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My puritanical perspective is challenged at Cambridge


Getting to know Beetle
Frederic Raphael Writer
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So anyway, I asked her name and she said it was Betty Glatt and I said, is that all your names? I don't know why I did, but she said, no, my name is Sylvia Betty Glatt, but everyone calls me Betty. And I said, oh really, I said, do you... do you have a nickname at all? So she said, well... actually my brother-in-law does call me something, but promise me you'll never call me that and I'll tell you what it is. And I said, yes of course. And she said, well, he calls me Beetle, because I've got this shiny black hair like a black beetle. So of course I've never called her anything else, that's the way the world goes. But I have called it her [sic] for a very long time.

Anyway, that all worked very well, why she attached herself to me, you would have to ask her. She wasn't particularly concerned about getting married, she wanted to get a job and she was going to get a job, and the fact that I was going to Cambridge didn't seem to faze her. And I was very lucky.

So I left the Sunday Express and we went... we went to theatres, we went to all sorts of things together, we didn't make love a lot because it was very easy... difficult to find a place to do it. Usually in her mother's house, her parents' house on a Saturday afternoon because her father had a shop in Marylebone High Street where... where they were always going and her mother knew better, having two other daughters, than to... than to intrude. Anyway, Beetle is not a person who accepts 'no' if she means 'yes'.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Sylvia Betty Glatt

Duration: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 13 August 2014