1. B 2. A 3. C 4. B 5. A 6. A
7. industrial city 8. car engines 9. regional accent 10. social attitudes
11. lawyer 12. art 13. piano 14. bookshelves
15. D 16. B 17. A 18. C 19. C 20. A
21. E 22. B 23. G 24. C 25. D
26. D 27. G 28. F 29. B 30. A
The part of the text containing the answer is underlined with the question number given in square brackets . Points that are crucial to understand are written in italics. If you still struggle with CAE Listening, please refer to Listening tips.
Man: Well, I suppose it had to happen some time. I mean, however good-natured you are, there’s only so much bad behaviour you can take.
Woman: Yeah, I mean we’ve known him all these years and we’ve put up with all sorts of terrible scenes with him, and times when he’s been awful to both of us. I’m just amazed neither of us has had the guts to say anything to him before.
Man: I’m not sure it was a lack of courage on my part. I think it was more a misplaced sense of loyalty. I mean, we go back a long way…
Woman: I know, but it’s hard to come up with many good memories. Anyway, I guess it’s over now and that’s the last we’ll see of him.
Man: Yeah, his reaction was typical. The minute we confronted him about this latest dreadful piece of behaviour, he just totally lost it.  He’s obviously never had any idea of the effect he has on people, even people who are supposed to be his friends.
Woman: Well, it was inevitable that it would come to this. We’ve said our piece, and frankly I’m glad to see the back of him. So that’s that.
Man: Yeah, let’s forget all about it now. 
Man: OK, we’ve had a letter here from Paul, who says that his friends are into all the latest trendy hobbies and fashions, whereas he really likes trains. He’s a trainspotter – he likes looking at trains and reading about them and collecting the numbers of ones he’s seen – and his friends make fun of him for it. He’s worried that they’ll stop being his friends if he carries on with his hobby.  What would you tell him, Esther?
Woman: Well, we usually end up choosing friends because we have something in common with them. Perhaps he needs to look at why he wants to be friendly with these people when they make fun of what he’s interested in.  I’m sure there are plenty of potential friends out there who share his interest. With them, he could enjoy that interest rather than having it used against him.
Woman: Well, of course, no single theory has yet been able to explain how jokes work. Even the great comedians have been stuck for a proper analysis. Of course, many jokes are written backwards with the punchline – the funny line at the end that gets the laugh – sorted out first.  However, a line or a phrase doesn’t necessarily need a narrative set-up to make us laugh. Witness comedy shows in which characters get laughs simply from saying catchphrases. This is also how an ‘in-joke’ works among a group of friends. Life itself provides the set-up, and a word or two, sometimes just a knowing look between two people who are in on the joke, provides the ‘punchline’.
Man: Another thing about jokes is that a professional comedian’s routine may be based on personal experience, but real experience doesn’t tend to come conveniently complete with a punchline. That’s why most comics are outrageous liars. It’s also why some comics may even begin to provoke hilarious episodes by deliberately forgetting their wedding anniversaries or leaving their children in the supermarket. 
Reviewer: The play The Short Goodbye, by Richard Holder, is virtually unknown today, and is hardly ever produced, so it may be hard to understand the impact it had when it was first produced in 1957, but it represents an important landmark in the development of theatre in the UK.
So, why was this play so remarkable at the time? Well, to begin with, it took place in an industrial city, which was almost unheard-of as the setting for a play in those days.  At the time, plays were often set in small towns and suburbs or country homes, and they tended to focus on the higher end of society. The Short Goodbye, on the other hand, dealt with the lives of factory workers. The main characters, a husband and wife named Colin and Sadie Thomas, were low-paid workers with little education, working in a factory that made car engines. 
Another feature of the play that broke new ground at the time was that the characters all spoke with a regional accent – before this, what was then regarded as standard English in terms of accent was the norm.  Even when characters were from a specific part of the country, authentic regional speech was rarely heard on the stage.
So the play set out to depict working-class people at that time, and it caused quite a sensation because these characters were not what working-class people were assumed to be like. It was assumed that the men talked only about football and the women discussed only household matters. However, despite their lack of education, the characters in this play spent a lot of time discussing social attitudes.  As the plot developed, the audience discovered that the main character, Colin, was planning to enrol at a college and that his aim was to become a lawyer.  His wife Sadie also had aspirations, and didn’t want to spend her life doing boring work and household chores. She felt that her talents lay in art and she was keen to do that professionally.  So both characters were people who had dreams and a desire to fulfil them. This portrayal of working-class people caused a sensation at the time.
Now, let me just tell you about the stage set for the play when it was first produced in 1957. It showed a modest working-class home of the time, but in keeping with the themes of the play, it was a little different. For example, very prominent on the stage – towards the front of it so that audiences couldn’t miss it – was a piano.  It wasn’t played at all, but the director and set designer both felt that it would be a striking feature. And at the back of the stage, again very visible to the audience, was a group of bookshelves, indicating that the inhabitants were interested in reading.  So, the set surprised and fascinated the audience. When the curtain opened, they wanted to know what kind of people lived there.