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Taking art to the streets of London

 

Amber: Hello, I’m Amber and you’re listening to bbclearningenglish.com

In People and Places today, we meet the director of the National Gallery in London. The gallery is home to one of the greatest collections of Western European painting in the world. But, instead of a tour of the gallery, we walk with Charles Saumarez-Smith around the streets of Soho and Covent Garden – two lively parts of London famous for adult shops, Italian cafes and the Royal Opera House.

 

Why the walk? Well, over the summer, the National Gallery is putting 44 life-size, framed paintings on the walls of alleyways, shops and cafes in Soho and Covent Garden. These aren’t the real paintings, of course, but copies, ‘reproductions’, or ‘versions’ of the real things.

 

Here’s Charles now. Notice he uses the expression ‘i.e.’ – an abbreviation of ‘that is to say’ or ‘in other words’, which you are more likely to see written than hear spoken. And he explains the purpose of displaying these copies of valuable paintings. He says many, many people feel shy about going into the National Gallery, they feel ‘inhibited’, and they shouldn’t!

 

As you listen, try to catch the adverb Charles uses to describe the ‘high-quality reproductions’.

 

Charles Saumarez-Smith

What we’re doing is putting up pretty high-quality reproductions. To be honest, I’ve only just seen this for the first time, but it’s a way of bringing works of art, or versions of them – i.e. reproductions – from the walls of the National Gallery out into the streets. And what I’ve discovered during the five years I’ve been director is that there are many, many people who are inhibited about coming in to the National Gallery and shouldn’t be. It’s free to go in, anybody can go in, but people don’t necessarily know that, and so bringing them out onto the streets is a way of indicating it.

 

Amber: Did you catch it? Charles says the reproductions are ‘pretty high-quality’ – ‘pretty’ here means ‘fairly’. Fairly high-quality.

Listen again and notice the expression ‘to be honest’ – this is a useful way of indicating that what are about to say is what you really feel.

 

Charles Saumarez-Smith

What we’re doing is putting up pretty high-quality reproductions. To be honest, I’ve only just seen this for the first time, but it’s a way of bringing works of art, or versions of them – i.e. reproductions – from the walls of the National Gallery out into the streets. And what I’ve discovered during the five years I’ve been director is that there are many, many people who are inhibited about coming in to the National Gallery and shouldn’t be. It’s free to go in, anybody can go in, but people don’t necessarily know that, and so bringing them out onto the streets is a way of indicating it.

Amber: So the reproductions on the streets are like a wonderful advertisement for the gallery. And Charles hopes that when people see the reproductions, they might want to go to the gallery. After all, the pictures in the National Gallery belong to the public and you don’t have to pay to go in and see them.



Next, Charles explains how they chose which paintings to reproduce for display on the streets. Try to catch one or two of the ways they put together this special ‘list’.

 

Charles Saumarez-Smith

Essentially, we’ve selected the main works from the collection and the best-known. I mean, one of the things we’ve done is look at the things we, ourselves, regard as – in inverted commas – ‘the best’, but there’re also works which we know are very popular because they’re bought as postcards and reproductions, and as I understand it, the list is an amalgamation of the best of the best.

 

Amber: So, they chose, they ‘selected’, ‘the main works’ from the gallery’s ‘collection’ – the principal works, the greatest in importance. And also ‘the best-known’ paintings, and the ones people buy postcards of in the gallery shop!

 

Listen again and notice Charles uses the expression ‘in inverted commas’.

Inverted commas are speech marks, and Charles uses this expression to highlight the fact that he is giving just one view of what makes a great painting!

Oh, and ‘an amalgamation’ is the result of putting things together, of combining them.

 

Charles Saumarez-Smith

Essentially, we’ve selected the main works from the collection and the best-known. I mean, one of the things we’ve done is look at the things we, ourselves, regard as – in inverted commas – ‘the best’, but there’re also works which we know are very popular because they’re bought as postcards and reproductions, and as I understand it, the list is an amalgamation of the best of the best.

 

Amber: Now here’s a list of the language we focussed on in the programme today.

to be honest – this expression indicates that what you are about to say, you really mean

to be inhibited about something – to be shy about something in inverted commas – you can use this expression to highlight the fact that you are giving just one view of something

‘the best of the best’ – means ‘the very, very best’!

More stories of people and places next time, at bbclearningenglish.com

 

People and Places

Hoglands

Amber: Hello, I’m Amber and you’re listening to bbclearningenglish.com In People and Places today, we meet Mary Moore, daughter of the renowned British artist and sculptor, Henry Moore (who died in 1986). We meet her in a place called Hoglands – the house where Henry Moore and his wife, Irina, lived for over 40 years. Hoglands has recently been opened to the public for the first time.

 

Mary shares her memories of her father and mother with us, and we highlight lots of language that you can use to describe people.

 

As you listen, notice first how Mary uses the words ‘moody’ and ‘moodiness’ to describe some of the colours in Hoglands. We usually use these words to describe people when they’re cross and grumpy – when people are ‘in a bad mood’, you can say they’re ‘moody’ or there’s‘moodiness’ about them. And you’ll hear two nice ways of describing colours that don’t look right together, that contrast with each other – colours that ‘don’t go together’, that ‘clash’. And try to catch any of the descriptions Mary gives of her father and mother.

 

Now let’s begin out tour of the house. The first impression you get of Hoglands is how colourful the rooms are. There’s a bright yellow carpet in the living room, an orange carpet in the study and a pink floor in the dining room …

 

 

Mary Moore

And there’s a bright purple carpet in the sunroom, which is kind of remarkable. He had the most fabulous colour sense and you don’t think of sculptors as colourists, but if you look at his textile designs, or even his coloured drawings from that period, get extraordinary dark, moody greys, with very bright pinks and yellows and browns and colours that you would think clash, or don’t go together, but are extraordinarily successful and have a kind of moodiness about them. And, it can be very muddy outside, so usually my mother would make people take their shoes off at the front door, but sometimes my father sort of felt that he couldn’t possibly ask them to take their shoes off, or he had forgotten, and she would see this trail of mud across the yellow carpet and you would hear her sort of shout, ‘Henry!’! You know, so, my mother was very practical. I wouldn’t say that she was house-proud, but she was a very careful … because she was the one who had to get down on her hands and knees and scrub the yellow carpet!

 

Amber: So Mary says her father ‘had the most fabulous colour sense’ – he understood how colours work; her mother was a ‘very practical’ person – she was sensible and focused on solving problems; her mother was also not ‘house-proud’ – which is a lovely way to describe someone who is literally proud of their house and keeps it very clean and tidy.

Listen again.

 

Mary Moore

And there’s a bright purple carpet in the sunroom, which is kind of remarkable. He had the most fabulous colour sense and you don’t think of sculptors as colourists, but if you look at his textile designs, or even his coloured drawings from that period, get extraordinary dark, moody greys, with very bright pinks and yellows and browns and colours that you would think clash, or don’t go together, but are extraordinarily successful and have a kind of moodiness about them. And, it can be very muddy outside, so usually my mother would make people take their shoes off at the front door, but sometimes my father sort of felt that he couldn’t possibly ask them to take their shoes off, or he had forgotten, and she would see this trail of mud across the yellow carpet and you would hear her sort of shout, ‘Henry!’! You know, so, my mother was very practical. I wouldn’t say that she was house-proud, but she was a very careful … because she was the one who had to get down on her hands and knees and scrub the yellow carpet!

 

Amber: In our next extract, Mary remembers being a little girl and sitting at a little table, making models out of clay, while her father, the great sculptor, worked alongside her! Mary uses several expressions which neatly describe people who are warm and outgoing. Can you catch them?

Oh, and there’s a nice onomatopoeic word to convey the sound of the clay being shaped – ‘crunch’! Mary Moore

He had a tremendous sense of fun. He really liked the company of young people, he was really curious about people, he loved people. But what was really wonderful is that I would go into his studio, and I was able to sit at a little table (there are picture of me when I’m three) with a piece of clay, you know, sort of modelling away – crunch, crunch, crunch - and he’s doing his thing at his table beside me – and I was able to say, ‘Look, would you make me a lion? Can you make me a pigeon? Why don’t you make me a giraffe?’ You know, and he would stop and he would make out of clay all these animals for me.

 

Amber: So Mary says her father ‘had a tremendous sense of fun’ – he was always looking on the bright side of life; he ‘really liked the company of young people’ – he really liked being with young people.

 

Now here’s a list of the language we focussed on in the programme today.

moody – cross and grumpy

colours that clash – colours that don’t look right together

to be a very practical person – to be sensible

to be house-proud – to be proud of your house!

 

 

People and Places

Unusual jobs – the Hypnotist

Andrea: Welcome to "People and Places" – where we meet interesting people and find out about more about them – right here on bbclearningenglish.com. Hello, I'm Andrea Rose.

Paul McKenna

‘For everybody it’s different. But usually it’s deep relaxation. People find that instead of being aware of lots of things we tend to focus on one idea at a time.’

 

Andrea: Can you guess what Paul McKenna does for a living? He has a rather unusual job. Yes, he’s a hypnotist. He hypnotises people. In fact, he’s one of Britain’s best known hypnotists. He mesmerises people into doing extraordinary things.

So what’s it like to be hypnotised?

 

Paul McKenna

‘For everybody it’s different. But usually it’s deep relaxation. People find that instead of being aware of lots of things we tend to focus on one idea at a time. You can probably compare it to meditation or in business people do a thing called strategic planning where they relax and imagine what their company will be doing, what product or service they will be offering in the future, what their competitors will be doing. That seems for me to be the same as hypnosis. All the great creatives throughout history – Einstein, Mozart, Tessler, Goethe, Walt Disney – lots of great creatives have referred to that reverie, that creative state where they get their ideas from, in similar terms when they describe it, as hypnotists would to hypnotic trance.’

 

Andrea: Paul compares hypnosis to deep relaxation. You feel very relaxed when you’re hypnotised and you can focus on one thing rather than lots of thoughts. Paul also compares it to meditation or even strategic planning – like in business when plan how you want to run things. He says that lots of famous thinkers or creative people – ‘creatives’ – talk about their great thoughts or creativity coming from a dream-like state – ‘reverie’. He says hypnosis is just like that.

Another word for hypnosis is a trance. When you’re hypnotised it’s like you’re in a trance. But is being a hypnotist quite what we imagine?

 

Paul McKenna

‘The archetypal Hollywood image – you know the man with swinging watch, black suit, goatee beard, and malevolent intentions has played a part in creating an image in the psyche of lots of people. But I'm hoping to dismantle that. I want to avoid all the psycho-babble. ooger-booger esoteric associations because really hypnosis is just another word for thinking and when we use hypnosis we can get extraordinary outcomes, but it’s really just another way of thinking.’

 

Andrea: Look into my eyes and relax……yes, that’s the image we associate with hypnotists. But Paul says they’re not quite like that! We imagine a hypnotist to be someone swinging a watch in front of someone until they fall asleep, or wearing a black suit and having a goatee beard. This is the archetype of a hypnotist. This is the archetypal Hollywood image. We also think of hypnotists as people who are dangerous and who have bad intentions. The word Paul uses is malevolent. In fact, according to Paul, hypnotists can do wonderful, extraordinary things. It really is an intriguing and interesting profession, so how did it all begin for Paul McKenna?

 

 

Paul McKenna

‘My first experience of it was that I was a radio broadcaster and I was interested in yoga and meditation. I went one day to interview the local hypnotist and I had a particularly bad day – I’d split up from my girlfriend, the people in the apartment where I was living were making a noise and I had a row with my boss at work – and so I arrived at this interview fairly stressed. And I said ‘do your weirdy, mindy thing on me’, and I sat back. I was sceptical, benevolently so and said ‘let the process begin’. And I borrowed a book from this guy and I went home and read it. And then I began to hypnotise my friends to help them quit smoking or lose weight or overcome phobias and it pretty much worked.’

 

Andrea: Paul was a radio broadcaster. He was doing an interview with a hypnotist.

Three bad things had happened to him that day. Did you catch what they were?

He had split up with his girlfriend, his neighbours were making lots of noise and he’d had an argument or row with his boss. At first he was sceptical that the hypnotist could help him. Sceptical – he didn’t believe it. But the hypnotist made him feel so much better after the session, that he decided to borrow a book and learn how to do it himself. Soon he was helping his friends stop smoking, lose weight and even overcome their phobias or fears – all through hypnosis. It changed his life.

Let’s quickly recap of some of the language Paul used:

 

relaxation

meditation

reverie

trance

archetypal

malevolent intentions

sceptical

 

Until the next time, it’s goodbye from bbclearningenglish.com

 

Entertainment!

Joanna Lumley

Andrea: Hello, I’m Andrea Rose and you’re listening to bbclearningenglish.com.

 

Today in Entertainment, we meet well-known British actress, Joanna Lumley, who is best known as Patsy in the television comedy series, Absolutely Fabulous. It’s also known as Ab Fab – shortened forms of the words ‘Absolutely’ – Ab and ‘Fabulous’ – Fab.

 

Joanna Lumley also recently had a flower named after her - a fuchsia. So from now on, people will have Joanna Lumleys growing in their gardens!

 

Joanna started her career in the 1970’s. Her first acting role was as a Bond girl.

Yes, she played one of the women in a James Bond film.

 

Since then she’s been in lots of films and television series and in 1995, Joanna was awarded an OBE. An OBE is an Order of the British Empire. It’s given by the Queen of England and is a very prestigious award that recognises people’s contribution to British society – be it as an actress or for charity work.

 

But, Joanna didn’t always live in Britain. Have a listen to what she says about her childhood. Can you hear where she was born and grew up?

 

J.Lumley: I was born in India in Kashmir in Srinagar. And um, I was born the year before Partition so I don’t remember it, because I was born in ‘46 and by ‘47 all the British had to leave India. But, my father was with the Ghurkha regiment. Both my parents had been brought up in India. So Britain was always called ‘home’ but we didn’t have a home here. And so after India we went out to Malaya and

 

Malaya is really my first sense of where home was. I felt I was, I thought I was Malayan, I thought I belonged there.

 

Andrea: Did you manage to hear where Joanna was born? Yes, that’s correct she was born in India. She talks about being born in ’46. What she means is 1946.

Sometimes in English people shorten the year – for instance, the 1960s are often talked about as ‘the 60s,’ the 1970s – ‘the 70s’ and so on. Anyway, Joanna was born the year before Partition. That’s when India gained independence from Britain and Pakistan was created.

 

Joanna’s father was in the military. Both Joanna’s mother and father had been brought up in India. If you are brought up somewhere, you’ve grown up there.

Britain was always talked about as home but really, Joanna only felt at home when they moved from India to Malaya, now known as Malaysia. That was her first sense, her first feeling of home. Let’s take a listen to that clip again.

 

J.Lumley: I was born in India in Kashmir in Srinagar. And um, I was born the year before Partition so I don’t remember it, because I was born in ‘46 and by ‘47 all the British had to leave India. But, my father was with the Ghurkha regiment. Both my parents had been brought up in India. So Britain was always called ‘home’ but we didn’t have a home here. And so after India we went out to Malaya and Malaya is really my first sense of where home was. I felt I was, I thought I was Malayan, I thought I belonged there.

Andrea: So Joanna spent her childhood outside England. However, even as a young girl she knew she wanted to be an actress. She even auditioned for RADA which is the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art here in London. It’s one of the best drama schools in the world. But unfortunately Joanna’s audition didn’t go too well.

J.Lumley: When I was at school I auditioned for RADA. I did a fearful audition. So I just ran away from acting at that point. I just can bear people saying ‘no’ or ‘you’re bad’. And eventually when I get to read critics who have written about performances I have done, if there are bad ones I rip them up so that they don’t exist in my mind. Of course they do but in history I look back and it says ‘a glorious, lambent performance - gleaming, shining’ and you go, well just save that one’.

 

Andrea: Joanna uses lots of very colourful language in that clip. There are lots of adjectives. Her audition didn’t go very well – she says it was fearful, it was dreadful. She also talks about ripping up bad reviews of her performances so that she only remembers the good ones. Some of the words she’d like to hear describe her acting are – ‘glorious’, ‘lambent’ which means glowing, ‘gleaming’ and ‘shining’. They are all what we’d call superlatives - adjectives that describe something in the highest of terms. That’s the kind of actress Joanna Lumley hopes she’ll always be remembered as.

 

 

So let’s recap the language we’ve heard in the programme today:


partition

regiment

brought up

my first sense

fearful

glorious

lambent

gleaming

shining

superlatives


Entertainment

Pop stars – the new fashion designers

Amber: Hello, I’m Amber and you’re listening to bbclearningenglish.com In Entertainment today, we find out why pop stars are the new fashion designers – in other words, why there’s a trend for pop stars to start their own clothing labels or brands. For example, the drummer with the chart-topping band The Arctic Monkeys has just launched a line of leisure wear, and this follows designs launched by Madonna a short while ago.

Here’s the first part of an interview with Lisa Armstrong, the fashion editor of the Times newspaper. She says this trend is an obvious, ‘a blatant’, move by pop stars to make money! But it’s also an attempt, ‘a stab’, at staying famous for longer! ‘To get a bit of longevity’ – ‘longevity’ here means the length of someone’s career. And for the model Kate Moss, launching her own clothing label is a sensible next move, it’s ‘a logical step’.

As you listen, try to catch the expression Lisa uses to describe how the stars of today are smarter than pop musicians in the 90s - when it comes to making money from fashion - because they are marketing their own designs, not those of big, established designers.

 

Lisa Armstrong

‘Yeah, I mean, it’s clearly a blatant attempt to make money – why not?! But I think also, for some of them, it’s a stab to get a bit of longevity, you know, careers are very short, and for someone like Kate Moss, in particular, it’s a logical step. I think also in the ‘90s, musicians traditionally got friendly with Versace or Armani – got free clothes, sat in the front row – now they’re just cutting out the middle-man!’

 

Amber: Did you catch it? Lisa says that pop stars today are ‘cutting out the middle-man’ – they are marketing their clothes directly to their audiences. To cut out the middle-man. Listen again.

 

Lisa Armstrong

‘Yeah, I mean, it’s clearly a blatant attempt to make money – why not?! But I think also, for some of them, it’s a stab to get a bit of longevity, you know, careers are very short, and for someone like Kate Moss, in particular, it’s a logical step. I think also in the ‘90s, musicians traditionally got friendly with Versace or Armani – got free clothes, sat in the front row – now they’re just cutting out the middle-man!’

Amber: Next, Lisa talks about Madonna’s range of clothes for the high-street store H & M. She isn’t impressed – she says the range was ‘a bit of a flop’, a bit of a failure. She says what fans wanted was the outrageous, the ‘camp’, kind of clothes that Madonna wore on stage – ‘conical bras’, for example, bras shaped like ice-cream cones! But according to Lisa, the clothes were ‘period’, a polite way of saying old-fashioned! They were ‘mum-sy’, they were like the kind of safe, frumpy clothes a mother, who was not fashion-conscious, would wear.

Listen.

 

Lisa Armstrong

‘I think when it doesn’t work … I mean, Madonna’s line for H & M was a bit of a flop because we wanted conical bras, we wanted all that camp, fabulous Madonna, and what we actually got was late, period, mum-sy Madonna, and that doesn’t tie in with the H & M customer.’

 

Amber: Did you catch the expression ‘to tie in with’ – meaning to match? According to Lisa, Madonna’s ‘line’ of clothes was not the kind of clothes the young women who shop at H & M wanted to buy.

 

Lisa Armstrong

‘I think when it doesn’t work … I mean, Madonna’s line for H & M was a bit of a flop because we wanted conical bras, we wanted all that camp, fabulous Madonna, and what we actually got was late, period, mum-sy Madonna, and that doesn’t tie in with the H & M customer.’

 

Amber: Now here’s a list of the language we focussed on in the programme today.

a blatant attempt to make money – an obvious attempt to make money

a stab to get a bit of longevity – an attempt to make your career last longer

to cut out the middle-man – to sell directly to your customers

a bit of a flop – a bit of a failure

camp – outrageous

mum-sy – old-fashioned, safe, frumpy

to tie in with – to match

 

Entertainment


Date: 2015-12-17; view: 184


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