Tag Archives: competition

396. The LEP Anecdote Competition – ROUND 2

This episode is round 2 of the LEP anecdote competition. You’ll be able to hear the 10 anecdotes that got the most votes from round one and some language feedback afterwards.

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This is the LEP Anecdote Competition Round 2. The last time I talked to you about this competition was in episode 387 when I let you know that all the anecdotes were available for you to listen to and vote for.

I got about 60 anecdotes in total and I posted them on the page for episode 387.

People visited the page, listened to the anecdotes and then voted for their favourites using the online poll.

The poll is now closed and I have counted the votes. In this episode I’m going to play you the top 10 anecdotes in terms of votes. You’ll hear them in just a few minutes, and I’d like you to visit the page for this episode and vote for your favourites.

You can find the page on my website in the archive, or by clicking the blue button under the email subscription form on every page. You can’t miss it.

To be honest I still haven’t decided what the prize will be for this competition – it’ll probably be a free mug or tote bag, we shall see. Truly exciting prizes are on offer here in this most prestigious of awards. Forget the Oscars, forget the Nobel Prize. This is the LEP Anecdote Competition – it’s a seriously big deal ladies and gentlemen. No doubt the world’s press will be lining up to interview the winner. Papparazzi will be following him or her everywhere. Haha etc. Anyway, it’s not about the winning, it’s about the taking part, right?

I know that this kind of episode is not for everyone and some of you don’t fancy listening to other listeners, but I still suggest that you check out these recordings because you might be pleasantly surprised. I found it entertaining, enlightening and quite heartwarming to hear the voices of all these people around the world who listen to my podcast. There are some great little stories in there – some funny, some scary, some touching. So, even if you’re a bit sceptical about episodes like this – just give it a try. You might be surprised.

Also, I’d like to remind you that the general spirit of this whole competition is to encourage my listeners in their quest to improve their English. That’s why I did the competition in the first place. I want to support my listeners in their English learning so I’d like to encourage everyone listening and commenting on the website to be positive and encouraging because after all this is all about helping people improve their English.

Just before I play you the ten anecdotes that have qualified for round two I’d just like to say a few things.

Well done to everyone who took part. It does require a bit of bravery to record your voice and then have everyone listen to you, especially if you’re doing it in a language which you’re learning. So if you sent me an anecdote – well done you! I think it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit and challenge yourself. I’m really proud of the listeners who sent in their recordings. Only 10 people got through to the second round, but it’s no reflection on the standard of the other 50 or so recordings. Everyone did really well and I’m proud of you all.

A big thank you to everyone who took the time to listen to all the anecdotes and vote for their favourites. There were a lot of recordings in part 1 and it must have taken you a long time to listen to them all. Some people in particular went out of their way to listen to every single recording very carefully and then voted using well-selected judging criteria. Also, some people left individual feedback for every single anecdote. Thank you so much for the attention you gave and the care with which you wrote your comments. I’m really impressed. Thank you for taking part so enthusiastically.

I can’t go into lots of detail about the other recordings which didn’t get through to round 2 – there just isn’t enough time! However, you can still go to the page for episode 387 and read the various comments which you can find there.

I would like to give honourable mentions to everyone, but I’ll specifically mention just a couple of recordings which stuck in my mind.

Jane from Taiwan – she managed to pluck up the courage to escape from a burning building because she was so keen to listen to the next episode of LEP. So, LEP saved Jane’s life! Ha ha!

Akane from Japan – this recording made me laugh a lot. The bit where you sprayed bathroom cleaner all over the cockroach and then it died was really disgusting and it made me laugh out loud!

That’s just a couple of examples. I can’t go into detail about all the other entries because there isn’t time, but go and check out the comments under episode 387 there are some lovely bits of feedback there.

Here are a few rules for round 2

You can vote for as many anecdotes as you like, but you can only vote once.

So listen to this episode and make a note of the anecdotes you like before visiting the page and casting your vote.

It’s very simple to vote. Just use the interactive poll on the page for this episode. It might not work very well on a mobile device but it should work fine on a desktop, laptop or tablet.

Voting closes on Sunday 27 November at 12 midnight, CET.

Then the votes will be counted and the winner will be announced later.

Please please please vote! It will make the competition more fun. It’s very simple to do.

Remember as you listen to these stories that I asked the listeners to tell the stories without reading from a script.

I will let you decide the criteria for your judging – grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation or just the general feeling you get from listening – did you enjoy it? How did it make you feel?

That’s all I have to say. So now, let’s listen to the anecdotes in no particular order.

You can listen to individual anecdotes again below

Kristina from Russia – A story about when Kristina had a very stressful, embarrassing and thrilling experience of working as a translator for a famous film director.

Jose from Spain – Talking about a weird thing that happened when he was a child in the 80s when he was pulled over by a dodgy guy who might have been posing as a police officer. Who was he? Was he really a cop or not? It’s a bit creepy.

Shujaat from Pakistan –  here’s a story about how Shujaat experienced a shooting, the sound of guns being fired and bullets flying from a law court near his college, and then a blast – the sound of a big explosion that he managed to avoid thanks to a man who saved his life. Thankfully Shujaat managed to escape, but it must have been frightening.

Saaya from Japan – Talking about how a couple of embarrassing experiences and then a coincidence made her realise that she really does take after her father.

Vasily from Tashkent The story of how he met his wife, accompanied by himself playing the accordion.

Weija Wang from China – How his female friend totally took him by surprise by telling him she had fallen in love with him, but was it really true?

Elena from Russia –  A nightmare experience that happened one night when Elena lost a girl called Julia, the daughter of her friend. When Julia didn’t come back from a night out at the disco Elena was worried sick and searched all around town in the middle of the night and even nearly got arrested by the police. I think both Elena and Julia learned a few lessons that night!

Frankie from Sicily, Italy – His story about how he went on an adventure with a friend and was threatened by a scary man with a shotgun and nearly got stuck in quicksand!

Zdenek from Czech Republic – a lesson learned on the London underground about how to use or not to use the word ‘please’ in English, and why people generally don’t talk to each other on public transport in London.

Marla from Germany – Her story of a close encounter with London’s most amazing detective!

Language Feedback

journalists – /ɜː/ not /ɔː/

people that are unknownstrangers

strangers = people you don’t know

foreigners = people from another country

go by footgo on foot

bullet fire – gunfire

running like they were saving their livesrunning for their lives

I think I may fall in love with you – I think I may have fallen in love with you, or I think I may be falling in love with you

the only I could do – the only thing I could do

She told that Julia went home – she told me that Julia had gone home, or she said that Julia had gone home

Sand that sucks you in = quicksand

My family and me visited Wales – my family and I visited Wales

379. The LEP Anecdote Competition / Advice & Tips / Inspiration / Some Funny Anecdotes / Rambling

Details of a new LEP competition / Competition rules / Advice & Tips / Inspiration / Some Funny Anecdotes


Transcript Starts Here

OK listeners, it’s competition time again on the podcast. This time the competition is all about anecdotes. I did an episode about anecdotes recently. It was number 372. In that one I talked about anecdotes and why it’s important to have a few anecdotes that you can tell in English. I think they’re pretty important and fun. I also gave you some tips on how to tell good anecdotes, and you listened to a few genuine anecdotes from my Mum, my Dad and my brother.

I love stories, especially true ones and I love hearing about people’s experiences. I’m sure that loads of you out there have had some pretty cool experiences too and that there are some lovely little anecdotes just waiting to be told.

So that’s why I’m using anecdotes as the basis of this competition.

I want you to send me your anecdotes. That should be clear.

Now, the last time I launched a competition featuring the voices of my listeners I got a lot of recordings and it ended up being about 8 episodes, which was awesome, but that was quite a lot. I understand that not all of you want to listen to the voices of listeners – you come here to listen to me, or my guests. But it’s still great to have some contributions from listeners, just not too many. So this time I’m going to do it slightly differently. There will be stages, a bit like the World Cup, so that I can filter out some of the competition entries that I get and just present the cream of the crop in an episode of the podcast. I’ll tell you more about the stages and how this will work in a minute. The main thing I want to do now is to strongly encourage you to send me your anecdotes. So, please send me your anecdotes!!!

But first I should say this – don’t worry, your anecdote does not have to be perfect or anything! I promise – it doesn’t have to be perfect, just tell us a little story about yourself – that’s all you have to do. We;re going to have a little anecdote party and everyone has to bring a little anecdote. You know the way that when you’re invited to a party you have to bring cake, or drinks, or crisps. Well, this is just like that except that you have to bring an anecdote. It doesn’t have to be amazing, it just has to fill up the table, ok, and then we can have an anecdote party! But the party will not happen unless you send me that little story you have, so do it! But remember – no pressure, just enjoy yourself.

Now, I constantly tell you anecdotes about my life on this podcast. I do it all the time and I hope you enjoy them. Now, I’ve done a lot of sharing on the podcast and so it’s time for you to share back with your stories. I’m fed up of hearing my own stories. Now I want to hear about your experiences! We’re having an anecdote party and you’re all invited!

I’m presenting this as a competition, but it’s not about the winning, it’s about the taking part. It’s about filling up that table with anecdote cake so we can stand around with cake and drinks and have an anecdote party. So, if you’ve got a personal experience you can tell us about, record it and send it to me! In this episode I’m going to tell you how to do that, and give you some tips and inspiration for your anecdotes.

Competition Rules

First, the rules of the competition. Any half-decent competition has rules, so here are the rules for this one.

1. Record an anecdote and send it to me! Duh! “What’s an anecdote?” you might be asking. It’s a little personal story, told in a social situation. It’s a story about something that happened to you once in your life. For example, it could be a dangerous experience, a funny moment, an embarrassing thing that happened, a surprising thing, an accident, a mystery, a meeting with a person, a run-in with the police or just a misunderstanding. We all have little stories like this from our lives – think about it, what’s a thing that has happened to you – tell us the story of that! Again – it doesn’t have to be perfect! No pressure, just enjoy yourself.
2. Your recording must be no longer than 5 minutes! 5 minutes maximum. Please keep to this rule. Generally anecdotes shouldn’t go on too long (although I am guilty of spinning out my anecdotes quite a lot – for example the hot bath story I told recently). But also, if I get too many anecdotes it will all last too long. 5 minutes max. Feel free to do less than 5 as well. If your anecdote is 2.5 minutes – that’s great! Just don’t go over 5 mins.
3. Your story should be true, but you can exaggerate a bit in order to make it entertaining, that’s normal.
4. Send your anecdotes by email to podcastcomp@gmail.com – or simply go to my website and send me a voicemail using the tab on the right side. You’ll just need to have your microphone connected. If you don’t have a microphone, just use your smartphone to record a voice memo and send it.
5. Closing date for the competition: 5 October (National Teachers Day in the UK)
6. Then round 1 begins. In round one I will publish all the anecdotes on my website. I’m not going to play them in an episode of the podcast at this stage, I’ll just publish them on the website so you can listen to them there.
So, the anecdotes will be published on the website, you will be able to go and listen to them all, and vote for your favourite.
Then I’ll count up the votes and the top 10 anecdotes will make it through to round 2.
7. In round 2 I will publish the top 10 anecdotes in an episode of the podcast and then everyone can listen, and vote for their favourites by using a poll on the website. That way, only 10 anecdotes are actually played on the podcast.
8. After some more voting time I will count the votes. The winner will be interviewed on the podcast, or will get a gift – I haven’t quite decided yet (remember it’s not about the winning, it’s about the taking part). IN any case, the winner will get the glory of being the LEP Anecdote Master, or LEPAM!

9. Don’t read from a script!

Basically – maximum 5 minutes, true story, send your recordings to me, then several stages of voting, 10 best anecdotes and a winner at the end!


Use a decent microphone. Most iPhones or smartphones have good mics these days.
Try to be in fairly quiet surroundings. Speak closely into the mic.
Practise your anecdote a few times (you could do this with your italki teacher if you like), but always record the first time you tell it. Sometimes the first time is just naturally the best! But then practise it a bit and record it again. Decide which one is best.
Try to keep it spontaneous! So, don’t read it from a script. You should avoid that habit. It’s better if you learn how to say the anecdote without reading it directly from a script.
It doesn’t matter if it’s not word for word perfect, just focus on getting across certain main ideas. If you read from a script it might be obvious, and it tends to sound fake and it’s not so appealing. It immediately will sound more robotic. Make your speech spontaneous, trust me. So no reading from a script.

I have the right to use or not use any recordings I want.

How to tell a good anecdote

Here’s a reminder of my tips from episode 372. You could consider these when you record your anecdote, or if you prefer you can just completely ignore these tips and do it your own way! Be an individual!

First: don’t feel any pressure, and just enjoy yourself. You could forget all the other tips and focus on that – it’s the most important thing. Forget about everything else and just enjoy telling us your little story!
Here are the other rules which you could just ignore to be honest:
1. Don’t get stuck in the details. Just tell us the events and situations which are necessary to show us how you felt. If you get stuck in the details just say “anyway” and move on.
2. Think about the feelings you’re trying to convey, and how they will affect the way you tell the story. Are you expressing fear, surprise, weirdness, luck, sadness, humour, relief, happiness? Let that feeling come through in your storytelling.
3. Use past tenses in the right combination – past simple, past continuous and past perfect. But to be honest, it’s good to keep it simple so you can just use past simple for the entire thing if you like (for example: my brother’s anecdote).
4. Introduce your story with a sentence like “This is a story about how…” and try to set the context of the story by saying something like “This happened when I was…”
5. Give the story an ending, for example, you can just say “And that’s what happened!” or “And that’s it!” or “And that’s why …” (include something you always or never do, a piece of advice or a lesson you learned, for example)
6. If possible, try to explain what that story means to you or what you learned from it.

That’s it in terms of rules and tips. Now it is over to you.

As I said earlier, even though I’ve given you advice on how to make a good anecdote, the first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t feel any pressure, and you should just enjoy yourself! Make sure you achieve that first, before you worry about any of the other things! No pressure and just enjoy yourself! I can’t wait to hear your stories.

I know what you’re thinking

You’re thinking – I’d quite like to take part in this. I’ve got an anecdote I could tell. I think I’m going to take part in this. I’m going to send a story to Luke.
Great! If you are thinking that – then great! But just make sure you do it! Don’t procrastinate. Don’t think: “Oh, I’ll do that later”. Do something now! just send me a little story, I’m dying to hear from you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your story doesn’t have to be the best in the world. We’re just having an anecdote party and everyone has to bring some anecdote cake or the party won’t work! I’m inviting you, so bring some cake it’s the least you can do!

Think of it like this: your anecdote will be one of a number of stories from my listeners and the overall effect will be so cool that it doesn’t matter if each story on its own is not individually amazing. It doesn’t have to be amazing. So, if you’re even considering sending my something, let me encourage you to definitely do it, and do it sooner rather than later!

Remember: No pressure, and just enjoy yourself!


Here are some questions to give you inspiration:

Can you think of something relating to one of these points?

– an embarrassing thing that happened to you
– a misunderstanding
– a weird person you met
– a famous person you met
– something you found which you still have
– how you met your best friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife
– an accident you had
– a scar you’ve got
– a time you got into trouble
– a time you thought you were going to die!
– a time you won something
– something that happened to you while travelling
– an animal-related experience
– something funny that happened in your family
– something that always happens to you, regularly
– a misunderstanding that happened relating to language or culture
– something that happened to you at work
– something that happened in an English lesson
– something that happened as a result of listening to LEP
– something that happened to you while you were listening to LEP
– the worst/weirdest date you ever had
– the worst/weirdest job interview you ever had
– anything else!

Just remember, no pressure and just enjoy yourself!

Send your anecdotes (5 mins max) to podcastcomp@gmail.com or just leave me a voice mail using the tab on my website.

I can’t wait to hear your stupid, terrible, brilliant, funny, boring, confusing and fascinating anecdotes!

Remember the closing date is: 5 October (UK Teachers Day) and please – feel no pressure, relax and just enjoy yourself.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Let’s have an anecdote party!

Before we go, there’s a bit of time – so let’s listen to a few little anecdotes that I found online.

Louis CK – Punching a dog in the face to save its life

Essentially this is a story about how Louis’ dog ate chocolate. If dogs eat dark chocolate it can kill them because they lack an enzyme to deal with it. So, Louis had to rush to the pharmacy to get hydrogen peroxide and make the dog drink it, but it’s quite difficult to make a dog eat hydrogen peroxide in order to make it vomit all the chocolate out of its belly. In the end he had to wrestle with the dog and force it to drink the chemical. I love the way Louis tells the story, particularly the way he gives a voice to the dog and explains the emotional motivations of the dog, and highlights the irony of having to attack the dog in order to save it. Don’t worry – your anecdote doesn’t have to be as good as this, but we can learn about story telling from Louis!

Carlo Rota – Meeting Freddie Mercury from Queen

This one is a great little story, but it’s also interesting to hear how Carlo (an Italian-Canadian actor, born in England) uses present tenses, not past tenses, to make his story more engaging. We do this sometimes, although I think you should learn how to use all the right past tenses before you break the rules and use present tenses to tell a story.

A Red Chair story from the Graham Norton about a ‘happy’ donkey

The Graham Norton show is a very popular entertainment chat show on the BBC presented by a comedian called Graham Norton. One of the features on the show is the Red Chair. What happens is that any member of the audience who has a good anecdote is invited to sit in the chair and tell their story. This one is by a guy called Mohammed who went on holiday as a child and saw a donkey, who was, let’s say, feeling quite happy. The other guests on this show were Ricky Gervais and Johnny Depp – you might hear them making comments and laughing in the background.


So, that’s some inspiration and entertainment. Now, get thinking about your anecdotes and send them to me. You’ve got until UK national teachers’ day – 5 October.

Bye bye bye bye bye.

First background music: BenSound www.bensound.com
Jingles: Jake Bullit https://soundcloud.com/jakebullit
Other background music: Luke on Kaossilator https://soundcloud.com/user-896257419

258. Award Win / Thank you! / Poem

This is a very short podcast episode because I don’t have much time, but I just wanted to say a very sincere THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me in the 2014 Macmillan Love English Awards. I’m proud to say that I won my category: Best Blog 2014 for the 4th year in a row! I am absolutely delighted, and as a way of expressing my delight I’ve decided to write a poem (extremely quickly – it’s no masterpiece!) I hope you enjoy it, and thank you again! [Download]

Small Donate ButtonPlease write your own poems in the comments section. Just have fun and try to make the words rhyme. You can write a poem about anything, and it can be as short or as long as you like. Thank you! (If you can’t think of a topic – try writing something about LEP or learning English).

My Epic Masterpiece of a Poem – POEM OF THANKS!
I won the award
It’s thanks to y’all
I hope you’re not bored
by me talking about the award
All in all
It’s great to have you on board
You’re all from abroad
And you felt inclined
To take the time
To go online
And vote in kind
for the podcast that’s mine
It makes me feel fine
Like the sun that shines
Thank you to you
For doing what you did
And I hope you consid(er)
You’re the real winner
Because by voting for me you bring more attention to the site, raising the profile of the podcast, broadening the audience, and ultimately helping me to keep doing this with confidence, which then feeds into the way in which I record episodes, and encourages me to continue doing this project which I started 5 and a half years ago and which continues to amaze me in terms of how popular it is, how useful it is to many listeners, and how I could possibly turn this whole venture into a career.

The rhyming broke down, but I did say that I hadn’t prepared it, right?
It’s hardly a masterpiece, but it doesn’t matter. It’s just for fun.

Here’s the rejected part of my poem
And voting for who
You felt was more true
“I listen to you
when sitting on the loo”
Is a sentence that you
might use to describe
a side of your life
that involves listening to me
while you do a pee
because, you see
your time is quality
I mean you can see
That you have to multi task

Here’s the video of Eminem talking about rhyming

Why don’t you try to write a poem in the comments section?
You could try to continue my one (can you think of something that rhymes with ‘multi task’?) or you could create your own poem.
Remember: Just try to have fun and make the words rhyme. No pressure to be the next Eminem!

223. YEP! Competition Winners

YEP Competition Results, news and some rambling about mosquitoes and TV documentaries about ghosts. Right-click here to download.

Small Donate ButtonWelcome back to Luke’s English Podcast. Over the course of this episode you are going to find out the results of the YEP Competition which I launched this summer.

In case you’ve forgotten the details, or you’ve been living under a rock for the last two months, here is a re-cap of has happened so far in the competition. I launched it in August as a way to celebrate the 5th birthday and 200 episodes of LEP. I thought – it’s time for another competition! So I did a bit of planning and scheming, and came up with the idea of “Your English Podcast”, which I launched in episode 200. I invited listeners to send me up to 5 minutes of audio, as if they were recording a portion of their own English podcast. I had no idea how many people would enter but in the end I got about 80 recordings. Then I realised, “oh my goodness, that’s about 8 hours of podcast time! What am I going to do?” In the end I just broadcast them all, in a mini-series entitled Your English Podcast. If you’ve managed to listen to them all you’ll have heard people from around the world telling us about themselves. There was a range of different voices from different parts of the globe and personally I found it quite inspiring and even touching to listen to. Admittedly it was quite a long series and you may have struggled to keep up with it all. In fact, you might have just skipped them entirely – that’s your choice, it’s a free country (depending on which country you’re in) but when it comes to LEP you’re free to do whatever you want and that includes skipping over the YEP episodes if you choose to, although I hope that you didn’t do that because I think there’s plenty of value in hearing non-native speakers speaking English from time to time, and anyway, it was an international celebration! After uploading all the competition entries my website exploded with comments & votes, which suggests that the competition was a bit of a hit with most people. Voting ended at the end of last month, leaving me with a bit of counting to do. I’ve done that, and now it’s time to publish the results, and that’s what you’re going to get in this episode.
– Winners of each group
– The numbers of votes cast
– The overall winner of the whole competition
– What’s going to happen next?
– Some general news

The first thing I’d like to say is that everyone’s a winner.
I know this is a competition, and therefore there have to be winners and losers, but for me it’s like cricket – it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part, and I think everyone took part magnificently.
Well done for plucking up the courage to enter in the first place.
I’m really impressed by everyone and it’s actually really touching to hear from you all. It brings home to me the fact there are loads of actual human beings listening to my words, and engaging with my episodes.
I’m also really impressed by the number of votes cast. 666 votes in total! (This means absolutely nothing) That’s an average of about 85 votes per episode.

Here are the results for each group (in ascending order):
Episode 1
9th place: Arturo from Mexico & Ashish from India – 0 votes – Chin up guys ;)
7th place: Artur from Kazakstan & Alexis from Canary Islands – 1 vote
6th place: Adam from Poland – 4 votes
5th place: Bella from Russia – 5 votes
4th place: Bruno from Brazil – 10 votes
3rd place: Alexander from Russia – 21 votes
2nd place: Anna from Ukraine – 24 votes
1ST PLACE: ARITZ FROM SPAIN – 26 VOTES – Congratulations Aritz!

Episode 2
9th place: Dega from Mexico & Eliza from Finland – 0 votes – No worries Dega, and Eliza wasn’t taking part anyway so no hard feelings ;)
7th place: Dmitry from Russia & Charley from Sri Lanka – 1 vote
6th place: Daniel from Poland – 2 votes
5th place: Chriss from Mexico – 3 votes
3rd place: Daniele from Italy & Dharmendra from India – 5 votes
2nd place: Edgar from Brazil – 6 votes
1ST PLACE: EDGAR FROM MEXICO – 100 votes – It’s a landslide victory!

Episode 3
8th place: Enrique from Spain, Gerald from France/Belgium & Gudu from Ethiopia – 0 votes – commiserations guys!
6th place: Evgeny from Russia & Gabriella from Italy – 1 vote each
5th place: Gabriela from Brazil – 5 votes
4th place: Eugenia from Romania – 7 votes
3rd place: Gabor from Hungary – 9 votes
2nd place: Guillaume from Switzerland – 10 votes
1ST PLACE: GIOVANNI FROM ITALY – 33 votes – congratulations!

Episode 4
10th place: Irul from Indonesia – 0 votes – You’re still awesome Irul!
8th place: Harvey from Colombia & Hydy from India – 1 vote each
6th place: Hien from Vietnam & Irina from Russia – 3 votes each
4th place: Hiroshi from Japan & Ivan from Russia – 4 votes each
3rd place: Ivan from Indonesia – 20 votes
2nd place: Hamid from Pakistan – 26 votes
1ST PLACE: JAVIER FROM SPAIN – 35 votes – Well done!

Episode 5
10th place: Jiang from China – 0 votes – sorry mate!
9th place: June from Korea – 2 votes
7th place: Jose from Chile & Krissy from Germany – 3 votes
6th place: Luciana from Brazil – 4 votes
5th place: Klenisson from Brazil – 5 votes
4th place: Konstantin from Russia – 7 votes
3rd place: Lulu from Taiwan – 8 votes
2nd place: Ksenia from Russia – 11 votes
1ST PLACE: KEVSER FROM TURKEY – 32 votes – well done, you smashed it!

Episode 6
9th place: Olga from Russia & Pavel from Russia – 0 votes – don’t let it bring you down!
8th place: Morela from Italy – 1 vote
6th place: Mario from Italy & Nacho from Spain – 3 votes
5th place: Magda from Poland – 4 votes
4th place: Pedro from Peru – 8 votes
3rd place: Nikolai from Russia – 13 votes
2nd place: Oleksander from Ukraine/Denmark – 21 votes
1ST PLACE: MAX FROM ITALY – 38 – give yourself a pat on the back!

Episode 7
9th place: Poom from Thailand & Shaimaa from Egypt – 0 votes – better luck next time guys!
8th place: Terry from Hong Kong – 1 vote
6th place: Tomas from Germany & Renata from Russia – 2 votes each [Renata from Russia – I’m so sorry for not mentioning your name in this episode! Please forgive me!]
5th place: Renato from Brazil – 4 votes
4th place: Ventakesh from India – 5 votes
3rd place: Sergey from Russia – 7 votes
2nd place: Sasha from Russia – 26 votes
1ST PLACE: PHIL FROM ITALY – 42 votes – it’s a runaway victory!

Episode 8
5th place: Yuri from Brazil – 3 votes
4th place: Wilkson from Brazil – 4 votes
3rd place: Yaron from Israel – 6 votes
2nd place: Yayang from Indonesia – 12 votes
1ST PLACE: YANNICK FROM SWITZERLAND – 13 votes – Congrat-YOU-lations!

Let’s not forget: Zdenek from Czech Rep. (not competing) and Alex from Russia – 2 votes (but he was too late I’m afraid)

8th place: Yannick from Switzerland – 13 votes
7th place: Aritz from Spain – 26 votes
6th place: Kevser from Turkey – 32 votes
5th place: Giovanni from Italy – 33 votes
4th place: Javier from Spain – 35 votes
3rd place: Max from Italy – 38 votes
2nd place: Phil from Italy – 42 votes

What’s the Next Step?
I’ll speak to each runner-up for up to 10 minutes.
The winner gets up to 30 minutes.
Winners – I’ll contact you by email to arrange a time for a conversation.
Eventually, when I’ve recorded all the conversations I’ll publish them in a couple of episodes.
So – winners, check your inboxes and start thinking about things you might like to say to the people of the world.
Listeners – feel free to write questions in comments. I’ll be glad to ask your questions to our winners.

Remember – it’s not really about winning or losing. Everyone’s a winner in my book!

My Dad listened to the competition episodes and he was quite moved by it! I’m quite proud because he sent me this email.

A Message from my Dad:

Dear Luke,

I have just spent the past hour listening to your latest episode of YEP, featuring contributions from listeners from Brazil, Switzerland, Russia, Indonesia etc. It is truly INCREDIBLE that you have created this international community. Yes it’s a fan club, but it is much more than that. The listeners clearly use it as an English learning resource, and the idea of entertaining while educating works well. But it is also an international society, where peace and understanding is a theme.

I think your podcasts – 5 years on – are really terrific, and I hope that your two jobs and everything else will not prevent you from keeping the service going. Well done you!!


That’s nice, isn’t it. It’s always quite satisfying to get some validation from your old man. (By the way – in case you were wondering, it’s quite normal for a son to call his father his “old man” and it’s not an insult – in fact, it’s quite a familiar and informal way to refer to your Dad)

Possible Controversy
There might be a little bit of controversy following the release of these results. There normally is a bit of disagreement related to this kind of thing, and it’s to be expected. Here are some of the things I expect might arise:
– Someone might demand a recount. If you believe I’ve miscounted the votes, then feel free to count all the votes again if you’ve got the time! Then you can leave a message with an appeal for a recount. It may be possible that I’ve miscounted by one vote here or there, so I don’t think it will make a huge difference to the final results.

If you would like to appeal and demand a re-count, go ahead!
I will take any controversy with a pinch of salt.

In Other News
The academic year has started again and I have rather a busy schedule. In fact, I should be planning my classes now, not doing this. I’ve got kids classes and everything. I’m a bit stressed about this. I shouldn’t be, but I just keep remembering my stressful experiences teaching children in Japan, but that was over 10 years ago at the beginning of my career. Anyway, one thing’s for sure, I’m going to be even busier this year.
This may affect the frequency with which I can upload episodes, which is a bit frustrating. Of course, I have loads of ideas up my sleeve and I do not plan to stop. If I go a bit quiet – you’ll know why. I’m just dealing with a workload. Oh yes, and I’ve got a wedding to prepare in July as well!

I got bitten by a mosquito two nights running. That was annoying. What happens to mosquitoes in the winter? Click here for the answer to that question: Mosquitoes in the Cold. (Thank you to LEPPER Fafi Gutierrez)

Audioboo has become Audioboom. As far as I can see it’s just an image makeover, with a new logo, but the actual service is pretty much the same with a few small improvements. They have a new app on the App Store. At the moment it’s just for iPhone. It’s a much better app than before, but I haven’t used it much. Anyway, I’ll now be calling it Audioboom not Audioboo.

There’s an issue with my RSS feed. They have a limit of 200 items. I have more than that. So, on iTunes some of the early episodes do not show up, which is annoying. If you’re new to the podcast – go to teacherluke.co.uk to find a full archive of all the older episodes.

The podcast has been listened to over 2,000,000 times since I moved to Audioboom about 10 months ago.
That seems incredible – but let’s consider that number at bit more carefully.
I have over 200 episodes on Audioboom, so on average that’s about 10,000 listens per episode. It’s not that many listens compared to some teachers on YouTube. Perhaps I should be on YouTube, because there’s a much bigger audience there. But, this is an audio podcast, not a video one. I’ve said before that I prefer audio, at the moment. Audio is more flexible – you can listen to it anywhere, even while you’re doing something else. It’s quite intimate and I feel like it’s good for the brain because it allows you to picture in your mind’s eye what I’m explaining, without being captivated by visual stimulus. Also, I love radio and I feel there’s a certain romance and intimacy in radio. Also, it is much easier and less time-consuming for me to make audio podcasts. So, with a busy schedule – audio is the best way. For now, those YouTube teachers will get more views than me, but here I am, rocking the airwaves, doing my thing on the podcast, with my awesome clan of listeners. And, 2m listens in a year is really rather a big deal. As I’ve said before though, I feel like this is just the beginning of what I can achieve. I intend to do more with this thing I’ve got going on here.

Going back to that 2m listens statistic – the other thing that I don’t know is how many of those are people who are fully engaged from the start to the end of each episode. I expect there are a lot of people who are subscribed to me on iTunes, and their computer downloads the episodes automatically, but they’re not actually listening. Those will still count as ‘listens’ in my stats. Also, some of those numbers will be people who listen a little bit before deciding that they don’t want to listen any more. So, I don’t know how many are complete listens and incomplete listens.

Well, those of you who listen to every episode from start to finish – you know who you are. You’re the LEPPERS, and you’re an awesome gang of ninjas, who abide by the code of LEP. I don’t know what that code is to be honest, because I’ve never written it down. I think it’s an unspoken code of secret principles based on a love of ice-cream, English, stand-up comedy and dub reggae. Something like that.

You can’t please all the people all the time, so sometimes the only person I can please is myself. As long as I’m happy doing this then I’ll have a sense that my audience can be happy with it too.

Small Donate ButtonThank you for taking part in this competition. It’s been amazing. Thank you for your entries, for all your votes, and for your support. Thank you in particular if you have recently donated to the podcast. You are personally keeping this podcast going. Without donations I can’t justify doing it. 5 years of my life have gone into this. It would be awful if I realise one day that the whole thing has been a waste of my time and I’ve neglected my career or other aspects of my life because I’ve thrown so much energy into LEP. Do help to prevent that from happening by offering a donation to pay me back for my hard work. As a business model, that’s the best I can do right now. If you don’t want to do that, or can’t – no worries! There’s no obligation, but do consider where all this stuff is coming from – a lot of the time that’s the bottom of my heart.

Ok, that’s enough of that!


200. New Competition: “Your English Podcast”

Details of a new competition for you to enter, how it feels to complete 200 episodes of the podcast, jingles, a message from Alex & Paul, and more! Right click here to download.

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Hello! And welcome to the podcast. This is a very special episode, because it’s the 200th one! Wow, I made it to 200! Amazing! Obviously I’m delighted about that. This is the 200th anniversary of LEP, and before I tell you all about how that feels, I’d like to begin this episode by telling you about a new competition I’m launching today, which I’d love you to take part in. So first I’m going to tell you all about the competition, and then I’ll celebrate 200 episodes of LEP with you. OK, so let’s get started.

This is the 200th episode of Luke’s ENGLISH Podcast and to celebrate this momentous occasion I’ve decided to launch another LEP competition in which you can send me your audio recordings. I did a similar competition over 2 years ago, and now I’m doing another one. This one’s called “Your English Podcast”. Why? Because I’d like you to imagine you are recording 5 minutes of your own English podcast. Just record and send your 5 minutes (or less) to me, I’ll play your recordings on the podcast and then listeners can vote for their favourite. I will count all the votes and announce the winner. The prize for the winner is to be interviewed on an episode of Luke’s English Podcast.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? It should do!

I did my first competition 2 years ago and it was amazing to hear the voices of my listeners. Camila Andrade from Brazil won that one. She got a very special prize – a phrasal verb dictionary.
Since then, the podcast has gone from strength to strength and I’ve picked up new listeners, old listeners have improved their English, I’ve dealt with many more topics and events on the podcast. It’s time for us to hear what the LEPPERS have to say for themselves. This is your chance to have your voice heard on Luke’s English Podcast. And ultimately, if you win, you could become famous around the world as you are interviewed on the podcast via Skype. If you’re shy, I understand – I’m nice, I’ll make sure you’re okay, and so will the listeners – because the great thing about the LEP community is that my listeners are good people. I can’t wait to hear from you, and to give you a platform to say what you’ve got to say to the world.

The Competition in a nutshell
Record yourself talking about whatever you want for 5 minutes, send the recording to me, I’ll feature all your recordings on special episodes of the podcast, listeners can vote for their favourite and the one with the most votes gets featured on an episode of the podcast in a Skype call with me.
BUT there are some rules to make sure this competition is fair and is not impossible for me to manage in my limited time!
Please carefully observe the following rules. If you don’t follow the rules, you might be disqualified from the competition. It’s important to establish some rules because otherwise this competition could be really difficult for me to manage. So, rules are rules, and here are those rules:

Rules for the Competition
– Opening date: NOW! The competition is now open so get started!

– Closing date for entries: 31 August 2014. After that I will collect all your audio recordings and take time to prepare episodes in which I showcase your competition entries. People can then vote by leaving comments on teacherluke.co.uk. I’ll give you more information about voting later on.

– Time: You’ve got 5 minutes, maximum. You can talk for less than 5 minutes if you like, but please make sure you don’t exceed the 5 minute limit.

– What to say: You can say whatever you want! This is 5 minutes of YOUR podcast. If you like, you can imagine you have your own English podcast, called “Jose’s English Podcast” or whatever your name happens to be. If you like, you can welcome listeners to your podcast at the start by saying “Hello and welcome to Jose’s English Podcast”, and say goodbye to your listeners at the end. It’s completely up to you what you say, and how you say it. This is your English podcast.

– Name & Country: Remember to tell us your name and where you come from. This will help people to remember you and vote for you.

– Voting: I will collect all the audio files which are sent to me, and I’ll play them all in one episode (or more) of LEP, in alphabetical order by name. Listeners can then vote by leaving comments.

– Audio files: Send your audio file to podcastcomp@gmail.com only. I will only accept entries which are sent to that email address. Please do not send me competition entries on Facebook or to my Hotmail account. podcastcomp@gmail.com is the only email address I will accept.

– I’m only accepting audio files – not text entries this time.

– I’ll give you more information about voting later. For now, you can start preparing your competition entries!

So in summary:
– The competition is now open. Send your audio files (max 5 minutes) to podcastcomp@gmail.com. The closing date is 31 August 2014. After that I will upload showcase episodes of LEP and you can vote for your favourite entry. More information will follow in later episodes…

Some Bits of Advice
When recording your entry, try to make the sound quality as good as possible. Most phones and computers will allow you to record your voice pretty easily, but try to be in a quiet room in your house, away from noisy windows, washing machines or other people.

You can send me audio in a variety of file formats: wav, mp3, mp4, avi etc. I prefer mp3 as it is quicker to process.

If you want you can include a jingle, sound effects or even background music, but you’ll find this is pretty time-consuming and complicated. Ultimately, people just want to hear your voice clearly, so focus on that.

It’s normal to be a bit stressed or nervous when recording yourself. Don’t let that stop you. Try to enjoy it! Enthusiasm is a very attractive quality. LEPers are all lovely people so don’t worry – you’re among friends and I’m sure people are going to be very welcoming and enthusiastic about hearing what you have to say.

Try not to read out a script which you have prepared earlier. You can do this if you like, but I think it sounds more natural if you’re not reading from a pre-written script, and ultimately it’s better for your spoken English. Writing notes is a good idea – just write the main points you want to make, but don’t write it out word for word – just write enough to help you remember.

You should practise your speech a few times until you’re comfortable.

Try to bring your speech to life and put your personality into it if possible.

If you prefer, you can just improvise the whole thing without any practice – in fact, that might be even more exciting or engaging if you do that, but it will also be slightly more challenging too.

Ultimately, just have fun and enjoy taking part in the competition. Don’t stress too much – it should be enjoyable and a fun way to practise your spoken English. I’m sure that everyone will be fascinated to hear short messages from LEPers all around the world! Personally, I can’t wait.

If you don’t know what to say and you need inspiration, perhaps you could respond to something you’ve heard on Luke’s English Podcast, or even (as a joke) you could parody my style of talking on LEP, a bit like this (from Alex Love & Paul Langton). It’s totally up to you. I’m really looking forward to receiving your audio entries at podcastcomp@gmail.com, so get started!

And now some chat about the 200th Anniversary of Luke’s English Podcast with English Robot 3000
Why did you start LEP?
When did you start LEP?
Did you ever expect to get to this point? (200 episodes, and nearly 1.5million downloads in 9 months)
What’s your objective with LEP?
What level is the podcast for?
Are you ever going to stop LEP?
What’s your favourite thing about doing LEP?
Are you happy doing LEP?
Does it ever make you unhappy? Is there anything frustrating or even scary about doing LEP?
What do you expect from your listeners? Small Donate Button
Do you ever get any negative comments, hate mail, or trolling?
Are you rich yet? How rich are you now?
What do your friends and family think of LEP?
Has LEP helped you in your life?
How does it feel to be so famous?
How much time does it take to do an episode of LEP?
Why don’t you do more videos?
How about arranging an event so that you can meet LEPPERS?
Why don’t you have your girlfriend/fiancee on the podcast?
How’s your French?
Someone told me that you have a new job? Is it true?
Do you have anything else to say to the people of the world?

Song Lyrics
P.S. The song I sing at the end of this episode is called “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Eric Idle and comes from the soundtrack to the film “The Life of Brian” by Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Buy the film on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/movie/monty-pythons-life-of-brian/id294661981

    Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Monty Python

Am D G Em
Some things in life are bad they can really make you mad
Am D G
Other things just make you swear and curse
Am D
When you’ve chewing an life’s gristle
G Em
Don’t grumble give a whistle
Am D7
And this’ll help things turn out for the best

G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
And always look on the bright side of life
G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
Always look on the light side of life

Am D G Em
If life seems jolly rotten there’s something you’ve forgotten
Am D G
and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
Am D G Em
When you’ve feeling in the dumps don’t be silly chumps
Am D7
Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing

G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
And always look on the bright side of life
G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
Come on always look on the bright side of life

Am D G Em
For life is quite absurd and death’s the final word
Am D G
you must always face the curtain with a bow
Am D G Em
Forget about your sin – give the audience a grin
Am D7
Enjoy it – it’s your last chance anyhow.

G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
So always look on the bright side of death
G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
just before you draw your terminal breath

Am D G Em
Life’s a pice if shit when you look at it
Am D G
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke it’s true
Am D
You’ll see it’s all a show
G Em
keep’em laughing as you go
Am D7
just remember that the last laugh is on you

G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
And always look on the bright side of life
G Em Am D7 G Em Am D7
Always look on the right side of life
(Come on guys, cheer up)
A F# Bm E7 A F# Bm E7
Always look on the right side of life
A F# Bm E7 A F# Bm E7
Always look on the right side of life ….
Episode 200 podpic

168. Please Vote! (and “stuff” like that)

Please vote for me in the Macmillan Dictionary Awards. Voting closes at midnight GMT on 14 February – so you only have a couple of days! Click here to vote for me. Thanks! If you’ve already voted – thanks a lot! In this episode I shut up about the competition after 9 minutes, and then just improvise, while using the words ‘stuff’ and ‘thing’ as much as possible.

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I also talk about a few other things in this episode, including quite a lot of stuff about working for the secret service, drinking coffee and setting the world to rights over a few drinks. So, do listen to all of the stuff and things I say in this episode ;) 

Here’s George Carlin talking about stuff (transcript below)

“Stuff” by George Carlin

I would’ve been out here a little bit sooner but they gave me the wrong dressing room and I couldn’t find any place to put my stuff. And I don’t know how you are but I need a place to put my stuff. So, that’s what I’ve been doing back there. Just trying to find a place for my stuff. You know how important it is. That’s the whole… that’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Try and find a place for your stuff. That’s all your house is. Your house is just a place for your stuff. If you didn’t have so much goddamned stuff you wouldn’t need a house. You’d just walk around all the time. That’s all what your house is, that’s a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You see that when you’re taking off in an aeroplane. You look down and you see everybody’s got a little pile of stuff. Everybody’s got their own pile of stuff and if you leave it you’ve got to lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They don’t bother with the crap you’re saving and nobody’s interested in your fourth grade arithmetic papers. They’re looking for the good stuff. That’s all your house is, it’s a place you keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. Now, sometimes, sometimes you’ve got to move. You’ve got to get a bigger house. Why? Too much stuff! You’ve got to move all your stuff and maybe put some your stuff in storage. I mentioned that. There’s a whole industry based on keeping an eye on your stuff.

Enough about your stuff. Let’s talk about other people’s stuff. Did you ever notice that when you go to somebody else’s house you never quite feel 100%  at home? You know why? No room for your stuff! Somebody else’s stuff is all over the place! And what awful stuff it is. Where did they get this stuff? And if you have to stay overnight at someone’s house, you know, unexpectedly, and they’ll give you a little room to sleep in that they didn’t use that often. Someone died in it eleven years ago and they haven’t moved any of his stuff! Or wherever they give you the sleep usually near the bed there’s a dresser and there’s never any room on a dresser for your stuff. Someone else’s shit is on a dresser. Have you noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?! Get that out of there!

Now, sometimes you go on vacation you’ve got to bring some your stuff with you. You can’t bring all your stuff, just the stuff you really like. The stuff that fits you well that month. Let’s say you want to go to Honolulu. You want to go all the way to Honolulu and you’ve got to get two big bags with stuff plus your carry-on stuff plus the stuff in your pockets. You go all the way to Honolulu, you get to the hotel room and you start to put away your stuff. That’s the first thing you do in a hotel room is to put away your stuff. I’ll put some stuff in here. I’ll put some stuff down here. Here’s another place for stuff for you. I’ll put some stuff on here. You put your stuff over there and I’ll put my stuff over here. Here’s another place for the stuff. Hey, we’ve got more places than we’ve got stuff! We’re going to have to buy more stuff! And you put all your stuff away and you know that you’re thousand of miles from home and you don’t quite feel at ease but you know that you must be okay because you do have some your stuff with you. And you relax in Honolulu on that basis. That’s when your friend from Maui calls and says – Hey, why don’t you come over to Maui for the weekend, spend a couple of nights over here? – Aww, shit, no! Now, what stuff do you bring? Right, you’ve got to bring an even  smaller version of your stuff. Just enough stuff for a weekend on Maui. And you get over… And you’re really spread out and now you’ve got your shit all over the world! You’ve got stuff at home, stuff in storage, stuff in Honolulu, stuff in Maui, stuff in your pockets so, supply lines are getting longer and harder to maintain. When you get over to your friend’s house in Maui and they give you a little place to sleep. There’s a little window ledge, some kind of small shelf and there’s not much room up there but it’s okay because you don’t have much stuff now. And you put what stuff you do have up there. You put your important French toenail clippers, your own readers with that 45-day guarantee, your cinnamon flavoured dental floss and your Afrin 12-hour decongestant nasal spray. And you know you ‘re a long way from home. You know that you must be OK because you do have your Afrin 12-hour decongestant nasal spray. And you relax in Maui on that basis. That’s when your friend says – Hey, I think tonight we’ll go over to another side of the island to stay at my friend’s house overnight – Oh, shit, no! NOW, what do you bring?! Now, you just bring the things you know you’re going to need. Money, keys, comb, wallet, lighter, hanky, pen, cigarettes, contraceptives, vaseline, whips, chains, whistles, dildos and a book.