For this, the one hundredth edition of The Week-end Review, a new judge, Eric Gillett, a literary and film critic, mainly at The Daily Telegraph, and who had also just edited a collection of contemporary poetry, sets a ballade on the circus, with reference to performing animals. Circuses were popular – there was a Clark Gable film in 1932 called Polly at the Circus, and the front cover of Time magazine in April 1932 depicted a circus:
Gillett has a slight moan about ‘surprising lapses in scansion’, and (as always happens with ballade competitions) several entrants have sent in ballads. The winner, who is admiited despite his ballade being more about the animals than the circus, is E.W.Fordham, and, keeping up the pressure, the half-guinea goes to Seacape.
The B competition is pretty demanding, asking for a 300 word essay on ‘The Cruelty Of Inanimate Objects’. One of the many proxime accessits in the B competition is John Barnicot, one of Barbara Pym’s Oxford friends, whom she fictionalised in her first novel Some Tame Gazelle (1933); others are regulars like Marion Peacock. Gillett notes that he could compile ‘a ghastly gallery’ of objects from the entries, ranging from The Albert Memorial to pea soup, The prizes go to W. Snow, and to a new name, R. P. Gunningham.
Although Barry and his team do not of course know it, the one hundredth issue marks the halfway mark in The Week-end Review’s existence. When we get to competition 200, we’ll find it set in one magazine, and won in another …