woensdag 3 februari 2016

Evelyn Waugh -- 3 februari 1947

Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) was een Britse schrijver. Zijn dagboeken zijn gepubliceerd als The diaries of Evelyn Waugh.

Monday 3 February l947 Bought champagne, brandy and sherry for use in the West. A strange modification of American liberty that the wine merchant could not send it to Hollywood for us. He had to pack it in disguised cases for us to take in our compartment. I then went to see Mr Mays the editor of Good Hoasekeeping which is the most prosperous paper in the continent. He was an emaciated Jew lately promoted within the Hearst organization from editing a weeklv paper devoted to commercial chemistry. I explained that we got electric shocks at the Waldorf when we touched metal.
'It is the carpets.'
I said we had carpets in England too.
'Not so thick.' He then tried to demonstrate the galvanic properties of his carpet, shuffled across the room and tried to make a card adhere to the wall, failed. He showed me a very commonplace illustration that he is using for a story of mine in his next issue. I called it Tactical Exercise; he has changed the name to The Wish.
'Why?'
'People would think it dealt with the war.'
I marvelled at a people who had not the patience to read a sentence or two of a story in a magazine.
He said: 'This illustration is by the very best artist in the country.'
'What did you pay for it ?'
'$2,500.'
'But you could have got a real picture for that.'
Laughing that off he said, 'What's more, this illustration is about the story. Often they have nothing to do with it.'
'Why?'
'Artists as important as ------ are so busy they don't get around to reading what they illustrate. Maybe they have a secretary makes them a synopsis. Then maybe they get mixed. We can't control artists as important as ------.'
Then he said, 'Would it be a convenience to you if I gave you $4,000 for expenses? I know you have tax troubles same as us.'
'Yes, but what for?'
'In advance for a story.'
'But I may not write another story suitable for you.'
'Well it won't break us if you don't. We're easy people to do business with. Maybe in two-five years you'11 write us something.'
I said I would take half in the form of a new motor car to be delivered in Ireland.
'That'll be all right. I'll fix it with one of our advertisers.' He did not want to use Scott-King's Modern Europe. 'It's a little satirical for our people. But I'd like to show it to Miss Cousins and see what she says.'
'We love your Royal Family. The greatest moment of my visit to London was to see Queen Mary in a theatre ... London is so clean and hopeful.'
Then Laura and I went to luncheon with Harry Bull, editor of Town and Country. H. Bull knew all about everyone - Kitty Miller's sister's will, Sergeant Preston's English reputation. He clearly bore a grudge against Good Housekeeping for buying me. He is not allowed to increase his circulation and prices. The reasons he gave seemed strange - that Hearst wanted the paper to be exclusive. He is always having his discoveries bought up by Good Housekeeping. I did not tell him the details of my interview with Mr Mays. I asked what the New Yorker paid for their excellent covers - $250. He gave us to think that Mrs Brandt lived and entertained entirely on MGM expenses. Then he took me to a bookshop and bought me half a dozen new novels on his Hearst expenses. A girl in the bookshop: 'You must read this. It is about incest.' 'Brother and sister or mother and son?' Girl regretfully: 'No, only father and son.'
The same young man who had met us saw us to the train. Mrs B. thought it odd I insisted on this, knowing I had travelled far in youth.
The 2oth Century is the pride of the US railways - rightly. A red carpet is laid down the platform. The compartments are full of gadgets but it is all thin aluminium and one hears coarse native laughter through the walls. The dinner absolutely excellent.

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