Monthly Archives: July 2015

An Experimental Live Video Podcast on Periscope



Hi listeners,

It’s been a little while since I recorded an episode of Luke’s English Podcast. I’ve been really busy – mainly because of my wedding. I’m now fully married! I’ll be recording a podcast episode about weddings soon. In the meantime, here’s some extra content – my first live video broadcast via Periscope.

Have you heard about Periscope? It’s a smartphone app which is becoming really popular at the moment. All around the world, right now, people are broadcasting live videos of themselves on this app. Lots of people are talking about it, and it is the latest form of social networking and self-publishing. You can download the app from the Periscope website here at You can find me on Periscope by searching for @EnglishPodcast. You can also watch Periscope videos from a computer here

Basically, the app works like this:
– You download the app from or the App Store (Apple) or Play Store (Android) onto your phone.
– You can sign-in with Twitter, or create a new profile.
– You can then watch live broadcasts from people anywhere in the world. You can check a world map which shows where people are currently broadcasting, then watch their broadcasts.
– It’s possible to send people text messages and communicate with them directly during the recording.
– Periscope broadcasts (scopes) can be re-played up to 24 hours after the live broadcast.
– It’s also possible for users to save their videos on their phones, and then upload them to YouTube for permanent publishing.

I think this could be a really cool way for me to communicate with LEPsters all around the world, so recently I did my first experimental Periscope broadcast, from the SpacePod(TM) where I record episodes of Luke’s English Podcast. I didn’t really tell anyone that I was going to start – I just published a quick Facebook status and a Tweet, and then 15 minutes later I started broadcasting my live video. 25 people joined my first Periscope live broadcast. Yes, just 25 people – it was an exclusive moment! Most of those people were LEPsters, but some of them had never heard of me or my podcast. They were just random viewers who just discovered me and started watching. I have now uploaded the video onto YouTube and you can see it below.

Some details before you watch:
– The frame rate is pretty low. This means the video quality is not great. I think this is because my internet connection, even using WiFi is not great. I hope this will improve in the future.
– During the live broadcast my viewers were sending me text messages, and they were visible on the screen during the broadcast. Unfortunately, those text messages don’t appear on the saved video uploaded to YouTube :(
– Also, during the recording, viewers can create little heart symbols when they like something – the hearts float up the right side of the screen. Again, these are not visible in the YouTube version, unfortunately.
– What do I talk about in the video? I give a quick tour of the SkyPod (or SpacePod or StarPod or PodShip or whatever you want to call the room where I record the podcast), and also I give a quick tour of my website. Watch the whole video to witness some never before seen details of what it looks like when I record my podcast.

Here’s the video (and sorry for the long text, as usual). Enjoy! (despite the poor frame rate)
p.s. Expect more audio podcasts soon…

284. Questions from (Part 2)

Hi listeners, in this episode I go through some more of the questions sent to me by readers of All the questions and most of my answers are added below, so you can read and listen at the same time if you want to. Enjoy the episode!

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Background sounds created using “Bloom” and “Air” apps on iPhone.
Song snippets at the end from the amazing album “Trojan Presents: Roots”. Get it here on Amazon.
Just a few things to mention:
– Join the mailing list.
– Like the Facebook page.
– Leave your comments on the website.
– Donate if you fancy it.
– Take advantage of the audiobook offer.
– Check out the various features you can find on including – music mixes, some funny jokes & cartoons, ways to contact me, transcripts, a phrasal verb a day, and other stuff in the episode archive.

Questions & Answers

Babikov Gleb
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia” Moscow Region

Greetings, Luke! Nowadays almost every educator in Russia teaches English using textbooks and common school programs. Don’t you think that teachers should develop more effective ways of teaching students?

Hi Babikov,
I think teachers should always be looking for new ways to develop their teaching. We constantly have to come up with engaging and effective teaching methods and that means understanding how people think, the cultural reference points and so on. It’s often necessary to make your own materials which are adapted from authentic sources, and which are more specifically suited to that group of students. So, thinking outside the box, focusing specifically on the needs of the students, and coming up with new materials regularly are all important ways to develop our teaching skills. Thanks for the question.

Pikalenko Roman

Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hi, Luke!

To my mind, every man should be a gentleman. And I would like to know your opinion. Is it essential for a young man to be a gentleman?


Hi Roman,
If by being a gentleman you mean being polite, respectful and considerate then yes I think young men should be like gentlemen. They can act like gentlemen, but not necessarily look or sound like the classic image of the British gentleman. To be honest I hope everyone lived like gentlemen if it meant treating other people with respect. The cliche of the gentleman in a suit and hat is only something you see in movies these days. Thanks for the question. I did a podcast episode about this recently. You can listen to it here 260. Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Strebkov Sergey
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hello, Luke.
I’d like to ask you a question: have you been scared when you started to make blogs? Were there any negative comments?


Hi Sergey,
Generally the feedback I get from my podcast is positive. I’m very aware that the internet is a place where people can be strongly criticised and you get aggressive users or trolls who might write very harsh comments about you online, but generally comments on my website are from really enthusiastic English learners so everything’s nice. I’m really conscious of the fact that I’m revealing a lot about myself in my episodes, so that is something I think about a lot. Thanks for the question.

Stepnova Alina
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
What attracted you to work in Japan?
Do the Japanese students wear school uniforms? How do you think whether Russian students wear school uniform?
School uniform lets students be equal. Without school uniforms complexes and envy may arise among students. Don’t you agree with it?
Thanks! I believe you will answer me.

Hi Alina,
You believed correctly, because I am answering you.
I did a podcast episode about living in Japan. You can listen to it here I talk about my reasons for going there and some of the experiences I had. About school uniforms, I don’t know about Russian students and school uniforms but in the UK I had to wear uniforms in all the schools I went to. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and it probably does give the students more equal status and may encourage a closer sense of community. Also, there’s a certain discipline in having to prepare specific clothes for your day every morning. I didn’t mind wearing a uniform most of the time, and I rarely thought of the idea of it being banned. I think you’re right, kids might find it more difficult if they are judged on their clothes, so uniforms help to let them blend in with everyone else. Thanks for the question.

Trusova Dasha
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hello Luke!

I know, you are active in social networks. Is it difficult to combine tearcher’s and blogger’s activities?

Thank you.

Hi Dasha,
It’s not hard to combine my teaching and my online work. Generally, they don’t affect each other and I keep them separate. I don’t use my episodes in class, or extracts from them, and in fact I rarely tell my students about my website until the end of the course. This is because I don’t want them to feel pressured to listen to it, and also because I don’t necessarily want them to hear certain things (like the more crazy episodes or personal stories) at the beginning of the course because I am attempting to present a more serious and business like impression. Sometimes my students already know who I am. Others only realise who I am after a while. Once I was teaching in London and at the end of the course I told them about my podcast. One girl in my class gasped! She was a regular listener to my podcast and after 2 weeks in my class she hadn’t realised it was me. She nearly fell off her chair. It was hilarious.

So mainly, I’m concerned about the image my students will have of me if they listen to my podcast. Thanks for the question.

Badalyan Tsogik

Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hello, Luke!

If you could live the same day over and over again, what would you prefer to do on this day?

Thank you.

Hi Badalyan,
You mean, like the film Groundhog Day? If I had to live the same day over and over again I would probably do lots of different things every day to make it feel like I was actually living a life. Then I would learn how to do things really well, like in the film. I’d learn how to be an amazing pianist or something. I’d try and enjoy myself. Thanks for the question!

Ludmila Guseva
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

To be or not to be… What does it mean for you???

Thanks a lot in advance for your answer.

Hi Ludmilla,
You mean, the existential questions that Hamlet asks himself when contemplating suicide? I guess we’re talking about the meaning of existence. What’s the meaning of life for me? I’m really not sure what this is all about. In fact, I have a feeling that the whole of the universe is not united in one single purpose and that in fact it’s pretty random. Either that, or we just have no ability to understand the complexity of existence. There may even be parallel worlds or just things we can’t even see. Physics and astrophysics are fascinating to me because they really could learn about what the universe is really doing and how it works. Does it mean anything though? I’m not sure. On a personal level I think we all have a choice to make life run how we want it. We can choose to be positive and take some control over our lives. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything more than just making yourself happy and trying to increase the happiness of those around you. Thanks for the question.

Andrey Kirianov
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hi, Luke!
What should be done to avoid racism in the world?
Thank you!

Hi Andrey,
I think travelling and meeting people is important. That tends to make you realise that people around the world are not that different and they’re all entitled to the same treatment as everyone else. It doesn’t help when racism is used by leaders to claim power over their own people. That’s a common way to get power. Blame all the problems on foreign people and use the fear of foreigners to whip up nationalist sentiment and support for the present government. To battle it we need to make sure we have a fully free press, and to educate children against racist attitudes. I think simply allowing people to know more about other cultures, means that they’re less likely to be racist against them. Also, we should have an open mind.
Thanks for your question.

Ludmila Guseva
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Which is better: to teach or to learn? Or to learn while teaching? Will you share your ideas & experience?
Thanks in advance.
Hi Ludmila,
I’ve certainly learned a lot from teaching. If I want to get to know a subject really well, I teach it. It forces you to really know the subject. As a learner I find it harder to get the motivation to do research. As a teacher I do it incredibly quickly and effectively.
Thanks for the question.

Badalyan Tsogik
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region
If you were given a book with the story of your life, would you read it to the end?
Thank you!

Hi Badalyan,
No, I wouldn’t read it! I don’t want to know yet. Everything at its right time. I prefer to discover my life story as it happens. I also don’t want to be constantly expecting the end scene to arrive. Innocence is bliss! Thanks for the question.

Ivanova Evgenia
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hello, Luke!
I know that you are a teacher.
If you had a chance to return to the past, would you tell about the future to the people there?

Hi Evgenia,
If I could return to the past I think I wouldn’t tell them about the future. In the past people didn’t react very well to strange looking people babbling about visions of the future. They might catch me and burn me as a witch! Instead I would travel to the past and then tell the people of the present all about it. I think a good first-hand account of history would help us know the right thing to do now, so that our future is kept safe. The past is something to learn from.
Thanks for the question!

Bezborodova Anna
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hello, Luke!
I’d like to ask you a question:
How much time does it take you to make your podcasts? Is it difficult?
Thank you.

Hi Anna,
Actually, it takes me a lot of time to make my podcasts. It depends on the episode, because I prepare some episodes more than others. But preparing and recording a podcast, completing all the notes on the website, uploading it and then sharing it via social networks can take from 3 to 10 hours. Some episodes are really easy because I don’t prepare them and they just flow out of my mouth, but others prove to be harder to manage, either because of the subject matter or because of the need to edit the content. It can take a lot of energy to do my podcast, but I like it a lot and I hope to eventually be rewarded for my work in some way.
Thanks for the question.

Gorbunov Nikita
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hello, Luke!
How do you think, is music a necessary part of our life? Do you often listen to music? What musical styles do you prefer? Do you believe that music helps us to feel better?
Thank you for the answer!

Hi Nikita,
I think music is absolutely vital to my life. I constantly have music in my head or playing through speakers. I also need to play music myself. It’s a great way to de-stress while also achieving something. Music is really mysterious. It’s something innate that we all share. The language of music is written into us when we’re born and it’s all about the way humans are able to hear certain sounds in a particular scale. Why it causes such strong emotional responses in us is a total mystery and one of the wonders of the universe! Thanks for the question!

I’m Lera Kuvshinkina, Umyotskaya school,Tambov Region
You know that there are many kinds of subcultures. If you were a teenager, what subculture you would like to belong to?
Thank you!

Hi Lera,
I’m well aware of subcultures in the UK and it’s one of my favourite subjects. I did that at university in Liverpool. When I was a teenager I didn’t belong to a particular subculture but I was somewhere between: indie, casual, mod and retro 70s. Those are rather specific styles, but there are other more well-known subcultures in the UK like skinheads and punks. I used to know skin-heads and punks in Birmingham (I was in a punk band for a while when I was a teenager) and they were all really nice and funny blokes. I love the different subcultures in the UK and their clothing/musical associations. Thanks for the question!

Zhalialova Liliya
Municipal Educational Institution “Ramenskaya Gymnasia”
Moscow Region

Hello, Luke!

Is it possible to save warm relations being in different cities far away from your sweetheart? How to save this fragile spiritual link from your point of view?


Hi Liliya,
I think it is possible to keep love alive when you live in different cities but it requires communication and a long term plan to be together. You can use Skype and other networks to keep in touch easily, and if you know that you’re going to eventually be together it makes it easier. Also, make the most of the moments when you see each other. The airport greetings and so on. It can be madly romantic and exciting and a period that you will always treasure when you look back on it. Thanks for the question!

Tea4er part2

283. Ten Fixed Expressions

Recently on FB I asked my followers to send me some fixed expressions (phrases, idioms or just individual words) that they like or think are worth learning. I ended up with about 200 phrases. The idea was that I’d do one episode with these phrases, but obviously I underestimated the number of responses that I’d get and now I have a huge database of nice, chunky and rather British fixed expressions which I can deal with in episodes of the podcast. I have vetted the list for any expressions that I don’t see myself using very much, so they’ve all been given the LEP seal of approval, meaning they’re all expressions which are perfectly valid and that you should know.

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What’s a fixed expression? It’s a collection of words (a phrase) which has one specific meaning. Those words are fixed together and it might have a particular idiomatic meaning, or at least a specific meaning which is

Episode 1 in the series – I’ve invited Paul Taylor to my place, and we’re going to do an exercise to help you to learn these phrases and give you some listening practice. What we’ll do is that I will explain the phrase to him and we’ll see if he can guess which phrase it is. Then we’ll give some examples and have a quick discussion based on the expression, before moving on to the next one.

What you can do is just try to guess the phrase I’m talking about, and then check out our discussion to hear the phrase being used naturally. All the phrases are listed on the page for this episode.

  1. A bad egg
    A person in a group who has a negative effect on the rest of that group. “He’s a bit of a bad egg”, or just simply a bad person.
    Have you ever had a bad egg in a training group at work?
    Were there any bad eggs in your group of friends as a child growing up?
  2. A cash cow
    An investment that brings in a reliable source of steady income. E.g. an apartment which you rent out, or shares that you purchased in a thriving business.
    What’s the most common form of cash cow?
    If you had 50,000 to invest, what would you invest it in?
  3. a fine line between x & y
    When there is a very subtle or small difference between two rather distinctly different things. E.g. “There’s a fine line between madness and genius”.
    Do you think there is a fine line between madness and genius?
    Other fine lines?
    Stand up comedy and … ?
  4. a flash in the pan
    Something that is a very quick and sudden success, but it’s a success that doesn’t last. Brief success.
    Would you rather be a flash in the pan (make loads of money but then disappear from fame – become anonymous) or a long lasting success who is constantly in the public eye?
    Can you think of anything that we thought would be a flash in the pan but wasn’t?
    What do you think will be a flash in the pan now? Is the Apple Watch a flash in the pan?
  5. a pain in the neck
    Something really irritating or annoying. Something really inconvenient in your life.
  6. a shoo-in
    Someone who is certain to succeed, or certain to win a competition. Someone or something which we assume will be a success. For example, for an entrance exam to a university – we expect this girl to pass. In fact, it’s almost impossible to imagine that she won’t qualify for the course. She’s a shoo-in.
    I always thought it was spelled ‘shoe’ – like somehow there’s a shoe in something, or it’s really easy to throw a shoe into something.
    Where did you go to university? Were you a shoo-in for entrance? How about your exams?
    Do you follow football? Who do you think will qualify/win the 2018 world cup?
  7. A total cock up
    A complete mess – when someone messes something up completely. They tried to rob the bank but they forgot to load their guns and one of them got trapped in the vault and the other didn’t know what to do. They both were recorded by CCTV cameras and got arrested.
    Origin unknown (it doesn’t refer to a penis) – it’s more likely to refer to a bird, like perhaps the accidental startling of a woodcock during a hunt.
    What’s the biggest cock up you’ve ever made?
  8. Ace
    Great, brilliant, fantastic. British slang. Also the name of one of the picture cards in a deck of playing cards.
    When was the last time you said “That was ace!”
    What was the last film you saw that you thought was ace?
  9. All gone to pot
    It’s all gone bad. It’s deteriorated. Like, “it’s all gone to the dogs”.
    E.g. “My diet has gone to pot since coming home for Christmas.” or “London’s just gone to pot since Boris Johnson took over” or “The whole country is going to pot under this conservative government”.
    Has its origins in the idea that farm animals would be eaten (cooked in a pot) when they were past their best (for producing eggs or whatever).
    Do you think the world is going to pot?
  10. All hell broke loose
    When things suddenly become chaotic and out of control.
    E.g. When they announced a flash sale of Louis Vuitton handbags, all hell broke loose in the department store.

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