This episode is a chance for you to test your knowledge and probably learn some new vocabulary relating to crime.
In the last episode I talked to my friend Moz who, as we know, does a true crime podcast and organises murder-themed walking tours in London.
I thought that since we’ve been talking about crime, that I’d prepare a crime vocabulary quiz and use it to test Moz’s knowledge of different types of crime.
I’ve created a word list with nouns and verbs – names of crimes, the verbs associated with them and also what we call people who commit those crimes.
You can see the word list on the page for this episode if you want to have a look.
Otherwise, you can just listen on and see if you can guess the names of these crimes as well as their associated verbs and nouns.
This episode contains some swearing but none of the explicit imagery that we had in the last episode.
I’m focusing on general English here – the kinds of words that people generally use to talk about crimes. When talking about crime and crime there’s a wide range of vocabulary that exists. Some of it is the sort of official language used by the police or by the justice system, and some are slang words used by ordinary people.
The main aim here is to present the vocabulary that I think most people know and that most people use when talking about crime in general life. There is a lot more vocabulary on this topic of course, so there’s always more which I can cover in later episodes.
But let’s start now and you can see how many of these words you know, and don’t forget to check out the website if you want to see the list of crime words that come up in this episode. You can check their spelling, add them to your word lists and so on.
Right then – let’s get started!
The words are also written in lists below so you can copy+paste.
Nouns (crime names)
Theft / stealing
Assault / Verbal assault / Sexual assault
Drunk driving / drinking and driving
Drunk in charge of a vehicle / a pram (!) / a skateboard
Handling stolen goods / fencing (informal)
Giving information to the police (not actually a crime)
To steal / to take / to snatch / to grab / to swipe / to nick / to lift
The second part of this conversation with Andy Johnson and Ben Butler, and we talk about the moment of childbirth and take a quiz about becoming a father. Vocabulary is explained in the second part of the episode. Vocabulary list available.
Welcome back to part 2 of this double episode called “Becoming a Dad with Andy and Ben” – I may need to rethink that title. It sounds a bit misleading. “Becoming a Dad with Andy & Ben” – It sounds like I’m becoming a Dad with Andy & Ben – as if somehow Andy and Ben are involved. I’m not sure about that idea. I mean, they definitely weren’t involved.
Nevertheless, here is Becoming a Dad with Andy and Ben part 2, in which I am talking to my friends Andy and Ben about their experiences of becoming a father for the first time. I’m trying to learn a few things about what it will be like when I become a Dad in a matter of weeks.
Andy & Ben are like seasoned professionals at this now as they both have two kids.
In part 1 you heard about things like conception, trimesters, epidurals and all sorts of other things.
We left it on a bit of a cliffhanger with me asking Andy & Ben about the moment their first children were born, so we get straight into it here talking about the big day, the moment when it’s time to get to the hospital and all hell breaks loose! Now, this is probably the most crucial moment of the whole process and can also be quite a dangerous day as well, so there is often drama and a lot of nerves. It’s a nerve-wracking experience, and we’ll be talking about it in some detail – so if childbirth is a topic that you are sensitive about, just have a think before embarking on this episode.
I think I’m prepared for the big day (mentally and also in terms of our home) but it’s going to be a big rush to deal with and no doubt quite emotional! Even going for scans is quite a big deal, so it’s a bit hard to imagine what the birth will be like.
Anyway, let’s carry on. See if you can identify the things Andy and Ben are saying and stick around because in the second part I’ll be going through lots of the vocab you’ll be hearing, turning this into a great learning opportunity for you.
—- Conversation Continues —–
So that was my conversation with Andy & Ben. Did you catch everything?
You know what’s happening now, right?
That’s right it’s vocab time.
Let me now go through some vocabulary for you.
She told me that she thought her water had broken
I was training someone to fill my role while I was taking paternity leave
The contractions were pretty slow actually
It took her ages to start contracting properly
We went to the hospital after 36 hours of labour
She was already 9cm dilated
My wife was out of it
They just whisked my wife away to the theatre.
I’m not a man for a crisis. I wouldn’t know what to do. I’d be running around like a headless chicken.
My wife developed gestational diabetes.
Too much sugar going through the placenta can make the baby grow too quickly.
We got a cab in and it was great (not a cabin).
The umbilicalcord had got wrapped around his neck
They cut the umbilical cord and took him over to the resuscitation table
First of all I saw this massive… junk. Because when babies are born their genitals are swollen. So, first thing I saw was it’s a boy.
That was me finished, I just burst out crying.
And then he weed all over the nurse.
I held it together. I don’t know how I did because I’m quite squeamish.
As soon as I got outside, that’s when I really broke down.
If there are dramas, don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.
You just have to go with the flow and it’s alright in the end.
This is easy, I’ve nailed this parenting lark!
Once they start to wake up, that’s when it kicks in, is it?
If you can manage the people who want to see the baby, who hound you…
I tell you what, I’ve got a little quiz here…
She’s just gone through childbirth so she needs to be pampered
What would the native Americans do? They’d probably use buffalo turds
When the baby is born the mother and father are flooded with a hormone – the happiness hormone.
Your wife is your number 1 person, but she is going to be relegated, and so are you.
They start gurgling and making noises
The youngest, he looks at me and his whole face lights up with a big smile.
You get a good couple of nights’ sleep (in a hotel) and your body remembers and goes “Oh I want more of this” and you end up still being knackered!
Once things have settled down we can have another chat and we can see you with the big bags under your eyes.
Thanks for listening! I look forward to reading your comments.
A conversation and vocabulary lesson about childbirth and becoming a father, with Andy Johnson and Ben Butler from The London School of English. Listen to Andy and Ben talking about their experiences of becoming parents, how their babies were born and more. Vocabulary is explained in the second half of the episode. Vocabulary list available.
If you have heard the podcast recently you’ll know that my wife and I are expecting a child… (expecting a child to do what Luke…?) Well, expecting a child to be born… we’re having a baby, well she’s having a baby, as I said before, I will mainly be just standing there, hoping for the best.
“Expecting a child” is just the phrase we use for that – when you’re going to have a baby. We’re going to have a baby daughter in December. Thank you if you have sent me messages saying congratulations, that’s very nice of you.
I don’t plan to talk about children all the time on this podcast. Having a child is a big deal, but I don’t want to sound like a broken record by going on about it all the time, although it’s bound to come into the things I say because it will be major part of my life.
But I thought that it would be worth talking about it in some depth in at least one or two episodes because it is something that a lot of people experience (many of you will have had children, or will go on to have children and if not you then your friends or family – or at least it’s the sort of thing that people talk about a lot) and since this is happening to me I think talking about it could bring some authenticity to an episode, and that can really make it more interesting and therefore more engaging for you to listen to . Also there’s quite a lot of specific vocabulary that will come up that you can learn.
I did record a conversation with Amber nearly 4 years ago when she was pregnant with her son Hugo. She talked about what it was like for her to be pregnant and I did a follow-up episode with vocabulary of the subject too. You can find those two episodes in the episode archive – episodes 161 and 162. That was quite a long time ago, so let’s revisit the subject, and see if any of the same language comes up again.
This time I thought I’d talk to Andy Johnson and Ben Butler about their experiences of becoming parents, to see if they can give me some general advice as I am just about to become a dad for the first time.
They’ve both had several children now, so they’re very experienced at the sort of thing I’m going to start going through in a matter of weeks.
So I’m going to do a lot of listening and learning in this episode, and you can join me too. Let’s see how much we can learn from this.
Watch out for some nice language relating to the whole subject of childbirth, parenting, and so on.
This episode is in two parts – that’s because I’ve decided to spend the second half of each episode explaining some of the vocabulary that comes up in the conversation.
What’s going to happen is that I’ll play you the first part of the conversation in a moment. Just try to follow it. I think it might be difficult for a lot of you. I think that there could be quite a lot of detail that you won’t catch. There are 3 of us, talking on skype, fairly quickly about quite a specific and detailed subject. So, remember, if you don’t understand it all – you should keep listening and hold on because I will be going through a lot of the language and clarifying it afterwards.
That should help you understand more and also turn this into more than just a conversation – it’ll become an English lesson and a chance to learn some natural English expressions. So, don’t worry if you don’t understand it all. I expect to catch a lot of that stuff in the second half.
There’s also a vocabulary list on the page for this episode and the next one.
Now, having children is wonderful and fantastic and all that – but it can also be quite scary – I mean, it’s fairly serious business, especially the moment of birth. I think we’re going to get into some fairly personal details in this conversation, and there will probably be a few descriptions of childbirth experiences which were quite emotional and even frightening at the time so please just bear that in mind if this is a sensitive topic for you for any reason.
Another thing I’m aware of is the fact that there are various cultural differences around childbirth and so the things you will hear about in this conversation might be different to how it is in your country. I’m quite curious to read your comments and to know if things are done at all differently where you are from.
Anyway, let’s now talk to Andy and Ben now and see what they can tell me about becoming a dad, and by the way – this conversation was recorded on Skype. I was at home in Paris and they were in a classroom at the London School of English, which is just next door to where I used to live in my flat in London. In fact, from some of the classrooms there it is possible to see my old flat through the windows. In fact, that’s the first thing that is mentioned in this conversation…
—————————- Part 1 ——————————–
Ok that’s the end of part 1 of the conversation!
What I’m going to do now is go through some of the language you just heard but may have missed. You can hear the rest of the conversation in part 2, which should be available soon.
Now, a lot of the language in this list for this episode is about childbirth and parenting – but not all of this language is about those things. There’s also plenty of vocabulary that you can use to talk about things in general, for example there are a few football analogies that Andy and Ben used as well.
Check out the page for this episode where you’ll see a the word list that I’m going through here. You can take those phrases, put them in your word lists, your flashcard apps, and so on.
Create your own word lists
By the way, it might be a good idea to create a word list of your own. It’s so easy with the internet today. When you find new words online, copy + paste them into a list (maybe on a spreadsheet, a word doc or a google doc or something). Add examples, definitions, pronunciation, even links to podcast episodes or whatever, and also any details that will help you remember the word. That’s so easy to do, right? Just copy + paste and bob’s your uncle. Use an online dictionary like Oxford Dictionary online to get examples and definitions. Then you can keep going back to your list, testing yourself and making sure that you remember these phrases and that you don’t just immediately forget them.
Just a tip there for how you can use word lists, notes or scripts on my website to help expand your active vocabulary with this podcast.
It’s exciting and slightly nerve-wracking
Football expressions (to describe the sequence in which Andy & Ben had kids – as if it was a football match)
Ben, you went first with your baby and then Andy you came next.
Andy: I equalised.
It was 1 – 1.
It was 1 – 0 (one – nil) and then Andy equalised.
Then Ben took the lead again.
Then more recently you drew level again.
We’re both on a hat trick now but it’s more likely that the match has been abandoned now.
It’s full time (no more kids!)
Match abandoned – inclement weather.
We’re going to call it quits at two.
The scans tell us that she’s healthy
How am I going to change a nappy?
Those kinds of things are easy in hindsight.
There was quite a lot of apprehension around the birth.
The midwife is talking about the birth in French.
Whether you want to have a caesareansection.
A natural birth – (in the UK this means a birth in the conventional sense, not a cesarean) but I use it to mean a birth involving no epidural (or pain reducing medication)
So, here in France, when people say “a natural birth” they mean one with no pain killers.
In the UK “a natural birth” just means “not a cesarean”.
So, will it be a c-section?
An epidural – a nerve blocker which goes into the spine
She had an epidural and she said it was a game changer
We conceived on Valentine’s Day
We had IVF so we know exactly when it happened
With the second one we were induced
My wife would certainly advocate having an epidural because it makes things so much easier
A chemical induced state
A numb state
My wife is pretty hardcore, she’s hard as nails
She’s got no qualms about that. She’s happy to just have the epidural.
We tried for 3 years and never fell pregnant again
In the end we went through IVF
They take the eggs out and inseminate them in a test tube and then they go back in
Talk about taking the fun out of it! (Talk about… = a way of emphasising something)
Our friends were plying us with champagne
Did your wives have morning sickness?
It’s the first trimester when they get sick
She was narcoleptic
Her body was generating new cells and it took it out of her
When is your duedate?
You’re almost in the drop zone mate
By the time this has been published the sprog might have even arrived
Think about your social commitments and try and scale those back
A conversation about travelling and learning languages with Ethan from RealLife English. Ethan is very well-travelled, having lived in at least 6 different countries. He’s also learned a few different languages to a good level as an adult. Let’s talk about his advice for adapting to new cultures and learning languages in adulthood. Vocabulary notes and language test available below.
Arrive with an open mind and be ready to try anything
Don’t just hang out with people from your country
You have to make an effort to integrate into the country
Things might be weird, but you’ll end up having some really memorable experiences
Push yourself to live like a local, even if at first you feel like the lifestyle isn’t as good as it is in your country
Get over yourself! Get out of your comfort zone
Don’t go just to learn English, go somewhere for the whole experience – and if you do that you’ll probably learn English more effectively as a result
Ethan’s advice for learning English on your own
Watch a popular TV show with subtitles – it’s important to choose a show that you like.
Listen to music and taking the time to look up the lyrics.
He just talked to people, even though he was really awkward and shy because he made lots of mistakes.
Motivation is key – he fell in love with Catalan and this gave him the motivation to push through the difficult moments, the awkwardness etc. So build and nurture your motivation to learn a language. Realise how good it is for you to come out of your shell and remember that you can get over your barriers if you really want to.
Find the right people to talk to, find people who are understanding and sympathetic to your situation (someone who’s learning a language too).
Do a language exchange because the other person will be much more likely to tolerate your errors, and will be willing to help you out because you’re going to do the same for them. (you can use italki to find language partners in many countries – www.teacherluke.co.uk/talk )
Be voraciously curious – cultivate the desire to do more. If you’re listening to music, check the lyrics and look them up. While watching TV use a notepad or an app like Evernote on your phone to note down vocab and then look it up later.
Practice by speaking to other non-native speakers of the language you’re learning. Other learners of the language are likely to be more sympathetic, they’ll probably have more in common with you, they might have some good advice, you’re going through a similar experience. Having peers with whom you can share your experience is really important.
Some language from the first part of the conversation (Quiz below)
Listen to this episode to get some definitions and descriptions of this language.
Refurbished buildings (made to look new again)
You can see some random smokestacks and things sticking up (tall chimneys)
Three blocksfrom the beach. (distance between his place and the beach)
I tend to go running there (I usually go running there. Not – I am used to going running there)
The weather hasn’t really been beach-appropriate (appropriate for a beach!)
We’re just rolling into fall here (entering) (fall = autumn)
I enjoy running by the beach, especially because the whole area around the beach is very iconic from when they had the Olympics here (impressive because it’s a famous symbol of something)
A modernist humongous whale structure (massive)
Every time I look at it I’m just astounded, it’s beautiful. (amazed)
Language for describing Ethan’s background (background – narrative tenses, past simple, past continuous, maybe some past perfect)
I moved back here (already) two months ago.
I was living here two times before, once for a year and a half and once for 3 months. (normally I’d use ‘I lived’ but perhaps he was thinking of it as a temporary thing in both cases)
Ways he talks about his current situation – present perfect to describe past events with a connection to now.
I’ve come back to stay, probably indefinitely, hopefully for a couple of years. (this is the only example actually)
Describing your background and your current situation
Describing your background
You need to use narrative tenses to describe your background story, and you need to learn how to do this in English and to be able to repeat it with some confidence. It might be worth thinking of how you can make your background story quite interesting or entertaining, or at least say how you felt about it. It just helps in social situations.
Remember: Past simple – the main events of the story – the main sequence Past continuous – the situation at the time, or longer events which are interrupted by shorter actions Past perfect – background events to the main events of the story
E.g. I went to university in Liverpool and studied Media & Cultural Studies. It was a really interesting degree, but it wasn’t very useful. I stayed in Liverpool for a while and played music in a band but we didn’t make it and I left and moved back in with my parents which was a bit of a nightmare. I didn’t really know what to do with myself for a while, but I decided I wanted to travel and go somewhere quite different, and I‘d always been curious about teaching, so I trained to be an English teacher and I got my first job in Japan. I stayed there for a couple of years, had a great time but decided that I wanted to come back because of family reasons. I taught English in London for 8 years, did my DELTA, got a job in a good school in London and then I met a French girl and I moved to France so we could be together. I’m very romantic. (actually that was almost exclusively past simple, wasn’t it?)Describing your current situation
Then you also need to talk about your current situation. We do this with present simple (permanent situations) and present continuous (temporary situations) and present perfect to talk about past actions with a connection to now.
E.g. I live in Paris these days. I’ve been here for about 5 years. I’ve worked for a few different schools, teaching English. These days I teach at The British Council. I’ve been there for about 3 years now. I’m also developing some online courses which I hope to release on my website before too long!
I’m from Colorado in the USA. Luke: Oh cool. (I said cool – because you should say cool when someone tells you where they’re from, or at least you should show some interest or curiosity, and be positive about it.)
It’s below Canada and above Mexico, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. (my non-specific description of where Colorado is – basically, it’s somewhere in the USA, haha etc)
It’s (to the) north east of Arizona, (to the) east of Utah, above New Mexico.
What’s the difference between ‘east of London’, ‘to the east of London’ and ‘in the east of London‘?
The four corners – it’s just a couple of hours away from the town I grew up in. (how would you put that in your language? “It takes two hours to get there”, “It’s a couple of hours from here”
It’s a tourist trap now. You go and put your hand in the middle and you’re in four states at once. (a place that attracts tourists and is probably best avoided)
I was born in my house. Durango, Colorado. That’s the town I lived in.
When I was 17 I moved to Germany for 6 months.
It’s interesting to see that, when you’ve lived in a place for 20 years, how it evolves. (how it changes gradually over time)
Colorado is wonderful, it’s spectacular. (magnificent, amazing, breathtaking)
We’re so active, we’re always outdoors. There are spectacular hikes you can do.
There are 4,000 or 5,000 metre peaks. (summits, mountain tops)
It’s very different to Europe because you get that kind of old-west feeling. (from the period of western expansion) (wild west – cowboys and lawlessness)
My only criticism is that I lived there for 20 years, which is more than enough. (nice way to start a sentence with something negative in it)…. (more than enough = too much)
I’ve never seen a grizzly, and they are dangerous. (grizzly bear)
Mountain Lions – if you were by yourself and you encountered one, it might not be a great end for you. You might get eaten alive by a huge cat. (You don’t meet a wild animal, you encounter one.)
We have deer and elk and in the north we also have moose, and a lot of, we’d say, critters, like small animals. (deer = animals that look like they have trees growing out of their heads – you know what I mean. Like Santa Claus’ reindeer. Elk = big deer. Moose = really big elk. Critters – little animals like rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, rats, raccoons, skunks)
In the US you drive from city to city and you see endlessexpanses of mountains and plains. (wide open spaces)
That’s a fun question so I’d have to think. (a nice way to buy time for yourself when someone asks you a question, like saying “that’s a good question, let me think”)
When I was in high school I did a 6 month exchange in Germany and during that time I also got to live in Poland for 2 weeks. (difference between for and during?)
I lived in Spain in Majorca for a year during college, which is when I fell in love with this place.
Some time expressions to help you tell a story:
After that, after school, I moved to Brazil.
I joined RealLife English because they had started a few months before I moved there.
That’s when I moved to Barcelona. Then I moved to Chile for 6 months. Now finally I‘ve moved back here.
After that you can imagine I’m a bit tired of jumping around so much and living out of a back pack. Now I’m here to stay for a while.
This episode includes anecdotes and descriptions of our short visit to Las Vegas, including stories of more rental car issues, Las Vegas craziness, winning and losing $$$ and 11 English idioms that come from gambling.
⬇️ Episode script and notes (Idioms list below) ⬇️
It was just as a stopover between L.A. and other areas, and to have a one look in your life, see what all the fuss is about sort of experience.
Take the rental car back to the car rental company.
Remember them, from part 1 of this?
When we picked up the car in LA – just a Nissan hatchback by the way, nothing fancy, at the start of the trip we had to go and wait in a boiling hot car park in Inglewood or somewhere, where I stood waiting on my phone for ages waiting to get through to someone to tell them we had arrived, standing there on hold with my arm going numb and the sun beating down on both me and my pregnant wife, and after about 40 minutes a guy in a rental car came and picked us up, and told us “oh yes, the shuttle busses are in the garage – they broke down on Tuesday”.
We drop off the car, pay the money, ask about the difference in price between the bill and the receipt –
“Sorry Mani, isn’t here today.”
“Can you do it?”
“Sorry, I can’t. He’s the manager.”
(We got fobbed off by the girl behind the counter)
There’s supposed to be a shuttle (bus) service back to the airport.
But it’s obvious that this is a crappy little rental car company that is cutting corners and fobbing everyone off with this talk of the “shuttle” that is mysteriously always in the garage.
Again we’re told that the shuttle is in the garage so we squeeze into another rental car with a German couple this time.
My wife is in the front, and I’m squeezed in with the Germans.
The Germans are quite nice, but it’s pretty clear they didn’t have the best experience with their car and they’ve driven a really long distance, without cruise control (which is standard for rentals usually) and they’re saying to the driver,
“Do you not have cars with cruise control? Because it’s very uncomfortable to drive 4,000 miles without cruise control, you know?”
I’m thinking – 4,000 miles! Without cruise control. His leg must be knackered.
The driver goes “Cruise control? Yes, there is cruise control.”
“No, there is no cruise control in this car.”
“This was your rental?”
Turns out the “shuttle” is just the same car the Germans just rented.
“Yes, there is no cruise control in this car. It was very difficult for us. Do you not have cars with cruise control?”
The driver is not interested in taking questions. He says “Some of them do and some of them don’t.”
“I think it would be good if your cars have the cruise control”
“I’m just the driver man”
I note in my head that our car had cruise control, and I never used it, not once, but I don’t say anything. I don’t think it would have helped.
“Well, our car had cruise control, and guess what we never used it! Ha ha, it would have been useful if we’d swapped, right? I bet you would have appreciated that after the first 3,000 miles!!”
But I didn’t say that. I just ‘enjoyed’ the really awkward vibe in the car, and the knowledge that my wife was pretty much steaming, but keeping herself under control.
After the Germans got out my wife chose to cross-examine the driver.
“So, where are the shuttles?”
“Oh, they’re in the garage, we had some trouble with them.”
“Both of them?”
“Yes, it’s just a coincidence.”
“OK. When did they go in the garage?”
“Oh just on Friday.”
“Well last week you said they broke down on Tuesday.”
“I’m just the driver”
“I know you’re just the driver but…”
“You’re getting driven there, I’m driving you personally…”
“I know but we just don’t appreciate being lied to, that’s all…”
At this point he got really angry and started making it personal.
“OK, you’re getting personal with me now, and I don’t appreciate you making personal attacks against me, ok?”
As I was taking the bags out of the back, I was trying to say, “Look, it’s not personal we’re just commenting on the service. We were told one thing, we get another thing. It’s not you, right? it’s your management, right?”
He just went “Well I deliver you to the airport and you make it personal” and he just got in the car and drove off.
I couldn’t help feeling bad for the guy. I think he probably has no choice but to lie about the shuttle thing because the crappy management of this company keeps telling their customers there will be a shuttle. It’s written in their emails and stuff. I imagine he’s just trying to keep his job.
He couldn’t really say “Yes, well to be honest sir our company is lying to you. We don’t have any shuttles, it’s not worth it – you know? Because we don’t get enough customers to justify using a whole bus, and there’s obviously nowhere for us to park one anyway, so we just use these cars and I’m always dealing with these problems, but it’s because the management keep lying.”
He can’t admit that the company lies or is wrong. It’s unfair on him. I know, I’m making excuses for the guy, but what can he do?
The management should just say they have a personal car service, it would solve the problem.
That’s the solution. We don’t care about shuttles. Just say there’s a personal car service. The driver can introduce himself. “Hi, I’m Carlos, I’m your driver, where are you guys from?” Etc. That would solve the problem. Instead, Carlos (or whatever he’s called) is on the defensive and can’t start talking to the customers because he knows they’re not happy. Poor Carlos, and poor customers.
I wonder what’s really going on there – at this particular franchise of Wrong Cars™.
Anyway, after that we got on our plane for the short flight to Vegas. We could have driven but we planned this to make sure there was as little driving as possible, because when you’re pregnant it’s not good to sit in a vibrating car for hours on end, and anyway it sucks to be stuck in a car all the time.
We arrive in Vegas
It’s in the middle of the Mojave Desert for goodness sake.
We rent a car from another company this time – more established. Enterprise. Admittedly, it’s a bit more expensive but we don’t want to risk it because we’ll be driving in some fairly deserted spots and we want a car that will not break down and that has customer service that’s actually available by telephone.
So we get to the car rental area – a massive building in airportland. Dazzling service. We’re in the car in a matter of minutes and it looks brand new. We rented a small SUV. The main thing was that it was comfy and could deal with bits of rough terrain if needed. We get a Jeep Renegade. It’s pretty cool. Wife is happy and in comfort. OK.
Staying at New York New York Hotel.
Vegas is completely insane and, honestly, not a great place. In fact it’s the most tawdry, sleazy, tacky place ever.
Pick the most touristy part of any town and amplify it by 1000. It’s like that.
It’s boiling hot outside but inside it’s freezing, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to build this massive place with all these things like swimming pools, hotels and golf courses in the middle of the desert.
God knows how they get their water.
And it’s just a weird place cut off from reality in which you are constantly being seduced and distracted by flashing lights and big things and encouraged to gamble your money away. It’s like one huge sales pitch in the form of a city.
Inside the casinos there are no windows. They’re like huge circus tents on the inside, with big restaurant facades around the edge, tables for gambling – playing poker or roulette or the one where you throw the dice and there are loads of different numbers and letters and it’s a bewildering illusion of choice, big individual gambling machines, lamp posts (inside the hotel), fake little streets, massive Irish pubs (which is never really a bad thing in itself) but all this stuff and you look up to the sky and it’s the black ceiling of the hotel above you, quite high and in the background. It’s probably daylight outside, but you can’t see the desert sun. Inside the hotel’s gambling area there’s this black canopy of the ceiling above all this trashy fake stuff.
It’s so weird to come to the desert and then find yourself in this totally synthetic place all set against a black backdrop.
This is some people’s idea of a wonderful place – a vast plastic playground with so many attractions, but there’s something very unnatural and twisted about it.
People smoke indoors and this feels wrong now after 10 years since the smoking ban. No big deal, but still… I think the reason is that they prioritise the gambling, so even though it fills the air with harmful smoke, it means people stay at the tables and don’t go outside to smoke their cigarettes.
There are tourists wandering around, families and stuff but also you spot these grizzled gamblers losing fortunes.
You see some old people who have travelled for miles to spend their money because they don’t really know what else to do with it, so it all goes in these machines.
There are some really drunk people, sitting at the bar.
But also families with kids walking around.
Even some bars have gambling machines built into them, so you can lose money (or maybe win) while you’re taking a break from the bigger tables.
In one casino, where we went to the theatre – there was a girl in suspenders dancing erotically on a table, and kids were wandering around.
It was like a strip club in Disneyland. It was like a cross between Disneyland and a lap dancing club. Adult Disneyland, but with families wandering around in it.
Our hotel had a rollercoaster going around it.
Yep, a rollercoaster, with tracks that actually went around the outside of the hotel.
You can stand in the bedroom and every now and then you hear the rumble of the rollercoaster and the muffled screams of people outside the window. This is from inside your hotel room..
If you part the curtains and look out you can see part of the track twisting around past the window and eventually you’ll see the rollercoaster race past, people screaming.
Take a look into the distance and there are the mountains, some desert and then closer to you just weird, big shiny bright buildings and Trump tower. A massive tower with his name at the top in huge gold letters.
“We’ve got the greatest buildings folks, all the best casinos. You’re gonna have fun, and you’re gonna make so much money. We’re gonna Make America Great Again. Believe me folks.”
And the house always wins.
That’s the thing with these casinos.
You have to enjoy the process of it, because you’re basically paying money to experience the excitement of possibility of having more money, even if the probable outcome is that you’ll end up with less.
You’re paying for the excitement of losing, it’s exciting because there’s a possibility that you won’t lose, but the fact is you will probably lose.
So the chances are that you’re going to lose
but you might win
and that’s what makes it exciting
to throw your money away.
The house always wins.
Sometimes somebody wins.
But most people are losing.
And the house is always winning.
Fair enough though, people choose to gamble and they probably enjoy it. People seem to enjoy it – that’s their choice, but it doesn’t appeal to me very much, beyond just having a go to see what the fuss is all about.
But there are some good things about Vegas, ok!
It’s not all awful! It’s fun for a night or maybe two, depending on what you do.
It is a big spectacle – some of the hotels look amazing and massive, and also there are some spectacular shows that you can see – like dance shows such as Cirque du Soleil or Blue Man Group and magic shows like David Copperfield or Penn & Teller.
We chose to go there as a stopover but also to experience it and we did have a laugh!
You have to just go with it a bit and just go ‘ wow, look at that, that’s ridiculous!’
A lot of the time we were walking around, couldn’t believe our eyes, saying “this is insane” “Look at that! It’s a massive Egyptian pyramid!
Our hotel was basically a recreation of the New York skyline. Other hotels have things like an Eiffel Tower, an Egyptian Sphinx, massive fountains and light shows.
It was pretty weird to see the Eiffel Tower considering we see it every day in Paris.
Also, it’s a very convenient place – in the sense that it’s really easy to access the airport, it’s not all that big, things are open 24 hours a day.
People are helpful and friendly.
There was a wholefoods there. In fact there are a few Wholefoods supermarkets there – say no more!
Some of the stuff is good fun.
So, that’s that then isn’t it.
Penn & Teller
Gambling in the Casino
We played some one of the “one armed bandits” – the fruit machines. It’s like one dollar to pull the arm and watch some things spinning around. We put aside about 50 dollars for fun. My wife enjoys the one armed bandits and she’s actually very lucky. I’m a lot more sceptical about it.
But she thinks she’s blessed with luck or something.
(Actually she’s blessed with Luke, but anyway… I’m not sure “blessed” is the right word – “married to” is probably better)
In England, when we had first met each other, we took a trip to Brighton, on the south coast, and we went to the pier (a wooden walkway that stretches out over the sea, wooden legs supporting it – a pier) where there are lots of arcade machines and gambling machines and other attractions, and she was convinced she would win money on the machines and I was going “ but the house always wins” and she was saying “no I’m magic!”.
I was shaking my head thinking “there is no magic, only the force” and she put one pound in a slot machine and promptly won £20, and said “I told you I was magic”. We walked away £20 richer. We didn’t continue gambling. I think she’s smart enough to know that you quit while you’re ahead.
The same thing happened years later, we were in a little resort in the north of France where you find some casinos. She’s not a gambling addict or anything. She just likes playing the machines a few times when we’re on holiday sometimes.
We went to a casino and chose to spend no more than 50E. A 50E limit. Ooh, big bucks, right?
We were walking around trying to find a good machine. There were some slightly sad looking people just sitting there plugged into these persuasive light shows – it’s a sort of low level basic addiction (or high level for some people) – an addiction to the sales pitch, basically.
I was being very sceptical, and making various sceptical noises.
We ended up leaving with 80E, 30E up from when we went in.
We quit while we were ahead.
In Vegas we did some gambling on the machines. I was thinking, “Well, she is magic. Maybe we’ll win enough to get a half decent dinner.”
We lost all the money we took in. All of it.
It was a steady one directional flow of us putting money into the machines and getting nothing in return. Las Vegas just ate our 50 dollars like a crocodile eats a chicken. One gulp, all gone, didn’t even chew. It didn’t even touch the sides as it went down.
We won nothing.
Well, almost nothing. We always seemed to win a few credits just before our money ran out, which I’m sure is a little trick to encourage you to put more money in because you think the machine is going to ‘start paying out’ at some point.
Obviously, we didn’t know what we were doing. We had no clue and I’m sure those machines were the wrong ones to be playing, and some of the casinos are better than others, but anyway we weren’t really there for the gambling. We were more interested in playing it safe.
11 Gambling Idioms (that don’t just apply to gambling)
to be on a winning streak (when you’re winning)
to be on a losing streak (when you’re losing and nothing is going your way)
to break even (when you take the same amount of money that you spent – in gambling or in business. No profit, no loss.)
to quit while you’re ahead (stop when you’re winning)
the house always wins
to bet (to gamble) “I bet you £20 that Arsenal win the game” or (a challenge) “I bet you can’t throw this paper ball in the bin from there!” or (an expectation) “I bet all the tickets are sold out”
to show your hand (show the cards in your hand / reveal your position)
a poker face (a facial expression which reveals nothing – used while playing poker, or in any other situation where you keep a straight face)
don’t push your luck (take a big risk and try doing something that could end in failure – it’s a bit like saying “watch what you’re doing” or “be careful”)
to raise the stakes (the stakes = the money which you have to gamble in a round of poker. The expression is used to mean to increase the amount of money you can win or lose in a gambling game, but also to raise the general level of what you can win or lose – e.g. this line from a recent Daily Mail news article “Mr Trump raised the stakes in the escalating crisis over North Korea’s nuclear threats, suggesting drastic economic measures against China and criticising ally South Korea.” www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-4847836/North-Korea-conducts-nuclear-test-making-hydrogen-bomb-claims.html
the chips are down (chips = the plastic coins you use while gambling. The expression means – when you’re feeling bad, or when the situation is bad) E.g. in cricket – “When the chips are down for England, Moeen is often the side’s most useful player.”
I once saw a great documentary by Louis Theroux about high stakes gamblers in Vegas. Some of them lose thousands of dollars, but they keep gambling because they think they’re going to eventually start winning it all back. I’ve put some videos from the documentary on the page for this episode. I love Louis Theroux’s documentaries. They’re fascinating.
The phrase that I take away from one of the videos: Louis and a high-stakes gambler are standing in the biggest hotel suite in the city, looking out of the window at the huge hotels and Louis says “Vegas – they didn’t build these casinos on winners you know” and the guy says “I think in the lifetime, everyone’s a loser. But the thrill of being able to win today, lose next month, win the year after. I think it’s the challenge. I think it’s the thrill. I think it’s the entertainment in this city.”
Louis Theroux Gambling Documentary – video clips
Louis hangs out with a high-stakes gambler in a very expensive hotel suite in Las Vegas
Here’s the same guy, after losing about $400,000 dollars in 3 days
Louis gambles with a couple of gambling “enthusiasts” (addicts?)
Louis plays the “one armed bandits” with Martha (these are the machines that took our $50 in just a few minutes) Martha says “I lost 4 million dollars in the casino in 7 years.”
Louis gets lucky playing Baccarat
“Because I resigned myself to failure that night, Lady Luck had decided to tantilise me by making me win.”
How gambling can be dangerous
It seems that this is how it goes:
You might begin by winning some money. Then you feel lucky so you bet bigger, but you lose it.
You then start digging yourself in deeper and deeper, expecting your luck to change but there is absolutely no certainty that it will.
Some people talk about ‘the law of averages’ – suggesting that in time any sequence will balance out. E.g. you might spend a certain amount of time losing, but ultimately this will be balanced out by the number of times you win.
But that’s assuming that gambling in a casino is random. Usually it is subtly weighed in favour of the casino so that the pattern is that the casino wins more often than you. Even if you win a lot, the casino can afford it because more people have lost overall.
Often these high stakes gamblers keep betting because they think they’ll eventually start winning. They often don’t and then leave utterly devastated by the loss.
The house always wins.
Then what might happen is that you’ve lost, you’re dejected. You resign yourself to failure but play another game because why not, and then you hit a winning streak.
What a powerful combination of defeat and then victory, all out of your control. You’re at the mercy of this external force, playing around with “luck”. (Not Luke)
And the house always wins.
We drove along the strip. It’s madness out there! Just all the flashing lights and the spectacle, it’s like Picadilly Circus on steroids and the steroids are also on steroids.
Unbelievably massive plate of pancakes for breakfast.
Then we got out of town.
I told you I would talk about nature and canyons, and big rocks! All that stuff I really loved seeing, but I got carried away – distracted by tales of gambling in Vegas.
Las Vegas – a place that seems diametrically opposed to somewhere like Bryce National Park or The Grand Canyon.
I’m glad we only spent an afternoon, one evening and a night there.
Natural beauty is so much more real.
Well, anything is more real than Las Vegas, I suppose.
Thanks for listening.
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Thanks to the Orion transcription team and Andromeda proofreading team.
Shout out to the comment section crew.
Shout out to the Long-Term LEPsters, you know who you are.
Shout out to the new listeners, I hope you stick with us.
Shout out to every single one of you all around the world, listening to this right now and united by the fact that you are all citizens of LEPland or Podland or whatever we are calling this community which crosses international boundaries.
Be excellent to each other and party on!
Talking about some modern art which I saw while visiting several galleries in Los Angeles. Includes descriptions of different movements in modern art, details about some famous artists and their work, some thoughts about whether modern art is really amazing, or maybe just a load of pretentiousrubbish! (Spoiler alert: it depends)
Hi everyone, here’s part two of my holiday diary and in this one I’m going to continue describing things I saw and did on my recent holiday in the USA. The plan is not just to describe our trip but also to use it as a springboard to talk about some other subjects in a bit of depth, and in this episode that includes things like modern art (describing some different types of art from the modern period and giving my thoughts on some art work that we saw in a couple of galleries) astronomy and astrology, flat-earth conspiracy theories and probably some other things too, depending on how long this takes! It looks like this is going to be a series of episodes with what I hope will be an interesting variety of topics beyond just me talking about my holiday.
I’m recording this on the same day as I uploaded the last one. So I’m already seeing some messages coming in from people on Twitter and FB and stuff (in response to part 1), so thanks a lot for your kind messages saying congratulations for the fact that we’re going to have a baby.
Ok, let’s carry on!
Just to recap
We went to USA to have a blow-out before the arrival of our baby in December. A final trip just the two of us. Los Angeles via Montreal, then the canyons and Navajo Nation, then back to LA and home again.
Downtown Los Angeles
Tried to go to an art gallery called The Broad. This is a flashy-looking new art gallery. We went to see an interesting installation by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, but there was a huge queue outside – probably attracted by the installation, which is proving really popular. Apparently it’s called “Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” which is…
“a mirror-lined chamber housing a dazzling and seemingly endless LED light display. This experiential artwork has extremely limited capacity, accommodating one visitor at a time for about a minute” The Broad website.
An installation =a work of art constructed within a space in a gallery.
We ended up in The Museum of Contemporary Art LA, just down the road from the broad.
Also went to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) at one point during the trip.
Artists whose work we saw
We saw work by some celebrated artists from several important movements in modern art.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Cubism, surrealism – mainly in the first half of the 20th century and middle of the 20th century) Jackson Pollock (American, Abstract expressionism – late 1940s) Rothko (American of Russian Jewish descent, Abstract expressionism, 50s and 60s) Franz Kline (American, Abstract expressionism, 50s and 60s) Roy Lichtenstein (American, Pop art, abstract expressionism, 60s) Andy Warhol (American, Pop art, most well-known stuff is from the 60s)
And lots of others too.
Movements in Modern Art
Here’s a timeline of art movements in history from www.dummies.com
I’m describing art movements from the early part of the 19th century.
Contemporary art = art being made now Modern art = art from the modern era – late 19th Century and through the 20th century. Arguably we are now in the post-modern era Cubism (n) = an art movement in which artists went away from realistic representations of things and instead used geometric shapes, different kinds of perspective, lines, as if objects could be viewed from a number of different points of view all at the same time. Things exist in a kind of prism of perspective and the way you or the artist looks at something, changes its form. Surrealism (n) = an art movement in which objects or ideas are presented in a strange way, as if in some kind of dream or perhaps representations of the subconscious mind Abstract (adj) = this concept refers to things that aren’t real or tangible, but which exist in the world of the mind or outside reality as we usually see it (e.g. not just illustrating a bowl of fruit) Expressionism (n) = representing feelings or emotions rather than objects or things Abstract expressionism (n) = the name of the post WW2 art movement that combined the freedom of expression from expressionism and the use of abstract forms Pop art (n) = the name of another art movement, this one involved techniques, methods and styles from popular culture like product design, comic book style or photos of celebrities.
What do you think of contempary art, or modern art?
You might think:
“It’s just a bunch of colours or shapes!”
“Anyone could do that!”
“It’s just a load of pretentious nonsense!”
Very common reactions. I think like that too, quite often, especially if I think it’s not very good art.
What makes art good or bad?
You just know it when you see it. If it really doesn’t move you, please you or interest you, you might say it’s bad art, because ultimately it’s in the eye of the beholder – but not completely, because you also have to invest a bit of time and effort into it and also it helps to understand how the work fits into the overall history of art. You have to have some respect for it in order to start appreciating it as work, and ultimately then it can start to enrich your life in some way, but I think art is quite pretentious, which many people have a problem with.
What does pretentious mean Luke?
Something is pretentious (spell it) when it’s trying to seem important, clever or sophisticated, but it isn’t really.
E.g. talking about a work of art like it is the grandest, most important, most emotionally resonating work of genius in human history, and it’s just a blank piece of paper, or a picture of a willy or something.
I think it’s more than just a willy, it’s a statement about… blah blah blah…
So you might think modern art is rubbish.
Or maybe you’re a fan and you think “I love the way the artist plays with different forms and colours. It’s incredibly liberating and fascinating to experience it. I find it inspiring, moving and fascinating.”
It’s quite difficult to talk about art without sounding pretentious, to be honest.
I have mixed feelings about it. Only the really good stuff tends to move me. I mean, it’s rare that it works on me. But I do enjoy the experience of going around a good gallery, looking at work which has stood the test of time.
I also like talking about it. I like the way modern art or abstract art is so open. You feel like you’re interacting with it, but I always need to talk about it. It’s a chance to be totally open-minded and to try and put it into words.
But it’s not something I’m thinking about all the time.
I’m more moved by music (most kinds), acting, films, TV, books, photography (with real stuff in them – like people’s faces or moments in time captured) but when it’s right modern art can be great. Also it works as decoration, but it’s something you can also look closely at and let your mind wander. (wander like go for a walk, but also wonder meaning think about things, but “let your mind wander” is the right expression”.
Expressionism or abstract expressionism – what’s it all about?
This is just me having a stab at describing abstract art.
It seems to me that it’s about creating abstract spaces with no rules at all.
It’s a system with no external reference points (unlike films) it’s just a series of shapes or forms arranged in space which are designed to create certain emotions or feelings in you at a kind of elemental level, or gut level, or sensory level.
Sometimes thinking about it is what you’re not supposed to do, you just have to experience it. It can be something as simple as how it feels to experience these colours and shapes arranged in a certain way.
It could be the way the colours blend together, or certain forms stand out, or the basic gut reaction you have when looking at the canvas.
It’s supposed to be moving at a very natural level, just the interactions of forms in a physical space.
When you realise that it can be liberating and you feel like you’re entering into a conversation with the artist which is free from the constraints of language.
That’s the idea, but to be honest I often find myself getting absolutely nothing from it.
Art vs the art of nature (pretentious, moi?)
OK, so this is where I’m going to get really pretentious and talk about rocks like they’re works of art, but what are you going to do, sue me?
Some of these work of art were or are created in a way that seems to allow the hand of nature to guide the artist somehow, like Pollock who would often drip paint onto the canvas – he wouldn’t always touch the canvas with his brush, but would somehow involve an element of chance or nature in the way the paint splashed as it fell, combining his own judgement and an element of chaos in terms of how the paint ended up falling on the canvas.
The result is like looking inside the emotional space of the artist and you can feel his experience somehow in a way that you can’t put into words – at the moments of rage, passion, serenity or terror, or just the sense that he was experiencing a lack of control in his life or he was subject to emotions or experiences that he didn’t necessarily have a grip on, and yet experienced in the form of emotion. That sounds really pretentious, I know. But when you look at his work, you can choose to say “this is just bollocks” or you can decide that the guy clearly was very serious about what he was doing so there must be something in it. What was he looking for? Something to do with the balance of colours, the texture created by the many drops of paint and the overall sensory effect it creates.
It’s like entering a mood, and with Pollock that mood isn’t entirely happy.
I have the same feeling with Rothko. He managed to paint these pieces that look like just large blocks of colour, but as you stand in front of them and absorb them, the colours seem to blend slightly and become luminous or darker and you get this sense of depth or space and it fills you with a certain emotion. Often it’s a sadness, wistfulness or even a slight sense of stimulation. It defies description, it’s more of a gut feeling.
And by the way, looking at the real thing is far better than looking at a print or poster version in a frame on the wall of your house.
The real thing is a certain size, presented in certain conditions, proper lighting, you’re seeing the actual strokes of his brush or some sense of how he did it, you see the texture of the finished thing, which is important too.
Going back to Pollock – he would work on these big canvases on the floor and would start from scratch letting the painting develop as he added more and more layers but other artists took a different approach like Franz Klein who would plan his abstract work on a small-scale, just sketching it by hand, before recreating the sketch on massive canvases. What was a few scratched lines on a piece of paper becomes a huge striking piece of work. The effect is a bold mix of broad straight lines that combine in haphazard fashion. We kept thinking his paintings looked like close up images of plane crashes done in black and white, like the vague sense that it looked like a WW1 biplane had crashed. That’s not what they were of course, they were just lines, but the point is that the work has this dynamic urgency. They’re violent, bold and stark. Our brains just interpreted them as somehow like a plane crash.
Those are abstract expressionists.
There are lots of loads of other kinds of art, like pop art (Andy Warhol) which sort of consumed aspects of consumer culture with the idea that art could be mass-produced and that every day consumer objects could be works of art too if presented in that way, and I think we’re still experiencing the influence of that today with things like t-shirts with cool designs on them or the fact that we consume logos and brands as a form of art – on t-shirts, even on posters to decorate our homes. Pop art was also a comment on consumer culture – for example Andy Warhol’s famous work with lots of virtually identical screen prints of movie stars with different coloured backgrounds, or just a tin of Campbell’s tomato soup. It’s like examining everyday branded objects as works of art.
I don’t really understand it all, but it is fun to go to an art gallery, drink a load of coffee and then just stare at this stuff and see what it makes you think about and feel.
Anyone can do art, but to do it well is actually really difficult.
It’s not just a bunch of colours on a canvas, it is backed up by intention, technique and a general appreciation of the aesthetics of shape, colour and texture.
So, we saw some modern art, and it was pretty cool.
But honestly, the art we saw just could not be compared to the truly stunning works of nature that we saw later on in our trip in places like The Grand Canyon – objects and environments that had been formed by natural processes over millions of years.
It seems to me that from the point of view of the observer, the exact same forces are at work.
When you look at art or when you look at a mountain or a rock formation you get the instant emotional and intellectual reaction of seeing these incredible shapes, colours and textures, and you experience the wonder of imagining exactly how they were created and the story that they tell.
I must say I was blown away by the geology we saw on this trip, which I’ll describe in more detail later. It was so stunning that at times I was lost for words and it all resonated with us so much that it was quite hard to come to terms with it.
You might think – oh come on it’s just big rocks. And it is just big rocks of course, but I think we all find these things impressive and I’m just trying to capture that feeling in words.
So, I know this sounds pretentious or something, but literally every day we would arrive at a different location to be greeted by ever more impressive natural spectacles. After spending time in each place, doing some walking, getting quite hot in the sunshine, we would be quite exhausted at the end of each day and we’d have this stunned by stimulated feeling during dinner – trying to comprehend what we’d just seen. We also couldn’t sleep during the night. It was like our brains couldn’t rest until we’d somehow compartmentalized the things we’d seen.
The Grand Canyon is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s so big it makes you feel so insignificant, like a blink in the eye of history.
In some parts of these national parks you’re looking at geological formations that go back something like 500 million years.
And they’re so big that you feel completely dwarfed by them.
This was far more impressive than the modern art we saw, and it made the modern art just look like primitive cave paintings by humans trying to get a grip on the power of basic shapes and colours.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that nature is the most powerful artist out there.
And I say nature, because the whole story of nature is in these rocks.
The whole thing has been created by different natural forces over hundreds of millions of years.
It makes total sense that water, over such a long period, could erode the rock into these unbelievable shapes. That ice would break up the rock, forming bizarre shapes, that what was once a crack in the ground could become a huge open canyon with a river at the bottom.
So, nature is what formed these things, simply through the presence of certain elements on earth and the actions of the laws of physics.
Pretty mind-blowing stuff. But the modern art was a good way to get into the mindset of appreciating the aesthetics of things.
Let me know your thoughts on modern art. Is it amazing, or is it rubbish? Leave your comments below.
…and thanks for listening.
Want to see some examples of the art I described in this episode? Click the links below.
Everything you need to know about the world’s 2nd most popular spectator sport, cricket. I’m joined by my Dad, Rick Thompson and we describe the rules, the appeal of the game and also some expressions in English that come from cricket.
It’s summer in the UK and at this time of year there are various sounds that you might hear in a typical English village, the sound of bees buzzing, kids playing in the playground, an ice-cream van and perhaps the smack of leather on willow (the sound of a cricket ball – a hard, heavy ball covered in leather, being hit by a wooden cricket bat made of willow) those sounds coming from a game of cricket on the local village green.
Also, the sounds of cricket make their way into your home during the summer months as people listen on the radio or watch the coverage on TV.
International test match cricket is a feature of the summertime in England and is somehow deeply rooted into English life. It’s one of those cliches of rural England – sandwiches, afternoon tea and cricket on the green.
But for many foreign people who don’t play cricket it can seem like a weird antiquated slow game with rules that nobody understands. People are surprised that a game of cricket can last several days. Americans are often horrified to discover that games often end in a draw with no winner at the end.
The fact is, cricket is a fantastic game which requires strategy but there are many moments of dramatic action and great skill and ability shown by the players.
My Dad is a big fan of cricket. He used to play it when he was younger and has always followed the matches on the radio. I’ve been threatening for a while to do an episode about cricket, to somehow achieve the impossible and explain cricket to the world, and my Dad is going to join me.
So sit back, have a cup of tea and some cake, and try to get your head around this wonderful game.
And stay tuned for some nice idiomatic expressions which we use in English and which originally came from the game of cricket.
Well, that was a valiant effort by us. I hope you agree! But I wonder if you managed to keep up with all of it! If you are listening all the way to the end and you’re still alive – well done!
You may have got lost at some point along the way, or did you follow all of it? Let me know.
In any case I hope you got something out of that conversation, even if it is a sense that cricket is worth getting enthusiastic about even if you don’t fully understand it, and that it’s a big thing in the UK and many other countries around the world.
I recommend that you have a look at some cricket being played. There are videos showing you different aspects of cricket on the page for this episode, so check them out.
Also, there was that vocabulary.
Let me just go through the vocabulary again here, just to make it clear.
On a sticky wicket = in a difficult situation (We’re on a bit of a sticky wicket here because of the result of the EU referendum) (NYTimes “It’s a sticky wicket for Obama,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, saying any aggressive move on such a high-profile question would be seen as “a slap in the face to his supporters right after they’ve just handed him a chance to realize his presidential dreams.”)
To have a good innings = to have a good long life (How old was he when he died? 94? Oh, so he had a good innings)
It’s just not cricket = it’s not fair! (Getting queue jumped, it’s just not cricket, is it?)
It hit me for six = it surprised, shocked and stunned you. (When my ex-girlfriend told me she was getting married to my best friend it really hit me for six)
I was absolutely bowled over = I was really surprised and amazed (“Bowled over” actually comes from bowling not cricket – when a pin is knocked over by the ball) (We were really bowled over by your presentation, you did a fantastic job!)
I’m completely stumped. You’ve stumped me there. = I’m unable to answer that question because it’s too complicated. (I did ok in the listening part, but I was completely stumped by the grammar questions)
You’ve caught me out there. = You’ve asked me a difficult question which has shown that I’ve made a mistake. (What about the outstanding tax payments on your public accounting report? There’s 300 pounds missing! – Oh, you’ve caught me out there, hah, yes I forgot to include them!)
Stephen Fry explains LBW in cricket
Shane Warne from Australia – the greatest spin bowler ever
Here’s the next part of my conversation with Andy Johnson, recorded at The London School of English a few days ago.
Andy is an English teacher, a father of 2 kids, and also a regular runner. He’s done at least one marathon and a few half marathons, and I thought since many of you listening to this podcast will also be runners (in fact some people will be running right now while listening to this) that it might be interesting to hear Andy talking about his reasons for running, the way he does it, the benefits, the difficulties and all the rest of it. So here’s a conversation about running.
If you’re not into running I would still recommend that you listen to this. You might be surprised at how personal it gets when Andy explains his reasons for training for the London marathon 10 years ago. It turns out that running has special significance for Andy and that running the London marathon was a key moment in his life as it marked a significant milestone for him – and running acts as a regular reminder of a particularly difficult experience Andy had when he was younger.
So, this episode is about running, but it’s also about much more than that. I’d like to thank Andy again for taking part in another episode of the podcast and for sharing so much of his story.
Vocab hunters: Watch out for vocabulary relating to doing exercise, health, fitness, technique, injuries and medical care.
So, without further ado you can now listen to our conversation about running.
I just want to thank Andy again for coming on the podcast and telling us about his story. It was a very interesting conversation and I think the closest we’ve come to having tears on the podcast – it was a moving story but no tears this time! I wonder if you held it together out there in podcast land, or did you start welling up at any moment?
Don’t forget that Andy would like you to take his survey about self-directed learning. You can find a link to that on the page for this episode. Andy just wants to know about how you learn English on your own, outside of the classroom environment, and that includes how you use LEP to help with your English.
Click the link, the questionnaire will take a couple of minutes and you’ll help Andy with research for his next IATEFL conference talk.
That’s it for this episode. Watch out for some website-only content coming soon. Subscribe to the mailing list to get informed when that is released.
I hope you are continuing to have a good August, if indeed it is August as you listen to this. I’m still on holiday, relaxing and having a lovely time, I hope – I’m actually recording this before I went on holiday, so this is a very weird time situation. Which tense should I be using here, because I’m actually recording right now, in the past, but as I’m talking it’s the future, so my present is your past and your present is my future, so that’s the present past perfect future continuous or something. I am will have been being having a great time and I will have been had been hoped that you will be being having a wonderful time too, in the future.
Thanks for listening to this episode and I’ll speak to you again soon. Bye!
Hello listeners – how are you doing? In the last episode we listened to some comedy routines by Scouse comedian John Bishop and I said we’d take a closer look at the Liverpool accent, break it down, listen to some more samples and also learn some typical words you might hear being used in Liverpool. So that’s the plan in this episode. All about the Liverpool accent.
There’s nowhere in the UK quite like Liverpool. You probably know it as where The Beatles came from, or because of the football clubs LFC and EFC. Perhaps some of you have visited it or studied there are students, because it’s a big university town.
I lived there for 4 years as a student.
My feelings when I moved there:
It’s definitely in the north! Up north.
First time I lived in the north, and there is a north/south divide in the UK
Climate is different
People are different to the people anywhere else – they’re cheeky, chatty, tough, humourous, a bit tricky sometimes, proud and also quite sentimental and sensitive about the city.
The place has a particular history that isn’t shared by other towns in England. Its cultural mix is different to the rest of the country. The accent in particular is very distinctive, and it’s confined to just the local Liverpool area – a relatively small space when you consider the accent diversity in other larger countries where the same accent may be heard for many miles, like for example in Texas. In England our accents are very specific and very local. Travel 30 minutes by car from Liverpool to neighbouring Manchester and the accent is very different and this is largely because of the history of Liverpool as an international port and the rich diversity of influences.
This is a corner of the country with a strong character and a recognisable accent to go along with it.
Scousers, or people from Liverpool are instantly recognisable by their accent. The sound of a Liverpool accent instantly conjures up certain images, certain cliches, certain reference points and a certain history which is unique to that part of the country.
In this episode the plan is to investigate the Liverpool accent, and to some extent the dialect, listen to some samples, find out some of the pronunciation features, and consider a little bit of Liverpool’s history and culture. We’ll listen to a few different people speaking in a Liverpool accent and I’ll help you to understand it all, and I’m sure you’ll pick up some nice vocabulary on the way – and not just local slang words but words that everybody in the country uses but which the Scousers might just pronounce in their own way.
The aim is to broaden your horizons, broaden your exposure to different accents and to help you get a full appreciation of English in all its forms.
The Milk Advert on TV
Let’s start with an advert that used to be on the TV and which millions of British people watched many times – The famous milk advert.This is what the whole nation (of my generation) might think of as a sample of Scouse English. Many of us heard it lots of times growing up and a lot of us even learned it. I used to be able to recite it word for word when I was a kid.
Picture two children from Liverpool who have been playing football in the garden. They come into the house to get something refreshing to drink from the fridge (or should that be “fridge”). One asks for lemonade, the other one chooses to drink milk because it’s “what Ian Rush drinks”.
Ian Rush was a famous footballer in the 80s. He played for Liverpool for years and scored many goals for them. He was Welsh. By the way, you should also know that there is a place in England called “Accrington” (north of Manchester) and their football team (Accrington Stanley) aren’t very good – so Accrington Stanley is a reference for an unknown football team that nobody wants to play for.
Audio sample 1 – The Milk Advert
Lee Mack making fun of the Scouse accent
Features of the Liverpool Accent
Let’s now take a closer look at the Liverpool accent, considering some of the main features that make Scouse English different to the kind of RP that I speak. Then we’ll listen to some more samples of Scouse speech and you can see if you understand them.
/k/ can become /x/ like in “loch” “Accrington Stanley” “milk” “Lee Mack”
/r/ sounds – alveolar tap “accrington stanley” “I’m afraid I’m not from round here” “alright”
/t/ can sound like /s/ “butter” “I’m going to go into town later, do you want something” “Come on then mate, let’s start. Come ed, Let’s get started.”
/g/ is pronounced not just with the /ŋ/ but all the way to a /g/ sound “sing” “singer” “Ere mate are you a singer? You gonna sing us a song?”
And yet sometimes it’s completely dropped like in “Eh mate what are you doing?” – “what are yew dewin? What are youse doing coming over here like that?” “Milk, that’s disgusting”
/h/ sounds are often dropped “That has never happened to be honest”
/d/ sounds instead of /th/ sounds – “They do though don’t they though?”
/ɜː/ like “bird” becomes [ɛː] like “air” – “work”, “first”, “bird” “Are you always the first one to get to work in the morning”
/a:/ sounds in the south are like /æ/ in the north (normal in the north generally) “bath” “grass” “laugh”
But sometimes it goes wider like aaaa in “card” or “pokemon cards”
/ʊ/ in book sounds like /u:/ “book” (but not every time – sometimes they say it like me, and words like ‘took’ and ‘look’ are often pronounced. I don’t know why it’s “book”)
/-er/ sounds at the ends of words normally pronounced with schwa sound are pronounced with an /e/ sound “computer” “teacher” “fitter” “singer”
/ʌ/ becomes like /ʊ/ or /ɒ/ “but erm… shut up” “shut up will ya”
/eə/ sometimes becomes /ɜː/ – “hair” “over there”
All those features are interesting, but there’s a good chance that all just went over your head. Really the best way to get used to hearing scouse English is just to listen to some people using it.
Audio Sample 2 – Jamie Carragher “Butchers” the English Language
Just listen and tell me these things:
Who is he?
What’s he talking about? (general subject)
Audio sample 3 – Stephen Gerrard, former England captain
What is he looking forward to?
Is he worried about the regime change with Fabio Cappello (known for being a discipinarian)
Does he have a message of hope for England fans?
What would it mean to David Beckham to achieve 100 caps?
Audio Sample 4 – Wayne Gerrard – a spoof of Scouse footballers by Paul Whitehouse
Wayne Gerrard (spoof)
Just get my head down
Let my feet do the talking
Very pleased for the fans
Very pleased for the manager
One game at a time
Keep my head down
Let my football do the talking
A short history of Liverpool
Liverpool is in the north west of England. It’s a port town on the river Mersey, just where the north coast of Wales meets the west coast of England.
Liverpool started as a small trading port probably in the 13th or 14th centuries.
By the 17th and 18th centuries it was the primary port for trade with Ireland. There was lots of trade with Ireland, and also ships coming from Norway and Sweden or other scandinavian countries.
The industrial revolution, globalisation and Britain’s colonialism meant that Liverpool became a hugely important port for British ships heading to the Americas in the 19th century.
As a result by the mid 19th century, Liverpool was a hugely important city for trading with the new world.
The population of the city grew quickly with amazing diversity – everyone from around the world was there, including large numbers of Irish and Welsh workers, scandinavian sailors but also Chinese workers, Caribbean workers associated with the slave trade.
Liverpool was one of the most important and most impressive cities in the world at this time.
It was sometimes called the New York of Europe, and you can see evidence of that in some of the buildings – parts of the city resemble some of the style of New York buildings, especially in the old part of town and by the docks.
The diverse history is still evident in the cultural make-up of the city. There is still a large Chinese community and also many families of Caribbean origin in parts of Liverpool.
The biggest influences though were the Welsh and certainly the Irish communities who moved in for the manual work that was available there in the 19th century. Liverpool is heavily influenced by the Irish, and it was described as the capital of Ireland just because so many Irish people lived there.
All of these influences can be heard in the Liverpool accent – some Irish, some features of Welsh (which is a totally different language to English) and also some scandinavian influences and many others that make Liverpool so different. That’s also combined with the local Lancashire accent too. All of it combines to create this particularly rich and vibrant form of English.
The city was very rich and very important during the industrial revolution, but conditions for many people were appalling – living squeezed into dirty and dangeous slums.
Gradually Britain’s position as the global industrial imperial power started slipping, and the two world wars sped up that process. Many young men were killed in World War 1, and between the two wars Liverpool was partly redesigned with many residential areas being built around the outskirts of the city, and lots of the people who previously lived in the slums being relocated there. This changed the nature of the city, with large outlying residential areas with row upon row of terraced houses.
World War 2 was devastating to Liverpool as it was the target of bombing raids by the Luftwaffe. Like many cities in the UK, Liverpool got pounded by bombs night after night and lots of buildings were destroyed, and they stayed destroyed for many years.
When the Beatles were growing up in Liverpool in the 1950s it was common for children to play in bombsites – in the remains of buildings destroyed by bombs, and even when I was living there in the 1990s I saw lots of empty spaces in residential streets where buildings used to exist but still hadn’t been replaced since the war.
With the end of the industrial revolution, Liverpool’s importance slipped and basically since WW2 Liverpool has been a rather tough place to live, with various social problems, unemployment, poverty, and perhaps the sense that the city has been somewhat ignored or forgotten by the country which used to rely on it so much.
These days the city is known for The Beatles, the football clubs and players, some cultural things such as the vibrant art scene and just the scouse people themselves who are known for their humour and their unique character.
Here’s a female voice – Jennifer Ellison, an actress from Liverpool.
Audio sample 5 – Jennifer Ellison “Mum of the Year Awards 2013”
Here are some bits of the dialect or just typical sounding words.
To be honest, you hear most of these things in many parts of the country, but listen out for how scousers would say these things.
‘Me’ not ‘my’ – “You’ve broken all me biccies!”
‘You’ (plural) – ‘youse’ “Youse are all a bunch of bleedin eejits”
Adding “me” at the end of a sentence starting with ‘I’. “I’m dead hungry, me.”
“Boss” – That’s boss that. Have you played FIFA. It’s boss.”
“See ye later”
“Go ed” “g’wed”
“Alright! Calm daaaawn!” (cliche)
“Nice one son”
“Bacon barm” – “two bacon barms please”
“Like” – “I was like, walking down the Scotty road and I seen these two like students.”
Lots of people in the UK got to know Scouse very well from watching Brookside, a soap opera that started in the 80s. It was about middle class and working class life in Liverpool and it often showed scenes of social problems including frequent arguments between the main characters. This helped to build the stereotype that Scousers are argumentative and prone to social problems.
Audio sample 6 – Brookside argument
3 people – Barry, Barry’s mum and Billy
Barry wants his money
But the account is £500 short
Because his Mum lent it to someone else (Billy)
So, let’s cut out the middle man, give us the money
He hasn’t got it – he needed it to pay the mortgage and the car
Barry gets angry with Billy saying “you’ve got it made here”
Barry is angry with Billy because he’s borrowing money from his Mum
“I’m going to have to go back to the car fella, tell him I can’t have the car”
You’ve screwed up our Christmas!
Then he pushes him.
This cliche of argumentative Scousers was summed up in a series of sketches on a comedy TV show called Harry Enfield’s TV Programme.
This cemented the stereotype of Scousers as:
Argumentative & violent – often fighting and infighting
From large families with lots of brothers
Always wearing shellsuits
Unemployed – around the house all day
With mustaches and curly permed hair
Audio sample 7 – Harry Enfield – The Scousers (the cliched view)
Alright, calm down calm down.
Are you telling me to calm down?
Alright you two, break it up!
What’s going on here eh?
Do you have to make such a friggin fuss about it?
Just keep out of it Barry.
Are you telling me to keep out of it?
The Beatles are also famously from Liverpool, but nobody seems to really speak like them any more. The accent has become more nazal and harsher. The Beatles spoke in this kind of “Beatle voice” which you don’t hear so much any more.
You can hear the scouse in their voices though if you listen carefully.
There’s going to be a meetup of some London-based LEPsters this coming Sunday 30th July at 7pm at the Fitzroy Tavern on Charlotte Street. It’s just north of Soho and to the west of Tottenham Court Road. There should also be a Facebook link soon.
The Fitzroy Tavern
6 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2LY, UK
Sunday 30th July 7pm Fitzroy Tavern on Charlotte Street.
Zdenek Lukas of Zdenek’s English podcast will be there with any other London-based LEPsters that choose to come out. The plan is to have conversation, a beer or two and perhaps play some board games, because Zdenek is bringing some board games too. So head on down to practise your English, meet some like-minded people in a cool part of central London.
Episode Notes & Transcripts
Hello dear listeners, welcome to the podcast. This is one of those episodes in which I go through some British comedy and help you to understand it. We will cover some vocabulary and also some cultural stuff too.
This is also chance to for you to listen to some Scouse English – the kind of English you might hear in Liverpool.
Scouse – that means from Liverpool. A Scouser is a person from Liverpool, and in that area people speak with a Scouse accent. In fact you find that accent in many parts of Merseyside – which means, Liverpool and its surrounding areas.
I’m going to tell you briefly about a popular stand up comedian from Merseyside (the Liverpool area) called John Bishop, who is often on the TV and on stage across the UK. I think he’s probably one of the most famous scousers in the UK these days. We’re going to listen to one or two of his routines which you can find on YouTube, we’ll understand them and notice some features of his Liverpool accent.
By the end of this episode I expect that you’ll have broadened your vocabulary, you’ll have become more familiar with the way people speak English in Liverpool and you’ll have learned some cultural details about family life in the UK. Also, you’re going to be introduced to the comedy of John Bishop, who you might enjoy. There are various John Bishop videos on YouTube and you can can buy his comedy DVDs which are very popular in the UK. If you like what you hear in this episode, you could get one of those DVDs and use it for both learning English and for your own general amusement.
John Bishop – some info on him
To cut a long story short, he was born in Liverpool and has lived in the Merseyside area for most of his life.
Where is Liverpool? Why is it called Merseyside?
People in Liverpool – amongst other things they are known for having a particular accent which people say is a kind of mix between Irish, Welsh (a lot of Irish and Welsh workers moved into the city during it’s time as a major industrial port in the 19th century), Lancashire and even Scandinavian influences. The accent is instantly recognisable to anyone in the UK.
So, John Bishop was born in Liverpool and has lived in the area for most of his life.
In his 20s he had what seems to have been a fairly boring and ordinary career selling pharmaceuticals. By the age of 30 he was married and had a baby son but he wasn’t particularly happy. He ended up getting separated from his wife and they were going to get divorced. He started doing stand-up during this period because he says it stopped him staying at home on his own in the evenings and drinking. It got him out of the house. The thing is, he found that he was good at it and eventually he quit his job to do stand-up full-time. Basically stand-up saved him and it rescued his marriage too – because one day his wife (who was divorcing him at the time) happened to see him on stage during a show and she went up to him afterwards and said “that was the man I fell in love with years ago” and they got back together. Since then his stand-up comedy career has taken off, and how he’s one of the most popular and well-known comedians in the UK. He’s often on the TV and his stand-up comedy DVDs are very popular.
Now he’s got quite a big family with 3 kids – all of them boys. In his comedy he talks a lot about family life and being a father – the typical frustrations, difficulties and experiences that many parents go through.
He’s definitely a mainstream comedian. I mean, his routines are not political, they’re not particularly challenging or controversial. They’re not super intellectual. It’s just straight forward observational comedy and storytelling. He’s not my #1 favourite, but I just love stand-up and I definitely enjoy his work even if he’s not my absolute favourite. But he is very successful. I think his appeal is that he’s an ordinary guy and his stories and routines are very relatable – people enjoy them because they can relate to them.
Scousers have a reputation in the UK for a few things – one of them is for being funny. This maybe a cliché or a stereotype, but I do think it’s quite true, having lived in Liverpool for 4 years. I met lots of Scousers who were very funny – just characters with stories to tell and who had the gift of the gab and good comic timing.
John Bishop is a good example of that. Partly it’s to do with the Liverpool accent which has so much character and I think helps the delivery of his routines. He tells endearing stories in a relaxed way. He wears a suit and tie so he’s well-presented. He is quite handsome and charming, but in an average kind of way. He’s like the ‘boy next door’ kind of guy. Just a normal bloke. His delivery is quite casual and easy-going, he keeps it pretty short and simple with pauses in the right places which is always a good approach to storytelling.
His attitude on stage is quite dry or deadpan (Wikipedia defines “dry” or “deadpan” like this: Deadpan or dry humor/wit describes the deliberate display of a lack of or no emotion, commonly as a form of comedic delivery to contrast with the ridiculousness of the subject matter. The delivery is meant to be blunt, sarcastic or apparently unintentional).
Usually his stories allow us to see that his life is actually quite frustrating and ridiculous – just like normal life is for everyone from time to time. Watching observational comedy like this makes you feel good because you totally understand what he’s going through because in fact your life is quite frustrating and ridiculous too. So it’s therapeutic – that’s what’s great about comedy. It lets you laugh at life and realise that you’re not alone and that we all experience these frustrating things.
Let’s listen to John Bishop, with his Liverpool accent, telling a couple of stories of family life from some of the videos on YouTube and let’s pick up some English in the process.
I’m going to play the first clip to you in just a moment.
As you listen, I wonder what you will be thinking. We’ve done this before, listening to English with different regional accents. You might feel that you can’t understand him completely – I think he speaks pretty clearly, delivering stories in a slow but punctuated way, but the accent might be hard for you to understand. You might think “Oh his accent is too strong”. I wouldn’t be at all surprised. But remember, English is a very diverse language. You might not want to speak like John Bishop (or maybe you do I don’t know) but you certainly should try to understand him. English comes in many different forms – many different accents – and even if you’re not familiar with those accents, they are normal and perfectly valid forms of the language which everyone can not only understand but appreciate.
It would be a pity for you to only understand one standard form of English. It would mean your English was limited. Anyone with a decent sense of English should be exposed to different accents. David Crystal said it, we all know it’s true. So let’s listen to some Scouse English. And please, do not think “Oh god his English is bad”. That’s not fair and it’s simply not true. I understand all of it, so do his audiences. British people do not struggle to understand him at all, quite the opposite – he’s very understandable and relatable. He draws in very large crowds of people to his shows all across the country. All those people understand and enjoy the things he says. His Liverpool accent is a very important part of his charm. If it’s hard to understand him I think it would be wise to consider that maybe you’re just not familiar with his accent, and that you just need to broaden your exposure to English a bit, and that this is a chance for you to do that.
Anyway, maybe you won’t have trouble understanding him at all and you’ll just enjoy listening to his story. Let’s see.
Here’s John talking about going on holiday with teenage kids (I wonder what teenagers are like in your country.)
You’re going to hear him say that he had a massive tour one year and he was away from home a lot so he wanted to spend some quality time with his kids – in a kind of nostalgic way – like he imagines it used to be when he was a kid – go somewhere in the countryside where there’s no internet so he can spend some quality time with his teenage sons, spending a sort of idyllic Christmas and New Year’s Eve sitting around the fireplace playing board games, like it was in the good old days. But, his kids are modern British teenage boys who are addicted to the internet – so that might make things difficult…
You’ll also hear a few sound effects from the video, which you can see on the page for this episode.
Holidays with the kids (video 1)
White trainers, growing up, puberty, hormones and getting your head kicked in by your own son. (video 2)
John Bishop gets a new fridge and takes his old one to the dump (video 3)
Here is some of the vocabulary you could learn from this episode.
Going on holiday with the kids (video 1)
Sitting around a log fire playing board games
Addicted to the internet
It’s on the border between Scotland, england and Narnia
Internet, it’s Berwick son, we haven’t even got ceefax
We turned up at the cottage
In the middle of nowhere
Youse three, go in the living room, put the telly on
Looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses
In the middle of nowhere
White trainers (video 2)
You don’t realise how much of a cock you are
They do your (bleedin) head in don’t they?
Going through puberty
You have a week off school for half term (holiday)
You do P.E. (physical education)
You walk into the showers all self-conscious
Some kid walks in with a beard and bollocks by his knees!
Your voice breaks and that’s when you don’t get control over your voice
The hormones just come flying in and you’ve got no control over them
It’s the funniest thing on the planet bar none
I’m not asking you, I’m telling you!
Get up them (those) stairs and take them off.
It’s like the little lion is taking on the big line and all the other lions are running around going “it’s kicking off here!”
We’re stood toe to toe
I can take you!
There’s a chance he can take me here.
Thinking you’re going to get your head kicked in with your shoes
Taking the fridge to the dump (video 3)
To get rid of some stuff
It’s health and safety gone mad
It’s political correctness gone mad
A silver fridge that’s the size of a bungalow
That hasn’t half changed our lives (that has changed our lives a lot)
Put it next to the sink
I’m saving meself (myself) a yard of walking
We had a spare fridge
I turned up at the dump
There’s a fella there with a yellow vest and a clipboard
He’s done an NVQ in clipboard management
You can’t just dump a fridge now
You’ll have to phone us up
Then we come and get it
Who do I ring?
The phone in his hut rang
I’m outside dickhead!