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In this series, I'll be occasionally publishing a series of texts that are used for my English lessons, so they come complete with vocabulary lists and comprehension questions. And as these are going to be original articles (that is, written by me), hopefully you'll find them entertaining, interesting, or even funny.

They are set out so they could be used for English conversation lessons; there is a vocabulary list at the end of the text, and a set of comprehension questions (although you'll have to work out the answers yourselves.)

Usually, when I'm doing this with students, I then follow it up with a fun quiz; sadly, I'm not including this, but if you're interested either as a student or as a teacher, then do write to me at e-mail: .

With the exception of the Christmas topic, the words in bold black are the words featured in the vocabulary list. I've done my best in deciding what words and phrases should be explained, but you may well need a dictionary to help with others.

The English level that, perhaps would be required to read these would be between intermediate (B1) and advanced (C1). 

Here are the ones that we have so far: the most recent entries will appear at the top of the page.

The music scene is dying - and you youngsters have to save it or kill it

New musicians are worried that streaming services are killing them financially. But maybe they simply aren't good enough, or they should have been here thirty years ago...

How the internet made COVID-19 a conspiracy theory beyond all belief

Thanks to COVID-19 and the internet, some quite outrageous theories have become even more pronounced.

What is a conspiracy theory?

Do you always believe in what you're told? We look at the phenomenon that is the conspiracy theory, using a certain air crash from recent Polish history as a case study.

Processed meat you don’t want to get into: a week in spam

The history of email spam, the rubbish I received and a few warnings on it.

The day pop music died – or was it the day I just got old?

I followed pop music avidly... and then 'Firestarter' became number one and I no longer understood...

From Leicester to Kraków… twenty-two years on

An extended text from my English conversation lessons - the story of my leaving the UK to live and work in Poland. 

Portsmouth Sinfonia – the real godfathers of punk?

Was British punk actually born in May 1970, somewhere in Hampshire?

Nimbyism – the common good or individual rights?

A new road is proposed - and it's going to be built near you. Even though you know it's needed, would you happy about it being so close to your home? Would it be fair to call you a Nimby? Adapted from various articles including Wikipedia and the BBC.

The future of getting old: rethinking old age

What exactly is an ‘old’ person? Well, it seems it depends on how old you are. Edited from an article in, published April 2018 and adapted on 12 June 2018.

Jacob Rees-Mogg's banned English words and phrases

Apparently, if you need to send him a memo, for goodness sake don't use 'got', 'very' and 'lot'. You can ignore him - he's just being pompous.

The adventures of fifteen days in a chamber, 120 metres below sea level

The story of three weeks in a salt mine for rehabilitation exercises, which are given to those who are asthma sufferers in particular.

Week 1: Monday 17 June to Friday 21 June - Settling in

Week 2: Monday 24 June to Friday 28 June - It may be hot on the surface, but it's cool down here...

Week 3: Monday 1 July to Friday 5 July - The end of a routine, and I'm glad it's over

Polish TV – in decline, behind the times, and droning dubbing… but the women are very nice

Compared to British TV, Polish TV just seems so dated and so full of television commercials.

In search of the funniest joke in the world

Is there such a thing as the funniest joke in the world? Roger Hartopp investigates.

When one country cut its public holidays (for five years at least, anyway)

Put together some time ago, this text has now been replaced in my discussion topics, but I still think this is good and is also a reminder of the effects of the economic crash from ten years ago.

I’m slowly becoming a technophobe, and it’s all Donkey Kong’s fault

Here the writer looks back to a period when life was more about discovering and physically finding out things rather than at the touch of a smartphone screen.

We’re important, so we’re English experts. You’re not.

How grammarians from the 16th century tried to shape the language towards to what they believe. And grammarians today are still doing this. Even if they're wrong. 


The twelve crazes of Christmas

A light-hearted - and absolutely NOT to be taken seriously - look at a Polish Christmas taken from an Englishman's perspective.

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