TRAVEL AGENT (AKA WATNEY'S RED BARREL)

  

Fade up on close up of picture of Everest. Pull back to reveal travel agent's office.  

    

Bounder: (M.P.) Mount Everest, forbidding, aloof, terrifying. The highest place on earth. No I'm sorry we don't go there. No.   

    

By the time Bounder is saying his last sentence the camera has revealed the office and Bounder himself sitting at a desk. Bounder now replaces the telephone into which he has been speaking. After a pause the tourist - Mr Smoke-Too-Much - enters the office and approaches Mr Bounder's secretary.   

    

Tourist: (E.I.) Good morning.   

    

Receptionist: (C.C.) Oh good morning. (sexily) Do you want to go upstairs?   

    

Tourist: What?   

    

Receptionist: (sexily) Do you want to go upstairs? (brightly) Or have you come to arrange a holiday?   

    

Tourist: Er.......to arrange a holiday.   

    

Receptionist: Oh sorry.   

    

Tourist: What's all this about going upstairs?   

    

Receptionist: Oh, nothing, nothing. Now where were you thinking of going?   

    

Tourist: India.   

    

Receptionist: Ah one of our adventure holidays!   

    

Tourist: Yes!   

    

Receptionist: Well you'd better see Mr Bounder about that. Mr Bounder, this gentleman is interested in the India Overland.   

   

Walks over to Bounder's desk where he is greeted by Bounder.   

    

Bounder: Ah good morning. I'm Bounder of Adventure.   

    

Tourist: My name is Smoke-Too-Much.   

    

Bounder: What?   

    

Tourist: My name is Smoke-Too-Much. Mr Smoke-Too-Much.   

    

Bounder: Well you'd better cut down a little then.   

    

Tourist: What?   

    

Bounder: You'd better cut down a little then.   

    

Tourist: Oh I see! Cut down a bit, for Smoke-Too-Much.   

    

Bounder: Yes, he he...I expect you get people making jokes about your name all the time, eh?   

    

Tourist: No, no actually. Actually, it never struck me before. Smoke...too...much!   

    

Bounder: Anyway, you're interested in one of our adventure holidays, eh?   

    

Tourist: Yes. I saw your advert in the bolour supplement.   

    

Bounder: The what?   

    

Tourist: The bolour supplement.   

    

Bounder: The colour supplement?   

    

Tourist: Yes. I'm sorry I can't say the letter 'B'.   

    

Bounder: C?   

    

Tourist: Yes that's right. It's all due to a trauma I suffered when I was a sboolboy. I was attacked by a bat.   

    

Bounder: A cat?   

    

Tourist: No a bat.   

    

Bounder: Can you say the letter 'K'?   

    

Tourist: Oh yes, Khaki, king, kettle, Kuwait, Keble Bollege Oxford.   

    

Bounder: Why don't you say the letter 'K' instead of the letter 'C'?   

    

Tourist: What you mean.....spell bolour with a K?   

    

Bounder: Yes.   

    

Tourist: Kolour. Oh that's very good, I never thought of that.   

    

Bounder: Anyway, about the holiday..   

    

Tourist: Well I saw your adverts in the paper and I've been on package tours several times, you see, and I decided that this was for me.   

    

Bounder: Ah good.   

    

Tourist: Yes I quite agree with you, I mean what's the point of being treated like a sheep, I mean I'm fed up with going abroad and being treated like a sheep, what's the point of being carted around in buses surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Boventry in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their 'Sunday Mirrors', complaining about the tea, 'Oh they don't make it properly here do they not like at home' stopping at Majorcan bodegas, selling fish and chips and Watney's Red Barrel and calamari and two veg and sitting in cotton sun frocks squirting Timothy White's sun cream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh 'cos they 'overdid it on the first day'!   

    

Bounder: (agreeing patiently) Yes. Absolutely, yes, I quite agree...   

    

Tourist: And being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellvueses and Bontinentals with their international luxury modern roomettes and their Watney's Red Barrel and their swimming pools full of fat German businessmen pretending they're acrobats and forming pyramids and frightening the children and barging in to the queues and if you're not at your table spot on seven you miss your bowl of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, the first item on the menu of International Cuisine, and every Thursday night there's a bloody cabaret in the bar featuring some tiny emaciated dago with nine-inch hips and some big fat bloated tart with her hair brylcreemed down and a big arse presenting Flamenco for Foreigners.   

    

Bounder: (beginning to get fed up) Yes, yes, now...   

    

Tourist: And then some adenoidal typists from Birmingham with diarrhoea and flabby white legs and hairy bandy-legged wop waiters called Manuel, and then, once a week there's an excursion to the local Roman ruins where you can buy cherryade and melted ice cream and bleedin' Watney's Red Barrel, and one night they take you to a local restaurant with local colour and colouring and they show you there and you sit next to a party of people from Rhyl who keeps singing 'Torremolinos, Torremolinos' and complaining about the food - 'Oh! It's so greasy isn't it?' and then you get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic and Dr Scholl sandals and last Tuesday's 'Daily Express' and he drones on and on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up all over the Cuba Libres.   

    

Bounder: Will you be quiet please.   

    

Tourist: And sending tinted postcards of places they don't know they haven't even visited, 'to all at number 22, weather wonderful, our room is marked with an "X". Wish you were here.'   

    

Bounder: Shut up.   

    

Tourist: 'Food very greasy but we have managed to find this marvellous little place hidden away in the back streets.'   

    

Bounder: Shut up!   

    

Tourist: 'Where you can even get Watney's Red Barrel and cheese and onion...'   

   

Bounder: Shut up!!!   

    

Tourist: '...crisps and the accordionist plays "Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner"' and spending four days on the tarmac at Luton airport on a five-day package tour with nothing to eat but dried Watney's sandwiches....   

    

Bounder: Shut your bloody gob! I've had enough of this, I'm going to ring the police.   

   

He dials and waits. Cut to a corner of a police station. One policeman is knitting, another is making a palm tree out of old newspapers. The phone rings.   

    

Knitting Policeman: Oh...take it off the hook. (they do so)   

   

Cut back to travel agent's office. The man is still going on, the travel agent looks crossly at the phone and puts it down. Then picks it up and dials again.   

    

Bounder: Hello operator, operator...I'm trying to get the police...the police yes, what? (takes off his shoe and looks inside) nine and a half, nine and a half, yes, yes...I see...well can you keep trying please...   

   

Through all this the tourist is still going on:   

    

Tourist: ...and there's nowhere to sleep and the kids are vomiting and throwing up on the plastic flowers and they keep telling you it'll only be another hour although your plane is still in Iceland waiting to take some Swedes to Yugoslavia before it can pick you up on the tarmac at 3 a.m. in the bloody morning and you sit on the tarmac till six because of 'unforeseen difficulties'. i.e. the permanent strike of Air Traffic Control in Paris, and nobody can go to the lavatory until you take off at eight, and when you get to Malaga airport everybody's swallowing Enterovioform tablets and queuing for the toilets and when you finally get to the hotel, there's no water in the taps, there's no water in the pool, there's no water in the bog and there's a bleeding lizard in the bidet, and half the rooms are double-booked and you can't sleep anyway...   

   

The secretary comes up and looks into the camera.   

    

Receptionist: Oh! Sorry to keep you waiting...will you come this way please...   

   

The camera follows her as she leads us out of the office, with agent and client still rabbiting on, down a short passage to a documentary interview set where the two participants are sitting waiting. We follow her into the set.   

    

Receptionist: Here they are. (she turns to the camera again, which moves a little towards her, as if waiting to be summoned) Just here will do fine! Goodbye.    

       

   
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