The reader's almanac; 5
It's time for the readers all men to act with one by our originally broadcast over station WNYC in New York and distributed by national educational radio. The reader's almanac is America's oldest consecutive book program. Here now is Mr. Bauer. The English have been sitting ducks for American funny men and women for many years. A couple of examples will do before I come down to a strictly current one. Mark Twain had at them in a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court with a great deal of verve and imagination in a book that has never lost its popularity in point and back there in the 30s somewhere one of the sharpest wits of our time brought out a winner as her first book with malice towards some by Margaret healthy which is still wholly readable and laughable and apropos. And now to demonstrate that the basic idea in these books is sound or possibly that the English seen from our side of the Atlantic are a funny race and do and say strange things and often
good as a but for wit and humor and it comes out a book called How to live like a lord without really trying. Just published by Simon and Schuster. Interestingly enough the same publisher brought out Mrs. Helseth book that I mention the author of How to live like a lord and so forth. Is Shepherd need as many of you listeners will already have guessed because of certain family characteristics and the titles of four of his books. It's the Without Really Trying To gives away the non-secret. He was of course the author of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Which was a very funny book and then became the inspiration for an extraordinarily entertaining and bright and satirical Broadway musical called by no coincidence at all. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. But there are two other how to books I would like to tell you too how to get rich in TV Without Really Trying. You know how to succeed with women without really trying. All handbooks as you can see which a great useless and point for a
great many of us Mr media has however not stayed in this rut all his writing life because he has also written test say the hound of channel 1 allegedly a novel as is the big ball of wax and a blockbuster of the title which is a dud Lou there is no tomorrow. Then how about this afternoon. Now there are several other novels with titles too brief to notice. The ad man is a sample. The publishers have been good enough to include a few bits of biography which enables us to know that Mr Mead and family have lived in England in Surrey to be fairly precise about it. For something like six years or so they have put down some roots over there. That is they have bought some roots in the form of a country house I suppose equipped with roots. It won't take any Ph.D. like research to determine that this fact was responsible for several chapters in this book. In fact I think it is fairly clear that this book is written while Mr Meade was a guest in the country paying guest to be sure.
That's my first question to you is do you think it was really cricket to write such a book. Smuggle it out of the country I presume and then get it published over here. Well of course in the first place I don't believe in cricket although my sons keep trying to convince me that it really exists and play it and I actually I didn't smuggle the book Allard you know it was I felt I should be I should really be jolly cricket about the whole thing and have it have it published in England first it's been published in England I've actually appeared on television in England with lords and ladies having out me and in fact even before I was published I gave them the manuscript to my my neighbor a lovely English woman my trouble as a satirist that I happen to love the English and I'm trying to overcome this. And then I asked her I said MARGARET Well it really threw me out of England after this. So let me read it and how can I tell you and she came back. She came back the last thing and the next day and I said what was I to savage She said
I can't quite There's just my DH You know you were half savage you know. And I also felt I had to an English cartoonist you know if I was going to really take the mickey out of the English I should i should be hand in glove with it with it whether with an Englishman. And so I found an English cartoonist and town who actually is not a man but a woman and draws for pointers you probably know that she did a beautiful job she's much more savvy in the cartoons about the British than I am than I am in the writing. Well I do think it's jolly of you to publish the book first over there. I didn't know that it is taking place now I daresay there's another question our listeners would like answered so I'll ask it promptly. Maybe the immigration man has asked it of you already. What are your intentions have you turned your back up on your native land. Are you an expatriate. Well we're coming back next year. Of course I must and I'm absolutely sure of this statement because we've been making it every year now since we've been away so I make a statement again this year that we're
coming back next year. Actually I of course I have. I haven't like various other expatriate authors from America taking British citizenship and have no intention of doing this. I wouldn't think it was. It would be anything catastrophic but I just haven't done it and I intend to keep my American citizenship and I'm listed as kind of a resident there. We do and we do really intend to come back and I think the main As a matter of fact I just heard this morning I just got a cable this morning from my wife in England saying that my son had passed his common entrance and that may mean nothing to you but it means that he can get into a public that is very private school in this case Charterhouse so he will be in it for a number of years and the chances are we will be there early finishes and my daughter is just getting out as just going into a British university next year and so that I think we're there for a few years. We do we do honestly intend to come back to graduation for your son I think I know I'm so happy about it and happy ever since I heard about a couple of hours ago.
These obligatory questions out of the way we can go on to whatever we want to talk about. We may argue a bit about some of your harsh judgments on the British though I have to say I've liked them on those occasions when I've been over there and I dare say you do too. After all a blade doggo while you pointed your fingers of derision at them is some of their cherished institutions. They love to have fingers of derision fine to say I hope the neurons have been made to send a bonafide humorist over here to give us eventually a book as good as you have sent to them. Either that or their carriage may do something I think Ronald Searle and us and Stephen Potter got together was something that I believe they wrote a book about America without coming here. They decided it wasn't necessary they were driving it purely on the prejudice is that there are certain pictures are wonderful and hard but I suppose that this idea is based on the idea that the British do have a sense of humor. I suppose you know to use no sense in debating this.
They do have a sense of humor don't owe the Americans always think that the British have no sense of humor because the Americans don't say this don't have enough sense of humor to know the British are getting them. The British killed them absolutely straight faced you know and I think my this fellow has no sense of humor and they're not only greatest humorists of the English language almost all of them have been English or Irish men who have gone to England. All of them have had and they all are great you must have been English and they have a superb sense. Well again you describe the best kind of you know very many ways. Oh not everybody should get every gilt you know that they don't have a type of gag. They're much more subtle and there you go. It's much more real you more another word but let's get down to this book as you and I actually written you know I don't need to question you about the inspiration for it. Every day's living must have provided a paragraph or certainly page. Do you jot down a thought a day in that diary that every Englishman carries and then at some appropriate moment you laid them
and some sort of order and lo you had another book without. Well I did I did keep making notes for a number of years while I was writing novels and other things just every time anything would happen I would put it down and then they how to use the way I write and this is sort of a peculiar sort of they never know whether to call them fiction or nonfiction because of course they pretend to be nonfiction and they pretend to give you know give instructions and do give instructions. But then the instructor is always talking in a sort of stuffy manner is is always interrupted by people talking and and that part of course is pure fiction it's a fictional account of you know of a family living in England it happened the same things. CLARK Now what was the original question. I dressed well I was asking you something about your methods a composition that wasn't well. Oh that's that's right well you are what you do in a book like this what I do is to get together all of these various comments in fact the whole book is based on
actual fact not actual things that happened naturally I mean not actual people I've changed I was but but on the actual way the British live and I mean a very first a very scholarly notations of everything closely documented over a period of years this is because I believe in Bernard Shaw's older advice and you know taking the utmost pains with what you say that's the first step. And then the second step is to do the other half of the sentence of Shahs and then say it with the utmost levity. So this is a complete and I think a complete guide to living and living in England. But it's not done like that it's done with the utmost levity in other words it tries to make you laugh as much as possible. So that's what you do you try to. The thing to do is to take all these things and then try to organize them. Chronologically In other words to make the story as it is a story of a family who comes doing when you see who comes here and just as we did and who lived first in a country hotel in nearly blow it up by trying to
plug you know a compliance. And then and then go to the ground floor of a great castle that we did we had a huge manor house that we rented the ground floor of just the ground floor so it was about a quarter of a mile from one end of it to another. And of course there's this family the brushes who aren't really quite us but by a strange coincidence did all of these things you do. And then they also bought a house in England as we did a nice country house. Which in our case happened to be right across the road from a tennis club and this was no accident because I like to play tennis in the most beautiful tennis learning. But but but the point is I had to take all of these notes describing life in England and sort of and try to arrange them as part of the chronological story so it would be a story from families from getting there
and leaving and getting there and staying really and trying to take it chronologically including adding a little love story which I called in successive chapters do you want your daughter to be a duchess. And so it really follows a story but all of the all of the items of living in England and really everything I think that a person needs to live in all of the pitfalls are in there. Let's see how to do it it really is a how to do it but I don't like to write just a straight how to do it I like to put everything in it how to do it has it and then make it into a funny story if I can. And let me assure you that you have really I want to explain this made to this is a very deliberate program you know. And I always ask people who come to talk on it something about their literary composition how they do it you say yes well I really want to know if you will if you write books without really trying. I write books with my subconscious and that sounds like a gag but it isn't.
It is a serious method developed over. Over a number of years and of course I'm not the only writer uses that I think every writer use it. Not all the music consciously I use I use my subconscious or unconscious consciously. I don't know what goes on in there but I have studied it over a period of many years I used to be a student of psychology at the university and I have learned really how to make it how to make it work for me I have developed a program of method of sort of programming this conscious. Now my writing day in England when I'm in the middle of a book will be too. I always write in a typewriter for one thing because it's so very much faster I touch type and I think every writer should learn that to touch type it'll take him six months and the same in 20 years before he gets to learn to type as fast as you talk and you can learn that in about six months and it will save you years and years. I usually sit down about 9 o'clock and write for about three to three and a half
hours til about 12:30 or so until the until my subconscious has written the date written down for maybe the day before sort of runs thin and I come into a block and I can't go much farther I could if I by pushing it but this is this you must understand is a joyous process when it comes to it's lovely I just it's almost ecstasy when it comes through well you know and I sit there and my wife says I sit there chuckling and she can tell I'm writing because they're laughing. Not always things other people laugh at I laugh easily. And then then at about 12:30 or so I sort of program the subconscious again and the way you the way you program your subconscious is not really so much to try to solve the problem as to name the problem you know to tell your subconscious Now the problem how often even write this out a little piece of paper. Now the problem is whatever the problem writing would be say how in the world can I get John and Mary to talk in this scene when Mary is in Chicago or this and that or you know the various problems of fiction just the mechanics of it and how can I do this and how can and how can I
make this point and still make it funny which is the problem. The way I ask it. How could I make a valid point here and still make it funny if possible. If you don't do this without really trying at all you have to try very hard really. But but it but it's a joyous and easy process when it's done this way and you program it and tell it what to do and even sometimes speed write a little bit just to try to get out into the blue you know something that doesn't really you know you never use but just to try to get get this process started and then I go off and play tennis and dig in the garden or have a good time you know. Something not mental you understand. And then and then I will. About 3:30 I'll take a nap this is a very important part of the process because sleep seems to give this fellow down below it a chance to work while you're out of the way while your conscious mind stops bothering him for a minute and then after that about 4:30 have several cups of strong to yell oh that's not necessary. You have coffee you don't have to have anything you'll do it without that without that.
And then write for a couple of hours more so I'll write on it on a hard writing day when I'm in the middle of the way. Really you know producing. That's the way I did five hours and I get to writing days that way because I have two bouts of subconscious if you will. And that's my very you know I hope that a lot of writers are listening to us and taking it all down it won't work it will work. I mean it doesn't make it sound as though it works automatically like some kind of magic and it does not do that but you're gradually sort of train your subconscious muscles I think so that you get you get it so it's used to doing that have bad days now and again so if you want to sit there chuckle of course of course everybody does have days and I can't think of a blooming thing. But I do want to ask you a question or two about why that title for example I know there's a good bit of suggested meeting still left in the phrase living like a lord like a living it up we'd say. But actually Lords don't have that so good deeds they do really well in the business of showing off their castles for a female that's right a large sum large or very poor in England so
I really called it this more or less for a little ration what I should have called it is how to live like I do because they all really live the way Americans would like to live. Very few Americans would like to live the way some lords do in freezing castles eating skimpy food and probably having to do all sorts of menial work to make war or having people end to show them how to make enough money to pay the taxes. I have you know perhaps this fact that we've just been talking about is the cream of your jest really. And living like a lord isn't ok. Yeah that's it. That's true but it is pleasant living in England and I say well let's talk a little bit about living in a con. I think we have to cost it's imposing if you're only in looks well on the picture postcard but I dare say I could be wrong on whether or not it's cozy. As your research extended to English housing in Lawrence It certainly has.
I can document this pretty well because we bought a house which isn't quite a castle but it's a very nice country house it has five bedrooms in it and when we bought it it had just been up for auction and they auctioned off all the contents of the residence that's what they call the contents of the resident safe and when we by the time we moved in everything the light fixtures the book cases they just carpets everything had been torn and ripped out there were holes in the walls the floors the whole place looked like a stable there was no heat of any kind of plumbing was terrible. There were worms in the roof. You know these beetles that the rafters are up in the roof everything was wrong with it and it took us six months. Right before we moved into it and then even after we moved into it it would take another six months to get it so it was livable. But now it's very good and we put in our own oil heating and it's quite quite really quite lovely now I suppose a process of renovation over there must be a rather harrowing one. Yes it is and you can't you can't really get by with doing it while you're away because you have to be there to make tea for the work
otherwise they won't work they have to have tea about three or four times a day. Your wife spends their whole that Sunday she'll make 57 cabs. Do you I suppose that you are representing a sort of class you know come over there and can renovate ought to be encouraged as a as a group you know to come over there and do something for the English housing. It seems to me that you might be regarded as a bit of a national service. And if I can make a terrible joke I wonder if you ought not to be regarded as a knight of the better boss of the better but I think this is a matter of fact we're just we're just now redoing another bathroom and putting in a better boff. Even a stall shower I could be the night of the shower. No one of your quips and I came out housing that I enjoyed because there's so much truth and feeling behind it is that modern architecture and central heating is only for the poor. All fach cottage is moldy and damp for the rich. Now how did this come about. Well it is very strange that really modern is for the lower classes. When you when you look
for a house for an apartment or as I say a flap they will usually show you some Victorian ruin that has been converted into several pieces which they will call flats and you will see next door a huge building. It looks like the U.N. building something very modern and your last your station or what they call the real estate man will how about this you know. And you say oh no that's just for the poor people. And apparently it's grown up because the lords and everyone the British are very Closs conscious they all live in great old houses so anyone with new money the new Irish doesn't want to buy a modern house he wants to buy an old house and there aren't enough old houses around so he builds an old house and they're building new Victorian houses all over England right now. You had something to say and naturally this fact is a perennial topic about the English whether houses lead to that of course. Yes you have to build them well in order to get out of that whether anything new and fresh to say about English the English are convinced that they have the worst weather in the world and it's a social error to say that it's a nice day there because they always
say beastly isn't it matter what it. And actually they have the mildest weather is there it's cooler in the summer it's about 70 in the summer while it's 95 in New York and I know I used to. I lived in New York for 20 years and in the wintertime when it's 18 degrees in New York it's probably a forty one or something in London it's because they're an island surrounded by the Gulf Stream in very mild weather. There it's a little cloudy that's more it's cloudy more often than it is in New York but really their climate is much better and it doesn't rain anymore it rains more often but there but their rainfall is almost if you look at the figures it's almost the same as come down close to the earth so if you think you're walking about and well right well of course once you do get fogs but some people but never in the summer and you have we probably have a dozen foggy days in the winter or something like that. I suppose we've run through a small number of perennial topics that we always do but there is one matter that has come to my attention. In fact I think I'd better call it stop press news in the times and I mean The New York
Times this morning. There was a story about Savile Row tailor is getting out after Harold Wilson because he's such a bad dresser it seems that the bounder allows his suspenders as we say to chefs as they would say want to embrace any kind of basic take on this. Well you see how Wilson you know used to be used to be a Don as they call them at Oxford. And he dresses as as I do rather you know and in a casual way you generally don't find Seville Row suits in university. And he has and I admit that he goes pretty far. He sometimes does look pretty sloppy. You wouldn't say anything further about him he was not unfit to be a prime minister. Well I would I know I wouldn't say it like that but since the British businesses is man's closed as I try to be a good idea that somebody give him a couple of good suits of clothes.
Now do you have any final word to say for those going to England. The tourist season is almost upon us in the Lords over there all hoping for good business this summer. A word from you will have an effect I'm sure. Of course I would suggest that you don't live in a hotel bedroom but live the way I do like to lower it get yourself a house. Thank you Shepard made for your having provided so many generous footnotes and even perhaps a new chapter to how to live like a lord without really trying lately published by Simon Schuster here in New York. If I had a scroll at my disposal I would award it to you for advancing the cause of international understanding between us and our erstwhile cousins in English. I have a feeling our cousins are going to be somewhat irked perhaps they have already been by reading it. But if they want to understand how we feel about them they will grin and bear it. The rest of us will simply grin and often break out into a vulgar guffaws next Monday. I will be interviewing Richard Newcomb was written the authentic book on the battle of the wood Jima
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- APA: The reader's almanac; 5. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-1j97b75d