Transcript for 1.6 Anne and Hadrien
Transcript for Sharing things 1.6 Anne and Hadrien.
Amalie: You're listening to Sharing things, a new University of Edinburgh podcast from the Alumni Relations team about the University community, which we want to get to know a little better.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: Hi, I'm Amalie, I'm a fourth-year student and I'm the host of this podcast. In Sharing things I talk to alumni, staff and students about their stories. Guests have all been asked to bring an object as a starting point for discussion and the object can be anything important or significant. It can represent an event, person, decision, experience or it can just remind them of something. Let's see where this takes us.
In this episode you will meet Anne Miller and Hadrien Espiard. Anne is a writer and producer. After graduating in 2009 with a degree in sociology and politics she has become the Tartan Elf and finds fun facts for the BBC quiz show QI for a living. She's also a producer on Radio 4's Museum of Curiosity. Hadrien is a fourth-year law student from Montreal, Canada. As co-president of Edinburgh University North American Society he brings together fellow students in cultural and social pursuits. He also likes running and he likes lists. We talk about must-dos in Edinburgh, Starbucks and the CIA, internet wormholes, weird knowledge and more.
Welcome Hadrien and Anne to Sharing things. I thought that I would start with asking you about your objects- what have you brought to the studio today and why?
Anne: I have brought the Edinburgh Students' Association guide to Edinburgh City 2009. It's the first thing I ever edited.
Anne: So this was, I don't know how many of these you still have, but when I was at uni - so I graduated politics and sociology in 2009 and I did a lot of societies and I did the Student newspaper and the student magazine which was called Hype and then became called The Voice. Do you have a student magazine now?
Hadrien: I haven't heard of The Voice.
Anne: That was 2009 so it was 10 years ago. So I'd seen a lot of writing things and then this job came up. They were doing various publications sort of in the Freshers' packs. So you see like an alternate prospectus and information about the city and they were doing this book about the city and me and my friend Lee who edited the paper did it together. So it was like a guide to all the things we loved in Edinburgh so the new students could like not be dropped in the deep end. Like here are some places to start exploring because it's a great city and there's so much to see. Yea it was really fun to make so I thought I'd bring it.
Amalie: Did you base it on like personal experiences or?
Anne: Yeah we tried to sort of make it sort of set in George Square, King's Buildings, this side of town, so there was stuff around that I loved like a lot of stuff in Newington and Arthur's Seat and information about the buses and trips you could go on. With Edinburgh there's so much to do in the city and there's so much outside but if you don't know it's quite overwhelming because there's so many... you can go everywhere.
Like I had a flatmate when I was in first year who was from Australia and every weekend it seems she would go somewhere in Europe because for her it was suddenly really really close whereas for us we were like well we're in Edinburgh, where can we go from here? And it's just the scales are so different, because you came from- is it Canada you grew up?
Hadrien: So I grew up in Montreal and driving two, three, four hours - I would drive two hours every weekend to go ski - two and a half hours and so driving two and a half hours anywhere in Scotland gets you half way across the country and you get to somewhere like completely out of the city. There's no cell service so when my friends were like I don't know if I want to drive to Skye, it's like five hours. I'm like well you know I've had friends who've driven that far for groceries before so you can do it.
Anne: Yeah and also because you're already here so you've not got the flight and then the driving while you're here so you might as well drive but I think it's nice how many things there are – yeah - to do. So I really love puffins and a couple of years ago I went to the Isle of May, which is in the Forth so you get the ferry across and I'd never done that and I loved puffins and it's been there the whole time and it's just nice to know what you can do.
Hadrien: Is there student-y stuff in there as well like nightlife?
Anne: Erm no this is mostly like the city and like simple stuff like 'Top 20 things to do in Edinburgh'. Have you done any of these?
Hadrien: Ok, I see. I've done a lot of these.
Anne: Hopefully sort of still relevant.
Amalie: Yeah, tell us tell us what you've done. Tell us what you, Anne, also what you've done.
Hadrien: So maybe I'll name things.
Anne: Yeah. And then we'll see if we've done them.
Hadrien: Edinburgh Castle which I shouldn't have done, apparently it's bad luck.
Anne: No there's a day when...
Amalie: Oh you've done that.
Anne: I've done Edinburgh Castle.
Amalie: Yeah but before you graduated?
Anne: Oh is there a myth, is there a…?
Hadrien: I mean come on.
Anne: I did go before I graduated and I did graduate so hopefully I broke the curse.
Hadrien: Yeah maybe that's why I'll be okay.
Anne: Yeah, you'll be alright [laughs].
Hadrien: Because you broke the curse. Erm Arthur's Seat?
Amalie: Yes. I was there yesterday.
Anne: Oh good, nice. Were you guys in Pollock Halls?
Hadrien: I was in Pollock.
Anne: It's right next to Arthur's Seat.
Hadrien: Which is so nice, I would go, if I had a late start I would go in the morning to Arthur's Seat, which is really cool and then one day- being the artsy first year that I thought I was- I decided to do a time lapse of the sunrise from Arthur's Seat but I thought that a time lapse was just an accelerated video, which it isn't of course so I spent an hour up there in December filming the sunrise. And then everyone said if you do that you have way too many frames and so you have to take about every fourth frame out.
Hadrien: But you have to download the video as frames so I had an hour of video...
Anne: How long did that take you?
Hadrien: So I just never did it.
Anne: But that's...we had some friends who went to see the sun set on Arthur's Seat like what a romantic date. The sun sets and you're left there in pitch black at the top.
Hadrien: Yeah [laughs].
Anne: They hadn't clocked this, they didn't have a torch and they just though oh this'll be romantic.
Hadrien: That's when you get people who get rescued in the helicopters.
Hadrien: That's always funny. I'm like that's such a small hill but...
Anne: ...you can get lost.
Amalie: So did you gather like the facts for this?
Anne: Yes this is so this is my first sort of like yeah I mean I say book, it's a booklet. I'm really pleased with it. So basically Lee used to run the paper and I ran the magazine, so for this we basically put a call out- who wants to be involved- and then we had different people do like different sections, like where to stay, nightlife, entertaining, sightseeing, eating and then we sort of would edit and make sure had enough information but I brought it because I think what's so great about Edinburgh and uni is that you can just do so many things.
Like you can go and make your time lapse and you learn- okay this is why I do it next time- but there's so much open to you. When you're at school you're sort of very young and it's very structured.
When you leave you've got things to do and when you're a student you can start a podcast, you can go to the Isle of Mull, you can go wherever you want and I think I got a lot of fun by just things I would never have thought I would do. I ran the tango dancing society for a year, I don't dance [laughs]. And do you do societies?
Hadrien: So in first year you sign up for everything and then you end up doing none of it so I did judo for, yeah, judo for two months, I think and so it was twice a week and I would end at 7:30 which was kind of a social handicap in halls so I was like I was too tired to do just any work because I would just pass out after judo and I would smell so bad, so judo didn't last too long and then I joined EUNAS of which I'm now co-president because...
Anne: Which is the North American...
Hadrien: North American Society and I joined it because I don't know how this happened, I went to a school with a graduating class of 60.
Anne: Six zero?
Hadrien: Six zero - yeah a small, small school and on the committee there were already two people from my high school and two other people who had essentially grown up in the same neighbourhood that I had in Montreal...
Hadrien: and now we have three people from Montreal, four people from Montreal who are on the committee.
Anne: Is this the Montreal club?
Hadrien: So it turned into the Montreal club a little bit but so that was quite nice, it's really, it was more jarring than I thought to come to the UK and I do say the UK because obviously Edinburgh when you're a student, it's not just Scottish students, there's a lot of students from around England and Wales and Northern Ireland of course.
Anne: Just things been different, people being... has everything been different?
Hadrien: Every everything was much more and the way people interact is different and so it was more jarring than I thought it was going to be and so it was really nice even though it was just once a week and I would see them, of course, outside of meetings but the regularity of being back home essentially for one hour a week at the very least it was really cool. Like when you close the door of the meeting room, it was like, you know, I didn't feel like I was in Edinburgh at all.
Anne: Yeah that must be so nice.
Hadrien: So I had the duality kind of in the [inaudible].
Anne: So how far is that flight wise?
Hadrien: So there are no direct flights so...
Anne: Oh really?
Hadrien: Yeah, I go through London.
Hadrien: Typically. I've been to Frankfurt as well so the the initial flight is five hours and then- which actually isn't too bad- and then it's like another hour from there and then depends how long you have to wait at the airport but I kind of like airports.
Hadrien: It's the only place you can drink a beer at 8am and no one looks at you weird.
Anne: That is true, they're like, he has a flight.
Hadrien: They don't know what time zone you're from.
[Sharing this theme music].
Hadrien: So my item is, it is a painting I guess is the best way, it's a display picture for a podcast- a now defunct I'm sad to say- podcast that I ran with my best friend Eric who is from Montreal but it was painted by my now girlfriend, then not girlfriend, which is quite funny, so the name of the title of the podcast is 'Lists and Other Things' and here you'll see kind of -how would you describe these?
Anne: Uh, representation?
Hadrien: Yeah, representation.
Anne: Kind of cartoon, like caricature-esque.
Hadrien: Yeah of Eric and I. Eric has his glasses - that's his defining feature and I have blond hair.
Amalie: And Eric is your co-host.
Hadrien: Eric is, yeah Eric is the host actually.
Hadrien: Yeah I'm just a talking head, I'm a nobody on the podcast. And there's a banjo cause I play the banjo or try to, there's a hockey stick because we're from Canada and we watch hockey together, there's a maple leaf again from Canada, piano because Eric plays the piano and we both study law, so there's a gavel right here.
Hadrien: And I really like this, obviously because of the person who painted it, it's quite nice, but also because it kind of ties in again with what I was saying with the North American Society where I have both Montreal and Edinburgh, which are two places now that, you know, define me in incalculable ways and so I have this with me at all times, which is kind of nice.
Anne: When did you do a podcast, how long ago was this?
Hadrien: So we did this podcast I wanna say for a little bit over a year and this was the summer leading up to uni and then throughout our first year.
Anne: That's really early for podcasting.
Anne: There's lots of podcasts now but three years ago there were not very many, so you were like one of the early ones.
Hadrien: Pioneers of the podcast.
Anne: Yeah, you can claim that.
Hadrien: And we got an RSS feed set up and everything and so it's, it's on, it's on iTunes and it's on podcast app, all this stuff [laughs].
Amalie: So what was it about?
Hadrien: Ok so 'Lists and Other Things' was pretty vague because Eric and I just like talking and so we kind of wanted to have a structure that just allow us to talk but so we would find a list every week and so it could be a food-related list or a list of things that we want to do for the next, for the upcoming year, or a list of people we saw this week that we want to be like in whichever way and so it would kind of lead to some tangents and we had some segments so I would have a random Wikipedia list of the week, which I really enjoyed, an example of one of these Wikipedia lists was 'military terms' which I think like born out of necessity are hilarious, I mean because people...
It's a kind of dark humour and there's one that I still use now which is sneakers for shoes, they call them 'go fasters'.
Hadrien: It's so stupid, it's so funny. So yeah, just things like that.
Amalie: What made you curious about these lists?
Hadrien: Well Eric thought it would be a good idea because when I'm trying to write a paper or when I'm studying for an exam and I give up, I just go on Wikipedia random and he's like well if you're going to do that anyways, you might as well...
Anne: Let's use it.
Hadrien: Yeah, we may as well use it in the podcast, which is good so I didn't feel like I was wasting my time anymore, it was for something.
Anne: That's awesome, so you like an interesting fact?
Hadrien: Oh I love interesting facts, which is, from what I gather, what you do for a living?
Anne: Yes, yes.
Hadrien: So I figured this would be...
Anne: Should I say what I do for a living?
Amalie: Yes please.
Anne: Yes so I worked for Quite Interesting Limited, which is a company that among other things makes a BBC Two show, QI, which is all about interesting facts, so I spend a lot of time on random corners of the internet reading about things, which is really fun because it's like every day we get to learn new things and when I was at uni I was like a cashier in a bank and it was, in a way a very good job because it worked around term time and I learned how money works but I would be - when I was quiet- I would be literally reading their intranet, you know, what can I learn, what is there here. Not that much when you're on a bank's intranet- I learnt a lot about their policies but that was it. Whereas now it's like you know we go down wormholes and find strange facts and then they come out in different ways so we do this TV programme for BBC Two and we make a Radio Four programme called 'Museum of Curiosity'.
For the last seven years we've done a fact book for Christmas which is has just got about between 1,200- 224 interesting facts all linked together, so it's a real fun thing to put together and my current favourite thing which is in- uh so QI each series is themed by a letter- we just filmed series Q so all facts are to do with words beginning with a letter 'Q'.
And there's a lot of Quebec in there [laughs] and my favourite thing which is in - so I found out that - you know the James Bond theme tune - so that was, the guy who wrote that, he reused that.
He actually originally wrote that not for James Bond but for it was a song about a man with an unlucky sneeze.
Amalie: Wait really?
Anne: You can find the original online and it's the best thing you'll have ever heard. It's the same, it's the same song but not as dramatic like this you can hear the tune and the lyrics are of how he was born with an unlucky sneeze and that's why his father fell in the village well and drowned.
Like it's so surreal but it's that James Bond going underneath it so I recommend searching 'James Bond original' it's very funny.
Hadrien: Yeah that might be my new ring tone.
Anne: The unlucky sneeze.
Hadrien: Yeah the unlucky sneeze. This is a pretty vague question but what's the research like because I guess the onus is on you to fact check quite a bit?
Hadrien: Like if I read a fact and it's incorrect, it doesn't really harm anyone but if you...
Anne: Oh we get letters [laughs].
Hadrien: Yeah I bet. But you get fact checking done for you after the fact.
Anne: So with a TV show there about a dozen of us researching for it and about half a dozen script writers and so we all sort of check each other's stuff as we go. We've done it long enough most of us now that we you can just tell when some people say things and oh that's been debunked.
The most annoying one is you come running over, "I found this amazing fact" and someone's like yeah we did that in series B.
Anne: So but you think we'll run out and we there's always more facts and things to uncover. It's like you find the bits that you know, then you look further and you find more, so we're all sort of checking each other's and we try and make sure there are two sources but even that as a rule is not very helpful because if somebody has copied it from a blog or someone else copies it, you've got two sources but they're not very helpful, whereas if you’d spoken to, you know, if we have a mollusk expert and they tell you a fact they found from their research you trust that as one source but like they've done it themselves, they know their stuff, so you would trust that more, so it's a really good way of, especially now, there's so much misinformation it's good to know like what do you trust.
One of the problems now I think is with Twitter I so often see things going past and they sort of lodge in your head and go oh I must check that before I tell someone because you don't know if it was a BBC news account or just somebody, you know, your friend who might be very smart but might just have heard it from somebody else and so knowing what actually is concrete information, but we also have very eagle-eyed viewers and we actually love when people have very very specific knowledge, sometimes we just can't know things and they'll know better than us and that's grand.
My favourite one- someone once wrote in and we've done a question about a Rolls Royce engine, a car engine and there's a video in the background of an engine going round and they wrote in and said: Just so you know...
I'm going to get this the wrong way round so if you work for Rolls Royce engines, please don't think I'm very sorry- but they said that either we had them going counter clockwise and it should have been clockwise or vice versa and they said our engine is going one way but Rolls Royce engines only go the other way, so we had the wrong engine and we were like oh that is so brilliant.
It was a fact we didn't know, I didn't realise they...
Hadrien: I really appreciate that though.
Anne: Yeah and they put it politely and you're like that's fantastic knowledge, cause obviously somebody who studies black birds for their PhD will know more than ours who has read one book about them or a couple or spoken to one person, so that extra knowledge is always, yeah it's sort of finding where it is and trying to get to it.
Amalie: How do you find these facts, like where do you go on the internet?
Anne: Yeah, erm, you just sort of start, so your sort of get inspiration from anywhere really, I think one thing about everyone in QI is we've all got slightly magpie brains so we're never, it's not like you shut your brain off then at nine o'clock like right, time to find a fact. We're always sort of looking so we're really fun to go holiday with cause we're like that looks interesting.
So I was watching a quiz show once and I think it was The Chase and there's a question about what was the most recent symbol added to the Morse code alphabet and I said I don't know this and the answer was the @ sign because Morse Code is still used by like people who do it to recreate it and people do it for a hobby and they wanted to share their email addresses with their new friends and so they needed an @ symbol to say oh you can email me so we don't have to do all the messages through Morse and that was from watching a quiz show.
There's one fact in one of our books which is that the word stressed is desserts backwards, I found that on a greetings card in the Post Office when I was waiting in the queue but I think with the internet it's you pick a topic.
So if it's Q, maybe take out Quebec and so you start looking at sort of the tourist board for there to see what's interesting and you look at Rough Guides to the city, you look at history, you look at news articles and you just sort of start, once you start doing that generally something will pop up that catches your eye and so in some jobs if you were to be distracted by a side bar and click along, you would be in trouble- we're allowed to do that which is great.
Hadrien: This is basically this is my dream job.
Anne: It's very fun, but you...
Hadrien: This is...
Amalie: Where do you go...
Hadrien: I'm wide-eyed...
Amalie: ...where you go look for random knowledge?
Hadrien: Well so this is a question to sort of answer your question. I spend too much time on Reddit, like way too much time, and I'm sure as you'll know like a very common 'ask a question' is what's a fun fact or what's a surprising fact or sad/happy...
Hadrien: Put any adjective fact so I get a lot of random facts from there and then also I don't know, I don't think it's intentional misinformation but because you get so little information, like the thing that makes it to the top, the information that makes it to the top is short and easy to read so you don't get the full story but so then you can follow up but I was wondering because your work is based on providing facts that people don't know and there is like an influx of facts through like say Reddit or Twitter or anywhere...
Anne: Yeah, a Buzzfeed [inaudible]...o] great but now you've got 20 facts that do this.
Hadrien: And so how do you deal with, now, this influx of facts.
Anne: Trying to find the right ones?
Hadrien: Yeah, try to find the right ones and keep it interesting for people?
Anne: I think so for QI the TV programme we have a really really long research period, so we make 16 episodes and we research for I would say about six months, 10 of us looking for stuff, so if you wanted to make a programme or a podcast about, say, animals, you can get on the internet and within half an hour you could find 15 really cool facts but they would probably be ones that you've seen quite a few times. The one I love but I see it everywhere is that otters hold hands when they sleep so they don't drift apart which is the most...
Anne: Yeah so nice but because it's so lovely I see it everywhere and it's great but the odds of someone seeing already are higher and what you don't want to do is have something where you say I've got this great thing and everyone knows everything you're about say so either it's something unusual- it's a spin on it or something where people aren't already looking- so if you've got time the best way is old books out of the library or not even old ones- new ones- but you can't read them quickly and stuff you get in there is really rewarding.
So I remember doing a column once about mythical creatures and I checked out this book from the library and it was about like mythical creatures and like legends and monsters and I opened it hadn't been open in so long this big cloud of dust came out the top and blew up.
Amalie: I love that.
Anne: So no one had read it in ages.
Hadrien: That's like from a movie.
Anne: Yeah and you just think this is fantastic and so you sort of dig through and find this information and one that I found in, I found this in a book and I found out later it was on Reddit but I did find it in a book and it was about a history of London Zoo, cause I really love animal things, I was reading about London Zoo, which is amazing by the way, London Zoo they took one of the monkeys there by bus from Bristol like they, all the way, they got the animals to the zoo and then the elephants walked through the city and you used to be allowed to get in for free if you brought a dog or cat with you to feed to the lion.
Anne: I know, like so, and I read that and I've never heard that before and that's awful but also like...
Hadrien: Makes sense.
Anne: So bizarre.
Amalie: So bizarre.
Anne: And then I can't remember if it came up, I found it online after we'd done QI or before but it definitely is online as well and that's fine, you want facts to be out there and also you can't really claim them as your own, so in the office we have a slight- not rivalry- so if we all heard the same fact now, it's like who's fact is?
And I was once at a lunch with my colleagues and some friends and one of the friends mentioned very casually, oh do you know where the highest point of the Alps? Do you know in which country the highest point of the Alps is?
Hadrien: I want to say Mont Blanc because...
Anne: Good shout…
Hadrien: It's my guess.
Amalie: Uh, Italy?
Anne: I think it's in the Netherlands because somebody climbed the mountain, cut the top off and put it in a museum in the Netherlands.
Anne: Yeah and so we were both - went oh my gosh and I saw my friend, my colleague and I went...This is [inaudible] journalism. But they got their, they got their phones out and I was like no they're typing it on the board, so we're all trying to get it on first cause we're like such a good fact.
I think it's the Netherlands, but yeah it's in a museum, it's not on a mountain, at the top of the mountain.
Amalie: Can I ask what is your favourite fact?
Anne: My current favourite, has been for a while, is that CIA headquarters has a Starbucks and they're not allowed to write people's names on the cup.
Hadrien: [laughs] Oh yeah.
Anne: Because like and they were like, "Oh we said they could give a fake name" but it made them really edgy.
Anne: Yeah there's so many rules about it, like they can't say Starbucks CIA on the receipt because if you find that it's going to be like, "Oh you were at the CIA today were you?" so it's called something like store one.
Amalie: It's just so funny that there's a Starbucks in this...
Anne: I mean they're gonna need coffee.
Hadrien: They probably need coffee more than most.
Amalie: That's just so bizarre like when I think about the CIA I just think of, I don't know, some anonymous thing.
Anne: Yeah and also what's great is people so say we all work for the CIA, we wouldn't be able to tell each other, cause that's a secret. But if we're in the Starbucks, we're like, "Oh, hey, you come here too." So I think it's such a fun idea.
Amalie: So where did you find that?
Anne: Erm I think it was a long read online about the Starbucks and the CIA and I was like, "This is the best sentence I've ever read and I want to know everything about it.".
Amalie: What about you Hadrien?
Hadrien: You know the thing that happens when someone asks you a favourite fun fact...
Anne: Oh completely blank...
Hadrien: And also I'm being pitted against someone who reads fun facts for a living...
Anne: I do do it for a living. Do you want one of my other favourite facts?
Hadrien: Yeah please, buy me some time.
Anne: Baby puffins are called pufflings, I think it's adorable.
Hadrien: Ah, I do like that.
Amalie: Ah yeah.
Anne: I do like a puffin, but I once I was on a train and they didn't have very good signal so [inaudible] I need to find something interesting to put on and I heard this kid reading jokes to their parent and he was like, "What cheese is made backwards?" and I was thinking- it didn't realise he was doing jokes and thought that was a fact- and I was like what cheese is made backwards and it's "edam" and I was like that's ama... it's spelt backwards.
Hadrien: Oh right.
Anne: Isn't that good?
Amalie: Oh that is mmm...
Anne: Yeah so I got that from a seven-year old on a train so I will find I will find information anywhere.
Amalie: So your brain is just always like in tune to what's like...
Anne: Always looking.
Amalie: Ah that's really cool.
Anne: Also in novels and films, I'm always like is that true cause that's really good if it's true, so I'd like pause and go and check and make a note to myself.
Hadrien: What I find really interesting is the fact that the solution to a technology problem, which is that people are inundated with facts, is to go back to old books that no one opens, so it's weird that you would have like...
Anne: To find new things.
Hadrien: Yeah yeah, you would have to go back to old books that no one's reading anymore because facts are so rare...
Anne: Or we go very deep into the- so if you go, I mean it's places like BBC News website, Wikipedia, National Geographic are all amazing, but they're quite widely read, so if you sort of followed the links and they mention an academic and you can look at their page on their university website or the articles they've written, you suddenly find yourself in a much more interesting place. Like NASA website's amazing.
It's sort of going down wormholes and following what looks interesting then trying to find what there is and some things are just not- my boss believes that everything is interesting but there are definitely some things we looked at for hours and hours and if there was anything interesting it's a long way down this time you know.
[Sharing things theme music].
Amalie: What are you guys curious about right now?
Anne: Well that's a good question.
Hadrien: Ooh that is a really good question, I'm trying think where I've been, so I think I have been talking about this a lot with my friend, I was, so I was just on a bike trip across France with my friend, which is really nice and because we were just using our phones for navigation and for music sometimes when the going was really tough, erm we weren't on our phones ever and we were sleeping in the woods...
Anne: Oh nice.
Hadrien: Just with erm - which was nice but not so nice.
Anne: Depends how good your tent is.
Hadrien: Yeah, no tent, just sleeping...
Amalie and Anne: Oh okay!
Hadrien: Yeah, no tent.
Amalie: Wait so how does that work? Like do you just like...
Anne: What if you get cold?
Amalie: I know!
[laughs] Yeah but what about bugs?
Hadrien: Oh there were so many, I was an open buffet basically.
Anne: Whaaat, were you in a sleeping bag?
Hadrien: Yeah yeah I had a sleeping bag.
Anne: But just a sleeping bag?
Hadrien: We just had it yeah and so...
Anne: Why did you not bring a tent? Sorry to [laughs].
Hadrien: So we were biking and we had...
Amalie: honesty yes.
Hadrien: We had just two little satchels. Is satchel the right word?
Anne: Yeah, backpack?
Hadrien: No they were on the side of the bikes?
Anne: Oh paniers?
Hadrien: Yeah which is funny because that's a French word but they wouldn't say that in France.
Anne: Oh really?
Hadrien: They would say "sacoche".
Anne: Cause satchel is, I think is like a school bag that...
Hadrien: Yeah yeah Indiana Jones has one.
Hadrien: Yeah right and so as a result we were just talking I mean we're talking more than you would talk to someone you know on a daily basis or even if you I mean even if you work with someone in office you don't talk to them that often but because we were biking eight hours a day and then having meals together and sleeping next to another it was just like you know full exposure to each other, which was really nice.
So we've been friends for- since we were five years old so we know each other really, really well but we're talking about interests and I'm really happy that I'm studying law I genuinely do find it interesting- I had to convince myself a little bit the beginning but I think I've gaslit myself enough now to actually believe it, which was good. But I think I would be doing linguistics.
Hadrien: And that's something I'm really curious about and I don't know if you've ever seen the YouTube page Wikitongues?
Hadrien: Where you have people who speak- it can be a common language like French or Spanish whichever you know a common language- but you also have really seldom used languages that people record and upload videos of themselves speaking.
Anne: Does that like preserve them?
Hadrien: So yeah exactly, so they preserve the tonality and you're not necessarily, they're not saying anything interesting or you don't always have English subtitles but it can be really interesting to hear the way people speak and the similarities between people who live completely opposite ends of the world.
Hadrien: So you can have like a language spoken in Indonesia that sounds similar to something spoken, you know, in the north of Canada, for instance, and so that's really, really cool and the, so we're all, like humans all have the same- to a certain extent- the same vocal chords and mouth and ability to produce sound but the way in which...
Anne: How we use that...
Hadrien: Yeah the way in which we use them and it's developed as a result of our environment, like I find that so so so interesting and when you're learning a language you automatically learn culture as well, so that's really cool.
Anne: But that's awesome but what's also interesting with that is on YouTube..
Hadrien: Wikitongues yeah...
Anne: So I came to uni in 2005 and I remember very clearly my friends saying, "Have you heard of this thing called YouTube?" So it didn't exist. There was hardly anything- there was some stuff on it but not like there is now and just how quickly that's changed.
Anne: Like when I was at school we didn't have broadband, we had dial up and like it's just how quickly that has given you more information, more facts, more access to things, it just reminds me as well I can't remember what language it is but there is a language that was going extinct and the last person to speak it left alive was a parrot.
Amalie: [laughs] Really?
Anne: But also on the phones, I think that is one thing, with so much information everywhere, I think people are more aware of how much time they're on their phones, because when they were new it was like oh we can play games, we can get information, we can be contacted at any time [enthusiastically] and now we're like oh no we can be contacted at any time [subdued] and it's much more...
Like I've just been walking in Scotland and yeah we just turned our phones off- we needed them to navigate but apart from that we had them off and it feels really strange cause you're so used to having them in your hand now.
Hadrien: It used to be so much more innocently, like do you remember when it was just the apps where you could drink a beer or like...
Anne: Play snake?
Hadrien: Yeah play snake.
Anne: Snake was amazing.
Amalie: It's such a big part of our lives, you need to kind of make an active effort to like put it away, it's kind of crazy.
Hadrien: I've a fun YouTube and Norway fact, because you are Norwegian, Amalie.
Hadrien: Norway's among one of the few countries or multiple countries, a multitude of countries, where YouTube is the most popular website.
Amalie: Really, hmm, I didn't know that.
Hadrien: Yeah people spend the most time on YouTube in Norway.
Amalie: Yeah I'm probably one of those people.
Amalie: Erm what's something you're curious about?
Anne: Well we're about to do a QI series so anything beginning with "R" I'm very curious about cause we've got 16 shows to fill but yeah just always finding more things to read, more things to watch, more things know about, because I think that's what's so great is that yeah you can't- it can either be very depressing or very optimistic that you're never going to finish the things, that you won't read all the books, equally you won't run out of good looks and so finding them and things like that and yeah see what comes next I guess, 20, what's next 2020 [laughs].
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: I have one last question for you guys. So if you could associate your object with one word what would it be?
Anne: Is it cheating to say Edinburgh?
Anne: Erm I think I want to go opportunity.
Anne: Because it's a book full of all the things that you can do- can do in city and there are also tons that aren't in the book that you could find yourself. So I grew up in quite a small town and going to Edinburgh was just- well first of all just the fact you could buy food after five o'clock was incredible, that the bus is every three minutes not 40, I was just like, "What, this is amazing!" And I think, yeah, it's just, and like they say everybody's Edinburgh is different, you sort of find your way around.
There's things that maybe everybody enjoys, like the things, maybe we've been to the same restaurant, or walked on the same street but like there's also so many things like that I'll have done but you won't and you'll have done that you won't and vice versa, I think that's really I fun.
Hadrien: I guess so I'm not going to too much thought into it, the first word that popped out was home you know cause I have a little bit of everyone and I, some things that define me here and I take it with me wherever I go, so...
Anne: Do you have on the wall in your room?
Hadrien: Yeah so I have it just on my desk there, which is quite nice.
Anne: [Inaudible] it's your best friend and your girlfriend as well that's really...
Hadrien: Yeah, that's not too bad, it's pretty cool to have.
Anne: You could paint her on the back so she could be on there too.
Hadrien: Well I can't, I would ruin it, I really do have the motor skills of a chimpanzee but maybe she can paint herself.
Amalie: Thank you for being on Sharing things, Hadrien and Anne.
Anne: Thanks for having us.
Hadrien: Thank you.
Amalie: [Laughs] Cool!
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: Thank you for listening to Sharing things. Make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play to catch our next episode.
Be sure to visit our website to read more about our guests and other episodes at www.ed.ac.uk/sharing-things-podcast.
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