169. A Cup of Tea with Daniel Burt (Part 1)

[1/2] Daniel Burt is a journalist, comedy writer and performer from Melbourne, Australia. He writes for two big newspapers in Australia, he worked as an intern at Late Night with David Letterman, he has his own page on Wikipedia and in his work he has interviewed Matt Smith, David Tennant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, which means he has met 2 Doctor Whos Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and The Hobbit! Wow.  In this episode you can listen to us talking about diverse topics such as Australia’s relationship to The Queen & The Commonwealth, his work as an entertainment journalist, his time living in New York, the David Letterman show, Will Smith, show business, and zombies…

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I’m very pleased to have Daniel on the podcast for a number of reasons:
a) He is a bright, witty guy with lots of things to say, and he can talk the hind legs off a donkey (not literally, that’s just an idiom which means he can talk and talk!)
b) He is from Australia, so you can listen to his genuine Aussie accent and hear some authentic Australian English.
c) He has met Sherlock Holmes, Bilbo Baggins, Doctor Who and others.

Daniel is noteworthy enough to have his own page on Wikipedia. Click here to read it.

Daniel is a writer so naturally uses a lot of colourful language, descriptive vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. He also speaks pretty quickly in an accent that you might not be familiar with so listen closely. A transcript should arrive before too long but if you have any questions about words or phrases from this episode, please leave them in the comments section, with a time-code. ;)

This is a two part podcast. In part 1, this one, Daniel and I talk about these things:
The Zombie Apocalype
– Is my apartment safe?
– Would Daniel survive a zombie attack? Is he too complacent?
– Are people who like zombies all loners?
– Is Luke a loner?

Daniel’s Coin-dropping Habits
– Why can’t Daniel hold onto coins when shop assistants give him change?
– Why does he always drop coins onto the floor?
– Is it because Australian notes are so shiny and slippery, that the coins just slide off?

– Or is it just because he is socially awkward or nervous for some reason?
The Queen on Australian money
– How does Daniel feel about it?
– What’s the role of The Queen in Australian life?
– Will Australia leave the commonwealth and become fully independent?
Daniel’s work as an entertainment journalist
– Does he really have a Wikipedia page about him?
– What was it like living in New York?
– What was it like working for David Letterman?

Seeing Will Smith in the audience at a Parisian cabaret show
– Did he enjoy the show?
– What was the audience’s reaction to seeing Will Smith in the crowd?
– Did it affect the performance?
– What are the secrets of show business?
-And what does “getting jiggy with it” actually mean?

I’ve divided this into two episodes. So, stay tuned for details about his meeting with Sherlock Holmes, The Hobbit and Doctor Who in part 2.

Our conversation begins pretty quickly after we’d already been talking for about half an hour before turning on the microphone. Let me give you some context so you can hit the ground running.

Before turning on the microphone, we were talking about some of our favourite TV shows. I mentioned that I watch The Walking Dead, which is a show about zombies. I like zombies and that kind of thing, I’m sick and twisted in that way. Daniel doesn’t watch the show, and he isn’t a big zombie fan. He said he thought you’d need to be a bit of an idiot to get bitten by a zombie, because they’re so slow. Surely you’d see the zombie coming, and you’d just get out of the way, quite casually. I disagreed, and explained that getting bitten by a walker is easier than you might expect. Zombies might seem slow, but if you get complacent – over confident and too relaxed, that’s when you might be caught by surprise. If a zombie is walking towards you, he’s pretty slow so you might think you’re safe, but they’re unpredictable. What might happen is that the zombie gets about 3 metres away, and gets excited because he can smell your brains, and he trips slightly and starts to fall forwards. This means that his falling increases his speed and the momentum carries him to you faster than you expected. The next thing you know, you’ve got a zombie on top of you, and while you’re trying to deal with him, another one might have arrived behind you quietly, without you realising, and then you’re bitten, double bitten by two members of the undead. Then, later on, you’re a zombie too. Uhhh brains! Daniel didn’t realise this could happen. I reassured him, by explaining that up in my flat we would be quite safe from zombies because I’m up on the 6th floor, and my door is very strong. But that you still shouldn’t get complacent, even then. You can never be too safe from zombies, because, well, anything can happen. For example, let’s say, on the other side of the city, some guys have managed to escape from a zombie infested building by flying off the roof in a helicopter. “Ooh, that was close – good thing we had this helicopter!” But one of the guys in the chopper has been bitten, and he didn’t tell the others! He was too ashamed, too embarrassed. He kept it secret. Big mistake! Within minutes, he’s turned into a zombie, and he starts attacking the pilot. Trying to eat his brains. Horrible! The pilot gets bitten and he turns into a zombie too. Now you’ve got a zombie flying a helicopter. In the confusion the helicopter crashes onto the roof of my building – the pilot and passengers are all zombies, and they crawl from the wreckage and climb through a hole in the wall, into my living room, and Daniel gets bitten. Not me of course, I’d be ready with a cricket bat or a hammer or something. Maybe a crossbow. It would be tough, but I’d deal with them. Daniel though – he’d be beyond dead at that point, the poor guy. And why? Because he got complacent. Or zombies could manage to get to the 6th floor in a lift, by accident. Or just thousands and thousands of zombies could surround my building, and eventually break in by smashing all the windows and doors. Don’t worry though, it’s very unlikely to happen… or is it?…
So, that’s some context to the conversation I was having with Daniel before starting the recording. Now you can enjoy some chat with my Aussie mate Daniel. Enjoy!

Daniel’s Video Showreel

In part 2:
Daniel’s move to London
Cliches about Australian people
Typical Australian English phrases
Australian pronunciation
The Australian character and national identity
Australian politicians
The future of Australia & Australia’s image of itself
Sport & competition
Interviewing Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), Matt Smith & David Tennant (Doctor Who)

  • Anonymous

    As I have said many times, I listen your podcast not for a single purpose but it is for a number of reasons:to get informed, to understand the world, to make myself happy or to laugh all the time and to feel happy. I think your podcast is just extraordinary. You have a good sense of humor. By the way, now I can predict how you feel and how you can think about a certain thing. I have listen your podcasts upto 150 -200 hours with in two months. I know what you like and you do not like. I like the Pyschic podcast. May be one day I will be a honourable guest of Luke’s English Podacst. LoL. No No! Just kidding. You see. I am trying to be famous without doing anything. My spoken is English is not as equivalent to my written so do not try to invit me to the podcast. I might mumble thoughout your podcast. I think I do not mumble rather I have got a rumbling sound which is very smooth and lovely to listen. Of course, I have a valued myself. Just kidding!! You see guys. I think my sense of humor is horrible.

    • Thanks for the message! So, if you know what I think about things, can you predict my opinion?
      Here’s a test.
      What do I think about these things:
      – bananas
      – red trousers
      – Dr Martens boots

      I’m looking forward to your predictions!

  • Angel

    Hi. I am from Spain but currently living in Bristol (England). I discovered recently Luke’s podcast website and it seems very interesting for me.
    Despite living in UK for more than a year my listening and speaking English is not improving as fast as I desire. I spend a lot of time with other people from Spain, so I need to look for new methods to improve English.

    I read in a lot of comments that people improve English fast using these podcast, and I would like to know what is the best technique to use the podcast to improve quickly. By the moment I just listen them as many times as I can, but maybe I can do more things to take advantage more of the podcast.

    I would appreciate comments about this matter.

    • Anonymous

      Hello Angel and all listeners,
      I am writing this message in response to Angel’s question. I think this is the third time when I gave feed back and comment on Luke’s English Podcast page. If I am not mistaken Angel want to know the shortest way of acquiring the language skills. Luckily, you live in an English speaking country. Therefore, you have all the opportunites to expose yourself to the English language. There might be many way to expose yourself to the English language if you live in UK. However, you said that you spent most of the time with your Spanish friends. Of course, it is true that if you spend most of the time with your Spanish friends and if you speak most of the time Spanish your speed to acquire the language might not be fast as it is supposed to be.
      Therefore, my piece of advice is try to communicate with English with your Spanish friends. In addition, try to make friends all over the world. “The sky is the limit”. I hope UK is a place to meet different nationalities and you have got the chance to come across with diversified nationality. Hence, try to make benifit out of the opportunity.
      When you speak to international people you will know the challeng how to express your ideas as clear as possible. Therefore, you will figure what does to be understood by others and understand others mean.
      To generalize, there is no short cut or quick way to develop the language skills but there is always easy and best possible ways. “No pain no gain” as it is said. However, I recommned you to make the language learning process as enjoyabe and joyful as possible. In my case, I am addicted to learning the language. I am addicted to listening BBC news and NPR radio. In addition, Luke’s English Podcast is my companion. The day will be borning if I am not listening something. Luke’s English Podcast is one of the best podcast I have came across so far. Therefore, try to listen his podcast and it really helps because his has got really a special teaching methodology. The podast is very well organised, educational, funny, entertaining, informative,engaging and comprehensive.
      Let me ask you one question. Do you understand Luke’s English Podcast and how much percent do you understand the podcast? If you do not understand what he is talking about I recommend you to find another podcast which is very simple and easy to understand. In that regard, I might also help to recommend you another slow and elementary level podcasts. I started also with an easy and slow pocasts and now I do not have a problem to understand anybody. Of course, I can understand if someone speak clear, well structured and standard English. I hope I am also easy to be undestood. I am not sure about this.
      I usually listen podcast which I can enjoy and in addition which is educational, entertaining, engaging, funny and informative like Luke’s English Podcast.. That means, I am not learning a language only at the same time I am learning something else which might help me in life one day.
      I think this message might be too long for you but I am aslo challenging my self how much do I express my idea with my current level of writing skill.
      Let’s speak up, practice, share idea and make the world a better place to live.
      I am very glad to comment but just take my recommendation as additional information. I am not a linguist. I am also a reqular Luke’S English Podcast(LEP).


      • Lovely advice Gudu, thanks very much, and I like reading your comments whenever they appear on my website. They always give me a lift and help me to remember that my podcast has value.

      • And, Angel – for more advice I suggest you find an episode of the podcast called “Are you a good learner of English?” – it has some more advice for you.

      • Angel

        Hi Gudu and thanks a lot for your comment.
        Yes I understand Luke’s podcast. First time I use understand 80-85% but as I listen the same podcast several times, finally I manage to understand 100%.
        I know that there is no short paths to learn a language, by the moment the best task for me is listening podcast again and again and again… I am bored of traditional English courses where just learn grammar and how to pass an exam, but not how to be fluent and survive in the street and at work.
        My question was oriented about how other people use this sound material to improve. I know each person is different but is good to try different techniques.
        And Luke, thanks for your comment too.
        I will continue listening your podcast (in fact I am right now listening one of them at work).

  • Gudu

    Now, it is time to introduce myself to Luke and Luke’s English podcast listeners. I am not sure what I can say about myself and I do not see the relevance of writing too much about my self. In short, My name is Gudu. I am Ethiopia. I am a real fun of Luke’s English Podcast. Let me come to the point which I am really interested to talk about. Do you know what it is? It is looks English podcast.

    I used to browse on the internet to get a comprehensive and an easy to understand English learning material on the net. It was on December 15, 2013 I came across to Luke’s English podcast. I was delighted when I noticed getting a very valuable English learning material. I like podcast because I can listen them while I am working and when I am on the move. I like Luke’s English podcast because of the following reason it is very funny, easy to understand, engaging, educational, informative and entertaining. In addition, your teaching methodology is really great. I have acquired the English language and culture very fast since I have started listening your podcast. The podcast is full of new vocabulary, idioms, phrasal verbs. There is usually so many things to say about you and your podcast. How did you manage to produce all those long podcast? i think you are also addicted to produced podcast. Your are very special person. I think your effort and commitment has to be recognized. I am also wondering if you be able to include podcast about new technologies, business and entrepreneurs, new science discoveries. I like all of your podcast but some of my favorites are: Susan boyle, Doctor who, London video interview, the ghost stories, psychic. Just to mention some but all are the same.
    In addition, I like your family and all the interview you did with you father, mother, brother and cousin.

    I do have a suggestion for Luke and Luke’s English Podcast listen. As we all understand Luke’s is one of the best podcaster and he has got many followers. Why we followers meet and practice our spoken English? We can meet via google hang out or skpe, or for those who are in the same country they can even meet in person according to the distance. Most probably there might be many listens in the same country and city.

    This my suggestion for today. Anyone interested to practice his English via skpe. I will give my skpe address.

    Enjoy the podcast. Stick with Luke’s English podcast and you English will be very good.