Category Archives: TV series

857. Trivia Quizzes with Sarah and Fred (Part 1)

Sarah and Fred are trivia quiz nerds who have been doing trivia nights in Paris for years and now have a new trivia-themed podcast. In this episode we get together to discuss trivia quizzing, and to quiz each other with our own trivia questions. In this first part we get to know Sarah and Fred again, talk about their new podcast and then Sarah quizzes me with some cleverly-written questions. The quizzing continues in part 2.

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🎧 Listen to Luke’s first episode on Sarah & Fred’s podcast “Not An Alias Podcast”

📸 Fred on Instagram @FredMeUp

📸 Sarah on Instagram @ParisQuizMistress

855. Discussing Films with Cara Leopold

Talking to Cara about films, movies, her movie club for English learners and a discussion about films and what they mean.

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Introduction Transcript

Hello!

In this episode you will be able to listen to a conversation with Cara Leopold all about films. 

If you are a long-term listener to this podcast, then you will know Cara. She’s been on this show a few times before.  

Just in case you need a reminder, Cara is an English teacher from the UK, currently living in France, and she loves films and uses them to help people learn English. In fact she  is the creator of the Leo Listening Movie Club, where she helps advanced, film-loving English learners understand and discuss iconic movies together in order to master conversational English.

Cara Loves films.
I love films too, who doesn’t?
We all love films, don’t we? 
And it’s very common to talk about films we’ve seen.

Are you able to do that in English?

I want you to think about what is involved in having a conversation about films in English.

When we talk about films, we do a number of things, including:

  • Summarising the plot or story of the film
  • Describing the main characters 
  • Talking about actors and their performances, 
  • Talking about directors and they way films are directed, edited, locations, effects and music.
  • Giving our opinions about films, including the things we like and don’t like
  • Discussing the meaning of films, and any social, historical or personal issues which are connected to them.

How do we do those things in English? Are you familiar with the language of cinema and the language of talking about films?

What I want to do with this episode is let you listen to a natural conversation (one that isn’t scripted in advance) about films in order to let you hear all those things being done.

So that’s what this is! 

You can use this episode in several ways. 

1) Just listen for enjoyment, listen to what we have to say about various different films, and just try to follow the conversation, and practice your general listening skills in the process. 

2) Focus on noticing the specific vocabulary or grammar that we use to do all the things I mentioned before. Listen out for the ways we describe, summarise, give opinions and generally share our thoughts about films.

We mention lots of different films in this conversation and one thing which I’m thinking about is that those films might have different titles in your language. I hope you are able to identify the films. 

You can see a list of the names of the films we mention on the page for this episode on my website. If you want to check out those movie titles, and perhaps google them to find out what they are called in your language, just go to the episode page on my website and you’ll see all the titles listed there, plus various other links to things which we mention or which you might find useful.

Right then. It’s now time to listen to my conversation with Cara. 

I will talk to you again briefly at the end of this but now, let’s get started.


Ending Transcript

Thanks again to Cara.

You can check out her work. 

On her website you can see details of the different courses and resources I mentioned before, which involve improving your English with films.

www.Leo-listening.com 

Also check out her YouTube channel where she has been posting videos lately. Some of the videos there include things like:

  • The best movies for English learners
  • The 5 best podcasts for movie loving English learners
  • Should you watch movies in English with or without subtitles?
  • How to understand movies in English without subtitles
  • And more

Also you will find a link to Cara’s LinkedIn page where she has been writing posts about various things.

Cara Links

As well as that, on the page for this episode on my website you’ll also find 

  • Links to those previous episodes of this podcast about using films and TV series to improve your English. That’s episodes 523 and 660 

Also! Links to the episodes about Groundhog Day that we mentioned.

Episode 129 (parts 1 & 2) of Daniel Goodson’s podcast “My Fluent Podcast” in which Daniel and Cara discuss Groundhog Day

And a list of all the names of the films Cara and I mentioned in this conversation, in case you wanted to google them to find out what they are called in your language.

Here are a few questions which you could answer in the comment section if you like:

  • Have you seen any good films recently? 
  • Do you prefer films or TV series? Why?
  • What films have helped you learn English? How did they help you? 

Films we mentioned in this conversation

  • Pétaouchnok  (The French film starring Philippe Rebbot, who Cara saw at a cafe recently)
  • Films which Cara has watched in her film club recently
  • Get Out
  • Groundhog Day

    Jane Austen adaptations
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Pride and Prejudice

    Richard Curtis films
  • Love Actually
  • Four Weddings & A Funeral
  • Notting Hill
  • About Time
  • Yesterday 

    Danny Boyle films
  • 28 Days Later
  • 28 Weeks Later

    Horror films 
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Insidious
  • John Carpenter films
  • Halloween
  • The Thing

    Paul Verhoven films
  • Robocop
  • Total Recall

    David Fincher films
  • Se7en
  • Fight Club

    One of my all-time favourite films
  • Taxi Driver

    More recent films
  • The Barbie Movie
  • Killers of the Flower Moon

846. Topic Tombola with James

“The Glib Brothers” reunite on the podcast to discuss more music, films, books, scary AI and UFO sightings. James is my older brother and he’s probably been on this podcast more than any other guest. Listen for another deep and humorous conversation with lots of cultural reference points.

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Some of the things we talked about in this episode 👇

  • Blow Up (1966 mystery thriller film set in London, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni)
  • The Bee Gees (Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb – The Gibb Brothers)
  • Diary of a CEO (Stephen Bartlett’s podcast)
  • Record Play Pause by Stephen Morris (a book about Joy Division / New Order)
  • ChatGPT & AI (you know)
  • 1984 by George Orwell (a famous book about living under a totalitarian regime)
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (another famous book about living under a different kind of totalitarian regime)
  • This Is Spinal Tap (a cult classic comedy film about a fictional rock band)
  • Alan Partridge (a comedy character played by actor/comedian Steve Coogan)
  • Three Amigos (comedy film directed by John Landis, written by Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin and Randy Newman, starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short – a Thompson family favourite)
  • Green Street (an unintentionally hilarious drama film about football hooligans in the UK, starring Elijah Wood)

James’ Music – Glytek Audio

A TOMBOLA :)

800. [PART 2] EPISODE 800 RAMBLE / LEPSTER Q&A

Celebrating episode 800 by answering a massive list of questions from listeners. This episode covers things like how to improve your speaking when you live in a non-English speaking country, the headphones and microphone I use, my current favourite episode, the afterlife and spirit world, my favourite brands of tea, my favourite video games, being a father and the recent Star Wars series Andor and plenty plenty more. Video version available.

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A note from Luke (not in the episode)

I recorded parts 1 & 2 on Thursday 8 December. Since then England got knocked out of the World Cup by France (ouch!) and also I got ill with a horrible case of flu which put me in bed for 4 days. I’m still ill, but definitely starting to feel better. I’m going to record the rest of these episodes when I am well again, but time is running out fast before Christmas arrives. I am not sure I will have time to do a World Cup episode, but who cares now that England are out? 😂 (I’m joking – I’d love to talk about the football, but I don’t know if there will be time. We’ll see.) Anyway, enjoy the part 2 of this episode 800 mega-ramble! 🎆🎆🎆

QUESTIONS (Listen or watch the video to hear/see me correcting some errors)

АфтандилAftandil

1 day ago

Hello Luke,

How are you?

I kicked off listening to your podcact because of your Mom.  In one of your first episodes, you were talking about the Beatles. I so much liked her wise answers to your questions, her voice, accent, and most of all her straightforward way of speaking . She’s great!

My question Mr Thomson.

What are  High Hopes in your mind ? I’m now referring to Pink Floyd’s song.

Thank you very much,

Best of luck.

Lobzhanidze Aftandil.


Sirus Asgarov (and Garov is very serious)

10 hours ago

Hi,Luke.Please  add  some  special   videos for IELTS listening multiple questions.There are  different   sounds  and also  so fast  for this  reason  it is  hard to define.

Thanks in Advance


David Alexander

10 hours ago (edited)

Hi Luke ️I have a suggestion for creating a discord server in order to connect LEPsters around the world therefore they would be able to talk and have a chat with each other, what’s your take on this Luke? (anyway you can easily notify LEPsters through discord about contents too and it’s utterly free, that’s awesome isn’t it?) and thanks a lot for your awesome contents, have a blessed day 


Tutor Asim

1 day ago

Hello Luke . Can you make a video about how to be confident on camera? Maybe you could interview some of your YouTuber friends or maybe Paul and Amber , they haven’t been on the podcast for a while have they ?


宁 魏Ning Wei

5 hours ago

Hi Luke~How do we improve our speaking skills if we are not living abroad~I mean English language speaking country~ Do you have any practical suggestions? I feel like my listening is much better than speaking~Your podcast is awesome ~thanks~

4 ways of speaking to yourself

  • Repeat after me, shadowing
  • Just chatting to yourself “I’m going to do this, and that’s a bottle of shampoo with soap all over it’ etc
  • Giving an opinion in response to something
  • Describing past events to practise storytelling

Mosbah Tayeb  • 1 day ago

How are you


Lv Bri  • 10 hours ago

Hi luke, why your headset look so ugly? I don’t mean to be rude, but they seems to be fixed with a plastic bag.


Lv Bri  • 10 hours ago

I was joking haha. A more real question: I am curious about if the podcast is your main job or do you teach in a real school? You are a great teacher and I wish you all the best with the podcast.


Natasha Katina

1 day ago

Hi Luke, thank you for your brilliant podcast. is your daughter friends with Amber’s and Paul‘s children?


Денис Пирог Denis Pirog

1 day ago

Hello, Luke! Which episode do you like the most and why? 


marianavie2012

1 day ago

Hi Luke, what do you like the most about being a podcaster?


Maria K.

1 day ago

Could you perhaps read short stories to repeat more often. I think this is the best way to practice pronunciation. That would be great.


Cristiano Ronaldo

1 day ago (edited)

I have a suggestion for you to make your podcast greater. You should make more episodes about vocabulary, like topic vocabulary, everyday expressions and some difficult grammatical structures, for example: 

I ate anything but an apple 

which means I only ate an apple.

I ate nothing but an apple

[Luke: actually this isn’t correct – listen to the episode to hear my comments]

Berdiyev Azamat from Uzbekistan 


Norridin Abdulkarim

1 day ago

Hey teacher Luke’ How are you? My question is how many Languages do you speak?  Second question Which club  do you support in the premier league?  Thanks an advance!!!


Rome Gracheve

2 days ago

Hello, Luke! My question is, what is the best gift you have ever received?


Mak Rakhimova

1 day ago (edited)

Do you have any movie lists to recommend ? 

Last question : I know you travelled to lots of countries . Haven’t you thought of starting a travelling blog ?


Angela M

1 day ago

I hope you will end episode 800 with a song! 


Mak Rakhimova

1 day ago (edited)

Hello,  Luke. Do you believe in the concept of the After Life ?

Have you ever been interested in the spirit world ?


Andrii Abtseshko

1 day ago

Hello Luke. What kind of dance you will do online on your YouTube channel if England win the Qatar championship ?


Bashiir Ahmed

1 day ago

Teacher luke, good morning, greetings from a small country in the horn of Africa called SOMALIA. my question is, can you connect me to an online English Teacher or School where I can study English. Thank you so much.


KamMouflage

2 days ago

what is your fav British tea brand?


Yang Si

1 day ago

What is the best random conversation you overhead?


TECH STUDIO

1 day ago

Can you describe you as a luckiest person


Steelpiercer

1 day ago

What is your favorite video game?


Stas Miroshnikov

1 day ago

Hi, what was your childhood dream? Do you have any dreams now?


ghada suqr

2 days ago

Please  read about YouTube algorithms  to reach more audience.


AGnieszk rachula

1 day ago

Have you ever been to Poland ?


KamMouflage

2 days ago

why do you wear a headset while recording?


Farhan Ibnu salih

7 hours ago

Hello are you fine


Maria Osipova  • 21 hours ago (edited)

Hi Luke, what is the best thing about being a father?


Hóa học Phương trình  • 6 hours ago

Why i can hear u,but i can’t hear american speak ?


みき  • 5 hours ago

And Can I ask what is the name of the microphone? Your voice is really clear and nice.^^@


Stas Miroshnikov  • 40 minutes ago

Hi again, have you watched new TV Star Wars series Andor? If yes, did you like it and why?


inga nagifka 

 • 1 day ago

Hello, Luke! I’m a new listener of your podcast, but I already like it a LOT! I love your sense of humor! Have you seen the movie Hot Fuzz? What do you think about it? Maybe you can recommend some interesting movies with great British humor? Good luck to you and thank you very much for your excellent job! 


Elena Buzalskaia  • 1 day ago

Hello, Luke! Could detective stories and poetry be more frequent or somehow regular in your podcast? Do you think they are like boosters for vocabulary, or they can make listeners feel a little bit passive? Do you have a special formulae for the  balance between different types of lessons?


Alessandro Clavenna  • 1 day ago

Hi Luke. Have you ever been to Italy.


Aurora Contreras  • 1 day ago

Hi, I’m new a subscriber! Great Podcasts!  I’d like you to dedicate an episode to the MBTI personality test, which is very popular nowadays.Kind Regards! 🇨🇱🇬🇧


Jerry Han  • 1 day ago

Could you please make a new episode about British English? like the tips of sounding more british and the things we have to mind if we wanna master British English. Thank you so much!


Maria Osipova  • 1 day ago

Hi Luke, what is your best life-changing non-fiction book?


Agnieszka Stodulska  • 16 hours ago

Hi Luke, Have you ever been to Poland?

HI Luke, Have you got any pets? Dogs or cats?

Hi Luke, What is your favourite dish? Do you prefer french or english cuisne?

Hi Luke, I like the podcasts with yout brother. Do you plan to organise the meeting with him on you tube? He has a very interesting voice. I’d like to see him :)

Hi Luke, Can you imagine that I need to have contact with your podcast every day? It is like an addiction:) Have you got some patent to be so good?

Hi Luke, What is in the picture on the left in your podroom?. I see a red geometric figure but what does it mean?

PART 3 coming as soon as possible!

796. Language & Local British Identity with MARK STEEL

Special Guest Mark Steel joins me to discuss cultural and linguistic differences between the UK and France, plus accents in the UK and a little tour of some places in the UK that you don’t know about. Also includes a discussion of swearing and rude language in Britain. What is the R word which you should never say in a specific part of the UK? Listen on to find out. Video version available.

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Video Version (shorter, with automatic subtitles)

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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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. 

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

767. Amber & Paul in the Podcastle (Catching Up #12)

Two hours of PodPal action for your enjoyment. This one has a bit of everything. Some audience questions, an idioms game, some dodgy jokes, accents, impressions and more. Video version available.

[DOWNLOAD]

Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners, welcome to the podcast.

I’ve got a full two hours of Amber & Paul lined up for you here. Actually, it’s about an hour and twenty mins of Amber & Paul and maybe 45 minutes of just Paul as Amber had to leave to pick up her kids.

There’s a bit of everything in this one. It’s just the usual rambling from the podpals but we answer some listener questions, do a few accents, tell some stories and dodgy jokes and Paul and I play an idioms game at the end. It’s a pretty goofy episode which shouldn’t be taken too seriously. There is a video version on YouTube as well.

Just an announcement for any LEPsters in the Paris area. I am doing a live podcast recording and storytelling show at the British Council on 19 May at 7pm. It’s free, everyone’s welcome and all you need to do is sign up to reserve a seat. All the details are available at www.britishcouncil.fr and then click on EVENTS or événements. I’ll be telling the story of how I ended up in a Japanese hospital scared out of my wits. It’s a story of culture shock, comedy and misadventure. If you can’t come, you should be able to listen to it on the podcast, if the recording comes out ok and the show isn’t a complete flop!

Right, so let’s get back to this podpals episode. I want to point out a stupid slip that I make right at the very start. I wanted to say “Hi, I’m Luke and I need a haircut” but for some reason it came out “Hi, I’m Luke and I’m need a haircut”. I suppose it just shows that native speakers make language errors from time to time, although this was more of a slip than an error. A slip is when you make a mistake even though you know the rule. It just comes out wrong accidentally. An error is when you make a mistake because you don’t know something about the language.

Anyway, I will let you enjoy my language mistake and then settle into over 2 hours of Amber and Paul in the podcastle.

754. Learning & Teaching English in The Metaverse / The Mandalorian (with Andy Johnson)

Andy Johnson returns to talk about more “M” words – this time it’s The Metaverse and The Mandalorian. The Metaverse is an immersive and interactive 3D online environment. How can it be used for learning and teaching English? Andy’s new job is with a company that offers English learning in the metaverse, so let’s chat about it. Also, we finally talk about The Mandalorian on LEP after waiting nearly a year! This is probably the last episode of LEP in 2021 – so Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you have a Happy New Year!

Audio version (with a meta-themed introduction and a ramble about December)

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Video Versions (just the conversation with Andy, in two parts)

Find out more about learning English in the metaverse using Fluent Worlds Academy here https://academy.fluentworlds.com/

Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners, how are you? How’s December going for you so far? (I’m recording this in December of course, which is why I just said that – it’s the middle of December) How’s December for you? 

It can be a weird month December – it’s pretty much the middle of winter and if you celebrate Christmas then December becomes a bit stressful because the Christmas holiday is coming and you have to make sure you’ve got presents for everyone, and you have to sort out your travel plans and work out how much time you are willing or able to spend with your different family members and it all gets a bit stressful, and of course everyone else is going through the same thing so generally people seem a bit stressed out at this time. If you’re late with your Christmas shopping then that becomes a mad rush and the shops are full of desperate people like in that film with Arnold Shwarzenegger…

plus work commitments seem a bit heavy because everyone’s trying to get things done before the Christmas break and so things get a bit much. 

It’s certainly true here for me, because as you know (because I’ve been banging on about it since the summer) we are moving house and having work done on the new place and that’s making things so much more complicated. 

Actually, I think this might be the last episode of the year, but I am not sure. I have a couple of other ones in the pipeline but time is running out very quickly, so this might be the final episode of Luke’s English Podcast for 2021. 

Merry Christmas everyone – if you celebrate Christmas of course and if you don’t celebrate Christmas I will just say seasons greetings. If you don’t get more podcasts after this until January some time, then you can imagine that I’ve had to pack up all my podcast gear, switched off the internet and moved all our stuff to a new flat, which will probably be full of boxes, and maybe no internet connection, meanwhile I’ll be at my parents place in England (COVID permitting) just doing the usual Christmas things, and the podcast will return in January, probably, but we will see. I might be able to upload more before the new year, but there’s no guaranteeing that. So I will say Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year to you now. 

Anyway, let me talk about this episode then. It’s an interview episode and this time Andy Johnson is back on the podcast after a long absence. If you don’t know him because you haven’t heard his episodes, or if you have heard those episodes and your memory is not working to its full capacity – Andy is a friend and former colleague of mine. I won’t say more because we talk about all of that at the start of the conversation. All will become clear as you listen.

The title of this one is something like this: Learning & Teaching English in the Metaverse / The Mandalorian (with Andy Johnson)

So there are two topics here. The Metaverse and The Mandalorian. This is one single audio episode with this introduction but the video version is in two parts – one which is just our chat about the metaverse, and another one which is just our chat about The Mandalorian. 

In this audio version, let’s start with The Metaverse. 

Again, Andy is going to explain this himself, but to be clear The Metaverse (or maybe a metaverse – because there is more than one) is essentially a 3D open world online. A metaphysical space which exists on the internet where people can go and interact and do all sorts of things. It’s a bit like a primitive version of The Matrix from the film The Matrix, but the graphics aren’t as good, yet, and it’s not quite as scary and evil, yet.

As these sorts of open online worlds become more and more sophisticated and as we learn how to use them, we will probably all find ourselves operating within them more and more, for various things – especially for creating virtual workspaces for people working from home or working from different locations but part of a team. Currently we use things like Zoom calls with breakout rooms and screensharing, Microsoft Teams and other platforms. But eventually these shared online spaces will probably become more immersive, opening up so many possibilities for team work which perhaps are more natural and intuitive because they simulate the real world more directly, but with so much more control – we’re talking about 3D environments in which you can move anywhere, manipulate the environment and so on.

These metaverses can seem a little bit scary when you consider the frightening visions of this kind of thing we’ve had from films like The Matrix, but on the other hand they should allow us to work, collaborate and also play together in more productive and enjoyable ways than the current methods we have. Of course, many people are already using them especially for gaming. 

There’s a lot to discuss regarding these sorts of new online spaces, and I say “new” but they’re not really that new – remember Second Life – the immersive 3D online world? And of course there are all the online multiplayer games that people play – including things like GTA online. 

The metaverse has been around for years in various forms. So, there’s a lot to discuss here in terms of what the metaverse is, how it could be used and the philosophical ramifications of it all but what Andy and I are going to focus on in this conversation is how the metaverse could be used as an environment in which to learn and teach English, and what the advantages of that could be.

So that’s the main focus of our chat really. Then after that, we have a chat about the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian. This is quite long overdue on this podcast as I wanted to talk about it in an episode or two at the start of 2021 when The Mandalorian season 2 was first streamed on Disney+ and it was all fresh in people’s minds. Quite a few listeners got in touch to ask me to share my thoughts on it on the podcast – so, finally here we go. There’s about 25 minutes of chat about The Mandalorian, including spoilers for the end of season 2. 

Now, I know that not everyone is a Star Wars fan, which is totally fine of course, so it might not be for all of you, but it’s at the end of this conversation so hopefully the Star Wars fans will be happy to hear us discuss it (quite briefly I must say) and the non-Star Wars fans can feel free just to take it or leave it. In any case, keep listening if you want to hear me talking about The Mandalorian, finally.

We’re nearly ready to start but I think I should also add something about the lexicology of the word “Meta”, since we are talking about The Metaverse here.

I would say that metaverse is something of a portmanteau word because it’s a bit like a new word which has been made by sticking together two other words: meta and universe. 

The verse part is from universe of course, and also have multiverse is a trending word at the moment because of the new Spiderman film and the upcoming Doctor Strange film “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” Multiverse means a system of many interconnected universes or parallel worlds and I think now in phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe we have many different alternate realities all converging, which should be entertaining and quite confusing as well, potentially. But multiverse is not the word we’re dealing with here – that’s another episode for another time.

So let me just refocus on metaverse. So we know what the -verse part of that means – universe.

But what about meta?

This word (or prefix) is currently being used more than ever.

You probably saw the recent news that Facebook changed its name to Meta. Actually the social network will still be called Facebook as far as I know. The company behind it though, will be called Meta.

So what is the word meta? Is it even a word, or just a prefix? Let’s see.

The word or prefix “meta” comes from Ancient Greek and essentially means “beyond” or “about”. 

There are many uses of the word. In some cases the it’s an adjective – “That’s very meta” and some cases it’s a prefix to a noun, like in metaphysical or metaverse.

Essentially, meta refers to going beyond something or going outside something, and becoming self aware.

In the case of the metaverse, which is a metaphysical online universe, this means going beyond the normal physical limitations of the real world, and entering a world which is somehow outside that reality – a world, like The Matrix, which is free from the limitations of the real world. So that’s an example of when meta means “beyond”.

Sometimes meta means “about”, and for me this is like going outside of something and then looking back at the thing you have transcended and commenting on it, talking about it and so on. 

For example, a film might be described as meta when the the film becomes self-aware and starts commenting the medium of film itself. This is hard to explain. 

Let’s say this – the TV series Friends was not very meta, I think. The characters lived in their world and lived their lives and there was never a sense that they knew they were living in a fictional made up place. But, if at any point the characters in the film started commenting on their world but from an outside view, then that would be meta. For example, if Chandler and Joey started commenting on how their apartment building wasn’t real or that they lived inside a TV show, or if Rachel said something like “I’m a waitress, so how can I afford to live in this nice big apartment in Manhattan??” maybe even looking at the camera while doing it, then that would be quite meta – if the show started to realise it was just a show, and in fact was commenting on that. Then the show would be outside of itself and commenting on itself – self aware.

So that’s meta the adjective, meaning self-referential, or self-aware – the “about” part of that old Greek meaning.

Another example of meta.

In learning English we talk about metacognitive strategies. These are ways of thinking about how you learn, and the way you think about learning. You go outside of your normal learning behaviour, observe it, consider it and think about it, perhaps creating new ways to think about and approach your learning habits. For example, many of the things that Bahar from Iran talked about in her episode of the WISBOLEP competition this year – these were metacognitive strategies. Her first approach to learning English didn’t work, so she actually stepped out of her position, reconsidered her whole approach, and created other ways of thinking and learning, and the results worked well. She applied some metacognitive strategies to her learning of English.

Meta can also be a noun, in gaming especially. People talk about a meta while gaming. I’m not completely sure about this because I’m not really a gamer, but as far as I can tell, a “meta” is the best strategy to use in order to win a game. I’ve even read that it’s an acronym –  the “Most Effective Tactics Available”. That’s a bit specific and only for the L33T gamers out there.

There are also other uses of the word meta, but they’re very specific and relate to things like different mathematical and scientific systems. But I think that’s probably enough about the word or prefix meta at this stage.

Let’s now go back to the metaverse again, and consider how immersive 3D online worlds can help us learn and teach English. That’s the main aim for this conversation. 

You’re probably fully primed for some metaverse and Mandalorian chat now, but of course  there is about 10 minutes of general chat and catching up with Andy before we get into the topic properly. That’s just the way things are done on LEP. This is the way.

OK, so now that you’re prepared for the episode, let’s get started!


Learn English in the metaverse with Fluent Worlds Academy here https://academy.fluentworlds.com/


Ending

How many M words came up in this episode? 

  • Millenials
  • Marathons
  • Moving
  • Moby
  • Metaverse
  • Multiverse
  • Metaphysical
  • Mandalorian
  • Marvel
  • Matrix

It’s like Andy and I only exist in a parallel universe where everything begins with an M. 

Bonus points for any listeners who can find any other significant M words in this conversation. 

(I found one: metacognitive strategies)

This might be the last episode of LEP in 2021. I’m now moving to the new apartment and the new office, and spending some time in the UK for Christmas. Speak to you in 2022 (unless I manage to squeeze out another episode during the Christmas break)!

Bye bye bye!