The Lockdown Hauntings: A new British film with my friend Russell Shaw

24th May 2021

May be an image of 4 people and text
Directed by Howard J Ford

I have been lucky enough to know and even work with some actors who have gone on to far greater things. Today I would like to introduce my buddy Russell Shaw with whom I made a short film in Berlin, way back in 2005.

Russell Shaw as Director and Thay Paul (with ever present coffee)

Since then, Russell has kept following his dream and has been in music videos, adverts and some full-length films, the latest of which is ‘The Lockdown Hauntings’ set in present day UK, where people have been living under strict lockdown regulations.

Russell posted this link online:

Hey guys, our new feature film @thelockdownhauntings is out now on #amazon #primevideo#virginmedia#skystore#itunes FILMED IN THE FIRST LOCKDOWN Please check it out and leave us your honest heartfelt reviews on Amazon, IMDB etc….Thank you!Your support means the world to us ❤🎬👻#tonytoddofficial#tonytodd#candyman #horror #horrormovies#horrorcommunity#horrorfan#entity#paranormal#indyfilm#indyfilmmaking#lockdown#horror#fear#terror#pandemic#usrelease#amazon#actorslife🎬#filmactor#angeladixon#deatheater#detective#bogeyman#scary #specialeffects #soundtrack

The official trailer may be viewed here:

I wrote a short piece for IMDb but it didn’t appear on their site. Undeterred, I’ll repost it here with my usual disclaimer …

  • Summary: An allegory of fear and helplessness
  • DISCLOSURE: I’m a friend of a cast member, so I must recuse myself from giving a rating and instead, I’ll submit a brief interpretation.

    “Fear is something horrible, an atrocious sensation, a sort of decomposition of the soul,” (Guy de Maupassant, ‘Le Peur’ 1882).

    A bustling, vibrant metropolis, eerily, unnervingly quiet; these are the opening images that lead us into the surreal paranoid world of London and the UK under Lockdown. We are introduced to the characters who fear for loved ones, for their lives, for their uncertain futures. All they know is that they have no control or power over unseen and unforeseeable events.

    Against this background, a serial killer has emerged, elusive in the extreme; not only are they no signs of break-ins, there are no forensic clues at all. To compound the mystery, the detective assigned to the case is herself under quarantine, waiting for test results to see if she is infected.

    The unknown unseen killer could represent COVID and how easily it can be transmitted. We sense the alienation and impotence of the characters, lacking the support of friends, family and institutions. Everyone is alone and vulnerable and the deaths are the personification of extreme paranoia in extreme circumstances. We are not scared of what we know, but of what we don’t know.

    ‘The Lockdown Hauntings’ is a valuable source for how people lived and felt in the early 2020s as even at time of writing, we don’t know if the vaccines work (solve the case) or if new mutant variants will arise …

I’m sure Russell would be over the moon if you watched the movie and left your own comments, thoughts and reviews.

If by any chance you wish to see the film I made with Russell, that film, ‘Bad Faith,’ may be viewed here:

IELTS Mindset 1, lesson 7 Review

29th April 2021

May be an image of 2 people and people smiling
Ready for the lesson, ladies ? Yes, Thay Paul … hey ho, let’s go ! [Ha Noi 2015]

Pedal to the metal, let’s dive in and hit the ground running !

We are licensed to review the previous lesson, a potpourri of quick thinking (thinking on your feet), dropping idioms at the drop of a hat and sentence building by employing as many relative clauses as humanly possible … big time ! Not forgetting the grammar lesson, prepositions, directions and map-reading, differentiating between locating (finding) and labelling (writing on something). Now, without further ado

What do you see in the picture ?

Aston Martin James Bond Museum Nybro Sweden

Let’s break it down into three sections: the man, the car, the location, then the spatial relation between all three. Piece of cake ? OK, breaks down like this:

The man: Daniel Craig (actor), James Bond (character), tall, blonde, handsome, strong, highly-skilled, well-off (quite rich), talented, licensed to kill, British … what other adjectives ?

The car: expensive, beautiful, full of gadgets, exclusive, cost an arm and a leg, astronomical, Aston Martin DB10, luxury …

The location: Rome … no help here ! What do you know about Rome ?

NOW … YOUR TURN

Make an IELTS-style sentence featuring relative clauses and prepositions of place. You have two minutes … go !

Come, come my students … don’t disappoint me

Thay Paul, can you give us some help, please ?

Oh, you know I will ! OK, how’s this: Daniel Craig, who’s a world-famous British actor, is playing James Bond, a fictional spy who has been in over twenty films. Mr Craig, who is very tall and attractive, is standing in front of an incredibly exclusive Aston Martin DB10, which is an iconic British car, whose price is astronomical. Behind we can see the breathtaking skyline of Rome, which is the capital of Italy, a country famous for style, elegance and luxury.

May be an image of 2 people
Oh, piece of cake ! Thanks, Thay Paul.

Teamwork – utilise the internet to gather information. Quite simply, I am at St Paul’s Cathedral and I want to get to Shakespeare’s Globe.

Create a jaw-droppingly brilliant IELTS response telling me about St Paul’s, the Globe and how I can get there on foot.

You have five minutes … go !

St Paul's is exactly opposite Tate Modern on the Thames. | St pauls  cathedral, Saint paul, Bridge city

Bonus points: What symbols can you identify on the map ? What do they signify ?

Now, time for some retail therapy, and we’re going to take it up a notch.

Updated Interchange Mall LVL 1 Map based off feedback : EscapefromTarkov

You will enter at OLI and meet your friend outside of Top Brand. From there, you want to visit The National, then Viking. Afterwards, your friend wants to pop into Books before you meet another friend inside Nortex. Your taxi will pick you up at IDEA.

This time give me directions as well as using relative clauses to explain something about the shops in question … or as much information as you can provide.

May be an image of 4 people and people smiling
Leave it to us, Thay Paul … piece of cake !

See you next week

Celebrate The Year Of The Ox With These Great Chinese Movies Available To  Stream Now | Urban List
Three hours with Thay Paul … sounds good ?

Young Learners, Level 6: adjectives and adverbs review.

8th April 2021

No photo description available.
A typical Vietnamese breakfast; pork, noodles, fresh vegetables and noodles.

Objectives:

Encourage students to speak in long, interesting sentences.

Making the use of adjectives and adverbs a natural part of their English

Develop their ability to express themselves, giving reasons (because) and examples (like, such as)

Show them how much fun English can be by the use of idioms (once in a blue moon, it’s raining cats and dogs)

VOCABULARY BANK

Match the word(s) to the meaning

gigantic / enormous __________ everywhere

tiny / petit _____________________on time

delicious / mouth watering ___very rarely

difficult ________________________ yummy / tasty

once in a blue moon ______ big / huge

punctual______________________ clever

intelligent ____________________ hard

ubiquitous ____________________ very small

IDIOMS:

once in a blue moon

piece of cake (very easy, no problem)

it’s raining cats and dogs (very heavy rain)

NOW … practice:

Street food in Vietnam is (everywhere) ___________________ .

No photo description available.
Traditional English fish and chips. Very yummy … but what are better words for ‘yummy’ ?

Thay Paul loves fish and chips because it is (yummy)_________________ and _____________________. However, it is not very healthy so he only eats it __________________________________________(very rarely)

The man is (very big) however the lady is (very small)

May be an image of 1 person

Mr Paul is saying hello to an elephant which is a very (clever) __________________ animal.

This rabbit is always (on time) _________________

Is it (hard) ____________________ for a gorilla to play drums ? No, it is easy – it’s a piece of cake.

Don’t believe me … OK, just watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La7B8mBnTXs&ab_channel=TomSinger

The capital city of Viet Nam is _____________ . It is a large( very busy) city. Motorbikes are (everywhere) ___________________. Street food is cheap and (yummy) __________________________.

However, sometimes it rains very heavily. In this photo, Thay Paul was (not happy) because ____________________________________.

No photo description available.
Ha Noi 2015, raining cats and dogs.

Adverb practice

always

usually // often // normally

sometimes

rarely

once in a blue moon

never

EXAMPLES:

May be an image of 1 person

I always eat fruit because it is extremely healthy

No photo description available.

I usually read a book when I drink coffee because I love reading.

May be an image of 1 person

I sometimes drive my car to work because it is fun. However, driving in Viet Nam is ________________________.

No photo description available.
Singapore 2019

I rarely go to Singapore because it is extremely expensive.

No photo description available.

I only go home to London once in a blue moon because it is so far away

I never smoke because it is extremely unhealthy !

NOW … your turn: tell me what you do and why.

I always … because …

I usually … because …

I sometimes … because …

I rarely … because …

Once in a blue moon I … because …

I never … because …

May be an image of 5 people and people smiling
Goodbye, Thay Paul

See you next week

IELTS: Complex sentences practice

15th January 2021

Two young Asian woman studying on the desk — Stock Photo © hans3513  #17626271

Being able to use complex sentences, effortlessly, is vital in attaining a respectable IELTS score. With that in mind, this blog is to help students practise.

Quite simply, give more information about your subject.

Extra exercises and vocabulary may be found on a previous blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/23/ielts-introduction-to-complex-sentences/

Without further ado, let’s dive right in !

Tips To Ace All Bands In Your IELTS Test - Skoolmates

To form a complex sentence, we simply need to combine two pieces of information in one sentence, linked by a relative pronoun.

As with all grammar exercises, it makes far more sense to show than tell:

10 Awesome Facts About Rabindranath Tagore Which Show His Prominence

This is Rabindranath Tagore. He was a poet. He was born in Kolkata, India. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

So, we have several pieces of information. Let’s start by making a long but simple sentence:

Rabindranath Tagore won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

As you see, we start with the subject (Rabindranath Tagore) therefore we don’t need the pronoun ‘he’ in this new sentence.

To make this sentence complex, we just add a further piece of information about the subject, by using a relative pronoun:

who = for a person // which for a thing // where = for a place // whose = possession

The name is clearly not English, so let’s talk about his background:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

Rabindranath Tagore won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913 is our main clause (clause being part of a sentence containing a subject and a verb).

who was born in Kolkata gives extra information but it makes no sense on its own. Therefore, it needs the main sentence to give it meaning. In grammar, this is known as a subordinate clause.

Now – we could develop this further:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata which is in India, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

The first subject was Rabindranath Tagore, so we used ‘who’ to give more information.

The second subject was the city, Kolkata ‘which’ is in India.

Confusion by New Order - Songfacts

Yes, confusion ! Kolkata is a place so why use ‘which’ and not ‘where’ ?

Good question; it depends on the clause:

Kolkata which is in India

India is not a person, therefore we treat it as a thing and use ‘which’. Again, show don’t tell:

London, where I was born, is the capital of the UK. [object is ‘I’, a person, so we use ‘where‘.]

London, which is the capital of the UK, is where I was born. [object is ‘capital’, not a person, so we use ‘which‘]

Let’s get back to our Indian poet. The third subject is the Noble Prize … you could add more information here (awarded every year in Sweden).

Naturally, one could write endlessly, constantly adding more information about subjects but, for this exercise, just focus on a main clause and a subordinate clause.

NOW … Your turn

Subject (comma) + relative pronoun + (comma) main clause starting with a verb:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

Make complex sentences:

Stockholm. Capital city of Sweden. Is very expensive. Is very cold in winter.

Louise Glück. Born in 1943. Born in New York, USA. Won Noble Prize for Literature in 2020. She is a poet.

Starbucks is a coffee chain. Company founded in 1971. Company started in Seattle in north-west USA. Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain (information from Wikipedia).

Seattle is in USA. Seattle is famous for Grunge music. Many bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden came from Seattle.

Mozart. A famous composer. Born in Austria. Died in 1791. Buried in a common grave.

Vincom Centre. In District 1 by Hotel Continental. Largest shopping mall in Sai Gon. Has many international brands such as Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren.

Frida Kahlo was an artist. She was born in Mexico. She was born in 1907. She painted many portraits and self-portraits.

Sergei Eisenstein is a famous film director. He was born in Latvia (then part of Russia). In 1930 he began a film in Mexico. It is about the Day of the Dead festival. This festival is every year at the beginning of November.

Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2020
Louise Glück – Noble Prize winner 2020
Nirvana Uploads Full Live and Loud Concert to YouTube: Watch | Consequence  of Sound
Nirvana
How a Horrific Bus Accident Changed Frida Kahlo's Life - Biography
Frida Kahlo
Films > Sergei Eisenstein
Day of the Dead, Mexico. Film by Sergei Eisenstein.
Asian Woman With Thumb Up Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image.  Image 42574102.
Good luck !

Young learners, level 6: Travel Journal Project

10th December 2020

Everybody Up 6, Unit 2 project

Make Your Own Travel Diary : 8 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

Class will be arranged in four small groups and they will be assigned a city. The students have an hour to collect information, produce a short journal (with maps, photos, illustrations etc) and present to the class.

The destinations are:

London, Barcelona, Seoul & Rio de Janeiro

I shall provide some photo printouts for their covers.

The journal must include:

When to go // an itinerary // a famous museum or building // how the students got there

Virtual itineraries – a digital day out in London - Lonely Planet

London: best time to go is in Spring // British Museum is free -Open daily 10.00 am – 5.00 pm // Take the Tube (subway) to Holborn // Hamleys Toy Shop – Open 11.00 – 5.00 // Take the 25 bus and walk down Regent Street.

6 Of The Top Places To Take Kids In London | London Planner Magazine

Barcelona: Best time is May – June // Gaudi Church (Sagrada Familia) Open 9.00 – 7.00 pm // Take Metro Line 2 (subway) // Have a picnic in Gaudi park (Parc Güell) – Open 9.30 – 7.00 pm) -get there by taxi // At night walk along the famous street Las Ramblas and walk around the old town centre

A guide to La Rambla, Barcelona | Insight Guides Blog

Seoul: Best time is summer // Seoul Tower – take bus number 2 – Open 10.00 – 11.00 pm // Traditional village – take a taxi. // Walk around, visit small museums and try traditional food // At night, walk along city creek and try Korean street food.

Cheonggyecheon Stream in central Seoul

Rio de Janeiro: best time is February, for the Festival // Walk there from your hotel // Visit the Christ statue – take a taxi but go early morning. // Go to the beach at Ipanema – take the Metro Rio (Subway) // Try amazing Brazilian food like crazy beef or foot bug ! //

Some Brazilian food for you know when you visit us. - 9GAG

Rio de Janeiro Carnival 2021 Dates - Feb 12 thru Feb 20, 2021
Festival in Rio !

NOW … have fun

Subject Index: Video Clips used in ESL Classes

4th December 2020

Video Clips

ABC song // KG Safari 1 // 10 March 2019

ABC (Richard Scary) // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

Airport – passport control // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: // sun, surf, sand // 18th May 2020

Archimedes screw pump. Theory & in practice // Adult Professionals. Mechanics. Theme: Archimedes // 26th February 2020

Australian hero – Aussie slang // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

John Bercow ‘Order !’ // Young Learners 1 // 13th April 2019

Black Friday // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Blind Date TV dating show // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Blur (‘Parklife’) // Young Learners 1 // 16th March 2019

Boy wiggles ears // Adult C, L 3 // 12th December 2019

Adrian Brody as Dali (Woody Allen) // Young Learners 4 // 26th October 2019

George W. Bush leaves room // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

Chicago, Willis Tower // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Chimpanzee tea-party (1955) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPD_m2laITc

Christmas UK // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Class Rules // Young Learners 1 // 16th March 2019

Concorde // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Corona Virus Government video // IELTS 4 – 5 // Implementing precautions // 25th March 2020

Benedict Cumberbatch (voices and accents) // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020

Customer complaints // Adult Speaking Class, L2 Part 2

Damn fine coffee // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Dickens ‘Christmas Carol’ // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3

Robert Downey Jr awkward interview // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019

Dragon’s Den pitch (beard grooming) // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

Dynamo magic // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th December 2019

Easter traditions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 1st January 2020

Ancient Egypt (for children) // Young Learners 2 // 1st June 2019

Engineering fails // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Entropy // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Eyewitnesses // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Crime & Punishment

Four Weddings bad vicar speech // Adult Speak Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Friction // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Funny animals // Young Learners 1 // 26th May 2019

Germany: Top Attractions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th Feb 2020

Germany: Top Ten Facts // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th Feb 2020

Germany: Krautrock // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th February 2020

Greek dancing // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

How couples meet // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Inbetweeners (Jay on motorbike) // Adult Class // 17- 19 December 2019

Internal combustion engine // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Introductions – what’s your name // Beginners’ English, Part 2

iPhone in a vacuum // Young Learners 4 // 16th November 2019

Job interviews // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Job interviews // 12th Feb 2020

Karaoke (noise pollution) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Buster Keaton GIF // Young Learners, Level 5 // 6th June 2020

Kicked out of Starbucks // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

Kids guide to London // Young Learners 5 // 25th August 2019

Kids guide to HCMC //Young Learners 4 // 23rd November 2019

Kids’ parade USA // Young Learners 4 // 1st May 2019

Japan: 3 days in Tokyo // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan: 7 cool things // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan: 10 facts // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan:Shinkanshen (Bullet Train) // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Joker (H. Ledger GIF) // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Last Jedi trailer // Beginners’ English

David Letterman // Young Learners 4 // 1st June 2019

London

London cost of living // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London street trader // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

London Top 10 Attractions // Teenagers // 16th December 2018 /// // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd march 2020

London getting around (Oyster Card) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London How to use the Tube // Young Learners, Level 6 // 5th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/05/young-learners-level-6-london-screen-test/

London Tube (busy) // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

London Tube (rush hour) // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

London Tube guide // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

McDonalds ordering fast food // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Making a video // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Milk box fail // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

New Zealand Haka // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Not One Less // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

Olympics (Beijing) // Adult Professionals // 10th February 2019

Paris love-locks // // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Adverbs & expressions // 26th June 2020

Peter O’Toole // Young Teens // 17th January 2019

Phrasal verbs (family) // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 3

Poland beer review // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Poland tourist guide // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Politicians attacked // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3

Pulp Fiction coffee shop // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Queen Elizabeth II (Christmas 2011) // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020

Queen Elizabeth II (Christmas 2015) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 15th May 20202

Queen Elizabeth II (corona address) // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Rain forest // Young Learners, Level 5 // 6th June 2020

Richard III // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020

Romeo and Juliet // // Adult Speaking Class, level 3

Jerry Seinfeld GIF //Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: What type of person ? // 19th June 2020

Social Network // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Spain, Pamplona running with the bulls // Young Learners, Level 6 // 5th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/05/young-learners-level-6-london-screen-test/

Ringo Starr being knighted // Adult Class, Level 1 // 5th March 2019

Snow // Beginners’ English, Part 2

Sir Kier Starmer (Labour leader, UK) // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Supersize Me // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Taiwan (four videos – WHO dodge, Tsai Ing-wen) // Taiwan: Listening Extra 12th April 2020

Quentin Tarantino awkward interview // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019

Tarantino on Chungking Express // 16th April 2019 /// IELTS // 4th March 2019

Nikola Tesla // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Theseus & the Minotaur (Lego) // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

Top Gear: Vietnamese driving school // Adult C, L 3 // 25th December 2018 // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

Top Gear Vietnam // Top Gear Special: What can go wrong ? // 28th April 2020

Train, high-speed in China // Adult pros // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Train song // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

President Trump news (Viet subs) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 // 11th March 2020

Tuareg people // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme: Travel // 11th February 2020

Universeum, Sweden // Young Learners 3 // 14th December 2019

USA – San Francisco // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: San Fran, Boston, Chicago // 18th May 2020

Vietnam

Vietnam on video Part 1 (3 clips: beer / weird culture / superstitions // Part 1 // 23rd October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/23/vietnam-on-video-part-1/

Vietnam on Video Part 2 (Ha Noi & SG, Top Gear driving school, Floyd on pho) // 26th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/26/vietnam-on-video-part-2/

Angry Vietnamese woman // Adult Class, Level 3: Generally speaking // 28th April 2020

Cooking Vietnamese food // Vietnamese Party Food // 19th May 2020

Vietnam – country in transition // IELTS // 30th July 2019

Vietnamese culture (weird) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Vietnam (first impressions) // Teenagers // 12th January 2019

Vietnam – 5 weird things // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 20th December 2019:

Vietnam – 5 weird things // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 28th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/28/love-and-marriage-the-best-bits/

Vietnam – 7 fun facts // Beginners’ English

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red) // IELTS // 21st January 2019

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKr6Cj-Xr9g&list=LLfquznE0joCgmA3v1PIQ0CQ&index=8&t=1s

Vietnam (safety in Sai Gon) // Teenagers // 20th January 2019 /// Adult C, L 3 // 5th September 2019

Vietnamese cop on speeding bus // Adult C, L 3 // 25th December 2018// Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

Vietnam (unexpected things vlog) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019

Vietnamese urban myths // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Christoph Waltz ‘Inglorious’ // Adult Class, L 1 // 26th February 2019

Wedding fails // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Wedding language // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Wedding parties (Jewish & Mexican) // Adult Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Arsene Wenger zipper fail // Beginners’ English, Part 2

What happened next ? (video clips) // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

When the band comes marching // Young Learners 1 // 26th May 2019

Mark Wiens eats VN breakfast // Young Learners 2 // 25th August 2019

Mark Wiens Kolkata, India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

(// Young Learners 4 // 9th November 2019) // Adult C, L 3 // 8th October 2019

Workplace fails // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Work-place problems // 5th February 2020

Young Learners, Level 6: London itinerary

26th November 2020

What could you do in London in two full days, a morning and an evening ?

Choose what to do and how much it will cost ?

How will you get there ?

Plan an itinerary

You are at your hotel and ready for sightseeing on Tuesday at 12.30pm

What will you do in the afternoon ?

You have Wednesday and Thursday free.

You have free time on Friday morning.

What will you do, how much will you spend ?

Heart at London Zoo: We go behind the scenes to see the animals and their  keepers... - Heart

LONDON ZOO

Open: 10.00am – 4.00 pm daily

Price:  £ 26 [800 000 VND]

Tube Station (subway):  £2.40 [74 000 VND] 

London Eye - Wikipedia

LONDON EYE

Open: 10.00 am – 6.00 pm (winter) daily

Price: £27.00 [838 000 VND]

Ferry stop £36.50 with river tour [1 130 000 VND]

Dippy the Dinosaur Leaves the Natural History Museum | artnet News

NATIONAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Open: 10.00 am – 6.00 pm daily

Price: free

Catch a taxi £15.00 [465 000 VND]

The 8 job vacancies at Hampton Court Palace - how to get them and how much  they pay - MyLondon

HAMPTON COURT PALACE

Open: 10.00 am – 4.30 pm

Price: £24.50 [760 000 VND]

Take a train £7.60 [235 000 VND]

Hamleys opens its second store in KolkataIBG News | IBG News

HAMLEYS TOY SHOP

Open 11.00 am – 8.00 pm

Most expensive toy is a dollhouse Price £250 [7 756 000 VND]

Ride the bus £1.50 [46 500 VND]

And, for food in London ?

Fish and chips – Wikipedia tiếng Việt
fish and chips
McDonald's launches FOUR new menu items today including naan burgers and  salted caramel Galaxy McFlurries
McDonalds
Món Ngon Việt Hackney - Home - London, United Kingdom - Menu, Prices,  Restaurant Reviews | Facebook
Vietnamese food
Is afternoon tea at The Ritz just for tourists? We find out - Time Out  London
tea and cakes at the Ritz Hotel
We all love a 99 flake but where do they get their name from? - MyLondon

Love and Chaos Part 1(D) Marina 1

13th November 2020

Part One. London. Spring 1993

“So what’s wrong with you ?”

Richard put down his glass, took a deep sigh and said,

“Boyfriend trouble.”

Chris had known him long enough to know that this wasn’t some belated confession, but rather the preamble to a skit that Richard had been preparing the whole day, if not longer. Without prompting, Richard delivered the tagline;

“All the girls I like have got boyfriends.”

Chris grabbed his drink, thus avoiding the cue to make a cymbal-crash. While he appreciated these jokes, he didn’t want to seem overly impressed, in case Richard felt encouraged to make nothing but.

He knew he was no match for Richard in word games, having already conceded that point back at Fordham’s. It was near the beginning of Chris’ tenure. Richard would pass by his desk, while he was alone, and call out, “Hello, chaps,” then happily wander off. Chris gave the raised eyebrow but this was a very ineffectual comeback. After the greeting became a regular fixture, and Chris was unable to counter it, he shouted back one time,

“There’s only one of me,” to which Richard answered, immediately,

“Oh, gentlemen, don’t both speak at once !”

But now Richard was going to talk about girls.

“So there’s Neeva, from Newcastle. Lovely lass.”

“But …”

“There’s also Douglas. The boyfriend.”

“ Also working there ? You’ll be able to keep tabs on the situation.”

“True, but it seems solid. Didn’t get anywhere at Fordham’s.”

“Who did you like ?”

“All of them. But with Neeva … well, something’s possible. We all went out last Saturday, it was Gerald’s last day.”

“Which one’s that ?”

“Well he’s called Gerald, that’s all you need to know, going into stock broking, or merchant banking … anyway, we’re at the pub, I’m next to Neeva, who seems to have a low tolerance for alcohol,”

“Always a good sign.”

“And we’re talking. She’s saying how she wishes she was a tall blond goddess, which, of course, is cue for me to tell her how great looking she really is, then somehow she’s telling me how she likes to stretch out in front of a fire and just be stroked all night, like a cat.”

Chris stuck his hand up in the air, getting the attention of everyone around him in the West End pub.

“I volunteer for the job, sight unseen.”

“Hands off. Next thing I know, she’s whispering in my ear, ‘I think you’re fucking gorgeous, actually.’ ”

Chris, gave an encouraging nod, raised his glass and took a drink.

“There you are. What happened ?”

“That’s it. Nothing. She went to the bathroom, came back, then she and Doug left. Together.”

“Not good … but … yeah, maybe …”

“What … “

“Maybe, just maybe, things aren’t too great with Doug the thug. Maybe she’d putting out feelers, see if you’d be interested, if and when …”

“I’ll drink to that. So how’s your place ?”

Chris had the job, but was sent to a branch in Kensington. With Richard working in the City, they decided to meet half way, usually drinking in small pubs in side roads off Oxford Street. Neither was entirely happy with their new occupation, Richard’s managerial status merely meaning that he was responsible for staff rotas, while Chris found the food and drink industry to be non-stop, with the store having only quieter periods, never quiet. The wages were similar, but both had more work and a much tighter environment. There were understandably nostalgic about Fordham’s.

“My place ? It’s Kensington. The customers are snobs, the delivery people are snobs, the bloody window cleaner is a snob. The staff ? All got three names; Sophie Fawcett-Brown. Belinda Newington-Heathcoat. Even the staff are snobs. To me. I was driven there, after the interview, by Russell …”

Richard groaned. He remembered the man from his time with the company, Russell being tall and very blond, almost albino, with large square glasses, an upper class voice and no discerning qualities whatsoever. He was never exactly sure what is was that Russell did.

“And we’re driving through Knightsbridge and he asking me if I know this area. Bloody snob, he knows I’m not from London, but just had to play his stupid one-upmanship games. I’m looking for something else.”

“This is London. Everybody’s looking for something else.”

They meet only once or twice a week, now, as it had become too expensive. Chris was devastated how quickly money just went, and Richard was constantly using his savings to finance the drinking sessions. They began to meet at each other’s bedsits and go to local pubs, or even just buy a small bottle of whisky from an off-license. On one of these nights Chris, visiting Richard, spoke about his plans for the September term.

“Don’t think I’ll be doing Physics anymore. Think I’ll change to English Lit. Melanie thinks it’s a good idea. And she can help. She’s read every book ever written.”

Richard wasn’t sure how to react. It seemed such a drastic and spontaneous action. Chris justified his decision, explaining how he wasn’t really getting much out of his course and needed a new direction. Yet, Chris seemed happy, as if he were keeping something back for surprise. The opportunity soon came when the half bottle of Teachers was drained. Chris went to his rucksack and pulled out two bottles of French beer, but before Richard could show his delight, Chris topped this act by pulling out two wine bottles.

“I didn’t tell you. My branch has an alcohol license.”

“And you got a staff discount ?” but even while Richard was asking the innocent question, Chris’ eyes told the answer.

It was the start of a new ritual. Richard would buy a small whisky, Chris would arrive with beer and wine. Chris chose the evening before a free day, while Richard was forced to go to work with a determination never to drink again, a resolution that evaporated by lunch time.

This situation suited Richard as he could get drunk at home and not have to spend so much money. His room had a spare coach upon which Chris slept, then made his way home later in the morning. Once or twice a month they met up with Melanie, though Richard sensed a slight reticence on Chris’ part and a certain holding back of information.

Another side effect of the home drinking was that Richard was alienated from Chris’ other friends, not knowing anyone at the branch where he worked. There had been mention of Nuno, a Portuguese chef, and a new German girl Chris spoke highly, then glowingly of, but he wasn’t prepared for the news Chris broke one night.

The whisky was finished, the topic of their workday, likewise. No mention had been made of either of their returns to university. The beers came out and quickly vanished, then the wine. They opened both, clinked and drank from their bottles. They enjoyed the semblance of decadence. While they were speaking about nothing in particular, Chris said,

“I’m moving to Berlin,” then took a long swig, averting his eyes from Richard, who, duly surprised, wanted to know more but knew that Chris would only tell him when he was ready. Thankfully, when Chris began speaking, it was sometimes hard to stop him, and he spoke about Marina, the German girl.

Marina was from what had been West Berlin and had come to London for a break, improve her English, see the sights. Apparently, Chris had been out with her a few times, friendly, platonic dates, but had started to be drawn to her. Very drawn to her.

“We were in this pub and I guess I may have been talking a little loudly, and the tequila slammers didn’t help, when this pouncey barman comes over and asks me to be quiet. One of those, ‘I’m not really a barman,’ sorts, ‘I’m an actor’ pricks.’ But I’ve been drinking tequila, so I’m just dying for a Mexican stand-off, and I slam down my second, it’s a pub for fuck’s sake, over he comes, over comes another barman, young, bald bastard, then the manager. Well, Marina can’t believe it. ‘This would never happen in Berlin’ she said, so I told her, ‘I’m moving to Berlin,’ and she said, ‘Good.’ So that’s it. I’m going to Berlin.”

“Holiday ?”

“No, to live.”

Richard knew that, at least this evening, with the wine already half gone, he couldn’t put up an argument, nor would he want to. He could only face going into work because he knew it was for a specific time period then he’d be back studying. How so many people could live this life was beyond him, so he totally appreciated Chris’ idea, even if it were to remain merely a nice thought.

“So, what do you know about Berlin ?”

“Nothing !” replied Chris, defiantly. “No, wait … the Brandenburg Gate. Olympic Stadium. The Wall. Nazi’s. Burning books.”

“Sounds great. Grey. Rain. Men with short hair in long leather coats, just standing on street corners, like robots.”

“Sauerkraut. Great food in general”

“Uummm … no, I’m all out. Got nothing.”

“Me neither. Oh. Marina. That’s the only reason I need.”

“Ah, I see. Here’s to Marina. Maybe I can meet her soon. ?”

They clinked and finished the wine and spent the remainder of their evening making bad German jokes. Richard wasn’t sure how much to believe, but when he met Chris the following week near China Town, he understood that it was all quite serious.

“Let’s not mention Berlin to Melanie. Could be a bit tricky.”

“OK,” said Richard. Speaking about Berlin while they were still sober proved that Chris really did intend to go. Chris, however, broke his own rule, during the second round of drinks, and Melanie was surprisingly supportive. She, of course, had been there, back in the late Eighties, had stood on the platform by the Wall, had taken a day trip into the East and had stories and advice on what to do and see. Richard began to get interested, but had to contain a smile as Chris wrote in a little notebook under the table, which he passed to him,

DON’T MENTION MARINA !!!

It was the last time the three of them drank together in London. Within a month, Richard had received the first letter from Berlin.

Richard – in trouble – please send money.

Love and Chaos: Contents

11th November 2020

Contents

Part One: London / Berlin August 1991 – September 1993

Richard – 1 London August 1991 – September 1992
Chris – 1 London September 1992
Melanie London September 1992 – Spring 1993
Marina London Spring 1993
Richard – 2 London Spring 1993
Chris – 2 Berlin Spring 1993
Claudia Berlin Spring 1993
Chris – 3 Berlin Spring – Summer 1993
Richard – 3 Berlin September 1993
The Divine Poet From Florence
Chris – 4 Berlin September 1993
Shoulder Berlin September 1993
Steffi Berlin September 1993

Part Two: Berlin November 1993

Richard – 1 London / Berlin Sept – Nov 1993
Chris – 2 Berlin November 1993
The Knock On The Door
Will Berlin November 1993
Firefly Prologue
Firefly
Nuno Berlin November 1993
Chris – 2 Berlin November 1993
Richard – 2 Berlin November 1993

Part Three: London / Berlin Spring – Summer 1994

Richard – 1 London Spring 1994
Chris – 1 Berlin Spring 1994
Kurt
Richard – 2 London Summer 1994
Hitch
Chris – 2 Berlin Summer 1994

Part Four: Berlin Summer 1994

Richard – 1 Berlin Summer 1994
Lorelei – 1 Berlin Summer 1994
Chris – 1 Berlin Summer 1994
The Concert of Grotesques
Gabi – 1 Berlin Summer 1994
Chris – 2 Berlin Summer 1994
Monika – 1 Berlin Summer 1994
Richard – 1 Berlin Summer 1994
Arizona Al – 1 Berlin Summer 1994

Part Five: Berlin Autumn – Winter 1994

How A Coffee Break Started A New Scientific Theory
Chris – 1 Berlin Autumn 1994
Richard – 1 Berlin Autumn 1994
Burkhard – 1 Berlin Autumn 1994
Chris – 2 Berlin Autumn 1994
Tommy – 1 Berlin Autumn 1994
Tommy – 2 Berlin Autumn 1994
Richard – 2 Berlin Autumn 1994
Chris – 1 Berlin Autumn 1994
Sylvester – 1 Berlin New Year’s Eve 1994

Part Six: Berlin / Winter – Spring 1995

Chris – 1 Berlin January 1995
Monika – 1 Berlin January 1995
Richard – 1 Berlin February 1995
Three English Portraits
Arizona Al – 1 Berlin February 1995
Monika – 2 Berlin February 1995
Johan – 1 Berlin February 1995
Descriptions Of ADoctor
Jake – 1 Berlin February 1995
Chris – 2 Berlin March 1995
Richard – 2 Berlin March 1995
Daniel – 1 Berlin April 1995

Part Seven: Berlin / London / USA Spring – Summer 1995

Stefan – 1 Berlin Spring 1995
Daniel – 1 Berlin May 1995
Chris – 1 Berlin May 1995
Boris – 1 Berlin
Ragno Prologue Berlin Summer 1995
Ragno – 1 Berlin early – mid 1990’s
Richard – 1 Berlin June 1995
Daniel – 2 Berlin June 1995
Monika – 1 Berlin June 1995
Alan – 1 London July 1995
Eric – 1 L.A. USA July 1995

Part Eight: Berlin. Summer 1995

Alan – 1 Berlin August 1995
CallMeHerman
Chris – 1 Berlin August 1995
Richard – 1 Berlin August 1995
Julie – 1 Berlin September 1995
Chris – 2 Berlin September 1995
Daniel – 1 Berlin October 1995
Alan – 2 Berlin October 1995

Part Nine: Berlin.

Daniel – 1 Berlin November 1995
Johanna – 1 Berlin
Serge – 1 Berlin