12. pick up
14. ten/10 minutes
15. long and heavy
16. lie down
18. their ears
The part of the text containing the answer is underlined with the question number given in square brackets . If you still struggle with FCE Listening, please refer to Listening tips.
Man: You have to feel sorry for referees.  I mean, they’re under terrible pressure throughout the game, with players shouting at them, and cheating and all that. And of course, the fans of both sides give them a hard time – they just can’t win. Sure, they make mistakes, plenty of them, but they’re only human. They don’t go out there thinking, ‘I’m going to do really badly today’, they’re doing their best. Some people think that there are referees who just want to draw attention to themselves, who think they’re as important as the players, but that’s not my view. I mean, who’d want their job, with all that criticism all the time?
Chef: I had a bit of an odd week. I went to Birmingham to do a TV cookery show. I had to make my special recipe pancakes, but the pan they gave me in the studio wasn’t nearly big enough, so it made things all a bit difficult . But it turned out all right in the end, they were just a bit smaller than usual! Later in the week I was on a radio show answering listeners’ questions about cooking, and then I did a few interviews about my new book.
Woman: I just had to dance. When I was a girl, I was always putting on dancing shows for my parents. By the time I was seven I knew what I wanted to be, and that feeling never went away . I told my parents I wanted to do proper ballet. So I went to a ballet school and I’ve been dancing ever since. I used to have classes after school and on Saturdays. And, when I finished school, I went to a full-time dance academy for four years. Now I’m teaching dance, and I’ve never been happier.
Woman: So what time are you going to make it? You know it’s a very important meeting and we can’t really discuss the issue properly without you. Yes, I’ll tell her you’ll get here as soon as you can, but I know she isn’t going to be very pleased. OK, I’ll delay things as long as I can – I’ll say you’ve got problems at home or something. No, I won’t say you’ve overslept, I don’t want to get you in trouble! 
Presenter: Have you ever wondered how many tons of food you eat in a lifetime, or how many miles of blood vessels there are in your body? No? Oh well, there are plenty more intriguing entries in this huge book of facts. It claims to have the most accurate and up-to-date information about every subject on Earth. I’m not sure it covers absolutely everything , but it certainly has lots of fascinating facts on pretty much any topic you can think of – you won’t be able to put it down!
Interviewer: What was your favourite subject at school?
Man: Maths, by far. I loved it, so I was good at it I couldn’t get enthusiastic about other subjects, but with maths I wanted to show off. I liked the logic of it.
Interviewer: Were you a good student?
Man: Yes, pretty much. I didn’t cause a lot of trouble or anything like that was cheeky and I liked having a laugh with my friends, but I always managed to make the teachers laugh before they told me off . All in all, I had a great time at school.
Man: I really don’t see why I have to keep doing him favours. He never does any for me. I guess you were right about him all along – you always said he took advantage of other people . I didn’t believe you then but now I can see what you mean. I can see now that I was totally wrong about him. Its a real shame, because I thought we were great friends for a while. But I’m just not going to put up with him any longer. I mean, he surely can’t expect to behave like that and get away with it.
Guide: OK, that’s the end of my introductory talk and now you can wander around on your own for a couple of hours. We’ll meet back here at 12.30. Before you go, a bit of advice. This is an enormous museum, packed full of fascinating things, and you can’t expect to see it all in one go. So, if I were you I’d concentrate on one or two sections and look at them in detail.  Have a look at the map – you’ve all got one and its very simple and clear – and decide where you want to go. And split up into couples or small groups – it gets pretty crowded here and you won’t have much fun if a lot of you try to stick together.
Elephant polo player: Of course, polo is normally played on horses, and it’s a very fast game. Well, we don’t claim that elephant polo is the fastest game in the world, but we always maintain it’s the biggest. The elephants do actually enjoy polo. Definitely. It’s a lot of fun for them because they’re social animals , and a polo tournament is a week when dozens of elephants meet up, many from the same family, like a reunion. And of course they get fed extremely well – better than in their normal life. I hey use up a lot of energy and get through masses of sugar cane, especially at half-time.
The players sit on elephants and hit a white wooden ball, using a long bamboo stick that has a polo mallet head on the end of it. The pitch is about three-quarters the length of a football pitch, and the goals are the same width as football goals . There’s a basic saddle and the players are strapped onto the elephants. We’ve never had a serious accident. A mahout – an elephant handler – sits behind each player and guides the elephant . Sometimes the mahouts have their own games, guiding the elephant and hitting the ball as well. That takes incredible skill.
During a game, if the ball hits an elephant, that’s fine. Their legs are quite thick and they do get in the way. Quite often they will kick the ball so that they can run after it. They’re not allowed to pick up the ball with their trunks , though they sometimes try. That would be a free hit to the other side.
There are four elephants per team in a tournament, plus the referee’s elephant – that’s nine on the pitch at any one time . We usually have sixteen animals available on any given day, in four teams. There are two halves, called chukkas, in a game of elephant polo, the same as in normal polo. We play ten minutes of actual play . Whenever the whistle blows, the clock stops. A novice team might score one or two goals, if they’re lucky, while an advanced team might score about ten.
The polo rules are that a man can only hold the stick with his right arm, even if he is left-handed. Women can use both hands. Using the stick is hard work, because it’s long and the head is heavy . By the end of the game, your arm will be aching. But it’s an easy game to pick up with a little practice.
During the game, you chase after the ball on your elephant, going quite quickly, and you can easily miss it, though the elephant will often help you out with his foot. The elephants usually supply the entertainment. They might decide to lie down across the goal for fun but that’s an absolute no-no .
Ultimately, it’s about elephants charging up and down the pitch, scoring great goals themselves and having a lot of fun. If the elephants didn’t enjoy it, or if there was any form of misbehaving, they would be removed from the game – sent off, if you like. It’s not worth risking an elephant with an attitude problem . You get all sorts. You get big elephants that are a bit older and wiser, and we use a lot of small ones that can be exceptionally quick. We try to remove what you might call the elephant factor by swapping elephants and mahouts with the other team at half-time. If you’ve got elephants that don’t normally live together, there can be some tension. The sport always uses Indian elephants. The problem with African ones is that their ears get in the way . And they’re much taller.
The place is always on TV and in films and in magazines, and so you get a mental picture of what it’s like even if you haven’t been there. You have this image of skyscrapers everywhere, streets full of traffic and people, everyone rushing around, talking fast and leading busy lives. You think of it as having a real buzz. And guess what? It was just like that. Everything I’d expected to find was there. In fact, it all seemed so familiar that it was as if I’d actually been there before.
I discovered after I’d been there that you need to be really careful about when you choose to visit the place. There are very busy times and quieter times. Without realizing it, I chose one of the busy times, and wow, was it busy! The place was packed , and of course with the narrow streets it is famed for, that makes movement difficult. I just shuffled along with everyone else, going at their pace, so I didn’t manage to see much. There’s a great atmosphere there, and of course it looks wonderful, but I could have done with a bit more room to move. So I guess I didn’t see it at its best.
Everyone I’ve met who’s been there says what a fantastic place it is. and I was expecting something really special. And I wasn’t disappointed, though I must say the picture I’d had of it in my mind didn’t turn out to be totally accurate. In fact, it not only lived up to my expectations, it exceeded them . People always associate it with its famous buildings, but it was the less well known places that struck me. In every little street, especially away from the tourist areas, there was something fascinating to see. It’s those little streets that were really memorable for me.
I’d been looking forward to going there for a long time and I finally managed it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because people had told me that it wasn’t the same as it used to be. Apparently, it’s become much more touristy recently, but I didn’t see any evidence of that. What did strike me was how confusing it is. Half the time I didn’t know where I was and getting from A to В was always problematic . I normally have a good sense of direction, but I was always getting lost there. Once I did get to where I was trying to go, it was worth it, though.
People always talk about what a marvellous place it is, and so eventually I decided to go and see for myself. It has the reputation of being a place you never forget, and lots of people say it’s their favourite city. But, having been there, I can’t see what all the fuss is about.  Sure, the places that you see pictures of all the time, or that you see in films, are impressive enough, but I’ve seen better. It’s a pleasant enough place, and it’s certainly popular with tourists – there were plenty of them there – but I don’t think it really deserves all the praise people give it.
Interviewer: My next guest is James Hyland, the young Irish entrepreneur, who has been behind all sorts of music projects. The latest is Bubble TV, a music channel without advertising breaks. James, welcome.
Interviewer: You’re 23 now, but you launched yourself into the music world while you were still at school, didn’t you? You were a very young starter!
James: Yes, I was 12 when I started my own radio station in my house. I played music I liked. The station was called Happiness. Not a good name I know, but I was young. I would have been happy if it had been just the neighbours listening, but it soon became clear that I’d attracted a lot of fans and I was invited to play at events . I ploughed all the money I made from that back into the station. It got very big and I got noticed.
Interviewer: Weren’t people amazed when they found out you were 12?
James: Yes, but they were far more amazed when they discovered that I was organising concerts by some of the biggest bands on the British music scene when I was just 16. That also attracted a lot of jealous rivalry. At 12 people are pleased for you, people are happy and encourage you, but when you’re just a little older and running a successful business, it can be more of a threat .
Interviewer: So how did your career in music progress as you got older?
James: When I was 16, I started working with a local radio station. I didn’t stay too long as I didn’t like having a boss. But I didn’t just complain and carry on going into work. I ditched the job and set up my own studio at my home in Cork, in southern Ireland, and began producing commercials from there . Along the way, I’d already started promoting well-known bands. I managed to bring in some fantastic acts to play at festivals and concerts in Ireland.
Interviewer: Now not so long ago, you launched the Bubble TV channel, a 24-hour all-music channel with no advertising breaks, aimed at teenagers. James, you seem to be the sort of person who’s too busy to be the couch potato type, but the idea came from watching TV, didn’t it?
James: Yes, I was flicking through ail the channels and noticed there were so many of them but only three dedicated to music. And there weren’t any exclusively British channels – most were from the US with British commercials. I hate ad breaks, they interrupt whatever you’re watching and spoil the mood, so I decided not to have any. However, I should point out that Bubble TV has sponsored segments, so companies are involved. But the sponsorship doesn’t get in the way, you have to look for a change in the background logo during programmes to notice it .
Interviewer: Is it just music and nothing else?
James: Although it’s mainly music, we have three presenters, who do slots called Juice. They interview bands and go to gigs and festivals. And bands can’t just promote their new song or whatever, it’s got to be fun . They have to spill the juice – the gossip – in just three minute slots! It has to be entertaining.
Interviewer: Now, you’re constantly coming up with fresh ideas. Do you sleep with a notebook by the bed in case you dream up a best-selling idea in your sleep?
James: Absolutely. I text myself with my ideas as I have them, then each day I go through my texts to see what ideas I have sent myself .
Interviewer: So what’s next?
James: Aah, I have several ideas … but I’m not telling you!
Interviewer: OK, fair enough! Well, finally, have you got any tips for would-be entrepreneurs listening now?
James: Don’t give up at the first sign of hardship. I’ve had my fingers burnt and lost money through some of my schemes in the past, but I’ve never let it get me down . I’ve had setbacks – but you can’t dwell on them. You just move on.
Interviewer: James, thanks.
James: You’re welcome.
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