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New Headway - Intermediate

Liz & John Soars

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Intermed 1

A journalist is interviewing Mr. Williams about his job

Journalist What's your job, Mr. Williams ?

Mr. Williams I'm a writer.

Journalist That's interesting. What sort of thing do you write?

Mr. Williams Well, uhm, articles for newspapers and magazines, er... film reviews, you know, uhm, and occasionally some fiction, poems, and short stories.

Journalist Do you find it a very demanding job?

Mr Williams (Sigh) Well, yes and no. It's very nice to work at home, of course, and, and have the choice of when to work. But I work long hours at home, usually ten hours or more a day, and it's very lonely sometime, sitting in front of a typewriter.

Journalist What are you working on at the moment?

Mr.Williams Well, actually I'm doing something very different from my usual work. I'm writing a biography of Leonard Benson, the jazz musician.

Journalist So I suppose you're spending a lot of time together.

Mr Williams (Laugh) Well, no, in fact. He live in the States. I'm doing a lot of research, naturally. He's visiting this country at the moment, and I have an appointment with him, but we haven't met very often.

Journalist Well, thank you, Mr Williams. That was very interesting and good luck with the book.

Mr Williams Not at all.

Interviewing Mr. Leadbetter

I = Interviewer L = Mr Leadbetter

I Mr Leadbetter, I'd like to ask you some questions about your job, if I may.

L Of course.

I Now, you're an engineer, aren't you?

L That's right, I'm a civil engineer. I work for Wimpey, which is one of the largest building contractors in the world.

I That must be very interesting. Could you tell me what you do exactly?

L I work in the estimating department which means I have to work out exactly how much a job will cost. The way it works is like this. Er ... a company, huh or more probably a country, wants, say, an airport or a bridge or a hospital. They employ a consultant engineer to design it and prepare all the plans. Er ... then someone has to build it, and this is what the building contractors composing and this is what Wimpey is, a builder. Well, I then have to say how much I think it will cost to build. I inspect the documents, examine the site where the building is to be, and name a price. If our price is the most attractive, and usually this means the lowest, we get the contract.

I You mentioned airports and bridges. (Mmm, mmm.) What other sorts of construction is Wimpey involved in?

L Oh, what aren't they involves in? (Laugh) Roads, dams, port, hospitals, universities. Er ... we do a lot of work abroad, and I often go to the Middle East, which is my specialist area, so I often go to the Saudi and Qatar.

I Er... what projects are you involves in at the moment?

L Well, we're buiding... er... let me see, we're building a motorway... er... round London, er... the M25, er... constructing a railway in Gabon, and we're building a hospital in Oman. Then we're planning several new projects. There's a dam in Swaziland and a university in Jordan.

I Well, thank you very much, Mr Leadbetter. That's most interesting.

Harry's weekend

Harry is American. He works as a sound engineer in a recording studio in San Francisco.

I = Interviewer H = Harry

I Harry, could you tell me something about your weekends?

H Sure.

I Are they busy, or ... don't you do much?

H No, they tend to be very busy. Er, you know I like to... er... have a good time. I mean, having a good time and enjoying yourself, looking for happiness in life is very important to American people. Uhm so I'm very busy during the week and I... I don't have any spare time, so when the weekend comes we like to really let loose and we try very hard to have a good time.

I So what sort of things do you do?

H Well, let's see. It begins on Friday night, of course er... we maybe go to a bar for the happy hour, you know, that's when the drinks are half price, er... usually we go to the theatre. Er... we go to bed early these days. You know, it's not 'in' to go to all-night parties any more, and we want to get up early on Saturday morning anyway. Saturday morning that's the time for cleaning the house, washing the car, doing the laundry, and then it's usually time to go out for lunch. Or maybe brunch, it depends on the time, but it's becoming more popular now to have brunch on Sunday.

I Yes.

H I'll tell you about that in a minute, but ... after lunch, maybe we'll go for a walk on the beach, or play tennis, or go for a run, you know, er... getting physical and getting er... fresh air you know somehow, somewhere. Sun ... Saturday afternoon it's a time to play, really. And then in the evening we sometimes go to a movie, but usually we go to watch a band.

I Oh.

H Yea. Not, not in a concert, in a bar — you know bars in American are more like clubs.

I Oh, yes.

H You know, the music is free, and everything's very relaxed, er... and it's nice to just take in some jazz.

I Mmm. So plenty to do on a Saturday.

H Mmm.

I Uhm... What about Sunday?

H Well, on Sundays we get an enormous pile of newspapers delivered, and we just ... er... sit in the garden over a cup of coffee, with maybe a continental breakfast and read the newspapers.

I Relax.

H Yea we have a nice quiet morning cause er... you know you're working up to the most popular meal for the weekend which is brunch.

I That's... er... breakfast and lunch combined, right?

H That's it. Brunch. It's... it's a good time... it's a time for all the family, grandparents, and children, and we, we usually go out to some restaurant that overlooks the ocean, and you know, you can spend two hours or more over brunch. It's a... it's a huge meal. You have all the breakfast things, of course, and then you can also have all sorts of salads, 'n' chicken, 'n' pies, fruit lots of fruit, it just goes on and on and on.

I Uhm... Are they expensive these places?

H No, no you pay a fixed price maybe, say, seven dollars per person, and for that you get free champagne and you can eat as much as you like.

I Champagne!

H Yea, it's wonderful.

I O yes, I see, uhm... what about Sunday evening then?

H Well, Sunday evening we quiet down a bit. It's time to get ready for Monday. Another week. So we usually have an early night. Maybe watch a little television. We have 88 channels, so you can usually find something you like.

I 88? I'm sure you can. Oh, that's very interesting, Harry, thank you very much.

Svetlana's weekend

Svetlana works in an infants' school during the day, and studies languages at the University of Leningrad in the evening.

I = Interviewer S = Svetlana

I Svetlana, would you mind telling me about your weekends?

S Well, I often have a lot of university work to do, but if I am free, what I do depends on the time of the year.

I Uhm.

S In winter we often go skiing. My family has a house, a dacha outside Leningrad, and we leave on Friday and come back on Monday morning. Or we play ice hockey or go skating, or go fishing under the ice. All sport is very cheap in Russia.

I Is it? Uhm... what about other times of the year?

S Well, you must remember that winter lasts from October to April. In summer we go to the Black Sea, and in autumn something that is very popular is picking mushrooms.

I Really? And where do you do that?

S In the suburbs, in the fields, in the woods around the town, everywhere.

I Ah! Uhm... are weekends a special time in any way? Are they for families or time to relax or...?

S Well, I don't think they're as special as for you in the west. On Saturday a lot of people work. Children are at school, at least until 1 o'clock and...

I Really?

S Yes and usually all day, and most shops are open on Sunday as well. You can do all your shopping on Sunday if you want. Some shops then close on Monday.

I Oh I see.

S People often have a nice meal on Sunday, with all their family, grandparents, grandchildren, and so on. The meal can go on for long time, maybe three, four hours, and we drink vodka and cognac.

I Ah yes. What about entertainment? Do you like going out to the theatre, for example?

S Well, there are lots of cinemas and concerts and ballet, of course. We watch television, mmm but it's not very good. People read lots and lots, popular books and classical as well. We have parties and visit each other a lot. One thing we do is talk to each other on the phone, for hours and hours and hours. If you want to phone someone, it's often impossible because they're engaged all the time. It's very cheap, you see. You just pay a fixed charge, two roubles, 50 kopecs a month.

I Ah! So you don't pay according to how much you use the phone?

S No. That's why we use it all the time.

I That's interesting. Thank you very much, Svetlana.
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