Ms Susan Wheen
Conventional student: blue donkey jacket; limp sweater in streaks of ochre, pink and beige; clean jeans. Sits bolt upright, avidly reading the bestseller Clean and Jerk , about female weightlifters. Shakes her head in wonder and delight. The cover features huge sweaty breasts.
Friend and occasional employee of Tina Ravon. Helps pay for her drama course at RADA by hiring out her services as a new form of advertising. She rides up and down the tube visibly reading particular books for money. Today it's the Bakerloo line, shuffling back and forth all morning from the Elephant.
Susan calls this "reality editing". She invented it herself. Instead of using media that are understood to be bought and paid for, this new advertising changes reality to carry the desired message.
What she is doing or thinking
Acting. She has not read a word of Clean and Jerk , quite deliberately. She focuses instead on communicating different kinds of reading experience: rapt attention; shock at a plot turn-around; being overcome with emotion, tears filling her eyes. Sometimes she manages to say to someone convincingly: "This is such a wonderful book."
It's hard work. It would be even harder if she found out how awful and dykey the book actually is.
She's getting increasingly annoyed by an old woman singing loudly. It's a distraction from her own performance. When someone shouts "Everybody!" and people dance, Susan knows she's beaten. Better to work another car heading north. The bookbuyers all get off at Waterloo anyway.
Glaring at the dancers, she stands to exit at Waterloo.
Car 7 map