Tea and Talk

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«Tea & Talk» at BABEL  come and join us!

 

Tea and Talk is the brainchild of BABEL founder member, Su Johnson, who thought that members might appreciate a chance to talk about things in English in an informal setting.

So, for many years now, a group has been meeting every other Thursday afternoon for two hours during the BABEL year to discuss a wide range of subjects. We try to steer clear of politics and religion but find we have lots to talk about, in any case.

There are a number of  members  who come quite regularly but each year there are new  people.  This is not a formal class.  Tea and Talk simply gives you, the members, the opportunity to talk in English about a wide variety of topics, as and when you want. Usually we have about 6-8 people present.

The level of English really is irrelevant, although this is probably not ideal for beginners – a desire to participate is what is really important.

Tea is provided by BABEL – and we take it in turn to bring biscuits.

If this idea interests you, come along – as for all BABEL activities, there is no charge for your first experience. If you come back a second time then we will ask you for 28€ (for the WHOLE year), in addition to the BABEL registration fee.

The class takes place on:

Thursdays : 14h30 – 16h30

The proposed dates for 2018 – 2019 are as follows:

4th October : 18th October : 15th November : 29th November : 13th December.

10th January : 24th January : 7th February : 7th March : 21st March : 4th April

2nd May : 16th May

If you wish for more information, please contact Su Johnson 04 76 89 03 58

 

The members of the Thursday group have created  a

GOOD NEWS CORNER 

which will contain items of (relatively) positive news from around the world.  Items will be  added throughout the year.

 

This is the work of Catherine, presented during the class on 29th March.

          Of course you have heard of the mass-murder that took place on Feb 17th, in a high school in Parkland (Florida) and that killed 17 people, students and teachers. It is certainly not good news but …

As usual, it gave rise to a lot of emotion in the country and a big wave of indignation abroad: « How can they still hang on to their bloody 2° Amendment?* It is a long time since the last Indian was shot! »

As usual polls showed that a majority of people demand stricter gun control.

As usual there were demonstrations with people holding white roses and the next day you could find flowers, candles and moving messages at the school gate.

But this time something was unusual. Yes, there were demonstrations, but one of them was in the capital of the state of Florida, in Tallahassee, which is 700 kilometres from Parkland and there were 5000 participants. The organizers must have been really convincing.  There they managed to meet journalists and several politicians, the governor and members of the state Congress.  And they knew how to be even more convincing, because 3 weeks later, at the beginning of March, the local Congress, which has a republican majority, voted a law that placed some restrictions on the use of guns – for example, among other rules, postponing the age when you may buy a gun from 18 to 21.  And this is apparently a small earthquake that made the NRA somehow totter.  Indeed for more than 20 years there has been an efficient and quick way to make laws about weapons in Florida.  The NRA writes their particular wishes in the weapons field and the Congressmen transcribe them word for word into law. A similar attempt in Washington State was a failure.

But one month later, big crowds were once more in streets all over the country to demand new rules at a national level.

And last week-end there were those big demonstrations. For example, there was one in Washington as they showed us on the French TV.  It was almost a show, with a stage. There was a girl making a speech during which she asked for 6 1/2 minutes of silence – the duration of the shooting- . The impression was strong.

The students who lead this movement are very skilful.  They study political science, journalism and theatre and obviously use what they have already learnt in a clever way.  They know how to use modern tools.  They created #neveragain for example.

All that makes me think or hope that perhaps the US has come to a deciding moment/watershed and that the movement will not be stopped so easily.

But am I too optimistic?

*The Right to Bear Arms

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

 

 

This is the work of Guite, also presented during the class on 29th March.

Good news: Take the plane this summer.

The plane is the safest means of transport of our time.  Today, 4 billion people fly each year everywhere in the world

2017 was the safest year in civil passenger transport.  There have never been so few plane accidents since 1946 (72 years)

In 2017, there were only 10 accidents in civil passenger transport (44 dead.)  Indeed, in France by comparison, 3,693 people lost their lives in car accidents the same year.

There were 36.8 million flights in 2017 which makes only one fatal accident in 7,360 million flights.  In January 2018, commercial passenger air transport did not register any fatalities on aircraft with more than 20 seats.

 

 

This is the work of Françoise  presented during the class on 17th May.

Town Criers

While today we are used to receiving most of our information from television and the internet, things were a little different some time ago.

One funny way to inform the whole population was with the Royal Town Crier.  He wore medieval clothes and a feathered hat, and had a bell in his hand.  He still exists today and, for example, at the birth of Louis, (William and Kate’s third child) he went on the steps of the clinic and began his announcement with: “Oyez, Oyez”   This is the traditional way to begin all the Royal announcements since the invasion of Britain by William the Conqueror. (Guillaume Le Conquérant).

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The criers were very important during Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They announced Royal proclamations.

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Oddly enough, during this current period when forms of social media are so important, we can note that during the last 20 years criers have resurfaced in France.  There are currently about 200.  For instance, a young actor carries out this activity at La Croix Rousse in Lyon.  Messages are put in boxes in the area and each Sunday the crier proclaims these messages during 2 hours.

There are classic or personal messages: poems, declarations of love, advertisements, wanted notices (or messages about things like lost cats and so on). The price is 2 euros per message, only 1 euro for a Love message because you can’t put a price on love! Profits are given to solidarity associations.

In Grenoble too, there has been a crier since 2008.  Aldo Fax makes announcements at the Estacade Market each Monday at 11a.m.

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In the world more than a thousand criers have been identified. They are used to meeting every 2 years for a competition in voice projection and smartness. The last winner was a bilingual Amerindian.