Page 78 – 79 / 1941 – 42
Left Hand Page
‘The Chunkel’, camp magazine, ‘The Youth Williams’, cartoon, by Unknown and ‘Get a Load of This’ (Continued from page 74 – 75 / 1941 – 42) by Bernard Campion
GET A LOAD OF THIS (continued from Page 7)
Just over two years after Singapores recorded breaking wrap up we are ordered to produce and wear identity discs. I think that after that February fiasco most people were mainly concerned with the problem of losing their identity, instead of establishing…
A recent census undertaken by my staff revealed that there are still six officers who are not yet attached to the Concert Party. They consist of a camp Q.M., four messing officers, and a Provost Marshall – occupations which are far too exacting to allow of any participation in such hobbies… So we are all to cultivate a couple of Castor Oil plants – huh.
Heavens! What an internal bind! … The recent ban on gambling reveals a hitherto unsuspected thoughtfulness on the part of our Nippon hosts. After all, nothing can be more distracting to a well-organised “Two up” game than a sudden Black-out, obliging all participants to fling themselves shrewdly on their stakes at considerable risk to life and limb… B.G.C.
BILL WILLIAMS ON SWING
The attempts to define the expression ‘swing’ have to been many and varied. In fact, if you happened to be a regular contributor to the English musician’s professional weekly newspaper ‘The Melody Maker’ you would be in position to read a fresh definition once a week. Usually these articles or letter would be so full of technical details as to leave anybody but the most avid of swing fans in a state of complete bewilderment. While I do not claim to be an authority on the subject, I have had a certain amount of experience in playing the piano for semi-professional and professional dance-bands and playing and singing both as a solo-item on the air and in cabaret.
It is my opinion that ‘swing’ is merely a smart word for jazz and was introduced about the time Clara Bow was discovered to have ‘it’ . (Another smart expression which was eventually replaced by ‘glamour’) However, although the basic rhythm remains the same swing differs from jazz inasmuch that it has progressed and has more polish, orchestrations which need absolutely accurate timing. Teams of instrumentalists who not only have to play the night notes at the right moment but have to blend their tones so that no individual is playing more excessive vibrato than another.
There is a school of thought which says that this type of orchestra – for example Benny Goodman or Ambrose – which plays this type of polished music does not ‘swing’ and quotes a combination like Bob Crosby’s Bobcats as their idea of what a real swing band should be. Anyone of you who have heard this last named combination will know that it plays in the real old Dixieland style. This style of playing is usually performed by a small number of musicians consisting probably of piano, drums, string bass, guitar, saxophone, trumpet and trombone. (The original Dixieland band did not include string bass, but included a banjo instead of a guitar. Incidentally, this combination included Nick La Rocca, the man who composed ‘Tiger Rag’). The style of playing is usually to allow each mission to have his head and extemporise on the melody they have decided upon to their hearts content. Although the individual’s performance is something pretty terrific in the way of a hot chorus, the combined effort of the band sounds pretty crude, at least to my ear.
To compare the music of a Dixieland band with that of Benny Goodman’s orchestra is like comparing the works of Wagner to that of Schubert. Both actually admirable perhaps in their own way. But one has a way definite taste for one or the other.
I have been asked whether or not I think swing is here to stay. There is no doubt in my mind that it is. Although the style may alter slightly, the rhythms which have remained the same now for something like twenty-four years will continue […]
Right Hand Page
‘The Chunkel’, camp magazine, ‘Spook Review’, ‘Yah-sissy!’, ‘Rope’ by Bernard Campion and cartoons by George Sprod.
“The mixture as before” as critics say – the “perfect crime” done in the same old way, a murd’rer who recalls his crime with zest; a strangled body in an old oak chest. Two nancy boys, a semi-dear old maid are seen in this familiar parade. A crippled ‘tec addicted to his booze, upearths with skill a dozen different clues. “Sir Richard” too is once more in the cast – as in a million murders of the past. And Antoine – dear old Antoine – he’s there too, the perfect butler with his routine clue. Philosophy, psychology and crime, are then discussed to while away the time. The murderers – extraordinary chaps – are written with a chronic mental lapse; the show on which their alibi is based can’t be recalled – the tickets are misplaced. The same old grand finale’s introduced, the lame detective crowing on his roost; the police, of course, are waiting in the street, and Brandon sobs admission of defeat. The whistle screams the triumph of the law, decidedly – “the mixture as before.” B.G.C.