Hometown
What's your hometown like? What did you like about your hometown when you were a child? What's your hometown known for?
Vocabulary
  • For the better (idiom) - so as to produce improvement.
  • To indulge (verb.) - allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of.
  • Tapestry (noun) - used in reference to an intricate or complex sequence of events.
  • Nooks and crannies (idiom) - a place or part of a place, especially small or remote.
  • Touchstone (adj.) - a standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized.
  • To revamp (verb) - give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to.
  • Tangible (adj.) - capable of being touched; discernible by the touch; material or substantial. real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary.
  • Blight (noun) - something that spoils or has a very bad effect on something, often for a long time.
  • Social crusade (noun) - usually refers to a person who makes social justice and equality their primary priority.
  • Vast majority of smth (phrase) - used when you want to emphasize that something is true about almost all of a group of people or things.
  • Rat race (noun) - a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power.
  • For good (phrase) - permanently.
Questions and answers
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Maria: What's your hometown like?

Rory: Oh, I don't know... Imagine a dumpster that's on fire... No, not really. Actually, there have been a lot of changes for the better made there recently. For example, we've developed the waterfront and all of the historical sites there so they're more accessible. And the whole thing is much more presentable than it used to be. And despite the crisis, the music and club scene is still quite good, although it's less so than it was just because of everything that's happening. So I think if you go there, there's actually a lot to write home about.

Maria: How long have you been living there?

Rory: Oh, I've lived there. Well... I've lived there on and off for about twenty four, twenty five years before I moved to Russia. So quite a long time, actually. Probably about more than 70 percent of my life.

Maria: Do you like your hometown?

Rory: Most of the time, yes, actually. There are some cultural aspects I wish people wouldn't indulge in so much like, I don't know, there's this thing about... People think... It's like the superior virtue of being from a bad area or having a bad background or things like that. So sometimes people think they feel that they are superior to other people because they've come from a rough part of town. But that's just like a small part of what is otherwise quite a really good tapestry - a cultural tapestry of the area. Lots of, sort of, cultural events happen in my hometown, for example, and there's lots of things to do and see there. So in general, yeah, I feel really positive about it.

Maria: What did you like about your hometown when you were a child?

Rory: I loved the coast or living near the sea front or this idea of living near the water. Although, actually, I suppose it's more like living near the river site because we live at the mouth of the river, or I lived there. My family still lives there to this day. It's full of all these little nooks and crannies that you could get lost in and have adventures. For example, there are some gorse bushes near the burn, close to my home, and we used to play in there all the time. So I think that's my favorite thing. And then more broadly, the people there are very... Like most of the people are really cool. I really like the attitude and the atmosphere there.

Maria: What's your hometown known for?

Rory: Well, actually, historically, it was known for the three J's which were: jute, jam and journalism. I should explain for those of you that don't know, jute like it's a kind of textile that's used in sack making, which was extremely useful in the industrial revolution. And jam, of course, is the thing you put on your toast and journalism... Well, there are lots of newspapers and printing presses located in Dundee. Unfortunately, the jute industry collapsed and the jam industry is more spread out. The journalism is still going, though. There's lots of publications. Most of them have moved online, but they're still there. And moreover, it's also known for its historical sites. And we have a huge extinct volcano next to, well, next to the town, which is called "The Law Hill". And that forms, like, a core part of lots of the cultural touchstones of different parts of the city. I think it's in the logo, actually, for the city council as well. So we're known for lots of things. It's quite impressive for such a small town relative to all of the other cities in Scotland, which are much bigger.

Maria: How has your town changed in the last 20 years?

Rory: Oh, it's changed a lot, for sure. The city council has really put... They've invested a lot of money into revamping the image both: in the real world and in people's minds. I think we were the city of culture one year for the UK, and we have brand and city ambassadors floating about. So they do a lot to promote the image of the city. It's not all superficial, though, like there have been some really tangible changes. Like I say, we redeveloped the waterfront close to the city centre. There are a lot of new businesses starting up. They're struggling a little bit now in the crisis. But still, I think the culture is much more vibrant than it used to be. When I look at pictures from the 70s and 80s, it seems a bit... Almost dismal compared to now.

Maria: What changes would you like to have in the future?

Rory: Well, ideally, I think there should be an expansion of housing for homeless people and people with serious social problems. I think it's a bit of a blight on the town, to be honest. And these people really don't get enough help. You see lots of homeless people and people with problems. I don't think that's the fault of the people whose job it is to do this. I think they just don't get enough money. So if they could have a budget increase, that would be cool. Although, that's my personal social crusade. I think my parents would probably just prefer the bins were collected on time. They're much more realistic and they live there properly. I don't.

Maria: Is there good public transportation in your hometown?

Rory: Um, I think so. I've not been there in a while, but I think the buses come fairly regularly and the trains run mostly on time. The infrastructure isn't as well developed as Moscow, but there are far fewer people. So we need fewer services. But certainly I never have huge problems. I suppose there could be more buses, but it seems to work for the vast majority of people.
Maria: Do you think you'll continue living there for a long time?

Rory: Well, I don't live there now. And I don't think I'll live there again unless I'm seeing my parents, for example. Ironically, because I live in Moscow now, I actually want to live in a smaller, quieter town to the north of the city and escape the rat race for good. But it would be OK to visit from time to time. I have lots of friends there, and like I mentioned in my previous answers, there's a lot to like about the city. So it's not a complete loss.
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