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The Spike or Victoria College Review 1942

II — General Clubs


General Clubs

The sickness of the University Red has caused the death of the Society for the Discussion of Peace, War, and Civil Liberties, and the coma of the International Relations Club. When asking for the reasons of the inactivity of the latter I was referred to the president, Mr J. Winchester. The secretary, Mr J. Winchester, received me unkindly and explained the inactivity of the club was due to the committee members, especially to Mr J. Winchester. He also mentioned the lack of interest in the club of most of the members; there were few, only one in fact, and of these particularly Mr J. Winchester appeared very uninterested. Mr J. Winchester refused to send in a report.

The Phoenix Club enjoyed two functions. On the first one a short story of Mr Turner's was read three times, in different intonations. It has a social tendency, as it gave an instance of the demoralising effect of riches. Some people approved. The second feature of the night was a talk by Mr E. Schwimmer on T. S. Eliot. He was stopped soon by Mr Brook. There were six people present, if you also include a person who was present secretary, Mr Schwimmer, but there were seven if you also include Mr McL., who was present during a small part of the meeting lying prostrate on the table with his feet in the air, but who left five minutes after Eliot started. Mr Turner did not appear. The second function was an address by Dr. J. C. Beaglehole on "The War and the Artist." There were then fifteen people present.

The other clubs of a general nature are the Dramatic Club, the Debating Society, and the Glee Club.

Nobody can relate the achievements of the Drama Club, without the pious reflection upon the irony of fate. The irony of fate caused the staging of "Where's that Bomb?" to be interrupted by an air-raid warning. It caused the lack of male cast for the major production to be aggravated by an extremely virile modern spirit in the Drama Club committee which caused the choice to be evolutionary and pugnacious. It effected finally that when a play both female and pugnacious (Love on the Dole) had been discovered, copies mysteriously vanished from all libraries, and the one script, unable to flee in time, had been sent to the binder, and it is still there. Fate could not prevent, however, a performance of "Machine Song" (Coppard) and "Villa for Sale" (Guitry). Thus the sad story of the Dramatic Club is told, at the moment still unbowed by the bludgeonings of chance, but soon we fear—in the eloquent words of one of our ablest anti-capitalist debaters—tottering to its dismal grave.

The debating club has been a little more lively. There were debates on the confidence in the Churchill Government, on Irish neutrality, the place of religion in post-war reconstruction, whether New Zealand was civilised, and liveliest of all, whether the Chamber of Commerce was more or less likely to save the world than the Communist party. That was the one day of my life I would have disliked to be a commercial man. The subject discussed seems to me to raise an exactly as irrational comparison as for instance the question which laws were the most important, the laws of Plato or of Maxwell— or whether Radio-activity is more useful than the co-operative movement. I suggest these subjects for next years' programme.

The right subjects for discussion were chosen, social and political, but students did not show a real interest in them and little knowledge. The way of discussing was often paradox, in some cases deliberately paradox. The worst common logical error was a very general, primitive one: drawing conclusions from examples and atrocity stories. Worse—I don't know whether the speakers cared page 35 overmuch for the opinions they voiced. It is a pity that such a healthy element in student life should be eliminated in this way: What is the use of "free speech" if people have nothing they really wish to say?

The Glee Club however is a happy place: it is all alive again. We hear every week its unmarred felicity resounding from twenty-five carefree chests in the shape of "old choral numbers, more ambitious songs and modern jazz." The Glee Club's main activity is the annual concert and dance, and this seems socially to have been a success.