Transcript of BEP Ep 1 - Introduction
You're listening to The British English Podcast a show that helps English learners around the world discover British culture along with useful language the natives are actually using day to day with me, your host, Charlie Baxter. I'll be recording a variety of episodes in this podcast. Some will be a one man show focussing on a specific bit of British culture or British English language, whilst others will be conversational with guests on the podcast.
If you are a fan of my YouTube channel called Real English With Real Teachers that I have been running with my good friend Harry Giles, then you'll be pleased to know that he will be a guest on this podcast multiple times. And if you've never heard of my YouTube channel, then I highly recommend watching it, especially if you are an intermediate to advanced English learner wanting some light hearted education. So in this introductory episode I sit down with Harry, who is also a British English teacher, and we discuss our journey to becoming online content creators for English learners.
Now, I've chosen this as Episode 1, as I think it will be a good way for you to learn a little bit about me and my friend Harry, who will be a frequent guest in future recordings. This episode, like pretty much every future episode, is filled with incredibly useful language for you to learn in order to sound more natural when communicating in English. Around halfway through the episode, I'll tell you a bit more about the structure of this podcast and how you can get the most out of it. But for now, let's get into the conversation I had with Harry going down memory lane.
So let's get into it. Where should we go back to Harry?
Well, I guess it would make sense to go back to where we started as teachers. Wouldn't it like how we ended up teaching our own language?
Because it's not a typical job, but it might be interesting for people to know that, and then, yeah, and to understand how we ended up here recording a podcast for English learners. Okay.
Okay. Yeah let's. Let's also include where we met.
Where did we meet? That's a good idea, Charlie. Yeah, that's true. So we met at university. We met in Nottingham Trent University. Charlie and I were on a psychology course together, and I think we met on the first day, didn't we? On the first day of our course? I think I was sitting like behind you?
Yeah, yeah. Harry turned up late for the first lecture, and I think, didn't you ask for a pen from me? That's our meet cute*.
Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think that's what you always say when we tell this story. It sounds like we're a couple, doesn't it? Oh, you tell the story. you tell the story. But yeah, normally that's what we say.
I think I asked for a pen, because Charlie is the kind of guy that brings lots of spare pens, whereas I'm the kind of guy that, you know, might forget to bring a pen altogether and a bit of paper. I think I sometimes used to ask for a bit of paper as well.
Oh, wow. Paper. That's the one thing that you're expected to bring.
Yeah. Definitely is and paper. Yeah. Because it's easy to get a pen, but it's embarrassing asking for a bit of paper.
Oh sorry, have you got a spare laptop? It wouldn't really work nowadays, maybe it'll be an apple pencil.
It's all very forward thinking high tech stuff.
Yeah. Can I borrow your apple pencil please? Yeah. Sorry, it's not charged. Yeah.
I wonder like how many people now, like the percentage of people that have pen and paper versus those that have a laptop in lectures like in the lecture theatre, which is the place where you have your classes, your lectures at university. I bet there's loads of laptops now available, it's completely different. So we became close friends quickly. We both had the same kind of taste in comedy and there was a particular comedy that we used to love, which is The Office, and our friendship was built upon quotes from the series and a quote is like a phrase or a line that was said in a show. So we used to say quotes that one of the characters said on the show, and that was basically how our conversations were. We used to just talk in quotes didn't we?
Yeah, we did. We used to share phrases left, right and centre and just accompany each other to the lectures, quoting back and forth. Exactly. But we didn't really, so we didn't study languages because we studied psychology and then we went into careers that weren't really related to psychology at first. Were they? What did you do after uni?
That's true. Yeah. I went into television programming. It was a really ridiculous job, but it was it was the start of something that I thought would lead me to writing comedy scripts. That was actually, yeah that was what I hoped because I sat down with the comedy writer in the programming office and he was telling me what to do. But I just didn't follow it up because I hated the office politics and having to climb the career ladder in that industry is quite tiring.
Mm. Nice language there to climb the career ladder. Meaning to progress in a company or in a particular career.
So what, so what would be the progression in it to become the next Ricky Gervais to become like a successful comedian. What ladder would you have to climb.
So you start off as an office runner which is also known as the office bitch, and you give coffees to the boss. I couldn't believe how many coffees this boss had.
He would honestly have eight coffees a day, and it was all the the instant coffee, the rubbish, rubbish Nescafe.
Well, he just like watching you suffer, didn't he? He just liked watching you run off. "Would you like another coffee sir?"
Is he still alive?
I don't know. No, I think he is because that company's still still going so that company actually did Peep Show, which was another huge sitcom that Harry and I quoted throughout our university years and the writers of Peep Show were were going to that office, and I would have to prepare the meals and everything and get ready, get that room ready for it. You had to prepare meals? What kind of meals? I had to pop off to Marks and Spencer's and get some, you know, two-for-one sandwiches. No they didn't have a limit, it wasn't two-for-one. That was that was just for my lunch. I would happily accept a two-for-one sandwich situation.
Me too, I'd be fine. I'd be fine with that. But it's a bit late for me, it's nearly 9:00 PM. I've just had tuna pasta. I'm not hungry. Before we go into our dietary habits, I just want to say "pop off". I really like how you said "I had to pop off to the shop to get sandwiches". So a nice colloquial, natural way to say go somewhere. Like normally something quite quickly, right? I'm gonna pop off to the shop.
Yeah. And you can say it without the off, can't you? You can say I'm going to pop to the shop. Going to pop off and get something. Yeah.
Oh and if you're outside the shop you could say I'm going to pop in and get some chewing gum. Yeah. If you need chewing gum. Pop in. Yeah. And you can invite someone to your house. I'll pop in and have a cup of tea. Yeah. Next time you're in town pop in say hello! Yeah. Also if you live with someone you could say I'm just going to pop out.
I'm just going to pop out. Oh. Where you going? Don't worry. I'm just popping out for a minute.
I'll be back in a sec. Chill out. None of your business, yeah, I'm popping out just, ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies. I'm gonna shag your mom.
Well, well, well, good language here. I mean, not shag your mom bit, but we might as well explain it. Ask no questions and I'll tell you no lies. That's like a little proverb in a way, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah.
And it means if you're dishonest and you don't want to be dishonest, then you could say this proverb to hint to the person you know, just stop asking me stuff.
Yeah. Yeah. Stop it. Yeah. Because I don't want to lie to you.
So. Yes. We met in England University 10 years ago and we've been around the world since then, but we'll get to that perhaps.
So we finish our degrees. We were done with psychology, we moved on to other careers, and then a year later, well maybe a few more years later, we realised that it wasn't for us. Something isn't for you, it means that you don't like it, it's not quite right for you. It wasn't for us. Was it Harry?
It wasn't for us, no. I was trying marketing and sales, trying to sell something I did not understand and it was terrible, I hated it. And then I remember Charlie saying to me, I'm going travelling. I'm done with this office rubbish. I'm going travelling and I'm going to work as an English teacher. And I was thinking, wow, you are gutsy. You are gutsy. Meaning very courageous, very brave.
To have guts. Yes to have guts. Gutsy. He's got real guts.
And that's where it all started for Charlie. So, you went off to Chile didn't you Charlie?
That's right. Yeah. I got a job in Santiago de Chile, and I was there.
I will never, I will never get tired of you saying that.
No I don't think you will. I'll never get tired of saying it, Harry. So, yeah, I was there for about nine months. I travelled a bit around South America and learned how to teach English as a foreign language, which is really different for us, because if you've not come from that background, if you've not learnt the language as another language, then it's a really weird concept to try and teach it.
But, um, yeah, I was trying to understand it. And, um, before I knew it, I was setting up my own online classes and set up a little website and then I invited you on there didn't I?
You did actually yeah, yeah. I like the way you said before I knew it as well. "Before I knew it" meaning something was unexpected. Right? So like you in Chile, then before you knew it, you had your own classes online.
Yeah. Suggesting like things happen quickly and suddenly it's all there.
Yeah. That's it. Yeah. That's a good synonym. And suddenly I was doing this. Yeah. So quick. Yeah. You invited me to be on your website, I remember that there was a little, it was, I found it.. I actually I quite liked it. But at the same time it was a little bit patronising.
Oh massively, yeah. It was like I'm your boss. You're my best mate, but I'm your boss. Yeah.
You could be on my website. I'll find you students and you have to give me five dollars US every time you get a student.
Yeah, that was the plan but it didn't go accordingly. Accordingly meaning it didn't go as I expected or according to plan. Didn't go according to plan. Very good. Yeah. But we've skipped a little bit. So why did I invite you on. Were you still marketing at that point?
No. So I packed in marketing, packed in meaning quit. I packed it in and I went off to Southeast Asia. So I went to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. When I was in Cambodia, I did some voluntary work as an English teacher. And since Charlie told me he was doing that, I had always been quite curious to give it a try. I thought, well, maybe this is something I could be good at. Both of my parents are teachers and I thought, wow, I'm gonna give that a try.
I remember so we were chatting occasionally when I was in Asia. You were still in Santiago de Chile and I remember once we had a chat for quite a long time on Skype or maybe WhatsApp it was a video call and I was in this horrible apartment. I was paying like ten dollars a night for in Vietnam. Just this horrible little room on this incredibly busy street. And Charlie, you were living with a single gay man.
Yeah. Yeah. In Chile. He wasn't single actually he had a husband they were living together.
Oh, I see. Okay. Right. Why not? So cosmopolitan of me. Very cosmopolitan, yeah.
You're a very modern metrosexual man. And then you had a swimming pool and you showed me.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You can't just say that word and move on. Metrosexual did you say?
Well you're very metrosexual. I feel like you should define this.
Okay, so a heterosexual man, a homosexual man and then in the middle of that is a metrosexual man, a man that is not a no, no, no, no, no, no. But it's the behaviour of feeling in touch with their feminine side. You're very comfortable with, you know, maybe plucking your eyebrows. I don't do that anymore. I used to do that. I used to do that a little bit. Did you? Yeah, I used to do that but I've let that go. To pluck your eyebrows to pull hair from your eyebrows. But yeah, just general maintenance of the body might lead you to be called a metrosexual person, metrosexual man. Normally you wouldn't flip this round with a female would you?
No, it's always about guys. Yeah. You're a very metrosexual man. I love it that even after 10 years of knowing you, I'm still finding out new stuff about you like I never knew you used to pluck your eyebrows.
Let's take a break from the conversation for a moment and explain how you can get the most out of this podcast. So we have the podcast, which is, of course, free. But if you want to learn as much as you can from this content, then you will most likely want access to the academy as you will get the longer version of the episode, the transcripts to follow along with the language and see the spelling of all the new phrases and you'll get bonus episodes and most importantly, videos that break down the intermediate to advanced phrases which will be reviewed in detail by exampling them, drilling the pronunciation of them within connected speech, and then to really make sure you remember them, you'll be given interactive quizzes.
So I really go into teacher mode in the academy. I'm gonna keep doing that when I say the word academy to help you truly feel confident when using the new language from every episode I release. I might even do exclusive webinars or calls for academy members every month or so, and if that's not enough, academy members get access to my online courses. I have an IELTS speaking course coming out soon, so if you are preparing for the IELTS exam, then The Academy, I mean, academy is a no brainer and that is a phrase which means the decision you need to make is so easy you don't need to think it's a no brainer. Of course I'm going to sign up to the academy.
So if you like the sound of that and would like instant access to all of these features, then head over to my lovely website www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com. That is www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com. I also recommend signing up early as the price will reflect the amount of content within The Academy, and once you're a member, that subscription fee will never go up for you. So get in there now to secure the lowest possible monthly membership and be sure to keep coming back as more and more content is being added every single week just for you.
So it's a podcast without sponsorships, with an amazing Academy. I'm never going to get bored of saying it like that. It's an amazing academy membership for an affordable price. If you want to take full advantage of the content and that's it. So on with the show. And let's continue getting to know me and Harry whilst giving you some great language.
Like I never knew you used to pluck your eyebrows. I did it once or twice or I got it done. So I had my eyebrows plucked or I think I had them threaded as when they use like string like a thread to pluck your eyebrows.
Isn't that a bit of an Asian technique. It's definitely Westernised now. It is. We have a large Asian community in Bedford, my hometown. So it's not hard to get your eyebrows threaded if you want it.
Okay. It's not hard to get your hands on a threader.
Exactly. So get your hands on something, Charlie. What's that?
To obtain something or to have it. That's it to obtain that's really nice. At uni we were both rubbish at stats. That was something we had to do. You know the numerical part of psychology. You have to calculate your results and find out if the research you have done actually means anything. We liked doing the experiments, but then when it came to the stats and the numbers, we hated it and that has haunted us our whole, like, career until now isn't it, SPSS?
That was the software that we had to use that we hated, that we dreaded to dread, to really fear, to hate it, to hate the idea of using it or doing it. I remember there was a particular experiment that we enjoyed and it was the attractiveness of accents. This was our first linguistic challenge perhaps wasn't it? We managed to get a Northerner, an Irish, a Southern English accent and maybe even a Brummie, someone from Birmingham, and we tested how attractive these accents were to other people and the Irish one was a very pretty girl that we liked called Rachel.
Yeah, you especially liked her, didn't you?
I think we both liked her, but I did. I managed to get her and you were like oh what?!
Though, if anything, I liked her more, but I had no success with her, so I just had to watch her and Charlie from a distance.
So I worked as a volunteer teacher in Cambodia.
You were in a horrible situation like accommodation wise and we were having a phone, a WhatsApp video call.
That's it. We had a WhatsApp video call and Charlie said, wow, you really should like become a teacher and teach online, and I thought, yeah, that's really cool. I've done a bit of face to face teaching in a classroom. I liked that and after that trip so I had this advice from Charlie, I had some experience in the classroom and I thought, yeah, teaching is for me. So I did my TESOL course teaching English as a foreign language and I actually loved it, and I didn't start teaching online straightaway. I moved to Spain and I worked in a language academy so teaching in the mornings and evenings to kids and adults.
That's right and you were in the north of Spain in the Basque country, weren't you?
Yeah. The Basque region. Yes.
And I felt like it was a bit of a strange location to go to because it almost mimics the U.K.'s weather didn't it?
It did. Mimic to copy, to imitate. Yes. It was, it was really wet, which is what every student says to me about England. They say, is it really as wet as people say it is? I normally say no, but it is quite miserable. It's very grey, isn't it? In England, in the Basque country of Spain, it's so wet.
I remember a student told me a little bit about the sort of mountains that are near it and the coastal breeze, it kind of traps the weather there so it's a bit of a unique situation for Spain. The Pyrenees Mountains. Yeah. So they create a bit of a cloud of rain constantly.
So you were there and you were enjoying your teaching? I was enjoying it. Yeah, I liked it.
I got a taste for online teaching because some of my students I had to teach them online I had to teach them on Skype. So they were on their lunch hour these students, they work in businesses. I was teaching accountants, people in financial jobs, salesmen jobs, all kinds of different occupations. On their lunch hour, they had to talk to me and learn English and they did. It wasn't out of choice for them. It wasn't their choice, some of them were happy because we had a good relationship, but most of them didn't want to learn English. It wasn't fun. But while I was doing that, you were teaching people that wanted it and you whenever I spoke to you, you were saying, why don't you just start your own thing? Because it's fun. The students want to learn. You can choose your hours. I mean, I was working until like 10 pm sometimes and starting at 7:00 am so it was absolutely it's the worst schedule I've had.
So, yeah, and you had a lot of time going to different places. You were constantly on the move.
Yeah. On the move. Exactly. Yeah. Moving from place to place. Good expression.
But yeah, you're right that I think it is lovely that you get to meet different people.
You could say all walks of life couldn't you? Like you get to meet all walks of life in this job, meaning all different types of people from financial brokers to advertisers to volunteers of very good projects in the world to unemployed students.
I haven't had many unemployed students, actually, because normally they're funding their own lessons. Have you had many unemployed students?
I've had quite a few. Yeah. Actually, it's a running trend really.
I wonder why, do you think maybe they choose you because you're quite smart and you seem professional. So they feel like if they take a lesson with you, they might get a job?
I don't think that's their logic. I don't know, I could ask them, why are you choosing me? What are you thinking? So yeah. Harry was in Spain. I was in Chile.
And then I moved to America to be with my one and only girlfriend I've been with for a long time now. It's coming up to seven years? Wow. So I moved to America and you came back from the Basque country after a year and you went to the UK and that was where you started your own thing. You went on to a website that we've used and we had online lessons and then we thought about doing something together. Didn't we?
Yeah and we actually originally wanted to start a podcast. We recorded an episode talking about silly topics like, what would you do if you ran over a cat, for example? That was one of the scenarios. Do you remember any of the other ones from that episode?
That one is the most obvious one to me. It was a good one, though. I liked it. We had a lot of cackles coming out of that one.
We did. Cackles. Laughter. It's also a verb to cackle. I was cackling, I think is more common as a verb. Yeah. I was laughing out loud. Yes, so we did that and then people enjoyed it but I thought, well, why don't we show our faces? And then we thought, yeah, and we did the YouTube channel that went well.
And now we're back to not showing our faces again three years later.
Wow that was three years ago. Yeah. Yeah, three years ago. But we've had quite an experience in those last three years. We've not just been doing videos, although that has actually taken up a huge amount of time and effort. We found a little bit of fame, small, small amount of fame from doing street interviews, didn't we?
We did. Just really quickly. It has taken up time and effort. It's quite obvious, but it's occupied in our lives.
Yes. So that was where we got a little bit more success and the likes of English with Lucy helped us as well. But street interviews was a unique thing that people recognised us for.
It's true. Yeah. Yeah, that was nice. Recently, I went to a YouTubers conference in Berlin with lots of other language teachers who have YouTube channels. I recognise lots of people there and I didn't expect people to recognise me. I was there on behalf of our channel, Real English With Real Teachers because Charlie was in Australia and quite a few people recognised me and it was from these street interview videos, and if you haven't seen them guys, check them out. It's a great way to learn naturally spoken English and to really understand native speakers, because that's one of the hardest things when you learn a language and that's what this podcast is about as well, isn't it?
So we kind of bonded over the experience of teaching English to foreigners and realising that there's something that they're not quite getting, which was real English, and how natives of different pockets of the UK or other English speaking countries are using the language in such different ways that non-natives just don't understand and they're not being exposed to because in their textbooks they're still learning the idioms like it's raining cats and dogs, which we don't really use anymore.
If you'd like to check our videos, they are great.
That's an unbiased decision there. They are great from a co-founder.
I can read out at least three comments that said that as well from our fans. I'm biased. Good words.
Yeah, biased. Encouraged to have a different opinion.
Influenced. Yeah, you're one sided. So you normally want an unbiased opinion of something before you go forward and use it or buy it yourself. So kind of neutral isn't it. Neutral, unbiased, very good synonym.
So like another example, I'm from England. If I said something like we have the best football league in the world. That would be a biased thing to say because I'm from England, so obviously I'm going to think that and I have interests in that. I don't actually like football, but if I did, I could say that and that would be biased. You would have to ask a football fan another country, maybe a country that doesn't have a football league, for example.
Yeah. Yeah. Maybe an outsider. Yeah.
So I think in football, if we're gonna continue with that, they often get a referee from a different country when it's like the World Cup, for example. If it was England vs. Argentina, they would never have an Argentinian or English referee. They would always have a neutral based referee.
VYeah, very good point. Because they don't want that. They can't have a biased referee.
Yeah. If you've got an English referee he might make decisions, biased decisions. Yeah. He might favour the Brits. Maybe David Beckham wouldn't have been sent off in that game against Argentina. Oh God. If we'd had an English ref and not that bald man. Something Luigi.
Anyway so we joined forces, we did the YouTube channel, we did street interviews and we also realised that we should have a course where people come and live with us because it wasn't only the fact that people weren't being exposed to native dialects, and accents and informal language, but it was also the confidence. We found that our students, the ones that were doing well, were the ones with more confidence and the ones that, you know, weren't able to keep the fluency going were the ones that were shying away from things. They were not as brave as others and they weren't comfortable making mistakes. So we wanted to provide an arena, an area or a week's worth content where they could feel comfortable.
Yes. True. Yeah, exactly. So we invited our students or fans on YouTube to come and stay with us in the UK and we had a residential English course and like Charlie says, it was all about building confidence and fluency when speaking in English.
So we would go to a busy area of Brighton, for example, and release the students into the wild, onto a busy high street, a shopping street, and challenge them to interact with people. It sounds really scary, I mean, it would be a scary thing to do as a learner, but it benefits you so much.
It does. But we weren't throwing them in at the deep end early on were we? We were giving them small challenges throughout the week and building their confidence and then at the end, we kind of gave them that big challenge and we didn't tell them that at the beginning, and I think that was good of us because they would have been petrified.
Exactly. Normally, we were good at that about not revealing things early on. So one of my favourite things to do on these courses was a walk along these beautiful cliffs near Brighton.
And they are spectacular. They're like one of amazing England's best tourist attractions.
Yeah. Yeah. Called Seven Sisters.
And usually it's quite a long walk, but you don't need to mention that at the start.
So we got out the car, had all the students with us and Charlie said to everyone, okay, get your coats guys because we could be walking for about three hours. Harry reacted to that very strongly.
He was like, what? three hours? Yeah. It often is. He said God that sounds awful. I don't want to do that.
I was actually referring to the toilet. I was like, if you want to go to the toilet, guys, it's a bit gross over there. But we've got three hours of hiking coming up.
So yeah, best use the can. The can, the toilet and gross. It's gross over here. So it's disgusting. All right. The toilets here are disgusting. Is that what you're saying? Yeah.
Yeah, we did it actually seven times. We did this course seven times over the period of like a year and a half to two years, yeah, maybe a year and a half.
Because we were doing about four a year and then we did three and then you went to Australia.
Or I buggered off to Australia. Buggered off. Not such a harsh swear word but it is a swear word to bugger off. Phrasal verbs, to leave. In a rude way. Yeah, you can tell someone to leave as well because they bugger off. Which means F off, you know, like that. The rude F-word. But more polite. But yeah it is like a more polite way of saying F off. Are we swearing on this podcast? This is the first podcast. Are we going to swear? I think we should. I think it's real English.
Yeah but I don't want to hurt their ears, hurt you guys. You might not love swearing. It is a part of language so we should include it and we shouldnt be afraid of using it. But I would say Harry's a bit more of a potty mouth than me. Harry likes to swear a bit more than me, so I'm gonna say yes, let's swear, but not too much.
Okay. Yeah, I like that. I like that. I think we want to get off on the right foot.
Get off on the right foot, to start strong to begin in the right way with people, like have a good first impression.
Yeah, exactly. To get off on the right foot. That's a good one.
So you have a good first impression and you can say I think we got off on the wrong foot there. If you've had a bad experience with someone for the first time have you ever Harry?
Yeah I think I think many, many times. None are coming to my mind right now, but absolutely. Though I do normally make a big effort to come across well the first time.
Yeah, you do, you are a very socially relaxed person, even though you're sometimes anxious internally. You come across really relaxed.
To come across. You appear.
That's a really, really common phrase, isn't it, to come across?
Yeah. It's a good Phrasal verbs, very good. To give the impression.
Yeah. He comes across. Quite polite, quite nice. He's well put together. He's well put together. He's like all organised and a nice character. He's got a nice overall character.
Yeah exactly. It's a really good phrasal verb. Really, really good phrasal verb. So yes we did these courses, we call them Immersion Courses. We will be doing more in Australia and in the UK.
Yeah, most definitely. We love doing them and think they provide a wonderful experience for English learners so if you are interested, then you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay so here we are at the present day. Harry was actually going to be doing this podcast with me and we recorded about 15 episodes together. But after seriously considering things, he has now decided that he would like to take a break from creating online content as it's actually becoming a little bit too technical and to be honest it's taking away the human side of teaching, especially for Harry, which is why he started teaching in the first place and where he really thrives.
But thankfully, your boy Charlie, he loves some tech. I love techie things and am going to take what we've learnt from our YouTube channel and turn it into the most enjoyable and potentially addicting podcast you've ever had and develop an online academy for those who really want to absorb all the information I have to offer regarding real English and British culture so that you can have comfortable and fun interactions with native English speakers. That's the aim. There we go. So we'll leave it there for today but I'll see you very soon and in the meantime, head over to www.thebritishenglishpodcast.com for transcripts, vocabulary review videos and exercises and my online courses. All right. Much love and a big inappropriate kiss from me, Charlie Baxter, your British English teacher.