me off my feet for quite a few days. I lost my voice etc. The #1 priority was to get better and rest! So, everything stopped.
– I had to take time off work – and all those cancelled classes had to be replaced. So, I worked way more than normal. No free time! Also, when I wasn’t working I was knackered and needed to rest!
– I got over the flu, but the cold came back. I’ve still got it now. :(
– By the way – I’m not complaining! I promise! I’m just explaining why I disappeared and I’m being transparent. I think if you understand my situation more clearly it can help you understand my service better.
– Also – I got married! (part 1 – explain a little bit)
So, that’s why I haven’t done a podcast for a while! Sometimes, life is just completely full. Remember, it takes a few hours in total to prepare, record, upload and distribute episodes of LEP. That time is rather precious.
What’s going on at the moment? (The Present)
– I’m still getting over the flu
– I’m doing exams this week (which means that I’m going to have tons of marking to do).
– I’m dealing with the other courses I’m teaching.
– I’m enjoying the extra hours of daylight and sunshine that we’re having.
– I’m enjoying married life very much (although it’s not that different to normal life to be honest)
– My online teaching colleague Gabby Wallace (of Go Natural English) is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a book she’d like to write. Click here to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign. When she gets enough money she’ll publish the book. It looks good, and this is something I have been intending to do for ages. If it works for her, there’s a good chance I’ll be doing it too! This is a new (and very cool) model of publishing learning-English materials and for it to work we need everyone’s support – from teachers, but also from you the learners too.
Don’t forget, that Audible offer still stands. If you go to audibletrial.com/teacherluke you can sign up to a free 30 day free trial which includes a free download of any audiobook of your choice, and they have over 150,000 titles to choose from. So, check out audibletrial.com/teacherluke or just click one of the audible buttons on my website. You can find all the details and frequently asked questions about this audiobook offer on my website.
What’s coming up over the next few weeks and months? (The Future)
– Wedding part 2 (the big one) is planned for July and that’s fast approaching! So the madness is going to start up again soon. We’ve got loads of things that still need to be done. There are quite a lot of of loose ends that need to be tied up. Ultimately, we’re both just really looking forward to being able to celebrate with our friends and family, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather.
– I’m going to have loads of marking to do, which means I might not have much time in the next few weeks either.
– The end of the university term is in sight, and then I’ll have a bit more breathing space. The thing is, my working plans are still undecided. I’m not completely sure how much I will be working. Will I give up one of my jobs to allow me to focus on online projects? Which one? Will I be able to get by? I’m not sure, but let’s see.
– By the way, I realise that sometimes these podcast episodes are a bit self-centred and I don’t really like that. But sometimes it’s just necessary to explain what’s going on in my life as a way of contextualising the service, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
– The spring holidays are just around the corner. The university will be closed for a couple of weeks. So, I’ve got some time off coming up but I’ll be focusing on marking.
– Preparations for my stag do are underway. The plan is to stay in a house in the countryside, do some outdoor activities and adventure stuff, and no-doubt spend a good deal of time in the pub. My brother is in charge. I’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store for me.
– I’m seeing Kings of Convenience with my wife in May. I can’t believe I’m finally seeing them. They’re probably my (our) favourite group and they don’t tour much.
– I’ve got a few gigs in the diary. I’d like to work on new material. We will have to see about that. The Paris stand-up scene in English is developing more and more all the time. One of these days I will fulfil my dream of having my own one man show, but that requires time for marketing and publicising. I’d love to do two things: Develop a strong one hour show of written material, and regularly record podcast episodes live in front of an audience (interviews, improvised stuff and so on).
– After all this work I’m hoping to devote more time to LEP and LEP related projects – not just doing new episodes but producing other content with a view to giving you opportunities to improve your English in other ways – cool ways that will be beneficial to both you and me.
– Summer is well on its way. In fact, we’re having a little taste of it here and it’s about time!
– A bunch of new Star Wars movies are in the pipeline. In fact, the first one is due this December. I’m trying not to get too drawn into the hype.
– The next big Marvel movie is about to be released, and that will be followed by loads of others. If you thought you’d already seen enough superhero movies, well you ain’t seen nothing yet!
– The UK general election is nearly upon us.
– The EU referendum is on the horizon.
Language Review – Structures and Vocabulary for Talking About The Past, Present & Future
Did you notice the language I used? Let’s re-cap. This might not be everything. If you noticed other stuff then add it in the comments section. Also, try repeating these lines after me, and try using them when you speak English too. That’s the best way to actually add these phrases to your active vocabulary. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Present perfect and present perfect continuous – these are both used to refer to actions in a time period that starts in the past and ends now. It’s used to explain recent news. The actions may be finished, but the time period is connected to now because it’s from the recent past until now. We use this tense for ‘catching up on someone’s news’. We often use present perfect with time expressions like ‘for ages’ and ‘for a while’, especially in the negative form.
“I haven’t seen you for ages!”
“How have you been?”
“I’ve been meaning to call you for a while now”
“What have you been up to?”
“What have you been doing?” “I’ve been super-busy and I haven’t had a chance to get into the skypod to record anything for a month. I’ve had to focus on other things. It’s been a really busy time.”
Past simple tense for actions in a sequence.
These are finished actions that are not connected to now. It’s a sequence of events. It’s not connected to now. The whole sequence is finished. Finished actions – finished time. “- First of all, I got sick with flu. That knocked me off my feet for quite a few days. I lost my voice etc. The #1 priority was to get better and rest! So, everything stopped. – I had to take time off work – and all those cancelled classes had to be replaced. So, I worked way more than normal. No free time! Also, when I wasn’t working I was knackered and needed to rest! – I got over the flu, but the cold came back. I’ve still got it now.”
Present continuous – be + -ing
This is the most common way to talk about temporary actions and situations right now. – I’m still getting over the flu – I’m doing exams this week (which means that I’m going to have tons of marking to do) – I’m dealing with the other courses I’m teaching – I’m enjoying the extra hours of daylight and sunshine that we’re having
Obviously, we have present simple for permanent facts and situations too. No need to go into that.
Other language: Preparations for my stag do are underway.
In terms of tenses, there’s:
‘will’ (predictions, promises, facts, judgements about the future) “I’ll have a bit more breathing space.”
‘going to’ (intentions, plans, things you’ve decided to do, predictions based on evidence)
‘present continuous’ (also plans, future plans which are fixed) “I’m seeing Kings of Convenience with my wife in May”
Modal verbs for different levels of certainty about the future: “I might not have much time in the next few weeks either”
Future continuous ‘will + be + -ing’ (a bit like ‘going to’ for fixed plans) “I’ll be focusing on marking”
Other language for talking about the future: it’s planned it’s fast approaching we’ve got things which need to be done there are lots of loose ends that need to be tied up we’re both just really looking forward to being able to celebrate with our friends and family we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather The end of the university term is in sight let’s see The spring holidays are just around the corner I’ve got some time off coming up The plan is to stay in a house in the countryside I’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store for me I’ve got a few gigs in the diary We will have to see about that One of these days I will fulfil my dream of having my own one man show I’m hoping to devote more time to LEP Summer is well on its way A bunch of new Star Wars movies are in the pipeline. In fact, the first one is due this December The next big Marvel movie is about to be released you ain’t seen nothing yet The UK general election is nearly upon us. The EU referendum is on the horizon.
Song – You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman Turner Overdrive
This podcast is all about Men & Women. Are they different? Do they communicate differently? It is inspired by a book called “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, which is a very popular and successful guide to help men and women understand each other. In the podcast today I talk to 2 male friends, and then 2 female friends. There is lots of useful natural English for you to study, remember and copy – and become a more advanced speaker of English! I hope you enjoy the podcast…
Here’s the extract from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus which is about Martians (Men):
“Martians value power, competency, efficiency and achievement. They fantasize about powerful cars, faster computers, gadgets and new, more powerful technology. They are concerned with outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and racing cars, and are more interested in objects and things than in people and feelings. Martians pride themselves on doing things all by themselves since asking for help when you can do things yourself is perceived as a sign of weakness. So, they will keep their problems to themselves unless they require help from another person to find a solution. When they get upset they prefer not to burden their friends with what is bothering them, and instead retreat into their caves to mull over their problems. If they can’t find a solution, they do something to relax and disengage their mind; or they engage in something more challenging like racing a car, competing in a contest or climbing a mountain.”
And here is the extract about Venusians (Women):
“Venusians value love, beauty and relationships. They find happiness through supporting and helping each other and their sense of identity is defined through sharing and the quality of their relationships. Rather than building highways and tall buildings, they are more interested in living together in harmony, community, and loving co-operation. Communication is very very important and sharing their feelings is much more important than achieving goals and being successful. They pride themselves on being intuitive, and considerate of the feelings of others. When Venusians feel upset, or stressed, or confused or hopeless they find relief by sharing their problems with friends and talking about their problems in detail.”
Language from the conversation with Howard & Nick:
“blokes” – a bloke is a man. It’s an informal word that British people use to say ‘man’. It’s not rude, but it is quite informal. People use this word a lot
“I had a difficult girlfriend and it helped me to deal with her” – to deal with something (e.g. a problem or a difficult person) means to ‘cope with’ it, ‘fix’ it, ‘manage’ it or learn to live with it.
“I found myself turning off and not tuning in” – to ‘turn off’ means to lose concentration and stop being interested in it, e.g. if you’re reading a boring book you might turn off… We also say ‘turn off’ for TVs, lights, radios etc. To ‘tune in’ means that you concentrate or focus on something. We also tune into a radio station on an FM radio.
“it’s a chick’s book” – a chick is a woman. It’s kind of a slang word, and some women think it is a bit rude. A chick also means a baby chicken.
“winging, going on about stuff, moaning” – all of these words mean ‘complaining’
“just back her up…” – to back someone up means to support & agree with someone
“the bestselling book of two thousand and whatever” – ‘whatever’ is a useful word which can mean ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I don’t mind’. Here, Howard used it to mean “I’m not sure which year it was, but it doesn’t matter”.
Transcript of the conversation between Luke, Shirley & Michelle:
Luke: Hello hello, 1 2 3 speak…
Shirley: Hello hello, 1 2 3
Michelle: Hello this is Michelle…
Luke: OK, I thought I needed a female perspective on this, so I’m speaking to Shirley and Michelle about the whole thing, erm, so… First of all, what do you think of the, erm, comments that Nick and Howard just made about this book?
Shirley: Well I think that’s probably the reason the book had to be written in the first place, because of comments like that, I’d say.
Luke: Right, so…
Michelle: Interesting that it was actually written by a bloke though, that’s the thing.
Luke: So it was written by a man
Michelle: It was written by a bloke, yeah. John Grey I think his name is.
Luke: Right, ok, do we know when it was released?
Michelle: Late 90s?
Shirley: I’m not sure actually
Luke: OK, so late nineties, alright, so, errrm, first of all then, have you read the book?
Shirley: Well, err, a friend of mine gave it to me to read, and I was reading it when I was on holiday but I got a bit bored of it quite quickly actually. Some of it’s funny, I have to say, some of it’s funny and you can really recognise
Shirley: err, you recognise yourself and whatever in it, but… it’s just it’s a bit repetitive at the end of the day, and I got a bit bored with it
Michelle: Yeah, I’ve only read about half of it as well and, yeah, I also got bored with it and that… well, some of it, I started to find myself quite annoyed with women to be honest. I found myself identifying more with men. I’m not sure what that says about me…
Luke: I’m not sure either!
Michelle: Does it mean I’m from Mars?
Luke: Maybe. I think that… err… One thing that I can say for sure, definitely, is that women aren’t from Venus, men aren’t from Mars. Men and women are both from Earth, right?
Michelle: I think you’re probably right…
Luke: I think they are, aren’t they?
Shirley: I think that’s a fair enough statement Luke, yeah
Luke: Basically what I’m saying is, it’s a bit silly in that sense, but, umm, do you think it’s … well you said it was kind of a bit boring in some places…
Shirley: No, I think it’s valid because, at the end of the day, men and women are different
Shirley: It’s as simple as that, and sometimes, y’know, you have miscommunications with someone
Shirley: Just because of the different ways that you use language, for example
Luke: Yeah, yeah
Shirley: and, err, and so I think something like this is quite valid. I mean, the guy who wrote it, as far as I’m aware, I might be wrong, is a linguist
Shirley: and he deals with gender miscommunication
Shirley: So, erm, so he’s kind of like, erm, it’s got a valid base to it I think
Luke: OK. ERM, One of the things that Howard and Nick identified as being, kind of, true or useful about this book, is the idea that, err, when men are listening to women, they often don’t realise how to listen to women, and that what they do is they offer solutions when they should just be listening. Do you agree with that? Is that true?
Michelle: I think that’s a fair point in the book actually. I did identify with that. Very often if I’ve sort of, got something to complain about or just something I want to get off my chest, that’s all I literally want to do. I’m not looking for solutions, I’m just looking for somebody to listen, or at least pretend to listen
Luke: Ha ha, so Howard, you’ve got to learn from that…
Michelle: but, definitely, from, sort of, past relationships I’ve learned that when a bloke is talking to me about problems, especially work related things, y’know, he would always want me to offer a solution, he would always say “what would you do?”, and erm, I’m not aware that I usually ask people that kind of thing in that situation
Shirley: Well I think that is, I mean, just from listening to Nick and Howard having that little discussion, Nick seems to think women can’t make decisions, and Howard just seems to think that they just whine all the time. I think we’re perfectly capable of making decisions, and just by sounding off, and telling somebody how, that something’s going on, doesn’t mean we need you to fix it. We can fix it ourselves.
Michelle: Very often it helps you to come to your own solution to…
Shirley: Yeah, exactly…
Shirley: Saying that you’re weak because you can’t make a decision…
Luke: Alright, but essentially what you’re saying is that you agree, that when men listen they don’t have to offer solutions, they just need to listen
Luke: OK, umm, so, uhhh, one of the other things that they said, err, I think Nick said this, I might be wrong… I might have agreed with them as well actually… umm, anyway… one of the things that they said is that it seems that the book was written for women, which means that women don’t understand men, and that they said that, well, men are ok because we understand women I think, so do you agree? Who understands who?
Shirley: From the first bit I’d say yes the book is written for women, and I don’t think that a lot of men would be terribly interested in reading it, but I think that that’s not just because women need to understand men, I think women have more of a want to understand
Michelle: Yeah, I’d say that’s a fair comment
Shirley: I think that they’re more interested in working out what it is that’s the miscommunication and trying to fix it .
Luke: Men are more interested in, just…
Luke: football, yeah. Michelle?
Michelle: But I also don’t like people talking to me when the football’s on, so, I don’t think that’s necessarily gender
Shirley: You see I don’t like people talking to me when I’m watching a particular programme. Does it matter if it’s football, or…?
Luke/Michelle: It doesn’t matter
Shirley: So, there you go
Luke: The fact is, football tends to last longer than most programmes
Shirley: And it’s, y’know, and, y’know, it might be a controversial topic but it’s incredibly dull
Luke: No it’s not. Football isn’t dull, is it?
Michelle: It’s definitely not dull
Shirley: Well, is it?
Luke: No. Football isn’t dull. Fact. Erm, right, so that’s it. That’s all I wanted to ask you. Thanks very much for…
Michelle: It’s a pleasure
Luke: … agreeing to answer my questions
Shirley: That’s no problem Luke at all
Luke: OK, thanks very much
Shirley: OK, bye…
All the words are written there! Listen to the podcast to hear me explain some of the things that Shirley & Michelle said!
There’s lots of useful language there. Here’s some USEFUL ADVICE:
HOW TO USE LUKE’S ENGLISH PODCAST TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH:
1. Expose yourself to the language – This means Listen and Read a lot.
2. Notice the language – This means, look at the language, think about it, see how it is used, try to see patterns, study the ‘rules’.
3. Think about your language – This means, think about how you use English, and what you would say about the topic.
4. See the difference – What is the difference between your language, and a native’s language?
5. Repeat Repeat Repeat – This means that you should do everything more than once!! Listen to the podcast more than once. Read the transcript more than once. Say the words to yourself more than once.
6. Copy – You can try to copy the native speakers. You can repeat the conversation with a friend and try to use the same language as in the recording. You can try to use the language when you have your conversations in real life or in your English class.
That’s REALLY GOOD ADVICE from a QUALIFIED AND VERY EXPERIENCED ENGLISH TEACHER, and also it is COMPLETELY FREE!!!!