Hi and welcome to the everyday language podcast episode 22, for English learners to learn natural conversation and to practise listening skills. This episode is a continuation of a chat I had with my friend Wes. We talk about driving, music, and podcasts.
Vocabulary and expressions
go-faster stripes – stickers that were put on cars in the 70;s, 80’s and 90’s that gave the impression of speed.
to blast out – to play music loudly.
subwoofer/s – the sub-bass speaker unit of a speaker system
arty – music or art that is interesting for purists but not necessarily easy to listen to or understand for everyday people.
you can’t walk down the road without bumping into a _______ – an expression that means that there is a lot of something.
You can’t walk down the road without bumping into a cat around here.
You can’t walk down the road without bumping into a café around here.
metaphorically speaking – Not a literal meaning but one that has some truth about a subject.
Hard Bop – a genre of Jazz music.
chin-stroking music – Jazz is often described as chin-stroking music as often men with beards attend Jazz performances and stroke their [probably] bearded chins. Has a slightly negative connotation.
autotune – an audio effect used by many artists to automatically keep their voices in tune with the backing song.
pragmatism – dealing with a problem in a sensible way that suits the conditions that really exist, rather than following fixed theories, ideas, or rules.
to ramble – to talk at length; to talk too much; to walk in the countryside.
rambling – someone who is talking too much.
my little drive in – an expression often used to talk about the drive to work.
feminine wiles – the charms and attractiveness of a woman
pots and pans – cooking pots and saucepans or frying pans.
run-in books – tie-in; books or products that are related to another product.
The movie had many run-in merchandises that was sold along with it.
New Yorker – The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry.
Archives – a place where records/papers/ are kept.
to stick it on – to play music (CD, Vinyl, mp3 etc. – not actual instruments such as the piano.)
sales pitch – to make an appeal for people to buy something.
it all went downhill – an idiom meaning “things went badly”.
alter-ego – another identity
psychedelic – Psychedelic art or clothing has bright colours and strange patterns of a type that might be experienced by taking psychedelic drugs.
Japenglish – Japanese language and English Language
Spanglish – Spanish and English
Chinglish – Chinese and English
interspersed – mixed with
dreadful – terrible, awful
Ok so let’s begin.
Mark: Were you driving before?
Wes: No, no, I’ve, I’ve got my [driving] license, even bought a new car a couple of weeks ago.
Mark: Got a new motor!
Wes: Yeah, she’s got a…. yeah, she’s called Sheena Supreme,
Mark: Sheena Supreme! Go-faster stripes? Or?
Mark: Has it…has she got go-faster stripes?
Wes: No, I spent all my money on getting like a wicked sound system, so that when I’m driving around I can really blast out that garage.
Mark: You’re living the Essex dream mate, Ford Cortina, Ford Cortina, speeding round the corner…
Wes: Yeah, you know I was all about the bass I putting some subwoofers in there, you know people go past don’t know if it’s a plane or….
Mark: Woofers?! How are you pronouncing that? Can you say it? “Woofers!” “Woofers!”
Mark: You said it!
Wes: Subwoofer! Haha.
Mark: Subwoofer! Is that a double “o”? How do you say “look”? Luke?
Now, this week’s been a bit of a Bowie week, actually since I left you, since we split up, I’ve been into Bowie, a lot.
Wes: Oh yeah man, what do you think a Black Star? I love Black Star.
Mark: I was into the one before that,
Wes: Was that… Next Day was it? Or something?
Mark: Oh man, Next Day, wicked, seriously, yeah.
Wes: I think I only listened to it once actually, yeah Black Day I thought Black Day was just amazing, like think after he died, you know, yeah I think I really listen to that album a lot it’s really amazing,
Mark: It’s a bit arty for me, I thought, well I only listened to one or two [tracks] does it get more listenable? Like?
Wes: Er, nah, it’s still pretty arty.
Mark: Ah mate, I’m not sure, yeah I’m not that developed in the sense of sophistication.
Wes: Do you know I’ve really kind of developed the…a fondness for jazz.
Mark: People love jazz in Japan.
Wes: Do they? Wasn’t it Marakami [Murukami]? Used to own his jazz bar or something? The writer?
Mark: Yeah, there’s jazz bars everywhere.
Mark: You can’t walk down the road without bumping into a jazz bar.
Wes; Ah, oh my gosh that’s so lovely.
Mark: Metaphorically speaking.
Wes: Yeah, of course, yeah, yeah jazz really, yeah loving the jazz at the moment!
Mark: Who are you listening to?
Wes: Charles Mingus!
Mark: Charles Mingus.
Wes: Yeah he’s, he’s like coming from the late fifties, so he was like doing all Hard Bop music, I hate the term Bebop, I think it makes, makes it sound so rubbish. So he was doing like, he was doing Hard Bebop and his albums are just amazing he’s, he’s just, just such an unusual character he was like, I think 250 pounds, and he had like a ferocious temper, I think once on stage he smashed up a double bass, in, like, this moment of fury
But his albums, honestly, is, there just the most bizarre things, but then just so fabulous, erm,
Yeah, and I recommend you [check] them out, you know, if you wanted to get into, you know, chin, chin-stroking music.
Mark: There’s a few jazz… I always wanted to but it’s hard to know where to start, erm, have you heard of it’s a bit like pop-jazz I guess, Neil Crowley Trio?
Wes: Nah I don’t think so.
Mark: They’re a British band, an English band.
Wes: Have you listened to… have you heard of Bon Iver?
Mark: Well, wouldn’t…that was back from the folk days, of course, yeah like the first album I think [I] listened to.
Wes: His most recent one is very, very good. It’s like, he’s, he’s kind of taken autotune, to like, the next level.
Wes: Yeah, erm, yeah it’s like, I think he sings it with like, like, that pretty much the whole albums with autotune, he kind of puts in deliberate, kind of, like, crackles and mistakes on his, on his album, but it’s so good, erm, and he’s, like, moved on from the, the folky type, type days.
Mark: Mm, mmm yeah.
Wes: So just to ask what kind of drew you into like the podcast? You know podcasting business?
Mark: Er, well it’s a bit of pragmatism, I guess, like on the… so I’ve been doing teaching in Japan… on the internet, but I think…with English teachers is really competitive, so loads of people are doing it, er…being teachers on the internet
Wes: Are many people come join you in your classes like based on your podcast?
Mark: I think lately yeah there’s been a few more in this year I still need more students, like on the one I use a thing called italki, there’s like a thousand, over a thousand English teachers, so it’s a bit of a race to the bottom with price, or you could see it it’s like a race [to the top,,
you can distinguish yourself by putting a really high price, or you could put a really low price, and I’m kind of in the middle somewhere, but yeah see how it goes anyway.
and you know [this is a] bit rambling,[but] you know, creative stuff is amazing still get that feeling from when we were making tunes, yeah when I finished with it working on episode, really into it, you know, make it all nice, that’s fun as well.
Wes: I suppose it’s that nice kind of, you know, that arc of, you know, starting this little thing and then kinda, seeing it through to its kind of completion, then you know having this proud moment where you can fold your arms, take a step back, nod your head proudly and say you know I did that, I get that Mark, I get it.
Wes: Yeah, no, I think, I think, I think it’s really good, actually, cos I would say podcasts are something that I kind of discovered like, I say discovered like I invented it, but, er yeah like, I kind of like, been listening to them probably for the last year or so.
Wes: Erm, yeah I really like em, like just on my little drive in, er, you know, I listen to a podcast and I’ve been, er quite taken by them actually.
Erm there’s this one I think I was reading I think the most popular one in the UK at the moment
Wes: Is called erm, My Dad Wrote a Porno. Haha.
Wes: It’s, it’s it’s so funny, it’s the…and I always hate when people recommend things by saying they’re funny because it actually means they’re not funny, but it’s this dude, this dude and two of his mates a girl and a boy, like, his dad wrote a porno book, the like, one of the self-published ones on Amazon, and they just kind of like, they just, just rip it apart basically, er yeah they read it out each chapter, you know…
Mark: In real life? This actually happened?
Mark: It happened, oh dear.
Wes: Yeah, yeah the porno book was called Belinda Blinks.
Mark: Belinda Blinks, that’s a good name.
Wes: And it’s about a high-class executive in the, in the saucepan industry
Wes: Hehehe, who uses her, erm her feminine wiles to kind of, you know, sell more pots and pans to the various different you know pots and pans distributors. It’s quite funny.
Mark: Mmm, well yeah, that’s er, that sounds good, is that a series?
Wes: Yeah I think it’s been going for like a couple years or something.
Mark: Wow, they’ve done well.
Wes: Yeah, they even kind of got like the run-in books and stuff like that it’s very good, but my, the podcast I think I’m most kind of really like is the New Yorker magazine. Where they kind of like, they’ve got all these, like obviously New Yorker like they publish all stories and stuff, but they kind of that they have the writers on to read their own stories.
Mark: Oh nice.
Wes: Yeah they’re really good! You know, like, they’re really good, I think they have like other writers as well to choose their favourite stories from like the 70 years of archives, so you get kind of people reading some really kind of like decent stories like lots of Nabokov and Updike and, and yeah it’s really good, very good.
Mark: New Yorker podcast.
Wes: And so I, so I think, I think, I think podcasts are like a little bit the future, I guess.
Mark: Yeah, they’re nice for especially commuting, like I was doing that I mean I was driving around, like, doing language podcasts, er so just you can stick it on, drive to work, or sit on the train, and you feel like you’re getting something,
Wes: Did it have a marked improvement on your language?
Mark: Yeah, definitely, for listening ability cos, like, there’s all this time in the day to just er… it was like dead time almost, when you’re travelling or something, so yeah like an hour a day back to work, to work and back, and you, you know, you pick up some grammar, and you get to listen to the way people speak is good, erm
I don’t want to make this too much of a sales pitch but yeah language ones are good. In terms of like other ones, like, the Guardian like football podcast I listen to sometimes, they’ve got good journalists, you know, for, for football as well as other things.
Wes: Do you still keep up with the British football? Or English football?
Mark: Well, I was like… ermm…mmm…kind of drifting away from it, I think now, you know.
Wes: Yeah Liverpool are doing pretty poor, aren’t they?
Mark: Oh yeah, well I guess so, they got, like, a really good attacking team, but er, you know Robbie Fowler’s retired and all those people, you know.
Wes: It all went downhill since they broke up Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler. All went downhill after that.
Mark: The Toxteth Terror!
Wes: Hahahaha, yeah.
Mark: And then like I know there’s loads of other really famous, super-famous podcasts which, This American Life? It’s like a documentary one, listened to a couple, they’re more like deep, like proper, you know proper investigate… investigative like, kind of like is what’s happening, you know kind of thing.
Wes: Okay like serious journalism.
Mark: Yeah, serious journalism, which er, I guess, the last since been in Japan and couple years before, I just been a bit like language [focused], you know like even for English books, I’ve stopped really reading… well, I haven’t, but I don’t…
Wes: Do you read Japanese books?
Mark: Yeah, I started to read Japanese books, and then when I have read English books, I’m always thinking I should be studying Japanese or should be studying Chinese, so it’s not like…yeah kind of neglected but, you know. Erm…
Wes: How is your Japanese?
Mark: It’s okay now, like I just, I finished, I read like a couple of books, my first book was Winnie The Pooh, then I’ve read, well I’ve read a couple of proper Japanese ones, there’s a writer called Yoshimoto Banana, Banana Yoshimoto, she’s okay like, apparently they study her in school, like, I read something you can get the real idea of how Japanese women feel or something, like that.
Mark: It’s a book called Tsugumi, where it’s like this crazy woman and, like, her family a crazy girl and like, who does crazy stuff, so another one was well I’ve gone back to Catch 22, I’ve got that in Japanese and that’s just, that’s amazing, I’ve read it in English, so I kind of know a bit more what, you know what to expect.
Wes: What’s the Japanese for Yoshitorrian? It is Yoshitarrian, isn’t it? The name of the main character?
Wes: Yossarian, what’s Japanese for Yossarian? I suppose it is just Yossarian, isn’t it?
Mark: Yeah, cos they can put that into, they can put names in to kind of the same, Yossarian, yeah they’ve got all those sounds in Japanese.
Wes: Thought Yossarian did always sound like a bit of a Japanese name actually.
Mark: Yeah because usually, Japanese sounds end with like a [vowel sound], they don’t end [on consonant sounds]… like… my name Mark would be Mark-oo, er Wes Wes-oo you know, they end on a vowel always, apart from “n” for” n” you can end on that. “Yossarian”.
Mark: Yeah maybe Wes-oo,
Wes: Wes-oo, I like the sound of it!
Mark: Sounds a bit psychedelic! Hey Wes-oo, how’s it going man! Peace.
Wes: I like it, I like it, I like my new Japanese alter-ego, I like it!
Wes: Well, language I dreaming in?
Mark: Haha, maybe it’s Japenglish, you know so
Wes: Oh really like interspersed?
Mark: Yeah like my [son]…the boy he speaks perfect Japenglish, it’s amazing.
Wes: Really it’ll be kind of interspersed words where it’ll be Jap-, part Japanese part English?
: Anyway you know he does like so if you say “iku” is “to go”, so “iku” is “I will go,” and if you put this ending on “–tai”, is – I want to, so “ikitai” so” ikitai” is I want to go, so he’ll say “I don’t want to ikitai”. I was like “ah he’s a genius.”
You know, like, purists would be like “ugh, what are they doing to our language!“ “Like how can you do this?” “Like mixing that, you know, like can’t do it.” [but] like it sounds good.
Wes: Yeah like it sounds like the beginning of a new Esperanto maybe, you know.
Mark: Yeah perhaps.
Wes: They’re like a new universal language, like, was it the other ones Spanglish, is it?
Mark: Spanglish yeah, yeah or Chinglish.
Wes: Yeah, you know I think this is the future you know let’s break down barriers let’s have a universal language.
Mark: Well, yeah, you know, the barrier thing hasn’t gone well with UK, has it? You know Brexit etcetera,
Wes: Oh my God! I have to say I think if you had lived in, if you’d kind of carried on living in England I think would have probably said the word Brexit at least 50 thousand times more than you probably had already.
Wes: But erm, you know, erm okay well that sounds, that sounds good, erm, what was I going to say? Erm, yeah, well I think, I think, like, I think that you know like I think the way you have really like picked up like Japanese like in a relatively short period of time, you know…
Mark: I don’t, I don’t know, like, cos like the father in law put some pressure on you know he’s like, “yeah, within a year you’re just gonna be amazing at Japanese”.
Mark: That was like, that was like three years, you know and then it was like stumbling about unable to communicate with them for like the next three years, haha.
Wes: You know what though Mark, like the prodigal son, I’m sure you’re kind of, you know, impressing your father in law.
Mark: Yeah, I mean one thing was the driving license because everyone…it’s like countryside around here, so yeah, you need to drive, so I was working in this big office, yeah, and then like I didn’t drive then, and they were like, “what, you don’t drive?” “Like, how do you?” “How do you live?” Kind of thing. I was like, “Mmm, you know, I’m living”.
Wes: Did you have to take a Japanese driving test?
Mark: Nah, I went back to the UK, that was the win, like, I did [a] one-week driving test and passed, and I came back holding my driving test I was like, “hah, look at this!”
Wes: I’m living now, I’m living!
Mark: Alive! Alive! Man! It only took one week do you know, and they were like, “wow it takes four months, here at least.”
Wes: Excellent, I’m proud of you Mark, you’re living the dream.
Mark: I am yeah, it was all good after that… kind of.
That’s it for this episode. Thanks for listening.
Intro music Happy by Setuniman, see his work on Pond5.com Royalty free licence
Outro music: Accordion Improvisation song by Tristan Lohengrin (CC attribution licence)
Photo by Serge Esteve on Unsplash
Related episodes you might like:
Episode 18: Essex accent
Episode 21: Catching up with Wes (part 1)
- Garage is a genre of dance music popular in Essex in the late 1990’s. ↑
- We used to be in a band together – Wes split up the band. It’s ok I’m over it now. ↑