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Competition No 3871

Set by Gavin Ross, 28 February

To mark society's increasing dislike of smoking in public places, you were asked to revise scripts/stage directions for scenes from well-known plays or films to reflect these more intolerant times. The morality police were allowed to extend their strictures to the drinking of alcohol.

Report by Ms de Meaner

The scripts involving non-drinking were not as good as the non-smoking ones: however, Sid Field's Under Milk Wood wasn't bad and I also liked David Silverman's 007 ("Mr Bond?" "Thank you. Milk and two sugars, please. Shaken not stirred"). Hon menshes to you both. £20 to the winners - the best (M F Clawes) also wins the Tesco vouchers.

The Graduate

Benjamin: Look, Mrs Robinson, I don't want to be rude but -

(She reaches into her bag. She takes out a raw carrot and sucks on it.)

Mrs Robinson: Is there any hummus around here?

Benjamin: No.

Mrs Robinson: Yeah. The track star only eats red meat.

(She bites the carrot gently and lays it on the bedspread. Benjamin places it in an ashtray. Close-up: a glistening carrot and the words "Hotel de Crillon, Paris".)

Mrs Robinson: Is it a girl?

Benjamin: Is what a girl?

(A long pause.)

Mrs Robinson: Will you take me home?

Benjamin: What?

Mrs Robinson: My husband took the car. Will you drive me home?

Benjamin (handing her his keys): Here, you take it.

(Mrs Robinson looks at him.)

Benjamin: Do you know how to work a foreign gearshift?

(She waves the carrot at him.)

Benjamin: You don't?

Mrs Robinson: No.

Benjamin: Let's go.

Mrs Robinson: Thank you.

Gordon Gwilliams

Withnail & I

Withnail: I must have some bacteria. I demand to have some friendly bacteria!

(He lunges towards the mantelpiece.)

Marwood: I wouldn't drink that if I were you.

Withnail (unplugging a pot's teat with his teeth): Why not?

Marwood: Because I don't advise it. Even the wankers on the site wouldn't drink that. It's worse than soya milk.

Withnail: Nonsense, this is a far superior drink to soya milk. The wankers don't drink it because they can't afford it.

(He pours the yoghurt down his throat. Gagging and gasping, he's on a buzz.)

Withnail: Have we got any more?

(Marwood shakes his head. Withnail comes

forward, forcing Marwood to back off.)

Withnail: Liar. What's in your fridge?

Marwood: We have nothing. Sit down.

Withnail: Liar. You've got Danone!

Marwood: You bloody fool. You should never mix your drinks!

M F Clawes


Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes".

(Sam obliges. Rick enters, scowling.)

Rick: Of all the non-smoking joints in the world, you had to walk into mine. But it's no use, kid. I'm not the man you shared your Gauloises with in Paris.

Ilsa: I can't kick the habit, Rick. I haven't the strength.

Rick: That's why I can't let you stay, and why you have to get on that plane with Victor. Sixty a day, he tells me. You were made for each other. And though your problems don't amount to a hill of Nicorettes in this crazy, polluted world, I don't have a choice, and one day you'll realise those government health warnings weren't fooling. I have to stay, Ilsa, and fight to make Casablanca a smoke-free zone. Renault is already rounding up the usual addicts. Here's looking at your nicotine-stained fingers, kid.

Watson Weeks

No 3874 Set by George Cowley

Richard Reeves (NS, 21.2.05) wrote: "Anyone can be progressive, so long as they define progress in their own terms." We'd like you to do just that.

Max 150 words by 31 March. E-mail:

This article first appeared in the 21 March 2005 issue of the New Statesman, What Britain really thinks