Monday, May 01, 2017

Life Pre-Intermediate 7F: Butler School p.90-91

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Pre-Intermediate)

Transcript: docs, pub
Discussion questions related to Vocabulary: docs, pub

Narrator: Long ago, England was a land of country houses, palaces, gardens and afternoon tea.  Every real gentleman had servants, especially a butler.  Just 70 years ago, there were tens of thousands of butlers in England.  Now there are only a few.  So where does one find a good butler nowadays?  The Ivor Spencer International School for Butler Administrators, of course!

Butlers:   “Good evening sir.  My name is Michael.  I’m your butler.
“My name is Jose.”
“I’m your butler.”
“Can I bring you some refreshments, sir?”
“I’m your butler.”
“Good evening, sir.”

Narrator: It’s the first day of class and the students are learning how to introduce themselves to their “gentleman” or “lady.”  A proper Butler must also learn to carry himself correctly.

Butlers: “Your champagne, my lady.” “Your champagne, my lady.”  “No problem, sir.”  “No problem, sir.”

Taxi Driver: Butlers?  I haven’t seen a butler for a long time.

Narrator: Seventy years ago, there were an estimated 30,000 butlers.  Today, there are fewer than 200.  But if Ivor Spencer has anything to say about it, that’s going to change.

Butlers: “It’s a pleasure, sir.”  “No problem, sir!” “No problem, sir!”  “I’ll fetch it immediately, sir.”  “I’ll fetch it immediately, sir.”

Narrator: Ivor Spencer wants to use his school to bring back the butler to this land of tradition.

Ivor Spencer: Good morning, everybody.  Welcome to the Ivor Spencer School.  We know you’ve come from all over the world, and we appreciate you being here.

Narrator: “Good morning, your Excellency.”  Future butlers must learn how to use the correct titles to refer to ambassadors, kings, queens and lords.  Over the next five weeks, thirteen international students will have 86 lessons in the art of being a butler.  If they succeed, they may work for a businessman, an important leader or even a king.  But first they have to graduate.  Mr Spencer says that some people can’t even last longer than the first few days.

Ivor Spencer:  On every course there are about two people that don’t make it past the first two days.

Narrator: This may come true for one student in the new group, David Marceau.

David Marceau: Good morning, the Lee residence.  Practice makes perfect, so hopefully, with a lot of practice, I’ll be just as good as any other butler out there.

David Suter: I just hope I’m going to be right for the job and hope I can do it.

Narrator: It’s important for students to keep their hopes up, and practise, practise, practise!

Speaker: It’s a pleasure, sir.

Narrator: The word “butler” comes from the French word “bouteillier” which means “bottle carrier”.  For new butlers, this can be difficult.

Butlers: “No problem, sir.  “It’s a pleasure, sir.”  “No problem, sir.”  “Your champagne, my lady.”  “You champagne, my lady.”

Narrator: Things go better for everyone this time.  It seems that all the practice is showing some results.  Even David Marceau is showing improvement.

David Marceau: Your champagne, my lord.  It’s on the floor, my lord.  “Good evening, sir.”  “Good evening, sir.”  “Good evening, sir.”

Narrator: By the third week, students start to find out if they really can become butlers or not.

Butlers: “Good evening, sir.  “Go back.”

David Marceau: It’s very difficult here.  It’s very difficult.  The course isn’t easy at all.  

“Good evening sir.” “Evening.”
“My name is David.  And I am your butler.  May I offer you some… May I offer you some.”
“Do that again, David.”

David Marceau: I have some problems, and I have to deal with them.

“Good evening, sir....”

Narrator: David is not just having difficulty with the course, he also misses his friends and family back home.

David Marceau: I miss my girlfriend very much.  She’s giving me support on the phone.  I just talked to her last night.  Things are OK and everything.  Yes, I wish I was there right now!

Narrator: There are lots of secrets to being a good butler.  For example, did you know that you can iron a newspaper to make it look nice and avoid leaving ink everywhere?  Ivor Spencer does, and he teaches the class how to do it.

Ivor Spencer: That’s probably the only time a butler read the newspaper.  If you see a burnt newspaper, you know that the butler’s been very interested.

Narrator: Sometimes butlers need other unusual skills.  For example, they might need to deal with unwelcome guests.  These butlers will be ready.  
Butlers must also learn how to recognise quality products, or “the finer things in life”.  From the best tobacco pipes…

Pipe Seller: It’s not just a piece of wood.  It’s a piece of art. expensive, of course…

“Welcome to the house of Moet et Chandon”


“Sante” “To champagne.”

Narrator: Graduation day arrives.

Ivor Spencer: David, you’ve come a long way.  We appreciate it.

Narrator: Everyone gets their certificates--even David.  Afterwards, the students have a small party.

Ivor Spencer: Good healthy, everybody.

David Suter: I did it!

Narrator: Before they came here, these young men and women drove buses, worked with computers, or worked in restaurants or shops.  Now they are part of a very old English tradition.  The Ivor Spencer School for Butler Administrators has done its job well!

When was the last time you experienced food that was burnt?  Who prepared it?  What did you do? (Did you eat it?)

Have you ever had servants in your house?
Have you ever been a servant in somebody else’s house?
What do you think about servants?

What was a recent problem that you had to deal with?

When was the last time you had guests in your house?
When was the last time you were a guest in someone else’s house?

Think of the last time you had an unwelcome guest at your house.  What did you do?

Think of the last time you had to fetch something from somewhere else.

What is something you have made an improvement on recently?

Who does the ironing in your house?  Do you iron your own clothes or does someone else do it?

Do you have any palaces in your country?  What are they?

Think about somebody you miss?  Who is it?  Why do you miss them?

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to make it?

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