Category Archives: Uncategorized

415. With the Family (Part 3) More Encounters with Famous People

Here’s the final part in this trilogy of episodes recorded at my parents’ house on Boxing Day. In this one my mum, dad and brother tell us a few more anecdotes about their encounters with some well-known people.

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Introduction Transcript + some ad-libs

The conversation you’re about to hear was recorded with my family on the same day as the last couple of episodes. It was quite late in the evening, after my uncle and aunt had gone home and after dinner and number drinks had been consumed. Picture a very warm and cosy living room with a wood burning stove going in the background.

After listening to Nic describing his encounters with some famous rock stars earlier in the day, the other members of my family wanted to get in on the action too with their stories about brushing shoulders with the stars. So here are a few other anecdotes from my dad, my brother and my mum.

It turns out that my family have met some genuine legends. I didn’t even realise that a couple of these things had happened. You’ll have to wait and see who they are. But here are some slightly cryptic clues.

Can you guess which people I’m talking about?

  • One of the UK’s favourite authors who wrote a series of beloved books which have also been made into successful films.
  • A British comic actor who likes eating ice-creams and fighting zombies, criminals and aliens, in his movies (not real life of course).
  • A small but very important woman who often appears in public but is also a very private person.
  • A nonagenarian who once said that he was “the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.” A nonagenerian is someone in their nineties – also, septuagenarian (70s) and octogenarian (80s).

There are others too, including an American punk rock star with lots of tattoos and muscles, a Shakespearean actor who has become a successful film director and an actor who had a bit part in the British TV series The Office.

I should perhaps remind you of several other anecdotes which you might have heard on this podcast before, which are mentioned in this conversation.

  • The time my brother ended up lost in Hastings and slept on a stranger’s sofa and woke up to discover the guy sitting in a chair next to him. Was the guy just friendly and welcoming, or slightly creepy? Originally told by my bro in this episode
  • The time my mum met the King of Tonga. Originally told in this episode too
  • The time I met comedian Eddie Izzard and was a bit lost for words. I sort of went to pieces a bit and made it really awkward and weird by saying “You’re in my head!” – not the right thing to say at all. Originally told be me in this episode

Anyway, you can now sit back and enjoy some more time with The Thompsons.


Outro Transcript + ad-libs

Funny, isn’t he? My brother. I would like him to be on the podcast more often, if he’s up for it. The thing is that he’s a bit modest really and isn’t the sort of outgoing person who likes to broadcast his thoughts and opinions over the internet, although he obviously should because he’s got a lot to offer. He ought to do a podcast or something like that, right? He does have a YouTube channel but it’s mainly skateboarding.

*All the background music in this episode was also made by James*

The people mentioned in this episode

If you liked this one, try listening to these ones

79. Family Arguments and Debates

322. With The Thompsons

372. The Importance of Anecdotes in English / Narrative Tenses / Four Anecdotes


A Quick Message About Donations – Please consider donating to “Doctors Without Borders” to help people in need

This is a quick message not a full episode and I just wanted to say a few words about donations, essentially this: If you’re thinking of sending me a donation this Christmas, you could instead consider sending your donation to a charity in order to help people who are in need of our assistance at the moment. So, rather than sending something to me, send it to others, by using a reputable charity like Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) by going to



In a recent episode I mentioned that you might want to donate to LEP as a way of wishing me a Merry Christmas and saying thanks for my work.

I’ve already received a few donations – so thank you very much if you’re one of the people who sent me something. It’s really kind of you to support my work on this podcast. I appreciate your contributions, I really do.

But today I was thinking about this, and I would like to say again, that instead of sending a donation to me for this podcast this Christmas, that instead you might consider donating some money to charity.

Because there are loads of people out there who right now are having a really bad time, and through no fault of their own they’re suffering – either because they are living in a place with no system of care, or they’re just stuck in the middle of a political or military conflict or an environmental situation that they have no control over.

There are many people all over the world in impossible situations, and in the vast majority of cases it’s not their fault – it’s nothing to do with them really – it’s governments, corrupt politicians or the effects of climate change. These people are just trying to live their lives but forces outside of their control mean that they can’t – not even in the most basic way – they’re being stripped of the absolute basics.

I think about the people of Aleppo in Syria for example – thousands and thousands of civilians are caught up in this extremely messed up international conflict, a conflict in which so many different factions are involved – the governments of many of our countries together with extremist groups like ISIS are all involved in this extremely complicated situation. It’s a horrendous conflict and there are just ordinary people stuck in the middle of it – whole cities of people just smashed to the ground and what for? They’re the victims of an ideological and economic proxy war which we don’t even really understand.

The fact is, these people need our help, quite frankly.

So I’d like to say – actually, don’t send any contributions to me because I’m alright this Christmas. I’ll be with my family having a good time – maybe having an argument about the rules of Monopoly or something or perhaps feeling a bit sick because I’ve eaten or drunk too much, but I’ll be doing more than alright, all things considered.

And since I’ve got some people who listen to this podcast, I thought I might just suggest that you send money to a charity that will use that contribution to give medical care and support to people who have basically been forgotten or ignored.

Because your health is the most important thing, right?

As long as you’ve got your health, you’re alright. Obviously, we’re all striving for more than that – we want success, to achieve things in our work or in our language learning. But ultimately, your health is the basis for any type of quality of life.

Some people can’t even be sure of that. They can’t even be sure about just the most basic of human needs.

So, I think you get it – I’m not trying to guilt trip you or anything. I just want you to consider making a contribution to a charity for Christmas.

Obviously you don’t have to, it’s just a suggestion.

Now, it’s a little bit tricky donating to charity – because by giving money to an organisation you’re saying to them – Here you go, now I completely trust you to actually use that money for good things, and that you won’t just spend it yourself on some cake or something, or give it to corrupt leaders for whatever reason.

When you give to charity you are basically putting your trust in that organisation to spend it properly and in the most effective way possible.

  • It seems that before you make a donation you need to make sure it’s a reputable charity with good ratings in areas like:
  • Their overall mission and to what extent they actually accomplish it
  • Their goals and how they measure their own performance and evaluate their achievements
  • Their financial records – including details of exactly how the money is spent
  • Guarantees that they are neutral, impartial and independent – and not affiliated with governments or other organisations that might take a cut of the money
  • Where and how they actually use the money
  • To what extent they use emotional blackmail in their campaigns, or to what extent they prey on weaker people to give donations – both of which I think are signs of disreputable organisations

There are services that allow you to check the trustworthiness and effectiveness of charities, like for example

So, with all those things in mind I’m recommending that you donate to Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medecins Sans Frontiers or MSF.

On their website:
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of neutrality and impartiality.

They are performing a vital role in giving basic medical care to people who have been forgotten or ignored by people in power. Much of their work is done in Africa, in Asia and also in the middle east providing care for Syrian refugees.

One of the things I like about them is that they take a politically neutral position.

More words from their website:
MSF’s work is based on humanitarian principles. We are committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.
MSF operates independently. We conduct our own evaluations on the ground to determine people’s needs. More than 90 per cent of our overall funding comes from millions of private sources, not governments.
MSF is neutral. We do not take sides in armed conflicts, we provide care on the basis of need, and we push for independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law.

Doctors Without Borders is one of the most widely known international charities involved in many Middle Eastern conflicts, including the Syrian civil war. Doctors Without Borders has been crucial in their medical aid to Syrian Refugees, especially in the neighbouring nations of Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. Their stellar work has landed them very high rankings on Charity Navigator.

So, they seem to be a charity who will do their best to spend as much of our donations as possible on actually helping people.

So, please consider sending something to them over the Christmas period.

It’s really simple to do – just go to and click donate. You can choose how much you give, but I am sure that every penny counts. It could make a massive difference to someone’s life, allowing them some relief, comfort or care at this time of year.

OK, so that’s all I wanted to say! Thanks for listening and have a good Christmas.



400. The Pink Gorilla Story 2

I’ve decided to celebrate the 400th episode of LEP by making up an improvised comedy story, just for fun. In fact, this is the long-awaited sequel to The Pink Gorilla Story from episode 125.

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In this episode I’ve decided to tell you an improvised comedy story in the ‘one-man-show’ style – the whole thing is made up on the spot with different characters and jokes along the way. It’s a challenge for me to do this kind of episode, and it might be a challenge for you to listen to it too, I don’t know! I certainly hope you enjoy it.

This kind of never-ending ridiculous story is often known as a shaggy dog story. It’s an old joke archetype. People have been doing this sort of thing for years. Shaggy dog stories are just jokes that go on and on forever, although I think 80 minutes might be some kind of record.

a shaggy dog story (definition)

a long, rambling story or joke, typically one that is amusing only because it is absurdly inconsequential or pointless.

This episode is actually a sequel to the original Pink Gorilla Story from a few years ago. That one is kind of a cult episode, meaning it is really popular with certain listeners. For some people it’s their favourite episode ever. I really enjoyed recording that one because it was a chance to just have fun, let my mind run and try to think of funny scenarios and dialogues, which is quite liberating. You could try doing it too as an exercise in liberated creative storytelling for fluency or production. Switching off your ‘internal editor’ and letting your mind run free with crazy ideas can be very fun and can open up your creative side, which I think shouldn’t be forgotten in your quest to develop your language skills.

You might want to listen to part 1 of the Pink Gorilla Story first, so that the sequel makes a bit more sense (“makes sense” ha!) You’ll find it on the page for this episode (below), then listen to this one. Or, you could listen to this episode first, then listen to part 1 afterwards. It’s up to you. Either way, I hope you enjoy it and just come along with me on this ride into comedy nonsense-land.

Similar stories I’ve done in the past

I have done other improvised stories like this in the past (linked below), but The Pink Gorilla Story was the first one I did and I’ve been meaning to do a sequel for a while. So, finally, here it is.

125. The Pink Gorilla Story 1

166. The Prawn Story

153. The Talking Dog Story

173. The Curse of the Lambton Worm

175. The Phrasal Verb Chronicles

275. The Phrasal Verb Chronicles 2

239. Prepositions: Verb Collocations


Thanks Jairo!


From the Archives: Halloween & Guy Fawkes Night / 5th November

e96ecafecff22619a6877c6b7980142fHello listeners!

Today is 5th November, which is quite a significant date in UK culture because it’s Guy Fawkes Night!

“What’s Guy Fawkes Night, Luke?” you might (not) be shouting into your screen at this moment.

“Pray tell us Luke, what is the significance of this date in the UK calendar? This sounds absolutely fascinating! Why not record a podcast episode all about it!?”

Lovely idea – but I’ve already done it! I recorded an episode all about Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night exactly 7 years ago today. So in this post I thought I’d share this old episode from the archives. Some of you might have heard it before but I expect there are plenty of you who haven’t. So, because I don’t have a new episode to upload at this moment (I’ve had my hands full recently with work, zombies, ghosts and stuff) I thought I’d suggest that you listen to this one.

So, check it out below! It *might* be interesting for you to hear what LEP was like in 2009 when I recorded this on a crappy old laptop while sitting on my sofa in my old flat in old London.

Experience the horror of the terrifyingly bad sound quality of LEP in 2009!
Behold the chilling sounds of my laptop humming and whirring in the background!
Run screaming from the slightly dull way I used to speak on the podcast 7 years ago! (Or maybe not – do I sound any different?)

Here’s a selection of what you can expect to hear in this episode:

  • Stuff about the origins of Halloween – is it just a load of commercial crap, or is it a scary ancient celtic festival? Or both?
  • Some history of Guy Fawkes Night in the UK
  • Creepy stuff about spirits of the dead
  • A terrorist plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament
  • Regicide and mass homicide!
  • Gunpowder, treason & plot!
  • Guts, blood and gore!
    & more

Listen to the episode below and follow the link for the original page for episode 54.

New episodes of LEP coming soon…

Take care,

From the Archives: Episode 52 (5 November 2009)


Original page link:

54. Halloween / Guy Fawkes Night

387. LEP Anecdote Competition Entries – Please Listen & Vote

Voting is now open in the first round of the LEP Anecdote Competition. You can listen to all the anecdotes on the page for this episode and vote for your favourites using a simple poll. I’ll give you the full details and instructions in this episode. I’m also going to talk about the results of the podcast survey I did recently and a couple of other things, including the top countries for LEP this week.


To find the page, go to and there should be a link on the right hand side of the page. Please do visit, have a listen and vote.

Listen to the anecdotes using this playlist. Scroll down the page to find the poll.

You can listen to the anecdotes on your phone like a podcast

Here’s the RSS feed for the anecdote competition

To listen to the anecdotes like a podcast on your phone just copy the RSS link above and paste it into the search function on your podcasting software, then subscribe.

There are quite a few entries there. I know that’s rather a lot to for you (and me) to listen to. I hope do you listen to them all! You probably can’t listen to them all in one sitting, so I suggest you visit a few times. In any case, regardless of the number of listens and votes each anecdote receives, I will also have a deciding influence on who gets through to the next round. The number of votes is the most important factor, but as a judge of the competition I also will give kudos points to certain entries if I think it’s necessary. In the end, we’ll whittle down the 56 entries to just 10 entries for the next round.

How do you find the page for this episode?

If you’ve subscribed to the mailing list, an email should automatically arrive in your inbox later today. It might already be there. Just click the link and bob’s your uncle. It works best on a computer. The mobile theme of my website doesn’t work very well I’m afraid.

You can vote for as many anecdotes as you like. Repeat votes are allowed but you can’t vote for yourself more than once.

Voting will close in about 3 weeks, on the 21st October.

Then the votes will be counted and the top 10 anecdotes will go through to round 2.

Round 2 will be an episode of the podcast. I’ll play the top 10 anecdotes and then there will be another round of voting.

The winner will either win some LEP merchandise or will be briefly interviewed by me on the podcast. I might ask some more questions about the story, or ask questions any listeners have sent in.

That’s it!

So, check out the page for this episode, have a listen and vote for your favourites.

You are now judges and it’s completely up to you to choose your judging criteria. You could think about the English being used, the structure of the anecdote, whether the person followed all my rules, whether the person followed my advice or if they did it in a more original way, or perhaps most importantly: How much did you enjoy listening to it. That’s probably the best way of judging it.

All the recordings are displayed in a playlist on my site and the voting poll is available there too.

Survey results

Catherine Bear
Luke, do the survey results meet your expectations? Or are you surprised at some points?
I hope that folks have answered just once (from one device) — so that you could get an accurate picture. But maybe you don’t mind.

Results of the survey
They show that listeners prefer these types:
When I talk about a subject at length, e.g. culture, history, topics which I know about
When I teach vocabulary
When I interview someone
When I teach grammar
Everything else gets around the same number of votes.
At the bottom of the list there are these ones: improvised stories (e.g. the Pink Gorilla story – what a pity), responding to messages from listeners, listener competitions!

Well, sorry to disappoint you but 1. I enjoy doing the improvised stories and I’ll keep doing them! 2. We’re in the middle of a listener competition!

I understand why listener competitions are not at the top of the list – you want to hear me or other native speakers speaking English. But I have my own reasons for doing these competitions and I’ll still do them from time to time.

The results are a little bit misleading when you look at them like a bar chart. It appears that some of the bars in the chart are quite short and therefore not very popular. But if you look at the results like a pie chart it’s quite clear that the preferences of the audience are very evenly spread out.

Each slice of the pie is actually quite similar in size. Everyone seems to have different preferences. It’s not like one single episode type is vastly more popular than all the others. It just goes to show that you can’t please all the people all the time and it would be unwise for me to try to do that.

In the end it’s my podcast and I’ll do whatever I want and whatever I think is right based on my judgement and experience. But it’s good to get some feedback and I will aim to produce more of the kinds of episodes that everyone seems to like, while also satisfying my own inspiration.

Like, sometimes I just fancy doing something totally different and unusual, based on what is appealing to me at any given moment. Sometimes it’s English language related and sometimes it’s topic related, and I think that’s what keeps me interested in the project as a whole, that I can do exactly whatever I want, unlike in a classroom situation, and I reckon that is what makes the podcast a bit original or at least unexpected sometimes. Imagine for example if I just stuck to a sort of conservative selection of generic topics with no surprises. It would be boring if it was always the same thing again and again so I will mix it up a bit, and I will continue to experiment with episodes, like improvised stories if I feel like it.

In the end I think it’s about creating something authentic and hopefully enjoyable to listen to, whatever form that takes and whatever subject I’m talking about.

Click here to take the survey if you haven’t already done it.



CHINA – 你好 (ni how!)

RUSSIA – Здравствуйте (zdrazdoitchyeah!)

JAPAN – こんにちは! (kon-ni-chi-wa!) genki desuka?


SPAIN – Hola!

SOUTH KOREA – 여보세요 (yey-buss-say-oh!)

POLAND – cześć (chesht!) hey!

ITALY – Ciao!

UKRAINE – Здравствуйте (zdrazdoitchyeah!) (sorry, I don’t know it in Ukranian)

GERMANY – Hallo!

UNITED STATES – What’s up guys? How y’all doing? Hi there you guys!

BRAZIL – Olá (oh laa!)


SWITZERLAND – Hallo! or Salut!

FRANCE – Salut!

TURKEY – Merhaba (mare haba)

TAIWAN – 你好 (ni how!)

VIETNAM – chào bạn (ciao ban!)

THAILAND – สวัสดี (sa bai dee kup!)

MEXICO – Hola!

Transcript collaboration team

Comedy shows in Paris

Like my FB page to get updates, or check “Comedy Shows” on my website.

Meeting of Japanese LEPsters in Tokyo


Name: Hideki Kanazawa

Message: Hello Luke, how are you?

As I said before, we had the very first meeting today!
Five people came and we talked about how your podcast is amazing.
We also shared a lot information mainly about English.

It was really fun and amazing.
We are going to hold another meeting soon.

We also took photos.

Thank you again for supporting my idea, I really appreciate it.


Only 5 people – but it’s quality not quantity! Nice one for getting together, it looks like you had a good time.

I’m hoping to come to Japan in April. This is a place that my wife and I have wanted to visit for ages. I used to live there so I want to revisit and show her everything, and she’s just slightly obsessed with all things Japanese. Perhaps I can arrange a gig or an event of some kind if we manage to save money to come. We’ll see.

As for my other plans for doing events in other places, that idea is on hold at the moment because I’m working on another project which I’ve been putting off for ages – a business English online course. That’s my priority and I’ve got to finish that before starting other things.

Luke from Luke's English Podcast - don't vote for me, I already have an LEP mug ;)

Quick Hello / Notting Hill Carnival Audio

Hi everyone, in this episode I’m just letting you know that I’m very busy at the moment, which is why I haven’t uploaded an episode for a while. Normal podcasting will resume soon. In the meantime, you can listen to the audio track from a video I did in 2009 at the Notting Hill Carnival. There are 40 phrasal verbs in the video. Can you find them? You can see the video below, with a full transcript and all the phrasal verbs in a list + definitions. You’re welcome!

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Notting Hill Carnival Video (+ transcript and phrasal verb list)

The Transcript & Phrasal Verb list with definitions are below the video.


Luke: Hi everyone, this is Luke. Hello, and today I’m going to the Notting Hill Carnival. You probably know about Notting Hill from the movie with Hugh Grant, which looks a bit like this… But the Notting Hill Carnival is a slightly different view of Notting Hill, and it looks a bit like this… It’s the biggest carnival in Europe. It happens every year. It’s a Caribbean carnival so you get lots of Caribbean music, Caribbean food, Caribbean culture, and I’m going to take you, my video camera in order to just video the event and give you an idea, give you a flavour of what the Notting Hill Carnival is all about.
So I went out and I got some cash out of the bank, and I got on the bus and I paid with my Oyster card, which I’d just topped up. And I went to the back of the bus, and I got a seat and waited for the bus to take me to the carnival. There’s Notting Hill. You can see lots of people at the end of the street, and it’s just hotting up at the moment. That’s Notting Hill Gate.
I’m in Notting Hill now, and I got stuck in traffic on the way here. The bus took ages because there was so much traffic. I got stuck in traffic for a while but I’m here now and I’m just walking through Notting Hill. The police are here and they’ve blocked offlots of the streets so that cars can’t drive through. So all the streets are just for pedestrians now. So I’m just walking through Notting Hill with everyone, and I can hear some music in the distance, and I’m going to go and meet up with my friend Raph. So, here we go.
So, you have to queue up for toilets at the carnival because there aren’t many toilets around. That’s a bit annoying. There’s a typical street in Notting Hill, and that’s a typical little shop that you might come across if you walk around. There’s one of the musical floats playing a kind of Caribbean music. I don’t know how that child is still asleep, because it’s very noisy. You can see so many people, so many kinds of people at Notting Hill Carnival. And lots of police as well. There’s Raphael in the distance, waving at… waving and pointing at me. He’s with his girlfriend. Yeah, there he is, doing, like, a crazy dance, because he’s a crazy guy. Here’s Raph. He’s a bit surprised to see me I think.
Raphael: Mr Multimedia! How’s it going buddy, you ok?
Luke: You can pick up lots of nice food from barbecues on the street. Lots of, kind of, Caribbean food like jerk chicken. And this is Portabello Road, which is the main road in Notting Hill. And more musical floats, with people dancing on them, and extremely loud music. They have huge speakers, which pump out very loud music. I’m not sure which flag that is, but it’s one of the islands of the Caribbean I think. These people got covered in red stuff. I don’t know what that stuff is, but they got completely covered init. Lots of police again, just looking after everyone, making sure that we’re not doing anything wrong.
Katherine: Hi, I’m Katherine and I’m loving Notting Hill Carnival.
Liam: I’m Liam Foster from Sunderland in the North East [of England] and I’m loving London at the moment.
Holly: Hi, I’m Holly.
Liliana: Hi, I’m Liliana.
Luke: Very loud music. You can hear the bass. So strong.
Raph: My hair’s shaking!
Luke: Not the best place to bring a bicycle, I think.
Luke: So, what do you think of carnival?
Holly: Erm, it’s rammed.
Luke: It’s rammed.
Holly: It’s rammed. No, I like the music, and the loud sound systems.
Luke: Yeah, isn’t it a bit…
Holly: The colours
Luke: The colours, yeah yeah. Is it the first time you’ve been to carnival?
Holly: Yep.
Luke: Okay, alright. Err, great, thank you. Do you usually carry two beers?
Holly: All the time.
Luke: Really?
Holly: Yeah. It’s the best way to live.
Luke: So, it’s not just a carnival thing.
Holly: No, every day.
Luke: You’ve always got two beers, ok. Ok, is that…? Ok, thanks.
Holly: You were gonna ask another question then and you couldn’t!!
Raph: Check out the chopper.
Luke: Check out this big chopper. The police are, like, cracking down on… well, crime. Even using a chopper. So what’s happening Raph?
Raph: As you can see the area’s quite packed. Erm, and it’s just like basically just like loads of floats and everything going past. A bit of police action up top, erm, and everyone’s just drinking loads of, err, Red Stripe, and whatnot. It’s sort of like a carnival staple, if you will.
Luke: Any phrasal verbs, perhaps?
Raph: Check out the Red Stripe!
Luke: Check it out, yeah. Do you need… Do you usually have 4 Raph?
Raph: Erm… Nah, it’s not, it’s not absolutely necessary to erm, see off four beers or anything, you know? But, maybe later on I’ll just like, get a few more down, you know?
Luke: Yeah, crack open a couple more later…
Raph: Exactly, you know, err
Luke: How does it feel having the camera right in your face, like this?
Raph: It’s quite close

Luke: So, you’re the sergeant, are you?
Sergeant: Yes
Luke: So, how many times have you done carnival?
Sergeant: This is my 25th carnival
Luke: Really? So what’s it about? What’s carnival all about?
Sergeant: It’s about culture, it’s about people enjoying themselves, it’s about everyone having a good time in a good atmosphere, erm, just partying on. It’s the second largest carnival in the world. We could learn a lot from Rio. We could, sort of like, have it more organised, but it’s the spontaneity. It’s the nature of the event.
Luke: Ok. Is it… it’s the second largest in the world is it?
Sergeant: Yes
Luke: I didn’t know that. I knew it was the largest in Europe. Do you normally have any trouble?
Sergeant: Only minor, but then you have trouble at any large public gathering.
Luke: Yeah, ok, thanks very much.
Sergeant: No problem

Luke: So, can I interview you then? So, what’s carnival all about guys? What’s it all about for you?
French guy: So, an English boy, so French boy…
Luke: Huh?
French guy: So, French boy…
Luke: You’re French?
French guy: Yeah
Luke: Where in France are you from?
French guy: From Paris
Luke: Ah, did you come here today?
French guy: Yeah
Luke: Just for the carnival?
French guy: Yeah
Luke: Really? How many times have you been to carnival? Is it your first time?
French guy: First time
Luke: So, what do you think? [They blow their whistles!!]
Luke: Yeah?
Someone off screen (in French): Ca va bein?
Luke: Ok, have a good time yeah…

Luke: Hello, hi, just get everyone in, hello. So, what’s carnival all about for you guys? What’s it all about?
Pirate guy: I dunno, coming onto the street, having a bit of fun, I dunno, not having a massive race riot
Pink hat guy: You sound like a tory
Luke: Not having a massive race riot
Pirate guy: Yeah, definitely. It is, that’s that’s the history of it.
Luke: Have you dressed up today?
Pirate guy: Err, what are you saying?
Pirate girl: It’s so we can spot each other. This is my normal clothes, but we can see him from very far away because he’s in pink.
Luke: Right
Pirate guy: He’s very boring, he never makes any sense though.
Pink hat guy: I dunno who you’re teaching English to, but do they have fake tan in wherever they’re from?
Pirate girl: Yeah, my fake tan went very very wrong.
Luke: That’s fake tan?
Pirate girl: But it tastes really really good
Luke: What’s it made of?
Pirate girl: Chocolate
Luke: Ah, ok, lovely. Ok, well, have a great time.
Pirate guy: You too man. Good luck with the EFL
Luke: Nice one, thanks a lot, bye!

Luke: Err, what do you think of carnival?
Rabbit: I don’t think about it
Luke: You don’t think about it
Rabbit: I don’t think about it, I’m just a f*cking rabbit, man.
Luke: Are you enjoying it?
Rabbit: Err, in a way.
Luke: Have you had any carrots?
Rabbit: People, they are so greedy. They didn’t give me one.
Luke: They didn’t give you any?
Rabbit: Nah
Luke: You can get carrots, right, if you just go in that direction there’s loads of carrots.
Rabbit: Yeah, sure man.
Luke: Ok, have a good one, bye!

Luke: So, you can just see lots of people dancing, walking along Portabello Road, in all their different costumes and things. All sorts of weird and wonderful people, like this guy. This is Bongoman.
Luke: Hey, err, what’s your name?
Bongoman: Oh, I’m Bongoman
Luke: Sorry?
Bongoman: I’m Bongoman
Luke: Bongoman?
Bongoman: Yeah
Luke: Where are you from Bongoman?
Bongoman: Africa
Luke: From where?
Bongoman: Africa
Luke: Africa, okay. So, err, what’s carnival all about for you?
Bongoman: It’s all about peace and love, being together, and sharing love for one another.
Luke: Yeah, nice. Ok. Is that… how does the bongo fit into all of that?
Bongoman: Oh, through African roots culture going back centuries, so…
Luke: Yeah, like the rhythm, the heart beat, all that… Thanks a lot
Bongoman: I’d like to say to my fans, I love you all. Part of my soul is with them. If they’re watching, or if they’re watching on YouTube or Facebook, here’s to them – I love you all, my fans. Keep supporting me all the way. Love you.
Luke: Cheers man

Luke: Thanks Bongoman. I’ve no idea who Bongoman is, but he may be famous on YouTube. These people were completely covered in Chocolate. Someone had a big load of chocolate and they were throwing it at everyone. She’s doing a kind of carnival dance. And that woman got chocolate on my face.
Luke: They got me! Argh!

Luke: Hello, what are your names?
Girl 1: Gem(?)
Girl 2: My name is D’Arcy(?)
Luke: What’s carnival all about? Are you enjoying it?
Girls: Yeah we are enjoying it, very nice.
Luke: Do you live in London?
Girl 2: Yeah, we live in London, we live in South East London, yeah
Luke: Oh yeah? So what is carnival all about for you?
Girl 2: Sorry?
Luke: What’s it all about? What’s the main… thing?
Girl 1: We are in London just as tourists, because we are not English speaking, we are French and…
Girl 2: We come just for the carnival
Luke: Right, so what do you think of carnival then?
Girl 1: Very good.
Girl 2: Very good. It’s very nice, maybe we will come back next year.
Luke: Ok, thanks very much!

Luke: That man tried to hit the camera out of my hands.

Luke: What’s carnival all about man? What’s it all about?
Rastaman: All about? It’s a festival, it’s ????? man. Alright? Everybody enjoy themselves, do everything. Enjoy yourself, ???? ?????
Luke: Right, thank you

Luke: Right, I had no idea what he said, didn’t understand a word of it actually. You can see Popeye and Olive Oil having a good time, enjoying the carnival. Much taller than I expected.

MC: Where’s the beer crew!? Stella Artois! Budweiser! Fosters!

Luke: All the jerk chicken there. Massive barbecues with people chopping it up there on the table. Very tasty it is. It’s quite spicy.

Luke: What’s your name?
Ella: Err, my name is Ella.
Luke: Err, how’s the fest… how’s the carnival?
Ella: Pretty good, it’s pretty busy.
Luke: Yeah, have you been here before?
Ella: Yeah, two years ago
Luke: Okay, is this one better or worse than the last time?
Ella: Err, I think better. I’m with more people, so it’s better.
Luke: Ok, alright. What’s carnival all about?
Ella: Err, I don’t know. Partying. I’m sure there’s like, some historical reason, but…
Luke: What’s it about for you?
Ella: I dunno, having a laugh, getting drunk in the daytime. What about you? What’s it for you?
Luke: The same – having a good laugh, listening to the music, getting into the sort of community spirit of it, and all that. Yeah. Okay, thank you…

Luke: I’m an idiot because I didn’t get her phone number. I should have tried to chat her up, but I didn’t.

Koreans: Hello!
Luke: Where are you from?
Koreans: South Korea!
Korean Girl 1: He is North Korea!
Luke: What do you think of carnival?
Korean Girl 2: Sorry?
Luke (shouting): What do you think of the carnival??
Random guy: Yeah!!! Hypnotic brass dot net! Yeah yeah! What’s up maan? What’s up?
Korean Girl 2: Very nice!
Luke: What do you think of carnival?
Korean Girl 2: Very nice!
Luke: Very nice?
(North) Korean Guy 1: This carnival is wonderful, yeah!
Luke: Yeah, brilliant. Nice one, cheers.
Korean Girl 1: You are very nice!
Luke: Cheers

Luke: You can see St. Luke’s Mews, err, named after me actually. It wasn’t really, erm, yeah. So the Spanish tapas bar was open, but the Japanese café was closed. Typical. It’s very difficult to squeeze through the crowds at the carnival. There’s so many people, it’s difficult to squeeze through. … See, more people dancing in the street. Getting down. Another massive speaker. Very very loud. Seriously loud music. And, erm, you see all the people, kind of, getting down, grooving, dancing, blowing their whistles. It’s just a great party in the street. I mean, normally these streets are very quiet, very nice places, but during carnival they just become crazy parties, with everyone just dancing and drinking, it’s great fun.

This here is, erm, Miss Dynamite, and she’s actually quite famous in the UK. She’s got a recording contract. So you can see she’s getting everyone into it. That’s basically the end of this carnival video. After this, my tape ran out. I had no more tape left. It ran out, so I had to leave a final message for you.

Luke: Ok, erm, I’m just in a toilet now, in someone’s house, someone I don’t know. Erm, the sun’s gone down, the carnival’s going crazy out there, completely insane, so I’ve run out of tape, so that’s the end of this, that’s the end of this video, so ciao, peace, rastafari…

So, that’s the end of the video. I hope you enjoyed it. Now, there are loads of phrasal verbs in the whole video. So, did you manage to spot all the phrasal verbs? I’ll give you a list of the phrasal verbs in this video, at the end of the video, but of course you’ll have to listen to Luke’s English Podcast again in order to find all the meanings. I’ll actually explain all of the phrasal verbs and give you definitions for all of them. Every one that has appeared in this show, in this video, okay? So, what you should do now is watch the video again and try and pick up all of the phrasal verbs, ok?
That’s it, bye bye bye bye bye bye byebybybye

Phrasal Verb List & Definitions

What is a phrasal verb?
It’s a verb which is made of two or more words. A verb and one or two particles. Particles are prepositions or adverbs. E.g. To get on with someone. ‘get’ is the verb, ‘on’ and ‘with’ are prepositions, or particles. (to get on with someone means to have a good relationship with someone – e.g. “I get on really well with my brother. We’re good friends”)
There are 2 types of phrasal verbs: Literal ones and idiomatic ones.
The literal ones are quite easy to understand. The meaning of the phrasal verb is not too different to the meaning of just the verb in the phrase. The particle just modifies the meaning slightly, or is used to connect the verb to a noun. e.g. I know about the Notting Hill Carnival ‘Know about’ is very similar to ‘know’, but slightly different. E.g. I know Tom Cruise (I know who he is), I know about Tom Cruise (I’ve read about him, I know information about him).
Idiomatic phrasal verbs are the difficult ones because the meaning is different from the individual words. E.g. to give up smoking (to quit smoking)
The meaning of the word ‘give’ and the phrase ‘give up’ are completely different.

So, when you see a verb + particle combination (phrasal verb), think about if it is a literal one or an idiomatic one. Luckily, almost every phrasal verb in this video is a literal one (yey!).

Here’s the list of phrasal verbs, and a brief description of their meanings:

  1. To know about something – you have information or knowledge about it. You might have read about it, or heard about it from someone.
  2. To go out – to leave the house, and go outside. It also means to leave the house to go to a pub, bar or club.
  3. To get some cash out – to withdraw money
  4. To get on the bus – to enter the bus
  5. To top up your Oyster card – an Oyster card is an electronic bus/train card. To ‘top it up’ means to put money onto it.
  6. To wait for something – this just means to wait, but we always use the preposition ‘for’ to add an object
  7. To hot up – to become more exciting, busier and more active. E.g. “The carnival is hotting up!”
  8. To get stuck in traffic – to be delayed in a traffic jam. E.g. “Sorry I’m late, I got stuck in traffic”
  9. To walk through somewhere – to walk from one end of an area to the other end. E.g. “I’m just walking through Notting Hill at the moment”
  10. To block off the street – to stop people entering or exiting the street. The police do it with ‘road blocks’. “The police have blocked off the street”
  11. To drive through the street – to drive from one end of the street to the other end. “People can’t drive through the street”
  12. To meet up with someone – to meet someone, usually in an informal/social way. “I’m going to meet up with my friend Raph”
  13. To queue up for something – to wait for something in a line/que with other people. To stand in a queue for something. “You have to queue up for the toilet”
  14. To come across something – to find something while you are walking somewhere, or while you are doing something else. E.g. “I was surfing the internet and I came across a really good podcast about The Beatles.”
  15. To walk around – this means to walk, but not to one destination, just to walk to various places in an area without a specific destination. E.g. “You might come across shops like this when you’re walking around Notting Hill”
  16. To wave at someone – to shake your hand in the air to someone (in order to say hello)
  17. To point at someone – to use your finger to bring attention to someone
  18. To pick something up – to buy it, get it, take it. E.g. “You can pick up loads of nice Caribbean food at the carnival”
  19. To pump out music – to play music really loud. E.g. “The speakers were pumping out music until 2AM”
  20. To get covered in something – to have something all over you (it’s passive). E.g. “They covered me in chocolate. I got covered in chocolate.”
  21. To look after someone – to protect, care for someone. “The police are here, just looking after everyone”
  22. To check something out – to look at something “Check out the helicopter!”
  23. To crack down on something – to try to stop something happening, to become strict on something. Usually the government or the police do this. E.g. “The police are cracking down on drug dealing”
  24. To see something off – to eat or drink something completely. To finish eating or drinking something. “You’ve already finished off two beers!”
  25. To get something down – to eat or drink something. “I’m going to get a couple more beers down later”
  26. To crack open a beer – to open a beer! ‘Crack’ is the sound the can of beer makes when you open it.
  27. To party on – to continue partying
  28. To come out into the street – to leave the house and go into the street
  29. To dress up – to put on special clothes (smart clothes, or fancy dress)
  30. To think about something – to consider something. ‘about’ is the preposition we use to connect ‘think’ to an object. You can also say ‘think of’ something.
  31. To go back centuries – to have a long history (hundreds of years). “The roots of African music and culture go back centuries”
  32. To come back – to return to this place again. “I think I’ll come back next year”
  33. To hit something out of your hands – to make someone drop something by ‘hitting’ it while they are holding it. “That man tried to hit the camera out of my hands”
  34. To chop something up – to cut something into pieces with a knife, sword etc. “These people are chopping up the jerk chicken”
  35. To chat someone up – to talk to someone because you think they are attractive, and you want to make them fancy you. Hopefully, you’ll get their mobile phone number, or you’ll be able to go on a date with them, or kiss them… “I should have tried to chat her up”
  36. To name something after someone – To give someone/something the same name as someone else. E.g.”I was named after Luke Skywalker because my parents are big Star Wars fans.” [that’s not actually true, they don’t love Star Wars (IV – VI) as much as me…]
  37. To squeeze through a crowd – to walk through a crowd of people by making your body smaller. “It’s really hard to squeeze through the crowds”
  38. To get down to the music – to dance to the music “Look at all the people getting down!”
  39. To get people into something – to encourage/make people enjoy something “Miss Dynamite really got everyone into it!”  n>
  40. To run out of something – to use all of something, so you have nothing left. E.g. “I ran out of fuel, so I couldn’t drive all the way. I ran out of water in the desert, and I died – that’s why I’m in heaven now, doing a podcast, in heaven, yes, silly example, sorry.”

362. Getting things off my chest! (Part 2)

Hello, welcome back to the podcast. This is part 2 of a fairly long rant I recorded today about the Brexit situation and England’s awful performance in the football yesterday. There might be some strong language and swearing. There will also be lots of fairly strong political points of view from me. Please listen to the whole thing and try to avoid knee jerk reactions. If you disagree with me please feel free to leave a comment because I am open to other points of view – but I encourage you to fully flesh out your opinion, don’t just give your knee-jerk reaction without backing it up with some evidence or justification.

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Alright, so let’s get back into it. When the last episode ended I was talking about the promises made by the leave campaign, which they’re not going to deliver. This is based on an article from Indy100 website–WyxD59VO3Nb I think I just told Nigel Farage to go home or something. We’re now onto point 3…

*Ranting continues*

3. We aren’t going to be able to stay in the single market

No other country has a set up like that: both France and Germany have made it abundantly clear that we are not going to be able to have our cake and eat it, ie, take advantage of the free-trade zone without contributing a single penny to it, as Leave says we will.

4. We aren’t going to get our sovereignty back

Looks like we’re going to get a new prime minister by the end of the autumn Conservative party conference. It’ll be a short list of two people, nominated by MPs.
This unelected leader could then theoretically hold office unopposed until a general election has to be called in three year’s time.

P.S. We still have the House of Lords. So there’s that. (So in fact we will have a less-democratic arrangement than we had before)

6. We won’t remain a world leader in research and development

UK investment in science and universities has dried up since the recession, whereas the EU gave us £7bn in science funding alone between 2007 – 2013.

We’re also going to face new barriers to collaboration with European universities and research centres.

7. We aren’t going to save £2bn on energy bills

Leave promised we could end VAT on household energy bills. While that’s possible, it won’t save us any money in reality because we rely on imports for so much of our energy.
Because the pound has fallen, inflation will go up, which means imports and thus our domestic energy bills will cost up to 12 per cent more than they currently do.

8. We aren’t going to be a ‘greater’ Britain

Overnight the UK economy has already slumped from the fifth largest in the world to sixth.
More than £200 billion has already been wiped from the value of the UK stock market – or put another way, 24 years’ worth of UK contributions to the EU.

So overnight we lost more money than we contributed to the EU in 24 years, we became less democratic, we lost access to the single market and whatever arrangement we will have in the future is bound to involve more low-skilled labour being imported from abroad. Oh and by the way the other point which was subtly made but rarely explicitly stated – that Brexit would help us limit the influence of radical Islam on UK culture – there’s no indication that this will happen either.

Pretty much all the arguments made by the people who argued for remain are coming true. The remain campaign were called “Project fear” because of the bleak predictions they made in the run up to the vote. It’s now pretty clear that it was “Project reality”.

Anyone who is now slapping themselves on the back and saying “we took our country back” must be delusional. The country is in crisis basically. We have no idea how we can manage this situation going forwards. How on earth can we bring our economy back to the stable position it was in before this referendum?
How are we going to replace the business that we face to lose from suddenly being cut off from 50% of our market?
Sure, we can start to negotiate trade deals with other countries, but how long is that going to take and could it be possible for us to achieve a deal that’s anywhere near as good as what we had with the EU?
People talk about taking Britain back to the position it was in before – but in 1973 it was obvious to be part of the union. Our influence on the world’s stage had shrunk so much since the war that joining the European club was definitely the right choice. Since then our country has enjoyed a stable and beneficial relationship with our neighbours in which we have traded goods and acted as a great investment opportunity for foreign companies wishing to get access to the EU – the biggest marketplace in the world.
Now we are shut out from that, left with not much more than our national pride.
The idea that the UK was suffocated by legislation from Brussels wasn’t true. It was at worst annoying and frustrating, but nobody mentioned the benefits of the union to our economy – namely, that it kept the entire thing stable, safe and fair.

Now we have to build the whole arrangement up again – hopefully to a level that’s equal to what we had before, and hopefully better – and we have to do it in less than favourable conditions.
Our PM has resigned, and he’ll be replaced in October. Finding a new leader is going to take time and effort. A lot of time will be spent on this. A new government will have to be constructed. We might even have to have another general election. While all that is happening, we won’t be making trade deals and negotiating our exit strategy from the EU.
Scotland will be pushing for a referendum again and if they get it they’ll probably leave. We’ll then have to negotiate the terms of that as well. Also a huge undertaking.

The opposition party – Labour, is currently splitting up, with members of the shadow cabinet quitting in protest at the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. They say he’s not fit to lead the party through this next period. He’s refusing to go, saying that grassroots labour supporters want him to stay.

Meanwhile, the EU is pressing the UK to get out of the union as soon as possible.

We don’t have much time to organise our strategy for getting out of the EU while negotiating some kind of new trade deal with the EU that will prevent many businesses from losing their customers.

Frankly, that deal just can’t be as good as the one we had before.

Movement of people – there’s absolutely no guarantee we’ll be able to control this, as we all knew.

Project fear is now becoming project reality.

Why did old people vote to leave?

One LEPster asked me why so many old people voted to leave. I think it’s because of nostalgia and because the EU has less value to them. About the value – the EU is not really a viable place to live and work if you’re retired. Young people see the EU as a place of opportunity. As for the nostalgia, older people knew what life was like before the EU. It was a golden age – the 1960s. It must have been amazing. All that prosperity and positivity coming out of the war. All the benefits of the welfare system which was built after world war 2. All the nostalgia of youth. A vote for leave was basically a vote for nostalgia. Young people are very angry with the older generation who just selfishly put us all in a really crappy position. Not all older people voted out. My parents voted remain. My Dad is understandably livid about it. Apparently, they both spent the weekend kicking the furniture and swearing.

Now – we have to stay positive and try to make this work

I do believe in my country of course. The UK has always been an inventive and dynamic place. I’m sure we’ll rise to the challenges that the future faces. It will take time for us to get ourselves back to the position we were in before. We’ll have to work hard to get back to normal. I say “we” – I don’t know if I’ll be part of it directly, living here in France. It’s not clear what’s going to happen to my status as an ex-pat. It’s also not clear what’s going to happen to all the EU citizens who have a life in the UK. Again – we just don’t know. Turmoil.

Maybe this turmoil was inevitable

Also, there is the idea that perhaps this turmoil was inevitable. After all, since the economic crisis we’ve had years of a Tory government punishing the ordinary taxpayers with austerity measures. This could be responsible for the general sense of dissatisfaction that people are experiencing, which led them to vote leave as a protest against the Status Quo. When our banks, like the banks of all the other EU nations, lost so much money in the financial crisis, the government’s response was first to bail out the banks (take money from the national bank – tax revenue – taxpayers’ money) and use it to pay off the banking debts, bringing their balance sheets back to normal so they could continue trading, effectively keeping the whole economy stable.

When this happened, the government effectively took public money from ordinary taxpayers and injected it into the private sector. They took public money and made it private. The bankers screwed up, and we all paid for it. But it wasn’t over because the UK still owed billions of pounds to creditors. The country had borrowed a lot of money and needed to pay it back. How were they going to do it? First – help the banking sector by giving them lots of our money and by reducing controls on their investments and activities (i.e. imposing less tax to help stimulate business) and then cut public spending. So, let the rich get richer and make the poor pay for it by reducing the money the government spent on services like healthcare and other forms of welfare. What happens is that rich people get richer, and all the trouble and pain of the economic crisis is transferred onto the lives of the poor and lower class people who had nothing to do with the crisis in the first place.

But they have their services reduced, there’s less money to support them, they’re told to just “do it yourself”. Generally it feels like the government just doesn’t give a toss about these people. At the same time they are experiencing the direct result of rising levels of immigration and without proper community programmes to make sure this happens smoothly, there is loads of conflict and tribalism in many poor towns. A lot of people feel like their government doesn’t care about them and that their culture is under threat.

So then we have the Eurosceptics like Nigel Farage. In fact, particularly Nigel Farage, who comes along and decides to speak on behalf of these people, who he described as ordinary, good, decent people. Now immediately there, you see some rhetoric. So, if you don’t agree with Nigel Farage, you’re not a decent person? I understand that he’s done that because he’s standing up for alienated people, but he has to accept that this sort of language will breed hatred and intolerance to people with differing views. Nobody else is using language like that “decent people”. Decent means “socially acceptable, good, morally good, clean”. So if you’re not a decent person you’re “Socially unacceptable, bad, immoral and dirty”. He didn’t state that explicitly, but there is an implicit level of prejudice in his rhetoric which is extremely seductive to those who see foreigners as the major problem in society, and this is dangerous.

Nigel goes around speaking directly to the experiences of the people affected by the government’s austerity measures. He points the finger not at the government’s plans and the way that these communities are suffering from a lack of support and services. Instead he says that it’s the EU which is strangling the UK’s sovereignty. It’s the EU which is killing British culture, it’s the EU that is why there are new faces in your area, and it’s the EU that’s causing your sense of dissatisfaction.

Then add the media into the mix. The Sun newspaper, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express – day in day out focusing on what they call “Tidal waves of immigration”. Even when the USA experienced the worst public shooting in it’s history, the Express chose to lead the front page with an exaggerated story about immigration. These papers make it their business to shock people’s emotions. They trade in anger, resentment, fear and titilation. Just look at the Daily Mail’s website. It’s a staggering mix of outrage, fear and lust as knee-jerk stories are presented in BLOCK CAPITALS while the sidebar of every page shows half-naked celebrities caught on camera showing off their bodies. What a dizzying mix of emotions – it’s quite seductive and insidious.

Farage, the leave campaign and the right-wing media continue to pedal this kind of stuff on the British public. It’s basically British Trumpism. The Donald Trump effect. I’m not saying he’s the cause of it. I’m just saying that it’s a similar trend. Angry lower class people who have been the victims of the economic crisis are expressing their discontentment by supporting candidates who they perceive are supporting them, speaking the truth, not part of the established political system, and not afraid to say controversial things. They support them, and it’s a deception. Ultimately, the result is not what they wanted. Immediately the big promises are not delivered. Everybody remembers that Farage is a member of the political establishment too. He went to a public school like the other members of the government. He’s a man of big business and high finance.

The result comes in that the leave campaign has won and even the prominent campaigners seem stunned. They’re all backtracking on what they promised and failing to convert the rhetoric into solid plans for the future. It’s almost as if they didn’t believe they would win it. Boris Johnson’s first speech after winning was disturbing. He seemed almost ashamed and worried. He looked like a guilty schoolboy. The Prime Minister had just resigned and it dawned on Boris that he might have to be the one to lead Britain through this mess. Not an enviable job. Suddenly the position of PM seems far less attractive. Perhaps Boris had that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach like the rest of us on that day. This was a mistake, and it was wrong to use this as a platform for self-promotion.

Now I know what a lot of people are saying – “It’s democracy! You can’t argue with the referendum result, it’s democracy in action!” or “You wouldn’t be complaining if it had been a remain result”. No, I wouldn’t complain with a remain result because I think that’s the right answer! And I can argue with the outcome of the referendum. That’s my right! Just because this result happened as part of a democratic process, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right outcome. Don’t put democracy on a pedestal – saying it’s this untouchable, perfect process. Referendums in particular have been used many times before to do some terrible things, and in fact they can be very undemocratic. The problem with a referendum is that the result can be manipulated via propaganda or misdirection, and the result of a referendum gives tremendous legitimacy to the government to make certain big decisions. Hitler was a big fan of referendums. He managed to use them quite effectively in the run-up to WW2. So, referendums are not a guarantee for the right result.

I don’t want to be all negative and depressing about this. As I said before – I have faith in the UK to find a way through this. But I can’t hide that I’m really angry about it, and I think I’m well within my rights to express that. I don’t have to just shut up and accept things. In fact, as we have seen from the past, shutting up and accepting things is often the wrong thing to do.

Also I am aware that this Brexit result might just be a symptom of larger forces at work. I got an email from a regular LEPster the other day who made a good point about climate change. In fact, climate might be the biggest factor in all of this. Essentially, the world is going to change a lot and certain parts of it are going to become less and less habitable – especially the middle east. Naturally, people are going to want to escape that area if the conditions are inhospitable. Add that to ongoing conflicts and the actions of groups like ISIS. This means that many people from that part of the world will be coming to Europe. That’s just the way it is, and we need to find ways to accept it and deal with it. Isolationism is not necessarily the answer. Just get out of the EU and take our country back! That’s not necessarily a sustainable position. The wind is blowing and like it or not.

Immigration – A difficult subject to discuss

This is the thing which is so hard to talk about.
Here are the problems with this subject.
First of all, people don’t want to seem racist or to accuse others of racism.
It seems reductive, rude and disrespectful to accuse people of racism straight away. I’d rather listen to their arguments in full before I decide if they’re racist! I think shouting ‘racism’ at someone as soon as they start saying something uncomfortable means you’re no longer prepared to listen to them. I’m prepared to listen to anti-immigration arguments. I’m constantly looking for articulate statements about it, which are not just based on prejudice. I don’t find many.

There are two main arguments against immigration. The economic one and the cultural one.

The economic one seems to be that immigrants steal jobs from locals, they cause wages to be lower (which means that low class people are paid less money) and they are a drain on resources because they come to take advantage of our benefits system and our health service. There’s even the sentiment that they are criminals, rapists and terrorists intent on completely obliterating our way of life. There’s quite a lot of confusion and contradiction. I think it’s true that wages have gone down for low-skilled work. Often, immigrants are willing to work for less money so this affects the labour market. Wages go down for those types of job. I’m sure this makes a lot of people angry and they have targeted the EU. Ironically, a lot of the legislation passed by the EU intends to protect workers’ rights, for example protecting minimum pay levels and other things.

What’s left is the sentiment that – “they are coming here to steal our benefits” and “they’re coming here to steal our jobs”. Are they lazy benefit scroungers? Or are they stealing your job? The Doug Stanhope response to this is: if these lazy benefit scroungers are a threat to your job, what does that say about you?

Doug Stanhope

Charlie Brooker – Weekly Wipe

The other economic point to be made is that it’s been proven that immigration has helped our economy and that they contribute more than they take away. They contribute by paying tax first of all. They also contribute by providing skills. Most immigrants from the EU in employment are doing skilled jobs, except those from places like Romania and Bulgaria who are doing lower skilled work – but that’s quite vital for certain types of industry which rely on unskilled workers.

By the way, over the last year the UK has enjoyed record levels of employment. Generally the job market has been healthy. IN February this year the UK had the third lowest level of unemployment in the EU. We had 5% unemployment. Germany had 4.3%, Czech Republic had 4.5%. The highest was Greece with 24% (shocking) and Spain with 20% (also shocking). So, the vast majority of people in the UK were in employment before the referendum and our job market was pretty good, although wages for unskilled work were admittedly held down by the competition from migrants in the labour market.

The other main argument against immigration is the cultural one. This is about protecting the way of life in the UK in the face of many others coming in. Let’s be honest, this is a religious argument – or really an anti-theist argument, or an anti-Islam argument. It is difficult to have a frank and honest conversation about immigration and about people’s fears of the islamification of the UK because it’s wrong to generalise about muslims when most of them are moderate and just want an opportunity to live in peace. I am well aware of the arguments against religion and against Islam. I often watch debates on the subject and I’ve read work by well known anti-theists like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. So, I know about the arguments and I find them fascinating.

The point is – a lot of people don’t want hundreds of thousands of people to come into the uk and bring with them a belief system that they feel will be bad for our culture. I can understand that. However I think it’s not as bad as it seems, and there is a certain amount of fear and bigotry involved, which distorts reality. There’s also a fear of the unknown which causes people to jump to conclusions and fill the gaps in their knowledge with imagined scenarios. This is a normal part of human thinking – e.g. you hear a noise in the night and your imagination runs wild. Someone sees a UFO and they conclude that it’s aliens. We’re told that millions of immigrants will come to the country and we assume the worst.

Also this fear of immigration was not dealt with by the remain campaign. The leave campaign argued that leaving the EU would be the solution to these concerns. But getting out of the EU isn’t necessarily the answer. That’s not going to stop people. We can’t just “take back control of our borders” while existing in the modern world as we know it. We will have to accept free movement of people if we want to have trade deals with the rest of the world and let’s face it we must establish a trade deal with Europe. There’s no other way. They represent half of our trade.

So coping with the effects of immigration will definitely be a challenge. But sticking our head in the sand and assuming that exiting the EU will solve our problems is foolish and dangerous.

OK so it all got a bit serious didn’t it?

Let’s talk about football.

Oh dear…

So England just crashed out of the EUROS. We lost 2-1 to Iceland.

Roy Hodgson the England manager resigned just 20 minutes after the game. The only competition Roy is going to win this year is the “Who can resign the fastest?” – he managed to beat David Cameron by about 2.5 hours.

Haha, etc. More of that kind of thing in a minute.

Also, Northern Ireland got knocked out by Wales. Pity to see them go too, especially since it was an own goal that knocked them out.

First of all, let me get all the Brexit/football jokes off my chest.

So the UK left the EU, and now England have left the Euro 2016 competition.
This is a great recipe for jokes and everyone’s having a go.

In fact, here’s a page from with a summary of football/Brexit jokes from Twitter:

Iceland Knocked England Out of Euro 2016 and Twitter Can’t Stop Making ‘Brexit’ Jokes

So, England got knocked out by Iceland. The result was 2-1.
First of all – well done Iceland. That’s a great result for them. I think it’s the first time they’ve got to this stage in a competition like this.
As for England – we were typically rubbish and I feel ready to disown the team at this point.
I really don’t get it.
Maybe it’s because they’re overpaid, self-oriented mercenary professionals who in their heart of hearts just don’t care about the results.
I just feel they’re self-conscious and not really enjoying it.
It should be a joy to play for your country, not some onerous challenge.
The number of times they fluffed their passes, tripped up, made dumb little errors and generally fell apart – it all suggests that they are distracted, unhappy, awkward, self-conscious and crippled by an overwhelming expectation which is not in line with their actual ability to deliver. I think we just need to stop watching them for a while and perhaps they’ll win something when we’re not looking.
Either that or we need to put out an amateur team with nothing to lose.
I’m fed up with them. I’ve seen it time and time again. It’s not improving. It’s just the same old shit.

Wales are still in, and I hope they do well.

In fact, here’s a round up of the competition so far…

Also – well done to Chile for winning the Copa America. They beat Argentina on penalties and Lionel Messi experienced the hell of missing a penalty and promptly resigned from international football, which is a pity because he is a seriously exciting player and he’ll be missed.

Alright, that’s pretty much it for this episode.

There’s been a lot of politics and drama recently. Obviously I’m pissed off with the referendum result and the state of the UK at the moment.

But let’s look on the bright side!

Let’s see how the UK pulls itself together. Maybe this referendum result will shake things up in politics and we’ll move on to something more representative. Hopefully this will be good for people, and that it’s not just another part of the judo-style stranglehold that the elite 1% have on global affairs.

I hope things will not turn out too badly. Hope is important. Like Tolkien said, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.” “As long as we’re still breathing there’s always hope that things will get better. Don’t despair because things aren’t going right for you right now – there’s always tomorrow.” Those are quotes from Samwise Gamgee – who I previously made fun of in episode 359. Actually I find Sam to be one of the most heroic characters in the Lord of the Rings story.

Let’s muster some of the plucky courage of the Fellowship of the Ring now and let’s see what Britain can do, and let’s hope for the best.

That is the end of this episode now. When you next hear my voice I’ll probably be telling you the story of an incredible boxing match.

I expect I’ll come back to the politics though, and it would be good to talk to other people about this – either my Dad (if he feels up to it) and also Amber and Paul because that would be fun.

Thanks for listening!


361. Getting things off my chest! (Part 1)

Here’s another episode about what’s going on in the UK at the moment – in politics and in football. I know I am talking about this subject a lot at the moment, but I just can’t help it – it’s too big. Too many things are happening! So there will be more Brexit & football in this episode and then it’ll be back to podcasting as usual. Oh and by the way there will be some swearing in this episode because I’ll be sharing some comments from some angry people online and generally there has been quite a lot of swearing and kicking of furniture all across the country since Friday – especially yesterday while watching England get knocked out of the Euros. Swearing is rarely appropriate – remember that. Only at the right time in the right place. E.g. when watching England play football, or while thinking for two seconds or more about the EU referendum. Also, another preface here – you’ll notice that I’m pretty unhappy about things at the moment, but don’t worry I’ll bounce back, and Luke’s English Podcast will continue with the usual sort of episodes soon. I just have to get some things off my chest about what’s been going on.

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Just a quick sponsorship mention before we go further. If you’re interested in learning about British History, for example you want to know about all the diverse origins of the British people and the story of our royal family and all the big moments that led us to the current modern state of affairs, why not download an audiobook from Audible with the special offer available to LEPsters. First of all – go to to start a free trial with Audible – they produce and sell audiobooks on the internet. You can start a trial with them and it includes a free audiobook download. Why not download “British History for Dummies”? It’s a really detailed history of Britain, and it’s told in a really humorous way. THat’s “British History for Dummies” and there are other history books too. or click an audible logo on my website.

Right, now let’s get stuck into this episode. Here’s a jingle. *Jingle plays*

The Word of the Moment: Turmoil

The word of the moment: turmoil (uncountable noun) = A state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty. (Oxford dictionary online)
E.g. “the country was in turmoil”
+ examples from a Google news search.

Just in case it wasn’t enough for England to pull the UK out of the EU, England had to pull themselves out of the Euros as well. What a rubbish performance that was against Iceland. What on earth is wrong with our national team? In typical fashion we just got knocked out of another international football competition in the early stages. And you know what, I’m close to saying that I just don’t care any more. Why should I? I’m not proud of England. We didn’t show a lot of character. It wasn’t bad luck. We simply weren’t good enough. In fact I think part of the problem was that there was a lack of character on the pitch. Where was the fighting spirit? Where was the passion? Those players just kept waiting for someone else to provide the goods. Perhaps this is a result of them playing in the Premiership all season and essentially playing a supporting role to other players from abroad, who actually provide the end product in club games. So, I’m pretty pissed off about that, but you know what – I’m not going to waste any more time or energy on being annoyed about it. England just seem to be into pulling out of things at the moment. First it was Brexit, now this. I’m pretty sure the Brexit one is more important. Naturally, everyone has been making jokes about it – like “The Brexit is now finalised” or whatever. Fair enough – the joke is just begging to be made, so go ahead and make it. Now I suppose Wales will be the next ones to follow the referendum result with an exit from the Euros too.

I’ll talk more about the football in a bit.

More Brexit stuff Luke? Yes, I have to talk about this more! But normal podcasting will be resumed soon.

The main reason I wanted to record this episode today was just because I just wanted to publish something between the “Day after Brexit” and the one I’ve done about Muhammad Ali, because I did that one before the referendum happened – it’s recorded and ready to be published, then UK voted to leave and we ended up having this extraordinary situation unfolding every day – all this turmoil in the UK.

So feel like I can’t just upload this episode about Ali without just saying a few things in between.

It feels like everything relating to the Brexit situation is just so real and over the top at this moment that it has to be mentioned. Also there’s football to deal with.

In the last episode I pretty much told you what I thought about the result and my opinions haven’t changed much since then.
I was feeling a little bit shell shocked and tired when I recorded that.
I’m in a better mood today.
I still think the situation is a mess and I am still angry about it.
There have been a few developments and I’m going to talk about them later in this episode.
I think it is absolutely fascinating what’s going on.
It’s almost impossibly complex. Just understanding the referendum result and how it happened is one thing, understanding what’s going to happen next is another thing, and then putting this into the context of European events and then world events is another story too.
It’s just huge and I feel like I could spend all my time at the moment either reading about this, watching video interviews on the subject and talking about it on my podcast.
Obviously, I can’t do that.
So I just wanted to say that I will continue to talk about Brexit here from time to time but not in every single episode of course.
Life goes on and as ever there are loads of other things to cover, language areas to explore, games to be played with Amber and Paul, guests to interview and all sorts of other things.
This podcast will continue to look at the culture of the English language and that involves the UK’s place in the world.
At the moment that does include Brexit.
So to sum up – normal podcasting will resume soon, with the Muhammad Ali episode.
But before that I’m going to talk in this episode about some more UK news including the political situation and some football.


Thank you for recent comments. I have enjoyed reading your responses. The vast majority have been respectfully and thoughtfully articulated.
Like I’ve said before I do welcome all opinions and I encourage you to develop your arguments.
I just ask you to be respectful in your comments.
As the webmaster of my website I do reserve the right to moderate or remove comments which I consider to be inappropriate and that includes content which I consider to be unacceptable – mainly because of hateful comments.
This doesn’t mean I am against different opinions, on the contrary. I am always ready to read differing points of view.
But I won’t tolerate hate speech in the comment section.
Saying that, it very rarely happens on my website.
By and large LEPsters are thoughtful, respectful and peaceful people.
That’s what it means to be a LEPster. Of course, you’re also interested in learning real British English and having a laugh or two in the process, just to take the edge off. But it seems that we are united by a certain outlook, which is a generally positive celebration of our differences and an understanding that we’re all basically the same underneath the cultural codes and political distinctions. We can disagree with each other and we should listen to each other.
And there’s no place for hate-filled comments.
If you’ve got a point to make, go ahead and do it.
But if you resort to name calling, insults or old fashioned smelly old racism.
Leave your comments elsewhere.
This is my house and I’m not putting up with that kind of nonsense.

The Democratic Process

I understand that it was part of the democratic process. A lot of people have been expressing their dissatisfaction about the result, and the standard response to that is “Stop complaining about the result. You’re just being a bad loser. You have to accept it as part of the democratic process.” But as Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons in 1947:
“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”

So democracy is the least bad of our options. It certainly is not perfect.

Now, the referendum decision was part of the democratic process, but that doesn’t mean it was the right decision and I am well within my rights to express my dissatisfaction about it. That is part of democracy too.
I think the reaction to the result from the people who campaigned to leave has been quite muted.
Even the right-wing press that supported the leave are running stories about the turmoil that the country is experiencing as a result. It’s unescapable. It’s obvious that this result has suddenly put the country in a crisis situation.
The economy is crashing. The pound has plummeted to its lowest level since 1985. The AAA credit rating has been lost. Britain is immediately worse-off than it was last week.
It’s not just the economy.
There have been lots of reports of racist abuse against foreigners in the street, which show that the result has given a big boost to general intolerance the UK. It’s like a big thumbs up to racists everywhere. Not everyone who voted leave is racist of course – definitely not, but racists in society will be feeling like this is a victory and they’ll feel legitimised by the whole thing. I imagine they now feel it’s acceptable to be outwardly hostile to foreigners, regardless of whether they are EU citizens or not.

If you need to be convinced, here’s some evidence from Twitter.

Let’s be clear – comparing people to vermin (rats) or cockroaches is an extremely dangerous thing to do. As soon as people are considered less than human, their rights are considered less than human and then they get treated as less than human, and the next step is that people will not feel bad about abusing those people. It has happened time and time again in the past. Comparing people to rats or cockroaches should be a massive red flag and is never acceptable.

There’s always been some racist people like that in the UK, like in every country – but now they feel they have the backing of the whole country, and it’s a real danger. That’s in London, which is supposed to be a progressive and multicultural place, which voted to remain in the EU. There have been many many more reports too and I am sure that in some communities today it is not easy to be a foreigner of any origin.

All of this is not just difficult and dangerous for individuals, it is also making the whole country look very bad indeed and it makes me feel ashamed. What has just happened to my country? It appears that the leave campaign has “taken our country back” and just given it to the worst people.


Americans must be delighted at the moment – not because they wanted to see the UK out of Europe, but just because the USA is no longer the world’s dumbest country. Apparently the UK is the Mr Bean of the world at the moment, until November of course because that’s when the US elections are happening and we’ll see what they choose. If the USA elects Trump all eyes will be on them and they’ll be back in pole position again.

Speaking of Trump – this is quite funny. Soon after the result happened, Trump arrived in the UK – because you know, he has to be where the attention is. It’s all part of his publicity. Also he was supporting the Leave campaign because it sort of fits in with his anti-immigration positions. So he went to the UK in order to celebrate. He usually goes to Scotland because he owns land there. But he made a stupid mistake on Twitter.

#regrexit #bregret – Regrets

Lots of people are expressing their regret about voting leave. In fact #bregret and #regrexit have been a trending hashtags on twitter. Also, according to google trends, the biggest search criteria immediately after the referendum were questions about the EU – like “What is the EU?” and “What happens if the UK leaves?” It seems a lot of people left it a bit too late to ask those questions.

It seems that people didn’t quite realise what they were voting for, or didn’t realise that they had a chance of actually getting a leave result.
A lot of people seemed to think that “leave” were the underdogs in the whole situation, and didn’t have a genuine chance of winning, and that their vote wouldn’t make a difference and would just be considered as a protest.


I’m angry with the leave campaign – all those Brexiteers who campaigned for us to leave.
I think they mislead people. They made empty promises they couldn’t keep even when they must have known they couldn’t keep those promises, and that leaving the EU would put so many things in jeopardy.
In fact now those who argued for Leave are actively distancing themselves from the things they said and the promises they made during the campaign.
It’s now blatantly obvious that they never even had a post-Brexit plan. They’re now doing U-turns on many of the biggest promises they made, e.g. that £350 million a week will go to the NHS, that migration will be controlled.

How the hell did these people win? They played upon people’s insecurities and prejudices, suggesting that all our problems are the result of being part of the EU and that leaving the EU would magically make everything alright again. It’s just wrong and we’re obviously now facing years of continued turmoil.

I’m going to come back to those broken promises and u-turns in a bit.

Scotland are likely to leave the UK. The SNP is now pushing hard to get another independence referendum, and they’ve got a very good case to get one. They clearly showed that they don’t want to be part of a UK that is separate from the EU.

The Leave campaign argued that we should “Take back control of our country”. They said we should do it for Britain – they put Britain first. But the country is now in turmoil as nobody knows what to do next, our Prime Minister has quit and we don’t know who is going to take over, the opposition is completely falling apart because of lack of confidence in the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – loads of Labour MPs have quit in protest at his leadership – they believe he is not the man to lead the party through this next period because he failed to defend the remain vote and doesn’t appear to feel strongly about the EU, the economy is crashing – the UK just lost it’s AAA credit rating – which is a disaster, the Union looks like it is going to break up and nobody has a plan for what to do next, the UK is now the darling of all the right-wing movements in the EU, and people are now being openly racist in the streets. Congratulations guys. All our worst nightmares have come at once.

Brexiteers are saying “Don’t overreport the negative aspects” and “At least we’re free”. There’s no over reporting going on, just reporting. There’s no need to put a negative spin on these events – just say it like it is. It’s undeniably bad all round. It could take decades for the country to get back to the stable position it had before this referendum. And “At least we’re free” – we’re not free. We’re now far more compromised than we were before. We’re weaker than before and we’re worse off than before. The other argument is – well, when the EU crashes at least we will be on the outside. If the EU crashes it will be bad for everyone, us included.

The Leave campaign presented an ideological and emotional argument which was full of misleading propaganda and mistruths.

Let’s have a look at some of the things they promised which they can’t or won’t deliver. This is from a comment on episode 359 by a LEPster who is ironically called Boris:

Promises of the Leave Campaign

Here are  the promises of the vote leave campaign. I think It was a big mistake leaving the EU.

Source: Indy100 “8 of the most misleading promises of the Vote Leave campaign, ranked in order of preposterousness”–WyxD59VO3Nb

1. We aren’t going to see a fall in immigration levels

No one in the Leave campaign actually gave any target figures, at any time, ever. Conservative MEP Dan Hannan has already said this morning that people expecting immigration to come down will be “disappointed”.

Here is Daniel Hannan on the BBC programme Newsnight, effectively saying that the UK will probably have to stay in the single market and that obviously means that immigration is going to stay the same. Remember that this guy was one of the most vocal proponents for the leave campaign, which used immigration as one of the principle arguments for leaving.

2. We aren’t going to save £350m a week

The Leave campaign claim that the UK gives £350m a week to the EU has been thoroughly debunked. (First of all the figure was not true, and secondly Nigel Farage said just hours after the result came in that it was a mistake to make that claim – Boris Johnson travelled around the UK for weeks before the referendum in a bus – and on the side of the bus it said “We send the EU 350 million a week, lets fund the NHS instead.” He also made public appearances campaigning for Leave in front of a poster which said “Let’s give our NHS the 350 million the EU takes every week.” They have no intention of funding the NHS. These far-right tories have never cared about the National Health Service. Why did anyone believe they would be any different? You can’t lie in business or in advertising. That’s not allowed. It’s criminal. It’s called false advertising. But there’s no law to say you can’t lie in political campaigns. They’re not going to be held accountable for that, even though it’s a gross deception of the public’s trust. Oddly enough the leave campaign have now wiped their campaign website, which contained all those statements about giving EU contributions to the NHS. They’ve been wiped. I wonder why. Why would they remove all their promises?

Listen to Nigel Farage just a few hours after the results came in. This is him on breakfast TV. He was part of the leave campaign which made that promise. Listen to him being questioned on this ITV programme. He admits that it was a mistake to make that promise. When pressed on the issue he just goes back to saying how the UK now has this extra money, despite the fact that in just a couple of days British stocks lost £125 billion after Brexit – £125 billion pounds of value lost, which is equivalent to 15 years worth of EU contributions, as a direct result of leave.

Farage’s claims about how we now have a “featherbed” as he calls it of extra money – a “featherbed”. It’s just not true, and he can’t stop the rhetoric. The arrogance, stubbornness and lack of responsibility of this man is astounding.

Now, his party – UKIP, had one aim – independence from Europe. Now, they’ve achieved it. They’ve got independence. So they can now go away, can’t they. Job done. Go home and don’t come back Nigel. What are you still doing here? You got what you wanted? Your party is no longer necessary. Go away.

End of Part 1

That’s the end of part 1! I hope you’re enjoying this rant – it actually feels pretty good to get stuff of my chest like this. In part 2 I’ll talk about the rest of the promises made by the leave campaign, then I’ll talk about the reasons people voted for ‘leave’, I’ll also tackle the tricky subject of immigration in more detail and then there will be some commentary and jokes about the shameful England football team.

Thanks for listening!