Bonus Episode 26 - The Storytelling Queen Called Irene

Jul 29 / Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this episode Charlie gets a friend's mother on the show after being encapsulated by the way in which she tells a story in a social setting. Listen in to experience how this person delivers her stories to help continue improving your ability to tell a good story in English.

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Transcript of Bonus Episode 026 - Transcript

Charlie:
Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to today's episode of the show called the British English Podcast with your host me Charlie Baxter. Now, in this one, we are focusing on the power of storytelling once more. And it came about very naturally as I have made a friend in Sydney who kindly invited us round for dinner a couple of times where I had the pleasure of meeting her mother. And boy! Can she tell a story! I found it particularly amusing how confident she is in retelling her tales with such inflection, animation and passion that I thought, I need to get a microphone in front of this human and start recording a couple of her stories because she's an excellent person to learn from in terms of how to tell a casual story. I also challenged her even further to think about how one might adapt the story based on the audience, which will be interesting for you to witness. But first, let's experience how this person tells a casual story that could be shared over a drink or dinner with some friends and family. So I give you the storytelling queen that goes by the name of Irene. So I've brought you on because we've had a few dinner time experiences where you've shared quite a few colourful stories.

Irene:
Oh, you have no idea, Charlie.

Charlie:
Without. Without prompting, you were able to encapsulate or capture the audience. And that was also two of your daughters, who have also heard the stories probably many times. But I still feel like they were listening.

Irene:
They've learnt that they have to. Charlie, it's survival.

Charlie:
Right. But either way you were able to hold your own or carry the story on. I'm not going to say that you should have shared the microphone, but it was very much a monologue. Like you like to tell a monologue.

Irene:
Well, if it's a good story, it's terrible when someone interrupts. It's like... No, there's a flow. It's like, if you're reading a fabulous book, you don't want someone else coming in and using different language and taking it down a different path, because I'm here with this story and I want it to get to the end as it was meant to be heard.

Charlie:
You want it to be published...

Irene:
Yes.

Charlie:
By your own...

Irene:
Yes.

Charlie:
skill. So when your husband interrupts, do you feel like that exactly what you just described you feel like..

Irene:
Yes. It's like, you know, sometimes someone kind of... particularly someone that's heard it before...thinks 'I know where this is going. I'll just cut to the chase and get to the end or take it somewhere else. It's like, No, no, no, you can't do that. You can't do that because you are ruining this whole experience.

Charlie:
Well, I can definitely see how you thought that or how you think that and how you like to make it from the start to the end.

Irene:
Well, a story is a story. It's not a conversation. Conversation is where, you know, there's no definite path that it's going to go, and no one should fully determine... You know, if it's a conversation, then you've got a give and take. But a story, that's a different thing.

Charlie:
You you like to tell a story. You love- you love to tell a story. I assume you enjoy it very much?

Irene:
Yes. In fact, sometimes when you're having a conversation which doesn't have the same rules, and someone's telling their bit of the conversation and you're thinking, 'Oh, no. I've got so much better I can add here'. It becomes a bit of a conversation competition in your head. So you are biting your tongue going 'Oh no. That's nothing on what I've got to tell you, and you have to stop yourself because you understand that people don't like someone who is always.... One-upmanship of of somebody else's story. But I do love it when I get the floor and I can one up it with something that blows your mind. That's good.

Charlie:
Yeah, it's good. It's good. Yeah, that's funny. So what what kind of story would you like to share with us today? Have you got any up your sleeve?

Irene:
Yes. So so you had said to me to pick a story where perhaps I would tell it differently to my girlfriends at the pub, to, you know, an elderly person or a child or something.

Charlie:
Absolutely. Yes. Yes. So I actually started doing a recording of my own this morning of a similar structure, and I struggled to to go in the direction of one one audience. So I thought, hang on, maybe I'm making it too hard.

Irene:
Oh, no.

Charlie:
So if you're up to the challenge, we can definitely do it like that.

Irene:
I can do it. But you do have to tell the the thicker story first, because if if I were to tell you the story that I would tell an older person or a child, it's going to be obviously less colourful, and then when I would go to tell you, as, you know, someone I'm trying to impress with all of the details and you've already heard the... The skeleton of the story, it takes everything away.

Charlie:
Okay. Yeah, that's a nice addition, a nice psychological tip. Who would you like to speak to first for this story?

Irene:
So for this story, I would be speaking to someone of my age. Or not necessarily. I mean, you're way younger than I am, but you're not innocent, you know. So you can hear a story. You're not going to be shocked in any way. And I'm not overstepping any moral, ethical lines by sharing bits. And it's not like I'm making this sound like it's a really sexy story, but it's not.

Charlie:
No, I like this preface because it's it's interesting for a learner. Like for me when I'm learning Spanish, I really struggle to know when to use the formal, when to use the informal language more than just the grammatical kind of structure, but like the nuances of the adjectives or the phrasal verbs, or the idiomatic language that we can put into a story. Yeah, that I think you might be very aware of.

Irene:
So with me, it's probably not so much the language. It's the detail and the descriptive stuff that I would be using. But this is not... I'm building it up to make it sound like it's really exciting. It's not. It's a very everyday story for me. I happened to be fortunate enough to have lived a life where almost every day some crazy thing happens. And I don't think I make it happen, but probably I'm part of that process. So there's many stories that are quite nothing stories, but they're funny or, you know, a little bit of light-heartedness. So this story is a few years ago I was at work, and I had a really terrible pain just under my shoulder blade. Really, really painful. And you know, when you're in pain, it's always important to let the people around, you know, that you're in pain, because it kind of helps that process just a little bit that they are also in some level of pain, yeah, Because of you.

Charlie:
Right, right. Okay.

Irene:
It's helpful. I said to the colleague near me, 'Oh, my God, I am just... It's killing me under my shoulder. And I don't think... I slept oddly. I don't know what I've done. And she said, 'Oh, it sounds to me like you've dislodged your rib'. And I said, Oh, that's not a thing, don't be ridiculous'. Because, you know, I know everything about everything. And so I dismissed her. And then I was still in pain. And so I had to share it with many other people. And it was interesting to me that many other people I shared this thing with had exactly the same, you know, thinking that I had somehow dislodged my rib in some way. So I'm like, Whoa, this is weird. Anyway, so then I went back to my first colleague who happens to be married to a chiropractor, and he's a really good, you know, renowned chiropractor. So I said to, well, okay, Jo, 'I'm kind of coming around to the potential that I've done something to my rib. Does Scott know any chiropractor around my area that I could go to - Okay - to fix this?' And within 5 minutes, Scott has sent the details of a chiropractor not very far away that he's suggested I go to. Now, I've never been to a chiropractor before. And, you know, you hear all these stories about them cracking and doing terrible things. So there was a little bit of an, you know, and yeah, yeah, not feeling super confident with this. So I come to the chiropractor. He makes me lie down. He does some massaging, which is really lovely. And then he starts contorting my body, which is less lovely. And then right at the end, he does this almighty crack of my neck and not just my neck, my back, my... Like cracks every bone in my body.

Charlie:
Wow.

Irene:
And it's that sound that you hear inside your head that he's like, oh, my God, my body is not meant to to have this happen to it. But once he's finished, I'm like, Wow, so good. And he says to me, 'You'll have to come back a couple of times a week for the next few weeks. We'll work on this'. So I get home and I say to my husband, 'Mark, hon, I've got a man in my life. The way this man touches me! Oh, my God. What he does to my body! Oh, nobody's ever done this to my body before. So, of course, Mark knows exactly what's happened, and he plays along with the joke. So everyone I meet from this day on hears about... And so a couple of weeks later, and I've now seen this man in my life a few times, A couple of weeks later, I'm not far from Mark's work, my husband's work...

Charlie:
Right.

Irene:
Through the middle of the day. And I ring him and I say, 'Hun, do you want to catch up for a coffee?' He says, 'Yes, that would be lovely. Let's go to lunch at the cafe just behind my building'. And we go to this cafe, which he obviously frequents often.

Charlie:
Okay.

Irene:
And he says to the lady behind the counter, let's call her Maria. I don't remember her name. He says, 'Oh, I'm Maria. This is my other wife, Irene. She's my after hours wife. Irene, this is Maria. She looks after me through work times. And Maria gets extremely embarrassed. Her face goes terribly red and she says, 'Oh, Mark, you can't say that to your wife'. And I say, 'Oh, yes, he can. You wouldn't believe it, but I've got a man in my life. The way he touches me. No other man has ever touched me like this. And now Maria is really uncomfortable.

Charlie:
I bet.

Irene:
It's so much fun. Mark and I are really enjoying this moment. And Maria's little helper - Let's call her Veronica - pops her head out from around the corner. She's been listening to this and obviously is now wanting a little bit more information. And she joins the conversation and she says 'What are you talking about?' And I'm actually now feeling a bit sorry for Maria because, you know, she's really struggling with with this whole situation. So I say, don't worry, it's just my chiropractor. And suddenly Maria is 'Oh, thank God. I'm so embarrassed! What was going on here?' And now Veronica is very interested. And she says, 'Oh, chiropractors! Always good to have a good chiropractor. Is he local?' I said, 'Yes, yes. Not far. Just down the road, just at Concord'. 'Oh, is it Angelo?' And then the discomfort changes and I'm the one getting a little bit red and flustered and it's like, 'yes, do you know Angelo?' And she says, 'Yes. My daughter's best friend is his daughter. I see Angelo all the time. I can't wait to tell Angelo what you think of him'. And so now Maria's not embarrassed anymore but I'm as red as a beetroot. And I'm thinking, 'Oh, shit, this is really awkward because I'm going to see Angelo tomorrow night, so I, you know, Mark and I have our lunch and move on, and the next day I'm feeling really awkward going to see Angelo.

Charlie:
I bet.

Irene:
So I get in there. I think, 'Best strategy, say nothing. He may not have seen Veronica. He may not be aware of my singing, of his praises, you know, in a slightly, you know...

Charlie:
Playful.

Irene:
Playful. Yes. Thank you. Lovely word, playful way. So I get there and I lie down and he does his massaging and he does his contortion ing and he cracks my body. And then I thank God we got through to the end of this. And he says, 'So how was that? How was my touch today?' Like, erm 'lovely?' He said, 'Yes, I've heard that you quite like the way I touch'. Okay, so you've met Veronica? I think, so... You know, I was just... 'There's nothing in it! Really! I was with my husband. It's - I'm just - it's just funny!' He goes, 'Yes, it is. It's very, very funny'. And he was fine with it. But I've never gone back to see Angelo. No, I was so embarrassed by my own behaviour being caught out that I've since gone to other chiropractors who are rubbish compared to Angelo. And the man that touched me like no other is now just a distant memory.

Charlie:
Very good. Oh, that was fantastic. I love the twist.

Irene:
Yes. And so that story I would well, I was just thinking, would I tell my mother-in-law that story? And my mother in law has known me for an extremely long time, so probably I would.

Charlie:
Right.

Irene:
But would I tell that kind of story to some unknown older person or to a child? No, I wouldn't talk quite as much about the man that touched me like nobody else.

Charlie:
No,

Irene:
But I would still tell... I'd still have a skeleton of a story to be able to talk about. You know, I had this terrible pain. I went to the chiropractor. He did all kinds of magical tricks on my body, and they felt so good, and I've gone back. But I was a little bit cheeky in how I was talking about him saying I really liked the way he touched me. And so I was telling somebody who knew Angelo and then I was quite embarrassed by my own behaviour, and it really teaches me a lesson. So if I'm speaking to children, I usually have a moral learning to come from it, to be put very clearly. And, you know, be very careful when you're talking about other people, even if you're being playful. They might hear about it and it might make them feel uncomfortable or it might hurt their feelings. And so really, you should be very careful when you talk about other people. Very different story.

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah. Very different. I like how you said I was being cheeky with the way I was describing it. Yeah. That's a good way to kind of brush over.

Irene:
Yes. Lack of detail.

Charlie:
Yeah. So would that be a similar way you would describe the situation to say if you if mingling at a cocktail event kind of thing with your husband's work colleagues?

Irene:
So that very much depends on the individual you are talking to. So Mark happens to be in the diplomatic corps and we go to diplomatic functions. And in those situations, particularly to start with, before you know people, you are very diplomatic, funnily enough, and you're very careful with... You know, you would tell perhaps that story I got caught out. You might give it a little bit more flavour, but you'd be watching very carefully to see whether there was a little bit of shock or disapproval. If there was humour, then the rest would come out, and if those people you have met more than one time and you know, you're the kind of person that does like to share a story and you've worked out that they don't mind hearing a little bit more detail of those stories, then it would be the full story. Yeah, but I said to you, when I listen to one of your podcasts how impressed I was that you could speak as though someone was there, but no one was, and yet you had such a wonderful conversation. And I think that's such a skill, talking to yourself. I talk to myself all the time, but nobody else is listening to it. When I'm telling a story, I very much observe the body language, the facial, the eyes to see... And I do like to shock. So it's not as though, 'oh my goodness, I've shocked this person. I'd better stop!' but I don't want them to feel uncomfortable. So there's a difference between shock and discomfort. And so I play with my story and I never lie. Sometimes people think that, you know, you embellish a story. Everything I'm saying is absolutely true. But I can give more weight to some parts of it that will give it more colour. But to me, it very much relies on the response that I'm reading from the person that's hearing that story as to how far I take it.

Charlie:
Yeah, I really like that. Agree with all of it. I obviously can't pick up on those cues in my sound booth, so I could be offending people from the beginning to the end.

Irene:
Yes, but in that situation they could turn it off.

Charlie:
That's true.

Irene:
So when you're face to face to some... With someone, it's much harder for them to withdraw themselves from that situation. If they're really not liking where that conversation is going.

Charlie:
Yeah, they can't click pause on your face or.

Irene:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I still think that it's an amazing skill that you have where you can imagine who your audience is, and to be able to pitch your story or your conversations to where you see them being without actually having them in front of you.

Charlie:
That's kind to say. I feel like it's something like any skill that develops with time, because at the beginning of doing like online content, I wasn't brave enough to to do anything like that. And it's taken a few years to practice the small, smaller skills to then go into doing that kind of thing. So my point here is like for the listeners, like it's, it's good to practice the storytelling because if you feel like you're not a storyteller doesn't mean you're never going to be one. I feel like it might be something that you're naturally drawn to, but just because you're not naturally drawn to it, it doesn't mean that you can't, you know, put some practice in.

Irene:
Building a relationship requires a level of ability to share stories, because I don't believe you can have a true friendship with someone if you don't know some of their intimacies.

Charlie:
Mm hmm.

Irene:
So I had a friend come around on Friday evening, just for a drink and to pick something up, and she shared with me some concerns that are happening with her in her life at the moment. And we're not necessarily such deep, intimate friends, but the situation was right, and it was a space that she needed for herself.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Irene:
And our friendship is now deeper for that happening because there was a trust given to me to be able to hear her story and for her to know that that is safe with me. People that don't share their stories, whether they're funny or whether they're heartbreaking or whether they're just, I was uncomfortable with this, something that tells you about the inner workings of a person. Without that knowledge, you're not really friends. You're just acquaintances.

Charlie:
Yes. Because a story is sharing emotions, isn't it? Information isn't isn't emotion. Telling somebody your holiday like the itinerary of what you did. That's not developing a relationship. That's just sharing facts.

Irene:
Exactly.

Charlie:
But a story will always involve an emotive kind of roller coaster in some way.

Irene:
I have a sister who's extremely organised. There's not a lot of spontaneity in her and before she goes on a trip, before she goes on a trip, she will have a slideshow of where she's going. So we have we have the photos not of their holiday, but of where their holiday will be because she's already prepared. So that's that's a factual story. And it doesn't give you any real flavour of that person's experience because they actually haven't had it yet.

Charlie:
Yeah, Yeah.

Irene:
So when someone shows you their travel photos - If they're not giving you some of the emotions that they had through that experience, the experience is how they felt during it, what they saw, what it made them think, how they grew, then all it is is an empty slide show.

Charlie:
Yes. Yes, that's so true. And I think that's why things like podcasts and online content is a thing, because all the information is on there already. The Internet is just never ending fact finding information sheets, but these kind of things are bringing personality to it. And people listen to the person and then they get invested in that person because they're divulging some emotions. Yeah, yeah. Connecting to the human. So. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nice. Okay, we can either leave it there or we could. We have space for one more.

Irene:
One more story!

Charlie:
One more story. Do you reckon?

Irene:
So most of my stories are very long, Charlie, because to to give a good story, it's got to have a beginning and a middle and an end and and real depth. So whoa... what can I pick up off the top of my head?

Charlie:
Oh, I mean, you've told me some stories that could be well worth repeating.

Irene:
I've got so many stories that you haven't heard that are well worth repeating. But what is it that we're trying to get out of the story?

Charlie:
I think listening to the way that you tell the story is plenty.

Irene:
Mm hmm.

Charlie:
You naturally have a beginning, middle and end, like a conflict and solution kind of natural way of doing it. So that's useful in itself. We could focus on... It's tricky, like if there's an... If there's a naughtier story, then it would make sense to try and pitch it at different people. But I think it's quite hard to do. Like I was doing it earlier and I struggled. I think what you said before makes sense about giving the full version and then giving a lighter one.

Irene:
Yeah. So it's the it's filling, filling the spaces with as much detail as possible that depends on your audience. And that's not only just the content, in terms of like juicy or frightening or whatever that might be. It can also just be, you know, their interest level. So their concentration span. So you might have the most interesting story that's going to all kinds of places, but if they're not necessarily invested in it, it doesn't matter what language you're going to use. You're fighting. You're you're trying to- You're trying to climb a wall that just doesn't have an end. And so nobody's actually winning this game. And that's why I guess I rely so much on on watching people. So I know that you particularly enjoyed a story that I told you about being at an airport once, and I... For a period... I've had an amazing life where really terrible things have happened to me, but some really amazing things have happened to me. And I love that because it's the terrible things that have made me really appreciate the wonderful things and vice versa. And so I really embrace that huge diversity of experience. And I know everybody has, but I'm really fortunate, like, real shit has happened to me and I love it. And in one of the really shit things that happened to me was having a brain haemorrhage at 39, as I've told you. And just prior to having my brain haemorrhage, like I'm talking weeks prior, I met my half brother in Slovenia.

Charlie:
For the first time.

Irene:
For the first time, and we had this wonderful connection. Our families connected. It was all really beautiful. But then I had to come back. We, my family were there, had to come back to the real world in Australia and continue on with our lives. But I really wanted to get to know my brother better and so I had to come up with some kind of plan to be able to go over to Slovenia, which is where I was born and where my brother lives regularly. But I married for love not money. And so I wasn't in a position where I could just hop on a plane every so often to have a coffee with my brother, and I was - fortunate's a really tricky word - At the time it seemed fortunate. We had friends, very close family, friends who were far wealthier than we were. Also of Slovenian background. And I had this seemingly ridiculous idea, but it was great idea at the time, of starting an Australian Slovenian bar in Ljubljana, which is the capital of Slovenia. And then I would have to go often.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Irene:
As you know, I'm starting a spa.

Charlie:
Can I ask why you felt like an Australian mix would be so good?

Irene:
Because Australia is amazing. Who doesn't want to know about Australia, right? And in Slovenia, people are generally interested about somewhere more exotic. And I know Australia, this is where I've lived since I was three years of age and I love Australia. And so to be able to share that with my Slovenian background and people to me seemed the perfect solution. Ka-ching, right? Everybody's going to want to come because it's exotic, and I can get over to see my brother. So I had this crazy idea of starting an Aussie bar slash restaurant, but I had no money and so my family and I returned to Australia from this huge holiday which... We were in great debt, financial debt with... And a wealthy friend came to pick us up at the airport. And I said to him, 'Hey hon, what about you and I go into business and we start an Aussie Slovenian... An Aussie bar in Slovenia?' And he of course, laughed, and they went home and we went home. And then the following weekend we saw these people and I said, 'Did you think about my wonderful idea?' And he said, 'I thought you were joking'. 'No! Great idea! Everybody in the world is interested in in Australia. Wonderful idea. You'd make lots of money out of it!'.

Charlie:
And he's living in Australia.

Irene:
He's living in Australia too.

Charlie:
So naturally he thinks you're right. Everyone loves Australia because he moved to Australia.

Irene:
But he is Slovenian. Yeah, but he loves Slovenia. I love Slovenia but he LOVES Slovenia. Anyway, so then the next weekend, so two weekends into being back at home, I say, 'Hey, now that you've had a chance to think about it, what do you think?' And he said, Oh, you'd have to invest money if we were going into business together'. 'I don't have any money, but I know a lot of people over there. I've got contacts. I know I could make this work.

Charlie:
And you were a teacher at the time?

Irene:
Yeah, of course. Because every early childhood teacher knows how to run a bar in Slovenia. Obviously, that was not going to be a problem. Charlie, what are you suggesting anyway?

Charlie:
Did you have any experience in a bar?

Irene:
Never, never, never, never, never. And I had no money. But that was not going to stop me. I had a brother in Slovenia.

Charlie:
Right, right.

Irene:
Anyway, so the following weekend, we're up to the third weekend, I had my brain haemorrhage.

Charlie:
We will be leaving part one there for today. But don't worry, we have part two and three round the corner for you to enjoy. All right. Here we go with part two of this episode. Enjoy.

Speaker3:
But that was not going to stop me. I had a brother in Slovenia.

Irene:
Right?

Charlie:
Right.

Irene:
Anyway, so the following weekend, we're up to the third weekend, I had my brain haemorrhage. And so this friend came to the hospital and said, Irene, you've got to get better because you have to go to Slovenia to start an Aussie bar. And I can't. I'm going nowhere. I'm dying here. I literally I should have died from the brain haemorrhage. But only the good die young. So I'm still here. And so the seed was planted and just to make it even juicier, you know, I got really sick in the middle and that always makes other people feel like they owe you something. And so sure enough, as I got better, he became more and more interested in this idea. And so, long story short, and I am cutting out so much shit out of this story, I opened an Aussie bar in Slovenia. My relationship with this person fell apart terribly.

Charlie:
Oh right.

Irene:
It was.

Charlie:
How quickly, from opening the bar?

Irene:
Before we opened the... It took four years to open the bar and I learnt so much about so many things that I didn't expect to learn about. Evicting people, going to court, building in a foreign country. We bought a bar, an existing bar. It happened to be government sale and so it was big news because government selling assets. We were considered to be foreigners, even though both of us have Slovenian citizenship, and we paid more per square metre than had ever been paid in the country before. And so I was on the news and I was in newspapers, and I was in women's magazines, and I would walk down the street and people would know who I was, even though I had no money in Slovenia. In Slovenia I felt a little bit like Madonna. Not quite. And through this process, one of my trips, coming home to Australia and I am getting to your story. I told you all of my stories are very long. One of my trips there and back, I was sitting in the business lounge at Vienna.

Charlie:
This is a story in a story.

Irene:
This is a story in many stories. And there was nobody else there. And seriously, it's just plastic chairs lined up in a row in the business section. But this gentleman came along with a red cap on and sat at one end and I sat the other and I paid him no attention and he paid me no attention. And then suddenly all these staff kept coming in. Staff from Lauda, that was the airline.

Charlie:
Right. Okay.

Irene:
And asking this man for his signature. And so I paid a little bit more attention to him, because I thought 'this is someone I might need to know'. And I realised the man in the cap was Niki Lauda, the owner of Lauda Air and the ex Formula One, you know, number one for Ferrari.

Charlie:
How, how long since driving was this story? Like as an active Formula One driver?

Irene:
This...I don't I'm not a super a Formula One fan .Couldn't tell you but it was, yeah he wasn't driving anymore. He was commentating.

Charlie:
Okay. So he was still very much in the public eye.

Irene:
He was still, yes, still in the public eye, but not as the driver. Anyway, so when the staff, you know, stopped fainting and left, I said, oh, are you Niki? And he said.

Charlie:
Are you Niki!

Irene:
'Yaaaa, yaaa'. I said, 'Oh, my name is Irene'. And then we started a conversation and when we got on the plane. I thought, Oh damn, why didn't I get him to sign like a signature? Because no one's going to believe that I've just had this lovely long conversation with Niki Lauda.

Charlie:
Was it longer than just exchanging names?

Irene:
Yes. Yes, it was very long. And so then as we got on the plane, I said, 'oh, damn, I didn't get your your autograph'.

Charlie:
Autograph, yeah.

Irene:
And he said,' Oh, okay. I'm just taking the... I'm going to take off', flying the plane as you do, because it's your plane. 'When I come back out, you come over'. And so he...

Charlie:
And this is a like a Boeing 747?

Irene:
Yeah. I don't know which numbers it had but a big, commercial, serious ...

Charlie:
Passenger

Irene:
plane. Yes. We were flying to Kuala Lumpur, so it's a long flight. So he went off and took off, as you do. And then he came out and he called me over. And so I had my little scrappy piece of paper that I've since lost. And he signed, but we had the longest conversation. I was asking him about how it felt, obviously. You know, understanding that it felt shit when he had that terrible accident, but how it then felt to go back and to to drive. And he was really genuinely honest and he talked to me about his family and his relationships and

Charlie:
And just to go back for the listeners. So what was his accident?

Irene:
So he had a really terrible accident where the plane, the train, the car, sorry.

Charlie:
That vehicle.

Irene:
all forms of transport. The car burst into flames and he was very badly burnt and they got him out of the car and they didn't think he would survive. He did survive, but he was badly scarred.

Charlie:
Right.

Irene:
And the following year he went back to drive and no one believed that he would be able to get back into a car and drive. And he actually won that Grand Prix. And it was... It was almost miraculous that he was able to do that. And he explained to me and I don't like to share it, he's now passed away. And, you know, this was a private conversation. But he spoke in depth about that whole experience, the whole experience of being a racing car driver and of getting older and understanding the risks, whereas when you're young, you don't. His... His family relationships, the complications of those. Anyway, it was a very, very deep and interesting conversation. And then he said to me, 'I mean, I can't believe I've told you all the things that I've told you. I've never met anybody that asks questions. So honestly, you just... It's so easy to tell you anything. I can't believe I'm telling you all of these things. Would you like to come with me to Kuala Lumpur, to the Formula One?'.

Charlie:
Wow!

Irene:
He was commentating it. And of course, I'm like, oh, my God, I would love to, but my husband wouldn't like it. And he said...

Charlie:
Nor your chiropractor.

Irene:
Well, I didn't know Angelo yet. Then this is a different time of men in my life, Charlie. So. So I said to him, 'I would love to, but my husband really wouldn't like that. And he said, 'Well, you know, forget the husband'.

Charlie:
Oh, wow. I feel like with with such a deep and meaningful conversation to then be like, ah, forget your husband.

Irene:
Yeah, look. No, it was deep and meaningful from him, from his side. I wasn't sharing with him my long term relationship or, you know, it was it was very much... It was almost an interview situation where I was just getting so much information out of him because he was really interesting and I genuinely wanted to know. Yes. And and then, of course, it became flirtatious and he saw an opportunity. And and I had to say, well, my husband wouldn't like it, you know, so he got off at Kuala Lumpur and I continued on to Sydney. But then, of course, that was a story that I shared with everybody many times in great detail. And my children, I think Lani was about ten, 12, maybe 12 at the time, she didn't quite understand what it meant when I said and my husband wouldn't like it and what the, what the situation really was. Yeah. And so the next time I had to fly back to Slovenia, she said 'Mummy, anybody asks you to go anywhere with them, you go because you should have fun'. I didn't take that advice. Sometimes you just have to let your children, you know,

Charlie:
Say what they want.

Irene:
Say what they want and really not take it on board because it's not a good long term strategy.

Charlie:
And that was the end of part two, but we've still got part three. Even more fun to be had with this episode, and I'll see you in Part three. I hope you have enjoyed it so far, but let's still enjoy the last of it, shall we? So I give you part three of this episode.

Irene:
The next time I had to fly back to Slovenia, she said, 'Mummy, anybody asks you to go anywhere with them, you go because you should have fun. I didn't take that advice. Sometimes you just have to let your children, you know.

Charlie:
Say what they want.

Irene:
Say what they want and really not take it on board because it's not a good long term strategy.

Charlie:
Imagine if that was like the the reason that you're now motherless. Because you tell your mother 'Go and enjoy yourself!'

Irene:
Have Fun! Yeah.

Charlie:
Wow. That's amazing. So, Nikki, Laud... Lauda, Lauda. Yeah. And he was. It's insane to think that he was the pilot of a commercial flight. It feels like. Almost like that film Catch Me If You Can. Do you remember that with Leonardo DiCaprio?

Irene:
Yes. But he was real.

Charlie:
He was so. And it was his company. But it seems odd to be to have so many hats or wear so many hats.

Irene:
Yeah, but I guess someone like that lives a life of being on the edge and. Yeah, And so he couldn't drive motorcars - Formula One anymore. He got to the understanding that the consequences are huge, and it's life or death. And he wants, you know, that he said you can't ever drive at the speeds that you need to drive because once you understand that this is life and death, you cannot physically drive the way you do when you don't really understand that.

Charlie:
Mental that he won again.

Irene:
Well, interestingly, he did. He he said 'I couldn't start'. So it went off and I had to you know, they have the trial, you know, the day before or whatever where they work out...

Charlie:
The warm up.

Irene:
Yeah. Oh yeah.

Charlie:
What's it called. The tri..., you know, the starter grid. Trials.

Irene:
That stuff. Yeah. So he, he couldn't move in that one.

Charlie:
Oh, he froze.

Irene:
So he, he froze completely and thought I can't do this and had a real conversation in his mind trying to get himself to to move on from that. And then once he did, yeah, he, you know, gave it his all, but he choked and he understood that this was not... He couldn't do that anymore. I guess flying a plane is much safer. But still would give you a whole lot of. Yeah, but it would give you a whole lot of buzz when you're taking it off. And that's why I guess he just does the take off. You know, what's the point of sitting behind doing this on autopilot going all the way, you know, come out and have a chat. But, you know, that adrenaline. Those people like that really. Need the adrenaline to make them feel alive, I guess.

Charlie:
And so I feel like, apart from, you know, the flirtatious part of the story, that's a story that you can you can tell to you can multiple generations and situations.

Irene:
You can, but you you pull back, you know, and I don't feel... A story that involves somebody else's story... I think you always have to be careful of what you divulge, how much you share of someone else's privacy. I was not an interviewer. I didn't gain his permission to be broadcasting his thoughts or his feelings.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Irene:
Obviously the fact that he shared with me means that I have that knowledge, some of that knowledge now. I mean, I don't know this person, but I know things of him. And you kind of, when you're telling a story, when you're relaying somebody else's experiences, you need to be respectful of that.

Charlie:
And you danced around it very well. I think it's quite hard to sometimes say it in a smooth way which, which doesn't stop the flow of the story.

Irene:
Yeah. And doesn't make it feel as though you're hiding too much, because then the listener feels as though the... An outsider to that story rather than actually being having that story shared with them. They're really just an onlooker to that story.

Charlie:
Yes. Can we can we go over that, how you dance around that a bit again?

Irene:
So I don't remember. I listen to myself.

Charlie:
No, but maybe let's just try and rehearse a little moment of it. So you were saying that he shared a lot of stuff with you. You know, you were interviewing him kind of, and then you kind of said, but can you remember any way of how you would put it? Because I think it's quite useful the way that you use the language. People would be...

Irene:
Hmm. I don't remember exactly the language that I used.

Charlie:
But another way. But also...

Irene:
Yeah, but I guess, in terms of his relationships with his family, you know, it was a strange being a racing car driver and the risks that he was taking and that lead to strain on family relationships that are long lasting.

Charlie:
Mm hmm.

Irene:
But you wouldn't go into the specifics of that because that's not my story to tell. I don't have the right to publicly share those things that he told me, but it's enough to allude to the fact that it it makes it difficult.

Charlie:
Yes, yes, yes. I like that. Yeah. You're generalising the information that was imparted on you and giving the end result of it.

Irene:
Yes. Giving it a feel but not giving it the details.

Charlie:
Yes. Yes. That's being respectful but still keeping the story. Yeah. Going. Yeah, yeah. Nice. Well, we've, uh, we've gone over, but I like, I like going over this. It's good. Plenty of stuff for everybody. So yeah. Thank you very much for that. Irene It's.

Irene:
Fun. Charlie Thank you.

Charlie:
Good. Yeah. So we're sat in the middle of your lounge. I rudely disrupted your middle of your Monday.

Irene:
Oh, no, I love it. Disruptions are so much better than a boring Monday.

Charlie:
It's very grey outside, isn't that?

Irene:
It is.

Charlie:
Yeah. But yeah. Thank you very much. And I hope to maybe still another Monday of yours in the future.

Speaker3:
Oh, Charlie, you're going to have all of my Mondays. There'll be another man in my life. So don't tell Stacy.

Charlie:
All right, guys, see you next time. Take care.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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