If you looked up ‘spotting’ in the dictionary, you would usually see explanations connected with ‘seeing’ and ‘raining’. However, ‘spotting’ in weightlifting is different and it means supporting another person during a weightlifting exercise. It is particularly common, and recommended, when doing the bench press, which is the type of weightlifting done in Powerlifting. This is because of the risks of lifting a heavy weight while lying on your back.
Listen to the British Council’s most popular English learning podcast series, LearnEnglish Podcasts, on your mobile device!
The app helps you learn everyday English by providing over 40 episodes and over 20 hours of free listening about a wide range of topics, as well as great new features that help you listen and understand the conversations.
It's autumn in England, and for Ashlie and Stephen that means Hallowe'en! They're holding a fancy dress party for their friends, so first they have to choose their costumes. But will Stephen's magic tricks really be treats?
Meanwhile, Joe finds out about another autumn celebration in the UK - and sees some amazing fireworks!
Britain is a creative nation ... Art, music, gaming and film-making – you’ll find it all here.
But why is it that Great Britain has more creative people, per head of population, than anywhere else in the world?
Let’s find out …
This is the London Film Museum. Here you’ll find original costumes and props from some of the world’s greatest films.
This museum has it all. Iconic monsters, robots, fantasy and so much more...
Ahhh - one of my boyhood heroes, Batman.
Jonathan Sands founded and created the museum, and over half of the collection is from his own private archive.
Richard: Jonathan, I'm a huge fan of movies so I'm very excited to be here. What's the idea behind the London Film Museum?
Jonathan: The Film Museum primarily promotes the British film industry through a number of mediums, including original artefacts and costumes and sets. A lot of our friends, who we've accumulated over the years, have donated material to the museum and it is the only film museum like it in the UK.
Richard: And how did it come about?
Jonathan: Well, it came about because originally we ourselves are from the film industry. We owned a prop company, a prop being an artefact or an item that is used on the film, many of which you'll see here.
Richard: Why do you think it is that Britain leads the world when it comes to film-making?
Jonathan: I think primarily for two reasons. One, we have fantastic facilities, like the Pinewoods, Sheppertons and soon to be the Leavesdens, and we also have the best and the most creative talent, whether it's in front of camera or behind the camera, really.
From creativity on the small screen to creativity on the big stage … the UK has a thriving theatrical tradition. London’s West End is the largest theatrical district in the world.
And it’s not only happening in London. Great Britain hosts one of the world’s largest cultural events – this is the Edinburgh Festival. The Festival takes place each year in August and attracts acts and visitors from around the world.
Another side of British culture that attracts tourists is the range of visual arts on show.
There are over 300 world-class museums and art galleries just in London. This is Tate Britain - right here, in Millbank. It’s the home of British art from the 1500s right up to the present day - let’s go take a look.
Tate Britain is the world centre for British art. Some of the greatest artists of all time are British and this gallery has them all under one roof.
Tate Britain is one of four Tate galleries across the country, and the oldest. Over the years, it’s been threatened by bombing in the war and flooding from the Thames. There are hundreds of works of art here.
These are some of the earliest paintings in the gallery, including this portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First.
Penelope Curtis is the director of Tate Britain. It’s her job to decide which art pieces are exhibited.
Richard: Penelope, tell me about Tate Britain.
Penelope: Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art. It was founded by Henry Tate about a hundred years ago.
Richard: And what does your role involve?
Penelope: I'm the director, and that means looking after everything, but particularly the collections and the displays that you can see in the gallery.
Richard: And you have some fabulous pictures here, including this very popular one.
Penelope: They say this is our most popular painting. It's hard to know, but it certainly sells the most postcards, but that's rather an old-fashioned measure.
Richard: What is it about British art that's so exciting?
Penelope: Well, what's particular about British art is that we're an island nation, so things become very concentrated here. People travel from all over the world to be here; other people never leave at all, so things that you might see in the rest of the world become more concentrated in Britain.
Richard: What's the future of British art and creativity?
Penelope: I think the fact that we don't know is what's exciting about it. Here, we can make history speak to the present and inform what people are doing now, and that's one of our important roles.
And the future of British art is bold and exciting.
Artistic creativity in Great Britain isn’t always found at museums or galleries; sometimes it’s worth taking a closer look at the walls around the city.
Street art used to be a form of protest and was often painted over by the authorities. These days it’s a celebrated art form. Some pieces are worth a fortune.
Another art form that is booming in Britain is building computer games.
The UK produces more than a quarter of the world’s computer games and independent developer Blitz Games Studios here in Leamington Spa has created some top sellers. Popular games like Puss in Boots, Karaoke Revolution and The Biggest Loser are developed here. Blitz Games Studios have a passion for games, technology and creativity.
Philip Oliver is a game developer and set up Blitz Games Studios with his brother.
Richard: Philip, how did this all start?
Philip: My twin brother and I, Andrew, started playing video games in the early eighties. We got ourselves a 8-bit computer and started writing games just as a hobby but, by the mid-eighties, we were actually able to sell games. We set up Blitz Games Studios and started employing people with the idea we would make games for a global audience, and today we have over 220 talented, creative people making video games for all the biggest publishers in the world.
Richard: What makes games development so creative?
Philip: Games are just a fantastic medium. I'm sorry, but I'm absolutely hooked, and I hope so many other people are. We are the entertainment of the twenty-first century. There are no limits.
Do you know, when it comes to computer games, I don’t think I'm very good at building them. I'm much better at playing them. Yes! Come on! Go up, up, up, up! Get the star! Go on! Go - Oh, no, no, ah.
Stephen: Come on, Ash. You said you wanted to see the scenery and you keep looking at the guidebook.
Ashlie: Yes, it’s just really interesting finding out a bit more about all the places along this coast.
Stephen: We’re here in Northern Ireland. We both want to try surfing. And the sea you can see over there is the Atlantic Ocean.
Ashlie: This scenery is beautiful, but lots of places here also have interesting stories. There are lots of fascinating folk tales and legends.
Stephen: We’re here to visit the Giant’s Causeway, one of the most famous attractions in Northern Ireland. How far is it, Ash?
Ashlie: Not far to go now. We should be there soon. Come on.
Ashlie: Don’t you think this coastline is just beautiful, Stephen? Look, it says here that the Giant’s Causeway is supposed to be a bridge that was built by a giant.
Stephen: You can see why people might say that. Anyway we’re here for the Atlantic waves – for surfing – and I want to get down to the beach as soon as possible.
Stephen: Hi. We’ve got a surfing lesson booked. We don’t have any equipment so we’ll have to hire everything, if that’s alright.
Surf Shop Assistant: Don’t worry about it. We’ve got everything you need. Can you swim?
Ashlie: Yes, we’re both good swimmers. But I’m not keen on going in very cold water.
Surf Shop Assistant: Don’t worry about the cold. We’ll give you wetsuits that can keep you warm. And we’ll get you just the right size board.
Ashlie: Great, thank you!
Ashlie: That looks pretty hard, Stephen. I wonder if we’ll be able to stand after just one lesson?
Stephen: I might be able to, but you won’t! Here comes the instructor. We can ask him.
Ashlie: Hi there. We’re here for our first lesson. And I was just wondering – do you think that we’ll be able to stand by the end of today?
Instructor: Absolutely – no problem. We're going to start off with the basics of surfing and you guys are going to have a great time.
Stephen: That’s excellent! Shall we get straight in the water, then?
Instructor: We’re going to start off on the beach first of all, guys.
Instructor: First of all, you need to decide which foot you naturally put to the front. That’s the foot that goes to the front of the board.
Stephen: Like this?
Instructor: Yes, that’s it. Now we need to work out how you lie on the board so that you can balance properly whenever you’re paddling. Once you learn how to lie down then you start learning how to stand up. OK?
Instructor: First of all, you guys need to put your surfboards onto the sand.
Stephen: I think I’ve swallowed half of the ocean. And I’m freezing cold too. I need a hot drink to warm me up.
Ashlie: Come on then, I think there’s a café at the top of this beach.
Stephen: Where did I put my money? Oh no!
Ashlie: What’s the matter, Stephen?
Stephen: I put my wallet in my wetsuit to keep it safe... And now my money’s soaking wet!
Think about the following questions:
Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they travel round Northern Ireland.
Ashlie: Right, we can have a couple of hours here before we have to head off to our hotel.
Stephen: We’re here in Northern Ireland to learn how to surf and Ashlie’s insisting we also take time to see the sights.
Ashlie: We are at Dunluce Castle. It’s famous because it’s supposed to have its own ghosts.
Stephen: Come on – let’s go see if we can find a ghost.
Ashlie: Stephen, look! It says here that part of the castle fell into the sea during a terrible storm. All the cooks drowned except for a young kitchen boy who survived.
Stephen: Scary story, but what an interesting place. Here, give me that book. What’s the name of our hotel?
Ashlie: It’s the Ballygally Castle Hotel.
Stephen: The Ballygally Castle Hotel? Ballygally Castle is said to be one of the most haunted places in the area.
Ashlie: Come on, Stephen. We’ll be fine!
Ashlie: Hi there. We have a reservation for two rooms. The name is Walker.
Receptionist: Ah yes. How are you enjoying Northern Ireland?
Stephen: Oh, it’s great. We’ve been surfing today and we went to a haunted castle, Dunluce. We didn’t see any ghosts, though.
Receptionist: Did you know we have ghosts here in the hotel?
Receptionist: Yes, we even have a Ghost Room you can visit. The man who built the castle here trapped his wife in one of the rooms and she escaped by jumping out of the window. People who visit the hotel say they hear strange noises and things move by themselves.
Ashlie: A Ghost Room! How do we get there?
Receptionist: You go down the corridor, turn left and up the spiral staircase.
Stephen: I thought the receptionist was joking when she said the hotel had a ghost. But they really do have a haunted room. How scary is that?
Ashlie: Oh Stephen, you’ll believe anything. But I do want to see this Ghost Room. Let’s have a look.
Stephen: I’m not sure about this, Ash.
Ashlie: Come on, you big baby!
Stephen: Hmm. I don’t like the look of this.
Ashlie: Look, it’s just an ordinary room. It’s a bit gloomy and the bed’s hard, but I would be happy to spend the night in here.
Stephen: Well, I wouldn’t! It’s cold and it’s creepy. Anyway, I’m going to my room to change before we eat.
Ashlie: Come on, Stephen, we don’t want to be late for dinner.
Stephen: Oh Ash! You’re so sensible sometimes.
Stephen: Oi! Wait for me...
Ashlie: Wasn’t that a lovely meal, Stephen? I am ready for bed – all that surfing. I’m exhausted. I’m going to sleep well tonight.
Stephen: Me too. But I’ve found all the ghost stories a bit scary. I feel a bit nervous about spending the night in this haunted hotel, don’t you?
Ashlie: All these ghost stories are absolute nonsense! I don’t believe in ghosts. How could you possibly believe that rubbish? Now, go to bed.
Stephen: Ashlie – actually, your room isn’t that way.
Stephen: I had your room changed. You’re in the Ghost Room. I had all your stuff sent up there.
Stephen: Well, you said all these stories were nonsense. You said you didn’t believe in ghosts. Go on, Ash – spend a night in the Ghost Room. You’re not scared, are you?
Ashlie: No. I’ll sleep like a log. Goodnight.
Stephen: Goodnight. Don’t get scared!
Ashlie: All this talk about ghosts has got me thinking the hotel is haunted! I’m as bad as Stephen! I hope he’s OK.
Think about the following questions:
Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they go in search of Northern Irish ghosts.