Fancy dress funerals

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Fancy dress funerals

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Have you ever thought about what sort of funeral you would like to have?

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Neil Hello, I’m Neil and welcome to 6 Minute English, where today we bring you a serious topic and six items of vocabulary.

Rob And hello, I’m Rob. Now, here’s a serious question for you, Neil. Have you thought about what you’d like to happen when you die?

Neil Interesting way to start the show, Rob… No, I haven’t.

Rob Well, nobody really likes to talk about death, do they?

Neil Well, it isn’t a fun topic. So, can we talk about something else, please?

Rob Afraid not. Because today’s topic is funerals - a funeral is a ceremony we hold for a dead person.

Neil And a ceremony is a formal event performed on special occasions - like a wedding or a graduation - or in this case, a funeral.

Rob OK. Well, let’s start with a quiz question. According to a UK survey, how many of us would like our funerals to be more of a party or celebration? Is it… a) 5%, b) 25% or c) 50%?

Neil Well, I think it’s 25%. I hadn’t thought about it before - but I’d definitely prefer my funeral to be a celebration. With my favourite music playing - and definitely nobody wearing black…

Rob Well, strangely enough, a friend of mine went to a funeral recently where the funeral director was dressed as Darth Vader from Star Wars!

Neil Hmm. That sounds wrong. But I guess people are choosing to move away from the traditional funeral - you know, in church, people dressed in black, all very quiet…

Rob Darth Vader does wear black, at least! Anyway, let’s hear from Shonnie Sullivan here in the UK talking about the fancy dress funeral she and her sister organized for their mother.

INSERT Shonnie : It was quite unusual as we turned up in fancy dress. Interviewer : Had your mum left instructions about how she wanted her funeral to be? Shonnie :Only that we don’t cry, and we… to have a party to celebrate her life. Be happy, don’t be sad… I was a witch. Interviewer : How did you look? Shonnie : Oh, it was just a little black dress and I just had, like, a little fancy witch hat on - the same as my sister. And we had a very close friend of the family come as Beetlejuice - which was absolutely amazing. He really did go all out for that.

Rob So fancy dress - special clothes you wear to an event - to look like a famous person or character from a movie. Another word we use is costume - which is a set of clothes you wear to look like somebody else.

Neil Shonnie and her sister chose a Halloween theme for the funeral and wore witches’ costumes - little black dresses with special hats.

Rob A close family relative dressed as Beetlejuice … Did he dress as a squashed insect, Neil? I’m confused here!

Neil No, Rob. He dressed as Beetlejuice, the main character in a popular 1980s movie. Beetlejuice is a ghost who wears crazy clothes, and has scary hair and make up.

Rob Hmm. I haven’t seen the film. But what does Shonnie mean when she says her relative went ‘all out’ with his costume?

Neil To go all out means to make a big effort - and this guy’s costume involved not only special clothes, but special hair and make up too.

Rob Like me.

Neil What do you mean, ‘like me’?

Rob Well, I go all out to get my clothes and hair just right for 6 Minute English.

Neil Yes, and, well… you look great, Rob. But unfortunately nobody sees us… do they?

Rob Yes, good point. But it’s important to make an effort.

Neil So have you had any thoughts about the sort of funeral you would like to have?

Rob Oooh… Yes, I like the thought of my friends and family saying their final goodbyes to me on a beach with a beautiful sunset, listening to Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin…

Neil OK, well, before you get too carried away with ideas for your own funeral, let’s have the answer to today’s quiz question.

Rob To get carried away means to get very excited and lose control of your feelings! I never thought I would get excited about my own funeral … But anyway - yes, back to today’s question! How many of us would like our funerals to be more of a party or celebration? Is it… a) 5%, b) 25%, or c) 50%?

Neil And I said 25%.

Rob No, it’s actually 50%. The market research company ICN found that half of us here in the UK would prefer something different to the traditional funeral.

Neil More than I expected.OK, shall we look back at the words we have learned today?

Rob Yes. First up - ‘funeral’ - a ceremony we hold for a dead person. The plural is funerals - “Fancy dress funerals aren’t everybody’s cup of tea.” The adjective is - funereal - notice the stress on the second syllable - “Who chose this funereal music? Can we change it to something more cheerful?”

Neil ‘Not my cup of tea’ by the way, is something you don’t enjoy doing.

Rob OK - ‘ceremony’ - a formal event performed on special occasions.

Neil “I didn’t go to my sister’s graduation ceremony.”

Rob “In the UK, the opening of Parliament is a ceremonious occasion.” Ceremonious is the adjective.

Neil Number three - ‘fancy dress’ is special clothing you wear to an event - for example, to look like a famous person or character from a movie.

Rob “I’ve been invited to a fancy dress party.”

Neil Who are you going to go as, Rob?

Rob It’s a secret, Neil!

Neil Number four - ‘costume’ - a set of clothes you wear to look like somebody else. “Rob is going to go to the fancy-dress party in a Superman costume.”

Rob Good guess. Right. Number five - ‘to go all out’ means to make a big effort.

Neil “We went all out this year with our Christmas decorations - with a life-size flashing Santa Claus and sleigh.”

Rob Way to go, Neil! Number six - the phrasal verb ‘to get carried away’ - means to get very excited and lose control of your feelings!

Neil “She got carried away and painted the whole house pink.”

Rob That must be Barbie’s house…

Neil Yup - and fancy dress is definitely Barbie’s cup of tea! OK, that’s all for today. But please remember to check out our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.

Rob OK. Bye-bye!

Neil Goodbye!

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