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The Show Begins
My Uncle Jim took me to all the Broadway shows in New York City, and I was star struck! Actually he wasn’t my real uncle – that’s just what we called him. He was a close friend of my parents. He was a bit stocky with red hair, 1 _______________________.
I remember the theaters on Broadway, 2 _______________________. The curtains were made of this real heavy, dark red material. There were huge chandelier lights hanging from the ceiling. The walls were dark, paneled wood. The seats were red and cushy 3 _______________________.
The orchestra sat at the base of the stage in a pit. I usually went down to the front to see the musicians 4 _______________________. They were all crammed into such a tiny space. I played the flute myself and my dad kept encouraging me that if I kept it up, 5 _______________________. But truly, I didn’t want to be tucked away down there. I wanted to be on top, front and center.
Most people dressed rather finely, and certain fragrances took center stage as various women passed by. The sounds of the audience6 _______________________ at their seats were clearly heard while last minute patrons filled in. There was electricity in the air and then the lights would go down and up, and you knew it was time for the show to get started. The lights dimmed. The music began. And you were swept up into a whole new world. I loved it!
I could be playing down there someday
and set real close together
which were so old and posh
and he had a beard and moustache
I wasn’t that good at music
getting ready and warming up
laughing and chattering away
Прочитайте текст и выполните задания А15–А21. В каждом задании обведите цифру 1, 2, 3 или 4, соответствующую выбранному вами варианту ответа.
I am in Birmingham, sitting in a cafe opposite a hairdresser’s. I’m trying to find the courage to go in and book an appointment. I’ve been here three quarters of an hour and I am on my second large cappuccino. The table I’m sitting at has a wobble, so I’ve spilt some of the first cup and most of the second down the white trousers I was so proud of as I swanked in front of the mirror in my hotel room this morning.
I can see the hairdressers or stylists as they prefer to be called, as they work. There is a man with a ponytail who is perambulating around the salon, stopping now and then to frown and grab a bank of customer’s hair. There are two girl stylists: one has had her white blonde hair shaved and then allowed it explode into hundreds of hedgehog’s quills; the other has hair any self-respecting woman would scalp for: thick and lustrous. All three are dressed in severe black. Even undertakers allow themselves to wear a little white on the neck and cuffs, but undertakers don’t take their work half as seriously, and there lies the problem. I am afraid of hairdressers.
When I sit in front of the salon mirror stuttering and blushing, and saying that I don’t know what I want, I know I am the client from hell. Nobody is going to win Stylist of the year with me as a model.
‘Madam’s hair is very th …’,they begin to say ‘thin’, think better of it and change it for ‘fine’—ultimately, coming out with the hybrid word ‘thine’. I have been told my hair is ‘thine’ many times. Are they taught to use it at college? Along with other conversational openings, depending on the season: ‘Done your Christmas shopping?’ ‘Going away for Easter?’ ‘Booked your summer holiday?’ ‘You are brown, been way?’ ‘Nights are drawing in, aren’t they?’ ‘Going away for Christmas?’
I am hopeless at small talk (and big talk). I’m also averse to looking at my face in a mirror for an hour and a half. I behave as though I am a prisoner on the run.
I’ve looked at wigs in stores, but I am too shy to try them on, and I still remember the horror of watching a bewigged man jump into a swimming pool and then seeing what looked like a medium sized rodent break the surface and float on the water. He snatched at his wig, thrust it anyhow on top of his head and left the pool. I didn’t see him for the rest of the holiday.
There is a behavior trait that a lot of writers share—it is called avoidance activity. They will do anything to avoid starting to write: clean a drain, phone their mentally confused uncle in Peru, change the cat’s litter tray. I’m prone to this myself, in summer I deadhead flowers, even lobelia. In winter I’ll keep a fire going stick by stick, anything to put off the moment of scratching marks on virgin paper.
I am indulging an avoidance activity now. I’ve just ordered another cappuccino, I’ve given myself a sever talking: For God’s sake, woman! You are forty-seven years of age. Just cross the road, push the salon door open, and ask for an appointment!
It didn’t work. I’m now in my room, and I have just given myself a do-it-yourself hairdo, which consisted of a shampoo, condition and trim, with scissors on my Swiss army knife.
I can’t wait to get back to the Toni & Guy salon in Leicester. The staff there haven’t once called my hair ‘thine’ and they can do wonders with the savagery caused by Swiss army knife scissors.
The narrator was afraid to enter the hairdresser’s because she
had spilt coffee on her white trousers.
doubted the qualification of local stylists.
was strangely self-conscious.
was pressed for time.
Watching the stylists, the narrator concluded that they
were too impulsive.
had hair anyone would envy.
had strange hair-dos themselves.
attached too much importance to their ‘craft’.
The narrator calls herself ‘the client from hell’ mainly because she
doesn't like to look at herself in the mirror.
never knows what she wants.
is too impatient to sit still.
is too demanding.
The narrator doesn’t like stylists as they
are too predictable in their conversation.
have once suggested that she should try a wig.
are too insensitive to clients wishes.
are too talkative.
According to the narrator the avoidance activity is
common to all writers.
mostly performed in winter.
talking to oneself.
a trick to postpone the beginning of work.
The narrator finally
talked herself into going and fixing an appointment.
got her hair done at a hotel.
cut her hair after shampooing it.
spoilt her hair completely.
The last paragraph means that the Toni &Guy salon in Leicester is the
only hairdresser’s she has ever risked going to.
salon she trusts and is not afraid to go to.
place where she is a special client.
the first place she has ever tried.
The Slob’s Holiday
My husband and I went to Reno for our holiday last year. “Isn’t that place where people go to get a quickie divorce?”asked my second son? ‘Yes’, I said, trying to look enigmatic and interesting. ‘You are not getting divorced, are you?’ he asked bluntly. ‘No,’ I said, ’we are going to an outdoor pursuit trade fair. The children sighed with relief and slouched away, muttering things like ‘boring’. I call them children, but they are all grown up. My eldest son has started to develop fine lines around his eyes – fledgling crow’s feet. A terrible sight for any parent to see. Anyway, the piece isn’t about children. It’s about holidays.
The first thing to be said about holidays is that anybody who can afford one should be grateful. The second thing is that planning holidays can be hard work. In our household it starts with somebody muttering, ’I suppose we ought to think about a holiday.’ This remark is usually made in July and is received glumly, as if the person making it has said ‘I suppose we ought to think about the Bolivian balance of payment problems.’
Nothing much happens for a week and then the potential holiday-makers are rounded up and made to consult their diaries. Hospital appointments are taken into consideration, as are important things to do with work. But other highlights on the domestic calendar, such as the cat’s birthday, are swept aside and eventually two weeks are found. The next decision is the most painful: where?
We travel abroad to work quite a lot but we return tired and weary, so the holiday we are planning is a slob’s holiday: collapse on a sunbed, read a book until the sun goes down, stagger back to hotel room, shower, change into glad rags, eat well, wave good-bye to teenagers, have a last drink on hotel terrace, go to bed and then lie awake and wait for hotel waiters to bring the teenagers from the disco.
I never want to be guided around another monument, as long as I live. I do not want to be told how many bricks it took to build it. I have a short attention span for such details. I do not want to attend a ‘folk evening’ ever, ever again. The kind where men with their trousers tucked into their socks wave handkerchiefs in the direction of women wearing puff-sleeved blouses, long skirts and headscarves.
I also want to live dangerously and get brown. I want my doughy English skin change from white sliced to wheat germ. I like the simple pleasure of removing my watch strap and gazing at the patch of virgin skin beneath.
I don’t want to make new friends – on holidays or in general; I can’t manage the ones I have at home. I do not want to mix with the locals and I have no wish to go into their homes. I do not welcome tourists who come to Leicester into my home. Why should the poor locals in Holidayland be expected to? It’s bad enough that we monopolize their beaches, clog their pavements and spend an hour in a shop choosing a sunhat that costs the equivalent of 75 pence.
So, the slob’s holiday has several essential requirements: a hotel on a sunny beach, good food, a warm sea, nightlife for the teenagers, a big crowd to get lost in, and the absence of mosquitoes.
As I write, we are at the planning stage. We have looked through all the holiday brochures, but they are full of references to ‘hospitable locals’, ‘folk nights’, ‘deserted beaches’, and ‘interesting historical sights’. Not our cup of tea, or glass of sangria, at all.
The parents’ choice of holiday destination made the narrator’s children feel
The narrator’s words ‘A terrible sight for any parent to see’ refer to
the way children behave.
the fact that children are aging.
the way children change their image.
the fact there is a generation gap.