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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (October 2, 1933)

The Business of Pleasure

The Business of Pleasure.

Talking of cricket brings us to the business of pleasure; that is to say, if “pleasure” can be sought to signify sport, for the essence of sport is sportiveness. But time was when sport was a pastime rather than a “crime passionelle,” and it was possible to brandish a bat without committing battery, and to bowl a ball without a bawl. Then, the game was mightier than the gate, there was less “am” in ambition and more ambulants than ambulance. The will-to-win was not the main motif in the poetry of motion. Tennis could be committed without having to train like a tin-hare or a stream-lined road-racer and dress like the Queen of the May gone ga-ga. Sport was emotion in slow motion, or pleasure at leisure; but now most sports are perpetrated with passionate pandemonium, and pleasure is leisure with hiccoughs. Cricket is often a game of chance, golf is frequently pot-hunting by swat-stunting, boxing is more concerned with cash-boxes than bash-boxers, wrestling embraces everything from back-biting to frontier fighting, and horse-racing is merely a species of cash-as-cash-can or “mokes” for “makes.” Pleasure has been bitten by “big business.” It has lost that schoolgirl complexion and is more bashing than bashful.

But no doubt this craze is a phase, and will pass like the Roman Umpire, bustles, antimacassars, hansom cabs, and rich uncles; and even if sport is no longer pastime it serves to uncork the pent-up passions of the populace and promote pacification by perspiration. Again we call on the choristers:

If our gamesters make it snappy,
What's the odds, if they are happy?
Everybody seems quite cheery
On the body-bowling theory.
And if tennis smacks of pelting
Other blokes with balls of felting,
No one seems to care or rue it—
Least of all the coves who do it.
So it's waste of time to mutter
While they have their little flutter,
For it's clearly just a whim
For releasing surplus vim.
And if pace is part of pleasure,
And they like to spend their leisure
Working harder, so to speak,
Than they do throughout the week,
Using up their strength in wads,
If they like it—what's the odds
If it all seems sort of dippy,
It's the age for “looking slippy”
And the logic use of leisure
Is to work like mad at “pleasure.”

“A bold front oft’ creates suspicion.”

“A bold front oft’ creates suspicion.”

page 14

After all it is better to drive a bad bargain with Existence than never to have had a look in at the old curiosity shop.