The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32175   Message #426934
Posted By: Greyeyes
27-Mar-01 - 06:03 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Beyond the Fringe
Subject: Lyr Add: THE MINER (Peter Cook / Beyond the Fringe
Well remembered Gargoyle, that's pretty accurate to the original. Here is the slightly revised and expanded text that Cook used in the 1964 production.

Beyond the fringe
Alan Bennett – Peter Cook – Jonathan Miller – Dudley Moore

Samuel French, Inc.
1964. Additional Material Added to the Second Edition for the 1964 Production.



Yes, I could have been a judge but I never had the Latin. I never had the Latin for the judging. I didn't have sufficient to get through the rigorous judging exams. They're very rigorous, the judging exams. They're noted for their rigor. People come staggering out saying, "My God, what a rigorous exam!" And so I managed to become a miner – a coal miner. I managed to get through the mining exams – they're not very rigorous. They only ask you one question. They say, "Who are you?" And I got 75% on that.... So I was made to feel welcome down there....

But of course, coal is quite an interesting substance created in a most unusual way, because God didn't just say, "Let's have some coal," like he did with some of the other amenities. He went about it in a more roundabout and interesting way – to make the world a bit more interesting for us all. He blew all the trees down. He did – he got a good wind going and blew them all down and then very gradually over a period of three million years, he changed them into coal so it wasn't noticeable to the average passer-by. It was all part of his wonderful over-all scheme – his wonderful longterm plan for the universe. People at the time didn't quite see it that way – people who were standing under the trees. They rather missed the point. And instead of shouting out, "Hurrah, coal in three million years," they tended to exclaim more along the lines of, "oh dear, trees falling on us. That's the last thing we want." And of course, for the most of them it was the last thing they got. So they had no cause to grumble against the deity, God bless him.

But coal is quite interesting so I've written a book about my experiences in the mine. I call it, "My Experiences in the Mine." It's about this man who goes down in the mine and he sees some coal quite near him and he grabs ahold of it and throws it in a trolley and the trolley wheels away down a long dark tunnel and he never sees it again. – That's the story. It's a very short story. It's an extremely short story, but it's also extremely boring. It's amazingly boring. I fell asleep the first time I read it through, it was so boring. I took it along to a publisher and he too said it was very boring. In fact, he said it was one of the most boring stories he had ever read. And he's not a man given to superlatives. He said the main trouble with your story was that it lacks everything. You name it – it lacks it. He said above all, it lacks the sex element – which is so vital to us in these troubled times. Of course, he's quite right. So I've added the sex element. The story's the same except while the mining is going on there are these three nude women who are dancing about – enticingly. These three nude women, Beryl, Stella, and Margaret, have come down in the mine to have a bit of a dance. It's picked it up no end. I can scarcely put it down. That's the wonderful thing about being an author – you can put in as many nude women as you like. My next book is called "A Million Nude Women." It's a mining story. It's about a million nude women – who are wondering about in the desert looking for somewhere to sit down. They wander about the desert for four years. I've called the first chapter "A Fruitless Quest." The nude women wander about the desert for four years until one day, the leader of the nude women, Beryl Whittington spots a disused mine. "C'mon, girls," she shouts, "here is a disused mine at last. Let's all rush down – and dance about." So all the nude ladies rush down the mine and dance about – uninhibitedly. For four days they dance about. It's unparalleled in mining history. On the fourth day, Stella Jarvis, the frailest of the nude ladies, falls to the floor exhausted. She says, "Oh, I'm exhausted." Beryl Whittington, the leader of the nude women, sees the follies of their ways and she shouts out, "C'mon girls, let's all go back to the top to the desert – and wander about." That's where I leave them. I don't quite know what the point is. I think maybe it's the meaninglessness of life or something like that. At least that's what I will tell a policeman should one ever stop me and ask me….

WHOOPS! Did you notice for no apparent reason I went WHOOPS? It's an impediment I picked up from being down in the mine – WHOOPS! Cause one day I was walking along in the dark, WHOOPS! I saw the body of a dead pit pony, - WHOOPS! Unexpectedly. And that's the reason why I couldn't have been a judge. It destroys the dignity of the court, because one day I might have been up there sentencing the criminal away and saying, "I sentence you to WHOOPS!" And you see, under English law, that would have to stand. So all in all I would rather have been a judge than a coal miner, because being a miner, as soon as you get too old and tired and sick and stupid to do the job properly, you have to go. Well, the very opposite applies with the judges. So all in all I would rather have been a judge than a miner, because I've always been after the trappings of great luxury. I really have – and yet I've got hold of the trappings of great poverty. I've got hold of the wrong load of trappings – and a rotten load of trappings they are too. Ones I could very well do without.

John Cleese commented in a documentary made just after Cook's death that when Cleese and Chapman were writing most of the Python stuff together it took them about 7 hours work for 3-4 minutes finished material, but it took Peter Cook 3-4 minutes to come up with 3-4 minutes finished material. A very funny man.