Greenslade	This is ABC Radio National. Attention, students. A question in current affairs. What is the fastest diesel train in Australia?
Eccles	Der Fruit Flyer?
Greenslade	No, Eccles, that's history. Now answer the question. What set the speed record in 1981?
Seagoon	One of Brisbane's suburban trains?
Greenslade	No. I'll give you a clue. It has a pointed nose and the words "Intercity XPT" on the side.
Moriarty	Ler Train Grond Vitess?
Grytpype	No no no. It was an ordinary streamlined high-speed luxury train called the XPT.
Orchestra	Wild applause
Greenslade	It was operated by a company called CountryLink, so named because it linked the two largest cities in Australia, Melbourne and Sydney. The Chief Executive Officer was a tall, cadaverous man who habitally wore a pink and purple spotted die-cast business suit, a cardboard tie, plastic top hat, and luxury jogging shoes made from fig leaves.
Grytpype	It was me folks.
Greenslade	So Grytpype, you are the Chief Executive of CountryLink?
Grytpype	Didn't you just say so?
Greenslade	Well do me a favour, announce to the listeners the title of this Goon Show.
Grytpype	It is the Affair of the Cardboard Boxes. Doesn't sound very exciting, I know, but it's the best the writer could do in a tight schedule.
Orchestra	Surprised noises (Awww, Ahhh, Hmmm, etc)
Seagoon	How well I remember it. It was quite a painful situation for me, but since the writer wants to make a point of embarrassing the persons responsible, we the cast have endeavoured to make it funny as well. So here goes.
Grytpype	I can safely admit that I was the person behind it all. I had just bought a few thousand shares in the Road Construction Authority and Sydney Airport, and of course I wanted them to do well. However, the Public Transport Commission of New South Wales had just been privatised, and there was no telling what damage it could do to road and air travel if it tried. Secombe, could you please take over? Otherwise the listeners will get tired of my voice.
Harry	Certainly. So Grytpype appointed himself Chief Executive, and found a man to be his assistant-to. This man was tall, handsome, rich, and very, very intelligent.
Eccles	Ullo!
Harry	Ahem. Maybe I was mistaken. But anyway, with Grytpype working against CountryLink from the top, and Eccles ably helping him, the roads and airlines would have an adequate future. And it was so! Under this able management, the roads and airlines managed to capture 75% of the railway's passengers.
Eccles	And dis is der story of how it happened.
Orchestra	"Start of story"-type chords
Eccles	(official-type voice) Now my worthy and detested subordinates. My first act will be to order a private carriage to be placed on all trains - in case Mr Thynne and I want to ride them.
Bloodnok	What about the weight on the engine?
Orchestra	Bloodnok theme
Bloodnok	You're late! But Mr Chief Adviser Eccles, what about the engines? Aren't they already worked hard enough, without having to pull an extra carriage? They might go on strike, and then we'd be in a spot!
Eccles	I don't care if they do Mr CountryLink Chief Technical Engineer. What do the engines do, anyway?
Bloodnok	They pull the trains.
Eccles	Well, you learn something new every day!
Crun	What are we going to do about attracting more customers to use the train?
Eccles	As little as we can. We will put the price up, give as bad a service as possible, and make as many silly, petty little rules as possible.
Crun	But then everyone will use the airlines instead of us!
Eccles	Mr Chief CountryLink Customer Service Officer, do you really believe that people should use aeroplanes? If God had meant people to fly He'd have given us wings!
Crun	But most people don't believe that! Are we only going to carry people with aviophobia?
Greenslade	Listeners, for your enlightenment, aviophobia is the fear of flying. Do you find these little snippets of information helpful? If so, my job is well worthwhile.
Crun	Now Mr Eccles, can you answer my question?
Eccles	Another word from you and you're fired! I never really thought we needed a customer service officer anyway!
Seagoon	And such was the intellectual conversation at the first board meeting with the new Chief Executive and his assistant. The next few years would be interesting to watch. Would CountryLink become a dynamic, aggressive, profitable railway system? Would it become a challenge to the airlines?
Greenslade	And by the modern miracle of wireless, coupled with the fact that this story is purely fiction, we are able to accelerate the passage of time so that you can see the next few years in under five seconds. Here then, is the boardroom of one of Australia's major airlines.
Bannerjee	Gentlemen, the situation is exceptionally fortuitous. Three in every four rail travellers, or approximately seventy-five percent, have chosen to use our wonderful aircraft instead. In view of this I move we buy two hundred new aircraft for the paltry cost of five hundred million dollars each, which is almost petty cash when the sales are as high as we have had them this annum.
Greenslade	However, there was one faithful customer for the railways. He was unable to use the airlines because his great girth was too much to fit through the aeroplane doors.
Seagoon	It's a lie! The doors weren't too small, I just had to take off a few parts of the airframe to get in! All lies, I tell you, my grandmother owns a duck farm in Kent!
Greenslade	Don't worry Mr Seagoon, you can ride the train. The doors are wider, the seats are wider, and you don't have to wear a seat belt either!
Seagoon	Hooray! I can still travel to my business conference! Just let me pack my bags and box up some samples, and I'll be with you! Now to find the Melbourne booking office.
Minnie	(sings "Bound for Botany Bay")
Crun	Min?
Minnie	Yes Hen?
Crun	Why are you singing that song?
Minnie	Because the people we put on the train go to Botany Bay. Ohhh, Come all my young dookies and duchesses, yackabool!
Crun	I'm not interested in dukes or duchesses or yackabooles either. I'm wondering why we haven't had any customers yet this month.
Minnie	Mind all's your own that you touchesses, buddy, or you'll join us in Botany Bay.
Seagoon	Excuse me, sir!
Crun	Ooooh, look Minnie. There's a man at the customer window. Minnie?
Minnie	What is it, buddy?
Crun	I think the window needs cleaning.
Minnie	What makes you think that?
Crun	I can't see our customer through it.
Minnie	Then how do you know he's there?
Crun	He knocked, Min.
Minnie	How do you know it wasn't a practical joker, Henry?
Crun	Because I know the writer and he'd never put a practical joker into a script like this.
Minnie	How do you know that? He's only written two Goon Shows before, so he might have changed his style.
Crun	Michael Angeligoon?
Mad Genius	Yes? And it's pronounced:
Grams	Mad Genius: "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees?" speed distorted
Crun	Do you write about practical jokers?
Mad Genius	No, only impractical ones.
Crun	Who are they?
Mad Genius	Well, Ned Seagoon, Major Bloodnok, Eccles, Bluebottle, Grytpype, Moriarty, and you and Miss Bannister.
Crun	Why do you say we are impractical?
Mad Genius	Well, you talk so long you never get anything done. That's not very practical.
Crun	Well you write the script, so what else can we do?
Mad Genius	You might rebel and talk more concisely.
Crun	But that isn't protocol. You can't say things that aren't on the script, that would be ad libbing. You can't leave things out of the script either. You can't change what the writer has written. You can't -
Seagoon	Excuse me, sir!
Crun	Just a minute. What was I saying? You can't -
Seagoon	(louder) Excuse me!
Crun	You can't -
Crun	Now I've forgotten what I was going to say. Oh well, you can't get the wood you know.
Mad Genius	Now who forced who to say that?
Crun	Minnie?
Minnie	Yes Henry?
Crun	Find someone who will serve this customer.
Minnie	All right buddy. Mr Greenslade?
Greenslade	Yes?
Minnie	Find someone who will serve this customer.
Greenslade	Major Dennis Bloodnok?
Bloodnok	Yes?
Greenslade	Is there anyone around who can serve this customer?
Bloodnok	Chief Ellinga?
Chief Ellinga	Yes?
Bloodnok	Are you able to serve a customer?
Chief Ellinga	That no job for a chief! CountryLink Chief Customer Service Manager?
Crun	Yes?
Greenslade	Serve this customer please.
Crun	All right. Now sir, what can I do for you?
Seagoon	At last! I would like a first class sitting ticket to Sydney.
Crun	Oh. Well let's get the details and documents. You must have the details and documents. Your name sir?
Seagoon	Neddie Nuts Seagoon.
Crun	Address?
Seagoon	GPO Box No Fixed Abode, Melbourne 3001.
Crun	Age?
Seagoon	One hundred and seven last October.
Crun	Family situation?
Seagoon	Married with Needle Nardle Noo children and Scrimson-scramson grandchildren.
Crun	Bank account number?
Seagoon	Swiss bank, vault number zero.
Crun	Do you own a mobile phone? Computer? Internet? More than one car? Microwave oven? Hi-fi system?
Seagoon	All of them.
Crun	What make of car do you own?
Seagoon	One Ford, one Holden, one Toyota, one Nissan, one Honda, one Mitsubishi, and a few Rolls-Royces just in case.
Crun	Political persuasion?
Seagoon	Liberal-Conservative
Crun	Religious preference?
Seagoon	Atheist-Agnostic-Roman Catholic-Church of England-Non Conformist.
Crun	Occupation?
Seagoon	I'm a professional amateur rocket scientist and part time micro-biologist.
Crun	Salary?
Seagoon	Three dollars a week.
Crun	And why are you travelling?
Seagoon	I'm a successful businessman and I travel first class because it's better that way. I'm going to Sydney for a conference, and I'll be taking some samples.
Crun	Well, anything up to 50 kilograms is fine. Now sir, here is your ticket. All you have to do is fill in the form with your personal information for our files.
Seagoon	Thank you. Goodbye! Now, where's my speaking trumpet? Hello folks, calling folks! I shall now proceed to the station and catch my train folks! But first we will hear from a muted mouth organist, Max Geldray!
Max & Orchestra	Music
Greenslade	Now the following piece of script was put here for the sole reason that the writer could not find any better place for it. Over to the CountryLink planning room.
Grytpype	We have to treat our workers nicely, because otherwise they might go on strike. But we needn't worry so much about our customers - it's too expensive, and anyway, they will just go elsewhere if they don't like what we give them. So let's start an upgrade program to put air conditioning, luxury seats, and every other convenience possible into the cabs of some of the older trains. To pay for the upgrade, we will delay the repairs to the seats in the passenger compartments.
Eccles	Here here. Dat's a good idea sir. Any more?
Grytpype	Yes. You know the yellow line at stations? Why not make a rule that people have to stay behind it all the time, instead of just when the train is coming? Then people will have second thoughts about crossing the line to board the train.
Eccles	Dat's a good idea too.
Grytpype	After all, customers are one of the biggest, hairiest nuisances CountryLink faces. If we didn't have any, we'd be able to get on with the running of the business much more easily.
Eccles	An admirable sentiment, Mr Chief Executive Officer. What a good boss you are.
Greenslade	You have just heard a sample of the conversations that take place in executive planning rooms of businesses all over Australia. Now we rejoin Seagoon at Spencer Street Station, about to board his train.
Moriarty	(muffled) The next train to depart from platform 1 will be the XPT to Sydney. This train will be departing in 20 minutes.
Seagoon	Now, the luggage check-in. Here you are sir, five nice cardboard boxes full of samples. No dangerous goods, everything packed well, you can kick them into the van as hard as you like!
Moriarty	Sir, did you know that we aren't allowed to take cardboard boxes?
Seagoon	No! Who says that?
Moriarty	It's one of the new rules Mr Grytpype-Thynne made as CEO.
Seagoon	Well what am I to do?
Moriarty	How about sending them by Australia Post?
Seagoon	Impossible! It would cost at least $150! Can't you just take them and turn a blind eye to the rule book? I guarantee you they won't cause any trouble.
Moriarty	You dare to insult me, a bureaucratic rule-follower? I challenge you to a duel, three paces and we shoot!
FX	Boot treading heavily, three times; two cameras clicking
Seagoon	Good. How did your shot come out? Mine is underexposed, I should have used flash.
Moriarty	Sapristi Kodak, I had forgotten to put film in my camera! Now then, you may not take these boxes on the train. You must re-pack your things or find another way to get to Sydney.
Seagoon	Ah folks! What could I do now? I need to get to Sydney, and the planes and trains won't take me! I'll have a think about it while you hear Ray Ellington. Round the back for the old brandy!
Ray & Orchestra	Music
Greenslade	Now we rejoin Neddie Seagoon who is trying to think of a way to get to Sydney without being blocked by small doors or big bureaucrats.
Seagoon	So Mr Crun. Can you help me at all?
Crun	No sir. Customer Service Executive I may be, but since I've been working for CountryLink I've been blocked, discouraged, forbidden and pushed down so often that I haven't any energy left for serving customers. It's just too much effort. Goodbye sir.
Seagoon	Ah folks! What could I do now? If only I had a brave helper!
Bluebottle	Do not give up my capitan!
Bluebottle	Enter Bluebottle with a smile and a song. Pauses and bows to record of audience, but it doesn't respond. Supplies ABC Radio National with record of suitable applause.
Grams	Wild applause
Bluebottle	Thank you very much. Now my captain, my dear little captain, why don't you entrust your travel needs to me? I am known as Tycoon Bluebottle, the one who modifies old shipping containers for fat people to travel in. Here, have one of my glossy four colour brochures.
Seagoon	Ah, let me see. What does this say? Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. What?
Bluebottle	You twit my captain, that's the four colours! Look at the other side.
Seagoon	Ah! Tycoon Bluebottle & Co, luxury containers with doors eight feet wide. Very interesting. But what are they like inside?
Bluebottle	What are they like inside, he says? They are the best in the world. There isn't a hotel in New York, Paris, Tokyo or East Finchley with luxury containers like mine. They have air conditioning, fluorescent lights, leather armchairs, and a mobile telephone!
Seagoon	And can I go to Sydney in one?
Bluebottle	Of course! Just put your container on a superfreighter and off you go!
Seagoon	Thank you. Now are you finished playing the part of Bluebottle?
Bluebottle	Yes, yes.
Seagoon	Then get ready to take the part of Grytpype-Thynne.
Grytpype	Certainly. Do you hear that Eccles? He's going to use the train after all! If he does that, the roads and airports will lose money, and so will I!
Eccles	Ooooh.
Grytpype	What shall I do now? I know. I'll get into Parliament and pass a law which will forbid private owners from sending their containers by rail. That will stop him!
Moriarty	So Grytpype stood for election, voted himself in, and passed the law by a majority of one.
Seagoon	What what what? You can't do this to me! I'll take you to court! You can't discriminate against fat people! I demand justice!
Willium	In summin' up, I find Mr Hercules Grytpype-Thynne guilty of discrimination; fined fifty cents. And I award Mr Neddie Seagoon one free pass on the XPT to Sydney.
Seagoon	But what about my boxes?
Willium	If the rules say they won't take them, that's not for me to challenge. Clear the court!
Seagoon	Oh, what can I do now?
Bannerjee	Dear Valued Customer, I do have the privilege of offering you this first-class ticket to Sydney on one of our freighter aircraft! The doors are ten feet wide and you may take up as much space inside as you like!
Seagoon	Hooray! I'll get to my conference after all! Thank you Mr Airline Boss. Thank you very much. (sings) Somewhere there is Sydney-town, many miles away!
Grams	747 engines ticking over, continues under
Seagoon	(shouts) Hello folks! Here I am at Tullamarine Airport, about to board this magnificent jumbo jet! All my boxes are to travel with me, and the airline has agreed to give me free transport to my conference, as a goodwill gesture! These people know how to handle customers!
Grams	747 door slams; engines rev up
Miss Fruit	Welcome aboard Flight Zero to Sydney. Please give us your full attention for the next few minutes. For your safety, we do not allow smoking inside the aircraft, however, if you would like to take a stroll outside you may. If needed, oxygen masks and life belts will drop down in front of your faces. If the cabin is filled with smoke, follow the lights to your nearest exit. Thank you for your attention. You may now look out the window because we are above the cloud layer and there's nothing to see.
Seagoon	Ah, we're off! I think I'll just take a walk around. What's this down the back? The galley. But there's no food here. Oh, it's a bit cold here. I think I'll take a stroll forward. What's this up near the cockpit door? Hey? Why are we pointing downwards? I say - what's the panic-type screaming I hear coming from the pilot's seat? Why is the ground getting bigger every minute? Why can I suddenly see every individual blade of grass? Why are we -
Grams	Crunch; pits of metal falling on concrete; collision-type noises like when Eccles backs a truck into a wall.
Eccles	Oooooooh.
Greenslade	Here is the news. Today a 747 freigher crashed on top of CountryLink headquarters. All on board the aircraft and all occupants of the building were killed. The Captain says that the aeroplane was unbalanced because an extremely fat man was walking around the cabin.
Seagoon	Lies, I tell you, all lies! I'm losing weight! I'm three grams lighter than I was last year!
Greenslade	I say, Mr Seagoon, the rules say no talking after you've been killed! But let me get on with reading the news. Since the entire management of CountryLink was killed, West Coast Railway has been asked to take over the services.
Seagoon	And so the country travellers will live happily ever after, because West Coast Railways are the most customer-friendly railway in the world!
Mad Genius	And so, since I can't think up a better ending than that, I will get the cast to join hands, knees, teeth and army boots to sing a song while I do a disappearing act before the audience gets on to me. Goodnight.
Cast	(sings) Terrible version of "I've been working on the railroad"
Orchestra	Playout