Category Archives: Music

462. British Comedy: Bill Bailey

In this episode I talk to you about one of my favourite stand up comedians from the UK. We’re going to hear some of his comedy and use it to learn English.

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Introduction

I’ve always been a big fan of Bill Bailey since I first saw him on telly in the 1990s, and I’m glad to say I once saw him performing stand-up in Hammersmith, which is where Bill lives and I used to live too.

Who is Bill Bailey?

Bill Bailey (born 24 February 1964) is an English comedian, musician, actor, TV and radio presenter and author. Bailey is well known for his role in the TV show Black Books in which he plays the part of Mani, and for his appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Have I Got News for You, and QI as well as his extensive stand-up work, including his DVD specials such as “Part Troll” and “Dandelion Mind”.

Bailey was listed by the Observer newspaper as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy in 2003. In 2007 and again in 2010, he was voted the seventh greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups.
In this episode

This episode

In this episode we’re going to listen to some of Bill’s comedy and we’re going to understand it all so that you can hopefully enjoy it as much as a native speaker. So, lots of language, lots of listening and all the usual stuff.

Obviously, your enjoyment of comedy is subjective and what’s funny to one person isn’t funny to another, but the vast majority of what goes into appreciating a comedian is being able to actually understand the things they are saying. So, don’t judge it until you fully understand it.

I hope there’s a lot for you to learn from this episode and that you also enjoy it and find out about a very funny comedian, who has a lot of videos on YouTube and DVDs that you can buy and enjoy over and over again.

Let’s talk a little bit more about Bill Bailey and then hear some of his comedy.

Here are a few little things that you should know that might help you appreciate his humour a bit more.

Bill’s Appearance
He’s got quite a funny appearance. He looks like an old hippy (even though he associates more with the punk movement) – he has boggly eyes, a bald forehead, long straggly hair, a round face. That sounds almost mean, my description, but Bill is also a lovely person, quite sort of cuddly and is amusing just to look at. He uses his appearance well, making himself look like a crazy person. It helps gain laughs I think. Inside he is a very down to earth guy with a good sense of humour.

Type of comedy
A bit weird, a bit surreal, quite cerebral and intelligent, considering the stranger aspects of life. He’s the sort of comic that some people would say was “random” – meaning he is a bit strange and tends to look at life from a different angle. He doesn’t just do ordinary observational comedy, but instead his work is full of musical parodies and existential thoughts.

Music – parodies, mixing different styles together, observations about musical tropes.

Left-wing politics – He’s a member of the Labour party and his political views come into his comedy in various ways as he tends to make fun of capitalist culture and the establishment.

Drugs – they come into it sometimes when he makes reference to weed and generally it seems that Bill has probably taken a few drugs in his time, as is evident in his surreal style and his existential musings.

Hammersmith – this is where he’s from. It’s in West London where I used to live, but Bill also grew up in the West Country – so he has a slight west country accent, and Wales too. Generally though, he speaks a kind of RP with a West Country or London twang.

So let’s now listen to a few clips, and then I’m going to explain what you hear. There are so many clips on YouTube and I basically like all of them, but I’m going to play you probably about 5 things taken from various TV appearances and live shows over the years. You can find the embedded videos on the page for this episode.

Most of these videos showcase his musical talents as well as his comedy, his story telling and so on.

Let’s get started.

Beethoven loses a penny

Some vocabulary and language
A lot of institutions had to merge due to funding cuts
I attended the Bovington Gurney School of Performing Arts and Owl Sanctuary
I studied Beethoven.
A fascinating character.
A very lonely embittered man, a very drunken man, slovenly, covered in dust, and filth and beer. He was a very unpleasant man. He was prone to dark fits of temper. He would hurl stuff around the house and then scrawl sonatas on big blocks of cheese and then eat them to spite the world.
He channeled his anger into his work.
Rage Over A Lost Penny – inspired by an argument he had with his cleaning lady.
You know when you lose something… how frustrating.
Have you seen my penny?
Can you think where you last had it?
No I can’t remember where it is!
Have you checked your pockets?
Of course I have you stupid b*tch!

Starsky & Hutch and the jazz news

Things you need to know about Starsky & Hutch – it was a show about two cops in the 1970s with groovy music

Dramatic cop action, sometimes they were on a stakeout, they drove a cool fast car, they had an informant called Huggy Bear, sometimes they’d have fights with criminals, mafia guys etc, they’d often have car chases and they’d always drive down alleyways with lots of cardboard boxes and they’d drive through the boxes because it looked good on TV.

Stephen Hawking / A Brief History of Time

Learning Chinese – Owl story

Doorbells

 

429. RAMBLENEWS!

A video is available for this episode (see below). Here is an episode with some rambling about recent news, LEPster meetups, transcript project team, listener comments & questions, teaching phrasal verbs with ‘in on’ and some music. This episode is also on YouTube. See below for details.

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Video (with some extra content)

Links

Moscow LEPster Conversation Club on Facebook www.facebook.com/groups/734996946664425/

Tokyo LEPsters 3rd Meetup www.facebook.com/events/1850850918464336/

A Phrasal Verb a Day teacherluke.co.uk/archive-of-episodes-1-149/phrasal-verb-a-day/

Introduction

I’m just checking in on you. How are you? I’m videoing this one. You can see it on the page for this episode, or on YouTube. I might do this more often if I can. (more about this later)

Are you growing a beard?
I’m not really doing anything! It’s just coming out of my face.
Someone in one of my classes said to me “Oh you’re wearing a beard!” – we don’t really saying this. You might say “Oh you’ve grown a beard!” or “Oh, you’ve got a beard”.

Here’s an overview of stuff I’m going to talk about in this episode

  • Some news, some admin, some language tips, some phrasal verbs and probably some rambling!
  • LEPster get togethers in Moscow and Tokyo
  • The pros and cons of uploading LEP videos onto YouTube
  • A quick reminder about The Transcript Collaboration
  • Playing the podcast at different speeds
  • Some recent comments from the website and other places
  • A question about phrasal verbs with ‘in’ and ‘on’
  • An update about a phrasal verb a day
  • A song on the guitar
  • Plus the usual rambling and stuff!

A lot of what I’m reading is written on the page for this episode, so check it out.
Also, if you’re transcribing – don’t forget to check the page for the episode because some content might already be written there and you can copy it into the transcript.

LEPster get togethers

Moscow

Moscow LEPsters – every weekend in cool anticafes where you pay a fixed price and then get as much tea, coffee and cake as you can stuff into your face. Sounds cool.

You can see from the FB pics that these spaces are interesting – one of them has a big lizard in a glass tank (like an aquarium, not a tank for war).

Click here for the FB page for the Moscow LEPsters Conversational Club

Alex (one of the Moscow LEPsters) sent me a message. It was his birthday and he asked me if I could talk to them for a few minutes. It looked like – or sounded like they were in a Russian sauna or something (!) but they were just crowded around the phone.

  • Alex said “You look good in the frame” – The phrases in English would be: ‘Photogenic’, ‘the camera loves you’, ‘you look good on camera’
  • I didn’t tell Alexander to say that thing about italki – but it’s true!
  • “Mafia” sounds like a fun game. They played the Lying Game the previous week.

Doing YouTube videos

Advantages

  • There’s a much bigger audience there. As Alexander said, many people don’t know what podcasts are (or how to spell or pronounce “podcast” either). He’s right, it’s still a bit of a niche, which I quite like in a way – if you’re taking the time to find this, get it on your phone and listen to it, it probably means you’re the sort of person who will like it, and YouTube is full of lots of general viewers who might discover my videos without really knowing what it’s all about, and they might not be the sorts of people who want to listen to me – but that’s a bit negative isn’t it. I’m sure there are plenty of people on YouTube who could like what I do, so I should try it more. Lots of YouTubers get high numbers of views. It could be successful for me. I could reach an even bigger audience.
  • Some people prefer to watch, like visual learners etc. You can see my mouth moving and my body language. We know that the majority of the message we communicate is visual, so it might be good to see the way I move, the expressions on my face and so on.

Disadvantages

  • Video is much more complex, inconvenient and time-consuming to produce. It takes up much more storage space and processing space on my computer. It slows down my computer a lot. I prefer audio for that reason – it cuts down the time I have to spend on this and allows me to produce more work.
  • It can actually be a distraction from the language. Ultimately, I want you to focus on the spoken language and not get too distracted by the things you can see.
  • But when possible I will try to video myself doing podcasts. Like Alex said, it shouldn’t require much extra effort to have the camera running while I’m talking and then upload the video straight onto YouTube, except that I won’t have the option to edit the video – as soon as I start trying to edit a 1hr video, everything takes absolutely ages.
  • Perhaps I should also do more short videos on YouTube, rather than just the . It’s something I am thinking about certainly.
  • Another thing I’ve been asked about is whether I’ve considered doing Facebook Live or Instagram Live videos. I keep thinking about doing that and I really should. I’m basically in the habit of doing the audio podcast and it’s working really well for me. BUt from time to time it would be cool to do FB live (I don’t have Instagram) and just hang out with some of my listeners. Some of you will be thinking – but I don’t have FB or Instagram! I’d have to video myself doing it on a separate camera and then upload that to YouTube. You wouldn’t be able to send comments and likes during the video, but you’d at least be able to watch it.

Facebook page for Moscow LEPsters: www.facebook.com/groups/734996946664425/

Tokyo!

Tokyo LEPsters are getting together on 3 March. Click here for the FB page!
www.facebook.com/events/1850850918464336/

We’re still coming to Tokyo in April – first and foremost it’s a holiday, because I’ve always wanted to show Japan to my wife who has never been, and I haven’t been back since 2005. But I am hoping to do a gig there, perhaps on the evening of Saturday 15th April.

Transcript collaboration

re-establish the rules and the benefits, and answer a few common questions.
How does it work
Rules on the page
Leave messages next to your chunks
Everyone has access to all the scripts, including the ones that are fully transcribed now.

Play the podcast at different speeds!

At 0.5x speed – I sound totally drunk.

Comments on the website

The comment section is alive with conversation these days in a way that’s never happened before. This is largely due to a few listeners like Cat, Nick, Eri, Antonio, Jack and Hiro who have been very chatty there recently – but also because of other listeners who drop in and leave comments – which is lovely to see and it’s adding some lively conversation and extra content under each episode because people are sharing videos, thoughts, pictures and other content.

Phrasal Verb Question

Frank asked me about the expression ‘in on’

Would you do me a favour? Can you sometime explain the usage of the expression “in on”? I don’t know in what cases it’s appropriate and why it is used in that way.
The last time I came across with it, was when I watched the first movie of Grey’s Anatomy. The young doctors, who came fresh from the university to the hospital in Seattle to work there, were welcomed by the director with the words: “Each of you comes here today hopeful, wanting in on the game.”

This expression is a little confusing to me. Usually, we use in or on in a sentence. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the other example I have seen it. I hope this makes more sense for you. Thank you for all your effort.

Have a great weekend!

Response

“In on” doesn’t mean anything really. It’s all about how that combines with other parts of the sentence.

At the beginning of this episode I said “I just want to check in on you and see how you’re doing”

Don’t focus on ‘in on’. You need to focus on “check in on you” or “check in on someone”.

So this is not about the meaning of the prepositions ‘in and on’ but the meaning and grammar of verbs, like “Check in on”.

Some people say this is a phrasal verb, or a multi-word verb, or an intransitive prepositional phrasal verb. To be honest we could spend ages trying to categorise this kind of grammar/vocabulary, to get exactly the correct term for these slightly different types of verbs – there are many different names in different books, and I guarantee that if we did spend loads of time defining what a phrasal verb is and what they should be called, it will just give you a headache. Phrasal verbs are notoriously difficult to understand from a grammatical point of view and as a result people don’t really agree on what to call them. Type 1 phrasal verbs, type 2 phrasal verbs, separable phrasal verbs, inseparable phrasal verbs, transitive or intransitive, prepositional verbs, intransitive non-separable idiomatic particalized verb phrases! Let’s just call them bastards, ok.

Because they are bastards, certainly when you first encounter them properly – I mean, they’re difficult and tricky, so they can seem like bastards if you’re learning the language or trying to teach it.

When you first encounter them, they can seem like bastards. Of course, once you get beyond that feeling and you learn a few phrasal verbs and get comfortable using them, they become less like bastards and more like slight bastards and then not bastards at all, and eventually you can call them your friends.

You’re already friends with some of them. E.g. “Take off” “Give up” “Shut up” “Carry on” “Find out” – you probably know all of those and you’ve discovered that they’re not really that bad. They’re pretty cool actually. And you have a sort of deep respect for them after a while, to the point at which you can call them bastards again, but in a good way. Like, “you cool bastard” or “Ah, you’old bastard you! Come here ya bastard! How have you been!?”

Anyway – ‘in on’. Let’s have a look.

The phrase you quoted from Grey’s Anatomy was “Each of you comes here today hopeful, wanting in on the game.” The director of the hospital is giving a speech to the new trainee doctors.

This phrase “To want in on something” means to want to be part of something, to want a piece of something, to want to be involved in something.”

E.g. “I’m putting together a team of people for a bank job. We’ve found out that 100 million dollars in diamonds is being delivered to the city bank next month, and we’re going to take it. We’ve got an inside man at the bank. Everything’s cleared. Security’s been paid off. We need a driver and some muscle to carry the bags and take the money to the safe house. Who wants in? Who wants in on this job?”

Some phrasal verbs have ‘in on’ as part of the phrase.

Copy me in on any correspondence (copy me in) – to be included in the email chain (to be CCd)
I want in on this job (to want in) – to want to be included in the job.
Are you in on the joke? (to be in on a joke) – to be included in the joke.
It took me ages to catch on to what he was talking about. (to catch on)
I’m just checking in on you. (to check in on someone) – suggests visiting a person to check how they are doing – also used for phone calls. Imagine popping into someone’s office and saying “How are you guys doing? I just thought I’d check in on you, see if you need anything.”

Mainly these are intransitive phrasal verbs with a dependent preposition.

Now, verbs in English aren’t always one word. Sometimes they’re two or even three words. We have a lot of verb phrases, also called phrasal verbs.

Just like normal verbs, some phrasal verbs are intransitive.

Intransitive means the verb doesn’t need an object.

Comment – would you like to comment?
Participate – I’ll participate.
Object – He strongly objected.
Complain – She didn’t like it. She complained.

But if you add an object you have to use a preposition.
Comment – would you like to comment? Would you like to comment on the game?
Participate – I’ll participate. I’ll participate in the workshop.
Object – She strongly objected. She strongly objected to the decision.
Complain – She didn’t like it. She complained. She complained about the changes.

This works with some phrasal verbs too.
E.g.
Copy in.
Catch on.
Drop in.
Talk back.

When you add an object, you need another preposition.
Could you copy me in on the email.
Did you catch on to the secret plan.
Shall we drop in on Jeff in his new flat?
What do I have to do to keep ahead of the competition?
The teachers hate it when Dave talks back to them.

So, in the end, I would suggest that you try to learn this kind of language as a chunk of vocabulary and choose not to be too distracted by the vocabulary.

So, try to notice all the phrasal verbs in this paragraph.

“I’m just checking in on you. Just thought I’d drop in on you, just to see how you’re getting on with the project. I’m really glad to see you working hard on this one. It’s exactly the sort of thing we need to do in order to keep ahead of the competition. Make sure you keep copying me in on all the email correspondence with the clients and suppliers so that I can keep up to date with all the work that you’re doing, while I sit in my office smoking a cigar and watching the cricket, ok?”

You’ll see that written on the page for this episode. Try to learn them and add them to your active vocabulary.

A Phrasal Verb a Day

I haven’t done one of those episodes for months. The reason is that it’s hard to get back into the habit, and because there isn’t enough incentive for me to keep doing them.

Hi I’ve started listening to your phrasal verb podcast. I found that It is the perfect content to study by myself since I can use phrasal verbs in my real life right after listening to it. I can rather easily find written version of phrasal verb list but actually listening to your explanation is better for me to understand and memorize it.
Though It’s a shame that you couldn’t reach your goal, which is making 365 list of it. but I also understand It will be very hard for you to carry on this without any sponsorship. I actually think this content is worth to pay, you might want to publish it through another platform.
Thank you again^^
DY from Korea.

Even though episodes are short, it does take quite a lot of time – I have to create lots of pages on my site, manage transcripts for each one, and it’s taking time and I have to wonder what’s in it for me?

Click here for A Phrasal Verb a Day – Episode Archive

Spotify playlist

Song

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Part 1) – Lyrics

 

 

414. With the Family (Part 2) My Uncle Met a Rock Star

Listen to my uncle Nic telling some stories about British rock stars he has met over the years, including an encounter with one of the most famous musicians in the world!

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Introduction (transcript)

In this episode I’m going to play you another conversation which I recorded during the recent Christmas holiday. In this one you’re going to hear my brother and me talking to our uncle Nic about some of the amazing rock stars that he’s met over the years.

Nic has always been a huge fan of rock music and because he was born in the early 1950s he saw many of Britain’s greatest rock stars performing live on stage quite early in their careers. I’m talking about the late 1960s, throughout the 70s and beyond.

So, Nic has met a lot of musicians at gigs but he also just has a knack for bumping into rock stars in normal everyday situations and then being very cool, calm and casual in their company. It’s almost like they’re on the same wavelength or something.

Anyway, my brother and I have always enjoyed hearing Nic’s anecdotes and I’m very glad to have recorded some of those stories for this podcast.

If you’re a fan of rock music, especially some of the classic bands of the 60s and 70s then I’m sure you’re going to be impressed by some of the people my uncle has met, talked to, and even had breakfast with.

And there is one person in particular that he once bumped into – who is not only a bonafide legend of the music world, but also just one of the most famous people on the planet today. Any idea who that is? Well, to find out just listen on.

So, here’s a chat with my Uncle Nic, with some help from James.

I say “help” from James, what I mean is that he just takes over the interview at one point because he thinks he can do a better job than me, and maybe he’s right. Anyway, that’s enough rambling… here’s the conversation.

***

Thank you very much to Uncle Nic and belated happy birthday to him too.

Let us know what you think, and which one you think is the most impressive story. Because they are impressive stories, aren’t they. Come on! Paul McCartney of The Beatles. Pink Floyd! Fast Eddie from Motorhead!

I realise there will be people out there who don’t really know a lot of the people we were talking about. I’m sure you know Paul McCartney, but you might not know The Who, Motorhead, Pink Floyd (hard to imagine), The Damned, Slade…

And I’m sure there are others too, not necessarily in the toilet but in other situations, but who knows.

VIDEOS

The Who – Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltry, John Entwistle

Motorhead – “Fast Eddie” & Lemmy

Free “All Right Now” live at The Isle of White Festival (1970)

Paul McCartney & Wings “Junior’s Farm” (Nic’s favourite)

Pink Floyd recorded at Live 8, Hyde Park in 2005

Slade in 1973

The Damned

Have you ever met a famous musician? Let us know in the comment section.

audience-868074_1280

398. US Election Result Ramble + Message + Song

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.

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It’s a mad mad mad mad world!

Everything will be alright, in the end. And if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.

(I have to thank Mark Kermode for that one)

Bloody hell! Donald Trump got elected!

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.

What a year it has been.

I’ve tried to capture how it feels.

How did Trump win?

An interesting article from TheWeek.co.uk: www.theweek.co.uk/theweekday/story/78497

398

358. Fête de la Musique / World Music Festival in Paris

Join my wife and *me as we walk around the streets of Paris during the annual World Music Festival. You’ll hear live music, descriptions of the scene, a couple of conversations with people we met, and the sounds of this amazing evening in the city of light. It’s another long episode, but I hope you listen to all of it because I just really want to share the atmosphere and moments of this special event. Check below for photos.

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This episode was recorded yesterday evening on 21 June, which is the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year. It’s also World Music Day and here in Paris there is always a big music festival on this date, called “Fête de la Musique”. In Paris the whole city comes alive all night as live bands and musicians perform music on every street corner. The whole city becomes a big festival and it’s one of the best nights of the year here. The streets are filled with people partying, having a good time, drinking, socialising and dancing to the music.

So last night my wife and I went out to walk around the area and get into the spirit of the festival and in fact my wife suggested that I do some recordings so I could show another side of life in Paris, because it’s not all just Euro 2016, floods, strikes and terror alerts. There are loads of amazing things going on. Yesterday we had a brilliant evening and I’m really glad I captured it on the podcast.

So, I invite you to join us as we take a stroll through the streets of Paris on this hot summer evening, taking in the various musical performances, getting into the spirit of the evening and meeting a few people along the way. I met a few people during the evening and recorded short interviews with them. They were mainly Brits (a couple of guys from England, a French guy and a Belgian guy who spoke good English and two guys from Northern Ireland) and I asked them a couple of questions about the big stories of the moment like the football and the EU referendum.

You will also hear plenty of live music which I recorded yesterday. On every street corner there was a different band or a DJ playing. There were some moments when I chose just to record the music and not to speak, so you will hear some little musical interludes sometimes in which I’m not actually saying anything and it’s just live music, so you can soak up the atmosphere of what turned out to be a really brilliant evening in Paris. I hope you enjoy being part of it and that you can use your imagination to picture the scenes. The sounds should be in stereo too, so if you’re listening on headphones it should sound pretty cool.

There are some photos on the page for this episode (below), so check them out!

Now, I will let you listen to my audio diary of la fete de la music in Paris. I really enjoyed recording this episode and I really hope you enjoy it too and that you get into the atmosphere of this evening of music and good vibes!

Photos

346. Rambling on a Friday Afternoon

Phrasal Verbs & Idioms / More NY Stories / Politics / Leicester City / Google Adverts
Welcome back to another podcast episode. It’s nice to be back in your headphones or speakers. In the last episode of this podcast I talked to you about some recent bits and pieces such as the ELTon award nomination, my recent trip to New York and some other stuff. I also gave you a language task to keep you on your toes. I’m going to continue along the same lines in this episode and I have a list of things here to talk about and we’re going to continue with the language spotting exercise.

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It’s a Friday afternoon, I’ve just seen the latest Marvel movie, the weather is mad, and I’m going to talk to you about various things again but first I’ve got to respond to a couple of comments that have arrived here on my website in just the last hour.

Phrasal Verbs & Idioms Listed Below

But first…

Some comments from listeners

Abensour • 4 minutes ago
Hello Luke, Your podcast is fantastic.
Nevertheless, could you please speak a bit faster. I guess you must lower the pace when you record your podcasts and it would be very interesting to hear you with your natural english speaking pace.

Jeremie • 1 minute ago
By the way, I am a french listener as well! :)

Wesley
Hello Luke and LEP listeners,
It’s with absolute delight that I receive the news that LEP has been nominated for the 2016 ELTons and I genuinely believe other long-term listeners share the same feeling. The British Council and Cambridge English couldn’t have a better candidate for the Digital Innovation category.
One thing that troubled me though was when Luke said it was unlikely that he could win. Luke, I don’t know if you’re being far too English or just trying to be modest but, as I see it, you shouldn’t take this defeatist attitude and underestimate yourself. As you said, LEP is a project you have been working on for over seven years and it keeps getting better as time goes on. Because you’re kind-hearted and keep LEP free, people all over the world listen to you. Your episodes have millions of downloads and are a complete success and, even though you’re up against five other great nominees, I cannot conceive why LEP might not be in the running for the award.
LEP is innovative because it allows learners to listen to genuine English – rambling included – outside a classroom environment. Everyone who has reached a proficient level knows how important being in touch with the language is in order to learn it well. LEP is great because it enables us to hear natural English for pleasure and entertainment or while doing housework, cooking and commuting to college. I am not aware of any other equivalent English teaching resource that suits our busy lives just as well as LEP. I believe any sensible judge on the panel will allow for all those reasons when they vote.
I wish you luck and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
All the best,
Wesley

Language Task – Spot the Phrasal Verbs & Idioms

So, that language task from the previous episode was to listen out for a few phrasal verbs and idioms that I’d taken randomly from a dictionary and which I tried to insert into my speech, seamlessly. You had to identify the ones I had added. The purpose of that is to encourage you to notice lexical items – to notice vocabulary. It’s a good habit for a learner of English. On one hand just follow what I’m saying and connect with that, but also try to notice features of the language you’re listening to. That’s what I’m encouraging you to do.

I chose 5 phrasal verbs and 5 idioms and I managed to slip in just one of those phrasal verbs and two of the idioms.
Remember what they were?

There was “to come up against” something.
Also, “to be on the edge of your seat”
and “to get your knickers in a twist”

There were also plenty of other bits of vocabulary which just cropped up in the episode, including these ones:
– to listen out for something
– to watch out and look out for something (not too complicated)
– to keep your eyes peeled
– to prick up your ears

So, as we move forwards now, watch out for the 4 remaining phrasal verbs and 3 remaining idioms. I’m not telling you what they are in advance. It’s up to you to identify them. You’ll probably hear a few phrasal verbs and idioms, but which are the ones that I took from the dictionary? When we get to the end of this episode I’ll tell you the phrases, and clarify them for you, because I’m nice.

Keep reading – the phrasal verbs and idioms are listed below.

Topics in Today’s Ramble

In this one I’m going to carry on just talking about various subjects, including a couple of other anecdotes about New York, some comments about politics in the USA and in the UK at the moment, some more rambling about movies, and various other bits and pieces that will crop up as we go along.

I’ve got no idea how long this is going to take of course! I could talk the hind legs off a donkey this afternoon, but as ever I’ll just divide the whole thing into several more episodes if necessary. Ultimately – it’s all spoken English from me to you, so here we go…

Some more anecdotes about the time spent in NYC
– The hasidic jews jamming in the music store

– Jack Whitehall at the Comedy Cellar

– Billy Cobham at the Blue Note

Politics
The American presidential elections – Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton
London Mayor – Sadiq Khan is the new mayor
The EU referendum / Brexit
The Panama papers
These are very important political issues that really deserve to be covered in proper depth, and I plan to do that.
I’m particularly keen to talk about Brexit in one more special Brexit themed episodes.
Leicester City won the Premiership.
Small club, 5000-1 odds of winning. The title has been dominated by the big names. Leicester is in the East Midlands and it’s less famous than a lot of the other big cities in England but this is going to help. All in all it’s just fantastic to see a smaller club win this title. They were absolutely fantastic.

Google Adverts
I bought some new trainers online and now the internet is madly trying to get me to buy them again. WTF?

Movies
I’ve just seen the new Marvel movie and also there’s a new Star Wars film coming this Christmas, but that’s going to come in another episode soon…

The Phrasal Verbs & Idioms – Definitions and Examples

Thank you to a LEPster called Valeriya for writing these vocabulary notes in the comment section for the benefit of all listeners.

Valeriya: I wrote some notes. Hope they will be useful for the LEPstors.

to ease off/up – to gradually stop or become less
e.g. At last the rain began to ease off.
e.g. I am leaving soon, but I am just waiting for the traffic to ease off a bit.

to ease off/up – to start to work less or do things with less energy
e.g. As he got older, he started to ease up a little.

to ease off/up – to start to treat someone less severely
e.g. I wish his supervisor would ease up on him a bit.

to fork out (on something) – spend a lot of money on something, probably spend a lot of money in one go in order to buy something; to spend a bunch of money on something in one purchase
e.g. If you advertise nice guitars to me for a long enough period of time, eventually I will fork out on a new guitar.

to splash out (on something) – spend a lot of money on something; to spend a lot of money on something which you want but do not need
e.g. He splashed out on the best champagne for the party.

to go down with something – you catch an illness, you get sick; you become sick; to start to suffer from an infectious disease
e.g. Half of Martha’s class has gone down with flu.

to come down with something – to get an illness; заболеть чем-либо
I came down with the flu at Christmas.
e.g. You need to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, so you’ve got lots of vitamins, because if you don’t, you might come down with a cold.

to bring the house down – if someone or something brings the house down during a play or show, they make the people watching it laugh or clap very loudly; you make everyone laugh as part of a performance; to put on a really great performance and to be a huge hit; to make a group of people or an audience react in a very enthusiastic way, especially by laughing
e.g. I saw Jack Whitehall at the Comedy Cellar, and he absolutely brought the house down.

to go on the offensive – you begin to take strong action against people who have been attacking you
e.g. The West African forces went on the offensive in response to attacks on them.

to go on the offensive – to begin to attack or criticize someone who you think is attacking you
Under pressure from his critics, the minister decided to go on the offensive.
Luke was going on the offensive about Google’s Advertising.

to go on the defensive – in an attitude or position of defense, as in being ready to reject criticism; you start defending yourself or something
e.g. He’s so sensitive. Whenever you give him any feedback he immediately goes on the defensive.

to take/bring somebody down a peg or two – to do something to show someone that they are not as good as they thought they were; to lower someone’s high opinion of themselves
e.g. He’s one of these super-confident types who really needs to be brought down a peg or two.

to dabble in something – to try an activity but not seriously, just as an experiment to see if you like it. To do something for a short time, or not regularly, in order to see if you like it. To do something sometimes, but not in a fully serious way, only in a casual way.
e.g. He dabbled in left-wing politics at university.

336. Drinking Scottish Whisky at a German Business Meeting While Wearing a Kilt and Playing a Flute… and other stories (with Carrick Cameron)

This episode features another natural conversation with a native English speaker. This time I’m talking to my mate Carrick, who I’ve known for about 10 years now. He is a teacher who used to work in the same school as me, back in London. We have a few things in common, like the fact that we’ve both had strange travelling experiences as English teachers, including the time when he once attended a meeting in Germany that involved not only the usual business work but also the drinking of some very rare and expensive scotch whiskies, which meant that the meeting turned into a kind of musical party with guitar and flute playing, quite a lot of whisky drinking, a late night and then, unsurprisingly, a bit of a hangover the next day. Listen to hear a few anecdotes, some authentic English conversation and more.

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All this took place in Germany as I said, so you could say that he had a “hangover in Hanover” (Hanover is a city in Germany). Although to be honest he was actually in Frankfurt not Hanover – yeah, I just wanted to use the line “a hangover in Hanover”. Yes, that was supposed to be clever and funny, but never mind. :P

Anecdotes

We also share a few other anecdotes about travelling experiences we’ve had, including the time when I ended up being invited to my Japanese doctor’s house on New Year’s Day to make a kind of traditional cake by bashing a ball of wet rice over and over again with a big wooden mallet while being laughed at by a group of small children. Does that sound familiar at all? Have you ever done that? You might have, if you’re Japanese, or if you’ve spent new year in Japan. Do you have any idea what I’m talking about? Well, keep listening to find out.

Sound Quality

Another quick thing to say now is that admittedly the sound quality during the interview is a bit poor. I recorded it over Skype because I’m in France and Carrick is in England, and Carrick wasn’t able to get to a computer with a good microphone because he was (and still is) completely stuck to his sofa with a very bad back, the poor guy. He’s got a nasty slipped disc in his back which means he can’t move. So during this conversation he was basically lying on his back, talking to me over Skype with his phone in his hand.

So, yes, I know the sound is not 100% great and it might be difficult to hear his words at times, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually very common these days to speak English over Skype or on conference calls – like for example if you’re in an international business meeting talking to someone who’s in another country. The sound isn’t always perfect in those situations, is it? So, I think you need to get used to hearing English in less than perfect conditions. So, Audio quality is a bit bad, but don’t give up – you’ll get used to it after a while. It’s good practice.

While You Listen

As you listen, watch out for these things: the moments when Carrick (intentionally) switches from an English accent to a Scottish accent and back again, the way he describes different types of Scotch Whisky including words to describe their tastes and where they are made. So be mindful of vocabulary and grammar that you’re hearing, but above all – just enjoy being able to listen in on this conversation between a couple of mates. You can imagine you’re in the room with me listening to the conversation on speakerphone.

Ok, that’s it for my introduction. I’ll now get out of the way and let you listen to conversation in full. I’ll speak to you again when the conversation is over.

*Conversation Begins*

Talking talking talking talking talking talking talking talking talking talking talking talking talking.

*Conversation Ends*

So, that was Carrick. I really hope his back gets better soon because it must be pretty miserable for him to be just lying there all the time. I expect all of us sometimes think “Ooh, I’d love to spend 3-4 weeks lying on my back all day watching TV, high on a cocktail of prescription drugs.” (well, not everyone thinks that but you know what I mean) but when that lifestyle is forced on you as a result of an accident, it’s not that much fun is it. So, I hope Carrick gets well soon for his own sake, but also I hope he gets well soon for the sake of his wife and kids too, who might want to actually sit on that sofa and watch TV themselves at some point, and I also hope Carrick gets back on his feet soon for the sake of the kids in his school who are probably missing Mr Cameron in their classes!

More Stuff about Sound Quality (actually, it wasn’t that bad, was it?)

So, this is nearly the end of the episode. I wonder how the sound quality was for you? I expect it was a bit difficult to hear every word but you got used to it. Is that right? What’s that? It was difficult at the start but you got used to it? Ah good, I thought so. Sorry? You couldn’t understand everything – it was difficult and possibly a bit frustrating at times? Ah, sorry about that, but I think it’s good practice because your brain has to work a bit harder to guess the things you don’t understand. It’s good training. What was that you said? You’d expect the audio quality to be much higher in future please. Oh, alright, well – sorry but this is a free podcast right? So, you get what you pay for ok?

No, I agree. It would be better if the quality was always perfect, but that’s not always going to happen. Sometimes when I interview people on Skype the sound might be less than perfect, but as I said before – that’s normal in the real world, sometimes the sound quality will not be perfect when you’re using English over the phone or on a conference call. It’s good for you to get used to it.

Things to remember about learning a language (encouragement)

Just remember these things: learning a language is a long-term project and you will encounter various obstacles but you mustn’t give up. One of those obstacles might be that you can’t understand every word in an episode of Luke’s English Podcast, or in a conference call. So, even if you didn’t understand all of that. Don’t give up. I realise I’m preaching to the converted here, because if you’re listening to this it means that you listened to the whole conversation and you didn’t stop. So, well done you.

Shall I do an episode in which I explain the vocab, like in episode 335?

But really, I wonder if you’d like me to record a follow-up to this conversation in which I explain and clarify the content, like I did after the Craig Wealand interview. If you would like me to do that, let me know by leaving a comment or giving me an email at luketeacher@hotmail.com. I value your feedback.

italki

Don’t forget to use italki to find a native speaker for conversations or a teacher for lessons. It really is a great way to push your English to higher and higher levels. Visit teacherluke.co.uk/talk to get started and when you make a purchase italki will give you 100 free credits which you can spend on lessons in the future.

One tip: use the “search teachers” function to find the right teacher for you, and that includes special skills like Cambridge Exam preparation and business English. teacherluke.co.uk/talk or click an italki logo on my website.

italki teacher search page

A couple of comments at the end, just before we finish up here.

  • If you’ve sent me an email recently, or ever, and I haven’t responded I am sorry. I can’t respond to them all but I do read them all I promise! I also send emails to people and don’t get responses and I know how it feels. I’m a huge fan of Greg Proops and Adam Buxton. I met Greg Proops at a book signing in Paris, shook his hand and exchanged a few words (I told him I was a comedian and he nodded sagely). I wanted to talk to him for hours, but I just said “nice one” and left. I then wrote him a long email, telling him how much I enjoyed his podcast called “The Smartest Man in the World” and I wrote a very British invitation to join me on an episode of LEP some time. I never got a reply. I also tweet comments to Adam Buxton all the time, who I am sure is an absolutely lovely person but I never get a reply or a retweet or anything, but that’s ok of course, I don’t mind, but I feel a little bit ignored, you know? Again, I don’t feel entitled to a reply or any attention at all because his part of the deal has already been done – he’s already given me hours of lovely talking on his podcast so he can’t be expected to respond to every tweet or email. Totally fine with it. So, anyway, thanks for your comments, messages, emails, tweets and so on – I appreciate your thoughts very very much.
  • Again, thank you to my Japanese doctor if he’s listening (I doubt it) for not only saving my skin when I was sick by taking care of me, giving me medicine and arranging for me to spend two weeks in Kinugasa hospital. I liked the video you played to me when we were both drunk on that New Year’s Day (at about 4.30pm I believe) in which you and your band were playing a live version of “Listen to the Music” by The Doobie Brothers. It was awesome.
  • Hello to anyone who likes whisky – I hope you enjoyed this episode.
  • Hello to the people of Scotland – I hope you choose to stay in the UK, but I’d understand if you choose to leave. I hope you don’t though. (I didn’t ask Carrick about Scottish Independence – maybe that can be a future episode)
  • Hello to a Japanese LEPster called Satomi who recently came to one of my shows here in Paris. Satomi, it was very nice to meet you and your friends after the show and I am very glad that you chose to introduce yourself to me. Give my regards to Yoshi – that’s a French guy who she was with, who called himself Yoshi, and not the cute dinosaur who is friends with Super Mario. Yes, I had a Yoshi at my show. In fact, not long ago I had a Luigi at the show too. I’m yet to have a Mario there, but let’s hope so. I wonder what it would be like to have Mario in my audience. I wonder how he would laugh. Maybe he’d go “wawawawawa” (Mario noise), or maybe if I talked for too long without making a joke he’d heckle me by saying “Letsa GO!” and I’d say – “can you stop heckling?” and he’d say “It’s MARIO time!” and I’d say, “*securty* remove this man from the room please he’s disturbing the performance”.
  • Hello to the lovely Argentinian couple who listen to this podcast and who also came to another one of my recent comedy shows. It was lovely to meet you too!
  • Let’s go back to Japan for a moment – Hello to all my Japanese listeners. I love Japan very much and I miss it a lot. Whenever I see pics of Japan on Facebook or listen to music from that I used to listen to when I was there I always think “ah 懐かしい” – “Nihon Natukashii ne!” which roughly translates as “Ah, good old Japan!” That phrase is used to express feelings of nostalgia. You know those waves of nostalgia that you feel when you remember something? You might see a photo, or perhaps smell some food that brings you right back, or you might actually go to the place and immediately feel a kind of comfort in being there. That’s exactly how I feel when I drink a really good cup of Yorkshire tea or something, like “Ah, good old Yorkshire tea”, or “Yookusha tea natsukashii da-yo ne?” So, hello Japan, I know you’re listening – “O genki desu ka?” which is a bit like saying “alright?” in English. I do plan to visit Japan with my wife – I must show her around the place a bit, I think she’d love it and I’d be able to say “natsukashii”, “heeee” and “hooooo” all the time. It would be nice to go drinking (in moderation of course) in an izakaya or something. And perhaps someone might go red in the face and fall asleep after having a couple of beers. Look after yourselves, ok!
  • Photos – check below to see some pics of Carrick’s funny experience at the German business meeting in Frankfurt at Deutche Bahn. If you work at Deutche Bahn – get in touch! Perhaps you know someone who was at the meeting. It’s possible. You should also find a pic of me hammering a ball of rice with a wooden mallet to make mochi, while wondering what was going on in my life! (I now realise what was going on – I was having a lot of fun indeed).
  • You’ll also find the names of Carrick’s favourite whiskies and the other brand name whiskies we mentioned in the episode, in case you want to check them out.
  • Thanks again for listening. :)

Carrick’s Top 3 Single-Malt Scotch Whiskies

1. Lagavulin
– from the island of Islay
– It’s delicious
– It’s smokey
– It’s filtered through peat

2. Macallan
– It’s from the Highlands
– It’s got a smooth, creamy texture
– It’s like very alcoholic milk (although it doesn’t look like milk of course)

3. Caol Ila
– It has a subtle flavour
– It’s like Lagavulin but more delicate

Other types of whisky
Blended scotch whisky – it’s made from a blend of different whiskies, it’s cheaper and is easy to find in supermarkets. Typical brands: Teacher’s, Bell’s, Famous Grouse, Chivas Regal.

American brands of bourbon whiskey (they’re not Carrick’s ‘bag’ = he doesn’t really like them, they’re not his cup of tea)
Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark.

That Japanese “best whisky in the world”
I think Carrick was talking about this one – Nikka Whisky (it doesn’t begin with a Y, unless you mean “Why?” – and the answer is – “Because it tastes so good!”) www.worldwhiskiesawards.com/nikka-whisky-taketsuru-pure-malt-17-years-old.13912.html

Photos

Other useful episodes of LEP

This episode featured several anecdotes. Click here to listen to an episode about how to tell anecdotes in English.

Click here to listen to the full story of how I got sick in Japan. 

333. More Misheard Lyrics ♬

OK, the last misheard lyrics episode was pretty popular and I’ve had several shouts of “more!” from the LEP community, so here we go again!  What’s this all about? Well, first of all it’s a sequel to a previous episode of LEP. That’s #281 “Misheard Lyrics” so you could listen to that before you listen to this. Basically, this episode is all about those moments when you mishear song lyrics.

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You might listen to lyrics in songs and for one reason or another completely misunderstand what they’re saying. The most famous example is probably “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, which actually sounds like “Kiss this guy” when in fact he’s singing “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” although Hendrix knew that it sounded ambiguous and he would sometimes sing “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” just to mess with people’s heads.

These misheard lyrics could be due to the way the singers don’t fully pronounce the words, or just the result of connected speech which makes it sound like the singers are singing something else. Or it could just be that I’m looking for weird lyrics when in fact they’re not there, because I enjoy it when it sounds like singers are singing something else.

Everyone experiences it, including native speakers. So if you do mishear song lyrics don’t worry – you’re not alone. Misheard song lyrics is a common phenomenon and misheard lyrics have their own name – mondegreens.

For me, mondegreens or misheard lyrics are  lots of fun because they bring new meanings to a song, often ones which are entirely at odds with the intended message of the song writer. It’s fun to let your imagination run wild and just picture what those misheard  lyrics really  mean.

And if you don’t mishear song lyrics – if you hear them correctly, then that’s great too! It just means your listening is really good.

So let’s go through another list of misheard lyrics! I’m going to play you some song extracts and then we’ll just have fun speculating about what the singer is really singing, and what they actually mean. If you can’t hear the misheard versions, then that’s fine – but you might need to suspend your disbelief a little bit, just for fun.

I will aim to clarify the real lyrics being sung, and you can find all the song and artist titles  of these tunes on the page for this episode.

P.s. There might be some rude content in this episode! Just letting you know…

Themes: Animals, food, people, random stuff.

Animals
Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot
“Hit me with your pet shark, why don’t you hit me with your pet shark?”
Maybe I don’t want to hit you with my pet shark! What kind of freak are you? First of all, not only is that potentially hazardous to you, but it’s almost certainly going to be fatal to the shark, and I really don’t want to kill my shark just to please you. I mean, I like having a pet shark – it’s a f*cking pet shark for pete’s sake. It’s awesome. So, no, I will not hit you with my pet shark. – And Pat says, “well, you’re just not cool man – I don’t want to hang with a dude who isn’t even prepared to hit me with his pet fish, even if it is a shark. You know, I’m from Hollywood man and there we all hit each other with our pets man, its not big deal. I thought you liked to party – but it turns out you just care about your shark – it’s not even a proper shark man. It’s not a tiger shark or a great white, it’s just some crummy mud shark or a dogfish or something.” And you say, yeah, fair enough Pat, it’s no big deal. Now, do you want a cup of tea? Let’s have a cup of tea and then I’ll hit you with my pet shark. And she says “Now you’re talking! I think I love you” etc.

– real lyric = “hit me with your best shot”

Daft Punk – Get Lucky
“We rub a Mexican monkey” (2m30)
Are you sure it’s legal to rub a mexican monkey? And should you be writing a song about it?
It was certailny a big hit this song about the abuse of an American primate. Everyone really got behind it in the summer of 2014 didn’t they. Every party around the world people are partying and dancing – “yeah! We rub a mexican monkey too!”
Meanwhile, one Mexican monkey is either feeling very happy, or he’s feeling exploited.
This poor mexican monkey, just went to the USA for a chance of a better life, and he fell in with the wrong crowd and some of them are hitting each other with their pets and stuff like that, and then a group of them start playing around with him and rubbing him inappropriately and stuff.

real lyric = “We’re up all night to get lucky”

Alanis Morrisette – You Oughta Know
“It’s not fair to remind me of the cross eyed bear that you gave to me”
You know in arguments you bring up stuff that happened in the past, especially good things that you’ve done, because you think that’s going to win you some points in the argument. For example, if you did something special – like gave your girlfriend a cross eyed bear, it’s going to be hard for her to win the argument, unless she claims that it’s unfair to mention it. That is an argument stopper – because you can’t argue with the gift of a cross eyed bear!

real lyric = “it’s not fair, to remind me, of the cross I bear that you gave to me”

Bob Dylan – Blowing in the Wind
“These ants are my friends”
Ok Bob, random!
(the answer my friend)

David Bowie – Sound and Vision
“Don’t you wonder sometimes, about salmon fishing?”
Occasionally yes David, I do wonder about Salmon fishing. I wonder how they manage to catch so many salmon and yet there are still plenty to go around. Do they just keep the salmon in a big lake and pull them out with a net? How much movement do they get? How much stuff do they put in the water to make the salmon big? Are they using bears? Do the salmon still get to jump up rivers like they don’t know how rivers work?

real lyric = “Don’t you wonder some times, about sound and vision.”

Food
Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious
“I don’t think you’re ready for fish jelly”
No, I’m not ready for fish jelly. It sounds disgusting.

real lyric = “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly” (no idea what that’s about)

Rolling Stones – Beast of Burden
“I’ll never leave (be) your pizza burning”
How romantic.

real lyric = “I’ll never be your beast of burden”

Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away
“Every time you go away you take a piece of meat with you”
Quite a resourceful move. Whenever you leave the house, put some ham or beef in your pocket so you don’t go hungry. Never mind about fruit or veg or bread or one of the other food groups. Just a piece of meat is all you need to snack on.

(me, not meat)

People
Johnny Nash “I Can See Clearly Now”
“I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone”
Yes, she has been standing right in front of us for too long now.

real lyric = “I can see clearly now the rain has gone”

Shakira – Underneath Your Clothes
“There’s the man I chose, there’s my tellytubbie”
Which tellytubbie is it that she’s in love with? Tinky winky? La la? Dipsy wipsy? Po? Po – that’s it, that’s his name? All the others have double name and he’s just called Po. I mean, what the fuck? Also, what the hell do they have on their heads? One of them has a coat hanger on his head. Is that the scariest kids show ever? It’s like some dystopian post-apocalyptic world in which people have become biomechanical mutants fused with television screens, and they have to go inside regularly to escape the radiation from the sun. And Shakira is in love with one of them?
I’m not sure he’s technically a man.

real lyrics = there’s my territory

Foo Fighters – Hero
“There goes my hero, he’s odd and hairy”
Fair enough. Many of my heroes are odd and hairy. Nothing wrong with being odd and hairy. Jesus was odd and hairy, so was John Lennon, and Bob Marley and Obi Wan Kenobi and Chewbacca and sasquatch and many of the other people I look up to. In fact, Dave Grohl is rather odd and hairy too. Nothing wrong with that lyric.

real lyric = he’s ordinary

The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
“Israeli Men! Halleluia!”
Wow, they really love Israeli men! I wonder what’s so great about Isreali men? They’re hard working, they’re good with money, they have a sense of humour. What’s not to like about Israeli men! I totally get it!

(It’s raining men)

Olivia Newton John – Grease Melody
“You’d better shave Bob, ‘cos I need a man”
This may be one of my favourite misheard lyrics. She really needs a man, so you’d better prepare Bob! Get Bob ready – shave him, grease him up, because she needs a man!

(You’d better shape up)

Metallica – The God That Failed
“Held back by Jimmy Nail, on the garden rail”
Another favourite. I just love the idea that British actor and singer Jimmy Nail is holding you back, on the garden rail too, and that Metallica wrote a song about it. Why is Jimmy Nail holding you back, and in the garden? Maybe there’s been a family argument at a barbecue, and maybe you got into an argument with your brother in law. Perhaps resentment has been boiling over for some time, and you really don’t like the way he talks to your wife or your sister or whatever, and at the barbecue he got drunk and started insulting the family, and you just got furious because you’d had a few too many drinks too and you were ready to punch his teeth down his throat, but Jimmy Nail was there and he’s a reasonable man. He held you back against the garden rail and talked you out of it, in that nice soft Geordie accent he’s got. “Nah man, it’s not worth it man. Leave it man, you just gonna make your life more difficult man. Not now anyway. Wait until later when the kids are asleep man”

(The healing hand held back by the deepened nail. Follow the god that failed.)

Rude Stuff
Moody Blues – Question
“Learn as we grow old the secret of assholes”
Maybe when we are older and wiser we will finally understand the secret of arseholes – why they smell so much, why they itch sometimes and all the other secrets that they contain.

(the secret of our souls)

White Stripes – Blue Orchid
“You got an erection”
***By the way, I’ve just realised that Jack and Meg were a couple, and not brother and sister.***
It sounds like an argument. Jack White seems jealous. Maybe he’s questioning whether you fancy his sister, because he’s quite protective of his sister. You were at band practice and she was on the drums and she’s… well, she’s quite jiggly when she’s on the drums. She’s quite generous, as a drummer and as a woman… if you know what I mean… I mean, she’s got big tits ok? So, you fancy her and you’re at band practice and she’s all jiggly and you’ve had a beer and you’re feeling a bit excited, and Jack says – “Hey man you wanna play bass” and you really do want to play bass and he knows it, but you’re like “No man I think I’ll just stay sitting here on the sofa for a while I don’t really want to play bass right now” and he looks at his sister Meg and then back to you and says “What the fuck dude? We need a bass player – you play bass. You were saying yesterday how much you can’t wait to play bass and now you’re just sitting there the whole time just watching. DO you want to play bass or what?” And you look at Meg for a moment and back to him, “No man, it’s fine I’ll play bass later, I just, I’ll just stay sitting here for a few minutes and then I’ll play bass ok?” Jack seems pissed off but they carry on playing, and Meg keeps playing and she looks at you sometimes and kind of smiles and you definite;y can’t stand up now because she smiled at you and she knows and you know, and Jack knows what’s going on… and then after the band practice, after Meg has left and you and Jack are in the pub, Jack says “Dude, what the fuck man? Why didn’t you play bass earlier – you just stayed in your seat staring at Meg. It’s was so… awkward.” and you’re like, “Whatever man, I just wasn’t feeling it” and he was like, “You just stayed sitting on that sofa the whole time, and you kept looking at Meg while she was playing drums.” and then his eyes widen like he’s realised something, and he says “YOU GOT AN ERECTION! YOU GOT AN ERECTION DIDN’T YOU! I KNEW IT YOU BASTARD! YOU FANCY MY SISTER! Right, you’re out of the band.”
I’m sure that’s what happened.

(Real lyrics = you got a reaction)

Nirvana – Lithium
“I’m so horny, that’s ok my willy’s good”
Sometimes it’s difficult when you’re turned on, like int eh last situation in which you got an erection at the White Stripes band practice and Jack White chucked you out of the band.
But sometimes when you’re with a girl and you’re feeling really horny, it can get embarrassing. If you know you’re going to get it on – sometimes as a man you start to worry about performing, about the performance. you think – I hope I’m able to do this right and it’s not going to be embarrassing. I hope I don’t have any problems in the trouser department. But then you think “That’s ok, my willy’s good!” If your willy is good, it’s probably a relief to realise that. Apparently that was the situation with Kurt Cobain. I’ve always related to him, in so many ways…

Smoking Weed
Fleetwood Mac – You Can Go Your Own Way
“You can grow your own weed”
While technically you can grow your own weed, you probably shouldn’t, because it’s illegal, and it’s hard to get good results – you need the right seed varieties, plenty of sunlight and all that… But generally, don’t do drugs kids, ok?
(You can go your own way)

Beatles – I Wanna Hold your Hand
“I get high”
The whole Beatles meet Bob Dylan and he introduces them to “tea” story.
(I can’t hide)

Random Stuff

Dido – White Flag
“I won’t poke my eyes out and surrender”
No, please don’t do that. It’s absolutely unnecessary. Nobody is asking you to do that.
(I won’t put my hands up and surrender)

N-SYCH – It’s Gonna be Me
“It’s gonna be May”
So, when’s the wedding going to be?
So, when’s the beginning of spring this year?
So, what’s month is it going to be after April this year? “It’s gonna be May” – oh, so the same as usual then?
(It’s gonna be me)

Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
“Wooo hooo dyslexics on fire”
Oh my god – put them out quick! Who set fire to the dyslexics! Why would you do that? Just because they have trouble spelling, it doesn’t mean… No of course you shouldn’t set fire to anyone! Even dyslexic people!
(real lyrics = “this sex is on fire”)

Def Leperd – Pour some sugar on me
“Living like a lover with a red iPhone”
How did they have iPhones back in the 80s. And why does having a red one make you a lover?
(real – Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone) ??

Macy Gray – Try
“I wore goggles when you are not here”
Quite a thing to admit – that when you’re not around I wore googles. Why? Why are you doing that Macy? Is it a fetish or something? To be honest, it wasn’t that clear to me that you’ve been wearing googles when I’m not around. Sure, I did notice those marks around your head and eyes, like lines in your skin that, now that I think of it, look a lot like the outline of a pair of googles, I just always thought you were just weird looking. That’s all it was. I thought that you just had a weird face.
(My world crumbles when you are not here)
misheard4

332. Olly Richards: English Polyglot – Top Advice and Strategies for Language Learning

This episode could make a huge difference to your English learning. So listen up and get ready for a motivational boost! Joining me on the podcast today is Olly Richards – a polyglot who speaks 8 languages. Olly has some very motivating and practical advice on how to learn languages as an adult. There’s so much to learn from Olly in this episode, so I really want you to pay attention and have a proper think about the ways in which you are learning English. (I really sound like a teacher, don’t I? – or your Dad or something – “Now pay attention! Sit up straight! Put that down! Stop fidgeting. Listen to the man! This is very important for your English in the future!)

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Being Committed to Language Learning

What I’ve personally taken away from this episode is the importance of making a commitment to yourself about your language learning. Commitment is really important for giving you the motivation to get things done, and to add language learning habits into your lifestyle. Commitment, motivation, habit, positivity – these are some of the vital elements for language learning. It’s also about being honest with yourself about what you’re doing to really push your learning forwards. It’s about taking responsibility for learning and finding your own little strategies for adding language learning into your daily routine. Olly is a living example of how it really is possible to learn languages as busy adults.

If you listen until the end of this episode you’ll hear me make a commitment to myself about my French, and it’s a good feeling because I really need to get a grip on that, because my French is not as good as I would like it to be – so you’ll hear Olly encourage me to make a commitment about my French, but also Olly and I invite you to make a commitment about your English too – even a small commitment, and write it in the comments section of this episode. I’ll talk more about that in a moment. But first, let me tell you a bit about Olly Richards.

Olly Richards – English Polyglot

Here are some things that people say about language learning.
People say English people are no good at learning languages, right?
Wrong.
They also say that to learn a language quickly you need to be a child.
Wrong too, apparently.
Another thing people say is that the best way to learn is by signing up to group classes in a language school.
Not necessarily.
Also, it’s often said that to learn a language properly you need to be living in the country where that language is spoken. But that might not be the case.
And, a lot of people say “I’m too busy to learn a language. I don’t have time, and I never meet any native speakers!”
Another thing people say is, “I’m just no good at languages. I think I’m language proof!”
Don’t say that to yourself! A lot of excuses and reasons why we find it difficult to learn English.

Keep listening. (because you’re probably listening to this, not just reading it – right?)

Olly is living proof that English people, just like any other nationality, are perfectly capable of learning a foreign language to a proficient level. In fact, Olly is a polyglot, which means he can speak lots of different languages. In fact, at the moment Olly can speak Spanish, French, Italian, Brazilian Portugese, Japanese, Cantonese and Arabic. Not bad for a guy from England – a country where most people just speak one language, and some people struggle even with just one language, especially after a few drinks.

So, what’s the story with Olly? Is he just a specially gifted person? Was he born with the ‘language gene’, or does he have the force or something? Does he have waaaaay more time in the day than anyone else? Did he go to some really brilliant language schools and follow the amazing methods of a language guru? Did he just learn these languages as a child by growing up in different countries?

The answer to all of these questions seems to be no. No, he isn’t, he wasn’t, he doesn’t, he didn’t. Olly says he doesn’t have a particular gift for language acquisition. He wasn’t born with a language gene. He doesn’t really like learning in a classroom environment so he didn’t just attend some great classes in other languages, and these days he has a busy schedule just like the rest of us, with his job and also the great work he does on his website IWillTeachYouALanguage.com. So it’s not like he’s got acres of spare time at his disposal. Also, Olly didn’t learn any of these languages as a child. They’ve all been learned during adulthood.

So, how has he done it? How has he learned lots of languages and how does he keep them all in his head? What are the techniques for effective language learning as an adult? And, what’s Olly like and what stories can he tell us?

That is essentially what you’re going to get in this episode. All those answers and more. You’ll also hear Olly give me a much needed motivational boost about my French. In fact, while talking to Olly I made a commitment to myself to improve my French in one simple way every day – and that’s simply to do a minimum of 10 minutes of study from my French text book every evening. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a starting point and I really believe that if I make that a really fixed daily habit it could make all the difference to my French.

And you can do it too (but with English, not French obviously, unless you’re also learning French, in which case yes you could do it too). In fact in this episode we invite you to make a simple commitment to yourself about learning English, today, and to write that in the comments section. Listen until the end of the conversation to find out all about that.

OK, so it’s time to start the conversation with Olly Richards – the professional English polyglot who has tons of advice on how to learn languages as an adult. Ready? Let’s go!

*Interview begins*

So, that was the interview – I think you’ll agree that there is a lot to learn and to think about.

Make a New Commitment to Your Language Learning – Join Me!

Just think of one specific thing you can do every day, as part of your daily routine. It could be related to pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, reading or any area you think is important for you. Write your commitment in the comment section of the episode. Then Olly will read your comments and give you some personal encouragement himself. Yes, he’ll write comments to you with some encouragement. For example, your commitment could be, as a starting point, “I will read a novel in English for 10 minutes every morning when I get up.” Just 10 minutes. Think of your commitment and write it in the comment section. Go ahead and give your English a boost! It could make all the difference.

Here are some links to Olly’s work online

Click here to visit Olly’s website, where you can read his blog posts, download his eBook, sign up to his mailing list and listen to his podcast – IWillTeachYouALanguage.com

Here’s a popular post which we mentioned in the episode – My Crazy 5AM Language Learning Routine

You can also find Olly on twitter here, where he tweets things related to language learning: twitter.com/Olly_IWTYAL

Other Links

Want to read a book in English? Don’t know which book to choose? Check out my reading list here.

Check out Flashcards Deluxe on the iTunes store here, or in the Google Play store here. There are lots of other free Flashcards apps available too.

Want to know more about using mnemonics and memory techniques for remembering vocabulary? Listen to my episode about that subject here teacherluke.co.uk/2014/02/05/167-memory-mnemonics-learning-english/

Click here to check out italki

Click here to check out italki

And finally, let me remind you about the sponsors for this show who decided that they wanted to give my listeners the chance to get 10$ worth of free lessons or speaking sessions. With iTalki you can find teachers or native speakers to give you speaking practice from the comfort of your own home. iTalki uses Skype as a platform and you can pick your teachers and schedule classes based around your specific lifestyle and routine. Speaking to native speakers is a vital way of genuinely accelerating your English. And remember that LEPsters – you get a discount if you sign up by going to teacherluke.co.uk/talk.

That’s it for this episode, I hope you enjoyed it. I did. I found Olly to be fascinating and very useful and I’m looking forward to following his advice for my French.

That’s all for now, speak to you soon. Bye!
ollyPIC3

330. Let’s Play… Grand Theft Auto 5 (and learn some English while doing it)

Hi listeners – this is a multitasking episode in which I record a podcast while doing something else at the same time. In this case I’m playing the classic computer game “Grand Theft Auto 5”. Listen to hear some general discussion of the game, descriptions of what’s happening while playing and some other bits and pieces. Enjoy :)

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Introduction – Men can’t multitask, really?

Here’s another episode in which I talk to you and teach you some English while doing something else at the same time. It’s another multitasking episode. Last time I did this I was cooking dinner while recording the podcast. I’ve done others before in which I was either driving or just walking around somewhere and talking to you at the same time. I’m doing this again today because I hope it will be an interesting episode of the podcast, but also as some sort of ongoing mission to prove that men are in fact able to multitask, unlike the fairly commonly-held view that we actually are not able to do several things at the same time.

I do think men can multi-task, despite the fact that people often say that we can’t. Of course we’re capable of doing two things at the same time. Just think, for example, of David Beckham who must be an expert at multitasking, because not only does he have to play football really well, but he has to look handsome while he’s doing it! Or consider Liam Neeson in the film “Taken” who has to punch people’s teeth down their throat with the edge of his hand, and be a good father at the same time. So, it’s clearly possible.

To be honest, I think that this myth of men not being able to multitask probably comes from the fact that there is one situation in which we definitely can’t do it, and that’s when we try to complete a task while also listening to a wife or girlfriend.

Because when your wife is talking to you, you have to stop everything and focus! We can’t multitask in that situation because if you’re not concentrating and you miss something then it will come back to you later, when she remembers and you forget and then you’re in trouble!

So, “men can’t mulitask” and “men don’t listen” are closely linked to each other I think. It’s not that we can’t multitask, it’s just that listening to you is already a kind of multitasking – because not only do we have to understand what you’re saying, we also have to identify important bits of information which might get dropped into the conversation – clues about what you want for your birthday, indications about how you feel about certain people, basically – anything that could go into the “I told you” category. The “I told you” category is obviously a category of information that your wife or girlfriend has told you, but for which you have absolutely no memory. It could be, for example, like this:
“I’m going to the football tonight babe, ok?”
“But it’s our half anniversary tonight”
“What?”
“It’s our half anniversary”
“Half anniversary for which day? When we met or, when we…?!
“Babe! I told you!”

Now, this might be followed by “You never listen to me”.

For example,
“It’s our half anniversary of six months since our previous anniversary – I told you!”
“Umm, no you didn’t.”
“Yes, I did – you never listen to me!”

“…Sorry, what did you say? I wasn’t listening…”

So, it’s important to listen to your partner to prevent this kind of thing. Which is why women think men can’t multitask. We just can’t listen to you, and do something else at the same time.

For example, you’re doing the shopping, trying to buy the right food so you can prove that you’re able to buy the right food.
Your girlfriend calls you, and you answer the phone because you love her.
She then starts talking to you about nothing in particular.
Stop shopping. Just stop.
Stop what you’re doing.
Put that grapefruit down and listen.
This might seem like a meaningless conversation.
She might just be calling you because she’s finished work and she likes to call you as she’s walking to the bus stop.
She might be speaking to you while buying some bread in the bakery, or even while speaking to a colleague in the street.
But you still have to concentrate on every word she says, or you might miss fluffy the cat’s birthday or something and then you’ll be in trouble.
Because if you continue shopping, and try to make fresh fruit choices while talking to her – either you’ll miss something vital or you’ll seem distant and not fully involved in the conversation and she’ll say “What are you doing?” and you’ll have to say, “I’m buying some grapefruits – you know the pink ones you like” and she’ll say “Can’t you do that and listen to me too?”
NO. Actually.
No I can’t.
And now men can’t multitask.
David Beckham can’t buy fruit and talk to Victoria about the kids at the same time. Neither can Messi or Ronaldo or any of those other over-paid multitaskers.

Even RAF fighter pilots who are the best multitaskers in the world, are probably standing in supermarkets right now not doing anything, on the phone to their wives, because they love them.

So anyway, maybe men can multitask, maybe they can’t. Maybe we’ll find out in this episode.

This could be a series, perhaps called the multitasking series

Last time I cooked a chicken dinner and taught you some words for cooking. That was quite popular and I had a few comments from listeners about it, and even a couple of suggestions for other episodes I could do. For example I had a message from Ethan Lee from South Korea who said on Twitter, “I enjoyed the cooking episode a lot. Why don’t u try another thing like house cleaning? Looking fwd to it! Cheers!”

OK, so now I’m getting requests to do the housework on Twitter as well as at home. Only kidding…

That would be great Ethan because I’d be able to teach you all the language we use for cleaning, like “rub, wipe, rinse” etc – but the only problem is, I’d actually have to do some cleaning, and… I hate doing the housework, but then again maybe that could be a really good way of getting things done – just making mundane acts of housework into episodes of my podcast. There are so many possibilities for new episodes! Luke does the ironing while talking about clothes and fabrics (while trying not to burn the clothes – my wife told me to say that), Luke cleans the windows while teaching you some phrases about glass. Luke builds some IKEA furniture while teaching you some of the most commonly used swear words in the most authentic way possible. So many ideas…

Well, this time, rather than doing the housework, or doing something else useful, I’m playing a game on my new PLayStation 3. I’m going to play Grand Theft Auto 5, and while I’m playing I’m going to just describe everything I’m doing in the game, and also just ramble on about the whole GTA phenomenon (and it is a phenomenon – the series has made over 220 million dollars worldwide, which is quite a lot of money – I think it’s officially a lot of money), and anything else that occurs to me during the episode.

So, in terms of language teaching in this episode

I’ll just see what comes up while I’m playing – you know, I’m just going to kick back and see what happens (really cool English teacher character – yeah, we’ve got no agenda today, so close your book – let’s just stick on GTA5 and see what language stuff happens… yeah, chill out, no homework today – just a DVD…) but I will aim to explain and highlight certain expressions in English as I talk to you.

I expect the language that you’re going to hear in this one will fall into these categories

– General vocabulary for playing a game, with verbs such as ‘start up’, ‘plug in’, ‘unplug’ and so on
– Phrases for describing what is happening, so that means vocabulary of movement, phrases for navigating around the city, travelling, describing dramatic action, accidents, violence, explosions, shootings, murder – just the usual things that happen in a normal game of GTA5
– Exclamations of surprise, shock, anger, tension (yes, there may be some swearing)
– Ways of describing the gaming experience, such as the emotions and feelings you experience while doing it
– Ways of commenting on the game as a cultural phenomenon – so, some fancy language for discussing how games fit into society, and the usual arguments about violent computer games like this

I have done a full episode on computer games before in which I go through a history of gaming and discuss some of the issues around the subject. Click here to check that out.

The microphone should pic up some background noise while I’m doing this, which I hope should provide some context.

So, let’s go!

Things to say

– Explain the point of the game for people who have never played it.
What type of game is it?
What’s the objective?
What’s the story?
What do you actually do?
How does it work?

– It’s many things – a kind of pulp gangster movie, a sandbox game, a collection of mini-games, an online playground, a very controversial franchise and a work of social satire

– The history of the GTA franchise
It’s a British game!
Originally created by DMA Design – a games company based in Edinburgh Scotland!
DMA created Lemmings and some other games like Uniracers and Body Harvest before creating GTA for the PC and PlayStation consoles. DMA was bought by Rockstar Games – another British company based in London. Later Rockstar games was bought by Take-Two games, based in NYC. So, GTA is a British/American production. The games have all been developed by British game developers, and marketed by American companies.
GTA – 1997
GTA London 1999
GTA 2 1999
DMA became Rockstar North when it was acquired by London company Rockstar Games
GTA 3 2001
GTA – Vice City 2002
GTA – San Andreas 2004
Various GTA games for handheld franchises
GTA 4 2008
GTA 5 2013

– Controversy
According to The Guinness World Records 2008 and 2009 Gamer’s Edition, it is the most controversial video game series in history, with over 4,000 articles published about it, which include accusations of glamorising violence, corrupting gamers, and connection to real life crimes.

– The violence in the game. Is it ok? Or is there something wrong with this?

– The satirical elements of the game

– Some fun things to do while playing
* escaping from the cops
* causing total mayhem
* blowing things up
* driving through the hills
* stealing different vehicles
* skydiving
* going up Mount Chiliad
* diving in the sea
* setting challenges for your friends
* starting a gang war

– How it feels to play it for an extended period of time

– What might happen with the GTA franchise in the future (combining this with google maps, Oculous Rift, social networking, bitcoins – we could have a fully immersive, virtual reality earth in which we go round doing whatever we want, with no consequence – a world that has its own currency, but which has almost no boundaries)
gta5