Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Passionate about theatre

Title: Playwriting

Provider: National Theatre (British)

I love art and I love listening to people passionate about the subject they’re talking about. This podcasts combines both. The title may scare away some people, but believe me you don’t have to aspire to write a play to find this interesting. I was drawn to this podcast because I love to listen to writers talk about their craft. I always want to know more after reading a book: which were the difficult parts to write? Which were the easiest? Where do the names come from? Those and many, many more questions often remain unanswered. I admit I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play by any of the interviewed play-writers. The best part is – I didn’t have to. When a person is truly passionate about their subject I could listen to them for hours on end. This is, of course made more enjoyable by the fact that those people are writers. This shows in the language they use. It may not be particularly fancy or sophisticated, but somehow it just flows and is truly a pleasure to listen to. I can’t stress enough how brilliant this podcast is. It comes in video format and each episode only takes a couple of minutes. After I watched  one I could not tear myself away and watched all the others straight away (even though I should probably have been studying).

This time, for a change, I’m not telling you to go and listen, no, this time go and watch. Just take the few minutes and you will not be disappointed.

By Izabela

P.S. I’m sorry that the link is for iTunes, but the only other source I could find is YouTube.


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Accelerating Science

You will all have to excuse me in this post, because this time the listening I’m recommending is not that easily available. You see, I was traveling during my winter vacation and, long story short, I was flying home from Geneva and had some time to kill. So, obviously, I went to CERN. Yes, the very same CERN with the Large Hadron Collider. There, in the  The Globe of Science and Innovation, is an exhibition “Universe of particles”. Unfortunately it is not very large, but it is, and there is no word for it, awesome. You must go there if you get the opportunity. Really. If you fly somewhere and have a chance to fly through Geneva do it. The exhibition is admission free.  You need just half an hour, but what a half hour this will be! Imagine a circular, darkened room that explains the mystery of the universe. And it gets better – there are several dome-like armchairs with a speakers built-in. To be fair there are only a few of them, but they are great. You just  sink into them and listen to podcasts in  perfect English about the mysteries of the universe. Why does the force exist? What about the black holes? Why do we need the Higgs Boson and what is it? You will find answers to those and many more questions, all told simply enough for everyone to understand.

If that wasn’t enough there is a multimedia presentation which literally left me with my jaw hanging open. It was beautifully done and helped to imagine the beginning of the universe (though I must admit that the  “The Big Bang Theory” theme song kept running through my head)

And, anyway, their slogan – ‘Accelerating Science”? Priceless.

by Izabela

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Advent Calendar

Title: Download Advent Calendar

Provider: BBC Radio

This year BBC is really spoiling the listeners and subscribers. Not only do we get “A Christmas Carol”, which I wrote about in the last post, but an advent calendar as well. It is superb. It is a series of unrelated, brilliant episodes on different topics. It is difficult to describe just how good they are. It was just what I needed to get into the Christmas cheer. The podcasts contain a fabulous variety of accents, which thrills me to no end – I am a student of English Philology after all. Lately I developed an appreciation for Scottish English, because of the “Varieties of English” course at my home University, and the very first podcast is in that accent. I must admit (reluctantly) that I had to rewind the first minutes of the podcast because I was so focused on getting all the features of Scottish English, that I missed what they were talking about.

The podcasts vary from funny to informative and I believe there is something for everyone in the series. While listening to some of the episodes I laughed out loud. So, as always go and listen! Hurry to download the series, because the episodes are only available for 30 days.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night :-).

by Izabela

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Title: A Christmas Carol (BBC Learning)

Provider: BBC

Just a quick recommendation this time. As I said in the previous post I’m crazy about the holiday season. Every year without fail I read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Sometimes I listen to the Polish version I got as a bonus to some magazine. This year there is a treat from BBC: “A Christmas Carol” podcast read by Alan Smith. It is brilliant. I’ve listened to it twice already (and there is still a week to Christmas). If you have not read this classic story yet here is your chance to listen to it. But you have to hurry – download it as fast as you can because the episodes are only available for 30 days.

If, by any chance, you know some other good recordings of “A Christmas Carol” or can recommend more Christmas stories please share.

by Izabela

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Title: Christmas Science Lectures

Provider: University of Oxford

As can be seen from the new festive background and the falling snow I’m a bit crazy about Christmas. I enjoy the holiday season and try to get the most out of it. I’m very happy to say that I’m not the only one. The Oxford University has a special series entitled “Christmas Science Lectures”. I am aware that as this blog is mostly meant for philology students, this may not be the most popular subject. But I firmly believe that everyone boasting higher education should have a basic understanding of a little of everything. I vehemently argue to ‘science’ people that reading and arts are important and just as strongly insist to all my fellow students that you cannot claim to be educated unless you know something about the world.

Now, with the rant out of the way, I can go on to recommend the series.

Even though I’m all for listening to podcasts on the way to work or the university or school, I must admit it is better to have video in this case. All of the lectures have either interesting computer presentations or (I’m sorry but there is no other word for it) cool experiments. And anyway, seeing Dr. Malcolm Stewart and Dr. Fabrice Birembaut in “The Chemistry Show” all dressed up in Santa and Elf costumes was priceless.  I know the talks are not advanced – but that is what makes them fun! I would not understand a  lecture about the Large Hadron Collider.

All of the podcasts from the series are energetic and interesting, and what is more important for poor student waiting for the Christmas break, easy. December is not a month that inspires much ambition, so listening to complicated, long lectures on university level is a bit tiring. With those series I actually couldn’t tear myself away – which says a lot, because lately (as seen from lack of posts) I couldn’t find it in me to do any listening.

By the end of the month you will probably be fed up with all the Christmas cheer on the blog, but oh well. As always, go listen and then come back and tell me what you thought.

Izabela Rudnicka

P.S. And don’t kid yourself – you will be thinking whoa at some point during the lectures. No matter how cool you are.

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Title: The English We Speak
Provider: BBC

What does “knickers in a twist” mean? What would happen if somebody “painted the town red?” And what a “hullabaloo” is? If you’re curious, you should click on the title above. I have stumbled upon this series by accident, and I find it really worth listening to. It can be very useful, especially for those of us who want to enrich their vocabulary, improve their way of speaking, and enjoy the sound of a wonderful British accent. 🙂 It can be also very helpful when you try to teach somebody English – it can diversify your classes.
The authors assure that their extracts can help us to make our English sound more natural. There is over a hundred of podcasts, and each of them provides the listeners with a short programme about a piece of slang or a particular everyday English phrase. It is that kind of English we won’t have ability to learn at school, and at the same time it is presented in a very simple language. I would like to underline that it is really short, too – the duration of every podcast is about 3 minutes. What is more, the series is updated every week so you can learn systematically.  Nothing’s easier! Just stay tuned and keep listening! I hope you would like it! 😉

by Alicja

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My Summer Listening

Hello again after the summer, which I spent – surprise, surprise – listening. I’ve found two brilliant podcasts. Since summertime means free-time neither of them is even remotely connected to literature or linguistics. After all, as much as I love those two subjects, everyone deserves a break from studying.

My first choice is a series of lectures from Dr. Vernick on jazz music.

Title: Jazz Insights

Speaker: Dr Gorgon Vernick

Provider: Georgia State University

I’m absolutely addicted to it. I love jazz and this podcasts allowed me into a whole new world. I think it would be interesting both for people who know  something about music and those who are absolutely clueless. Dr Vernick goes into quite a lot of detail but he explains the terms so that anyone could understand. What’s more you do not only learn about great musicians, you actually get to listen to the songs. However if you simply want to get some information on jazz and learn the basics, say in a week, this podcast is not for you. By now there are 269 episodes – it takes time to listen to all of them. But if you are a jazz enthusiast, just like I am – this is a treasure.

Title: “Stuff to Blow Your Mind”

Speakers: Robert Lamb and Julie Douglas

Provider: HowStuffWorks.com

My second choice of some light listening is a bit different. The podcast used to be called “Scientsy stuff” but now the name changed into “Stuff to Blow Your Mind”. As both titles suggest the whole series is about science – the things you’ve always wondered about, but never had the opportunity to find out. And, believe me, some of it can blow your mind. Some examples of the episodes are “How Exploding Lakes Work” and “The Virtues of Venom”. The variety of subjects is staggering, and while I admit that I did not enjoy every episode that I’ve listened to, most were really interesting and entertaining.

So take a little time everyday to find pleasure in jazz or find out more about the world we live in. I promise you won’t regret it.

As both podcasts can be found in different places, here is a list of links:

“Jazz Insights”

“Stuff to Blow Your Mind”

by Izabela

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