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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1935

In re Spike, 1935; LR. (V.U.C.) 229½ — Judgments of the Court

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In re Spike, 1935; LR. (V.U.C.) 229½

Judgments of the Court


Through the co-operation of the Executive Spike this year was able to offer a prize of one guinea for the best photograph submitted. The standard and number of the entries was such that we hope that this competition will become an annual fixture. The prize this year was awarded to Mr. R. A. Davison, and photos by Messrs. G. E. Scott and L. Withy were placed second and third respectively. The following are the remarks of Mr. J. W. Chapman-Taylor, who very kindly judged the entries:—

"Pictorial photographs appeal to us in two ways. We find satisfaction in the convincing truthfulness of a good photograph to begin with. But chiefly we joy in a noble theme skilfully chosen, justly appreciated and well rendered by a fellow man. No sophistries are needed to justify good photography. In this attitude of mind I approach the task of judging these photographs.

"Turere, Orongorongo,' I place first. A beautiful bush scene is depicted under an interesting effect of light and though a difficult subject to photograph it is rendered one might say perfectly. The composition is good and it appeals to me as a picture one could live with and continue to enjoy. I can find no fault with it,

"Second place I give to 'Pathway, Paekakariki.' It is a charming rural scene exceedingly well rendered. To appreciate the value of such a scene requires an artist's eye. For this reason combined with its good technique I place it above some more striking subjects not so well photographed. This picture distinctly stimulates the imagination.

"Titahi Bay' must I think be placed third. Its material is very beautiful and well arranged but not so well rendered. The headland is too black and empty of gradation. The composition is good and the sky beautifully rendered but the water lacks crispness and detail."

Speaking of the other entries Mr. Chapman-Taylor also made the following remarks:—

"Students should endeavour to work big in photography as in drawing. Hear O Artist! the picture you make must be one. You will command attention only when you say one thing on one piece of paper—boldly, strongly, though perhaps with the greatest delicacy."


With his usual kindness Professor G. W. von Zedlitz again judged the literary contributions submitted to Spike. For the benefit of contributors we give his criticisms in full though space prevents us from publishing every article he mentions.

"The contribution most suitable for receiving the prize is The Man. It is quite satisfactory in form, has enough and not too much content for the length, and metre, rhythm and diction appropriate to the matter. Other contributions are more ingenious, or more amusing, or more thoughtful; none is so uniformly adequate. If this piece had been absent the choice would have been difficult. Probably I should have chosen Reverie, in a style of writing I respect because I could never achieve it myself; but I prefer not to be definite unnecessarily. Of the many other attractive contributions—without attempting to arrange them in any order of merit—I liked This Too Vast Silence for the genuineness of its thought, but was puzzled by the rhythms, in which I could not detect the purpose; in Ode to an Honours Student the gently condescending considerateness for the female student, with some doubts as to its justification; here the lines applied to her:

Deeming the fruits that learning brings
An ample compensation
For headaches, and such kindred things
As come with—concentration

forcibly suggests a much more appropriate rhyme-word. Libido puzzled me with its coolly writhing thighs, a phenomenon that has escaped my observation, but I thoroughly sympathized with A Memory of Lore. Hollywood Phantasy seemed to me very clever, but hardly to be judged either as poetry or as verse. A Wild Oat appealed to me strongly, and there are good points about Silences, though why the silences should be sudden is obscure, and the end is something of

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Oriel Window, Victoria College. Hughan.

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Crown Studios.

Crown Studios.

Victoria University College Students, Association Executive, 1935.

J. P. Mules, B.Com., N. McLaren, W. R. Birks, LL.M., J. Grainger, A. H. Scotney, B.A., A. Harding, A. T. S. McGhie (Hon. Sec), H. R. C. Wild, LL.M. (Vice-Pres.), R. C. Bradshaw, B.Com. (Pres.), H. K. Hurley (Vice-Pres.), H. M. Mcintosh (Hon. Treas.).

page 57

an anti-climax. The Poet is a smart production, better if it were shorter; clever Banvillesque rhyming; the criticism of W.W. (of H.M.'s Inland Revenue Service), in spite of the weak second line, the forced word Siberian, and the mixed metaphor, will find an echo in many a student's heart:

For even Wordsworth's stony waste
Of wilderness Siberian
Has oftentimes a little taste
Of watercress Pierian.

Mademoiselle is also humorous, a good rattling Ingoldsby jingle; the writer should be useful at extravaganza time. He would stand an excellent chance for second place in this competition. Music is meritorious work on a well-worn theme; Surveyal puzzled me with the expression newfound brides—it made me think of the absent-minded professor who woke up next morning after his wedding day and exclaimed "What on earth is Miss Blank doing here?" The line And after death I cannot think, though not meant that way, needs re-writing. Barcelona is the best of the longer pieces in the group by one author, though the simile is overworked, and the expression the aching peace of home con-veys no meaning to me. But I prefer the shorter numbers, Lavoleta or Retreat. Calm speaks of sunset dawning in the West, a trouvaille com-parable to Montgomery's streams meandering level with their fount. The Mist is thoughtful and a highly creditable piece of work, but spoiled for me by the way the nouns are "invariably dogged" by epithets—this year's Latin students will be reminded of the Peleus and Thetis. And what of boards that groan with only empty husks? Some husks. Tom-Tom is good rhythmical prose and well written, but I am not surprised that the warriors turned down the old man, whose exact meaning is obscure.

"Taken all round, the entries to the competition are a better response than last year, in quality as well as in quantity."

Short Story

The Literary Society held this year a verse and short-story competition. Entries for the latter were judged by Professor G. W. von Zedlitz whose remarks on them were as follows:—

"Although there were only six entries, it proved difficult to assign the first place, as none of the stories was without merit, and those merits were of very diverse character. The story Grey Rat had a very pleasing freshness and spontaneity, and was by no means ill-written, although full of small faults through carelessness.

"The Priest of Diana shows imagination in plenty and a real gift for writing; but I could not give first place to a story so unintelligible. There is no harm in leaving the reader guessing, but the possible guesses must not be unrestricted in number. Besides, a Naomi Mitchison may write fancy tales of the ancient world and get away with it, but it does take some knowledge of the ancient world.

"The merits of the remaining stories were of a more conventional order. Kaplin has a good idea somewhat too conscientiously worked out—too much foundation for the superstructure—and also raises grave doubts as to its psychological possibility. The language of this story and of Justice largely consists of well-worn word groupings. Kowhai Flood and Wedding Eve achieve the feat so difficult for all writers of representing human beings that give an impression of real existence, therefore, in spite of the great promise shown by several other stories the first place must go to Wedding Eve."