402. The Rick Thompson Report: What’s Going On? Nov. 2016 (Post-Truth Politics, Cricket and Tetris)

Last week I asked my Dad for his opinions about recent news and we talked about Brexit, post-truth politics, the US election, the right-wing press in the UK, the political landscape in the EU, the rules of international cricket and the music from Tetris. You can listen to the conversation in this episode. Introduction and and ending transcriptions available below.

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Introduction Transcript (script begins 1 minute into the episode)

My Dad is back on the podcast in this episode and in a few moments you’re going to hear our conversation which I recorded last week on Thursday 17 November 2016.

In the conversation we touch on these subjects: the weather (naturally), a bit about the rules of international cricket, then a Brexit update including details of the recent UK high court decision regarding the government’s power to trigger Article 50. Article 50 is a piece of legislation (part of the Lisbon Treaty) that when triggered begins the legal process of the UK’s exit from the EU. We’re not actually out of the EU yet, despite the result of the referendum. We have to wait for the government to ‘trigger article 50’ and then it all starts.

“Trigger article 50” – it sounds like something from Star Wars episode 3 “Revenge of the Sith”. In fact it feels like the political narrative these days is getting more and more similar to the plot to a Star Wars prequel, with lots of complex negotiations with shadowy trade federations, insidious political manoeuvring and the general sense of an impending journey towards the dark side, which is a pity isn’t it? “Trigger Article 50!” In Star Wars episode 3 it’s “Execute Order 66” which is an order by the evil emperor Palpatine to have all the Jedi assassinated by their own soldiers. “Execute order 66” “Trigger Article 50!”

But no, this isn’t Star Wars – we’ll have to wait until December for that.

You’ll also hear my Dad’s views on the presidential election result in the USA, some stuff about the UK’s right-wing press (newspapers), the OED’s word of the year – ‘post-truth’, ‘post-truth’ politics and general political trends across Europe and other regions at this time.

At one point the podcast gets interrupted when someone rings my Dad’s doorbell and it turns out to be a lost postman (which is actually quite a welcome break from all the depressing post-truth politics), then we somehow end up talking about the idea of a giant flea jumping over St Paul’s cathedral, a bit more about the joys of international cricket, the music from the classic Russian videogame Tetris and how a cup of tea is sometimes the best solution to almost any problem.

Language-wise this episode gets quite technical in places, especially when we talk about the UK’s constitutional, legal and political frameworks. So, watch out for lots of big words and big phrases relating to constitutional law, the inner-workings of government and even more complicated than both of those things: the rules of international test-match cricket.

Depending on both your level of English and your familiarity with these topics, this might be a difficult conversation to follow, but we all know that these challenges can be good for your English.

You might try transcribing some minutes of the episode (go to the transcript collaboration page to get started) or try some shadowing or any other techniques for active listening. Alternatively, just sit back, relax, have a cup of tea and enjoy the company of my Dad for a little while, as we try to work out what’s going on in the world.

I’ll talk to you again briefly on the other side of the conversation, but now you can listen to the Rick Thompson report.


So, there you go, that was my Dad and me going on about what’s going on. What do you think is going on? Get stuck into the comment section at teacherluke.co.uk if you’ve got something to share.

You can hear the Tetris music in the background. This one is Theme A – which I believe is a version of a Russian folk song called Korobeiniki. I’m sure many of you out there know more about it than I do, so I will let you explain the meaning of the song, and indeed the correct way to pronounce it.

For me, it reminds me of journeys in the back of my dad’s car, trying to get to level 9 on Tetris.

I actually prefer the B theme. It still gets stuck in my head to this day as I find myself humming it even when I haven’t heard it recently.

If you know about this tune as well, you can write a comment on the website.

Comments: Let me know what you think of these things

  • What do you think is going on generally in the world today?
  • On a positive note, what are you looking forward to? What are you optimistic about? Is there anything coming up that you’re impatient for? (On that note, I am looking forward to seeing the new Star Wars film, which is a prequel to the original trilogy, as many of you will know. This one isn’t a sequel to episode 7, it actually takes place between episodes 3 and 4. Yes, they still can’t count in the Star Wars universe. So far they’ve gone in this order 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 7, 3.5 and after that it will be 8. I’m looking forward to it just because I love the SW universe, and the trailer looks pretty good – although I’m a bit concerned by the script which seems a bit dodgy in places (“This is a rebellion, isn’t it? – I rebel.” It’s not Star Wars without a bit of clunky dialogue) I expect I’ll be talking more about this soon. Anyway, what are you looking forward to exactly?
  • Are you a fan of cricket? Have you ever heard of cricket? Do they play cricket where you live? Do you understand the rules at all?
  • Going back to Tetris – Did you use to play Tetris? Do you still play Tetris? What do you know about the history of this classic game? Do you have any stories to share about Tetris, including how it was developed and the people who created it? Or stories about how you played it, and how you used to get that tune stuck in your head, and how you’d play it until you got ‘Tetrisitis’?

So, feel free to get involved in the comment section.

Listen to Australian comedian Jim Jeffries trying to explain cricket to some Americans *contains rude language*

Join the mailing list

It’s the best way to get access to the page for the episode where you’ll find notes, transcripts, videos, links, other useful bits and pieces, as well as easy- access to the episode archive, the comment section and lots of other things.

Another note about the transcript collaboration team

This is now called The Orion Transcript Collaboration Team, which is cool. I didn’t name it – the name was chosen by Antonio because “Orion” is a constellation of stars in the night sky, and the members of the team are also a group of stars – so the name seems appropriate now. I like it anyway.

The team have been doing a great job. Go to the website -> (hover the mouse over TRANSCRIPTS -> TRANSCRIPT COLLABORATION and click the red, yellow or green buttons to access the google docs.

Episodes are divided up into 3 minute chunks. You transcribe your 3 minutes. Other people check your 3 minutes and make corrections. Eventually the whole episode is transcribed – it might not be completely perfect, but it’s done. Next, I have to proofread them all! So actually, this project rapidly creates more and more work for me. I am going through them *extremely* slowly, and publishing the full scripts on the website. It might be necessary to employ some proofreaders to check the finished scripts. Perhaps I should launch a kickstarter campaign for that or something, because it’ll cost money to get a pro to do the final proofreading.

I got a message from Antonio about this recently and he said this at the end:

I laugh a lot when someone corrects my chunk and I see certain mistakes I do. But I have improved a lot my understanding and can watch the BBC TV, not only the news, understanding much, much more than before I started transcribing you episodes. Maybe in this area, I am experiencing the famous breakthrough all teachers speak about. See you, Luke and thanks again for your commitment. Antonio

Catherine Bear
Since I’ve been proof-reading a little bit of the transcripts, I have the feeling that my short term memory has improved considerably.
So, guys, I would encourage each of you to do little bit of transcribing.
Also shadowing is a nice way to improve not only the short term memory but also the sentence stress, intonation and pronunciation.
I used to speak with a kind of American accent, but since I started actively listening to Luke’s English Podcast back in August and doing lots of shadowing (like 5 minutes in one go, a couple of times a day) — my English accent suddenly started to switch towards the British RP English. :)
Guys, let’s share some personal success stories related to Luke’s English Podcast.

Yes, please do share some personal success stories of learning English!

Take care and I’ll speak to you soon.


  • Eloi Solà

    Hi Luke and everyone!

    I’ve been listening to this podcast for a while and I’ve kept hidden as a ninja until today. But I’ve decided to come out of the shadows an share this with you. I hope you’ll enjoy it!


  • Daniel Sanchez

    Hi all,

    Another good episode. It is worthy playing it several times. It becomes more enjoyable!

  • Ruslan

    Why you don`t make some video cast?

  • Nick

    I think a good example of post-truth news…

    And I think people understand it, according to the comments below.

  • kim

    Hi Luck!
    I am big fan of your podcast:) This podcast became part of my life these days!!

    I am from South Korea and currently I live in London.
    Until I came here I hadn’t known about cricket. In my country nobody plays this game or talk about it.
    When I went to Regent’s park in London I saw cricket at first. At that moment, I had no idea about this sports so I thought that is baseball game.

    In my country lots of people love baseball and football.

    I am looking forward to listening next episode!! thank you:)

    • Catherine Bear

      Hi Kim! Welcome! :)
      And congratulations on your London life!
      Did you try the cricket yet? Maybe you just join in next time and tell us here how it felt. I’m curious to know. You certainly should try it.
      How do you like London? I think it will be a fantastic experience for you. :)
      Good luck and enjoy London and the British.

  • Guido Demurtas

    Hi Luke!
    Thank you for your job.
    Just a question.
    Could your father be in the picture of this episode?

    • You mean, is that my Dad in the photo?


        Yes I do.

      • Yes it is. ;)


        Thank you!

      • Catherine Bear

        Hi Guido!
        Your question sounded like if you wanted Luke’s Dad to be on the picture, and that’s why you were asking him very politely “Could you get onto the picture, please?” ;)
        Maybe you wanted to say something like “It seems that this man in the picture is your Dad. Can it be so?” But maybe I’m wrong, I’m learning too. :)


        Hi Catherine!
        Thank you for writing to me.
        Actually I wrote “Could your father be in the picture of this episode” and it seems that it was not right since Luke asked me “You mean, is that my Dad in the photo?”
        Anyway I think that also your sentence is correct.
        By the way, have you already joined the Skype group called LEP Skype group? We could chat and practice there.

      • Catherine Bear

        Hi Guido, thank you.
        No, I’m not. Maybe you can try italki. Several of the LEPsters use it quite succesfully.

        I give Skype lectures, but in German, and to my niece only. :)


        Hi Catherine,
        actually I am used to talking with several English native speakers on Skype to practice but sometimes I speak with not English native just for fun and to know new friends.
        How long have you been living in Germany?

      • Catherine Bear

        Good for you, that you have several native speakers available. :) And yes, I came to DE in the last century, so for a very long time indeed. I’m as old as Yaddle, you know.
        Enjoy the podcast! :)


        Ha ha! Actually I am not so fond of Star Wars so I don’t know very much about Yaddle. Anyway I now understand why you are able to teach your niece to speak German. Bye!

  • Catherine Bear

    Hi Luke, a little comment on my comment you’ve quoted:

    With shadowing I meant going along like a shadow and speaking along, just like a consecutive interpreter would do. I mean without pushing the pause button. It also improves the short-time memory, and pronunciation, and intonation and all that. It’s tough, but effective. I usually do it untill one spot of my brain starts to ache. It is like my own pause button. :)

  • Ptholome

    Hi people, the episode 402 The Rick Thompson Report is available for people wanting to transcribe some chunks 3min long.


    The Orion LEp transcription team.

  • Agnes

    What am I looking forward to? hmm, that is a tough question for me today. I am really looking forward to being after my exam, seeing result as a big A:-)

    And I can’t wait for Christmas time, I know it will be a busy time as always at that point, but gathering together at the table is like a gift under the Christmas tree.

    I can’t wait for your next episode, the last ones were absolutely cool:-)

    And I can’t wait for my daughter, she is coming back from grandparents:-)

    To be honest, I usually am very impatient person, but learning a language, which is never ending, is the best way of learning patience :-)

  • Catherine Bear

    Coming back to cricket — in Germany, cricket is very unusual. But it might change in the future, since many Pakistani and Afghan refugees start now to play it:

    There is also a national team, led by a Scottish professional Steven Knox. But they haven’t been succesfull yet.

    Germans are very good at all kind of sports, usually. But cricket… maybe it’s too British for them. They are just mad about their football. :)

    • Catherine Bear

      Luke, if you want to do an episode on cricket — go for it, just do it, if you miss cricket so much! :) Just two months ago in the Ep 384 you were asking the same question. ;)

      Cricket is such a part of the British culture — I’d love to learn more about it. Seems like an intelligent game. :)

      • Yep, I plan to do it!

      • Catherine Bear

        Das ist fantastisch! :)