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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 3 (July 1, 1933)

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New Zealand'S finest advertisement is David Low. He is one of the most publicised figures in England, and it is always mentioned that he is a New Zealander. He is spoken of as the greatest living cartoonist, earns a Prime Minister's salary, and is a social lion of London. I may be creating a small sensation therefore when I say there is the possibility of the Dominion producing another Low. Mark the word “possibility.” In his early days at black and white work, who would have been bold enough to suggest that young David, who used to draw for the Christchurch “Spectator,” was going to be world famous? He had yet to find himself, to build up his marvellous technique, to develop a style of his own. It has been said that had not Alf. Vincent become an imitator of Phil May he may have been a great artist. There are other temptations in the way of the young artist, but, granting he has the genius and follows not false gods, fame is waiting for him. That is why I am being guarded in suggesting that Russell Clark, a young Dunedin black and white artist, may become another David Low. I first saw his work in an exhibition Sketcher, published a few weeks ago. Immediately I was keenly interested. Obviously Clark had soaked himself in Low, had absorbed some of the characteristics of George Prain, another most promising New Zealand artist, but at the back of it all was a glimpse of the budding genius of Russell Clark. I will watch the progress of Russell Clark with confidence that he will justify my expectations.

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In the same Sketcher, and in the Capping Carnival Sketcher the work of Gordon McIntyre also stands out strongly. McIntyre is an old hand at the game and can get a likeness better than most artists in New Zealand.

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Recently we had a reprint of Norman Lindsay's children's classic, “The Magic Pudding.” It was the first time I had read this little known book, but it set me ardently seeking for the first edition, which was published at one guinea and has since mounted in value to five times that figure. I was the happiest man in Wellington, therefore, when I had a mint copy knocked down to me at a Wellington book sale recently for eleven shillings.

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Like our old friend Johnny Walker, Dent's, the famous British publishers, are “still going strong” in their “Everyman's Library.” As a lad it was my first great ambition to have and follow up the complete Everyman's Library, and I still have that ambition, more especially so when I come across such a bookish book as “Erewhon and Erewhon Re-visited,” which is No. 881 in this classic library. This is the first time that our most famous New Zealand writer has had his two greatest works between one set of covers. The introduction in the new volume is by Desmond MacCarthy.

Handing on the torch of my enthusiasm to the young “Shiblis,” what more effective fuel to keep it alight than “A Poetry Book for Boys and Girls,” No. 894 of the Everyman's series. The editor of this volume, Guy Pocock, has made an admirable selection.

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I cannot leave Dent's yet awhile, until I refer to their double volumes, which, like wireless, super cocktails and talkies, are a natural outcome of our advanced civilisation. Fancy getting Boswell's “Life of Johnson” in one compact volume—almost pocket size. What more inspiring bulge for the hip pocket than this book, with its 1280 pages. Charles Lamb would have gone into ecstasy over it. Repeating myself, it is a “bookish book.”

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The encouragement of new writers and the further development of New Zealand literature are the ideas behind the Commercial Writers' Institute, headquarters in Dunedin. Its founder and Director of Studies, Leonard J. Cronin, a page 62 well-known New Zealand journalist, when judging a short story contest, in his editorial capacity about a year ago, discovered that much talent was being stifled through lack of efficient guidance. A comprehensive course is available, combining concise instruction, helpful criticism and direction in marketing.

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Had a little argument the other day as to which was the first newspaper published in New Zealand. History, I think, definitely establishes the fact that it was the “New Zealand Gazette,” the second number of which was printed and published on the Petone Beach, on April 18th, 1840. The first number was published in London on August 31st, 1839. The editor was Samuel Revans. Of the 350 copies issued, I understand that only five are in existence.

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The vigorous controversy that raged in “The Dominion” for a week or more recently on the price of beer, brought back to my mind that famous phrase of David McKee Wright's: “Beer makes us feel as we ought to feel without it.”

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