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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, 1939

Phoenix Club

Phoenix Club

In a University College there should be adequate support for a Club which aims at presenting to its members some aspect of art, together with discussion and a general airing of views. The truth, unfortunately, is that the measure support granted to the Phoenix Club by students has been disappointing. It is true that Club meetings have on some occasions clashed with other activities and attendance has, as a consequence, been small. But the general conclusion to be drawn (taking into account some procrastination on the part of the Club) is that Victoria College has little interest in a culture other than that presented in lectures for examination purposes.

Yet the Phoenix Club in this and other years has attempted to offer a basis for discussion of the various manifestations of art at the present day. Dr. Sutch opened this year's activities with a talk on "Art and Society"—a topic general enough to allow of divergent interpretation and treatment.

After some delay, Mr, E. C. Simpson, W.E.A. lecturer, was able to give a lecture (illustrated by slides) on the approach to art—treating modern art by the way.

A few select spirits gathered to hear Mr. Ralph Hogg deliver an excellent address on Modern Drama—a concise, comprehensive survey of drama and its various tendencies during the last thirty years.

Perhaps the most singular feature of Madame Betts Vincent's delightfully informal talk on Music To-day was the cheerful unanimity with which the meeting damned the education system, indiscriminate use of the radio, Bing Crosby and the tribe of crooners in general.

That tendency of the Phoenix Club to turn all discussion on to political and social issues which had become almost a tradition since the Club's inception was remarkable for its absence from almost all meetings to date. But the last meeting in the second term—a students' evening—saw the page 72 return of the old spirit. Mr. Saker spoke briefly on Romanticism. Mr. Gretton defended Realism and in the ensuing discussion social and political questions were debated once again.

The newly-established Gramophone Committee has usurped the interest of the Phoenix Club in the arrangement of recitals, but the interest of members in the programmes presented has continued.

Whether or no the recommendation sent last year to the College Council, that works of art be hungge walls, had influence in high places we are unable to say, but the Club has been pleased to note the introduction of some fine prints into the College.

The Committee would urge on those students who have any interest in the arts a greater interest in Club activities in the next season.