IELTS / Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Going for a song !

21st August 2020

Some lessons can be rather hard-going, too much IELTS listening or speaking practice so, to mix things up, I use some little diversions to cleanse the palate.

[Today, I will not explain every new phrase – look them up yourselves, write them down and USE them and USE them and USE them !]

Therefore, here’s a little activity I used last week. It’s a hit song from the early 1980s, in fact, it was massive ! The song is an example of Synth pop which is pop music played, or predominantly played, on keyboards or synthesisers. Synth pop, which dominated the charts during my teen years, was not really my cup of tea, I was more into jangly guitar bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds and, in the 1980s, we had The Smiths.

Having said that, I really liked this hit by the band Human League who came from Sheffield which is in the north of England. The single was tremendously successful, staying at number 1 for five weeks in the UK as well as reaching the top of the US charts although for just three weeks which is still an amazing achievement.

Without further ado, the activity: What is happening in this video. Secondly, what is the story – can you understand what the man says and then, can you understand the woman’s reply ?

Try answering these questions:

What job did the woman have ?

How long did it take for the women to become a big star ?

Is the man leaving the woman ?

Does the woman still love the man ?

What does the woman want to do ?

And now, the full lyrics:

You were workin’ as a waitress in a cocktail bar
When I met you
I picked you out, I shook you up and turned you around
Turned you into someone new
Now five years later on, you’ve got the world at your feet
Success has been so easy for you
But don’t forget, it’s me who put you where you are now
And I can put you back down too

Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me
Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me
It’s much too late to find
You think you’ve changed your mind
You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
That much is true
But even then, I knew I’d find a much better place
Either with or without you
The five years we have had have been such good times
I still love you
But now, I think it’s time I live my life on my own
I guess it’s just what I must do

Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me
Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me
It’s much too late to find
You think you’ve changed your mind
You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?

Songwriters: John William Callis / Philip Oakey / Adrian Philip Wright The Sound of the Crowd lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Domino Publishing Company

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS BLOG ISN’T MONETISED IN ANY WAY. THE VIDEO AND LYRICS ARE TAKEN FROM THE INTERNET. NO COPYRIGHT VIOLATION IS INTENDED, AND I WILL REMOVE THE BLOG UPON REQUEST WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

THANK YOU TO THE SONGWRITERS, THE BAND AND THE PUBLISHERS

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London, Part 2

6th March 2020

Guess the building

These are photos of real buildings in London. Can you guess what they were / are ?

Image result for Tate modern
Image result for London smalles police
Image result for London globe theatre
Image result for London lloyds building
Image result for London new zealand house ho chi minh
Image result for London new zealand house ho chi minh

Can you guess ?

ONE: Tate Modern art gallery – it used to be a power station, hence the large, imposing scale and tall chimney.

TWO: It was the smallest police station; it had a telephone and space for one officer. No longer in service. This is in a corner of Trafalgar Square.

THREE: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This is a reconstruction; the original building burnt down in the C17th.

FOUR: Lloyds Building. Lloyds of London are an insurance company, providing financial services.

FIVE: This is New Zealand House, near Trafalgar Square. The building itself is rather nondescript but, for my Vietnamese students, there is a feature of interest …

SIX: A Blue Plaque stating that Ho Chi Minh once worked at a hotel that stood on this site. There are many Blue Plaques around London saying where famous people lived or worked.

New vocabulary

imposing– powerful or scary-looking. Normally police stations or government buildings

reconstruction– rebuilding (in this example, made to look like the original The Globe Theatre)

nondescript – nothing special, ordinary, plain

stood on this site- a building WAS here but is now gone (demolished / torn down)

England doesn’t really manufacture – our wealth is derived (comes) from services such as banking, finance, insurance and teaching !

Synth pop 

(listening & British pop culture)

Image result for 80s synth pop

Electronic music from the early 1980s. The band is called Human League, the song, a chart-topper (was No. 1 in the music charts), is called ‘Don’t You Want Me.’ What do you think ? Is it up your street (you like it) or not your cup of tea (you don’t like it) ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPudE8nDog0

What do you think is meant by ‘synth’ pop ?

What is happening in this song ? 

How much do you understand ? 

Do you notice any phrasal verbs ?

REAL LIFE LISTENING

This is a British TV comedy show called ‘Only Fools and Horses.’

Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvsvnW49qRU

Image result for only fools and horses

Trigger You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Jim Hey ? Yeah, I suppose you’re right there, Trigger.

Trigger I know how much it can hurt. I had a relationship break-up a few years ago. She worked in my council depot. (local government office)

Mike (barman) She was a lady roadsweeper ?

Trigger Oh, no, she was management … real high-flyer … you had to go to her when you wanted a a new broom ! Linda … nice girl, had a funny eye. Never knew if she was looking at me or seeing if the bus was coming. Anyway, she’d heard about this little hotel down Henley-on-Thames (outside London) and she said to me, “How about spending a weekend there ?”

Del-boy (on phone) What sort of money we talking about ? Well, I’ll have to pop down and see you, won’t I, eh ?

Mike Yeah ?

Trigger What ?

Mike What happened ?

Jim Was it a nice weekend ?

Trigger Yeah, at least I thought it was, but she didn’t wanna see me no more after it.

Jim Well, I don’t like to pry, Trig but …

Mike No, no, no … it’s a bit personal.

Del Hang on, Bronco … Trig ! What ‘appened ?

Trigger She got jealous ! I ‘eard later, through friends, that she wanted to go with me.

Jim I’ll have a large scotch, Mike !

What was wrong with the weekend ? What was Trigger’s mistake ?

Do you notice how in parts of London, native speakers drop the ‘h’ so we have “What ‘appened ?” instead of “What happened ?” “I ‘eard, ” instead of “I heard.”

Finally, a famous song about London: Ralph McTell ‘Streets of London.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z91n5Vskjg

Image result for streets of london ralph