Category Archives: Jokes

865. Catching Up with Amber & Paul #13

Amber & Paul return to the podcast for another tangential conversation about various things, including why Paul is angry 😤, how Amber gets crushed in her own bed 🛌, how our British children don’t need to wear coats 🧥, the special gifts Luke has prepared for Amber & Paul 🎁, the highs and lows of Paul’s global comedy tour 🎭, how he’s been telling the Russian joke on stage 😐, Amber’s recent trip to London 🇬🇧, The Beatles’ “Now & Then” 🎶, the next step in Paul’s career ⏩, Amber’s kids saying more funny things 👧👦💬 and more…

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☝️ The audio episode has some extra content at the end

What is The Lying Game? (next episode)

In the next episode we’re playing The Lying Game. If you want to listen to previous lying game episodes, check out this list 👇

308. The Lying Game (Part 1) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast

309. The Lying Game (Part 2) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast

317. The Lying Game 2: The Rematch (Part 1) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast

318. The Lying Game 2: The Rematch (Part 2) with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast   

343. The Interactive Lying Game (with Amber & Paul) / Descriptive Adjectives with T / Three is a Magic Number | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast

436. The Return of The Lying Game (with Amber & Paul) [Video] | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast  

642. The Lying Game Returns (with Amber & Paul) | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast 

663. The Lockdown Lying Game with Amber & Paul | Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast

840. Things that make you go “Hmmm” 🤔 Life, Laughter & Learning English

Here is a list of curious mysteries, jokes and observations about the English language and life in general. I talk about each interesting point, give some funny comments and explain bits of English vocabulary in the process. Expect to learn a few things, and have a bit of a laugh in the process.

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☝️Audio version has 15+ extra minutes, with some grammar and vocabulary explanations.

https://youtu.be/j4WBm_k2VPU

Episode Transcript / Notes

Mini-Mysteries, Jokes & Observations about The English Language (and Life in General) 

Aka “Things that make you go “Hmmm🤔😅

A while ago I got an email from a listener called Hana (hello Hana!) 

In the email Hana sent me a list of little jokes, funny observations about life and some peculiarities and ‘mysteries’ of the English language. 

A collection of whimsical and amusing questions and jokes.

To give you an idea of the kind of thing I’m talking about, it’s stuff like this:


English is funny – a ‘fat chance’ and a ‘slim chance’ are the same thing.

When you’re a child, you don’t realise that you’re also watching your mum and dad grow up.

The word QUEUE is just the letter Q followed by four completely unnecessary letters.

The last 10% of a tube of toothpaste lasts about as long as the first 90%.

Every time you check your pockets for your wallet, keys, and phone, you do 25% of the Macarena.

We have all, at one point, kicked a pregnant woman.


You get the idea.

Hana said the list had been sent to her by someone on WhatsApp so she forwarded them to me, just for fun. 

Well, thanks Hana. This is all useful stuff I could use to make an episode of my podcast. 

It’s all just a bit of light-hearted fun (in theory) and I’m sure there’s English to learn from this too. 

So, while you are listening, watch out for vocabulary which comes up during this episode.

Let’s get started.

Hello Luke,I just received these jokes on my WhatsApp and I thought of you. Best wishes, Hana

*When you have nothing better to do*

*Just try to find answers for these*


1. If poison expires; is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous? 🤔

The expiry date

The sell-by date

The use-by date


2. Which letter is silent in the word “Scent” (perfume) the S or the C? 🤔


3. Do twins ever realise that one of them is “unplanned”?   🤔

(ouch)


4. Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn’t it be called double V? 

🤔

(The Grammarphobia Blog: Why isn’t a W called a double v? )


5. Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

🤔

We’re just moving dirt from one thing to another thing.

Where does all the dirt end up?


6. The word “swims” upside-down is still “swims”    🤔

Ambigrams – Wikipedia 


7. 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars

Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses. 🤔


8. If you replace “W” with “T” in the words “What, Where and When“, you get the answer to each one  🤔

What? → That

Where? → There

When? → Then


*Still have time for fun..?*

*Let’s try this*

Four Great Confusions

Which are still unresolved

😄😂


1. At a movie theatre (cinema), which arm rest is yours?


2. If people evolved from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?

*this is not unresolved – evolutionary biology has the answer

https://www.facebook.com/ScienceEvidenceIntelligence/photos/a.316271969223518/824161461767897/?paipv=0&eav=AfZIducQdqRXSOlCtTDkautRgwf27C1U6Pao7hr2FHEklxdymC1Y737MIKFPpPyl-fc&_rdr

3. Why is there a ‘D’ in ‘fridge’, but not in ‘refrigerator’?

Why Is There a D in “Fridge” but Not in “Refrigerator”? 


4.  Who knew what time it was, when the first clock was made?


*Well, try this now*

Ambiguities of the English Language! Enjoy.!!!

😀


1. I wonder why the word “Funeral” starts with FUN?

Saderall would be better, because you’re all sad.


2. Why isn’t a Fireman called a Water-man?


3. How come Lipstick doesn’t do what it says?

Lipstick – it’s a stick for your lips

It’s not stuff that “sticks to your lips”.

Also, it isn’t a stick made of lips. That would be weird


4. If money doesn’t grow on trees, how come Banks have Branches?

5. If a Vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat?


6. How do you get off a non-stop Flight?


7. Why are goods sent by *ship* called CARGO, and those sent by *truck* SHIPMENT?

ChatGPT has the answer (smartypants)

Goods that are shipped by boat are called cargo because the word “cargo” comes from the Spanish word “cargar,” which means “to load.” This makes sense because when goods are shipped by boat, they are loaded onto the vessel. 

In contrast, goods that are shipped by truck are called a shipment because they are being shipped from one place to another. The word “shipment” comes from the Old French word “envoiement,” which means “the act of sending.” So, a shipment is a collection of goods that are being sent from one place to another, regardless of the mode of transportation.


8. Why do we put cups in the “Dishwasher” and the dishes in the “Cupboard“?

The word “cupboard” originated in the Middle English word “cubbert,” which came from the Old French word “couvert,” meaning “covered.” A cupboard is a type of cabinet or closet with shelves or drawers for storing household items. 

The name “cupboard” likely comes from the fact that these types of storage units were originally used to store cups and other dishware. Over time, the meaning of the word “cupboard” has expanded to include any type of cabinet or closet used for storage. (yes, ChatGPT again)


9. Why do doctors “practise” medicine? 

I don’t want a doctor who practises medicine, I want one who has learned how to do it!


10. Why is it called “Rush Hour” when traffic moves at its slowest at that time?

​​


11. How come noses run and feet smell


Shouldn’t it be the other way around?


12. Why do they call it a TV ‘set’ when there is only one? 

The know-it-all ChatGPT has the answer *yawn*

The word “set” in this context refers to a complete television system, not just the physical television itself. A television set includes the television, as well as any additional components or accessories that are required to receive and display television signals. 

In the past, television sets often included components such as a VCR, DVD player, or cable box, and these additional components were often referred to as “attachments.” Even though most modern televisions are self-contained and do not require additional components, the term “television set” is still used to refer to the entire system.


13. What are you vacating when you go on a “vacation“?


We can never find the answers

Can we❓

If you have the *Spirit* of understanding everything in a positive manner – You’ll enjoy every moment in LIFE, whether it’s *PRESSURE or PLEASURE*

So just enjoy the PUN and FUN of the English language.

😂🤣😂

Enjoy and have fun.😘👍

Hana Fakhoury Hajeer, PhD.


A Note about the words “STUFF” and “THINGS”

Also, just at the end here I thought I could explain a couple of points about the words “stuff” and “thing(s)”. 

So, here is a note about that.

Of course you are aware of these words. People use them all the time. They certainly came up in this episode. 

For example, at the beginning of the episode I said “Let’s talk about some stuff. Here’s some more stuff to help you learn English” and I think the episode is in fact going to be called 

“Things that make you go ‘Hmmm’.”

So what about these words? I often notice that my learners of English don’t use them very much, but I think they are very useful. 

Of course you shouldn’t overdo it and use them all the time, when a more specific word is appropriate, but still, they are useful and very common. 

The main thing here, the main point, is that the word thing is a countable noun, and the word stuff is uncountable. 

That’s the only difference really.

In English, countable and uncountable nouns have different rules regarding their usage. Here’s a general overview.

Countable Nouns 

1. Countable nouns refer to items that can be counted as individual units.

2. They can be used in both singular and plural forms.

3. Singular countable nouns are typically preceded by an article (a/an) or a specific determiner (e.g., this, that, my).

4. Plural countable nouns usually take an “s” at the end, but irregular plural forms exist as well.

5. Countable nouns can be quantified using numbers or words like “many,” “few,” “some,” etc.

6. They can be used with “a few,” “several,” or “many” to indicate a specific quantity.

Example sentences

– “I have two cats.”

– “She bought some books.”

– “He needs a new car.”

– “There are many students in the classroom.”

Uncountable Nouns

1. Uncountable nouns refer to substances, concepts, or ideas that cannot be counted as separate units.

2. They are typically singular and do not have a plural form.

3. Uncountable nouns do not usually take an indefinite article (a/an) but can take a definite article (the) when specified.

4. They cannot be quantified directly with numbers, but words like “some,” “a little,” “a lot of,” etc., can be used.

5. To express a specific quantity, you can use measurement words like “a cup of,” “a bottle of,” “a piece of,” etc.

Example sentences

– “I need to buy some milk.”

– “She has a lot of experience.”

– “Could you pass me the salt, please?”

– “He drank a glass of water.”

It’s important to note that some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, depending on the context. For example, “water” can be uncountable (as in “I need water”) or countable (as in “There are three waters on the table”).

Just as a quick test, which word would you use to complete these sentences? 

Thing / things or stuff

  1. There is just one _______ I need to tell you before you go.
  2. Can you pass me one of those _______ on that box over there?
  3. Can I have some more of that _______? It was really good.
  4. Ugh, what’s all that sticky _______ on the table?
  5. I need to go into town to buy one or two _______ for dinner, would you like to come?
  6. Your bag is so heavy. How many _______ do you have in here?
  7. There’s too much _______ in the back of the car. I can’t see out of the window.
  8. How much _______ did you bring with you? You don’t need all of those _______.
  9. Sit down, we have some important _______/_______ to tell you.

Answers

  1. There is just one thing I need to tell you before you go.
  2. Can you pass me one of those things on that box over there?
  3. Can I have some more of that stuff? It was really good.
  4. Ugh, what’s all that sticky stuff on the table?
  5. I need to go into town to buy one or two things for dinner, would you like to come?
  6. Your bag is so heavy. How many things do you have in here?
  7. There’s too much stuff in the back of the car. I can’t see out of the window.
  8. How much stuff did you bring with you? You don’t need all of those things.
  9. Sit down, we have some important things/stuff to tell you.

Errors

  • ❌There are some amazing stuff in this shop.
    There are some amazing things / There is some amazing stuff
  • ❌Can you pass me that stuff on the table? (talking about one object)
    Can you pass me that thing on the table?
  • ❌We need to get some more stuffs from the shop.
    We need to get some more stuff…
    We need to get some more things…

839. Kate Billington Cycled to Berlin 🚴‍♀️

Kate Billington returns for her 4th appearance on LEP to create some fun English conversation for you to listen to. We talk about lots of things, as usual, including her cycling trip to Berlin and a nasty accident she had on her bicycle in Paris earlier this year. Expect tangents, vocab, idioms, jokes, stories, cups of tea and some very “professional” podcast eating.

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The audio version has some extra content ☝️

https://youtu.be/reKNRVU6l-M

British Council Mini-English Lessons on YouTube 👇

816. Kate Billington in the Podcastle

Kate Billington returns to LEP for the third time, to drink tea, talk about my pod-room, learning the bassoon, exam results, learning Chinese, responding to listener comments and talking about her videos on TikTok.

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Links and things

The British Council on TikTok

https://www.tiktok.com/@britishcouncilenglish?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc

Kate’s video about “It’s raining cats and dogs”

@britishcouncilenglish Replying to @sentimentalbxtch Way ahead of you! #learnontiktok #learnenglish #idioms #edutok #vocabulary #english ♬ original sound – British Council English

@britishcouncilenglish ♬ original sound – British Council English
@britishcouncilenglish Kate’s back with another ‘very funny joke’ (she made me write that…)! Tell us what you think! #britishhumour #britishcomedy #englishteacher #learnenglish #learnontiktok #vocabulary ♬ original sound – British Council English

British Council Mini-English Lesson on For & Since

Previous appearances on LEP

Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners,

Welcome back to Luke’s English Podcast. I hope you are doing fine out there in podcast land.

Kate Billington is back on the podcast today. Of course, you remember her from episodes 689 and 705. 

If you heard those episodes I’m sure you will remember Kate and I know that a lot of you out there will be very happy that she is back again and yes, Kate’s return to this podcast is long overdue. She was a very popular guest when she was on the show before. So it’s great to have her back.

Some of you don’t know Kate because you haven’t heard those episodes but there’s no need for me to introduce her fully now in the intro because I kind of do that again during the conversation, except that Kate is an English teacher from England and we work together at the British Council.

People sometimes ask if Kate has her own podcast or YouTube channel or something, because they want to hear more from her.

Well, recently she started making videos for TikTok. We do talk about this during the episode, but that’s not until the end of the conversation, so I just wanted to give you a heads up about that right now at the start.

Kate is part of a team of teachers making content for the British Council’s channel on TikTok. You’ll see that they are making shorter videos (certainly shorter than mine) about things like British English idioms, culture and other entertaining bits and pieces. So, check it out – @BritishCouncilEnglish on TikTok. The link is on the page for this episode on my website.

So, what you are about to hear is another long and rambling conversation with a guest on my podcast. Hopefully you will stay engaged and entertained throughout while practising your English listening in the process.  

All you have to do as you listen to this is keep up with the changes and tangents, and enjoy this conversational journey into things like how Kate helped me with the shelves in my pod-room, how Kate doesn’t agree with the way I arrange my books on those shelves, how it feels to be filmed while talking (and yes there is a video version of this on YouTube), we talk about Kate’s academic successes and failures (or maybe I should say “failure” because it seems there’s only been one, and I’m still not sure it counts as a failure), the Chinese classes that Kate has been taking recently, quite a lot of stuff about Korea (hello Korean listeners), our blood types and what they mean, how we both feel about getting older, and how we feel about certain other English teaching video content that you might find on TikTok, Instagram or YouTube. All that, and much more, starting… now.

809. Toilets, Titanic & TikTok with AMBER & PAUL

An unedited conversation with Amber & Paul about toilet habits, Titanic (1997), weird videos on TikTok & YouTube and plenty more. Advanced level listening practice with the POD-PALs. Video version available.

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The audio version ☝️ has about 15 minutes of extra rambling by Luke at the end, not included in the video version 👇

Introduction Transcript

Hello, listeners, I hope you’re doing well today. Welcome back to my podcast. This is where you can do plenty of listening in order to improve your English. Because listening is a vital part of the process. You have to listen, listen, listen and generally get used to hearing natural English as it is spoken and my podcast can help you to do that. 

In this episode Amber & Paul are back on the podcast. In case you don’t know, Amber Minogue and Paul Taylor are my friends who have been regular guests on this show for many years. They are both stand-up comedians from the UK, living in Paris, like me. 

A couple of weeks ago, before I had a haircut, the three of us got together here in my room and had a conversation for this podcast. We didn’t plan the topic in advance. So you’re going to hear a lot of spontaneous natural speaking. We’re not slowing down or trying to use the easy words. This is just how we speak normally when we’re together. As you will notice, I try to explain things or clarify things as we go, in order to help you a bit, but still, it might be difficult, depending on your English level. 

If you like you can think of this as a kind of listening test. Can you follow what we’re saying and keep up with all the changes in the conversation?

You’ll see that the episode title is Toilets, Titanic and TikTok which gives you a general idea of what we talk about. 

We didn’t have a lot of time, so I just pressed record, and then quite quickly we found ourselves talking about toilets first of all.

So there’s a good 45 minutes of us talking about toilets.  

By the way, in British English the word toilet means both the room and the thing in the room that you sit on.

In American English the toilet is just the thing you sit on, and the room in American English would probably be called the restroom or the bathroom, although when we go there we’re not resting or having a bath, but anyway… This is a conversation about toilets.

We talk about what people do in the toilet, on the toilet, near the toilet and even above the toilet in some cases. 

So, be ready for some rather specific and possibly disgusting details about this topic. 

I don’t know how you feel about this subject. Personally I find it quite fascinating to learn about this very private thing that we don’t always talk about, except maybe when we’re together with close friends like this. 

For example, any women listening – do you know what happens in men’s public toilets? And men, do you know what goes on in women’s public toilets? I think we know what basically happens, but what about certain, other, unknown things?

For example, why is there usually a much bigger queue at the women’s loo (“loo” is UK English for “toilet”).

Do men always stand up when they pee or do they sometimes do it sitting down? And which one is actually easier or better? 

How do other people deal with public toilets, which can be dirty or messy? And in fact, why are they so messy, especially in the toilet cubicles? What are people doing in there?

And have you ever argued, with someone you live with, about leaving the toilet seat up?

Women often get frustrated with men who leave the toilet seat up. 

Toilet seat up? toilet seat down? What’s going on here? Why is that annoying? And who is right?

That’s just a sample of the kinds of things we’re talking about, OK? 

So, brace yourself – toilet talk is coming, with some specific references to hygiene and cleanliness too. 

Then, somehow we go from the toilet, to the film Titanic, and that will be generally less disgusting and problematic I think, although arguably what happened on the Titanic is much much worse than what normally happens in the toilet, but I don’t know your habits, I don’t know your life.  

Then things get a bit more graphic again at the end of the conversation as we talk about some weird, disgusting and yet strangely satisfying videos we like to watch on TikTok and YouTube.

So here is an unedited talk full of tangents about tea, toilets, Titanic, TikTok trends and more, and here we go…

Ending Transcript (These are the things I say at the end of the audio version + a few spontaneous bits)

OK audio people, how was that for you?

  • Did you manage to keep up? 
  • Did you learn anything new?
  • Do you have anything to add to this conversation?

Congratulations for making it this far. You just entered over 1 hour of English into your head. Think of the people who didn’t do that. They now have 1 hour less of English exposure.

As I said at the start, this conversation was fast (as usual) and there were probably things you missed.

I started the recording before we were ready to begin, that’s because I just needed to get started because we didn’t have a lot of time (Amber had to leave at about 3.30 as usual). So I just hit record.

Paul asked about which audience is bigger – the video viewers or the audio listeners. I said the audio listeners outnumbered the video viewers and so Paul said he wouldn’t do too many visual things, like visual jokes.

Then he pretended to take his trousers off (I guess this was in order to make a visual joke). In fact, he unzipped his jeans, but didn’t actually unbuckle his belt.

This led to Paul commenting that men only unbuckle their belt or fully undo their trousers twice each day, and then we were off and the topic turned to the topic of men undoing their trousers in the toilet, and we asked Amber about what it’s like for women to use the toilet when they are wearing a one-piece outfit, like a jump suit. Isn’t that complicated?

And that’s how it all started, you see. I guess if you’re still listening to this, you got that. I wonder how many people just gave up after the first 5 or 10 minutes. 

Anyway, that’s enough waffle at the end.

Like I said before, leave your comments (if you have a comment section where you are listening – use my website if you can. The link for the relevant page for this episode is in the show notes for this – check your podcast app of choice. The notes will be there, including a link to the website page)

Actually, could you do me a quick favour? If you enjoy my episodes, give me a rating and a quick review – on the Apple Podcasts page or Google Podcasts page – wherever you listen to this podcast. If you’re able to leave a quick review and a rating, that would really help the podcast. 

If you don’t want to help the podcast, then never mind. But if you’d like to help even in a small way – spread the word, leave a review, leave a rating and all that good stuff.

Of course you can also go further and send a donation to help support the show – there’s a PayPal donate button on my website. 

And if you have sent me a donation recently – thank you very very much. YOu make this podcast possible and you allow this show to exist. Seriously.

And then there are the premium subscribers. More premium content is coming soon I promise. As I always say, it does take some time for me to produce the premium content because it requires a lot more preparation due to the more rigorous approach that I take to those episodes, with their PDFs and everything. I’m working on more Story episodes for the premium content. I’ve been writing and re-writing some stories about my life – childhood tales and more. That’s coming soon. Thank you if you are a premium subscriber – again you are keeping the show alive.

If you have questions about LEP Premium, including “How do I get the PDFs? How do I find all the episodes?” and more – check my website. All those questions are answered there – www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo All the frequently asked questions are there.

Thank you for your support everyone! Let’s keep this thing going.

Take care out there in LEPland. Keep your chin up, keep a smile on your face if you can. Be good to yourself, be excellent to each other, have another lovely morning, afternoon, evening or night and I will speak to you in the next instalment, coming soon. Good bye bye bye bye bye! 

Call me a photoshop master

What do you think listeners? Leave your comments below 👇

808. James Harris returns to talk about his book 📖🗣

James Harris is a writer, comedian, English teacher and language learner (French, German, Chinese) from England. In this funny chat, we talk about learning Chinese, being married to a Chinese woman and his semi-autobiographical book, “Midlands” which tells several funny and touching stories about two ex-pats living in Germany; Stuart, who is a stand-up comedian trying to understand the Germans, and Doug who gets involved in a love affair. James reads several passages from the book during the episode.

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https://youtu.be/xP9dCzNJ93w

👉 Get James’ book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Midlands-James-Harris/dp/B0B38CX11P

👉 Sign up to James’ email newsletter “Stiff Upper Quip” for regular short articles in English & more https://stiffupperquip.substack.com/

👇 Listen to James’ first episode on LEP


Extracts from “Midlands” by James Harris 📖

From Chapter 2

Stuart describes his early days in Germany, learning German.

Then a chance meeting in a pub had earned him an invitation to Berlin. Laura, Danish and short, was staying there for the summer, rummaging around in the archives for information about a particular Jewish family who had gone on to achieve cultural success in post-war Denmark; 

Laura, a snub-nosed Danish girl with glasses who loved Israel and wheat beer. Stuart didn’t care much about her interests but did enjoy spending the days reading on her balcony and socializing with university friends at night; 

by the end of the summer his hair had lengthened and his German increased fifty-fold, meaning he now knew about a hundred words. ‘Hallo!’ he would say, then ‘Weltschmerz’ and following a further pause ‘Auf Wiedersehen,’ saying a final farewell to people he would see again the next day. 

He also hadn’t yet learnt to ask whether something was sugar or salt, leading to an evening eating some very sweet chips. But even speechless he wasn’t, at last, uneasy in Berlin – it seemed to him a gentle city, where the trains slid in and out and the open spaces pacified tourists drunker and rowdier elsewhere. 

It was like the Germans had become one of the peaceful races in Star Trek, the ones introduced by an insert screen of their orderly, verdant planet, Bajorans, say, or some other species permanently threatened by obliteration; and what a change after the tiny cubicles and traffic-jam living of the English, who could only ever be the Borg.

Surrounded by pacifists, Stuart revelled in the license of Englishness, his ability to voice the odd mildly aggressive opinion or wildly over-celebrate during that summer’s football tournament, until England lost. He swam in lakes, and bought a bicycle, and gradually stopped thinking of England and the ashes it had fed him. 

In Oxford, where he had been President of the University sketch revue, people had printed gossip about him in the student newspapers, asked him to leave parties, dealt with him as the man who had committed that deepest and most unforgivable of Oxford crimes: failure. 

He had failed, as a comedian and a young man, and now publicly; his country had rejected him. He had been humiliated in front of an audience of his contemporaries and sent into an internal exile. 

Afterwards, many of these young dilettantes, at the time apparently picturing future lives as bereft of unforeseen distress as possible, lives composed of simply an endless procession of success, successes occurring within a network of contacts which they had built up at University and which would continue to provide them with unstinting support throughout their adult lives, never violating the simple and essential principle that all was permissible as long as it did well – did not want his name on their social CV.


From Chapter 14

Stuart is on-stage doing stand up in Germany.

‘Don’t you sometimes get the feeling,’ said Stuart, years before on the stage in Heidelberg, ‘that if Barack Obama had been German it wouldn’t have been “Yes We Can” but ”Nein das geht nicht”? No you can’t. 

‘Everyone would have been chanting it – No you can’t! No you can’t! Of course in this version Obama would not have been black.’ 

Stuart was closing in on the kill. ‘And this very lack of optimism,’ he said, treading across the stage, limbering, into the really good stuff now, ‘is actually built into the German language itself. 

Like for example, when you’re really happy in English, you say “I’m on Cloud Nine.” But in Germany you say, “I’m on Cloud Seven.”

Does this mean that even in their happiest moments the Germans are two clouds less happy than English-speaking people?’ 

And after developing that bit, which meant moving into a depiction of an exemplary German, Hannes, in his German heaven, with an allotment, board games, juice and an Autobahn heading directly to Mallorca, he noting, somewhat wistfully, the celebratory Anglophones on Cloud Nine who were dancing to ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’, which was an excuse to sing it, following which they – the Anglophones – called down to Cloud Eight “Hey Hannes man! Come and join us here on Cloud Nine” and Hannes replying “No thank you. Everything on Cloud Seven is perfectly satisfactory” then moving on to speculation as to the occupants of the other clouds, the French on Cloud Eight living it up, their motor scooters floating off the cloud and down to Cloud Zero where the Greeks were and below them the Cypriots who’d had to sell the cloud, and were just falling – after all these and other jokes, Stuart had them where he wanted them. 

‘Isn’t it funny that, since the Second World War, the Germans have been like’, change voice, German accent, ‘”We Germans. We have done so many things wrong and there is no way we can ever put them right.” 

And now Greece is like,’ pause, turn of the head, “Well, actually…”’ 

They laughed, and laughed, and laughed. They got it.

👇 Follow James on Twitter

793. Rambling Through the Streets of Paris at Night on a Bike (with a VERY SPECIAL GUEST?)

Last week a very special guest visited one of our comedy shows in Paris. I was given a ticket to the show, so I decided to record a podcast while riding through the streets on the way to the show, wondering if I might be able to interview this guest on LEP. Listen to find out what happened, and to hear some rambling and atmospheric sounds of Paris streets at night.

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791. ADJECTIVE + PREPOSITION with Amber & Paul (A+P with A&P on LEP)

Amber and Paul join me in my pod room again for a rambling discussion about everything! Includes a language point about adjective + preposition collocations. Notice the phrases and try to find examples of them in context. Video version available.

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Video Version (Automatic subtitles available)


Check out the premium series which accompanies this episode (P39 parts 1-3) 👇

Sign up to LEP Premium to get the 3-part series of episodes (audio, video, PDFs) about the language point in this episode.

  • P39 Part 1 – All about the grammar of prepositions and how they fit into sentences, including plenty of vocabulary and a quick pronunciation exercise at the end
  • P39 Part 2 – Let’s go through my list of adjective + preposition phrases from the conversation with Amber & Paul. I’ll test your memory and help you notice the target language, while clarifying some of the adjectives. Also includes discussion questions for free practise.
  • P39 Part 3 – Pronunciation, pronunciation, pronunciation, pronunciation, pronunciation. The 5 Ps. There’s a focus on weak forms of prepositions, -ed endings of adjectives and 40 sentences to repeat after me.

Sign up for LEP Premium here and then add LEP Premium episodes to an app on your phone.


Some vocabulary in the episode

Here are a few words and phrases that you will hear us saying at the start of the episode.

  • Let’s do a wager. How long do you think it’s going to be?
  • I think he’s probably written a short introduction. The problem is he gets waylaid.
  • To go down a rabbit hole.
  • There is room for random rambling and tangents. I have factored that into the exercise. That’s all been factored in
  • If I’d been left to my own devices I think I would have cracked that in about 2 minutes, but because I kept getting interrupted by you two, it took longer!
  • Zero rigour. I’m not rigorous enough.

781. Film Club: Monty Python & The Holy Grail (revisited ) with Antony Rotunno [LEP / Film Gold SwapCast]

Talking to Antony Rotunno about a classic British comedy film which makes fun of the legend of King Arthur (and everything else!) Originally published by Antony on his Film Gold podcast earlier this year.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners, welcome back to Luke’s English Podcast!

This episode is called Film Club: Monty Python & The Holy Grail (revisited) with Antony Rotunno [LEP / Film Gold SwapCast].

I think the best way to give an introduction to this is just to explain the title. So let me do that.

I will try to keep this short, and I will probably fail.

Film Club

As you may know, from time to time I do these film club episodes in which I talk about films that I love. The idea is that I want to introduce you to films in English which I think are great, and which you might enjoy too and watching films can help with your learning of English as I have discussed before. You can watch these films in English with or without the English subtitles. I recommend doing a bit of both. Sometimes with subtitles, and sometimes without.

The idea is that you can listen to this episode and get to know the film through our comments and descriptions, then watch the film and hopefully understand and appreciate it a bit better, or just listen to this without watching the film at all if you prefer. There are a few audio clips from the film included, for educational purposes of course, so you will be able to hear some moments and scenes. 

Some of you will know the film already ← and if that is the case, congratulations – you get bonus points. If you know the film already, hopefully we will still be able to tell you something new about it, because there is a lot to say.

I hope you can get access to the film somehow. There’s always the DVD or BlueRay version if you still have a player, and at the time of recording this, I can see that Monty Python & The Holy Grail is available on Netflix, with subtitles in various languages and everything. I’ve also found the entire film on YouTube and it’s been there for 3 years, so you might be able to watch it there. I’ll include a link to that on the page for this episode, where you can also read this whole introduction transcript if you want. 

https://youtu.be/N8edjriU3is

Monty Python & The Holy Grail

The film we’re talking about here is a British comedy film from 1975, by Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Just in case you don’t know, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a group of comedians who did a TV series, some films, some stage shows and some audio albums, mostly in the 1960s and 1970s. 

The members are/were John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle. Sadly, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones are no longer with us.

They are/were all British, except for Terry Gilliam who is originally from the USA. 

This film is a ridiculous but very clever comedy adventure story about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. This fits in quite nicely with the recent episode with my dad about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as I will say in a moment.

King Arthur is a mythical king from British history. We think he’s mythical, but there might have been a real King Arthur once upon a time who the myths are based on, but we’re not sure. 

But certainly there are various stories about Arthur in British culture, including legends about him searching for the Holy Grail – the cup which Jesus drank from during the Last Supper, which may or may not have found its way to the British isles at some point, and also stories of how Arthur first became King by either pulling a magic sword, called Excalibur, out of a rock, or by being given the sword by The Lady of the Lake – a magical enchantress or fairy – a supernatural woman who, in these old stories emerged from a lake to give the sword to Arthur, signifying that he had a god given right and duty to be the King and to unite the whole country. It’s sort of an origin story of the Royal Family, kind of, but also just a romantic tale which has been told again and again and again, particularly in England for many centuries. 

With this film, the Monty Python team decided to make a comedy version of the story of King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail, set in medieval times.

The connection to the episode about Sir Gawain and the Green Night with my dad is that that is also a folklore story from the Arthurian legends – the set of stories associated with King Arthur and his Knights (that’s knights with a K). 

Monty Python & The Holy Grail, although a comedy, does also contain many of the same themes that are present in Sir Gawain & The Green Knight. There is honour, there is a quest into the unknown, there are games and challenges from various characters and beasts along the way, there is a temptation scene, there is an enchantress, there are duels with mysterious and deadly enemies but of course this film is a parody of all those idea – a joke version, making fun of all those tropes of medieval romantic adventures. The film is an affectionate parody of that whole story archetype. It also makes fun of plenty of other things as we will discuss.

Revisited

I am revisiting this film on the podcast with this episode (talking about it again). I say that because I did an episode about this film on the podcast in 2014. Long-term listeners should remember that. It is in the archive if you want to check it out – episode 202. 

In that one I focused on just one scene from the film, in a lot of detail, breaking down all the language bit by bit, to help you understand it all. If you haven’t heard that – let me recommend it. It should be a good addition to this episode and you will hear me fully dissecting all the language and comedy in what is probably my favourite scene in the film. We also talk about that scene a little bit in this episode.

This time though, we’re dealing with the whole film, discussing it and giving an overview of the entire thing, how it was made, what it all means (if it means anything), and what happens in the story scene by scene.

With Antony Rotunno

The other person you will hear in this episode is Antony Rotunno. You’ve heard Antony a few times on this podcast now, most recently in the episode about Meditation. Antony is an English teacher, a podcaster and a musician from England.

LEP / Film Gold Swapcast

A swapcast is when two podcasts publish the same audio recording. So, this recording was first published by Antony on his film podcast earlier this year. His film podcast is called Film Gold. He edited this episode and published it in February. Antony said I could publish it on my podcast too so here you go. 

No doubt this episode will be epically long, which I think is totally fine I must say. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you don’t have to listen to it in one go. If you are using a podcast app on your phone you can pause any time, go and live your life for a while, and when you come back to the episode your podcast app will remember where you stopped. So, here’s a nice long episode for you to enjoy in your own time.

One note: If you are listening to this on YouTube and you want to activate the automatic subtitles, I have a suspicion that they won’t be available. I always activate the automatic subtitles on my YouTube videos, but sometimes YouTube just says “no”. I suspect that might be the case this time, which is a pity. So you might just have to survive without subtitles this time and focus on your listening skills rather than your reading skills. If it’s any consolation, my other episode about this film (ep 202) does have plenty of notes and scripts, which you will find on my website.

So in a moment LEP is going to transform into Film Gold, hosted by Antony with me as his guest. I must say thank you to Antony for doing all the editing and production work and allowing me to publish this here for my audience to enjoy. 

I would like to recommend Antony’s other podcasts to you again. He’s got three. You can find them wherever you get your podcasts.

Right then. In a moment you’re going to hear the pleasant sounds of Antony’s Film Gold intro music and then lots of sound effects, fanfares and crazy madness for a minute or two. 

If you wonder what that is, it’s the audio from the original movie trailer for Monty Python & The Holy Grail. 

As you will hear, one of the jokes in the trailer is that the person doing the voice over keeps being fired and replaced. We start with a cheesy American announcer, then we get a couple of English guys who can’t really read very well and finally the voice over is done by a person speaking what I think is Chinese (although I’m not sure exactly what variety of Chinese it is – please feel free to confirm or deny in the comment section). 

The trailer is typically crazy, and there are lots of little clips from the film and sound effects. If you’re wondering what’s going on, basically you are being transported into the madcap world of Monty Python, and then you will hear Antony’s voice and you’ll know that you are in the comfortable surroundings of the Film Gold podcast.

Right, so without any further ado, let’s stop my introduction so you can hear another introduction to this introduction to the introduction to the film of Monty Python & The Holy Grail. 


Other Links & Videos

The Camelot Song

Brave Sir Robin complete song

The Holy Grail on Location (BBC Documentary)

Rob Ager’s Holy Grail analysis videos

LEP Episodes with Rob Ager (Film analysis)

Monty Python Live at Drury Lane

Monty Python Live at The Hollywood Bowl

775. A Rambling Chat with James (June 2022)

My brother James comes back onto the podcast for a conversation about the hot weather, tricky WordPress updates, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, Rock Music concert movies, Alan Partridge’s live show, Irish/British relations and plenty more.

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Video Version on YouTube (try activating automatic subtitles)

Introduction Transcript (the audio version might be slightly different)

Hello listeners,

I hope you are doing fine today, and I mean that and I sincerely hope that you’re doing ok and that my podcast brings you some level of comfort.

You know my main aim is to help you with your English with these episodes by either teaching you language directly or by just providing you with a natural source of spoken English with my content, but also I hope to give you some enjoyment, and if that is any kind of remedy for the more serious and difficult things going on, then I’m glad.

Recently I was in London, wasn’t I, staying at my brother James’ place for a long weekend. You might remember that. In the episode we recorded together on the Friday, about the Royal Family, I mentioned that I was planning to record two conversations with James, one about the Royals, and another episode about whatever we felt like talking about. You heard the one about the Royals of course, but we didn’t actually get round to doing the second one.

But a few listeners got in touch wondering about the second conversation with James. It seems he has a bit of a fan club out there, which is no surprise I would say. 

So just the day before yesterday I sent James a Whatsapp message to see when he might be free to record another episode, online this time, and he immediately wrote back saying “I can do it now if you want”. 

I had about 1 hour before I had to go and get my daughter from school so I wrote back saying “Yes, great – let’s do it!” And a few minutes later we were recording a conversation, and that’s what you’re going to hear in this episode.

Now, my intention with episodes like this is to let you listen to a natural conversation in English, with all the usual features of spontaneous speaking. If you like you can imagine that you’re just in the room with James and me as we have a bit of a chat. 

Now, conversations like this, between friends (or in this case brothers) usually go in lots of different directions, don’t they? They don’t usually just stick to just one topic. They move from one thing to the other, they wind this way and that, there are tangents, serious moments, funny moments. That’s how informal conversations work. We’re rambling, basically. I mean, I’m rambling right now too. I’m rambling about how this episode features plenty of rambling. It’s like rambling on the top of rambling – or like Inception for rambling.

So, here’s a run down of the topics that come up in this conversation. I’m saying this to give you a kind of road map – as if to say “here is the main route or path of this journey today. We’re going to go here, then here, then there, then here and so on” – just in order to give you an overview of the conversation which might help your comprehension. Instead of presenting you with a slow, scripted conversation I am throwing you in at the deep end, but also throwing you a rubber ring, so you have at least a fighting chance of not drowning. 

Topics (A mix of serious stuff and not-serious stuff)

  • We start with the recently hot weather in Europe, and when that turns to the slightly depressing but important subject of the climate crisis we transition to a different subject, because we’re trying to keep it light – and we talk about what we both had for lunch and about eating habits and the challenge of eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, plus the pros and cons of eating salmon on a regular basis. That’s /sæmən/ not /sælmɒn/.
  • Then James shares what he was doing before I called him – trying to update a website using WordPress php and we talk about horrible moments when you get error messages when working on a computer.
  • During my lunch that day I was watching the new Obiwan Kenobi Star Wars TV series on Disney+ and we talk about that – just a few brief comments really. Not a full review. See if you can spot the vocabulary that James uses to describe the show.
  • This leads us to wonder about Jawas from Star Wars (side characters that appear in the SW universe), and the mystery of what they really look like under their brown hoods. Don’t worry – the SW chat is kept to a minimum.
  • Then we turn to the subject of rock music concerts and Neil Young’s live concert video called Rust Never Sleeps, which appears to feature some jawas, which is odd. 
  • We also talk about some other classic rock music festival movies including Woodstock, Rolling Stones at Altamont and The Last Waltz. So get your denim jacket ready.
  • We describe Jimi Hendrix’s historic version of the Star Spangled Banner performed at Woodstock, which also became an astounding statement against the Vietnam war.
  • We give some responses to comments from listeners on our recent conversation about The Royal Family, and also questions about why James doesn’t appear on video in my episodes.
  • James describes his recent experience of seeing the Alan Partridge live comedy stage show, called “Stratagem” at the O2 Arena in London recently. He gives a kind of review of the show and the venue, and describes a fight between two guys which happened in the bar afterwards.
  • We dissect some frogs – specifically several jokes from the Alan Partridge show featuring an Irish character also played by Steve Coogan.
  • This leads us back to more serious matters and the subject of Irish protest songs associated with the IRA (Irish Republican Army) which would normally never be played on the BBC but it happened in an episode of the Alan Partridge TV show. That was quite a surprising and fairly significant moment in the history of the BBC. You might learn a little bit about Irish and British relations there, and you can hear a clip of an Irish accent too.

There are some other bits and pieces too, but I’ll say no more here in this introduction. I think that’s probably enough. I hope you can keep up with the conversation – I will chat to you again a little bit at the end, but now, let’s chat to James, or as my daughter calls him: Jamie.


Ending Notes / Script

Thanks again to James. If you want to buy him a pint by the way, or just to show your appreciation or support – the best way is to visit his page on bandcamp.com and buy some of his music. https://jimthompson.bandcamp.com/ YOu know what, don’t tell anyone, but you might be able to see a photo of him there. And while you’re doing that, check out his music. He makes mostly electronic music, some ambient, some techno, some hip hop. You can buy his music and most of the money (if not all of it) will go directly to him. You can support him like that and also you can get some of his “choons” too, which are getting better all the time by the way. https://jimthompson.bandcamp.com/ 

I’m going to ramble now for some minutes. 

Some changes to premium content and how it is delivered to you.

If you’re wondering why it’s been a while since I uploaded new stuff, it’s because I am working behind the scenes to make a few changes to the way I deliver premium content to you. I have also been making a series of premium episodes but I’m holding onto them until I know exactly what is happening. That is the storytime series which I’d been meaning to do for ages. I finally got down to it and wrote about 15 stories – all true stories from my life, which I can use to teach you grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. That’s coming up on LEP Premium. Don’t worry, I am still working on that and have no intention of stopping or anything. 

Remember if you need any information about your premium account – any questions about it, go to www.teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo because I have put answers to all the frequently asked questions about the premium sub there.

I also just want to say to all of you – especially the premium subscribers and people who have donated but also to those of you who listen until the end of episodes like this and leave comments and so on – thank you for supporting my show. There are always so many episodes I want to make, things I want to say and do – including different topics, different techniques, more language-focused content, returning guests, new guests – and all the things that people often request or suggest. 

There are only so many hours in a day and days in the week though. It’s tricky to do everything – and I don’t want to overload you or myself.

These are not complaints I am making by the way – nor are they excuses. I’m just attempting to have a bit of transparency here at LEP.

It’s hot! It’s now the day after the day after I recorded this conversation with my brother. It’s Friday late afternoon as I record this and the current temperature is 34 with a “feels like” temperature of 36. So it’s 36 degrees basically. I’m flippin hot, but my pod room is not too bad. The podcastle withstands the heat quite well and I don’t get any direct sunlight in my window which helps. Another thing that helps is that if I open a window in the corridor outside my room, and open the window in my room (of course) and then prop open the door of my room just a bit (if I keep it ajar by propping it open with an object – in this case a retro plastic skateboard) then I get a slight breeze blowing through the room and this really helps to keep me cool. That’s a little tip I picked up in Japan. It’s common sense of course, but it was one of the little things I used to do to try and deal with the hot summer weather there. Always try to keep the air circulating if possible, by giving the air somewhere to come from and somewhere to go. Oops, nearly got back into cotton eye joe there. Sorry for the earworm listeners.

OK, that’s enough now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Leave your comments about these things:

  • The Obiwan Kenobi series – do you agree with James and me that it’s lacklustre, or not? 
  • Do you always get your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and how?
  • How is the weather where you are and how do you manage to cope with it? Do you have any good tips for keeping cool? Maybe you just have air conditioning, but what if you don’t?
  • What is your favourite rock concert film? We mentioned Neil Young, Rolling Stones at Altamont, The Last Waltz and Woodstock, but there are so many others. Which is your favourite? Maybe you’ve never seen one. Actually, my all-time favourite concert film is probably Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads. Amazing film. 
  • That’ll probably do actually!

Have a nice day, night, morning, evening etc, keep cool and I will speak to you soon.

Videos

Jimi Hendrix – “Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezI1uya213I

Santana – “Soul Sacrifice” at Woodstock

Alan Partridge meets his Irish lookalike Martin Brennan (This Time With Alan Partridge, BBC1)

Alan Partridge talks to Martin Brennan during the live “Stratagem” show

By James a pint and listen to his music – jimthompson.bandcamp.com