“Well, I can’t believe the stuff that is not I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is not I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. And I can’t believe that both I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and the stuff that I can’t believe is not I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter are both, in fact, not butter. And I believe…they both might be butter…in a cunning disguise. And, in fact, there’s a lot more butter around than we all thought there was.”

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“What came first – the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands – literally thousands – of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

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“I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth – without much consideration of the consequences. I realise that when I met you at the turkey curry buffet that I was unforgivably rude – and wearing a reindeer jumper that my mother had given me the day before. But the thing is, um…what I’m trying to say very inarticulately is…that, um…in fact…perhaps, despite appearances…I like you very much…Just as you are.”

“We needed a new bedroom when your father took Rhonda, I put it on my Discover. We all owe up to our necks. We all spend like there’s no tomorrow – which we were told there wouldn’t be on three occasions. But your father’s revelations have been a little off the mark lately.”

“Studying is hard and boring. Teaching is hard and boring. So what you’re telling me is to be bored, and then bored, and finally bored again, but this time for the rest of my life. This whole stupid country is bored. There’s no life in it, or colour, or fun. It’s probably just as well that the Russians are going to drop a nuclear bomb on us any day now. So my choice is to do something hard and boring, or to marry my Jew, and go to Paris and Rome and listen to jazz and read and eat good food in nice restaurants and have fun. It’s not enough to educate us anymore, Mrs Walters. You’ve got to tell us why you’re doing it.”