55. Mini Podcasts Collection 1

My first 7 mini podcasts in one full length episode. Idioms with ‘about’, politics, how to make a perfect cup of tea, a comedy song about badgers and some sentence stress and intonation practice.

Right-click here to download this episode.
Mini-Podcasts – Overview
There are 7 mini podcasts in this episode:

1. Introduction (losing my voice)
I talk about the new mini mobile podcasts and what to expect in the future.

2. Idioms with ‘about’
I teach you some common idioms and expressions using the word ‘about’

3. Government Cuts
At the moment in the UK the government is making large cuts to public spending. What will be the effect of those cuts on the funding of BBC Learning English? Are we going to lose BBC Learning English? This is an example of how we are living in an increasingly connected society where economic conditions in one country immediately effect people in other countries.

4. How to make the perfect cup of tea
I talk to my colleague Richard McNeff about making the perfect cup of tea. Listen closely for language for ‘how to describe a process’ – which is exactly the kind of thing you need to do in an IELTS writing exam.

5. Computer Games
Are games an art form like movies and television? What about the characters, the stories and the graphics?

6. New Guitar
I’ve got a new guitar and I’d like to play you a song. It’s a comedy song – remember that – it is supposed to be funny! So, look for the jokes in the lyrics of the song. The lyrics are printed below:

Bill Bailey – Hats Off To The Zebras (Tribute to Brian Adams)

The horse is a noble beast
From the mustangs of the west
To the stallions of the east
But the horse has a distant cousin
It lives I-do-not-know-where
But it’s message of racial harmony is one that we all can share

Hats off to the zebras
They are black and white
But they don’t fight
‘Cos they’re not very good at it

In a world of confusion
We all need a sign
If only we could live side by side
Like the stripes down a zebras spine

Hats of to the zebras, yeah

The humble badger
Takes a sip of morning dew
He’s totally colourblind
So he can’t judge you

But the badger is a dreamer
The badger has a plan
He knows that his destiny
Is to help his fellow man

Hats off to the badger
He is black and white
But he doesn’t fight
Except for mating rights and territory

Black man and a white man
Both they need to shave
United by the badger brush
He’s helping from beyond the grave

Hats off to the badger
What about the tapeer
Half zebra half pig
Imagine the stig-ma
But the tapeer stands proud
Hats off to the tapeer

Badgers and zebras
Skunks, oh yeah
Little ring-tailed leemurs
Living together in harmony

And if the killer whales can do it, why can’t we?
Tell me why can’t we?

It’s a song about how we can use the examples of black and white animals to learn to live together in racial harmony.

For the the funniest lines are “because they’re not very good at it…” and “except for mating rights and territory”

7. Sentence Stress / Intonation / Get Candy!
In this one I demonstrate the importance of sentence stress and intonation in emphatic speech. Listen to the same text read twice. First time I read with flat intonation. It sounds dull and meaningless. Second time I add emphasis, stress and intonation – it sounds more passionate and meaningful.

Here’s the text below. You should practise listening to it, marking where I pause and emphasize. Then say the text and try to copy the way I do it. Listen to the previous podcast about halloween to head a real comedian reading the text.

So the first time you hear the concept of halloween, when you’re a kid. Do you remember the first time you even heard about it? It’s like, your brain can’t even… “what is this? who’s giving out candy? Someone’s giving out candy? who is giving out this candy? Everyone we know is just giving out candy?? I gotta be a part of this, take me with you, I want to do it, I’ll do anything that they want! I can wear that. I’ll wear anything I have to wear. I’ll do anything I have to do. I will get the candy from these fools, that are so stupidly giving it away!”