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Educating Rita Script

- Afternoon, sir. - Good afternoon.- In dealing with this, Dr Bryant,do you think it's wise to pursue the metaphysical nature of Blake's poetry? Dr Bryant! Mm? I was asking, Doctor, if you think that in approaching Blake we should pursue the metaphysical aspect of his poetry. Most definitely. Blake. They all get so worked up about him. Blake. Do you know what he is?He is a dead poet. That's all. I'm sorry, Dr Bryant, but I can't agree. To dismiss William Blake as a dead poet is "faseel". Facile. I've studied Blake extremely closely over a number of years and I absolutely disagree with your appraisal of his genius. Dr Bryant,I don't think you're listening to me. Mr Collins, I don't think you're saying anything to me. - Doctor, are you drunk? - Drunk? Of course I'm drunk. You don't really expect me to teach this when I'm sober? - Well, then you won't mind...if I leave your tutorial. - Why should I mind? What do you want to be stuck in here for anyway? - Because we want to study literature. - Literature? Look - the sun is shining! You're all young! What are you doing in here? Why don't you all go and do something? Go out and make love or something. - Frank. - Julia. - Darling, can I have the car keys? Yeah. Has your class finished? Ages ago. Don't forget - Brian and Elaine are for supper. - Now, you do know I'm gonna be late.- No.Darling, I told you,I've got a new student coming. - What time?- Open University, very late.Though why a grown adult should want to come to this place after putting in a hard day's labour is beyond me. Dr Bryant? He actually said, "What is assonance?"Really?He didn't have a clue what assonance was! Er, come in. Come in! For God's sake, come in!- I'm comin' in, aren't I? You wanna get that bleedin' handle fixed.- Er, yes, yes, I meant to.- No good meaning to,you wanna get on with it. One day you'll be shouting, "Come in," and it'll go on forever cos the poor sod won't be able to get in and you won't be able to get out. - And you are...?- I'm a what?- Pardon?- What?- And you are...? What is your name?- Me first name?- Well, that would constitute some sort of start.- Rita.- Rita. Ah.Here we are.Rita? It says here Mrs S White.Oh, yes, that's S for Susan. That's just me real name. But I'm not a Susan any more; I've changed me name to Rita. You know, after Rita Mae Brown? - No.- Rita Mae Brown who wrote Ruby fruit Jungle. Haven't you read it? It's a fantastic book, you know. Do you wanna lend it?- Yes, yes. Well, thank you very much.- OK. And what do they call you round here?- Sir. But you may call me Frank.- OK. Frank. That's a nice picture, isn't it, Frank? - Er, yes, I suppose it is.- It's very erotic. - I don't think I've looked at that picture in ten years. But yes, it is, I suppose so.- There's no suppose about it, look at those tits. Do you mind me using words like that? - Like what?- Tits. - No.- No, you wouldn't. It's only the masses who don't understand. It's not their fault but sometimes I hate them. I do it to shock them sometimes. You know, like, when I'm in the hairdresser's, where I work, I'll say something like, I'm really fucked," dead loud and it doesn't half cause a fuss. But educated people don't worry, do they? It's the aristocracy that swears most. It's all "Pass me the fucking pheasant," with them.But you couldn't tell them that round our way. Aren't you interviewing me?- Do I need to?- Oh, I talk too much, don't I? Yeah, I know I talk a lot. I don't at home but I don't often get the chance to talk to someone like you.- Would you like to sit down? - No. Can I smoke?- Tobacco?- What? Yeah! - Was that a joke?- Yes. - 'Ere y'are, do you want one?- I'd like one...but I promised not to smoke.- I won't tell anyone.- Promise?- I hate smokin' on me own. Everyone seems to have packed up these days.All afraid of getting cancer. Bloody cowards.- Would you like a drink?- What of? - Whisky.- Oh, yeah. My mate's got a drinks cabinet like that.- Tell me, what made you suddenly decide to do this?- It's not sudden. I've been realizing for ages that I'm out of step.I'm I should've had a baby by now. Everyone expects it. But I mean, I don't want a baby yet. No. I wanna discover meself first. Do you understand that? - Yes.- Yeah. I've, you know, I've tried to explain it to me husband, you know, but, between you and me,I think he's thick. Well, he doesn't want to see, yeah. What's this like? - Howards End?- Howards End! Sounds filthy, doesn't it?EM Foster.- Forster.- Oh, yeah.- What's it like?- Read it. Would you like to borrow it?- Yeah, all right. I'll look after it for you.If I pack the course in, I'll post it back.You haven't even started yet. Why would you pack it in?Well, I just might, you know.Might think it was a soft idea.- What does assonance mean?- What?- Don't laugh at me.- Er, no. Erm, assonance, it's a form of rhyme.- Erm, what's an example?- Do you know Yeats?- The wine lodge? - No, WB Yeats, the poet.- No.- Well, in his poem The Wild Swans At Coole, Yeats rhymes the word "swan"with the word "stone". You see? That's an example of assonance.- Ooh, yeah, means getting the rhyme wrong.- I've never thought of it like that but I suppose it does mean getting the rhyme wrong.- I love this room. I love the view from this window. Do you like it?- I don't often consider it. I sometimes get the urge to throw something through it.- What?- A student, usually.- You're bleedin' mad, aren't ya?- Probably.- What are you lookin' at?- Are you a good ladies' hairdresser, Rita?- Yeah, I am. But they expect too much, you know. Like, women come in the hairdresser's and half an hour later they wanna walk out a different person. You know, but I mean, if you wanna change,you've got to do it from the inside,haven't you, like I'm trying to do. Do you think I'll be able to learn?- Are you sure you're serious about wanting to learn?- I'm dead serious, yeah. I know I take the piss but that's only because I'm not, well, confident, like. But I want to be. Honest. When, you know, when do you actually start teaching me, like?- What can I teach you?- Everything.- You want a lot. And I can't give it. Between you and me and the walls,actually I am an appalling teacher. That's all right most of the time -appalling teaching is quite in order for my appalling students but it is not good enough for you, young woman. All I know is -and you must listen to this - all I know is that I know absolutely nothing. And besides, I don't like the hours of this Open University business. They expect me to teach when the pubs are open. It's all right. There are other tutors, good ones. I will arrange one for you.- Are you saying you want me to go?- Goodbye, Rita.- Wait a minute. Listen to me. I'm on this course, you are my tutorand you're gonna bleedin' well teach me.- There are other teachers.- You're my tutor! I don't want another one. - For God's sake, woman!- But you're my tutor!- I told you, I do not want to do it. Why pick on me?- Because you're a crazy mad piss artist who wants to throw his studentsthrough the window. I like ya! Don't you recognize a compliment? And when I come next week I'll cut your hair.- You will not be coming here next week. - I will be, and you'll be getting a haircut.- I will not.- You wanna walk round looking like that?- Like what?- Like a geriatric hippy.- See ya next week. Goin' the wrong way. - Are you familiar with Forster? - Yes, of course. Superb.- Between you and me, I think he's crap.- You're a student, aren't ya?- Yes.- So am I.- Brian, why don't you get Elaine a refill? And yourself, of course. - Well, as Frank hasn't arrived yet. - Lovely record, Julie. - Yes, isn't it? I do hope Frank won't be too late. - God, I forgot -I meant to phone my publisher. - May I, Julia? - Of course. Shan't be a minute, dear. All right, darling? - Lovely. - Good.- Brian. - Darling.- It's Frank.- Yes, yes, I know that, Morgan. I don't think you've even read the contract. Morgan, you don't seem to be listening to me. You realise that I'll probably have to go to Jones. - Hello, darling. - Hello. - Hello, Elaine. - Hello, Frank. - You didn't go to the pub then? - I changed my mind.- Good. I'll see to the dinner. - But Morgan, you don't seem to understand how important this is. It is imperative that the book is published before the next academic year commences. Yes, yes, yes, all right. I'll phone tomorrow. Goodbye. Sorry about that - my publisher. Frank, I wanted to mention this before we dine. Slightly embarrassing. Thing is, there's been a bit of a complaint. - A complaint, Brian? - Yes, well, apparently, you were a little drunk at your tutorial today. - No. - No? - No, I was a lot drunk. - Frank, why do you do it? When you've got...Well, what haven't you got? - A drink, at the moment. - Oh, Frank. The staff accept that you...Well, we understand that you drink but it shouldn't be displayed to the students.- Do you know what assonance means? - Of course. - Yeah? Go on. - Assonance. - Yeah.- Assonance is a rhyme,the identity of which depends merely on the vowel sounds. An assonance is merely a... syllabic resemblance.- Assonance means getting the rhyme wrong. -I want to look like that. - OK. - Is that a book you're reading? - Yeah, yeah. - What's it called? - Of Human Bondage. - Yeah?- My husband's got a lot of books like that.- What, Somerset Maugham books?- No, bondage books.- Oh. - Oh, hello. I was just oiling it for ya. Ooh, sorry, Frank. - You can have that. - Sit down.- I love walking round this room. - Rita, don't you ever just come into a room and sit down?- I don't want to sit down. I love that lawn down there. All the proper students.- What? Oh, yes, yes. Now, er, this essay you wrote for me. It was crap.- No, no. The thing is, Rita, how the hell can you write an essay on EM Forster with almost total reference to Harold Robbins?-Oh, well... Well, you said to bring in other authors. "Reference to other works will impress the examiners," you said.- Yes, I said refer to other works but I doubt if the examiner will have read...Where Love Has Gone. - That's his hard luck.- And it'll be your hard luck when he fails your paper because he would if you wrote like this during an exam.- Oh, that's prime. Now, there's justice. I fail cos I'm more well-read than the friggin' examiner. - Devouring pulp fiction is not being well-read. -I thought reading was supposed to be good for one. - It is but you have to be selective. In your favour here you've mentioned Sons And Lovers but this is all over the place. - Oh. - It's very subjective and sentimental. Yeah - crap. No, there are things that are worthy in it. If you're going to learn criticism, Rita, you have to discipline that mind of yours. - Are you married? - What? Are ya? What's your wife like? For God's sake, is my wife relevant? - You should know, you married her. - Then she is not relevant. I haven't seen her in a long time, we split up. - Sorry. - Why are you sorry? - Sorry for asking, being nosy. - OK. - The thing about... - Why did you split up? Why don't you take notes? Then when you answer on Forster you can write an essay called Frank's Marriage. Go 'way! I'm only interested. - We split up, Rita, because of poetry. - You what? One day, my wife explained to me that, for the past years, my output as a poet had dealt entirely with the part of our lives in which we discovered each other. - Are you a poet? - Was. So, to give me something new to write about, she left me. A noble woman, my wife - she left me for the good of literature. Remarkably, it worked. You wrote a lot of good stuff, did ya? No, I stopped writing altogether. - Are you taking the piss? - No. Come on, people don't split up because of things like that, because of literature. Ah, you may be right. But that's how I remember it. Now, let's get back to Howards End. - So do you live on your own? - Rita! I'm only askin'! I live with a girl, her name is Julia, she's a young tutor here. She's very caring, very tolerant, and she admires me enormously. - And do you like her? - I like her enormously. It's myself I'm not too fond of. - You're great! - Aha! A vote of confidence. Thank you. No, you'll find there is less to me than meets the eye. See? You can say dead clever things! I wish I could talk like that, it's brilliant. Rita, why didn't you walk in here years ago? I don't think they would've accepted me at the age of six. - Now, come on - Forster. - Oh, forget him. Now, listen, you asked me to teach you, you want to learn. That's going to take a lot of work. You've barely had any schooling, you have never been in an examination. Possessing a hungry mind is not in itself a guarantee of success. All right. I just don't like Howards bleedin' End. Then go back to what you do like and stop wasting my time! Go and buy yourself a dress and I'll go to the pub. Is that you putting your foot down? It is, actually! Aren't you impressive when you're angry? Oh, Rita. Denny? What the frig is goin' on? I thought I'd make these two rooms into a through lounge. Improve the house. There's only one way you could improve this house - by bombing it. It'll look great, this, when I've finished. Once I've got the plaster up, you won't recognise it. Denny, come to the theatre with me. What? What for? If we went to the theatre we could see the play and it would help me do me essay. I've told you, Susan, I don't like you doing this, right? Just leave me out of it. - Where you goin'? - Upstairs, with Peer Gynt. With who? It's a book, you prat. I thought we were going down the Bierkeller. What for? D'you know, they've got eight different kinds of beer. Who'd have thought they'd have built paradise at the end of our street? "Suggest ways in which... " "Suggest ways... " You know what's wrong with you, don't you, Susan? Well? What is wrong with me? You need a baby. Oh, do I? How long is it since you stopped taking the pill? Susan! When was it you stopped taking the pill? Erm... December! I mean, that's nearly six months ago and you're still not pregnant. I think we'd better get you to a doctor. It can't be anything wrong with me. I mean, fellas in our family only have to look at a woman and she's pregnant. Oh, must be because you're all cockeyed. Ha, ha. Come on, get ready. I thought we were going to the Bierkeller. I thought you were studying. How can I do me essay with you demolishing the house? All right, all right. I'll just finish this and I'll get changed. Go on, hit it. Hit it! You can't just bloody belt it, you know. - Why not? - It has to be taken down carefully. Ah, go 'way. Go on, hit it. Get out. What would you know about it? It needs the small hammer. Oh, God! Oh! You're a mad bitch, you are! You're still my girl, aren't ya? I could be, if you play your cards right. - Hello, Frank. - Hello, George. - Brian. - I'm going to leave Elaine. - Brian, I don't think... - You must leave Frank. No. No, he needs me. Needs you? Most of the time he can't even see you! He does need me. He responds to me. Is that why he's always four parts pissed? Recently he's hardly been drinking. I know it's taking a long time but he's starting to respond to the security I can offer him. - Oh, Brian. - Oh, Julia. Lesley, you promised me an essay by tomorrow. Don't be so bloody crass, Morgan. - Julia? - Yes, yes, I know that but... Have you got the text of Peer Gynt? I think so. No, I'm not presenting you with an ultimatum, Morgan. I realise... - What's it for? - My Open University student. Oh, yes. What's her name? - Rita. - That's right, Rita. - When are we going to meet this Rita? - Sometime, I suppose. Look, Morgan, our association now has lasted eight years. - You must invite her to supper. - Er, well... - She sounds fun. - Yeah. Thank you for the text. - Unless I hear from you... - Doesn't he have a phone? Goodbye. Frank. - Yeah? - I think you ought to know that I, er... intend to leave my... ...publisher. Well, that would help with my phone bill considerably. - Bye. Bye-bye, darling. - Bye. Frank! Hello. Forster! Friggin' Forster. I'll tell you what Forster does, it gets on my tits. - Show me the evidence. - Dirty sod. I can't understand what he's on about. It's no good, Frank - when it comes to Forster, I just can't understand. You will, Rita, you will. Well, it's all right for you. I just can't figure it. Yes. Well, do you think we might forget about Forster for the moment? With pleasure. I would like to talk about this that you sent me. - Oh, yeah. - Oh, yes. Yes, well, now... In reply to the question, "Suggest how you would resolve the staging difficulties "inherent in a production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt" you have written, quote, "Do it on the radio. " Unquote. Yeah. - Well? - Well what? Well, I know it's probably quite naive of me but I did think you might let me have a considered essay. Yeah, well, that's all I could do in the time. We've been dead busy in the shop. - You write your essays at work? - Yes. Denny doesn't like me doing this. He gets narked if I work at home and I can't be bothered arguing with him. Rita, you can't go on producing work as thin as this, not if you want to pass an exam. I thought that was the right answer. I sort of encapsulated all me ideas into one line. It's the basis for an argument but a single line is not an essay. You know that as well as I do. - What? - I've done it. You've done what? Me essay. "In attempting to resolve the staging difficulties "in a production of Peer Gynt "I would present it on the radio because, as Ibsen says, "he wrote it as a play for voices, "never intending it to go on in a theatre. "If they had had the radio in his day, "that is where he would have done it. " Denny? Denny! Denny? I just shouted you. Denny... I don't want to have a baby, not until I've discovered meself. Give 'em! - Denny! - Get off! No, for Christ's sake... Hello? What's wrong? This is getting to be a bit wearisome. Whenever you come here, Mrs White, you'll do anything except start work immediately. Come on. - Where's your essay? - I haven't got it. - You haven't done it? - I haven't got it. Don't tell me - it's been stolen. Whilst you were sleeping, a group of Cambridge dons broke in and stole your essay on Chekhov. - Rita? - It's burnt. What? So are the Chekhov books you lent me. Denny found out I was on the pill, he's burnt all me books. Oh, Christ. I'm sorry, I'll get you some more books. Oh, sod the books. I wasn't referring to the books. Why can't he just let me get on with me learning? You'd think I was having an affair, the way he behaves. - Perhaps you are having an affair. - Go 'way, I'm not! What time have I got for an affair? Jesus, I'm busy enough finding meself, let alone finding anyone else. I'm beginning to find me. It's great. It is, you know, Frank. It might sound selfish but all I want for now is what I'm finding inside me. Certainly don't wanna go rushing off with some fella. Perhaps he thinks we're having an affair. Oh, go 'way. You're me teacher. I told him that. - You told him about me? - Yeah. - What? - Oh, well, I've tried to explain to him how you give me room to breathe. You, like, feed me without expecting anything in return. - What did he say? - He didn't. I said to him, "You soft git, even if I was having an affair "there's no point in burning me books. "I'm not having it off with Anton Chekhov. " He said, "Yeah, I wouldn't put it past you to shack up with a foreigner. " What are you gonna do, Rita? I told him, I'd only have a baby when I've got choice. But he doesn't understand. Do you love him? I see him looking at me sometimes and... I know what he's thinking. I do, you know. He's wondering where the girl he married has gone to. He even brings me presents sometimes, hoping that the presents will make her come back but she can't, she's gone. And I've taken her place. 'Good evening. Professor Bodkin continues his lectures on... ' - Are you coming to bed? - In a minute. '... as you have already recognised, it's a play remarkably rich in texture, 'somewhat confusingly so in my case. 'The interior life of the characters is rarely evident... ' Therefore, the tragic hero will fall from grace because of this flaw in his character. There you have it. One is an outer emphasis... Er, excuse me a moment. Frank, Frank, I'm sorry, I just had to tell somebody. - What's wrong? - Last night, Frank, I went to the theatre. - I thought it was something serious! - It was. It was Shakespeare! - I thought something happened to you. - Something did happen to me. It was fantastic. Macbeth, it was. I bought the book! Oh, it done my head in. I thought it was gonna be dead boring but it wasn't, it was electric. Wasn't his wife a cow? And that bit where he meets Macduff and thinks he's all invincible. I was on the edge of me seat because I knew! I wanted to shout out and warn Macbeth! You didn't, did you? No! They'd have thrown me out the theatre. Macbeth's a tragedy, isn't it? - Right. - Right. Well, I... I just wanted to tell someone who'd understand. Rita, I am honoured that you chose me. Well, I'm sorry I disturbed you. Rita, wait a minute. We're near the end - why don't you come in? - Oh, no, Frank! - Come on, you'll find it interesting. In you come, don't worry about it. This is Mrs White, she comes to me once a week for an Open University course, and she'll be joining us for the rest of this tutorial. You sit there. Now, erm, where were we? Ah, yes - tragedy. We must not confuse tragedy - well, the real tragedy of drama - with the merely tragic. Let's a take a tragic hero, Macbeth for instance. We see that the flaw in his character forces him to take the inevitable step towards his own doom. Whereas, what we read in the newspaper as being tragic - er, "man killed by falling tree" - is not a tragedy. It is for the poor sod under the tree. - What are you laughing at? - It's tragic, yes, absolutely tragic, but it is not a tragedy in the way that Macbeth is a tragedy. Why? Because the tree... - I wish I could think like they do. - It's quite easy, Rita. Oh, it is for you, and them. I just thought it was a dead exciting story, Macbeth. But you lot, you see all sorts of things in it, don't you? It's fun, tragedy, isn't it? All them, they know all about that sort of thing, don't they? Rita, what do you do on Saturdays? - I work. - Well, after you finish work. - I dunno. - I want you to come over to the house. Why? Julia's organised a few people to come round to dinner. You want me to come? Why? - Why do you think? - I dunno. Because you might enjoy yourself. Will you come? - If you want. - What do you want? - Yeah, all right, I'll come. - Will you bring Denny? - I dunno if he'll come. - Well, ask him. All right. Christ, me customer! She's still under the drier, she'll come out looking like a friggin' Muppet! I was at a house once where they served chocolate mints with their coffee! My husband? Oh, he's an electrician, you know. There's a marvellous Chinese takeaway just at the end of our street, you know. Have you seen Macbeth? By William Shakespeare? 'Aldershot Southend . 'Cardiff Wrexham .' - Are you gonna change your mind? - No. What will you do? I'm going to the pub with your mum and dad. That's where you should be going. But we're not good enough for you now, are we? 'Millwall Mansfield . - 'Port Vale ... ' - Denny, he invited us both. Come on, change your mind, come with me. You might actually like him. Oh, might I, actually, Susan? Well, isn't that actually actually nice? Well, sod you. '... Grimsby .' Oh, great! That's me stop! Stop! Oh, sod it. ? But that's OK ? Who needs all that talking? ? Who needs all that walking? ? When we can do ? We can do ? What we want to ? I'm not dreaming of other women and I love you ? But it's always ? On the way ? I'm so happy that you're so happy that we're so happy ? Together ? That's OK ? Who needs all that talking?? Of course you could've come. - I couldn't. - Why? I'd brought the wrong sort of wine. Christ, I wanted you to come! You didn't have to dress up and bring wine. If you go out to dinner, don't you dress up? - Don't you take wine? - Yes, I do but... - Well? - Well, what? You wouldn't take sweet sparkling wine. Does it matter what I do? It wouldn't have mattered if you'd walked in carrying a bottle of Spanish plonk. It was Spanish. Couldn't you just relax? It wasn't fancy dress, you could've come as yourself. Don't you realise what all those people would've seen had you just come breezing in? They would've seen someone who is funny, charming, delightful. I don't wanna be charming and delightful. Or funny. What's funny? I don't wanna be funny. I wanna talk seriously with the rest of ya. Don't wanna come to play the court jester. You weren't being asked to play that role. I just wanted you to be yourself. Yeah, well, I don't wanna be meself. What's me, eh? Eh? Some stupid woman who gives us a laugh because she thinks she can learn, that one day she'll be talking seriously, confidently, living a civilised life? She can't really be like that but she's good for a laugh. If you think you were invited just to be laughed at, you can get out now. You were invited because I wished to have your company. Yeah, well. I'm all right with you, here in this room, but when I saw those people you were with, I couldn't come in. I just seized up, cos I'm a freak. I can't talk to the people I live with any more, I can't talk to the likes of them at your house because I'm a half-caste. I decided I wasn't coming here again. I went to the pub. 'They were all singing, all of 'em. 'Denny, looking happy. He'd just got a few days' holiday from work. 'And me mother, not really on top form, something was worrying her. 'Probably me dad. 'They were never really love's young dream. 'Our Sandra, in love. 'Her fianc, about the same. 'And her mates, all of 'em, singing... 'oh, some song they'd learned from the jukebox. 'And I thought, "Just what the frig am I trying to do? "'Why don't I just pack it in, stay here "'and join in with the singin'?"' - And why didn't you? - You think I can, don't you? You think because you pass a pub doorway and hear them all singing, you think we're all OK, that we're surviving with the spirit intact. ? Together ? That's OK? 'I did join in the singing 'but when I turned around, me mother had stopped singin', 'and she was cryin'.' I said, "Why are you crying, Mother?" And she said, "There must be better songs to sing than this. " And I thought, "Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do, isn't it?" Sing a better song. That's why I've come back and that's why I'm staying. So let's start work. Now, big smile in a minute. Big smile, big cheese, all right? All in, all in. Right, here we go. Cheese! Great, great. Now, just one more. Big smile, now, come on there, love. Here we go. Great. - Now, smile. - Well... that's the last of you lot off me hands. Mind you, I don't know why some of you bother getting bloody married. Smile! Lovely. - What's that supposed to mean? - You're still not pregnant. - Smile. - Lovely! How old are you now, Susan? Dad. You're not, you're . Been married six years and still no babby to show for it. Here's your sister, two minutes married and she's already four months pregnant. Lovely! Lovely! Now, just the last one now, last one. Why don't you broadcast it? Nothing wrong with being pregnant before you're married. Your mother was three months gone before I married her. Smile! That's just what I've always admired in you, Dad - you're overflowing with innate sensitivity and charm. Thank you all very much. Say, Denny. Denny, I'm sorry for you, lad. If she was a wife of mine I'd drown her. If I was a wife of yours I'd drown meself. Hey, that was your father you insulted. Oh, sod off. It's dead easy, Susan - you stop going to that university and you stop taking the pill or you're out. - Why? - You know why. I don't, Denny. All I'm doing is getting an education. Just trying to learn. And I love it. It's not easy, I get it wrong half the time, I'm laughed at half the time but I love it because it makes me feel as though I'm in the land of the living. All you try and do is put a rope around me neck and tie me to the ground. Are you gonna pack it in, Susan? Did he say anything else to you before you left? He said it's warped me, he said I betrayed him. And I suppose I have. Where are you staying? Erm, me mother's. She said I can go there for a bit and then... ...then I'll get a flat. I'll be all right in a minute. Give me a minute. - What was me Macbeth essay like? - Sod Macbeth. - Why? - Rita... Come on, I want you to tell me what you thought about it. - Under the circumstances... - It doesn't matter. Under the circumstances I need to do this. What was it like? I told you it was no good. Was it really useless? I don't know what to say. Yeah, well, try and think of something, Frank. I don't mind if you tell me it was rubbish. I don't want pity. Was it rubbish? No, no, it wasn't rubbish. It was a totally honest, passionate account of your reaction to a play. - Sentimental? - No, it was too honest for that. It was almost moving. But in terms of what you're asking me to teach you, in terms of passing examinations... God. You see, I... Say it! Go on. Say it. In those terms, it's worthless. It shouldn't be but it is. But, in its own terms, it's wonderful. It's worthless, you said. If it's worthless, you have got to tell me because I wanna write essays like those. I wanna learn and pass exams like they do. Yes, but if you're gonna write that sort of stuff, you're going to have to change. All right. But just tell me how to do it. Yes, but I don't know if I want to tell you. I don't know that I want to teach you. What you have already is too valuable. Valuable? What's valuable? The only thing I value is here, comin' here once a week. But don't you see? If you're gonna write that sort of stuff, pass examinations, you're gonna have to suppress, perhaps abandon, your uniqueness. I'm gonna have to change you. But don't you realise I want to change? Is this your way of telling me that I'm not good enough? Of course you're good enough. - If that's what you're saying, I'll go now. - No. Rita, I promise you, you are good enough. You see, it's difficult for you with someone like me but you've just got to keep telling me and I'll start to take it in. With me, you've gotta be dead firm. You won't hurt me feelings. If I do something that's crap, I don't want pity, I want you to say, "That's crap. " Here. It's crap. So we dump it on the fire and we start again. - Frank. - What? - I don't wanna go. - You have to. Frank, I wish you were gonna be there. - You understand me. - So will the tutors at summer school. - What if they realise how thick I am? - They won't because you're not. Rita, my dear, you can do it now. Write the kind of essay you've begun to write and you'll have nothing to fear. - I still wish you were gonna be there. - So do I, Rita. Right, I've got your address in France, so, er, I'll write to you, every day. So have a good holiday. And don't drink too much, will ya? And no all-night parties. - I should be so lucky! - I mean it. - Oh, do ya? - Yes. All right, I'll go to bed at ten every night with a cup of cocoa and Howards End. That's if Howard shows up. - Bye-bye. - Bye, Frank. It's a pity I never brought my diary - "One should always have something sensational to read on the train"! Oscar Wilde. 'Dear Frank, today was me first real day here, 'and you know what? I actually rode a bike. 'How's France? I haven't heard from you. 'At first, it was like I thought it would be. 'I didn't know anyone and I was gonna go home. 'But, Frank, listen, you would've been dead proud of me. 'I was standing in the library, you know, looking at the books 'pretending I was dead clever. 'Anyway, this tutor came up to me and he said... ' Are you fond of Ferlinghetti? 'Frank, it was on the tip of me tongue to say, "Only when served with Parmesan. " 'But, Frank, I didn't, I held it back. And I heard meself saying... ' Erm, actually, I'm not too familiar with the American poets. Well, if you like Ferlinghetti... 'Frank, he started telling me all about the American poets. 'He wasn't even one of me official tutors. 'There must have been hundreds of us in this lecture hall 'but when the professor finished and asked if anyone had any questions, 'I stood up. 'Honest to God, I stood up. ' Yes? 'And everyone's looking at me. I don't know what possessed me. 'I was going to sit down but hundreds of people had seen me stand up. 'So I did it. I asked him a question. ' Erm, I was... I was wondering if you think that Chekhov was showing us the aristocracy as, like, a decaying class. This view of a Chekhovian aristocracy in decay, it is, I presume, one you've picked up from Dr Palmer's book on Chekhov? - No, no. I mean, excuse me, but no. - I beg your pardon? No, I didn't get it from that book. I haven't read it. Er, you see, the way I see Chekhov... 'Frank, you couldn't keep me down after that. 'I've been asking questions all week, mostly about Chekhov 'because, as you know, I'm dead familiar with Chekhov. ' Hello, Bursar. How are you? A new term beckons. Dr Bryant, you're back before term begins. Preparations, Bursar, preparations. I can't stand here idling, there's work to be done. Frank! Rita! My God, what is this vision I see before me? Do you like it? I've got a whole new wardrobe. Do you like it? It's very nice. Did you manage to get any work done? Work? We never stopped. Lashing us with it, they were. Another essay - lash! Do it again - smack! Another lecture - lash! It was fantastic. Frank, I could've stayed forever. Oh, Frank, I've got so much to tell ya. - Well, I'm free for the rest of the day. - Great. I bought you cigarettes in the duty free. Frank, I've packed up. Congratulations. - Got a present for you. - Oh? What is it? It's not much but I thought, you know... - Oh. - Look, see what's written on it. It's engraved. "Must only be used for poetry. "By strictest order, Rita. " - I thought it'd be a gentle hint. - Gentle? What are we gonna be doing this term, Frank? Let's do a dead good poet. One of the greats. - A dead good poet... - Mmm. - I've got just the man for you. - Who? They overcomplicate him, Rita, they overcomplicate him. You won't, you'll love him. I was going to introduce him to you before but I was saving him for you. - Who? - Read this. O Rose, thou art sick! The invisible worm That flies in the night, In the howling storm, Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy: And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy. - You know it. - Yeah, we did it at summer school. - You did Blake at summer school? - Yeah. You weren't supposed to. No, I know but we had this lecturer and he was a real Blake freak. So you've, er, you've done, er, Blake? Yeah. - Songs Of Innocence And Experience? - Oh, course. Well, you don't do Blake without doing Innocence And Experience, do you? Thanks, Frank. Sure you don't want me to come in? You never know who you'll meet. If I end up as a white slave I'll send you a postcard. Go on! I'll see you at the tutorial. Yes? Erm... I've come about the advert. You know, for sharing the flat. Wouldn't you just die without Mahler? Oh! What am I doing? Come in, come in. Just through there, we're up the stairs, sort of mezzanine level. Follow me. Well, this is it. A small place but mine own. Do say you'll take it! You're positively the first human being that's applied. Yeah. Yeah, I'll take it. What? I said I'll take the flat! Oh, what am I doing? This is madness! What do you...? - What do you do? - Er, I'm a hairdresser. Oh, dear. By choice? I suppose so. What do you do? Oh, darling, a bit of this, a bit of that. I'm running a bistro for a friend at the moment. Fascinating people. You'd love it! What did you say your name was? - Well, I've, er... - Oh, Mahler! Wouldn't you just die without him? Hello, Frank. Hello, Rita. You're late. I know, I know. I'm terribly sorry, Frank. But, Frank, wouldn't you simply die without Mahler? Frankly, no. Why are you talking like that? I have merely decided to talk properly. You see, as Trish says, there's not a lot of point in discussing beautiful literature with a ugly voice. But you haven't got an ugly voice. At least, you didn't have. - Why don't you just be yourself? - I am being meself. - Who the hell is Trish, anyway? - Me new flatmate. - Oh. Is she a good flatmate? - Frank, she's fantastic. She's dead classy, you know? She's got taste, like you have. Everything in the flat is dead unpretentious. Just books and plants everywhere. I'm having the time of me life. I am, you know? I feel young. Rita, is hardly old. Yes, I know but I mean, I feel young. I can be young, like them down there. I want you to do an essay on Blake. I know you're an expert on Blake now but I haven't had the benefit of your wisdom on the subject. Are you still on that stuff? Did I ever say I wasn't? - Well, no, but... - But what? Why do it when you've got so much going for you? It is because I have so much going for me that I do it. Life is such a rich and frantic world that I need the drink to help me step delicately through it. It'll kill you, Frank. Rita, I thought you weren't interested in reforming me. - I'm not! It's just... - Just what? Well, I thought you might have started reforming yourself. Under your influence? But, Rita, if I take the oath - if I repent and reform - what will I do when your influence is no longer here? No, your going is as inevitable as... - Macbeth. - As tragedy, yes. But it will not be a tragedy because I shall be glad to see you go. Oh, thank you very much. Will you really? Be glad to see you go? Of course. I wouldn't want you to stay in a room like this forever. You can be a real misery sometimes. I was dead happy when I came in. Now I feel like I'm having a bad night in the morgue. - He's eaten it. - He hasn't! Darling, could you take table ? - Yeah, OK. - That horrible man keeps coming in here to chat me up. Where are the real men these days? Why don't we get the likes of Shelley and Byron and Coleridge in here? - I think they'd smell a bit. - Oh, you are a love. Did you see the production of Saint Joan... Can I take your order? Er, I'll begin with the pt mackerel. Oh, yeah, that's very good, yeah. Really, it was beautiful. - It was written later than that. - It was . I know that Shaw wrote Saint Joan in . He didn't, Tiger. Shaw wrote it in . Actually, Shaw wrote Saint Joan in but the first production was in at the New Theatre in London. More wine, anyone? - Hi, Susan. - Hiya. Hi, Susan! Susan! - What? - We want you to settle an argument. - What about? - Lawrence's early works. I reckon they're a load of rubbish. - Hello, Susan. - What's up? Hiya, Frank. I'm sorry I'm late. I got talking to some students, I never realised the time. Well, well, well. You talking to students, Rita. Well, don't sound so surprised! I can talk, you know. You used to be so wary of them. God knows why. They don't half come out with some rubbish. You're telling me! Do you know what one of them said? He said that, as a novel, he preferred Lady Chatterley to Sons And Lovers. Right, so I thought, "Right, either I can ignore this "or I can put him straight. " So I put him straight. - So you finished him off, did you, Rita? - Oh, Frank, he was asking for it. He was an idiot. His argument just crumbled. It wasn't just me, anyway. Everyone agreed with me. Tiger was with them. Do you know Tiger? Yes. He's dead mad, you know. He's only known me five minutes, he's inviting me to go abroad. They're all going to the south of France, slumming it. You can't go, you've got exams. Me exams are before the summer. Well, y-you've got to, er, wait for the results. His real name's Tyson, they call him Tiger. Is there any point in going on with this? Is there any point in working towards an examination if you're gonna fall in love and set off to the south of France? Fall in love? With who? My God, Frank, I'm just talking to some students down on the lawn. Jesus, I've heard of matchmaking but this is ridiculous. Well, stop burbling on about Mr Tyson. I'm not burbling on. Well? What's me essay like? It, er... It wouldn't look out of place with these. Honest? Dead honest. ? Why are we waiting? ? Why are we waiting? ? Why are we waiting ? Oh why, oh why? Poetry. Literature. What does it benefit a man... if he gaineth the whole of literature and loseth his soul? No but seriously, folks, there is something that I have always wanted to ask you, and it is - have you seen Peer Gynt on the radio? Er... assonance. Do you know... Do you know what assonance means? Eh? It means getting the rhyme wrong! It's terrible, isn't it? Terrible. Taking the name of literature in vain, it's like pissing on Wordsworth's tomb. The difference between the tragic and tragedy is inevitability. Come on, let's get him to his room. Did you know that Macbeth was a maggoty apple? Not many people know that. Dr Bryant, the Vice Chancellor feels, and we all agree, that this sort of thing must never happen again or the consequences could be serious. Thank you. Sod them, eh, Rita? Sod them! - Will they sack you? - Good God, no. That would involve making a decision. Pissed is all right. To get the sack, it would have to be rape on a grand scale. And not just with students. That would only amount to a slight misdemeanour. No. For dismissal, it would have to be nothing less than buggering the Bursar. Frank, even if you don't think about yourself, - what about your students? - What about them? It's hardly fair if the lecturer's so pissed he's falling off the platform. I may have fallen off, my dear, but I went down talking. - Look, I'll see you next week, eh? - We've got a tutorial. You're not in any state for a tutorial, Frank. We'll talk about me Blake essay next week. Hello, Rita. Oh. Hiya, Frank. I'm sorry I never made your tutorial, it's just we're dead busy here. When you didn't arrive, I telephoned the shop. - Which shop? - The hairdresser's, where I thought you worked. - I haven't worked there for ages. - Yes, so it seems. - You didn't tell me. - Oh, didn't I? I thought I had. What's wrong? Well, it struck me that there was a time when you used to tell me everything. I thought I had told you. Do you think I could have a drink, please? Seeing as I'm here. Not for free, I'll pay. Who cares if I've left hairdressing to work in a bistro? - I care. - Why? Why do you care? - It's just boring, insignificant detail. - Is it? Yes. That's why I couldn't stand hairdressing. I don't wanna talk about irrelevant rubbish any more. What do you talk about here in your bistro? We talk about what's important, Frank, and leave out the boring details for those who want them. Is Mr Tyson one of your customers? Look, for your information, I do find Tiger fascinating like I find a lot of those people fascinating. They're young and-and passionate about things that matter. They're not trapped. They're too young for that. And I like being with them. Well, perhaps you don't want to waste your time coming to my tutorials any more. Frank, we've just been too busy here. I haven't stopped coming altogether. All right. Come this evening. I can't. I'm meeting Trish soon, we've got tickets for The Seagull. Oh, yes, well, when Chekhov calls. Oh, dear. You really can't bear to spend a moment with me now, can you? Frank, that is not true. It's just that tonight I've got to go to the theatre. As I was saying, if you want to stop coming... Oh, for Christ's sake, I don't wanna stop coming! What about me exam? Don't worry about that, you'd sail through it. You really don't have to put in the odd appearance out of sentimentality. I'd rather you spared me that. If you could stop pouring that junk down your throat in the hope that it'll make you feel like a poet, you might be able to talk about things that matter instead of where I do and don't work. And then it might actually be worth turning up. Are you capable of recognising what does and does not matter? I understand literary criticism and that's what we're supposed to be dealing with. Oh, literary criticism, eh? Literary criticism. Give me an essay on that lot by next week. An assessment of a lesser known English poet. Me. Yes, yes, Morgan! But it's the publishers I'm worried about. Frank... Brian was just passing, he dropped in to make a phone call. Yes, yes, I think you know why, Morgan. We can't go on like this, things are getting ridiculous. The advance that they offered was, as usual, inadequate. Brian. - I am an academic author of repute... - Brian, I haven't paid the bill. Hang on, Morgan, Frank's trying to tell me something. They disconnected us this morning. Morgan, fuck off. - Frank... - Yes, O faithful one? For God's sake! How could anyone be faithful to you, Frank? Julia has at least tried and what has she had in return? What have any of us had in return, Frank? Only my soul, Brian, which I must confess is very little. Frank, I'm leaving you. Brian and I are... Brian is leaving Elaine, and we're going. Congratulations, Brian. Better luck next time, eh, Julia? Hello, Frank! What the hell are you doing here? Where've you been, Frank? I've been up to your room a few times. I went to see Julia, she said I'd find you here. She's nice, Julia, isn't she? Are you sober? If you mean am I still this side of reasonable comprehension then yes. Good, because I want you to hear this. This is brilliant. You have got to start writing again, Frank. It is brilliant. It's... It's witty, it's profound. Full of style. Oh! Tell me again and again. No, Frank, it's not just me that thinks so. Me and Trish read them and she agrees. Why did you stop writing when you can produce work like that? Now, what did Trish say? Yes - it's more resonant than purely contemporary poetry. It has, like, it has in it a direct line through to the th-century traditions of, like, wit and classical allusion. Oh. That's marvellous, Rita. It's fortunate that I never gave this to you earlier. Just think if you'd have seen this when you first came. Oh, well, I'd have never understood it. You would've thrown it across the room and dismissed it as total shit. I know, but I could never have understood it then because I wouldn't have recognised or understood the allusions. I've done a fine job on you, haven't I? It's true, Frank. I mean, I can see it now. You know, Rita, like you, I'm going to change my name. From now on I am going to insist on being called Mary. Mary Shelley. Do you understand that allusion, Rita? What? Mary Shelley wrote a little Gothic number called Frankenstein. So? This clever, pyrotechnical pile of self-conscious allusion... is worthless, talentless shit. There is more poetry in the... telephone directory and probably more insight. However... this has one advantage over the telephone directory. It is easier to rip. It is pretentious, characterless and without style. It's not. Oh, I don't expect you to believe me. You recognise the hallmark of literature now, don't you? Why don't you just go away? I don't think I can bear it any longer. Oh. Can't bear what, Frank? You, my dear. You. Yeah. Yeah. Well, er... I'll tell you what you can't bear, Mr Self-Pitying Piss Artist, what you can't bear is that I'm educated now. I've got what you have and you don't like it. I mean, good God, I don't need you. I've got a room full of books! I know what wine to buy, what clothes to wear, what plays to see, what papers to read, and I can do it without you. Is that all you wanted? Have you come all this way for so very, very little? Oh, yeah, it's little to you, isn't it, Frank? Little to you who squanders every opportunity and mocks and takes it for granted. Found a culture, have you, Rita? Found a better song to sing? No. You found a different song to sing. And, on your lips, it is shrill and hollow and tuneless. Oh, Rita, Rita, Rita. Ohhhh, Rita! Nobody calls me Rita but you. I dropped that pretentious crap as soon as I saw it for what it was. Nobody calls me Rita. What is it now, then, eh? Emily or Charlotte or Jane or Virginia? Trish! Trish! Come on, we're gonna be late! Trish? Trish! God. Ambulance, quick. - Hello, Dr Bryant. - Hello, Mr Tyson. Hello, Doctor. Oh! A table for one, please. Sorry, we're full. - Oh. I'll have a drink at the bar. - You've had enough. - I haven't. - You have. - I wanna talk to Rita. - Never heard of her. - She works here. - You must have the wrong place. - I'm telling you, Rita works here. - Come on, out. - No. - Yes. - Hello, Dr Bryant. What's wrong? - He's pissed. - Mr Tyson, where's Rita? - I told you... It's all right. - Have you seen Rita? She works here. - You mean Susan? Oh, yes, I suppose I do. She hasn't been in this evening. I forgot to remind her that her exam is tomorrow. She might be up at the Flamingo. Oh. Well, thank you, Mr Tyson. - Don't you think you're a bit... - If you see her, will you tell her it's am? - Yeah. - Thank you. Thank you. Why? Darling, why not? Oh, Trish, don't. Come on, it's all right, don't cry. You're still here. That's why I'm crying - it didn't work. It didn't bloody work. Trish. Look, you didn't really mean to kill yourself. - You were just... - Just what, darling? Poor Susan. You think I've got everything, don't you? Trish, you have. Oh, yes. When I listen to poetry and music... then I can live. You see, darling, the rest of the time, it's just me. That's not enough. Whoo! Hey! Do you know a girl called Rita? Forget Rita, I don't wanna see you drinking. Dr Bryant, what are you doing here? - Lesley, have you seen Rita? - What? - Have you seen Rita? - Come and dance! - No, I can't! - Come on! I can't dance! I can't! No! Bursar! Wake up, Bursar! Come on, man! Ah! Bursar! Join me for a drink. Dr Bryant! - Go to bed. - Right. I will. Good night, Bursar. Susan! Where are you going? - For a walk. - Do you want a lift? Come on. - No, it's all right, I'd rather walk. - You missed a great party. Yeah, well. I'll see ya. - I saw your tutor. - What? Your exam's this morning. Oh. Don't forget you're coming to France. Susan! Oh, hiya, Denny. - Oh, this is Barbara. - Hello. - Susan. - How are ya? - OK. - When's it due? - I've got another three months now. - It's gonna be a boy. - I hear you're doing well at the college. - Well, you know. I hardly recognised you, you look the part. Doesn't she, eh? Look the real student. Be on drugs and demonstrations next! Right, well, we gotta go. Going down to the hospital for the checkup. - I always go with her. - It's good to see you, Denny. Take care of yourself. And look after them two. Oh, he does, you know, he's very good. - Ta-ra. - See ya. At am precisely, I shall instruct you to turn over your examination papers and the examination will have begun. You have three hours. You may not talk to anyone. It is now nine o'clock. Please commence. Have they sacked you? - Not quite. - Oh. Well, why are you packing your books up? I made rather a night of it last night so they're giving me a holiday. Two years in Australia. Did you bugger the Bursar? - Metaphorically. - What are you gonna do? What do you think? Australia is a paradise for the likes of me. Christ's sakes, why did you come back here? I came to tell you you're a good teacher. Oh! Thanks for entering me for the exam. That's all right. I know what it had come to mean to you. You didn't want me to take it, did you? I nearly didn't. I sat there for ages. I sat there thinking while everyone was scribbling away, thinking about what you said, about what you'd done for me. - What I've done for you... - Shut up. I'm doing the talking. Frank, that's what's wrong with you - you talk too much! You think you did nothing for me, you think I just ended up with a load of quotes and empty phrases. Well, all right, I did but that wasn't your doing. I was too hungry for it all. I didn't question anything. I wanted it all too much so I wouldn't let it be questioned. Told you I was stupid. - You're not stupid. - If I say I'm stupid then I'm stupid, OK? So don't argue. I mean... It's like Trish. You know? I thought she was so cool and together. I got home last night, she'd tried to top herself. Yeah. Magic, isn't it? Spent half her life eating health food and wholefood to live longer and the other half trying to kill herself. So I was thinking about it all when I should've been doing my exam. Do you know what the first question was? "Suggest ways in which one might deal "with some of the staging difficulties in a production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt. " - And you wrote, "Do it on the radio"? - No, I could've done. You'd have been dead proud of me if I'd done that, wouldn't you? But I chose not to. I had a choice. I did the exam. Because of what you'd given me, I had a choice. Anyway... that's what I wanted to come back and tell you. You're a good teacher. I hear good things about Australia. Everything out there is just beginning. The thing is... why don't you come as well? It would be good to leave a country that's finishing for one that's beginning. God, Frank, if you could get threepence back on those bottles you could buy Australia. - You're being evasive. - I know. Tiger's asked me to go to France with his mob. - Will you go? - I dunno. He's a bit of a wanker, really. But I've never been abroad. I've been offered a job in London, as well. - What are you going to do? - I dunno. I might go to France, I might go to London. Or just stay here and carry on with me studies. I might even stay here and have a baby. I don't know. I'll make a decision. I'll choose. I dunno. Well, whatever you do, you might as well take this with you. - What is it? - It's a dress, really. I bought it for an educated woman friend of mine. It may not fit, I was rather pissed when I bought it. An educated woman? What kind of education were you giving her? In choosing it, I concentrated on the word "woman" - rather than on the word "educated". - Thank you. All I've ever done is take from you. I've never given you anything. There is something I can really give you. Oh? Sit down. I said sit. I'm gonna take ten years off you. 'This is the final call for PA- . 'This flight connects at Heathrow 'for Qantas flight 'to Sydney, Australia. ' Frank, come on! Where've you been? It's taking off in a minute. Your result arrived this morning, I went to pick it up. - The gate's about to close. - Just coming. Frank, we haven't got time. What does it say? Right, I've passed. Now, will you get on that bloody plane? Let me see. You passed with distinction. I'm proud of you, Rita. I'm proud of both of us. - Sir, you'll miss your flight. - Yeah, OK. - Frank. - What? Thanks.

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