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BBC 6 minute English-Dealing with boredom

BBC 6 minute English-Dealing with boredom

BBC 6 minute English-Dealing with boredom


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob: Hello I’m Rob. Welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m joined today by Finn. Hello Finn

Finn: Hi Rob. You know, I’m happy you called me to present this programme with you because I was there by my desk feeling a bit bored

Rob: Great yawn, Finn! A yawn, of course, is that typical reaction of someone who is bored

Finn: Yeah, it’s when you open your mouth wide and take some air in and slowly out

Rob: Okay. Let’s make this a programme all about boredom, shall we? And I’ll start by stimulating your imagination

Finn: Thank you, but how are you going to make me excited and interested in something, Rob

Rob: How about I challenge you to a question you might not know the answer to

Finn: Okay, well, you can try. Go on then

Rob: Well, I know you like the theatre

Finn: I do. But it has to be an exciting play or I get restless

Rob: Restless, you mean unable to sit still because you get bored or worried even. Okay. I wonder how you’d feel watching the longest continuous play recorded

Finn: That’s quite an offer. What do you mean

Rob: According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest continuous dramatic performance was held in New Jersey, in the US, in 2010. But do you know how long the cast for The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco, was on stage for? Was it for about

a) 8 hours

b) 17 hours

c) 23 hours

Finn: Wow! They’re all pretty long. I’ll say b) 17 hours, Rob

Rob: Goodness! Right. Okay. I’ll let you know the answer by the end of the programme. Now, let’s talk more about boredom. I think this is a feeling we have to learn how to cope with

Finn: Yes, we have to learn to deal with this situation successfully – to cope with it. But people often feel they want to change their life, to change their job. They might feel stuck in a rut

Rob: That’s a good phrase – stuck in a rut. So you mean you’ve become too fixed in one kind of job

Finn: Yes. You know Rob, even I sometimes dream of something a bit more exciting like being a professional diver or maybe even a pilot of a really fast plane

Rob: Well, guess what: even pilots get bored, you know

Finn: Not when they are flying anyway

Rob: Wrong. When they’re up in the air

Finn: No way! Really? I don’t believe you

Rob: Well, Missy Cummings, an American, was a fighter pilot. Listen to the phrasal verb she uses meaning to stop being bored, at least for a while. Is there ever time for a fighter pilot to get bored

Missy Cummings , former fighter pilot

Oh my gosh, sure, for the same reasons that commercial pilots get bored. These fighter jets are very automated when it comes to just holding altitude and heading. So you turn everything in autopilot and I probably listened to more Oprah Winfrey TV shows on the high frequency radios… And so you get good about using the technology to figure out how to stave off that boredom

Finn: Ah, so she listened to a show hosted by the American presenter Oprah Winfrey on the radio to stave off her boredom. Now, to stave off means to stop or to keep an unpleasant feeling away. In this case she means boredom

Rob: Yes, indeed

Rob: But some experts think there’s something good about feeling bored

Finn: Really

Rob: Let’s hear what Tiffany Watt-Smith has to say. She works for the Centre for the History of Emotions at the Queen Mary University of London. Pay attention to the word she uses to describe what boredom does to people

Tiffany Watt-Smith, Queen Mary University of London

On the one hand people are worried about being under-occupied and bored. On the other there’s a set of anxieties about us having any more downtime, you know. We can constantly check our phones at the bus stop. Everything is to be filled and what does that do to our minds? I think boredom is a very useful emotion. It’s an emotion which spurs people on to change something about their environment. If you’re bored that gives rise to creativity

Finn: So boredom spurs people on to change something. To spur on means to stimulate or to encourage someone to do something

Rob: So what are you going to do, Finn? How will you change your life

Finn: Change my life? Okay. Two things. The first one is: I want to know if I got that question right

Rob: Well I said at the beginning of the programme that the longest continuous dramatic performance was held in New Jersey, US, in 2010. And I asked you how long was the cast on stage for to play The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco

Finn: Yes. The options were 8 hours, 17 hours and 23 hours, I think. And I said 17. Was I right

Rob: You were not

Finn: Oh, no

Rob: It was even longer

Finn: Wow! 23

Rob: According to the Guinness Book of Records, the play lasted 23 hours, 33 minutes and 54 seconds. It was achieved by The 27 O’Clock Players who performed The Bald Soprano at Belmar, New Jersey, USA, on 27 July 2010. Anyway Finn, what’s the second thing you’re going to do to stave off your boredom

Finn: You know what, Rob? I’m going to book myself a fantastic holiday! Maybe I could start with a visit to Patagonia in Argentina to see the penguins

Rob: Yeah, it sounds very exciting. But before you head off to Patagonia, could you remind us of some of the English words we’ve heard today

Finn: We heard

yawn stimulating restless to cope with stuck in a rut to stave off to spur on

Rob: Thanks Finn. That’s it for this programme. I hope you didn’t find it boring

Finn: Not at all. I loved it

Rob: Please join us soon again for 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English

Both: Bye

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