S3/E8 - A British Opinion on French Culture | Ft. Luke Thompson

Jul 15 / Charlie Baxter

Access your active membership's learning resources for this episode below:

Access your active membership's learning resources for this episode below:

What's this episode about?

In this episode, Charlie invites Luke from Luke’s English Podcast back on the show to discuss his findings on the social experiment he has been running for 10 years, having taken himself, a man born and raised in England and plonked himself in the capital of France and stayed there for a whole decade. At long last he’s ready to divulge his findings about the French and their culture from his British perspective.

Continue listening to this episode

There are 2 more parts to this episode and you can access all of them by becoming a Premium Podcast Member or by joining The Academy.
PART TWO
members only
Already a Premium Podcast Member?
Click Here & Enjoy!
Already a member of The Academy?
Click Here & Enjoy!
PART THREE
members only
Already a Premium Podcast Member?
Click Here & Enjoy!
Already a member of The Academy?
Click Here & Enjoy!
Meet today's guest

Luke

from Luke's English Podcast

Luke has been producing his podcast "Luke's English Podcast" for over 12 years now. He is a DELTA-qualified English teacher from London with 20 years of teaching experience. He also does stand-up comedy!
Luke's podcast offers you an insightful learning resource, which aims to make you laugh while you learn. Join Luke's audience of people around the world and listen to LEP!
We also did another episode on Luke's podcast. To listen to that use the links below!
Write your awesome label here.

Get the brand new official App for FREE

Learn on-the-go with the official app for The British English Podcast. Enhance your learning experience and go mobile! You can easily access The Academy, The Premium Podcast and all other courses including the FREE ones on your mobile and study at your own pace. Switch between desktop to mobile without losing your course progress.
Please note: This transcript is only visible to you as you are logged in as a Premium / Academy member. Thank you for your support.

Transcript of Season 3, Episode 8

Charlie:
Hello all. Welcome back to the show, the place that helps you improve your British English whilst having chats about culture, be it British culture or other ones. And today we have the big dog himself, Luke from Luke's English podcast back on the show to discuss his findings as he's been doing a social experiment of his own. Not sure if he was aware of it, but he has indeed been running an experiment, one that has been going on for, I'd say, ten years or so. Is that right, Luke?

Luke:
Yeah, it's actually ten years this year. September.

Charlie:
Wow, there we go. Ten years. So, yes, his social experiment was to take himself, a man born and raised in England, and plonk himself in the capital of France and stay there for over a decade or bang on a decade. And at long last, he's ready to divulge his findings about the French and their culture to our listeners. So strap in, leave your egos at the door as well, because stereotypes are indeed stereotypes. And what I mean by that is they are generalisations that one does not assume of all individuals. Merely they are interesting to observe and discuss in a light hearted way. So with that preface, let's unveil the virtual or auditory curtain that has already been opened slightly and say hello to the man behind it. Mr. Thomson. Welcome back, sir.

Luke:
Hello, Charlie. Thank you for having me back.

Charlie:
Do you feel like a big dog?

Luke:
The big dog? Wow. I've never been called a big dog before, but I quite like it. It's nice to be here on the British English podcast. How are you doing?

Charlie:
I would say I'm fine just to go along with it. But actually I've got a cold, I've got a very big head cold right now. Yesterday I had the worst of it, but it's still lingering. But yeah, I thought I would I would carry on. I'd try to tap into like the, the stoicism our, our older generations tried to instil in us, but failed on my part normally or. Yeah, yeah, normally. Would you feel like you've taken that on board from your grandparents?

Luke:
You know, I was thinking about this the other day because I've got a daughter as well. She's four years old and she's in a very whingy stage, which is absolutely doing my head in. So if there's one little thing, it's not just perfect, she goes into a full on whinge and she's just whingeing and moaning. And my greatest fear is that we have a soft... Bring her up to be soft and entitled. No like substance. No, no grit.

Charlie:
Yeah, no grit.

Luke:
Yeah. I really want her to more stoic and to be able to put up with things that she doesn't really like. So I've been thinking about that from the point of view of a parent, but also it just made me think, yeah, probably over the last 50 to 100 years that I feel like there has been a change in that people have become a bit softer and maybe a bit more self orienteered and it's a bit disappointing. I don't know if that just means I'm becoming an old fart that I think, Oh, things aren't the way they used to be. You know, people were much stronger and everything was better back in the past. I'm trying not to be like that, but sometimes those thoughts do do creep in, try to be stoic and try not to complain too much and and so on.

Charlie:
Yeah, fair enough. That is interesting about your daughter and trying to make her a stronger, less, maybe less entitled younger person. I want that as well. I think that's a big fear for parents. Not that I'm a parent, but when I am one day, hopefully, I would worry about raising a spoilt child.

Luke:
Yeah, it. Oh, it infuriates me. Even when there's a little hint of it. When the spoilt child comes out in her, I'm just like, I cannot stand it. I really don't want to let her become that spoilt child. It's it's one of my biggest fears.

Charlie:
When I think of it, I think I will try to deal with this like I do with other conversations with people where I just like explain my feelings, explain what I think should happen, and hopefully that will get through to them. But I'm looking at it as in I would be talking to a rational adult, but forgetting that it's a child that you'd have to be talking to. Is there any way to get through to a child with that?

Luke:
Oh, I don't know. That's the thing that's... At the worst moments, you think this is completely fruitless. Like there's no way I can get through to her and there's nothing I can do. And also, you kind of think it's not just it's not just the parents that sort of instil values in the child, but the world around you as well and everything. All the other kids that they mix with at school and the the stuff that they watch on like the iPad at the weekend, it all sort of like, it all slowly creeps in and and forms who she is and a lot of it's out of my control. So, yeah, that's the worst part of it. It's the fear that there's nothing you can do and that... But then again, on the flip side, I think that generations today or, you know, this is becoming more and more common, that people are more willing to talk about their feelings. And you know, instead of just burying your feelings and never talking about them, used to be the case that you just never talked about your feelings, and that's not healthy. You know? And so, like my grandfather's generation, he fought in the war and he must have experienced horrific things. But he never talked about them. He just buried them completely. And we've you know, we've always thought that it's a pity that he was never able to kind of sort of, I don't know, deal with the trauma that he must have experienced.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Luke:
And that's because if that's just social, that was the norm at the time. But so, you know, swings and roundabouts, Charlie, isn't it? You know?

Charlie:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Swings and roundabouts. Yeah, I agree. I think the younger generation are definitely self aware or more self aware than before and feel comfortable talking about it and feel comfortable. I was at a comedy gig the other day and the comedian started by saying, Who's having therapy? And about 50% of the crowd like said, "Yeah, me!" kind of thing. Yeah. Which is not only unusual from what I used to think of as 50%, but also 50% were brave enough to say it.

Luke:
Yeah, in fact, I've heard that these days, heard that, you know, when people are dating, I mean, I'm far from being, you know, in the the world of dating these days, but that when people are dating, it's more attractive if someone is in therapy than someone who isn't. That going to therapy is now supposed to be this sort of normal thing to do and that if you're not in therapy, then there's something maybe a little wrong with you that you're not willing or able to, you know, deal with your own problems.

Charlie:
Yeah, Okay.

Luke:
So therapy. Yeah, therapy is is now far more socially acceptable, if not socially expected than it used to be.

Charlie:
Brilliant. Fair enough.

Luke:
Which is good, right? Surely this is good.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Luke:
I'm assuming this is good. I mean, you did psychology at university, so, I mean, I suppose you believe in the value of therapy.

Charlie:
Well, on top of being able to read everybody's mind, yes, I believe in therapy. I remember that.

Luke:
That's what you learn by studying psychology at university. It's like suddenly you you're like Derren Brown. You can you can just read everyone's mind, implant thoughts in people's brains, control whoever's around you.

Charlie:
Mel Gibson. He did a perfect job of explaining my experience in 'What Women Want'. I think. That was Mel Gibson, wasn't it?

Luke:
Yeah. Really? Yeah. It was Mel Gibson.

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it's funny. Whenever I mentioned I was doing psychology, they they would be like, Oh, stop reading my mind. Yeah, like, yeah, of course. Like, yeah. But yeah, no, I do think it's good to talk about therapy. Quickly going back to the cold that I've got, I went to a gathering. It was an engagement party, a surprise engagement party. And the host, his good friend, but he had a cold. And I wonder now what people's opinion of this is. I don't know if I'm an old age pensioner by assuming this, but out of the pandemic, I'm a bit more sensitive to socialising around people with a cold. If I had a cold, I would either cancel it or change the location and not be the host. What do you think? Do you think we should just carry on and it's just a cold?

Luke:
Yeah, I'd say it's probably just a cold.

Charlie:
So it's fine. Just, you know.

Luke:
Yeah, I think we haven't quite got to the stage yet where even if you got a cold, you've got to wear a mask and isolate.

Charlie:
No.

Luke:
Quarantine for 14 days. I would I would say I think it's probably okay, but with COVID, it's a bit of a grey area. I had it recently, so I had it and then after about ten days I got a negative test. But there was still that feeling of like, should I, you know, should I tell people, should I if I'm with them, oh, by the way, I had COVID, but I'm negative. You know, I got a negative test yesterday just so you know. You know, it's difficult to know what the social etiquette is around these things now.

Charlie:
Definitely. And to let them know when it was like. You've got to say it very quickly after I had COVID or I've got.

Luke:
Just to show them your your vaccination certificate or let them scan your your COVID pass. You know, it's very weird. It's an extremely weird time that we're living in, isn't it?

Charlie:
But so you would say that my friend should have done what he did. He should have carried on. It's a it's just a cold, Charlie. If you get the cold, man up.

Luke:
I think that he should have had a test to make sure it was just a cold.

Charlie:
I think he did.

Luke:
Yeah. And if he was negative, then just crack on.

Charlie:
Crack on. Okay, fair enough. I'll keep that in mind and not be so, such a pansy.

Luke:
We can't let the cold win. We've got to just keep calm and carry on.

Charlie:
Yes, yes. Very true. Very true. So, yes, that is a stereotype of British people to keep calm and carry on. But we're here to talk about your social experiment that you've been running for ten years. So let's get into it. The first question I have, I'm hoping that people will take it as a... It is a bit of a joke. But do French people all wear berets and striped shirts, Luke?

Luke:
You know what? Before I answer that question, I need to give a sort of disclaimer or a caveat before we kick off properly. Right?

Charlie:
Good word as well. Yeah.

Luke:
Yeah. So I need to say that, first of all, I live in Paris and Paris and France are not the same thing. And if you've got any French listeners, they will they will probably appreciate me saying this, especially if they don't live in Paris, because I've talked about this kind of thing quite a lot on my podcast. And I always get people writing in saying, 'You're talking about Paris, you're not talking about France. They're not the same thing'. So I am so Parisian. Kind of a cliché of Parisians is that they don't care about people or places outside of, you know, the the peripherique, the basically the outside of Paris that they don't care about it. I'm more Parisian than the Parisians because not only do I not care about them, I don't know anything about them. I don't even know that they exist because I spend all my time in Paris. I'm learning, you know, I love France and it's a beautiful place. I love all the different parts of the country, but I can really only talk about Paris, I think. So the things I will say will be focussed on Paris. Going back to your question, French people always wear berets and striped shirts. I'm actually wearing a striped shirt today for this recording that people can't see it because it's not video, but I am wearing it today. So the thing about the berets, no, I almost never see French people wearing berets, but the only people I see wearing berets in Paris are tourists. And it's a very common sight. You'll see couples walking around and it's for some reason it's always the girl. She's wearing a beret and you think, oh, right, you're a tourist, probably an American tourist, because there are like little tourist shops selling souvenirs and berets. And so the girls like, I'm going to wear a beret, and then they walk around Paris in their beret and they just look like tourists. I know one person who wears a beret, but he's got his own. It's not a normal thing. But the striped t shirts. Yeah, quite common.

Charlie:
Okay.

Luke:
Because and that's good because I think they look good. I think those striped mariner t shirts look cool. And so they are quite a common sight here, especially as you get towards the coast. So if you go to places like Marseille or, I don't know, somewhere like La Rochelle or Brittany as well, Normandy, you know, places near the coast, then you see them because they're associated with the coast. With the seaside.

Charlie:
Yeah. Nautical kind of fashion. Sailing.

Luke:
Yeah, it's cool. I think it's. I think they look great. The stripy T-shirts.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay, great. So no beret, but they do sometimes wear a striped shirt.

Luke:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Again, focussing mainly on your experience in Paris.

Luke:
Yes.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay, okay. Nice, nice. We've got loads of questions. So we're going to go quickly through this first a little bit. The French all have poodles.

Luke:
Poodles, those dogs that we see sort of in American movies and stuff set in if they're set in Paris. No, I can't remember the last time I saw a poodle in Paris. But having said that, small dogs are definitely a thing here. So there are lots of small dogs, but not poodles. Poodles are actually quite large, really.

Charlie:
Yes.

Luke:
They can be quite large dogs. Miniature poodle. Is that a thing? Toy poodle? Or miniature poodle? Yeah. Any small dog really is quite common. There are plenty. Pugs. What? What other ones? Pomeranians.

Charlie:
The French bulldog, I assume.

Luke:
French bulldog? I suppose so. Bulldogs, certainly. I'm not sure. What's the difference between a bulldog and a French bulldog?

Charlie:
Slightly smaller with pointier ears. I think they're really cute. British bulldog is the chunkier, more aggressive looking one that sells insurance.

Luke:
Oh, yeah. French bulldogs. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely very common here. Small dogs. Yes, but poodles. Not really.

Charlie:
Good. Okay, there we go. French people can't or won't speak English.

Luke:
This is a good one. And this is a very common assumption that the French people are all arrogant and they're like, 'No, I speak English, but I will not', you know, that they don't. They refuse to speak English. A lot of people do speak English here in Paris, but French comes first, you know, because we're in France, so naturally French comes first. Rather than being arrogant about English, I find that French people are more shy about English and they're embarrassed about their English a lot more. They are actually a little bit shy about using English. So if you go in and just start speaking English, they might not be that up for it at the beginning. But this is changing and these days I find that people quite willing to speak English and more and more people do. But it depends. It's a strange sort of social interaction that you have. So the way it works is that you have to start in French, okay? If you start in English, then they will just speak French to you, right? Because you know, you're in France.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Luke:
So you have to start in French, you've got to make an effort to speak some French and then they will basically in their head they'll go, Oh, I see that your French is terrible. Let's do this in English. But at least you made an effort. It's just polite to make an effort. Also, something vital about life here is that you have to start every interaction by saying bonjour or bonsoir. You have to do that first. It's just basic politeness.

Charlie:
That's actually later on in the question saying Do do they always say hello to each other regardless of the scenario? So

Luke:
Yeah, it's it's like a password that you have to enter before you interact with a French person. If you don't, then it's like, you know, when you try and enter your Google password and it goes or your apple password on your computer and it just goes 'uh uh, c'est pas possible', you know, it's just not possible. So you, you're likely to rub people up the wrong way. You will come across as rude.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Luke:
Without realising it. And then they might be a bit rude to you and then you will go away thinking, oh, French people are so rude, but you don't realise that you're, you started it by not using the right codes.

Charlie:
And that's probably why this is on the list, this question, because English people come over and don't use this code and then receive that treatment and then think, Oh, the French are mean. But really we started it.

Luke:
Yeah, but also they can be a bit mean.

Charlie:
Okay. Okay. I did actually hear, when I was living in in Germany, I had a couple of French friends and they didn't really want to spend time together. And it was something to do with I can't remember if it was about their French or their English, but they, they, they felt like they would be judged by one another.

Luke:
Oh, yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. Is this is there something to that?

Luke:
French people judge each other all the time. It's really, it's a pity, really. But yeah, French people are very judgemental of each other, which is fascinating. I still can't quite work out why, but yeah, very much so. And so my wife is French and when we go on holiday, if we go somewhere else, like if we go to the States or something, if she overhears other French people, she'll be like 'Ugghh! French people!' She can't stand like mixing with other French people. I don't know why really. And whereas if I hear British people, I'm like. 'Oh, Brits!' You know. 'All right, mate!' Whereas she's just like she cannot stand bumping into other French people. She she just can't stand it. So...

Charlie:
That's interesting.

Luke:
I don't really know why, but yeah, French people will judge each other. And this is a thing about learning English here, which is one of the reasons why it's difficult for French people to learn English because they they can't win, really, you can't win. So either as a French person, if you were a French person, either if you speak good English, right. Other people will go 'Uh, look at him, thinks he's brilliant with his good English'. And if you speak bad English, they'll be like, 'Oh, his English is shit'. So you can't win if you're French and you're learning English. That's why maybe your French friends didn't really want to see each other because they would lock into this kind of French way of behaving together, and they would feel uncomfortable speaking English in each other's presence because they they judge each other. And it maybe it comes from school. They're very harsh at school.

Charlie:
And does that...

Luke:
The teachers are very strict.

Charlie:
...tie into feeling shy about using their skills, their English, maybe because they feel like they're being judged.

Luke:
Absolutely. I mean, I used to teach at university here, so I had classes of like 25 18 year olds. Like it was really tricky to get them to just speak. They would lock into this traditional thing where I spoke and they just sat there listening and taking notes. And if you know, I'm not used to that as a TEFL teacher, you know, it's all about engaging the room and and reducing teacher talking time. But they... It was just like too much for them. And they they judged each other's English more than I judged their English. And I was like assessing them literally as part of their university degree. So. So it's very hard. It's a pity because it means that they get blocked and they don't get to really own their English. And it's changing, though. It is changing.

Charlie:
Good. Yeah. Okay. All right. The next one is, do French people smoke like chimneys?

Luke:
Again, I don't know about French, but in Paris, yeah, lots of people smoke. Smoking is like a it's a big thing. Lots, just a lot of cigarettes get smoked. You see loads of people smoking, sitting on the terrasse, which is like the sort of the space in front of a cafe in the street, loads of smoking. And apparently cigarette butts are a problem because they, they get washed down the drain and then they get, they clog up the the sewers. And it's a huge issue, there's just like millions of cigarette butts. Yeah, I think Parisians do smoke a lot.

Charlie:
Wow. Okay. And it's still not changed in the last couple of decades?

Luke:
I'm sure it's less than it used to be, as generally fewer and fewer people smoke. But it's surprising how many people smoke here. I'll just look around and people are just walking down the street. They've got a fag on. And yeah. Lots of smoking.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay. What would you what would you guess about British people nowadays, do you think it's. it's probably still quite common?

Luke:
I think we talk about these differences between Britain and France. In many cases, they are little differences, like that... That speech from Pulp Fiction, that scene where John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are. John Travolta has just come back from Europe and he's going, 'you know, the thing about Europe, it's the little differences'. So it's often it's little things. So, you know, British people, if you go to London, you probably see a lot of people smoking there, too. But it's just a bit less than in Paris. It's just a bit more noticeable here. So Brits probably still see quite a lot of smoking, but I think it's it's less it's certainly a lot less than it used to be.

Charlie:
Okay. I noticed in America it was like a dirty habit now. It has been for a bit of time. And when I went to Germany there were adverts, billboards promoting smoking, and I was really shocked by that. It's like, Whoa, I feel like I'm in the eighties.

Luke:
Yeah. You don't, you don't. I don't see adverts for cigarettes. So those, I guess those things have been banned and all that stuff, you'd never see it advertised. Cigarette packets now are covered in warnings and horrible pictures and stuff like that. So I guess they don't need to promote it here, Charlie, because, you know, everyone's already quite committed to to doing it. But yeah, obviously it's it's it's seen as a big public public health issue. It's it's done less than it used to be, but it's still surprisingly common.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay. I'm going to throw a few in at once here and let you decide where you want to go with this. Okay, so French people drink a lot of wine, eat a lot of cheese, and eat a lot of baguettes.

Luke:
Yeah, definitely.

Charlie:
All true?

Luke:
Yeah. I don't really need to say that much more. The wine is obvious, you know, it's like a huge thing here. French wine is maybe the it's got to be the best wine in the world and there's a big culture of it. So yeah, of course people drink tons of wine, you know, red, white, rosé, champagne. The baguette. Absolutely. Yeah. Every day you go to the boulangerie and you buy your your bread. It's baguettes. But there are different types of bread as well. But the baguette. Yeah, very, very, very common and cheese. Same same thing. Yeah, it's which is great. And the other things are like charcuterie, you know, meats like ham, basically. Different types of ham, dried ham, smoked ham.

Charlie:
Okay. Yeah. I want to just test without saying it to see how you say it to a British person. What's the chocolate pastry that we sometimes get in a bakery?

Luke:
Oh, er pain au chocolat?

Charlie:
Okay, so you have a little bit of an accent on the end, but you don't go full French.

Luke:
I don't know if I'm if I'm in a boulangerie and I'm buying one.

Charlie:
Talking to an English person.

Luke:
Talking to an English person. Pain au chocolat. Yeah. I can't. It's difficult for me to change to say pan-o-chocolate or something. I don't know. What would you say?

Charlie:
I think I would say pain au chocolat. Yeah, I say pain au chocolat.

Luke:
Chocolat. So choco... pain au chocolat. Chocolat. So, yeah, I'm still the chocolat rather than choco... 'Shock-o-lar'.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Luke:
You know. Yeah, it's a slight difference. But yeah. Having lived here for ten years now, I've, you know, that is one of the, one of the bits of French that I've. Well, I wouldn't say I have mastered it. I'm sure that I'm probably pronouncing it wrong, but that's one of the things I can now confidently say. 'Une tradition, un pain au chocolat s'il vous plait', I can pretty much do that now, so I'm not going to give that up now. Charlie.

Charlie:
No. Good. Charlie, Charlie?

Luke:
Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.

Charlie:
And what about the plain one? How do you say that word?

Luke:
Une croissant.

Charlie:
Okay. And to a British person.

Luke:
I don't know, maybe a cross-ont.

Charlie:
Okay, so you would change it back?

Luke:
Do you want a cross-ont? Do you want a cwoissant? Do you want a cwoissant? I don't know how I would say it, really. I think I'd probably be pretentious and say, would you like 'une croissant?' Because that's a thing in the UK, if you say words with a French, a proper French accent, then you come across as really pretentious and annoying.

Charlie:
Yeah, I was at a wedding in February in England and the best man came up to me and he said, Charlie, it's fantastic to see you again. The last time I saw you, we were in Mendoza in Argentina. Right. And the best memory I have of you was when we went to that club. But you, proper pretentious then, you were saying you were living in 'Cheelay'. Cheelay'. I was just thinking. I did probably say I lived in Chile. Chile, Chile, Chile. I can't remember how I pronounced it. But still, British people are very sensitive to attempting a different accent, aren't they?

Luke:
If I said, Oh yeah, you know, these days I live in Paris, then everyone's going to think, Oh, you, you pretentious twat. Yeah, it's funny, isn't it, that. But especially with French, when you when you're just talking and suddenly you, you say a certain word with a French accent, then you're just going to be marked as pretentious.

Charlie:
I think we do associate the French accent and French language as quite cultured, don't we? So it's like trying to go up a level.

Luke:
I mean, I don't want to do this thing which is called French bashing. So this is actually a thing. I've never heard of German bashing, really, or Spanish bashing or Italian bashing. It's French bashing is a is a thing. And this basically means criticising the French or having a go at the French. I don't really want to do that. But you know what? French people criticise themselves all the time. The point I'm making is that French people can be quite pretentious. Yeah, French people are pretty pretentious.

Charlie:
Okay.

Luke:
Where they... Some, not everyone, but you do get certain people who will sort of talk in a way where they're sort of intellectualising about something without any sense of irony or without any sense of self deprecation. They will just sort of be giving their opinion back. Obviously, Charlie, with your podcast, you are, you know, like whatever it is, I can't think of a good example, but that was an outrageous French impression I did then. You know, there's quite a lot of pretentious pretentiousness here. It's true.

Charlie:
To defend them, I suppose, because there is a lot of culture in like high culture or the arts and everything.

Luke:
Yes,

Charlie:
It's going to be seeming that way for a country that is less involved in the arts, I guess.

Luke:
A certain kind of intellectualism and a kind of academic intellectualism. Just a lot of talking. There's a hell of a lot of talking that goes on. It's just like, Oh God, maybe one of the differences between our countries and our cultures is that the UK is quite a pragmatic place. We like to focus on sort of getting things done right, whereas in France it's a sort of romantic culture. I don't know how that translates, how that makes people just talk, but so take a business meeting, for example. What happens at a business meeting in the UK is that they'll, they'll be 10 minutes of small talk about whatever and then it's like, right, let's crack on, let's get down to it, let's get down to business. And then you just focus on the task at hand and it's all about, you know, trying to get the job done. Whereas in France, like, everyone has to have their say, you've got to go round it, everyone's got to give their opinion. And there's just lots of opinions flying around and nothing gets done. And then the you know, you run out of time and then, you know, it's just like these things drag on and on and on and it's like a different feeling where it's... There's a... You have to let people give their opinions and have their say. And that in some ways is more important than let's just get the thing done.

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah, no. Yeah, that makes sense. It's interesting to hear.

Luke:
By the way, I'm no expert on this stuff. I mean, I go around living my life observing Parisians and not understanding what the hell's going on a lot of the time.

Charlie:
So your data collection isn't flawless?

Luke:
Oh, no, no. I'm lost a lot of the time. I'm just like, what the fuck is going on here? I don't understand what's happening. Why do they? You know, and sometimes it's just a feeling like it's just I don't know what it is, indescribable thing. But yes, there is certainly something different and I often feel like a fish out of water, but I don't really know why.

Charlie:
Right. Okay. Nice phrase, though.

Luke:
I'll do my best for you.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay, great. Thank you. We're actually going to go on to part two in a second, but we're going to end with hopefully a positive stereotype. French men are the most romantic people in the world. What do you think?

Luke:
Oh, I don't know. You know, Charlie, because I don't have I don't have that much direct experience in that regard. Uh, obviously. But I would say that probably again, going back to that pragmatic, romantic thing, I think that probably French people are more classically romantic than us. French men are more romantic than than Brits because we are a little sort of rubbish, aren't we, in that regard. And we don't. Romance doesn't come naturally to us. We're a bit awkward and a bit sort of just crap when it comes to being romantic. And it's something my wife has had to kind of learn to, to, to accept that it's not my strong point. Whereas the French men, yeah, obviously they're, you know, they're a lot more romantic and, and the rest of it seems to come naturally to them. But then at the same time, I've heard that French men can be pretty... Female friends of mine have noted that just walking down the street you get catcalled like way more than in America or the UK that... It's odd, like people in the street kind of like will bother women a bit more. So although it's on one hand more romantic, on the other hand, it's also a bit too much sometimes.

Charlie:
Okay. Yeah. I heard a Jerry Seinfeld quote about how that's kind of like our last resort honking the horn. That's that's the man who's kind of failed on every other attempt. And this is his only resort. He's thinking, if I honk this horn, maybe she'll turn around and get in the car with me.

Luke:
Yeah, but I know that routine, that Seinfeld routine, where they're like, what is that like honking the horn and then just driving away? Yeah, you know? And the woman is like, Wait, I didn't know how you felt. Come back. Why do that 'oo oo' and then 'vroom - see ya'? Like, what's the logic? I don't know.

Charlie:
Yeah, very nice.

Luke:
But here, it's kind of like Mademoiselle, mademoiselle, prends un cafe avec moi, mademoiselle, mademoiselle!

Charlie:
But that shows confidence.

Luke:
You mentioned before about the danger of stereotyping and saying that all people do this. Obviously, France is a very diverse place and there are many different types of people. So it's not like all French men will catcall women in the street. Not certainly not. I guess it's a certain type of guy who would do that.

Charlie:
Yeah. And that's the that's the 1%, perhaps that you occasionally see and that's what you're reporting on from your ten years of experience, perhaps. Yeah. Last one before we go on to part two. Gourmet meals - do the French always need to have a gourmet meal or are they satisfied with a staple?

Luke:
It's a bit of both, really. So there's certainly the culture of the what you call a gastronomic food is certainly a thing here. And again, we go to the pretentiousness of the gastronomic restaurant where it's like a few tiny little blobs of something on a plate and then some spots and stripes and it's just like, okay, but then so there's a lot of restaurants like that, but then there are loads of places where you can get just really good rustic food. Maybe French people appreciate the staple rustic French food a bit more than the gastronomic food, but it's a bit of both and it's all pretty good quality as well. But yeah, French people will just like a platter of cheese and ham or whatever, whatever it is. There are certain sort of rustic meals which are very common. So yeah, it's kind of both, but they, they certainly value food a lot and that's a very important part of their culture, whether it's the gastronomic stuff or the more sort of rural and rustic stuff.

Charlie:
Okay. Nice. And do you feel like you've become more of a foodie since you lived in France, in Paris?

Luke:
Perhaps I have. I think the culture is that when you eat the food, you talk about it and you comment on it and you critique it. I do that with my wife when we eat and maybe I've become a little my my standards have become a bit higher.

Charlie:
Okay.

Luke:
Probably.

Charlie:
So the French have helped you out in terms of creating a more diverse palate or more mature palate, perhaps?

Luke:
Yeah. Yeah, but you say that. But then French people in some way have got a very narrow palate where it's like anything, like they will love their French food. And then when you step outside of that, it's like, whew, I'm I'm in a new, dangerous new world. And they can be quite conservative about their eating habits. For example, you can not get a decent curry in this country. It's just impossible.

Charlie:
And that's interesting considering you're so close, like, it's just a channel.

Luke:
It's just like a two hour Eurostar train. But curry has no dominion here. It's spicy food, but it's not just the spiciness. It's like the different range of curries. So here in France, curry is just one thing, and it's like this weird yellow sauce. But I mean, you get curry houses and stuff, but they've been sort of neutered, right? Uh, like when I, when I go to a, an Indian restaurant here and I'll say I'll have the, whatever it is, chicken jalfrezi, or jalfrezi is a bad example because it's already quite spicy. But if I say I'll have a whatever it it's a chicken curry, standard, and I'll say can you make it quite hot, please? And they'll be like, Are you sure? And I'm like, Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's fine. And they still don't, because in their experience, the vast majority of their customers cannot handle even a hint of spice. So 'Il pique! Il pique!' like it's too hot. Yeah. So they can't take spicy food at all.

Charlie:
So let's see, no berets in your opinion, but some striped shirts, especially towards the coast. No big poodles necessarily, or not many, but more French poodles and smaller dogs. Yeah. Hesitant to speak French, but for many reasons, quite deep...

Luke:
English.

Charlie:
Sorry, speak English. Yeah. That would be a mute world. Smoke quite a lot still.

Luke:
In Paris, yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. Eat a lot of baguettes, wine, drink wine, eat cheese. And. And what was the other one? The most romantic people in the world, the Frenchmen, potentially, but there's a there's a downside to it as well.

Luke:
Don't forget the Italians. The Italians are the only people who are more French than the French. You know that character, Pepe Le Pew? Do you remember him?

Charlie:
It rings a bell.

Luke:
I guess. It's Warner Brothers cartoons? I think so. You know, the Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and stuff like that. There's one character who is a skunk, right? With a white stripe down his back and he's chasing after a cat. This cat is walking through a building site and some paint lands on its back, a stripe of paint down its back. So the skunk thinks this is a female skunk and he's French and he's following her everywhere and constantly trying to chat her up. Right. And being very, very French. I mean, we see Pepe Le Pew as like the epitome of the romantic French man who is constantly trying to woo this woman and bothering her, essentially harassing her really. Everywhere in the world that that skunk is French, but in France, he's Italian.

Charlie:
Okay, that's a really good measure. So they see the Italians as more romantic.

Luke:
Even more French than the French. So almost like everything you can say about... A lot of the stereotypes about the French are also true of other countries like the Italians, for example. I don't know. It's all a bit of a mystery, but interesting.

Charlie:
There we go. Well, we're going to go on to the French Values Compass in part three, which is talking about their their most associated value, which would be interesting to hear whether you think that is true based on a book by Dr. Mandeep Rai. But yeah, thank you very much for listening to part one guys. If that's all you were wanting to listen to, then we will see you next week. But of course, head over to Luke's podcast, if you haven't already, on Luke's English podcast, you can Google it or click on the link in the app that you're listening to this show on. Wonderful. I'll see you in part two.

Charlie:
All right. Welcome back to part two. So, Luke, soon after moving to France, what do you think you noticed that was particularly different in your environment from England?

Luke:
Oh, that's quite a tricky one. You know, I definitely, as I said in part one, I do feel the differences every day, but it's hard to put my finger on it. One thing is that French people are more willing to fight and argue with each other. There seems to be a bit more conflict between people here and people are a bit more direct in their communication. Back in Britain, we have this sort of distance. It's a sort of friendly distance or a a kind of, you know, like a certain amount of distance. I mean, even in physical terms, for example, riding the underground in London, you get the sense that people making an effort not to take up too much space. And I also lived in Japan, in Tokyo for a while. And that's it's really the case there where people are very conscious that they have... They mustn't use up too much space and, you know, all those sorts of things. And in London, too, people make more of an effort not to get in each other's way. I mean, it's still very crowded and there's people bumping into each other. But you can walk through a crowd a lot more easily, easily than you can in France and in Paris. You know, people don't let you get off the train before they try and get on in on the metro. And, you know, the generally just like people...

Charlie:
That that doesn't seem very logical.

Luke:
Yeah. It's culture. I mean in Japan it's it's really a bad move if you don't let people off the train first. And what people... It's very almost regimented. The train arrives at the station, there'll be a crowd of people queuing and there are lines on the ground and everyone's queuing up on using these lines as their, their guide points. And if you don't stand within the queue, then people will look at you like, you know, what are you doing? You're breaking the rules and the queues there. The train comes in, the door arrives at exactly the right spot. It's marked on the floor. So you know exactly where the door is going to arrive. And those two queues suddenly move in unison to to be flat against the train, to give space, to let people come out, all the people come out of the train and then those two queues or they file into the train and it's all very efficient. Everyone knows their place, everyone knows exactly what they should be doing, and no one really steps outside of that. In London, it's somewhere between where there's a crowd of people on the platform, on the underground, at the underground, and the train comes in. You don't know where the train is going to come in. It's not that clearly defined. The doors open, the crowd of people parts and they definitely let people off. If you try to get on when people are still getting off, you'll be shouted down and people will like, you know. So 'let people off the train first, please', you know, that sort of thing. And people will say, 'move down inside the train car, please'. You know, you get that sort of thing. And there's definitely a common culture of being a bit more respectful of people's space.

Luke:
And, you know, the rules are more clearly defined, whereas in in the metro, you know, the train arrives and often people will start getting on the train while other people are getting off. And there's a lot of kerfuffle and people bump up, bump against each other. And every now and then, people will actually sort of have a go at each other, you know, like, oh, 'ca va pas!' you know, there's like moments where they start shouting at each other, which is wonderful. I mean, it's one of my favourite things watching French people argue in the street. I mean, it's just the best. If French people are arguing the street, I will just be like, all right, I'm going to just casually kind of observe this. This is fantastic. You know, if only I had popcorn, I would be scoffing my popcorn and watching this, maybe more willing to sort of fight and argue. They are slightly more direct. There is a distinction here between formal and familiar interactions, probably because of the language, you know, whether you say 'vous' or 'tu', and it's not just the pronouns, but the way that those pronouns will affect the way you conjugate verbs and other parts of the sentence. And so the language is... Built into the language is a is a distinction between whether you are being formal with someone or whether you are being familiar with someone. And if you are familiar with someone when you should be formal with them, it's considered very rude. And so there's clear lines of formal and informal, whereas in the UK it's all a bit more vague and we tend to be quite informal with people we don't know, stuff like that.

Charlie:
Well, yeah, I think we should move on because you've covered all bases there. Very, very good. And thank you for explaining that one to the listeners. If you were to aim..., sorry, if you were to arm me with a couple of topics of conversation for me to communicate with a French person in French, what do you think you should suggest to me? Like in the UK we would well, I would maybe go with football, the weather and maybe complaining about the traffic or public transport. Are there any other topics that come to mind that you think the French people would like to get involved in, as easy as that, in English?

Luke:
I guess there are two big ones and this tells you a lot about what's important in France. So food definitely, just talking about food and talking about different restaurants that you've been to. And you know.

Charlie:
Sorry to interrupt, but could that be used in in a meeting with a stranger after a few sentences?

Luke:
Huh. So the... Funny one. It depends on the situation. Hard to say really.

Charlie:
What about a newsagents? You're in the newsagents. 20 years ago, buying a newspaper,

Luke:
Yeah.

Charlie:
And you're in the queue and somebody breaks into conversation.

Luke:
Wait a minute. Did you say you're in the queue? Go on, though. Yeah. All right, so we're in the queue. Yeah, I'm probably getting queue jumped at this point because I turned my head to look at a newspaper and oh, someone just walked past me and just went, just jumped ahead of me or the queue... Yeah the queue is a big thing. I have major queue anxiety here. Sorry I'm breaking away from your question.

Charlie:
No, no, it's good. What about... Okay, I'll give you another one. You've ordered a coffee and you're waiting outside the cafe to receive your takeaway coffee. And there's people around you, and maybe you're with your your wife. And so there's a way in which you start talking out loud to another group of people.

Luke:
Oh, you know what? I'm trying to think of what I would do in the UK in this situation.

Charlie:
I guess we would maybe talk about the weather if it's a nice day and then if you're into it, you might say to another male. Did you watch the match last night or celebrate a win or, you know, discuss something around that?

Luke:
Let's say let's say the water cooler situation.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay.

Luke:
Right. I could imagine this a bit more easily because maybe if I'm in the street in that scenario and, you know, small talk, I don't know. I don't I don't know how much small talk happens. But also, maybe I avoid talking to people as well because I'm a bit shy about my French. So I will just sort of stand there and just like, come on, coffee, come on. You know, I'm awkward. I'm an awkward English person. And also I'm shy about my my sketchy French. And I don't I feel very anxious about speaking French to people. And so I try and keep it to a minimum. So maybe I'm the wrong person to ask about making small talk here. But the water cooler thing. Holidays. Yeah, holidays are a big thing. I was going to say food and holidays. People often will talk about their holidays. Very important in French life, where you're going, what you did, and which part of the country or which part of the world you've been to. You're probably safe to talk about that rather than talking about work. I mean, yeah, you know, again, the little differences, French people obviously are perfectly capable of talking about their work and what they do. Okay, here's the thing. So in the UK, when you meet people, let's say it's at a party or something, it's very common to say, so what do you do? Mm hmm. Maybe we define ourselves by our jobs and what we do. Whereas in France, if you go in, straight in and just say, what do you do and ask them about their occupation, that this is seen as being I don't know if it's a bit, it's not the done thing really.

Charlie:
Is it... Is it because it's like prying into their not their finances but their status?

Luke:
I don't know about that. Maybe it's just because people don't see themselves as defined by their work.

Charlie:
Oh, nice.

Luke:
This is a big thing that again, going back to that pragmatic thing that we mentioned in part one, that British people are pragmatic and we we work and we to an extent, we are defined by our work. And this is definitely true in America as well. And also wealth and the accumulation of wealth is something that in the States is very normal to talk about. For example, if you're at a barbecue, I don't know where I've heard this example from, but it's not mine. But you're at a barbecue and you know, you're with the host of the barbecue and he's at the barbecue cooking the meat. And you will sort of say, hey, this is a really nice barbecue that you've got here. And he'll say, Yeah, I picked it up here and it cost this much. He'll often he'll probably say how much the barbecue cost and he'd be proud that he got it at a good price or something. In France, you wouldn't start talking about how much the barbecue cost. You know, you might talk about the brand of the barbecue or something or how it works, but you wouldn't really talk about the price and you wouldn't start boasting about what a good price you got it for.

Luke:
Talking about money is is considered a bit taboo and a bit vulgar in France. And maybe talking about work or focussing on work is a bit vulgar. You know, the TV show The Apprentice.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Luke:
So for for your listeners who don't know, The Apprentice is basically I mean, it's famous for, you know, Donald Trump was... It was his TV show in America, but we have a version in the UK as well. The The Apprentice is kind of like a reality show where there's a boss and he gives tasks to two groups of people and then and it's all around a work environment and these two people go off and they have to do some sort of work oriented task, like they've got to launch a new range of women's underwear or whatever it is, and then one of the teams wins and then the losing team comes back and they discuss what went wrong in their project, and then one person gets fired at the end. Now, they they tried to launch that show in France and it survived for two episodes and then it was cancelled.

Charlie:
Oh, that is interesting. Any ideas why?

Luke:
Well, they just don't want to watch people work. They don't want to come home in the evening, switch on the telly and then re-enter the world of work.

Charlie:
Because they want to escape to the the finer things in life, maybe.

Luke:
They want to... They want to watch people cooking and eating or people on a beach. And two of the most successful TV shows here are exactly that. There's like Top Chef, which is a TV show, you know, like we've got in the UK a sort of a cooking competition where people are, you know, have to race against the clock to cook different dishes and one team wins and another team loses and whatever. And then you get the judges who taste the food and then they're, oh, you know, it's c'est ???. C'est... It's you know, it's clever. It's it tells a story. What is it? It's 'Il raconte un histoire dans la bouche'. It tells a story in your mouth, it's like very pretentious comments about the food and all this stuff. So that's Top Chef. And it lasts 3 hours. The show is 3 hours long, and then the other one is Koh-Lanta, which is basically like a reality show on a beach. And it's a survival show, you know, where people on a desert island and they've got to survive. So you get to just watch people on a beach. So cooking and holidays, so food and holidays.

Charlie:
Okay. That's actually a really good indication of the culture, you know. Look at what the most popular TV shows are and that will help you as the listener to compare your culture with the other culture that you're looking at like. Yeah. What would you say the most popular shows in the UK are? Reality TV shows.

Luke:
Well I think the Apprentice. The Apprentice is definitely one of them. Right? And also Bake Off.

Charlie:
Bake Off. Yeah.

Luke:
The Great British Bake Off, which is essentially a cooking competition, but it's a it's based around sweets, sweet foods like cakes and so on. So we like cake, you know, we like desserts. And it's true, like some of our best food is actually our our desserts.

Charlie:
That's true.

Luke:
And French people will will confirm this as well. You know, we do good cakes in different desserts, like, you know, an Eton mess or whatever it is. Other popular shows, I don't know, like some things I haven't seen, like Love Island, which is got to be Universal, just a dating game show and comedy, comedy stuff, you know, Live at the Apollo and things. Comedies.

Charlie:
Yes, a lot of stand up. But yeah, going back to the reality TV shows, there must be that different cultures. But at the same time, I think, I don't know, there must be some differences with the the way in which we put love on show. You know, we're. We're competing in different ways. In America, it's a bit too cringey for us, isn't it, the way that they do The Bachelor. Whereas I think I haven't watched it much, but the one that you just mentioned, what was it? Love Island. Love Island. I think that's more about the I don't know how to describe it.

Luke:
You know what? Maybe we can go back in time a little bit and think of Blind Date. Do you remember that?

Charlie:
I do. Cilla Black.

Luke:
Cilla Black. Now, the thing about Blind Date was that it was actually very cute and there was a lot of humour involved. So there would be a girl or a boy, and then behind a panel would be three potential romantic partners. Let's say it's a girl and she's got three guys behind the panel and the girl asks questions and each of the three guys has to answer it, and they do it in humorous ways. There's a lot of humour in our dating, I think, you know, it's a chance for us to be humorous.

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah. No, I see that. Although I would have to admit that maybe in in the younger generations we've lost that part of it and we're wanting a little bit more crude, simple TV in terms of dating.

Luke:
Yeah, I agree. It's just basically who's going to who's going to end up in bed with who and and drama as well, who's fallen out with who? Who hates who? It's terrible, I think, actually, I can't stand shows like that, really.

Charlie:
I'm not surprised to hear that. 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.

Charlie:
All right. We are on to part three, the last part of the show. I hope you have enjoyed it so far, but let's still enjoy the last bit, shall we? So I give you part three of this episode. Okay. I'm going to throw the last thing at you. The French values compass, and then I'll let you go and enjoy your baguette, perhaps. So I'm going to read out a little passage here, and I'd like to hear your immediate thoughts. It's quite thorough, but no pressure at all. You could just be like, Yeah, I agree, but yeah, we'll see. Okay, so this is the Values Compass. I said before in part one, I think, this is by Mandeep Rai and she has been around the world and given 100 countries her opinion of what their value is, their most favourite value or their. Yeah. The value that they cherish the most. So here we go for the French. There is nothing more French than going on strike. Even the Eiffel Tower, France's national icon and most important tourist attraction doesn't get a free pass. Of course, the day I chose to visit, the upper levels were closed because of a strike over a new ticketing system opposed by staff.

Charlie:
But although protest might be inconvenient, it is also a brilliant, beautiful, vital part of any functioning society. And France is justifiably proud of how it has, over the course of centuries, shown the world its enduring power. This is a country built and shaped by protest. From the 1789 French Revolution to the student uprisings of 1968, the history of France has been set by labour strikes, uprisings and the belief in popular power. Protest in all forms has instigated the fall of the monarchy, the separation of church and state and the establishment of workers and women's rights. Monarchy. How do you pronounce that? Monarchy.

Luke:
Monarchy.

Charlie:
Monarchy. Yeah, that's it. Monarchy. And you see it in all its forms, whether wherever in France you go. Agree with this kind of approach or not, it cannot be ignored and often it works. So protest is what leads to progress. It's also what allows anger at injustices to find an outlet and not stay bottled up in dangerous ways. Everyone has a right... Right for their voice to be heard. France shows the world what it looks like when that happens. So there we go. Mandeep Rai, The Values Compass, a lovely book, so I highly recommend it. And yeah. What do you think of that passage, Luke, on the French?

Luke:
I think it's spot on, actually. Everything about that, I would say is is right. I think she's got it exactly right. Yes. I mean, protest is a big thing. Strikes are a big thing. It's a double edged sword. So on on one hand, as a person just living in Paris and trying to, you know, live my life, trying to get to work, trying to pick up my daughter from school and so on, travelling around the city to do this and that, strikes can be a real pain in the neck, where suddenly either all the transport is not running, you can't get a train or a bus. I mean, just this week, yesterday I picked up my daughter from school, wanted to take her home in good time so she can have dinner in good time so she could then go to bed in good time and got to the bus stop. The next bus was in like 72 minutes. And that's because I understand that there's a transport strike that a lot of people are going on strike. And, you know, it happens all the time. And also there are protests. So where I live in Paris, we're not far from one of the big main streets.

Luke:
And quite regularly we will hear large groups of protesters marching down the street. They block all the traffic. Suddenly there are traffic jams everywhere. If you're trying to get a taxi somewhere, you just you end up getting completely stuck in traffic. It's a nightmare. So on one hand, the strikes and the protests are a huge inconvenience and a major pain in the neck. But I do think that they are a really important part of a functioning democracy and the right to to protest and the the right to take direct action. If you disagree with the policies of the government or something, that is a that's a very important right. And all you need to do is look at certain other countries in the world and consider what happens in those countries when people take to the streets to protest against things, they get locked up in jail or even worse in some cases, you know, they get beaten. The police crack down on them very hard and they get arrested. And that is essentially totalitarianism. You know, that's fascism, isn't it?

Charlie:
Yeah.

Luke:
I mean, even. In the UK recently and we're getting a bit political here, or I am. In the UK lately, a new law was introduced, the policing bill, which essentially is cracking down quite heavily on people's right to protest peacefully as well, that they've basically given the police powers to arrest people for certain types of peaceful protest - Protests that, fair enough, that is - quite the word for it - That interrupts. Oh, no, just that, that interrupts the flow of the city that will like block a road. If they if, if protesters occupy a bridge in London and then traffic can't cross the bridge, for example, if it's, you know, environmental protest, protesting against climate change and so on, if they will block a train, for example, now those people can be arrested and sent to jail for it.

Charlie:
Well, that kind of ties in with what you were saying right at the beginning of how pragmatic British people are. Because that.

Luke:
Do you think? In what way?

Charlie:
Well, as in, it seems like a problem for the general public to continue with their day. So it seemed sensible to to react to that.

Luke:
Yeah, I suppose so. But but essentially, though, the the right to take direct action and to protest against things is an important right. And it's an important principle of a functioning democracy. And France has always been a good example of that. But as I said, it's a double edged sword. Sometimes you get the impression that people are protesting just for the sake of it. You know that people are in the street because they like to go in the street and march and shout and maybe smash a few things up. And, you know, before COVID came along. I mean, it's just the last five years have been so disruptive here. We had COVID, but before that we had the gilets jaunes protests. The yellow coats or yellow jackets. And this is basically people protesting all over, up and down the country in very violent ways, like, you know, burning cars and stuff. It's a bit of a French tradition to burn cars in the street.

Charlie:
Wow.

Luke:
And they would be wearing their yellow, uh, jackets. It's a long story. I can't explain it all, but they were very, very. This is the word I can't think of. Disruptive. That's it. Extremely disruptive. And so maybe within those riots and protests, there were people who weren't doing it for political reasons. They were doing it just for the sheer fuck you of it. Yeah. So if you. If you'll pardon my French.

Charlie:
Hmm.

Luke:
Uh, and that they just enjoy smashing things up and they're just antisocial and stuff. So, you know, it's kind of, as I said before, swings and roundabouts or it's a double edged sword. But ultimately, I think France has always been a good example of a country that allows people the right to to protest. And that's surely a good thing ultimately.

Charlie:
Yeah. Yeah, I would say so. And my response earlier, I feel like maybe not exactly the right word to use pragmatic, but my my meaning was the fact that it seems like it's causing a problem. So we'll do it in a different way. And, and therefore I, I said that seems like a logical thing or I felt like I was meaning that. And your response seemed to be obviously against that for for the right reasons, I imagine, with the fact that freedom of speech and the part of that being essential to to keep away from a dictatorship kind of thing. But do you think that's come from you being in France, or have you always had that feeling?

Luke:
I think that when it comes down to it, I think I've I'd always be against all forms of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, fascism or, you know, whatever it is, any type of authoritarianism. I would be against it because obviously that sucks, right? But maybe I've come to appreciate and understand the French custom of protest and causing disruptions. I've come to understand it. But. But I've also been affected by it in negative ways as well, like the noise of it the, the way that it is inconvenient in my everyday life.

Charlie:
Yeah. And that's, and that's why I kind of like thought maybe you would agree with this new rule because it's like you can protest but don't protest to the point where you're obstructing people that don't care about this.

Luke:
Yeah, but then that takes all of the power out of the protest, doesn't it? Because if you're protesting in a way that doesn't really, you know, affect anything, then, you know, what's the point?

Charlie:
Yeah, fill your boots.

Luke:
And also it does actually give the police the power. This is what people are concerned about. And the law, the policing bill, was watered down quite a lot by the House of Lords and so it was less draconian than than it could have been. But essentially it basically just gives the police the right to come in and just arrest people for protesting things. So if you're in the park, protest, you know, fighting for women's rights, um, you know, if you're, if you're in the park protesting against the murder of a, of a woman by a police officer, which happened not long ago, then the police can just come in and round everyone up.

Charlie:
Oh, my God. Even if you're not obstructing, you know, like the trains or...?

Luke:
Well, if the police decide that if they consider it to be disruptive in some way, then they have the power to just chuck everyone in jail.

Charlie:
Don't like that.

Luke:
No, it's not good, Charlie. It's not good at all. I mean, again, I said that. Sorry, I'm being political, but our government is flirting with authoritarianism, not even flirting with it. It's not good. Anyway, let's not get into that.

Charlie:
Yeah, right. Yeah, but. Yeah, well, I've kept you for an hour and 12 minutes right now, so thank you so much, Luke, for telling me your thoughts on your social experiment over in Paris.

Luke:
It's all right. Thanks. Thanks for asking me. Thanks for considering me to be a worthy person to ask about this stuff. As I said before, I'm no expert. I'm confused as well. But I, you know, maybe I've I've worked a couple of things out, but it's an ongoing experiment.

Charlie:
Yeah, well, as we said at the beginning, stereotypes, they're there to be talked about, but not to be used quite literally. But yeah, thanks again and I look forward to speaking to you soon. And yeah, thank you everybody who has listened to the end of this. Much love. Bye For Now. Bye Luke.

access the free content

Get the FREE worksheet for 
this episode

Enjoy!

Want the transcripts?

Access the manually edited transcripts using the world's leading interactive podcast transcript player and get your hands on the
full glossary and flashcards for this episode!
  • Downloadable Transcripts
  • Interactive Transcript Player
  • Flashcards
  • Full Glossary 

Transcript of SAMPLE Premium Podcast Player

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.

Full Length Episodes

Interactive Transcript Player

Full
Glossaries

Downloadable Transcripts