In the Editor's Confidence

February 15 1941

In the Editor's Confidence

February 15 1941

In the Editor's Confidence

A FEW weeks ago, Canadians listening to a BBC news broadcast from London, noticed that the announcer fumbled a word, hesitated a second (a most unusual occurrence), and then, in his usual calm, assuring voice resumed the reading of the report. At the moment of this slight hesitation, some listeners with sensitive ears heard a crumping sound.

It was not until days later that the public learned what had been going on. The sound was that of an exploding bomb, a bomb dropped on Broadcasting House by a Nazi raider. The building was hit; two or three BBC employees were killed. But the announcer went on—“This is the news from London”—“This is London Calling.”

We don’t know how many thousands of Canadians listen each day to the London news broadcasts, but the audience is gigantic. And there is something about the steady, level tones of the announcers which has a tonic effect upon that audience. We are certain that a great many people must have wondered, just as we have wondered, about the men to whom these voices belong. So we asked James W. Drawbell, editor of the London Sunday Chronicle, to tell us something about them. On page nine of this issue, in “This Is London Calling,” Mr. Drawbell does so. From now on, when you hear the news from London you will feel that there’s an additional touch of intimacy to the broadcasts.

Incidentally, Mr. Drawbell wrote part of this article while high explosive and incendiary bombs were falling not far from the newspaper office in which he works, and his typewriting is as even as though it had been done under a palm tree on a South Sea isle.

#We realize the triteness of the remark that this war is different from the last one, but it is so different in so many ways that we run up against that fact every hour of the day. We run up against it on page nineteen. Here Frederick Edwards tells how our soldiers are enabled to improve their education while they are training for the day when they will help to knock the stuffing out of the Nazis. There are 15,000 men in the Army, Navy and Air Force who are taking educational courses provided by a host of Canadian educationalists and sponsored by the Canadian Legion War Services. In “School Goes to Camp” you will find all the details, and there’s nothing stodgy about them either.

#Where they sat in the dining saloon of a liner used to be a matter of terrific importance to some ocean travellers. We recall a voyage during which an eighteen-year-old youth, known to us, fell quite hard for an attractive-looking but rather snooty young girl. The second night out, he managed to dance with the maiden, who, with a superior air, said, “You are not one of us at the captain’s table.” The lad’s reply—and he confided to us later that he didn’t know what possessed him—was “No. I prefer not to eat with the help.”

However, what we set out to say was that, apart from the uppity-uppish business, there have been cases wherein a

person’s whole life might have been changed had he or she sat in some other seat. Take the case of Julie Sayre, for example. She didn’t think it mattered whether she sat here or there. But on page five, in her very clever story, “As If It Matters,” Margaret Lee Runbeck reveals what did happen and what would have happened if—two vastly different things.

#To a considerable extent the war has had an effect on the conversation of young people. A large number of the boys are in khaki, navy blue or air force blue, and a large number of the girls are doing some sort of war work in their spare time. But we notice that when they are gathered together, there still is discussion of the respective merits of the various orchestras which play at dances or which appear on radio programs. For quite a long time we have heard the term “tops” applied to one Mart Kenney and His Western Gentlemen. Recently we asked Angus McStay to look into the matter. On page twelve, Mr. McStay, in an article entitled “Sweet and Low,” reports how Leader Kenney has climbed up the scale from one-night stands to a top rating in the national dance-band field.

#Now that Premiers Hepburn, Aberhart and Pattullo have given the razzberry to the Sirois Report, we imagine that the next major domestic matter for the big headlines will be that of the St. Lawrence Waterways. It is an international matter, of course, but Canada’s interest is no trifling one. And after many years of hot and cold discussion, the subject is made vital by President Roosevelt’s association of it with the defense program of the United States. Just so that you may have a clear idea as to what is involved, we present, on page eight, a record of the facts, written by Kenneth Wilson.

#On page thirteen, in his l.ondon Letter, Beverley Baxter discusses Mr. Churchill. Then, on page fourteen, Charles L. Shaw describes how the war has spurred the British Columbia lumber industry, the problems which at one time had its operators all hot and bothered, and the solutions which have been found.

And on page ten, there is to be found a most readable fiction story by Harold Channing Wire—“Winter Kill.” We’d tell you a little more about it were it not for the fact that it’s about a blizzard, and we observe, by looking out of the window, that we shall have to slither home over nine miles of icy streets.

• “Kelsey Skates Again,” Leslie McFarlane’s mad hockey yarn, ends in this issue, and we can tell you that in our next number there will start a rattling good secret service tale—“Spy Against the Reich,” by Michael Annesley, author of several spy novels which have enjoyed great popularity in Britain. We just hate keeping you in suspense, but the fifteen days will pass quickly.