Pop Culture

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On this episode of the EnglishLingQ podcast, Jill and Steve talk about the kinds of movies and music they like.

Steve: Hi Jill.

Jill: Hi Steve.

Steve: How are you this afternoon?

Jill: Fine thanks, how are you?

Steve: Good.

You know, today, I want to talk a little bit about pop culture because I kind of feel like a person from a different culture because I don’t follow the modern pop culture at all.

I don’t know any of the names of the singers, the actors, the actresses, etc., so I just thought I would ask you, first of all, who are your favorite singers?

Jill: My favorite singers.

Well, I like a lot of older singers, actually, ones that I’m sure you’re familiar with.

I like a lot of the old country music singers as well as new country music singers, so Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, those types of people.

Of course now there are so many, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, The Dixie Chicks, you know, it goes on and on, so I do like country music and I also like, we were speaking about this before, bands like CCR Credence Clearwater Revival.

Steve: I know them.

Jill: They’re from way back, ha?

Steve: Right.

Jill: I like some Beatles and some Elvis Presley and a lot of older stuff and ABBA, I love ABBA, and I really enjoy a lot of Canadian artists, actually, especially female artists like Sarah McLachlan and Diana Krall.

I also really like Matchbox Twenty.

Steve: Never heard of them.

Jill: They’re from the states. I like Maroon Five, also from the states.

Steve: Never heard of them.

Jill: I like a variety, but I don’t like hip hop, rap, trans-techno, the stuff that you would find generally at nightclubs I am often not a big fan of.

Steve: Well, I don’t go to nightclubs, so I don’t know what I would find there.

I remember the Beatles.

I like country western music a lot.

Yeah, there are quite a few Canadian artists that I like.

I like Shania Twain.

I like Anne Murray a lot.

I think she sings so well, I love listening to her sing.

I’m not sure about Sarah McLachlan and Diana Krall that’s sort of jazzy in a way, isn’t it?

Jill: Diana Krall is, Sarah McLachlan is not.

Steve: Not; okay.

But I don’t listen to music that much because I’m so busy listening to my language learning Russian or Portuguese or whatever, so.

But, yeah, you know, a lot of the sort of rock music when the boys were younger.

When they were 17-18 and they would sometimes borrow my car, when I got back in the car and it was the kind of car that the radio was on as soon as you turned on the ignition and I would just get blasted by this noise, which I never, never, liked, you know, all this different rock music, but Credence Clearwater Revival I like; definitely, I like a lot.

Jill: It’s not hard to listen to; it’s not hard rock.

Steve: No, it’s nice; it’s a bit like country and western music.

Jill: Yeah.

Steve: Do you like classical music at all?

Jill: You know, I think I do, but I don’t actually listen to a lot of it and I really don’t know much about it.

I’m not good at naming famous pieces and who sang them.

Of course I know Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, those people, but I don’t really know a lot of their songs.

I guess they’re not songs, but…

Steve: Yeah, their music, their pieces.

But it’s just like anything else, you know, it’s just a matter of getting used to it.

Like we talk about languages, you get used to it.

I have heard these different classical pieces so often and, I must say, Mozart is my favorite.

I can listen to him and I like Chopin, piano music.

I don’t like the modern classical music, but the classical-classical music I enjoy.

But I tell you another group that I enjoy, even though you hear them all the time.

Every time you go to a restaurant, every time you step in an elevator, you hear The Gypsy Kings.

Jill: Yes, I like them too.

Steve: But I like them, I think they’re great.

Jill: They’re fun, yeah, I like them.

Steve: They’re great and they’re actually from France you know even though they play sort of, you know, I guess a modern version of flamenco music.

I like Latin-American music.

I like, you know, lots of different folk music like Russian folk music is beautiful; Spanish folk music.

I even like, of course, you wouldn’t have heard any of this, but the Japanese equivalent of country and western music is called “enka” and it’s all this sentimental, you know, I’m a drunk and my girl left me.

Jill: Somebody did somebody wrong song.

Steve: That’s right.

She left me for someone else and I’m here getting drunk that kind of thing, but it’s fun too.

So, alright, you mentioned nightclubs.

I guess now that you’re a responsible housewife and soon-to-be mother you don’t go to nightclubs as much.

Jill: No, I never go actually anymore.

I haven’t for several years because they just don’t interest me.

I’m not really a late-night person.

I like to get up early and feel good on my weekends and get outside and exercise, so I’m not really one for nightclubs.

I think in my early 20s from about 18 to maybe 23 or 4 I would go sometimes, but I was never one of those people who every single weekend had to go to a club and get drunk and waste my whole weekend.

I never did that even when I was younger.

Steve: Right.

Well, I never used to go and get drunk, but I would go and dance and so forth.

But you’re right, I mean, after a while certainly staying up late loses its appeal.

Before we get on, I’m going to ask you about actors, but, you know, we spoke the last time about the unfortunate incident at the airport where four policemen used a TASER gun to subdue this agitated immigrant and there were some Letters to the Editor this morning in the newspaper.

One person wrote that if the airport had called in four bouncers from the local nightclub that passenger would still be alive today, which I thought was an interesting comment.

I mean, when you go to a nightclub there’s always a bouncer there, right?

A great big guy whose job it is to restrain anybody that gets out of hand.

The term “bouncer”, I don’t know if people are familiar with it, refers to, it’s not quite a bodyguard, but someone who is paid because he’s big and strong and probably skilled in some form of martial arts and it’s his role to subdue any patrons, anybody at the bar or at the nightclub, who gets unruly.

Those people don’t use TASERs.

If at the airport they had brought in four bouncers this fellow might have been hit a few times, but he would still be alive, so I thought that was kind of an interesting comment.

Anyway leaving nightclubs and bouncers aside, movies, what kind of movies do you like?

Who are your favorite actors and actresses?

Jill: I like happy movies, movies where I leave feeling good so, generally, lighthearted movies.

I like dramas as well where there is some suspense and some mystery and some intrigue.

I like some comedies.

Some are so stupid that I don’t enjoy, but some are very well done and if I can laugh for an hour or two that’s great.

I’m not really picky with movies, actually; I will see almost anything.

I’ll even see action movies where they’re really fake and I don’t mind.

The ones that I really will not see are horror movies, really scary, gross, gruesome, awful, movies or ones that are war-like movies based on events where people were really being persecuted or tortured or something like that.

I don’t like to see stuff like that.

Steve: Yeah, I think I agree. I like movies that provide an escape.

I don’t want to see something disturbing, I want to see something that’s uplifting that has, perhaps, some message or takes me to an exotic place.

I like foreign movies whether they be Spanish or Chinese or French or German, something that takes me away, something different; something where the scenery is beautiful where it’s uplifting.

The movies they have, it’s always violence and drugs and sex, you know, it’s just you end up…it’s not uplifting really.

Jill: No.

Steve: It’s a beautiful scene; it’s a story, a nice story that leaves you something.

I mean when you see a good movie you actually come away feeling good.

Jill: Exactly.

Steve: And I think that’s the kind of escape I look for in movies. Who are your favorite actors?

Jill: I was going to think about that a little bit.

I’m just trying to… I always have a hard time when people ask me what my favorite song is or who my favorite actor is.

It’s always hard for me to think.

Steve: Let me ask it this way, because we have movies on television, if you were looking at the newspaper to see what’s on this evening, what are the names, which actors or actresses would make you say to yourself, I want to watch that movie?

Jill: I don’t know if that makes it even easier for me.

Probably people like Anthony Hopkins or maybe Al Pacino.

I like some of Robin Williams’ older movies that were quite funny.

I’m trying to think of women actresses too.

There are some of Julia Roberts’ movies that I like.

I don’t know that I really have favorite actors or actresses.

I’m not really one of those people who focuses on one or two people and has to see every movie that they ever make.

I focus on more on what the plot of the movie is and less on who’s in it; although, if it’s not a very good actor or actress that can ruin the movie as well.

Steve: You know, amongst the men, I like Harrison Ford.

Jill: Yeah.

Steve: And Tom Hank.

Jill: Tom Hanks, yeah, I like him too.

Steve: Tom Hanks, yeah, I think he’s good.

What’s the name of that Englishman who always plays a bit of a cad?

Jill: Hugh Grant?

Steve: Hugh Grant, yeah.

Jill: Yeah, I like him too.

Steve: He’s tremendous; he’s tremendous. And what was the movie with him and there’s an American woman, actress, who plays this sort of plump English girl?

Jill: Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Steve: Oh, she is tremendous. I mean, that’s so funny and I thought she was English.

Jill: Oh yeah, she did a great job, Renee Zellweger.

Steve: That’s what her name is; she’s tremendous.

Amongst the women I like Melanie Griffin; Griffith?

Jill: Griffith, I think.

Steve: Griffith.

She had this one movie where she plays a bit of a clueless blonde and I don’t know whether that’s her real personality or not, but she does it so well.

I thought she was pretty good.

I like Penelope Cruz in some of the Spanish movies.

I think she’s got a very kind of different look; so, yeah, funny movies.

I’m not a great fan of thrillers, you know, who-done-it type movies.

Yeah, I guess that’s about it.

Popular culture, now we’re both probably quite conservative.

You said that you don’t like rap music.

I mean, to me that’s not even music it’s just noise.

Some of the language, I don’t listen to it, but I’ve read some of the things they say.

I mean it’s just disgusting.

Why that’s even allowed, you know, to go on.

I mean you have some pretty easily-influenced people who listen to that stuff.

No, I think art in general should be uplifting.

I think it always used to be and then we came into the 20th century and we have all this modern music that’s really noise and modern painting that’s supposed to disturb you or you can’t figure out what it’s all about.

To me, art or music should be about beauty; about making things nicer than they are in real life.

You know, the life that we see on movies, in many ways, is much worse than real life.

You know, if someone watched all these American movies they would think that everybody in the United States is one drugs, is shooting people, that we swear every third word.

I don’t think that’s the case, at least not… Maybe I’m out of touch, I don’t know.

Jill: No, I think it definitely sensationalizes everything and, of course, bad things happen, but I completely agree.

When I look at a painting or I watch a movie I want to see something that is beautiful that makes me feel happy and evokes positive feelings.

Steve: Exactly.

Jill: I’m not interested in dark, gloomy, art.

Steve: Yeah, it’s almost like there’s a sort of lowest common denominator; who can shock the most kind of thing.

So no, we need to return to art and music as something that’s uplifting.

And on that note, we hope that our discussion, if it isn’t uplifting, at least is helpful to people in their language study.

There we go Jill.

Jill: Alright.

Steve: Okay, thank you very much.

Jill: Thank you; bye, bye.

Steve: Bye, bye.

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