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Salient: An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23, No. 4. Wednesday, May 4, 1960

Lehrer Dissected …

Lehrer Dissected

Sir,—With reference to your recent extravagant coverage of Tom Lehrer, I must record an indignant dissociation, of my views, from the tone of the review purporting to represent student opinion at V.U.W. The five columns involved might have been more appropriately employed on a bona fide student activity: a debate for example.

I personally found Tom Lehrer's performance lamentably deficient in humour. interest, or taste. The same applies to his presentation— the intellectual genius leaning down to the common level of entainment.

It is significant that Mr L. likes to remind us—often—of how boring he personally finds this temporary occupation of his. He is justifiably ashamed, not "modest," of his mercenary outlook.

However, I must concede that Mr L. has two real talents: the control of audience reaction, and the ability to play a piano without looking. With the former his method is simple and should be of value to his faithful ivitations at Wellington parties; he stops when it is time to laugh. is silent for a time proportionate to his personal evaluation of the merit of the joke, and then he continues. If at any time he is not receiving sufficient appreciation, he slams a joke so hard and so obviously that it is not only painful, but insulting to the audience.

However, a series of hammy skits can evidently be counted upon to fill the Town Hall in Wellington at any time, and if those skits have acquired a reputation for the risque touch then the staff and students of V.U.W. will always be fully represented.

* * *

Yours faithfully,

L. I. Kehell.