Competition no. 243: results

Another find-a-quotation competition. V.S.Pritchett asks for one-line quotations that could be used to advertise the following: bread;wireless valves; beer; lipstick; a General’s memoirs; gas-masks; meat extract; a perfume; a cruise; the new pedestrian crossings (these were Belisha  beacons, plus parallel studs, and had been introduced in July 1934. Zebra crossings are post-war (1951). I bet there are many films that get this wrong); woollen underwear; the telephone. The example given is petrol (‘Hail to thee, Blithe Sprit’). Here is a 1948, pre-zebra, information film that shows the crossings, and here’s a still from it: cross road 1930s adverts so we can check? (Most are from 1934 itself.) 0002162_m beer-is-best bread ad 1934 lipstick MIWW1010H,-Gas-Mask,-1940- philips.1934.radioperf34 Pritchett has underestimated the extent of the page-turning of dictionaries of quotations that entrants are unafraid to do. He gets a large postbag, and his job is not helped by the fact that most entrants have one or two good ones, but not a full hand. Many entrants used the same dictionary. Lots of them used Rupert Brooke’s Heaven for beer: One may not doubt that, somehow, Good Shall come of Water and of Mud; And, sure, the reverent eye must see A Purpose in Liquidity. We darkly know, by Faith we cry, The future is not Wholly Dry. Pritchett offers a short selection of near-misses: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStill dubious about Wolsey? Here’s a contemporary ad: wolsey uwearAnd this brings me to the winning entries. A.S. Gray and Anthony S. Watson come close. The result, says Pritchett, was almost awkward: hard to judge between the witty and the wittier. Jointly heading the pack with Alphamu (they split the first prize), and 24 years of age, is a name new to the competitions: Angela Milne. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAngela (Mary) Milne was the daughter of Kenneth Milne, a senior civil servant who had given up his work through illness in 1926, and had died in 1929. Kenneth Milne had been admired by his brother, A.A. Milne (a third brother, Barry, was loathed). After Kenneth Milne died, AAM took over the organisation of the family he left – a widow and four children, of whom Angela (born in 1909) was the second (the third was Ian Innes ‘Tim’ Milne, a section head after the Second World War at MI5, thanks to Kim Philby). At the time Angela won this competition, AAM had spent the first of four summers with Angela’s mother and her family in Dorset, while his wife travelled elsewhere. He was also by this time writing for Punch, and Angela followed him there (her father Kenneth had also briefly been given work by AAM at Punch). Angela Milne was one of the most highly regarded Punch contributors (she turns up repeatedly in Pick of Punch from the forties onwards, and she also wrote as ‘Ande’. She was a regular contributor to London-based magazines until the 1980s), and she was also valued as a reviewer (she reviewed for The Observer). She was still publishing humorous books in her seventies. At least two collections of her Punch pieces came out, of which the better-selling one was Jam and Genius, published in 1948, a year before she married Reginald Killey. She had a daughter, Mary (not yet sure if she married twice) and a son, Nigel Killey, in 1949, and she died in 1990 in Hampshire. Angela Milne The runner-up is another new name, Calluna. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrancis Ledwidge, incidentally, whose name is not well-known, was a poet – from Ireland – killed in World War 1 at Passchendaele in 1917, when he was days away from turning 30. Three poems appeared in Marsh’s Georgian Poetry. His age and his Irish nationality are unusual in this context. His last collection of poems is here.

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One thought on “Competition no. 243: results

  1. Thanks for such a detailed and accurate biography of my aunt Angela Milne. In the family she was known as ‘Ande’ and was as funny in real life as she was in print. She and my dad (A.K. Milne) both entered New Statesman competitions frequently.

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