TRIVIALITY OF ENGLISH PROGRAMMES
E live in a world of enchantment. In a world of wonders as amazing as those of the magic cave of Peri Bann, or of the flying horse of the Arabian Nights. In a world of " winged waggons," such as those in which the amazed Egyptians saw Menelik and his Abyssinian host, when they carried off the Ark of the Covenant, rise above the Red Sea, " their baggage following after them, in waggons with wings, above the clouds."
At any hour of the night or day those marvellous wireless waves put a girdle around the earth for us, in less time than Puck, that we may learn the secrets of far off regions and listen to voices and sounds that struck awe in poor Caliban's soul.
But, alas! we have lost the reverence for things unseen; the sense of mystery which, in our nursery days, made of this work-aday world a very fairyland.
And so, mechanised creatures, steeped in realism and materialism, that we are, we are content to turn A Sandwich in on, day after day, Poor Taste the brainand soul
destroying sounds of jazz bands as our staple food or the vulgarities of the Cotton Club and "you made me love you" with—oh rare taste ! —a " religious service " sandwiched in between.
There are laws against the adulteration of food. Where are the laws against the adulteration of the mind?
Yet we know that millions of our fellow subjects, millions of the native races of this great Empire, of which we are the spiritual guardians, turn to this home centre for moral and spiritual enlightenment.
Is this really all the fare we are content to provide for them?
Those of us who know something of the spiritual life of Islam, who have seen the Bedouin in silent Inspiration from meditation on the Paris edge of the desert,
who have heard an Arab cook, when weighing his food, muse aloud : "Even as I weigh this spice God is weighing my good and evil deeds in the balance every day"; those who have seen the pagan Masutos clustering of a night around the camp-fire on the veldt, listening with rapt attention to the tale of Joseph and his brethren, those of us switch off our National station with a sense of mortification and despair. " Life is a dream. What imports is to wake from dreaming with our soul alive." How inspiring to hear such a thought wafted across the wire, to be transported into a higher atmosphere by such a broadcast as Spirit and Body from Radio Paris!
Or again to listen to Paul Morand on The Spirit of London, in the choice lan guage and with the
Paul Morand perfect diction which on London in French broadcasts
is a sine qua non. How delightful to hear him discoursing on that greatest warehouse and greatest clearing house of the world—the City of London. Conjuring up visions through nine centuries of the activities of these City fathers, jealous of their liberty which they had bought with their wealth, of those merchant adventurers, returning from their distant expeditions to Lirnehouse, under the shadow of the Tower. With their own police; free from nobles and the military; the very King of this great Empire having to this day to demand admission; they are masters in their own house, safe from enemies at home as from those abroad.
And then the picture of the City of today —a busy beehive all the week, deserted during the sacrosanct weekend, when the Englishman, this lover of Nature, with his irresistible longing for green fields, seeks a home as far as possible from his place of work.
In the old days by coach, today by motor car, he speeds away to the country, to the sea—to Brighton.
'' Just imagine a
and the Trivial Frenchman going to
Rouen for the night!" said Paul Morand.
Is the French listener really so different from the British, mentally, that this variety of programmes is provided for him?
Are there not thousands of British listeners at home and abroad who can discern the essential from the trivial and enjoy it?
Let us remember the East End working man who, having returned Shakespeare's Plays to the Public Library, told the librarian: "If that chap Shakespeare writes any more, you might Mt me know. He knows what he is talking about, he knows life."
Property Confiscated in Austria
From Geneva, June 27, it is announced that the property of the Knights of Malta, and of several other Catholic Orders, including the Order of Teutonic Knights, has been confiscated in Austria by the police. —C.P.