Making a podcast – behind the scenes at “English, please!”​

    Spotlight Audio 7/2024
    Inez Sharp
    © Matthieu Rouil

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    Transcript: Making a podcast – behind the scenes at “English, please!”​

    Inez: Every two weeks, we at Spotlight produce a podcast called English, please! How do we choose the topics and how do we prepare for this task? Join me now in a look behind the scenes at the making of our podcast. Here to tell you about their part in this work are Nadia Lawrence, who is our features editor, and Owen Connors, who creates the audio for Spotlight. Owen, we to kick off (ifml.)starten​kick off each podcast with an interesting word or expression. You choose these terms. Can you tell us more about the process?​

    Owen: Yes, of course. Yeah, I’m the official word nerd (ifml.)Freak, Spezialist(in)​nerd apparently.​

    Inez: You are! Phrase freak!​

    Owen: Yeah. I’ve been known by many words. Yeah. So, what I’m looking for are expressions that might not maybe be immediately understandable to a non-native speaker. Perhaps words or expressions that offer an insight into the culture of an English-speaking country.​

    Inez: OK. And new words or old words? Tell us about the thought process.​

    Owen: I’m open to everything. We’ve had “rizz” recently, which is a very new word, a very slangy informal term.​

    Inez: Meaning?​

    Owen: Meaning… to have “rizz” is to have skill in attracting other people, to be cool, maybe good looking, but generally to have charisma.​

    Nadia: Oh, from charisma.​

    Owen: Cha-ris-ma!​

    Inez: Well, it’s not quite clear where that comes from, but it could be, we think perhaps charisma. We’re not sure. OK. Yeah. So old words, new words, yeah.​

    Owen: I’ve got one that I particularly like, which was “fuddy-duddy (ifml.)komischer, alter Kauz​fuddy-duddy”.​

    Inez: I remember that, yes.​

    Owen: I identify with “fuddy-duddy”. I am a fuddy-duddy.​

    Inez and Nadia: No, you’re not.​

    Owen: Yes, my children tell me regularly. Maybe not in such kind terms. And yeah, fuddy-duddy is basically a way of describing someone set in their ways, a little old-fashioned. And it’s a funny, playful kind of a term.​

    Inez: OK. Well, we’re not going to call you a fuddy-duddy, but it is a lovely expression, you’re absolutely right. Nadia, our next section is the round table discussion, and last week we sat down together and chose topics for upcoming recordings. Can you take us through the process of creating a list like that?​

    Nadia: Yes. So, we want to talk about topics which are either of current interest in the world at the moment that our listeners might be talking about anyway or are interested in, or it might to spark sth.etw. aufkeimen lassen​spark an idea in somebody. Or we like to identify topics which are what we call evergreen topics.​

    Inez: Can you give us an example of both?​

    Nadia: Yes. For example…​

    Inez: Haven’t we got football coming up?​

    Nadia: Yeah, we have football coming up. We also have a topic, for example, that we’ll time to to coincidesich decken​coincide with the Paris Olympics, which will be on how good can athletes really get, if there’s any limit at all to how good athletes can get. And an evergreen topic would be, for example, one that we’ve already talked about in a podcast, which would be a topic like: Would you like to live to be an extremely advanced age? Would you like your life to continue until you’re 120, 130 or something like that?​

    Inez: Aren’t we going to talk about the royal family at some point as well?​

    Nadia: Yes, we’re also going to talk about the royal family. We’re going to talk about not the personalities of the royal family, but about the British monarchy. And we’re also going to talk about the class system in the UK. Yes, we’re going to be talking about our favourite politicians in the run up to the American election in November.​

    Inez: Yeah, so we’ve got a nice long list with a good choice of topics – evergreen and current topics as well.​

    Nadia: Exactly.​

    Inez: OK. Then towards the end of the podcast, I interview our book reviewer, Eve Lucas, about a book that she’d like to recommend for our readers. My favourite so far was in an early episode of the podcast where she spoke about the biography of Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books.​

    Nadia: Why was that your favourite?​

    Inez: Because Ian Fleming was so much a sort of quintessentialdurch und durch​quintessentially upper-class English boy, man, who, how can I put it, he really, he kind of lived the James Bond story in a way. I didn’t know, there were a lot of things, I think perhaps the best way to describe this is a lot of things about his life were quite surprising and quite entertaining. So, I didn’t know that he helped create the blueprintBlaupause, Entwurf, Plan​blueprint for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) (US)Auslandsgeheimdienst der Vereinigten Staaten​CIA.​

    Nadia: GoshMann, Wow​Gosh.​

    Inez: Did you know that?​

    Nadia: No, not until I listened to the podcast.​

    Inez: Also, I didn’t know that he spent an evening with President Kennedy. Kennedy was a big fan of the James Bond books, and they spent an evening talking about the situation in Cuba together. And yeah, and there were lots of things about this man, which were really… he also, he’s quite a moving person in the sense that he never seemed to be quite on top of his life, unlike James Bond. OK, finally, can you tell me, Nadia, Owen, about being in the studio, which is where we are now. What’s this like for you? Owen, do you want to begin?​

    Owen: Yeah, sure. I love actually being in the studio. For me, it’s like being on stage. You are in…​

    Inez: In the spotlight?​

    Owen: In the spotlight! And, yeah, I get quite an adrenaline rush from it. I particularly like the fact that we’re basically just having a conversation, knocking ideas off each other, and the listeners get to, you know, to eavesdrop on sb.jmdn. (heimlich) belauschen​eavesdrop on us.​

    Inez: Right.​

    Owen: And I particularly like the ideas that we come up with and the synergyZusammenwirken​synergy we have. I think it’s a good mix.​

    Inez: It is a little bit like, very similar to the conversations we actually have in the office when we’re not recording. Is that right, Nadia?​

    Nadia: Yes, it is, I think. I really enjoy these conversations because they are conversations, and I feel very much that our listeners are almost in this recording studio with us, which is a lovely thought actually, but I also particularly value the chance, the opportunity, to hear both your views on things that I find are genuinelyecht, wirklich​genuinely very interesting.​

    Owen: And what about you, Inez? What do you like most about being in the studio?​

    Inez: Well, you know, I’ve been a speaker for a long, long time, and I just, I love that moment. It’s like the beginning, particularly at the beginning, it’s like when an orchestra is, sort of, we come in and we’re chatting to each other, and it’s like to tune(Instrument) stimmen​tuning the instruments, and then there’s a little bit of a hushStille​hush, and our voices are then, everything’s set up, and we can hear our voices in this, sort of magical, slightly, almost echoey (non-stand.)widerhallend​echoey environment. And then Matthieu, our sound engineerToningenieur(in)​sound engineer, says, “Sound’s rolling!” And then off we golos gehtʼs​off we go. And how magic is that? I just feel really lucky to be part of it.​

    Nadia: Yes, me too.​

    Inez: Thank you.​

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