Tag Archives: festival

358. Fête de la Musique / World Music Festival in Paris

Join my wife and *me as we walk around the streets of Paris during the annual World Music Festival. You’ll hear live music, descriptions of the scene, a couple of conversations with people we met, and the sounds of this amazing evening in the city of light. It’s another long episode, but I hope you listen to all of it because I just really want to share the atmosphere and moments of this special event. Check below for photos.

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This episode was recorded yesterday evening on 21 June, which is the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year. It’s also World Music Day and here in Paris there is always a big music festival on this date, called “Fête de la Musique”. In Paris the whole city comes alive all night as live bands and musicians perform music on every street corner. The whole city becomes a big festival and it’s one of the best nights of the year here. The streets are filled with people partying, having a good time, drinking, socialising and dancing to the music.

So last night my wife and I went out to walk around the area and get into the spirit of the festival and in fact my wife suggested that I do some recordings so I could show another side of life in Paris, because it’s not all just Euro 2016, floods, strikes and terror alerts. There are loads of amazing things going on. Yesterday we had a brilliant evening and I’m really glad I captured it on the podcast.

So, I invite you to join us as we take a stroll through the streets of Paris on this hot summer evening, taking in the various musical performances, getting into the spirit of the evening and meeting a few people along the way. I met a few people during the evening and recorded short interviews with them. They were mainly Brits (a couple of guys from England, a French guy and a Belgian guy who spoke good English and two guys from Northern Ireland) and I asked them a couple of questions about the big stories of the moment like the football and the EU referendum.

You will also hear plenty of live music which I recorded yesterday. On every street corner there was a different band or a DJ playing. There were some moments when I chose just to record the music and not to speak, so you will hear some little musical interludes sometimes in which I’m not actually saying anything and it’s just live music, so you can soak up the atmosphere of what turned out to be a really brilliant evening in Paris. I hope you enjoy being part of it and that you can use your imagination to picture the scenes. The sounds should be in stereo too, so if you’re listening on headphones it should sound pretty cool.

There are some photos on the page for this episode (below), so check them out!

Now, I will let you listen to my audio diary of la fete de la music in Paris. I really enjoyed recording this episode and I really hope you enjoy it too and that you get into the atmosphere of this evening of music and good vibes!


182. Learning English with Yacine Belhousse

This episode is all about the relationship between language, successful communication, stand-up comedy and learning English! It features an interview with the one-and-only Yacine Belhousse, who is a professional stand-up comedian in his native language and now in English too. A year and a half ago, Yacine hardly spoke any English. Now he regularly performs in English and this year he is doing a 1 hour stand-up comedy show at the Edinburgh fringe festival. How does he do it? How does he deal with the challenges of learning English while also making people laugh in English too? Listen and find out!

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I’m really pleased to present every episode of Luke’s English Podcast, but this one makes me extra pleased. Why? I just think that we come to some particularly useful conclusions during this conversation, especially related to the attitude that you need to learn English effectively. I’m also pleased to present Yacine because he’s got a great attitude towards learning English and because I think he’s really funny.

Conclusions about Learning Language
In summary here are some of the key points about learning English & communication from our conversation:
– To communicate well, you must take responsibility for communicative exchanges.
– Remember when you’re talking to native speakers, you’re just talking to another human. They have no reason to judge you if you’re just trying to communicate to achieve something. In fact, native speakers have the same responsibility for successful communication as you. So don’t feel that you’re totally responsible for any communication breakdown.
– Be confident and don’t worry about making mistakes. If you do make mistakes, you can learn from them and that’s how you improve. If you’re concerned that you can’t be confident – don’t worry. Confidence is something which just happens when you try to do something. If you focus on achieving successful communication, and don’t get upset by failure – confidence will just come naturally. So, don’t worry about confidence. Just focus on trying to achieve things.
– Have an organised approach to learning – mentally store words and phrases you like in the “good things bucket”. Reject bits of communication that didn’t work in the “bad things bucket”. Perhaps revisit the “bad things bucket” to learn from the errors, but enjoy the contents of your “good things bucket” too!
– Repeat words and phrases that you’ve learned. Repeat them lots of times in order to remember them.
– Learn by doing things. Learn to speak by speaking, failing, succeeding and moving on. You have to be active. Use your English. If you don’t use it, you lose it. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
– Be positive!

Listen to the conversation to find out more.

Would you like to play Yacine’s computer game? Click here to visit the game on his website.

Will you be in Edinburgh during the Fringe? You should check out Yacine’s show. Click here for information on Yacine’s Edinburgh show.

Transcript to #182. Learning English with Yacine Belhousse
The introduction to this episode is transcribed below. If you would like to write some more minutes of transcript, click here to visit the google document for this episode.

Here is my introduction to this episode of the podcast.

“Normally I have native speakers on this podcast; British people, Americans, Australians and stuff like that. And yet, most of the people who listen to this are non-natives learning the language. I rarely have learners of English giving their voice, which is a pity because everyone has a story to tell and interesting things to share. …

So, in today’s episode I am speaking to a friend of mine called Yacine. He’s not a native speaker. In fact, until quite recently he didn’t speak English at all. By his own admission, his English is not perfect. Sometimes he can’t find the right words, he has some trouble choosing the correct verb forms or pronouncing words naturally. These are all the normal problems faced by people learning English. However, I believe Yacine is quite special and that’s why I’ve brought him onto the podcast, despite not being a native or near-native speaker of English.

But why Luke? Why are you featuring a learner of English in one of your interviews? Well, there are lots of reasons:
– I think Yacine has a really good attitude towards learning, and I want to explore that so we can pick up some good things about language learning.
– Yacine is a professional stand-up comedian in his native language but he is also now performing shows in English. In fact, this year he is doing a regular one hour show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is perhaps the biggest comedy festival in the world, and he regularly performs comedy with the great & legendary Eddie Izzard, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest stand-ups of his generation. Eddie Izzard is not just an inspiration to stand up comedians, he is also an inspiration to language learners all over the world, and we’ll find out more about that later. Yacine is very influenced by Eddie Izzard, and he often supports Eddie when he does shows in France.

Learning a language is a challenging thing for anyone. You know when you speak you feel shy and embarrassed sometimes because you don’t want to be judged (just like me when I go to the boulangerie). These are normal fears. But, can you imagine going on-stage in front of lots of people, Scottish, English, perhaps a bit drunk because the show is on at 9.30PM, and delivering a full one hour stand-up performance in a language you’re trying to learn?
– It must be very challenging.
– You’d need a lot of self-confidence and self-belief.
– You need to focus very carefully on how to communicate your message.
– You need to be able to deal with any possible breakdown of communication.
– You need to stop worrying about errors, and if you make errors learn from them but don’t let them make you lose confidence.
I want to know how Yacine faces these challenges, but also, for me these are the challenges faced by any learner of English, but they are multiplied by the fact that Yacine is also doing this on-stage while having to make people laugh. It’s impressive and I want to know more.

So, this is what I want to investigate in this episode:
– How he’s learning English.
– Doing comedy in French vs English.
– French audiences vs UK audiences – are they different?
– Is humour universal?
– How is good communication an essential part of comedy? How do you make a successful joke? It’s about successfully communicating an idea.

Footnote: Yacine has only been learning for a few years. He hasn’t attended any courses or lessons. He’s self-taught. My professional opinion is that he’s doing really well. His English is better than it was a year ago, and his English is certainly much better than my French!

Yacine might make errors during the episode, and that’s fine. I’ll help him or even give him corrections (“yes please” – he says). This episode is not a judgement of his English, and it’s not his comedy performance either – that happens in Edinburgh. What this is, is an investigation into his English learning experiences and the relationship between language, communication, comedy and language learning!

Click here to transcribe more of this episode using a google document.

Thanks for listening, and have a good day/evening/night!


yacine PODPIC

2. Easter / Interview with my Dad / Language Focus: Adverbials

A conversation with my Dad about Easter, and a language point about adverbials. Full transcript available below.

Right click here to download this episode.

Small Donate Button This is the transcript to “EPISODE 2 – EASTER”
Hello, and welcome to Luke’s English podcast, the real British English podcast. This is episode two of the podcast and I’m very pleased because I’ve already had a couple of emails from a couple of people who’ve listened to the podcast, and one of those emails comes from Jose Manuel in Alicante in Spain and he asks me about Easter because it’s Easter at the moment. He asks me what we do normally in the UK at Easter and, well it’s funny you should ask that Jose (Jose, I’m sure that’s how you say it) because right now I’m at my parents’ place. I’ve travelled up on the train from London and I’m at my parents house which is in the countryside in Warwickshire and this is a typical thing that people of my age do, they normally travel back to their parents’ houses and they spend time with their families together and actually in this episode I’m going to be joined by my dad so I’m going to interview my dad about Easter, so he’ll tell you some typical things about Easter time in the UK and so that’s going to be our feature in part two and then at the end of the podcast I’m going to talk about some adverbs, some useful adverbs in response to another email that we got and so that’s what’s going to happen in today’s podcast.

Luke: OK, so I’m now joined by my dad, Rick, but obviously I call him Dad, I don’t call him Rick. Hi Dad,
Rick: Hello Luke
Luke: How are you?
Rick: I’m fine, thank you very much
Luke: Good, so, obviously I’m here at my parents’ house because it’s Easter, at your house. This is what I normally do, isn’t it?
Rick: Yes, it is, it’s a time to get together with the family
Luke: Right, ok so, so Easter then. Now Easter is a season when we remember the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ by telling our children that a large rabbit comes in the night and leaves chocolate eggs in the garden, now I don’t know about you but that seems a bit strange to me I don’t know what the connection is between the Jesus thing and a big rabbit and chocolate and eggs and things, what do you think about that?
Rick: Well this idea of the Easter rabbit coming and bringing eggs is a bit of an American idea really and I think that it’s a very interesting mixture between Christianity and old pagan beliefs, I mean, obviously the Christian celebration of Easter is, as you say, about the crucifixion and, after three days, the resurrection of Christ, so it’s a crucial celebration and stands alongside Christmas, the birth of Christ and then the death of Christ, the two big Christian festivals.
Luke: That’s the Christian thing, you said something about Pagan, what does that mean?
Rick: Well of course you know experts will tell you that 2,000 years ago when Christianity started to spread across Europe it did, if you like, take over the Pagan festivals that already existed
Luke: So Pagan is the kind of religion that people had …
Rick: it’s pre-Christian …
Luke: … before christianity,
Rick: Yes and it’s got a lot to do with various gods and superstition and of course pagan times there was a big winter festival and there was a big spring festival and the spring festival was of course the festival of fertility and growth and new growth …
Luke: …and new life
Rick: … of new life and of course if you lived in a society where it was very important that the crops didn’t fail this was a time when you wanted to have all the good luck you could get, to have the gods on your side to make sure that the crops had a very successful season …
Luke: OK, so before Christianity then, Easter was a festival, a pagan festival when people celebrated the start of new life and spring time and good luck for your, you know, farming for that year, right?
Rick: yes
Luke: now I understand the egg connection because an egg is the symbol of new life right? But why … now actually one of my students asked me this last week, why do we have chocolate eggs, why chocolate?
Rick: Well I must admit I’m not entirely sure, but my guess is that people have given each other eggs at Easter time, or if you like, at spring time as a gift because it is, as you say, the time when all the birds are laying their eggs
Luke: right, chickens and stuff
Rick: well chickens but all the wild birds are nesting and making nests and laying eggs and remember that in the old days people used to use the natural resources very very much, the berries and the eggs were a resource …
Luke: so they …
Rick … and they would go out into the countryside and gather the eggs and eat them …
Luke: right, so they used …
Rick … so the egg season came in and people would no doubt give each other eggs and presents and then when we discovered the joys of chocolate I suppose it was a natural thing to give people chocolate eggs instead
Luke: just a sort of gift …
Rick: … a gift which symbolises new life
Luke: so its nicer really to give someone a chocolate egg than just an egg because just an egg, I mean, it’s alright, you can boil it or fry it or something but it’s nicer as a gift to give someone a chocolate egg I suppose
Rick: yes I suppose
Luke: right so let’s see, what do English families usually do then at Easter in the UK? oh um yea, what do English families normally do at Easter?
Rick: well it is a traditional time for the family to get together and it’s a long weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and those four days is when most families, you know, get together and these days they get in the car and they drive to the parents or the grandparents and it is very much a family get together and they give each other chocolate eggs in most households.
Luke: When I was a kid I remember what you and mum used to do is at Easter you used to hide eggs, you used to hide chocolate eggs around the house or around the garden and me and James, (James and I) would go and try and find the eggs, so that was always fun.
What did you do when you were a child?
Rick: Well I remember I used to go to my grandparents’ house. They lived up in the north of England in the countryside, and they had real boiled eggs, hard boiled eggs which were boiled in water that had been coloured with something so you were given a pink egg or a blue egg or a green egg and we would roll them, this was really quite a well established tradition that you roll the eggs down some kind of bank, down a hill, you roll the eggs down a hill, why I’m not sure but that’s what people did, they used to roll the eggs down the hill and run after them as a kind of game
Luke: so you’d walk up a little hill with your blue or pink eggs and then you would sort of roll them down the hill and then run after them and have a lot of fun running after some blue and pink …
Rick: … that’s right and if your egg broke it didn’t matter because it was hard boiled it was cooked and then you would eat the egg at the bottom of the hill, that’s what you did, you rolled the egg down the hill and you chased after it and you caught it and you ate it.
Luke: Right, well that sounds like lots of fun I suppose these days if … I think probably children are so lazy now that if you hid some chocolate eggs in the house they would probably, you know, be too lazy to get up and try and find them, you’d probably have to leave ipods or something around the garden, because if you left an ipod in the garden then a child would probably get up from in front of the TV and try and find it. I think kids these days are too lazy to do anything really unless there’s an ipod involved.
Rick: I don’t really agree with you Luke and I know you’re really just teasing, but the point is of course is that it’s fun and kids do like to search for things, to hunt for things whether it be a little chocolate egg or indeed a little chocolate rabbit and sometimes you hide little chocolate rabbits around the house and ask the children to find them and they love it.
Luke: I hit a rabbit the other day in the car when I was driving.
Rick: Really?
Luke: There’s lots of rabbits around here, you know I was I – um my parents live in the countryside, listeners – and there’s lots and lots of rabbits especially at this time of year and I was driving the car to the station to pick up my brother James, and a rabbit ran out in front of the car and I didn’t hit the rabbit with the wheels so I didn’t squash it but the rabbit went under the car and I heard a kind of noise …
Rick: … clonk …
Luke: … a kind of dum noise as the rabbit, probably the rabbit hit his head on something under the car. I looked in the mirror and there was just a dead rabbit
Rick: what a horrible thought! Mind you you do see an awful lot of dead rabbits on the roads these days there are thousands of them and they do have a terrible habit, a rabbit habit of running out in front of your car …
Luke: they’re stupid aren’t they?
Rick: … they wait until you’re coming and then they run out
Luke: They’re just stupid really aren’t they. Anyway there are so many of them that it doesn’t matter
Rick: Well it’s a pity for that particular rabbit but there’s nothing much you can do about it when it hurls itself in front of your car
Luke: Well there’s plenty of food for the birds
Rick: That’s quite right lots of birds eat the dead rabbits – the crows, the magpies and the buzzards, they live on the rabbits which are killed on the roads.
Luke: Well, thanks very much Dad for, you know, for agreeing to talk to me, yea, it was very nice, thank you
Rick: ok and I hope you have a very happy Easter Luke
Luke: Yes, happy Easter to you too
Rick: Thank you.

Ok so that was my dad, um a very nice man, very well educated, he knows a lot of things about history and all sorts of things so I’m very lucky to be able to interview him.
Now like I said at the beginning of the show, I had another email about an English question, now I got an email from Miho in Yokohama in Japan and she asked me what ‘basically’ means, because she heard me in the first podcast using the word ‘basically’ a lot and she’s right I do say ‘basically’ quite a lot, it’s a very common word, particularly for me. Lots of people use the word ‘basically’. Now the word ‘basically’ is an adverb and adverbs are great words, very useful words that you can use at the beginning of a sentence. Now a word like ‘basically’ doesn’t really mean very much but people use it almost like a habit. Really, ‘basically’ is used to say … before you say something you use the word ‘basically’ to show that you are going to say something in a simple or basic way, OK? So for example if I use the word ‘basically’ you put it at the beginning of the sentence and you’d say something like this: “basically, this is a podcast to give learners of English some listening practice” OK?
Now there are lots of other adverbs that you can use in a similar way at the beginning of a sentence and you’ll probably know adverbs because most of them end in ly, now we get lots of different kinds of adverbs in different positions in the sentence but the adverbs I’m going to teach you now are ones you can use at the start of a sentence. So we’ve got adverbs like basically, actually, obviously, strangely enough, frankly speaking, recently, unfortunately, amazingly and hopefully. Ok so I’m just going to give you some examples of that now, so we’ll start with ‘actually’:
“Actually this is only the second podcast I have ever done” ok? So there’s an example. Now if you speak Spanish and some other European languages, ‘actually’ in your language means ‘currently’, meaning ‘now’ so actually doesn’t mean ‘now’i t just means ‘as a matter of fact’, right? So, “actually this is only the second podcast I have ever done”.
The third one is ‘obviously’. Now we use “obviously” to say something that is obvious, so say something that everybody knows. Now, football players use ‘obviously’ a lot when they are doing interviews now, just as an example you might say “obviously we were the best team in the competition” right? Now you would say ‘obviously’ because your team won so of course your team was the best one. “Obviously my team was the best team in the competition” for example.
The next one is ‘strangely enough’, now that’s used to say something that is strange. OK, so for example, “strangely enough I don’t really like fish and chips, even though I’m English” right? So that’s strange because most English people like fish and chips, so “strangely enough I don’t really like fish and chips even though I’m English”.
The next one is ‘frankly speaking’, now this is something you would say that’s rather honest, OK, so for example, “frankly speaking it was the worst film I’ve seen in a long long time” so if you are being very honest about something you can say ‘frankly speaking’, “Frankly speaking it was the worst film I’ve ever seen”.
The next one is ‘recently’. Now you probably know ‘recently’, we use it to say something that happened in near or close time. Right? So for example “recently I’ve been listening to lots of Rolling Stones records”. Ok? “Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Rolling Stones records”.
The next one is ‘unfortunately’, and we use that one to talk about something bad that’s happened, OK? something that you regret, OK? So for example, “unfortunately, I had to leave before the end of the lesson” OK ? “unfortunately I had to leave before the end of the lesson”. So that would be a bad thing because, obviously you want to be in the classroom for the whole lesson, but “unfortunately I had to leave before the end of the lesson and I missed the most important part”, for example.
And finally, the next one I’d like to teach you is ‘amazingly enough’. We use that one to describe something amazing for example “Amazingly enough, I’ve never been to Edinburgh” “Amazingly enough I’ve never seen a musical” and “amazingly enough I’ve never been to Harrods”. Now that’s amazing because I live in London and I’ve never been to Harrods, right? So “amazingly enough I’ve never been to Harrods”, OK?
Oh there’s one more, and that’s ‘hopefully’. Now if you hope for something then you can use ‘hopefully’, for example “hopefully this podcast isn’t boring” right? Ok?
Right, so that’s the end of part three and that’s the end of this podcast. Don’t forget to email me. I’d like to end with a question again now, and the question this time is: what kind of music is popular in your country at the moment? so what are people interested in at the moment in terms of music in your country? So, for example is it mainly English language music so music from American or Britain, or is music from your country more popular than English Language music? So, don’t forget to email me, that’s: luketeacher@hotmail.com and I look forward to hearing from you very soon. That’s the end of the podcast, bye bye bye bye bye…..