Amber is from London in England, but she’s been living in France for ages and she speaks fluent French.
She has the loveliest voice in the known universe, causing hundreds of thousands of listeners from around the world to melt as soon as she begins talking.
She has a son called Hugo who makes dinosaur noises and poos under tables (well, once).
She sometimes has nightmares about fish.
She loves listening to audiobooks and BBC Radio 4.
She sometimes works as a teacher with kids, but also has a background in theatre. In fact she studied mime for 2 years (actually it’s “physical theatre”)
She is a tour guide in Paris sometimes. In fact she is very well read and knows a lot about the history of this great city.
One of these days she’s going to produce her own podcast about the history of Paris and everyone is waiting for it expectantly. No pressure.
She recently learned the words burlap, gaslighting and Hobson’s choice. Listen to episode 431 for more details.
She’s probably more intelligent than either of us.
Paul is from Canterbury in England, which is in Britain, which is in the UK, which is in Europe (sort of).
He’s from England but also spent some time growing up in France where, as a child, he once nearly burned down his house and stabbed himself in the face with a kitchen knife while pretending to be one of the teenage ninja turtles.
He has a funny, infectious laugh which causes my listeners to make fools of themselves on public transport when they can’t help laughing too (which is one of the aims of this podcast)
He has naive eyes (a reference to a comment by a listener called Olga a couple of years ago.
He doesn’t know any words. (kidding of course)
He speaks French with “no accent”.
He also speaks Spanish, and has a bit of a talent for doing accents in English.
He used to work for Apple but quit his job to do comedy. It’s going pretty well.
He does his one man stand up show #Franglais twice a week to sold out audiences and his TV show “WTF France?” is a hit on YouTube and Canal+
He used to do a podcast called “Becoming a Comedian” which was all about the challenges of becoming a comedian, but now he’s become a comedian so the “Becoming a Comedian Podcast” is now redundant!
Comments & Questions from Listeners
Nick (on our recent ‘restaurants’ episode) I was missing Paul’s laugh while listening to this…
Anonymous (on an episode from few months ago) Amber’s voice seduced me
Eri No!!!!! I just found this comment now… Oh, dear… [thinking it’s too late] If I could add some message for both Amber and Paul… ☆To Amber I am looking forward to listening to your podcast with the most lovely voice in the world!!! ☆To Paul I have been checking all video of “What The Fuck France” and can not wait next episodes and other videos on YouTube!!! And please join in LEP sometime when you have time…
Alexandr Shnaider Hi, Luke. I wonder when we should expect the release of Amber’s podcast and how we can find it.
Sylvia I am looking forward to Amber’s podcast. I love her.
Naomi Hello,Luke,Amber and Paul! How are you doing? My questions are 1.You are very funny. Did you use to make jokes in the classroom when you were students? 2. If you could have a special power, what would it be? 3. What food would you bring to a desert island? Sorry for my silly questions. Have a nice recording. I’m looking forward to listening to the Pod Pals! And I can’t wait for Amber’s podcast!
Pavel Rybalko Do you guys have favorite YouTubers?
Paul: JaackMaate (angry rants by a British guy in a shed)
Amber:Diane Love (not really a YouTuber but she does have some lovely hula-hooping videos)
Luke:Nerdwriter1 (Brainy video essays)
Jairo Trujillo García Good luck for the show tonight!!! 👍 Question : What do you admire the most about the people you are sitting with right now ? and why ?
oksipuskya (Comment on the TripAdvisor episode – episode 431) One day about 10 years ago I’d a supper with my future husband and his father in a roadside cafe on the way home. The waiter brought my meal and we three noticed a small insect lying on the plate. In spite of this I ate all the supper. Then my husband’s father said that his son had to marry me. If I hadn’t been frightened to eat it I wouldn’t be struck by family routine. (?)
This image from Chris Benitez for fans of the Russian Joke (don’t know where it was originally posted)
Boy Trent (On YouTube) Are you the same luke english who bid on a PS4 PRO system on ebay at the last minute? Then. Didn’t pay or leave me with any information as to what was going on? Ebay are now going to issue you with a non payment mark on the 19th March. 2017. I should state that many honest people were bidding on this item and strangely – you appeared out of nowhere at the very last minute. After I had blocked bids from the usual eastern european fraudsters et al. I am a person of integrity and honesty and am really sick and tired of people making false bids on items. Destroying the core purpose of ebay and leaving me with an unsold item and without £300 from the honest bidder you dishonestly won over. Yes. I am angry. etcetc…
Sorry mate – you got the wrong guy! I’m not Luke English, my name’s Luke Thompson!
Wesley Hello Luke, Amber, and Paul, Are you doing all right? As the French presidential election is drawing nearer, I was wondering what the three of you think about the candidates. After Brexit and the Italian constitutional referendum result, Marine Le Pen being the next French President could be the final blow for the European Union. In your opinion, does she stand a good chance to win the election? In this so-called ‘post-truth era’, do you consider opinion polls to be reliable enough? All the best, Wesley
Amber & I teach you 12 idiomatic English phrases while attending the filming of an episode of Paul’s TV show on the street in Paris. See below for videos and photos, and a list of the idioms with definitions.
In the last couple of episodes do you remember what happened? Do you remember what our plans were? Yes, Amber & I talked about Christmas and all that. But also, you might remember that we were planning to go and visit Paul on the set of his TV show and record a podcast while we were doing it, and that’s what we did last Thursday afternoon. We went to the 7th Arrondissement – a rather posh district on the left bank of the river Seine. We saw the film crew, a few scenes being filmed and Amber & I even appeared in one of those scenes as extras in the background. When the video is released you’ll be able to see us, briefly! It will be the one about French cinema, when that is released. By the way Paul’s TV show is broadcast on Saturday evenings on French TV station Canal+ and then released onto YouTube the following week. His YouTube channel is called “What the Fuck, France?”
Unfortunately they weren’t filming in the English pub as expected because they did that in the morning – so no beer or crisps or warmth or beer. Instead we joined them while they were filming in the street outside a little church. So, a street, a church and no warmth or beer.
Despite the harsh conditions and lack of beer I brought my recording equipment and we did a podcast while standing around with the film crew there, and all the local Parisian people in the street going about their lives, walking past us and even talking to us at certain moments.
You’re going to hear descriptions of what was happening during the recording, and some general chat with Amber. There were also a couple of moments where Paul stopped shooting and came over to join us, with a few other people too in some cases, including Robert Hoehn who you might remember from the “Have you ever…?” episode recently.
As well as the conversation and descriptions, there’s some English teaching in this episode because while standing there on the street I realised I had 12 idioms in my pocket, written on little bits of paper. Of course I did because as an English teacher that’s the kind of thing I have in my pocket – a bunch of idioms in pieces of paper. It pays to always be prepared as an English teacher! I sometimes have teaching materials in my pocket or up my sleeve! I actually had the idioms on me for another podcast episode that I’d planned ages ago but didn’t do – but the idioms came in handy this time and provided us with some teaching content for you.
All of the idioms you’re going to hear were taken from the Oxford Idioms Dictionary and I chose them quite carefully because I think they’re all expressions which are commonly used today.
You can find the list of those idioms on the page for this episode. I wonder if you know them all. You might know some, but do you know them all, and do you use them?
Now, I could list them all for you here in the introduction in advance, and even teach them to you in advance, but I’m not going to do that because I want to encourage you to notice them for yourselves. That’s a good skill to develop if you can. You should always be on the lookout for bits of language which you can identify and eventually make part of your active vocabulary. So, listen carefully to notice the idioms, and then keep listening because in the second part of the lesson Amber & I explain all the idioms for you.
So, that’s what you’re going to get – a podcast recorded in the street in Paris, with all the sound effects of what was happening around us, a couple of guest appearances, and then 12 common English idioms taught by Amber and me!
So, I hope you are feeling comfortable and that you’re cosy and warm – because it was bitterly cold on the streets of Paris when we recorded this! I recommend listening to this one when you are indoors, with the heating turned on and a hot drink nearby, or if you are outside make sure you’re wearing a pair of thick woolen mittens or gloves and a warm hat – unless of course you’re in a hot place like Australia or something, in which case you can just bask in the hot weather and try to avoid being bitten by a snake or spider or something. If you’re in Brazil then go to the beach or something like that and get ready for that big party you’re going to have on Christmas Eve.
Anyway, now let’s go back in time to last Thursday afternoon on the very chilly streets of the 7th Arrondissement of Paris with a film crew and rich old Parisian ladies walking around, and let’s begin the episode, and remember – can you spot the 12 idioms, do you know them and can you use them? Here we go.
The 12 Idioms
To cost an arm and a leg = to be expensive (those cameras must have cost an arm and a leg)
As a rule of thumb = as a general rule
To flog a dead horse = to be futile
To get back to the drawing board = to start again
To be over the moon = to be delighted
To hit the nail on the head = to say something which is totally accurate
To drive someone up the wall = to drive someone mad / to make someone very annoyed
To find your feet = to establish yourself
Break a leg! = good luck! (for performers)
Hold your horses! = hold on! Wait! Slow down!
To go the extra mile = make an extra effort
The ball is in your court = it’s your turn to make a decision
To get fired / to be let go
A housewarming party
To see red
To have your cake and eat it too
Over to you!
What is your version of the idiom “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”?
Photos & Videos
In the street
From left to right: Rob, Amber, Luke, Josephine (costume lady), Paul
with Josephine (costume lady), Vlad (Director of Photography) & Robert Hoehn
The finished episode of WTF France
This is the episode that was being filmed during this episode. Check out the cameo apperances by Rob (2:26), Amber (2:30) & me (2:35).
Outro (with mistakes & no edits!)
Message from a Chinese LEPster about “Pudong” near China
I’d like to just clarify something that was said on the podcast in episode 408 when Paul and I made some silly jokes about the word “Pudong” and we talked about Pudong area near Shanghai in China. Paul brought it up when we were talking about pudding and none of us were too sure about the name Pudong and what it really means. I got a message which clarifies that.
Here’s the message from Sylvia from China. I was a bit worried that she was offended by our crappy jokes (particularly mine), but she assures me that she’s not offended and that she still loves us, so that’s alright. In any case I wanted to read this out because it’s got proper information about Pudong. If you remember, Paul said that he wasn’t sure exactly what the name meant and that one of our listeners could clear it up. Well, here is that clarification.
I want to make several things clear here in episode 408, in which Paul talked about Pudong in Shanghai. I live in Shanghai now, and the content of the conversation made me a bit uncomfortable.
1. It’s not ‘Pudong River’, it’s called ‘Huangpu River’. 2. It is ‘Pu’, not ‘Poo’. 3. ‘dong’ in Chinese means ‘east’, Chinese character ‘东’. 4. ‘Pudong’ is an area, which is on the east bank of the Huangpu River. Pudong is situated on the east coast of the Huangpu River of Shanghai, and sits at the intersection of China’s coastal belt for international trade and the Yangtze River estuary. It is backed up by the Yangtze River Delta urban megalopolis and faces the boundless Pacific.
Pudong New Area (“Pudong” or the “New Area”), in eastern Shanghai, is named because it is located to the east of the Huangpu River.
Now Pudong New Area has become the economic, financial, trade and shipping center regionally and internationally. In 20 short years, a dramatic change has taken place in Pudong, changing from farmlands into high buildings and from out-of-the-way villages into a prosperous urban area. Pudong has become the “Pearl of the Orient” with world attention, acclaimed as the “epitome of Shanghai’s modernization” and the “symbol of China’s reform and opening up”.
Cruising on the Huangpu River, you can see many European style buildings on the western bank, because Shanghai used to be a foreign concession before 1949. At that time, Shanghai was known as the ‘paradise of foreign adventures’. Many foreigners, mostly Europeans, came to try their luck here. That’s why you can see buildings of different architectural styles here, Spanish, Greek, Roman and Russian. While on the other bank, skyscrapers in the Pudong New Area rear high into the sky, which were all built by Chinese people after 1990.
Luke, welcome to China, welcome to Shanghai, welcome to Pudong. And I hope when Paul comes to your place again, you can show him this, and let him make it clear.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
I’m sorry this made you uncomfortable. No offence intended – I was just making a joke, and failing (as usual). I appreciate the information about Shanghai – would you mind if I read out your message on the podcast?
Sylvia hello Luke I knew it was a joke, that’s okay. It’s just that Pudong New Area has alway been a prosperous Area in my mind, but from now on everytime i think of it or come to there it will remind me of those jokes you made…Haha… It would be great if you could read it on the podcast. Because i don’t want Paul to mislead people around the world thinking that China has a ‘poo dong river’. You can say my name, that’s okay. And I know Amber And Paul didn’t mean any offence. Always love you! Sylvia
Don’t forget to check out Spoken. 2 free lessons and then 20% off! English lessons for Professionals on WhatsApp, sent straight to your phone by an English teacher. www.getspoken.com/lep
Amber & Paul are back on the podcast and we do the usual catching-up session and go off on a few tangents about Amber’s play, Paul’s showbiz life, marshmallows, microphones, tea & coffee, accents and more. There are videos for the intro and outro of this episode (below).
This episode sees the return of pod PALs Amber Minogue and Paul Taylor, which means that The Talkative Trio are reunited on the podcast once more.
Time was pretty tight for this conversation because Paul was working to a very strict schedule on the day it was recorded, which was yesterday in my flat.
As you’ll hear, Paul arrives a little bit late because he was having lunch with some TV industry people and then he has to leave before the end of the recording to be interviewed on the radio, because he’s so hot right now in the world of showbiz.
Amber has also been very busy recently doing various things including writing and rehearsing a play, so it’s been hard to get the three of us in a room together all at the same time.
As a result this episode was arranged at the last-minute and the conversation was completely unplanned. All I wanted to do was to catch up with the two of them and ask the usual question: What have you been doing?
You’ll hear that things carry on quite rapidly and there are plenty of the usual tangents – those moments when the topic suddenly goes off in a different direction.
It might be hard to follow, so to help you keep up, here’s a basic summary of the main things that we talk about. You’ll find these notes written on the page for this episode, including some words that you might hear in the conversation but not know. You might want to check these notes to see words that you might have missed, to check their spelling etc.
First of all Amber tells me about the play for children that she’s been working on with our friend James Simpson.
Paul then arrives, you hear the buzzer buzzing and he comes in carrying a bag containing a new iPhone 7, still in its box, which he collected from the shop earlier in the day. It’s a present which all his friends bought for him a few months ago for his 30th birthday, organised by his girlfriend. We all chipped in some money and got him a new phone.
Amber tells us some more things about her play, including how it contains a few slapstick moments, meaning some funny scenes of fairly violent physical comedy involving a first-aid box and some marshmallows. Apparently at one point in the play James hits Amber over the head with the first aid box. By the way, a first-aid box is a box that contains basic medical supplies for administering first-aid, that’s why it’s called a first-aid box. It contains, things like plasters, bandages, antiseptic, tiny scissors, and maybe some other little medical things that you don’t understand etc.
Also in the play they also fight over a marshmallow, which Amber wants to dip into her tea.
This leads us to talk about dipping things into cups of tea, like marshmallows and biscuits, which then causes us to talk about what you put in your tea when you’ve run out of milk, which actually happened to Paul the other day. His solution was to use whipped cream as a substitute.
That leads me to ask the question of whether you really can put cream in tea, and we agree that you can definitely put cream in coffee, especially a particular type of coffee which is served with whipped cream on top, which in France is called café Viennois – which I think translates as a Viennese coffee – or a coffee from Vienna.
That causes me to ask what they call a Viennese coffee in Vienna, speculating that they might just call it a coffee, which leads to a similar question about the French phrase “creme anglais”, which translates literally as “English cream” – but in the UK we just call it “custard”.
I then ask Paul and Amber to explain to you my audience what custard is, and Paul suggests that instead of us explaining it at great length, you could just ‘google’ it.
I remind Amber & Paul that it is necessary to explain some words sometimes, like the word ‘custard’, because this is Luke’s English Podcast and it’s probably a good idea to explain words sometimes.
This prompts Amber to comment on the way that I seem to choose to explain words quite randomly in my episodes – like when I recently spent quite a lot of time explaining the word ‘flea’ in a recent conversation I had with my Dad on the podcast.
We then go back to food and talk about typical English puddings which can be served with custard, including crumble, sticky toffee pudding and the oddly named ‘spotted dick’.
I refer to spotted dick as a dessert, which causes Amber to comment that this is the wrong choice of word and that I should say that it’s a “pudding” not a “dessert”.
This brings up the slightly confusing and long-running debate about the correct choice of words to describe certain things in Britain, especially in relation to the dinner table. This all relates to British rules of etiquette and language in polite society, perhaps relating to French vocabulary we sometimes use in English. We don’t talk about this very clearly and it might be a bit confusing for you, and really the whole subject of the rules of British etiquette and social class deserves an episode of it’s own.
Nevertheless, in order to clear it up a bit, here’s a quote from a book called “Watching the English” by Kate Fox. Kate Fox is a social commentator who writes about social behaviour in England, and “Watching the English” is a good book that explains many things about English life. This is what Kate has to say about the words “pudding” and “dessert” in English. By the way, both these words are used to refer generally to sweet food which is served after the main course. You have the starter, then main course, then the pudding/dessert. Your choice of the word ‘pudding’ or ‘dessert’ seems to depend on your level of class, and apparently according to upper-class culture the word “dessert” is vulgar. Kate Fox: ‘The upper-middle and upper classes insist that the sweet course at the end of the meal is called the ‘pudding’ – never the ‘sweet’, or ‘afters’, or ‘dessert’, all of which are déclassé and unacceptable’ (Fox, 2005, p79). So, according to upper-class etiquette, pudding is the correct term for the sweet course that comes at the end of the meal. Fine. Amber seems to think this is because the word “dessert” is of French origin, but I’m not sure. By the way, in some places (e.g. France and Japan) pudding is a specific kind of dish. For example in Japan ‘pudding’ is a sort of caramel or custard creme dish. In the UK it just means the sweet course at the end of the meal and can include all kinds of things, like cakes, pies, ice-cream, trifle, Eton mess, bread and butter pudding or even jelly. “What’s for pudding?” for example.
I try to explain all of this, but I can’t manage it, instead saying “This is tangent city” when I realise that we keep going off on mad tangents and it’s probably quite confusing for the audience – that’s you.
Our talk of pudding then causes us to start talking about Pudong, an area in Shanghai, and specifically the Pudong River in Shanghai. Paul tells us a bit about that and then there are a couple of references to the slightly rude sounding English words ‘poo’ and ‘dong’ before things settle down a bit and we start talking about Paul’s recent showbiz news, including how he is going to be interviewed on a radio station called “Oui FM” later in the afternoon, so we go from poo to wee in just a few sentences.
At one point Paul nearly uses quite a clever word – ‘concise’ but then doesn’t use it, preferring instead to choose a more simple way of putting things “using the least words possible” (which means to be concise).
We talk about responses to Paul’s recent videos including a few YouTube comments & some criticism he received from a serious person in an email (the criticism was in the email, not the person – you can’t put a person in an email).
Things get quite geeky when I then start talking about cameras and microphones and the challenges of capturing good audio when you’re recording videos.
There’s some talk of different types of microphone, including boom mics, lapel mics, dynamic mics and shotgun mics but then Amber decides it’s all getting a bit too geeky and we move onto something else.
We make plans to hang out again on Thursday on the set of Paul’s TV show while they’re doing some filming, and we decide to record a podcast while we’re there.
Following on from my recent episodes about accents, I ask Paul & Amber what their accents are, and what they think my Dad’s accent is, and Amber declares her love for my Dad.
Then Paul has to go for his radio interview on “Oui FM” and leaves, and Amber & I carry on and talk a bit more about her play before having a massive conversation about Christmas which will probably be uploaded in a forthcoming episode.
So, I hope that helps you understand what you are about to hear from the Tangential Trio. But, now, without any further explaining – here is that conversation as it actually happened!
JINGLE + CONVERSATION
Amber and I started talking about Christmas there and we went on to talk about it for ages – like over an hour of chat about Christmas shopping, games, food, family traditions and everything else relating to the festive time of year. That conversation will continue in the next episode, maybe the episode after.
We talked a little bit about Paul’s English in that conversation.
People sometimes say “Paul’s accent/English is influenced by his French”.
It isn’t. Certainly not his accent anyway.
That’s one of the interesting things about Paul. When he speaks French there is pretty much no trace of an English accent in his speech, and when he speaks English there is no trace of a French accent.
LEP Moscow Get-Together Hey Luke! Well, the very first LEP Moscow GET-TOGETHER has just happened! The first of it’s kind, it seems to be a historical :) event in Russia! Everything went great, it was awesome to chat in ENGLISH with like-minded people!!! Personally I felt as if I had known all of the participants for ages – open, nice and smiley friends! I hope somebody else could feel a similar thing. First, we got to know each other, which was the main achievement! It was interesting to know when and how everyone had found LEP one day, which episodes were our favourite ones, which experiences in English language learning we had (useful Internet resources, grammar books, pronunciation etc.) A couple of pics and a short audio message from us to you are attached. Thanks again and again for that announcement and actually for everything you do!!! We hope to provide more listeners with a chance to meet and speak regularly and one more way to let them know is to “friend” your group on FB with ours www.facebook.com/groups/734996946664425/ and VK vk.com/clubnu1 . Have a nice Monday, Jedi-Podmaster! Dmitry
Here are those Moscow LEPsters saying hello!
~ well done everyone!
Thank you especially this month to Antonio for managing everything.
There is an email now for the Orion team. Just write a comment on the page for the transcript collaboration and Antonio will let you know what to do.
Make sure you read the rules. Transcript collaboration page:teacherluke.co.uk/episodes-with-transcripts/transcripts/
Zdenek’s English Podcast
Also, on the subject of LEPster podcasts – Zdenek Lukas continues to do his show, called Zdenek’s English Podcast. Recently he’s been doing episodes about his experiences studying for the DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching for Adults) which is a seriously challenging postgraduate qualification in English teaching, which involves not only a lot of writing about linguistics and teaching methodologies, but also plenty of assessed teaching sessions too. It’s a difficult course with many challenges and many things to learn. You can listen to Zdenek talking about it on his podcast in some recent episodes.
Get it here audioboom.com/channel/zdeneks-english-podcast
Join the mailing list for direct access to the page for every episode, and for any other content I put up, including videos that I might start doing with my new camera soon.
That’s it! Cheers!
Here’s one of Paul’s “What the F*ck France?” videos. This one’s about how it’s difficult to learn French.
Here are a couple of bonus videos of me recording the introduction to this episode, and a failed attempt at recording the outro too (I forgot to press ‘record’ on my audio device!)
They’re in black & white because I think it looks cool. The gorilla ↴ is pink, ok!
Thanks for watching. I’m just experimenting with videos at the moment, but if you like them, I might do more.
The Russian Joke appeared in US TV show Parks & Recreation – watch until the end