Young academy – Dated recruitment

Young academy – Dated recruitment

  I just saw a job advertisement for a Madrid based English academy that boasted of a ‘young’ environment. I was wondering what would happen if they had boasted of a ‘white’ environment or a ‘heterosexual’ environment . It does seem to suggest that ‘young’ is good and so ‘old’ is bad. This academy seems […]

The Kiss Principle

The Kiss Principle

About 80% of my students don’t know how to use a full-stop. A full-stop is the small black dot that you put at the end of a sentence. The North Americans call it a ‘period’. Writing English is easy. You make a point and you put a full-stop. Most experts agree that good English has […]

Talking to Yourself

Talking to Yourself

In most countries talking to yourself is a sign of mental instability, if not downright madness. The reason hand-free telephones are now never used outside of the car is that no-one wants to look as if they are vocalising an internal dialogue. “The voices told me to do it” is the often used plea of […]

Stephen

Stephen

Early one Sunday morning in spring in 1982 a young university student called Stephen jumped from the top of a block of flats in Manchester. He landed on grass. My girlfriend Helen and I were the only people around. While she went to phone an ambulance I covered him with my coat and held his […]

The Unaware Life is not Worth Living

The Unaware Life is not Worth Living

The man in the photograph was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the direct descendant of the Inquisition) have said that this man’s writings could be dangerous. They are right. Listen to one of his stories. ‘All questions at the public meeting that day were about life beyond […]

Om Mane Padme Hum

Om Mane Padme Hum

Do you remember The Beatles’ song “Across the Universe”? Do you know what ‘Jai Guru Deva Om’ means? It means, more or less, ‘Thank You to the Teacher’. I like that sentiment. I like lots of Eastern things. When I was 17 I learned Transcendental Meditation. Anyone who remembers The Beatles will remember Maharishi Mahesh […]

Latin Lovers

Latin Lovers

Ten years after Christ died the Romans invaded England. What was merely a political distraction, designed to impress the powerful influences in Rome, had long-lasting linguistic consequences for the peoples of the British Isles. Status Quo is the only British rock band I can think of who have a Latin name. As their music never […]

Heraldry

Heraldry

You’re in the middle of a battlefield in the Middle Ages. There are dead bodies everywhere. Arrows rain down on you. You can’t read and everyone is a little bit too busy to stop and chat. How do you know who your enemy is and who your friend is? That problem was solved by heraldry […]

Love in Autumn

Love in Autumn

There is no living creature on this planet more romantic than me. Had I lived in the times of the great poets like Byron or Shelley, I might admit to some competition; but here and now in the autumn of the year and the autumn of my life I claim my rightful position as the […]

The English Garden

The English Garden

      Among the many things which the English do well, such as play rugby, join wars and play rock and roll, there is one activity that shines out like the North Star. The English do gardens better than anyone else. Daffodils, heart’s ease , flox, meadowsweet lilly stalks, gentain, lupine , tall hollihocks, […]