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SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1934. Volume 5. Number 6.

The Cockpit — Red Hot Rot?

page 7

The Cockpit

Red Hot Rot?

15th. Sept., 1934.

The Editor, "Smad."

Dear Sir,

Not since the kitten-throwing incident has there been such an ado about nothing in the 'Varsity Circles.

With the recent formation of an Anti-War movement we have opened just another avenue to join those already available for the spreading of Communist propaganda, as vide Mr. Fortune's speech at the recent meeting; not that an Anti-War movement is objectionable per se; rather it is a move to be commended. A Committee was eleected on somewhat doubtful grounds—graft is a thing apparently not confined to American Armament concerns —from the same element as was prominent at the now more or less defunct Free Discussions Club.

I have been given to understand that a recount of the votes by some who were doubtful of the Jesuits revealed that three informal votes (written on paper other than the voting slips provided) must have been counted to give the results announced. In view of the rumours circulating it seems up to the scrutineers to clear the air and give some explanation of this seemingly obvious informality.

And then of course we have the Labour Club—on the same footing. At the inaugural meeting a casting vote by the chairman was necessary in older to obtain assent of the meeting to apply for affiliation. Truly this represents an unamimous support by the Varsity. The fact that so little support is given to these Clubs seems hardly to warrant their being affiliated and subsidised by the Student's Association.

There is a growing feeling among the nonpartisan and level-headed body of Students, that before any Club with such thinly veiled objects, is permitted to apply for affiliation, its sponsors should receive a more critical examination by the I.xecutive. Moreover if, and when such sponsors are allowed to call a meeting of Students, then some Member of the Executive should preside in order to ensure that at least the recognised canons of public meetings (including those relating to the election of officers) are observed. Reviewing the present year one is immediately struck by the number of Clubs cither ekeiing out a shaky existence or only recently formed and which cannot hope to survive after the semifanatical condition of their prime movers—a numtoer small in all—has cooled.

In conclusion therefore, I beg Sir, to pretest in no uncertain manner, against the flagrant way in which a certain small body of Students are being permitted to bring discredit on an otherwise rational body.

Yours sincerely,

Hanmer Smith.

(Ed.—When this letter was submitted to the scrutineers, Miss Ola Nielson and Mr. E. F. Hubbard, they both stated that there were several invalid votes, but that the votes on different paper were valid. As far as they could remember this paper was given out as there was a shortage of the other.)

The Editor, "Smad."


Not since the "Twisted Teaching" incident has there been such a wealth of baseless innuendo in 'Varsity circles as in the above letter from Mr. Hanmer Smith.

The scrutineers may reply for themselves as regards the ill-informed charges made against them. But as chairman of the meeting in question I must answer the cheap insinuations levelled by your correspondent as to the disregard of "the recongised canons of public meetings."

In the first place, Sir, one would have though! that no level-headed, non-partisan, right-minded, clear-thnking student such as "Mr. Smith' would have launched such a cargo of invective without some slight enquiry into the facts of the ease. But no, your correspondnt is content to rely on the allegations of those who surreptitiously collect and re-count the votes after the meeting, spread rumours that the election was invalid, decline to bring any definite complaint before either the Club's Committee or the Executive, and refuse even to produce the voting papers for inspection. Those who, at the meeting, took keen delight in nominating the Prime Minister and his colleagues for the Committee were the ones who originated the rumours about the voting. Mr. Smith may indeed be proud to champion tlie'r complaint about the conduct of the election. He may also be congratulated on concocting a charge of graft without one fragment of evidence to support it.

Your correspondent bolsters up this cooly-reasoned case with unanswerable logic when he shows that the Anti-War Movement, the Labour Club, and the page 8 Free Discussions Club are practically one and the same body. Although their respective aims are nominally poles apart, although the Committees are comprised of substantially different members, although their supporters are, in the case of the Anti-War Movement, far wider than that of the Labour Club, still it is difficult to resist the above conclusion, reached by Mr. Smith only after careful analysis.

On the question of the Club's affiliation, it is implied that this boon was sought from the Executive and too readily granted. Unfortunately for Mr. Smith's argument, however, the facts even on this minor point are against him. It was against the wishes of the Student Anti-War Committee and purely at the instigation of the Executive that a regular college club was thus formed and affiliated. On the matter of the Executive's scouting of the sponsors of new clubs, Mr. Smith apparently does not know the usual practice of the Executive in such matters. I have myself appeared before that body for a lengthy cross-examination as to the aims and activities of a proposed new club.

But not only does your correspondent write with the valour of ignorance. He goes further, and urges that in principle it is undesirable that these small clubs should be affiliated, bringing discredit as they do upon an otherwise rational body. Proudly Mr. Smith declares himself non-partisan. Let him then keep to his fence. In a society in which injustice is glaring enough, let the City Fathers never find him concerned in trying to right it. Let him remain spotless above the turmoil, in distant but dignified isolation. Let him not leave the muddy pool of conformity for the swifter currents of controversy; for around the social questions of the clay rages a contest into which, fettered as he is by such scruples for the good name of himself and his fellows, he is obviously ill fitted to plunge.

I am, etc.,

I. D. Campbell.

Keen Kuts for Kricket Kids

Dear "Smad,"

And thus with the advent of a new cricket season, we find ourselves faced yet once more with the fundamental fallacy that the Victoria College Cricket Club can make its presence felt in Wellington cricket by the inopportune introduction of greyheaded grandfathers who passed and pounded on the pitch before most members of the College Club were conceived.

Most members who missed making material progress last year, this year at least, expected that with the stepping out of some of our seasoned six-sloggers. they might segregate themselves for the Senior XI and thus accomplish the anticipated ambition of graduating into the graced grade of cricket. Bright-eyed boys, culled from College cricket are enterprising enough to expect them to enter a team attuned to their attainments having simply as their sole rivals for selection sophisicated students.

But, meritorious old member, and naive newcomer, your humble hopes will be sadly squashed. With the continual conventional custom of courtesy, you must accede to the aspirations of age. Yours to parade regularly at practice; yours to scoop in sumptuous scores; yours to bowl your battering barrage; yours to field with fastidious fidelity. But also yours to be relentlessly and ruthlessly reminded that the aim of University cricket both at the first and now, was and is, to furnish feeble fathers with the satisfying Saturday afternoon's entertainment.

For myself, the prospects for the present are putrid and petrifying. But I have to face the future without fear, knowing as I do that with the advent of my advanced old age, I shall wend my way without difficulty to the crown of College cricket.


(Editor.—We gather from this letter that it is a complaint that the Cricket Club is going outside the Varsity for older men to make up the 1st XI.)

"The above letter was referred to the Secretary of the Crickst Club who advises that in view of the lamentable weakness in batting displayed last year by the Club especially in the Senior and second grade teams, it was obvious to the Committee that some immediate remedy was necessary if the Club's senior status and second grade status were not to be imperilled. The Committee has therefore decided to invite Mr. Jacobsen to play for the Club in the capacity of player-coach. This gentleman will devote his efforts, especially at practices to improving the batting of Club members. It has not been decided what team he will play for, but if it is for the Senior eleven it will certainly not be to the exclusion of a young player who is anything like worthy of a place in that team, now or in the future."

Dram. Club Attacked

Dear Sir.

At the beginning of the year, I was interested in the announcement of the Dramatic Club that "each year's" batch of freshers is closely scrutinised for actors and actresses of promise," and also that. "Circle readings for new students are to be arranged early in the new term"—etc.

I know of several freshers who are keenly interested in acting, have entered their names and attended practically every meeting. So far, however, I have yet to see a fresher given a part., good or bad, while the circle readings for new students only page 9 resemble Mr. Forbe's Golden Age in that they never materialise.

The casts themselves were of a very poor standard for a Varsity club. In many cases, the leading parts were taken by poker-like, inaudible readers, who, were repeatedly given parts, without any atempt to discover new talent. Because of this, most of the plays dragged intolerably and were boring in the extreme. One can hardly blame an audience for gradually dispersing when a leading player giggled uncontrollably in a dramatic scene or addresses his necktie or the back of the stage. Does the Dramatic Club really imagine that this is the best of the Varsity's talent?

I shall be interested to learn, in view of these facts, the explanation of the Club's attitude towards freshers.

I am, Yours Truly,

Wake up, Dramatic Club."

Dear "Smad,"

Every year the Dramatic Club is charged with neglecting freshers and not searching for new talent. From the above letter it may be thought that many freshers were merely ignored by the Club. However, on asking the former secretary whether he had received letters from freshers, I learned that two such letters were received and that the writers did not respond to appeals for people willing to read, winch were made at the first three readings of this session. Far from any enthusiasm to read being shown, those approached either hedged or reluctantly agreed—an attitude which in itself spells disaster to a reading.

The writer of the above letter evidently is such a sore-head that he has failed to fake note of the casts for readings. In fact, many freshers have been given " parts, good or bad," besides those, who, although not freshers, had taken no part in the readings.

Circle readings were held during the first vacation, and although everyone on the Dramatic Club's list was notified, so many refusals were met with that it was only with difficulty that a cast was obtained.

Our arm-chair critic then pours abuse on the standard of the leadings, which is at any time a doubtful, poor and entirely negative method of attack. The majority of readings were obviously enjoyed by the audience,

I admit that a few of the readings have been disappointing, partly because the play was difficult to produce as a reading, but mainly through the apathy of some members of the cast. For instance, "Hollywood Holiday," on which the cast with two exceptions was composed either of freshers or students who had not read beofre, was ruined by the attitude adopted by the majority of the cast.

However, we realise that the practice of holding the Annual General Meeting half-way through the session must be discontinued, as it means the Club has no definite programme for the year. This fact may account for some of the complaints, but if the writer likes to come forward and show that he is superior to " the best of the 'Varsity's talent," then the Dramatic Club will be gratified in obtaining an active supporter from an arm-chair critic.


D. Tossman,

"Wake Up, Dramatic Club."

Exec. Doings

Dear "Smad,"

The following is a short report on the principal activities of the Executive since your last issue,—

(1) An additional grant of £37 has been made to the Tensis Club to assist in splaying back the bank behind No. 1 Court. This will effect an improvement to the courts both from the point of view of use and appearance, besides removing for the future what has always been a potential source of danger and trouble.

(2) Two new clubs, the Fencing Club and the Anti-War Movement, have been affiliated to the Association.

A new floor covering has been purchased and laid down in the gymnasium in place of the old one, which, after a life of some eleven years, had become quite useless for the purpose.

(4) Mr. C. N. Watson has been re-appointed Editor of Capping Book for 1935.

(5) Grants of £1 1s. were made to each of the two lower grade football teams which won championships, in recognition of their very meritorious achievements.

(6) The Executive held a special meeting on 29th August last, when Mr. Robert K. Burns, of America, attended and explained the aims of the movement which he was responsible for founding in the four colleges in New Zealand. It was decided to support the movement whole-heartedly, and with this in view a committee has been set up which will go into the organisation of the movement and put things on a working basis, in order that definite action may be taken in the New Year, when the College reassembles.

(7) As this is your last issue before the November examinations, the Executive would like to take the opportunity of wishing all students the very best of luck. We hope that all may have an enjoyable time during the vacation, and look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

Yours, etc.,

A. McGhie, Hon. Sec., V.U.C.S.A.