The Santa’s Singers at The British Embassy 2013

27 12 2013

A week after my debut with the Santa’s Singers, we were at it again, but this time at the British Embassy Xmas party, on Saturday 7th December 2013. 


The British Embassy in Buenos Aires

This time around we sang the following:

 . let all creation celebrate
traditional christmas carols medley I
. I wish you Christmas
. el nacimiento
. the jingle jolliest season
traditional christmas carols medley II
Notice the Ambassador himself has joined the choir here to sing a few songs with us! 
. star of the east
And for the finale we’re joined by the children for some fave xmas ditties…
Once again as always thanks to Mike and partner for the filming, Ian for the choir mastering, and the Santa’s Singers for making xmas more xmasy this year.  Many thanks to the ABCC and the Embassy for having us as well. 
Merry Xmas everybody! 

The Santa’s Singers at Belgrano Athletic Club 2013

27 12 2013

My singing of songs took on a whole new plane last year when I joined the Santa’s Singers.  Unfortunately ( 🙂 ) I spent the whole of December 2012 in Peru and so couldn’t join the singers at any of their yearly carolling events.  But this year, after two hard months of weekly rehearsals, I made my Santa’s Singers’ debut at the Belgrano Athletic Club.  

Belgrano Athletic Club

Belgrano Athletic Club

Unfortunately, since I’m a tall bass and so stand at the end of the line, I spent most of the gig behind a lampshade, but you can enjoy my left ear at times.  And if you know my voice you might be able to distinguish my dulcet tones at certain more confident moments, although I was rather quiet tonight as it’s been a long time since my singing voice has been on stage, even among such supportive companions.  

The song list for the evening went as follows:

. come share this night of joy
. away in a manger
. el nacimiento
. the joy of christmas
. star of the east

Many thanks to Mike and his wife for organising the filming of the singing.  And congratulations to my companeros for being such a great choir and welcoming me with open arms.  And a special mention to our choir master, Ian, for leading us to heights undreamed of.


Keep on waiting

1 07 2013



Wants me too



I love you

So where are you?

When’s it gonna be?

You and me.

You and me. 


Is it gonna be here?

Is it gonna be there?

You know I don’t care

I just…

…keep on waiting

Keep on waiting…


Keep on dancing all the night

Keep on laughing through the fight

Keep on singing the words aren’t right




I keep on waiting…

Glastonbury Song

30 06 2013

43 years later than needed

Even though we just met yesterday

You’ve got more about you to live for

Than all the things I sing I say

So young, so beautiful so alive so a-love

So young, so beautiful so alive so a-love


So many weeks later than heeded

Even though I realised yesterday

You’ve got lots about you to fight for

More than all the things I bring today

So young, so beautiful so alive so a-love

So young, so beautiful so alive so a-love


So many days later than tweeted

Responding immediately to what you say

You’ve got what I wanted to die for

More then anything I can say

So young, so beautiful so alive so a-love

So young, so beautiful so alive so a-love

Materials for Surviving Through Song – IHWO LOW September 2012

8 09 2012

Here are all the materials you need to enjoy ‘Surviving through Song – words of wisdom for EFL teachers’ which I’m presenting as an IHWO Live Online Workshop this September – Enjoy!

I’m hoping to post blogs about each of the songs used in the workshop, but having done a couple of them, I can see it might take me a while to do them all, but hopefully we’ll get there eventually.  

Here are the first few:

It’s my party – for students

It’s my party – for teachers

The slides:

The Songs:

Lesley Gore – It’s my party

The Boomtown Rats – I don’t like Mondays

The Smiths – Ask

Oasis – Wonderwall

Dead or Alive – You spin me round

The Cure – Just like heaven

The Handouts

IHTOC50 NM HO Lesley Gore – It’s My Party Handout 1

IHTOC50 NM HO Lesley Gore – It’s My Party Handout 2

IHTOC50 NM HO Lesley Gore – It’s My Party Handout 3

IHTOC50 NM HO The Boomtown Rats – Tell me why I don’t like Mondays

IHTOC50 NM HO The Smiths – Ask

IHTOC50 NM HO Oasis – Wonderwall

IHTOC50 NM HO Dead or alive – you spin me round

IHTOC50 NM HO The Cure – Just Like Heaven

The Observation Tasks

The Sixties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Errors & Correction

The Seventies – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Critical Moments

The Eighties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO On The Podium

The Nineties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Successful Stages

The Noughties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Going Round In Circles

I hope you enjoy the workshop – if so, please do leave a comment and tell a colleague about it!

Surviving Through Song – Words of Wisdom for NQTs

31 05 2012

At #IHTOC50 (International House Teachers Online Conference) on Friday May 25th, up to 500 IH teachers from around the world came together to share their experience, knowledge and love of teaching, as well as to celebrate fifty years of teacher training at International House.

I was lucky enough to be heavily involved in organising the whole conference, in my role as Academic Coordinator for Resources and DoS Support, but I also gave one of the plenary sessions on the day.

I then gave a slightly different face to face version of the session at the Anglo conference in Montevideo on Sunday 19th August, with the kind support of Macmillan Uruguay.  This session included the observation tasks you’ll find below, but I left out Ask by The Smiths as the song of The Eighties and left that up to Just Like Heaven by The Cure.

Surviving Through Song – Words of wisdom for EFL teachers

The idea behind my session was to give some sound advice to Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) about how to survive in their early years of teaching, based on my experience as an NQT myself back in Prague in the late nineties, and then as a senior teacher and DoS helping new teachers settle into their new careers, and most recently as a CELTA trainer sending new teachers off out into the wide world of ELT, and also as a DELTA trainer, welcoming not-so-new teachers back into the fold for further teacher development.

Since we were celebrating 50 years of International House teacher training (the first teacher training course took place at IH London in June 1962 and would later develop into what we today know and love as the CELTA), I thought it would be fun to look back over the best music of the last fifty years to find some inspiration.  Then it occurred to me that using song was a great way of ingratiating yourself with your students in your early years of teaching, so why not pass on a few ideas about how to use my chosen songs in the classroom at the same time?

And then during the planning stage and with some great input from people (mainly my former IHCAM and DELTA trainees) commenting on my previous blog post  ‘Turning CELTees into successful NQTs’, I realised teachers may also appreciate some help with reflecting on their own teaching, both through self-observation and peer / DoS observation.

So I ended up with a song from each decade of the last fifty years and one for luck.  And for each of these fab songs, I had advice for new (and not so new!) teachers, a lesson for using the song as listening practice and as a springboard for speaking or language activities, and also an observation task that can be used to help teachers improve in the area inspired by the songs.

To go through each of them here would make for one incredibly long blog post, so instead I’m going to try and post about one song/decade/idea on a regular basis over the coming weeks.  And as I do so I’ll add links to each of the posts here below so you have an index to all of them in one place.

The Sixties – For Students

The Sixties – For Teachers

The Sixties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Errors & Correction

The Seventies – For Students

The Seventies – For Teachers

The Seventies – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Critical Moments

The Eighties – For Students

The Eighties – For Teachers

The Eighties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO On The Podium

The Nineties – For Students

The Nineties – For Teachers

The Nineties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Successful Stages

The Noughties – For Students

The Noughties – For Teachers

The Noughties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Going Round In Circles

The session seemed to go down very well and people said they found all three aspects of it useful, so I hope you find something useful in there too.  If you do, please let us know with a comment.

And then if you have other songs you’d like me to dish out the same treatment on, do let me know about them too!  Enjoy!

It’s not fair

24 03 2012

Don’t suppose that you could tell me?

Don’t suppose you’ll ever know?

Only I can think it over

Make a choice or let you go.


Not fair am I to keep you like this?

 Not fair is it to make this my truth?

Not fair at all but that’s the way it is

Life’s not so fair today at all


Don’t imagine that you’d leave me?

Don’t imagine that you’ll ever let me go?

Only I can free us both to

Make it fairer than it was before.


Don’t you think I’d know the answers?

Don’t you think I’ve been here before?

Only I can’t remember the way to

Make it fairer than it was before.


Don’t you know I’m turning you over?

Don’t you know I’m out of time?

Only I can see the difference

Making it up while it’s still too soon.


It’s not fair

So scream and scream so I can hear you crying

It’s not fair

And I know and I scream so I can see you dying

It’s not fair, it’s not fair, but it’s the truth.


I love you

26 11 2011

Funny that this song is probably about 20 years old, but I’ve just added the last verse this evening – let me know if you think it’s an improvement or not  :).

I love you

It’s gotta be said

Want you lying in my bed.

Rains all night, awake in the dark

Knowing you’re going to break my heart.


I love you

What else can I say

Want to know you every day.

I need you, it’s just this way

It’s the gorgeous look upon your face.


I love you

Don’t make me wait

Nothing but my heart to take

I need you, to decide my fate

Just say that you will stay to play!


I love you,

You know it’s true,

I’d do anything you want me to.

Sun comes up, the sky is blue,

Tell me that you love me too. 

Dreaming of me

3 11 2011

And everything’s happening at the same time again

You’re with someone and guess who’ve I’ve seen

And everyone’s happy with everything that’s happening

But I wish she would smile and be here with me.


I tell you to be what you are and it’s working

But what do I do about her and about me?

I tell you to fake it and see how it’s going

But I don’t think she’s even noticed I’m me


So you win from the two of us and I’m left here alone

Dreaming of gorgeousness dreaming of me

So you leave me alone praying my dreams come true

Dreams that are gorgeous and dreams that are me

But they never come true and I know that they lie to me

But what can I do that will save me again

I know that I’m left with a life full of dreams

Dreams of the day when I see the one that was meant to be

With me. 

Wedding Hues

5 10 2011

This was written when I was still at school and it’s one of my favourite early songs.  It has a pattern, a story, some bearable rhyme and goes to a pretty decent tune too.

Colour blue

Waiting for you

To return

To me.

Colour red

Lying in bed

Wanting you

Beside me.

Colour yellow

Feeling hollow

Without you

Within me.

Colour black

Please come back

You belong

Next to me.

Colour orange

It’s so strange

Alone with you

Noone but me.

Colour white

Tonight’s the night

With love to you

from me.

Colour green

Never seen

Naked bodies

Beside me.

Colour purple

Your disciple

Follow you

Sacrifice me.

Colour pink

Please don’t sink

I’m here

Hold me.

Colour grey

Please say

That you

Love me.

Colour brown

Virginal gown

Wear to wed

Propose to me.

Colour of money

Love me honey

Don’t do it

unless you love me.