London Office lOa Soho Square
THE GRAMOPHONE Incorporating VOX, THE RADIO CRITIC and BROADCAST REVIEW
COMPTON MACKENZIE and CHRISTOPHER STONE
Terephone Gerrard 2136. 2137
Tere,rams Parmaxto. Rath. London
Instead of Ou r Usuall
MR. COMPTON MACKENZIE is ill. It is no empty platitude to say we are all sorry to hear this and wish him a speedy recovery. He is a type of worker to whom inactivity, for any reason, must be anathema. His working and sleeping hours must be, and probably are, planned to extract the utmost from each round of the clock. So i t is pretty certain that he must chafe and rebel against an idleness enforced by i l lness-a rebellion that will probably increase as convalescence develops.
Because of his illness, Mr. Mackenzie cannot fil1 this page, and although I hate the idea of kicking a man when he is down, it does seem to present an opportunity for me, as an outsider, to say something about him without fear of his blue pencil descending upon me. When he kicks back a little later, as he is almost sure to do, I shall welcome i t as a sign that our friend is well again. And may it be soon.
If I could but write in the style of Mr. Compton Mackenzie I would probably have opened this with the statement that I do not claim to be an authority on my subject but that I am merely setting down a few random and disconnected thoughts as they occur to me. So I would disarm my critics-or hope to. As I cannot write like Mr. Mackenzie, I hardly know how to begin.
Yet, having written that, i t seems that I have exactly hit off Mr. Mackenzie and the relationship he claims to the gramophone.
For if there is one thing that the founder of THE GRAMOPHONE has, I be1ieve, always insisted upon i t is that he does not pretend to be an authority on music, or records, or on the gramophone. Some of us have found i t very difficult to believe, at any rate, that he is not a serious student of music; but I think he rebuts the suggestion.
How comes i t then, first, that he ever bad the temerity to write on the music of records of the gramophone, second to exhibit the courage necessary to establish THE GRAMOPHONE, thirdly to continue writing steadily on the subject in this and other journals for some fourteen years, and fourthly to achieve the position of being readily accepted (despite any disclaimers) as an authority, as a leader whose recommendations a large body of record enthusiasts follow~llOw comes all this about?
I remember quite distinctly the article in Robin Legge's Saturday music page of the Daily Telegraph-though I cannot date i t-signed by Compton Mackenzie. I t was the outburst of one who had made a discovery. Frankly, to one like myself, who had for some years been connected with publicising the gramophone and the music i t offered, i t was a little amusing. No doubt the amusement was shared by others in the industry.
What I-and others in similar positions in other companies-had been endeavouring to bring home to the public for years, had apparently fallen almost completely on stony ground. We had been trying to educate the public in the good music and first-rate artists by that time becoming identified with the gramophone. And here, out of the blue, came a popular novelist who had discovered the gramophone!
As I said, I am afraid a lot of us smiled at the "discovery." I think none of us were concerned at all with the particular make he had discovered, but with the fact that he had stepped out of his accustomed paths to praise gramophonic reproductions and the music they represented.
Little reckoning that it was likely to have any sequel, everybody thought i t a very handsome and timely recognition of a form of home music that was genuinely endeavouring to earn the goodwill of music-lovers, obviously and utterly sincere in its enthusiasm-and with that tacit acknowledgment practically dismissed it.
Why, indeed, should we do otherwise?