Page 4, 1st June 1951

1st June 1951
Page 4
Page 4, 1st June 1951 — In a Few Words

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Locations: London


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In a Few Words

Universal Peeping

READERS of Orwell's 1984 will remember the part which television plased in keeping daily guard over all the private activities of citizens. I was reminded of this when, entering the telekinema theatre at the South Bank, 1 was entertained by the sight of the people coming into the show projected to full cinema size on the screen. There is an odd sense of prying when the television in this way picks people out of their private selves and displays them with their fatuous smiles and strange quirks and gestures for the public gaze. One feels the same when in the course of an outdoor or music-hall broadcast. the camera swings over to pick out spectators here and there. Matters. this way, will become more difficult for the hunted man who may at any moment be displayed in thousands of homes.

Solid Films

STILL is was interesting, and not a bad prelude to the rest of the telekinema show which is quite the most exciting of the exhibits at the South Bank. The abstract threedimensional films project forward as well as backward so that you have the impression of some coloured object leaping right at you and only stopping short a few yards away. These abstracts are, in sound as well as solidity. a genuine new experience with which the artists of the future will no doubt develop a new world. Three-dimensional films of the zoo or a boat-trip along the Thames are remarkable. yet the illusion of reality is only partial. They excite wonder rather than convince. I should like to have seen a brief dramatic sketch, but none is shown. For the moment, at any rate, the old two-dimensional film and television seem to hold their own with a good margin to spare.

Clever Revue

THE delusion that the bigger and costlier a show is, the better it must be, is one that dies hard, yet

it is always being refuted. Those in London who take the trouble to travel as far as the Lyric, Hammersmith, will discover that a revue with only twelve players in all offers about a hundred per cent. better entertainment than the lavish spectacles of the West End. Here is a chance for real wit and satire. for talent that can display itself, and for an occasional scene of restrained beauty all the more effective in its quiet setting. Perhaps the most effective sketch was the simplest of all when the props were no more than the homely instruments which we all use when we stoke the boiler of an evening. To be taught the art by numbers evoked memories of Harry Tate, the like of whom has not been seen on the stage since his career ended. I can pay the show no better compliment than to say that Gillie Potter would have found his right place in it.

Two Little Nuns

I REPRODUCE one of the many delightful cartoons in Two Little Nuns, a collection of their adventures as they appeared month by month to readers of the American Extension. This is not necessarily the best, but many are too detailed

for reproduction here. And some,

it seems to me, might cause slight offence on this side of the Atlantic. American Catholics, though' more sternly controlled perhaps in matters of doctrine and discipline. seem to have tougher skins where the human side of their pastors and religious are concerned.

St. John of the Cross

WHAT could be more wonderful than a translation of Poems of St. John of the Cross into English by our own great poet, Roy Campbell —especially as Roy Campbell knows Spain as well as or better than England. The Harvill Press has published this book to have and keep. with an informatory introduction by Father D'Arcy. at 12s. 6d. Some of these poems do raise that strange problem of the use of the language of burning human love to express burning

love of God. Reading " Upon a Gloomy Night." one is amazed to think of the little. dess'cated, enclosed Friar who left the world so early singing a love song which, so far as its words go, would have been the pride of any of the romantic lyricists the world has kiown.

Lost to myself I stayed

My face upon my lover having laid

From all endeavour ceasing: And all my cares releasing Threw them among the lilies there to fade.

Perhaps it is ultimately because only the language of human love can avoid the rationalism and conceptualism which is so alien to the mystical approach.


N'OT that all the poems here

express themselves in this way. In " i entered in, I know not where" and " I live without inhabiting." St. John finds a direct means of expressing the mystery of mystical love itself. And here—greatly daring—I suggest that Mr. Campbell has gone some way towards misinterpreting St. John's language when he translates the final line of each stanza. Toda sciencia trascendiendo by "Transcending knowledge with my thought." "Thought " rhymes conveniently with " naught," but St. John himself dexterously avoided the use of a word which can be interpreted in anything but a mystical sense.

Among Authors

AT lunch the other day, the author of a recent book (name and book not to be disclosed in this column) remarked that after receiving his first copy he immediately read it from cover to cover completely fascinated by what he had

written. A friend mentioned that he wasn't the first to have done this. " Who are you thinking of ?" he

was asked. " Bishop Ullathornehe once made just the same remark about a hook he had written." " And what was the Bishop's book about ?" "Humility !"

Episcopal Example

OW that the Editor is urging his

correspondents to cut down letters intended for publication, I propose that they follow the example of the Bishop of Nottingham in his latest pastoral letter. Mgr. Ellis has himself put in brackets passages which priests may omit if necessary at the earl'er Masses. Perhaps correspondents would do the same in case their letters have to be cut: they will then avoid the omission of what to them afterwards appears to have been " a most important part of my case."

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