Ernest Betts (remember that he’s a film critic) wants a Negro Spiritual, beginning “De Lawd is strikin’ down de worl'”. The problem with this competition is that he hasn’t explained that he wants, essentially, Paul Robeson numbers. Several entrants come near, one of whom is Olive Rinder, one of the many women involved in the complex web of relationships involving Vita Sackville-West (already a WR judge herself, and the setter of the very next competition, so it is impossible not to imagine that Sackville-West encouraged her to have a go): indeed in 1931, Vita Sackville-West was having an affair with a journalist, Evelyn Irons, whose lover was Olive Rinder, but subsequently – in early 1932 – had an affair with Rinder as well. So complex are the relationships of Sackville-West that Rinder tends to be overlooked. It may well be the same Olive Rinder who married Derek Beck in 1938. She is probably also the Olive Rinder born in the early 1890s in Norfolk but who shows up in 1911 as a gardening student.
I can’t prove it, but I’d bet that Hazel Fordham is the 21-year-old daughter of the Hampstead barrister E.W. Fordham who has already featured twice in the winners’ enclosure; if so, she is entering a couple of months before her wedding to Thomas Samuel Barnes.
The B competition assumes that a ‘talkie’ company, and remember that Betts was still more than a little ill-disposed towards talkies, has decided to film ‘Tristram Shandy’ as ‘Widow Wadman’s Wild Party’. Betts wants some publicity. I had a feeling when I saw this competition that it would not attract any great results, and sure enough, the first prize is withheld. Betts congratulates the entrants on being insufficiently vulgar, and lets N.B. have a half-guinea consolation prize: