Exercise 1


They’re slow. They’re boring. They don’t have any special effects. That’s the opinion many people have about old movies. But some film directors continue to use film-making techniques that have not changed in nearly a hundred years, and the results can be charming and fun.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientist!, created by British company Aardman Animations, is one example. It took five years to make this extremely ambitious film, using the ‘stop-frame’ filming technique. For every second of finished film, the puppets and models in each scene were moved up to 24 times. On average, it took a whole day to make just four seconds of screen action. A total of 525 people – including 33 animators – worked on the production. This kind of film-making requires great attention to detail. For example, pins were used to make tiny changes to the models. In total, 10,318 puppet mouths were used during filming to create realistic face movements.

However, nearly a hundred years ago, Walt Disney was doing something very similar. Back in 1937, his team made the first ever full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He also used the stop-frame technique. In this case, each frame was drawn by hand. More than 1,500,000 frames were used in total. The film took three years to make and cost six times more to make than Disney had planned.

Snow White was hugely successful and it is still loved today by children around the world. There is no doubt that Aardman Animations’ films will be enjoyed in the same way for many years to come. Films that use modern technology may be dramatic and exciting, but handmade films will always be more impressive and fun to watch.

A. Read Film-making has changed a lot in the last 100 years. Does the writer prefer traditional animated films, or films made with modern technology?

B. Read the article again. What do these numbers refer to?

33  –  1,500,000  –  4  –  24  –  10,318  –  1937  –  525  –  3



The writer seems to prefer traditional animated films (‘handmade films will always be more impressive and fun to watch’).


33 – the number of animators who worked on The Pirates!

1, 500,000 – more than 1, 500,000 frames were used to make Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

4 – On average, it took a day to make just four seconds of screen action in The Pirates!.

24 – For every second of finished film in The Pirates!, the puppets and models in each scene were moved up to 24 times.

10,318 – the number of puppet mouths used during filming

1937 – the year that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was made

525 – the number of people who worked on The Pirates!

3 – the number of years it took to make Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Exercise 2

The three best music festivals you’ve probably never heard of

Fuji Rock Festival, Japan

Enjoy rock and electronic music at the foot of Mount Fuji

This is Japan’s largest outdoor music event. It’s held every year at the Naeba Ski Resort. You can enjoy the beauty of the forests and rivers as you walk (often quite a long way!) from one stage to another. This is one of the world’s safest and most environmentally friendly festivals, which is probably why everyone’s happiness levels are so high!

Past performers include: Radiohead, Coldplay, Massive Attack

Roskilde, Denmark

A rock festival that gives all its profits to charity

Here, you can enjoy rock, punk, heavy metal, hip hop, indie and music from around the world. The organisers donate all the money they make to projects for social and cultural development.

Don’t forget that summer days are long in Denmark. It doesn’t get dark until 11 pm, and it starts getting light at 3.30 am.

Past performers include: Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna

Coachella, California, USA

Music and sculpture in the Californian desert

This annual music and arts festival, which takes place over two long weekends, is a celebration of creativity and culture. Live performances of rock, indie, hip hop and electronic music take place continuously.

As you walk around the grounds, you can also enjoy sculptures and other modern art installations by artists from around the world.

Past performers include: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence and the Machine, Kanye West

A. Read the article again and match the comments with the festivals. Write F (Fuji Rock Festival), R (Roskilde) or C (Coachella).

1   ‘Even the toilet paper is made from recycled cups from last year’s festival!’

2   ‘I’m glad I took a good pair of walking boots with me.’

3   ‘The nights were so short!’

4   ‘There was a huge wooden butterfly.’

5   ‘It’s really good to know that all the money goes to good causes.’

6   ‘The second weekend was great.’


1 F   2 F   3 R   4 C   5 R   6 C

Exercise 3

Why I prefer to stay at home

1   What was your last cinema experience like? I remember the expensive tickets, the long queues and the uncomfortable seats. Does this sound familiar? I love going out to see my friends, going to parties or clubs. I like having fun. However, I don’t really enjoy going to the cinema any more.

2   The other problem for me is the audience at cinemas. Although many people say that seeing a film at a cinema is a good chance to go out and be sociable, I really hate listening to other people’s comments. The last time I went to the cinema, there was a couple who commented loudly on everything in the film. They laughed at everything in the film, really loudly – even at things which weren’t funny! I politely asked them to be quiet. Despite this, they continued as if they were watching their own TV. If I watch something at home, I can invite my friends and spend time with people I know and like rather than sitting near noisy strangers.

3   Another reason for staying at home is convenience. I like to watch films or TV shows when I want to watch them, not at specific times. In spite of my love of films and TV shows, I don’t enjoy all of them. If I’m at home, I can stop the film and watch something else or I can fast-forward through the boring bits. For example, I was really disappointed with a film I saw last night – so I just switched it off!

4   While I watch a lot of films, I also watch a lot of TV shows online now. I really enjoy watching a whole series. It gives characters time to develop in interesting and unexpected ways. In fact, there are so many great TV shows to watch, I’ve hardly got time to go to the cinema.

 So these days, when my friends invite me to the cinema, I usually say, ‘No thanks’. I really do prefer to watch films and TV series at home. I can choose what I want to watch, I can choose the time when I want to watch it and I can choose who I watch it with. The question really is: why should I go out?

A. Read Julia’s blog, Why I prefer to stay at home. What is her main point?

1   Films are too expensive and it’s cheaper to stay at home.

2   It’s more comfortable and convenient to watch films and TV series at home.

3   Films are less satisfying than TV programmes.

B. Read the blog again and answer the questions.

 What annoys Julia about cinema audiences?

 Why were the couple sitting behind her rude?

 What does she do if she finds a film boring?

 Why is the length of a TV series sometimes a good thing?





1   They comment loudly on the film or laugh loudly.

2   They continued being noisy after she asked them to be quiet.

3   She stops the film and watches something else, or fast-forwards through the boring bits.

4   It gives characters time to develop in interesting and unexpected ways.

Exercise 4


Marc Boulanger, on the sweet sounds of Congolese band, Konono N°1:

I was just 15 when I saw Konono N°1 perform live. They were playing a concert in Paris, my hometown, and although I had been serious about playing music since the age of 10, I had never seen or heard anything like this band before. I don’t mean that I had never heard any popular African music before. Even at 15, I had already heard of musicians such as Fela Kuti and Kanda Bongo Man. So what was different about this folk orchestra?

First of all, I think it is the way that they mix modern culture with the cultural traditions of the Bazombo people, who live near the border with Angola. In that ancient tradition, musical instruments were made out of elephant tusks*. But Mawangu Mingiedi, the musician who started Konono N°1, introduced electric likembé (a traditional likembé is part piano, part drum). They have a really special sound – they have a beauty which you just won’t hear anywhere else.

Secondly, the instruments they use are really interesting. Every one of them has been made out of old bits of wood and metal and other rubbish that they have found just lying around. Even the electric instruments that they use have been made using batteries from old cars and broken lamps as well as small magnets. Again, this all helps to create a sound that is unlike anything else you might hear.

Finally, there is the amazing rhythm they use. Every time I listen to it I get a really strong feeling of excitement. Everyone who hears that beat is filled with so much happiness that they just have to start dancing.


Posted by: Tommo23 09:13

Thanks for this. I’ve just read Marc’s full article. Really great story. They’re going to do a performance at this year’s Edinburgh festival in August.

I can’t wait to go.

Posted by: ShSh41 10:23

Yeah, I don’t know. In spite of my love of African music I think there are other bands who are more important than these guys. Fela Kuti is just the best. Now there was a guy who managed to put music and politics together. Definitely a hero for me.

A. Read the text. Are the sentences true or false?

1   The main topic of the text is Marc Boulanger.

2   Marc Boulanger knows a lot about popular African music.

3   Marc Boulanger is from France.

4   Konono N°1 is the name of a music festival.

5   ‘Tommo23’ is interested in what Marc Boulanger wrote.

6   ‘ShSh41’ agrees with Marc Boulanger.

B. Read the text again and tick (✓) the correct answer.

1   Why was Konono N°1’s concert so interesting for Marc?

      a   because Fela Kuti had recommended the band to him

      b   because he had never visited Paris before

      c   because it was the first time he had ever heard popular African music

      d   because their music was not similar to anything else he knew

2   Who used to make traditional instruments out of elephant tusks?

      a   Fela Kuti

      b   Kanda Bongo Man

      c   People from Angola

      d   The Bazombo people

3   What is a likembé?

      a   a kind of elephant

      b   a kind of instrument

      c   a kind of musician

      d   a kind of sound

4   All the instruments used by Konono N°1 have been made by hand …

      a   apart from the instruments they found in the street.

      b   except the electric instruments, which they bought.

      c   including all the electric instruments which they use.

      d   except for the piano and drums.

5   According to ‘ShSh41’, who combined music with politics?

      a   Fela Kuti

      b   Kanda Bongo Man

      c   Konono N°1

      d   Mawangu Mingiedi

C. You are going to write a blog for Heroes of Music. First, make notes about a singer, musician or band whose music you like very much. Use the Internet to help you make notes about:

•   the name of the singer/musician/band

•   the history of the singer/musician/band

•   any interesting details about the singer/musician/band



True: 2, 3, 5; False: 1, 4, 6


1 d   2 d   3 b   4 c   5 a

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