6 Minute English – Is a door just a door?
Listen to Rob and Neil discussing a London apartment block with front and back entrances for private and social housing – or so-called rich and poor doors.
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6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.
Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Rob..
Neil: ..and I’m Neil. Hello.
Rob: Hello, Neil! You look pleased today, Neil.
Neil: I am pleased. I just moved into my new flat!
Rob: OK, fantastic! Congratulations! Where is this new flat?
Neil: It’s in the city. It’s a one-bed flat so it’s bijoux double click: dictionary – meaning small but attractive. There’s a balcony, I’ve got a couple of deckchairs, and a barbecue..
Rob: I can’t wait to see it. It sounds perfect. Well, today we’re discussing housing – and why in some buildings there are separate entrances for rich and poor residents! So, are you ready for today’s quiz question, Neil?
Neil: I’m all ears.
Rob: OK, so you mean you’re listening carefully.
Neil: I am.
Rob: Right. What does ‘social housing’ mean? Is it housing for people who.. a) want to buy or rent at a low price? b) want to live together sharing facilities? or c) aren’t able to pay any rent at all?
Neil: OK, I think the answer is a) to buy or rent at a low price.
Rob: OK. Well, we’ll see if you were right or wrong later on in the programme. So, have you met your neighbours yet, Neil?
Neil: Yes – I bumped into one couple as I was leaving for work this morning.
Rob: I see. Bump into double click: dictionary means to meet somebody by chance. So were they friendly?
Neil: Well, they complained about me blocking the communal area double click: dictionary with my bike – and also about my guitar playing. But apart from that, they seemed nice!
Rob: A communal area is an area that is shared by a number of people. Well, I hate to say it, Neil, but your guitar playing is annoying!
Neil: Oh, Rob, genius isn’t appreciated here, I think. OK.. Let’s listen to the journalist Tom Bateman talking about rich and poor doors.
Tom Bateman, journalist:
In front of us here is a 20-storey building. Right about me I got tinted blue glass windows and balconies on every floor as you look from the street. And there is a very plush double click: dictionary foyer double click: dictionary . A sign in the window says ‘luxurious penthouses with spectacular views.’
Neil: But this is what the journalist Tom Bateman saw when he went around the other side of the same building.
Tom Bateman, journalist:
So as you come down the side of the building, you can see the windows – quite small windows – of the flats above here – certainly no balconies. This is a big grey concrete wall and as you walk down an alleyway double click: dictionary towards the other door.
Rob: So this building has one entrance with a plush – or expensive and luxurious – foyer. And foyer means entrance hall. Then there’s another entrance down an alleyway – or narrow passage between buildings.
Neil: This entrance leads to flats with small windows and no balconies. Why’s that, Rob?
Rob: That’s because the alleyway entrance is the so-called ‘poor door’. There’ no swanky double click: dictionary foyer or tinted double click: dictionary glass windows for these residents because they pay less rent than the people living in the apartments at the front.
Neil: Swanky means something fashionable and expensive that is designed to impress people. And tinted glass is coloured glass – so people can’t look through your windows.
Rob: That sounds useful! Do you have tinted glass windows, Neil?
Neil: No, I don’t. Tinted sunglasses are all that I can afford. So what do people think about having a rich door and a poor door for the same building, Rob?
Rob: Well, some people think it’s terrible. They say it’s segregation double click: dictionary – or separation and different treatment of people – and I can’t believe the poor-door people put up with double click: dictionary it really!
Neil: To put up with something means to accept something that is annoying without complaining about it. The thing is, though, the poor-door people don’t pay nearly as much rent. And they don’t have to pay the same service charges that the rich-door people pay.
Rob: A service charge double click: dictionary is an amount of money you pay to the owner of an apartment building for things like putting out the rubbish. Well, let’s listen to an experience of a poor-door resident.
Abdul Mohammed, resident of One Commercial St, City of London:
We can’t use the lift.. because it’s for the rich people. So whenever the doors open, I use it. So they try and tell me off for using it. I say, ‘here, come, take me to court – I don’t mind’.
Neil: So what has Abdul been doing that the rich-door residents don’t like, Rob?
Rob: Well, he’s been using their lift because it’s near his apartment door.
Neil: And what does Abdul mean when he says, ‘come, take me to court’?
Rob: He’s inviting the rich-door residents to take legal action against him, but Abdul doesn’t really think he’s doing anything wrong.
Neil: OK, it’s time to hear the answer to today’s quiz question.
Rob: Yes. What does ‘social housing’ mean? Is it flats or houses for people who.. a) want to buy or rent at a low price? b) who want to live together sharing facilities? or c) who aren’t able to pay any rent at all?
Neil: And I said a) to buy or rent at a low price.
Rob: And you were right! So well done for that, Neil. Now, shall we listen to the words we’ve learned on today’s programme?
Neil: Good idea. We heard:
bijoux – small but attractive
bump into – meet somebody by chance
communal area – area that is shared by a number of people
plush – expensive and luxurious
foyer – entrance hall
alleyway – narrow passage between buildings
swanky – something fashionable and expensive that is designed to impress people
tinted – coloured glass
segregation – separation and different treatment of people
to put up with something – to accept something that is annoying without complaining about it
service charge – amount of money you pay to the owner of an apartment building for things like putting out the rubbish
Rob: Thank you. Well, that’s the end of today’s 6 Minute English. I hope you felt at home with us on today’s programme! Please join us again soon.
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