Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page


[No title]


WHEN PERCY HT WAS AT KINMEL. My mind flies back to an evening of 1916, la the great military camp of Kinmel Park, where a young Welsh drummer, described as "the strong man of Wales/' stood on the concert platform of one of the many Y.M.C.A.'s, and held his comrades spell- bound with an exhibition of strength and muscle which lasted for nearly an hour. This he followed up with a few tenor solos in a very fine vein of voice. One heard whispers of "Who is he?" "Where does he come from?" As for the latter question, he came from Wales, and to answer the former, I have only to say that he was Percy Hunt, the well-known physical culturist of Aberavon. Long before the war broke out Percy was. known to the athletic world of South Wales, and the physical culture circles of the whole country, and many an interesting exhibition did he give us in those days of his art. But he came back from the Army with another asset besides those of proven patriotism and honourable sacrifice â he came back with a voice. I A MUSCULAR TENOR. I Men discover voices in the out of the way parts of the world. The bricklayers helper may not realise he has a voice until he has shouted a few times to his mate at the top of the ladder. Similarly, the Army proved to many men that theyhadi voices of which they had no suspicion. Percy Hunt's voice, which is being trained by an excellent master, is of an excellent tenor quality, and his desire at present is to emulate the famous quality of Mr. Fred Dyer, the singing boxer, although Percy intends to substitute physi- cal culture for boxing. On Wednesday night of last week he gave an exhibition at his gymnasium (to the rear of his house in St. Mary Street), when a number of prominent sport-lovers were present. Starting off with a scries of club-swinging and skipping exer- cises, he followed on with a series of very clever statuary poses, which brought into prominence the fine musclar development of his body. He then proceeded to give an ex- hibition of weight-lifting, and performed some remarkable feats of strength with the assistance of his young "sparring partners." In his dumb-bell work he is open to issue a ohalienge to the whole of Wales. To prove that weight-lifting does not make for slow- ness, Percy then boxed three brisk rounds with one of his partners, and then to demon- strate beyond all doubt that his breathing was not impaired, he proceeded to sing three very popular tenor songs. After the average man had been half through the strenuous work to which he applies himself every day, he would scarcely have enough breath left in him to blow out a war-time candle let along sing such a song of fine sustentation as "Songs of Araby," for example. A FREE TIP TO SMOKERS. I Needless to add Percy Hunt is a non- smoker and a teetotaller, for no man who pays even the most abstemious devotion to "My Lady Nicotine" could follow him up in his daily exercises. There was a time when his ambitions were bounded by the ropes of the boxing ring, and he actually made one or two successful steps up the ladder of cham- pionship fame, but now his whole devotion is chained to a more general conception of I athletics, and the really fine and noble art of physical culture, and there is no doubt that his splendid powers of production and his true breathing in the singing of certain soft passages a-rises from the discipline and con- trol which he has always had to exercise over his breathing organs. It is needless for me to add that I wish him every success. I will merely ask my readers to join with me in the expression of ft. LABOUR'S GOOD MOVE. I The new Labouj* Council which presides over the municipal fortunes of Aberavon have made a move in the right direction by taking advantage of the power which they retain through the Private Street Works Act. In committee last week they decided that these powers be enforced once more, and the con- sequent save to the ratepayer must be very considerable, inasmuch as, I understand, there are forty streets in the Borough which k have not yet been taken over by the Council, and to which the enforcement of the powers under the Act must naturally apply. For those unacquainted with the terms of the Private Street Works Act I may perhaps mention that briefly it places the onus upon every house owner in the streets specified to lay down his own portion of the paving, curbing, and channelling, so that roughly speaking, the expense of the whole of the pavement in the street will be equally shared by, every house owner in that particular street. This removes a distinct hardship from the ratepayer, who had previously to saddle the cost of this paving, although upon the unfortunate possessor of a pine-end house the Act is rather hard, inasmuch as he is not only responsible for the portion of pavement in front of his house, but also that portion which runs around the pine-end. Neverthe- less, he must console himself with the un- doubted fact that there has never yet been an Act framed ¡hat does not impose hardship upon somebody. » OUR CHRISTM/S ILLUMINATIONS. I Station K<md tradesmen are following the I fasMen of Trades' Unionists generally in air- I ing a very genuine grievance this Christmas, and now that the Chamber of Trade promises to be a real live body at last, it is a matter they would do well to look into. Owing to the lamentably poor quality of the Mar gam gas just now their windows will not blossom into the customary brilliant display which both the public and the traders themselves like to see. One particular tradesman took me around his premises recently and showed me some of the difficulties he has had to con- tend with. When he goes upstairs at tea- I time to take his afternoon meal he has to ea.t it by candle light. To light the gas would mean that his window lights would practically go out. Similarly, any use which he may have for the other rooms in his es- tablishment after dark has to be assisted by candle light until after closing hours, when, of course, the window lights can be extin- guished. Some of us who are house-holders, and use gas in smaller quantities, have fre- quently wondered how existence would be possible after dark were it not for the old- fashioned- lamp and oil. AH the same the charge is made for the alleged gas which we burn, and those of us whose duties necessi- tate a great deal of work by artificial light have still to meet a very heavy quarterly bill for light we have not received 1. THE TELL-TALE METER. 1 The extraordinary part of the business to the lay mind is the fact that the meter appears to be full, and it seems to me that there is most certainly a grievance for investigation by the members of the Gas Committee. A beravon seem to be very happily blessed in comparison with the MaTgam area. The contrast between the lights in the Aberavon houses and shops when compared, with those of Port Talbot is really remarkable, so this fact does away entirely with the ancient ar- gument of poor quality coal. With the rates standing at the present figure we have a right to demand a little more in return than the privilege of keeping applicants for parish relief in comparative luxury. COUNCILLOR TAL MAINWARING. I When I had finished reading Mr. Tal Mam, waring's letter in last week's issue of the "Gazette," the first thought that occurred to me after admiring the splendid courtesy of his reply, was a realisation of the fact that I had no justification for encouraging him to make good through the columns of the Gazette" his attitude during the war. One naturally feels magnanimous towards a cour- teous opponent. His kindliness disarms one of the stings which are hoarded in the wallet of our convictions, and as far as it is humanly possible under the circumstances, I will re- ciprocate his kindly antagonism, and reply to him in -the same spirit. The great out- standing fact that broods over our whole dis- cussion is that Mr. Mainwaring differs in opinion from myself. That, after all, -,S a small matter. It is on differences of opinion that this world has built up its great victory over the unknown and the unrealised. But Mr. Mainwaring and his class and their opinionsâare in the minority, therefore, by the ordinary codes of honourable and sports- manlike discussion, one would naturally feel inclined to concede him much. Unhappily, in this present age, one can only regard that minority in the light of a mean-spirited few who have endeavoured to stab the whole majority in the back, and having failed, fall upon their knees in humble supplication for mercy. One naturally honours a noble and honourable adversary. His views, even if they do not coincide with ours, commend themselves to our sense of sportsmanship. We say "He is, at any rate, a man, and is pre- pared to spill his blood for his convictions." What greater testimony can we have to a man's sincerity. THE TRUE LABOUR MANâFROM THE I LABOUR STANDPOINT. There are points at issue in his letter that I must dispute with Mr. Mainwaring now that I have taken up my pen to do so. The first is this. In one of his sentences he writes "Mv dispute with 'Robin Hood' is that he sees fit to endeavour by artful suggestion to connect the Labour movement with the bogey in his own imagination, and which he calls Bolshevism." I had really prided myself at least on having made myself clear as to my attitude towards Labour, but as Mr. Main- waring has endeavoured by suggestion equally artful to give the impression that I tar all Labour with the foul brush of Bol- shevism, I would ask him in all fairness to tell me what he considers to be the sane and my definition of a Labour man must give to at the expense of the ridicule which I realised my definition of a T»amour man must give to the extreme element, I conceded his request and did so last week. I am sure that he will grant me the favour of reciprocation. I can promise him that I will treat his views with all respect. I am afraid, under the circum-' stances, that we cannot agree to differ, but I will, at least, give him every opportunity of justifying in the public view his attitude to- wards his fellows in the recent war. LOVE OF COUNTRY. I "I presume that a man can love his coun- try without being a militarist, he says later. Now, Councillor Tal, can you honestly tell me that you still love the country that "per- secuted" you; or that you loved the country ,j,' at the time when you were "victimised?" I am really sorry to have to ask the question, but I cannot argue with you on any other basis without reiterating the old wash-out argument of "where would we have been to- day if the country were all conscientious ob- I jectors?" That argument still holds good, undoubtedly, but it has been spoken so often by parrot voices that I am heartily sick of it. No, sir, the brains that cannot conceive a finer defence of military propaganda than that are not by any means a credit to the nation. I POINTS OF VIEW. I Mr. Mainwaring belongs to a class that are in the minority, and I must be pardoned for believing that we have every cause as a nation to thank God that he bred so few of them, but the years may pass on and we may find with the march of events that views have differedâbroadenedâMr. Mainwaring and his sect may say. We would naturally say "narrowed." But, honestly, I believe that as long as the old flag waves overhead, the inherited spirit of pride and patriotism will rally round to it to the last drop of our nation's blood. Thank Heavens I, and the class I represent, can still feel a thrill of magnificent pride when we hear the strains of "God Save the King," and hear the fine old flag flapping in the breezes. Thank the nobler side of man's nature that every ex- Service man who has returned from the male- strom of France feels a cleaner and a better man for the little service he has rendered to his country. Thank that same divine force, too, for the fact that strong men can still weep at the thought of the little white cross which alone marks the resting place of their greatest friend. These are thoughts, I know, that Mr. Mainwaring will not understand, I do not blame him, for, while they may have proved his loss, they remain to-day merely his good fortune. i i i I THE DEMOCRACY. I Have those who are back at home no love for the democracy? Why they are the de- mocracy. Mr. Mainwaring and his sect, un- happily for them, do not understand about the war yet. Some day they will, and I want them to bear these words of mine in memory, and remember, whatever else they may for- get-, what it cost to keep intact the happy place they are still privileged to live in. Let him remember that most of the brave men who so cheerfully died are sons of poor, humble, people, but that they died in order that he and others might be happy. This may sound sentimental, I know, but when we come down to the hard facts of war there is some excuse for sentiment at times. THE GREAT OBJECTIVE. I The men who died were the democracy; the men who have returned are the de- mocracy; the great objective of every dis- charged soldier to-day is his own classâthe democracy. Strife, we all know, is not the true law of nature, much as,we may hear to- day of the survival of the fittest. The stars whose comradeship we used to acclaim whilst on sentry duty, are not the projectiles of hos- tile Titans, but are the mutually independ- ant notes in a tremendous symphony, a mas- terpiece of intricately ordered movement. Only in the organic world, the world of savage appetite, is force the "ultimate arbi- trament." Force must be crushed when it appears in this form. Mr. Mainwaring is himself an avowed advocate of force when applied to Labour problems. What applied to our national safety, however, he prefersâ shall we say, indiscretion. I am afraid Mr. Mainwaring will have to bring forward many more convincing arguments before we are disciples of "the other cheek" religion. It is, indeed, a beautiful conception, but it loses much of its glamour when one recalls types who hid behind its arguments when the world of men was dangerous, yet in piping days of peace would perform on the football field acts that were shouted down by the poorest sportsmen present. Needless to add, I do not refer in this last instance to Mr. Mainwaring, who, I am prepared to grant, is a man who has lead a life always consistent with his con- victiotl. Nevertheless, the men I refer to are members of his fraternity. 1. WHO WILL BE ASHAMED^? I I am really sorry to think that Mr. Mam- waring is a man of the highest intellect. Were he not so, one could pass his arguemnts by as beneath contempt. But the fact of his intellect commands a certain amount of respect, and in concluding my letter, I will merely remark that the day will undoubtedly come when either ourselvesâor Mr. Main- waringâwill feel ashamed of our actions from 1914 to 1919. THE DREADED 17TH. I It is all very well for some of us to smile with supercilious superiority when people mention a foretold catastrpohe which will rid us of the need for battling any further for earthly existence. Some learned, but mis- guided scientist, tried to cheer us up with the cool announcement that the world would come to an end on Wednesday. Well, to- day is Friday, and we are still floating in space, much as we have continued to do for the last few million years. It is possible that the obliterating comet has lost a connection somewhere, and might still arrive a few days late. Some celestial dog might have tied a tin can to its tailâI would seriously ask that same learned scientist to enquire into this theory-but all we know and truly rejoice in is the fact that another unpleasant prophecy has gone astray, and that even the alleged salm dispassionate scientist is capable of mak- ing an ass of himself at times. Our friends of the Working Meli's Club quite entered in- to the spirit of the affair at the most excel- lent smoking concert on Tuesday night. "Come on boys," said Chairman Wellington, with Spartan fortitude, Let us drink and be merry, to-night, for to-morrow we die." i i I ABER AVON'S AUNTS. I The really excellent abstract of accounts issued by the Aberavon borough accountant ha. won praise in high quarters, I am told. A famous accountant, whose name is a bye- word in the world of accountancy for all that is mathematically accurate and municipally perfect, haa personally complimented Mr. Baker on its production. To the lay mind it consists of an alarming intricacy of figures- a kind of municipal maze of mathematics- but to those who would know how the finances of any portion of the borough are progressing it is an invaluable record. The work entailed to the department must have been enormous considering the small staff employed, and the thanks of the ratepayers generally are certainly due to the account- ant for the invaluable document of the past year's progress which he has compiledâthe first, it should be added, since the war-and consequently a much meW difficult task. THOSE CLASS "A" HOUSES. Labour has poured the vials of its wrath upon the reconstructional authors of the Clags "A" houses, and very few people can honestly blame them under the circum- stances. The whole discussion merely arises out of another gross and flagrant breach of faith on the part of the Government. It is admitted that their promises did not ring trueâGovernment promises for that matter generally have a crack in them-but when they described the houses they wanted to build for heroes to live in (the war was not over then) one had momentary visions of a land of crystal palaces. Now these homes for heroes to, live in have come down to the earthly reality of a single room downstairs (we will throw in the scullery as long as so many members of the Council are anxious to impress upon us the fact that there is a scul- lery) and three bedrooms. Only five per cent. of them are to go up it is true, but when we want to rid the world of the slum type of house, why should we re-stock it by building fresh ones. if only to the extent of five per cent? NOT ONE-ROOMED HOUSES? we are told that they are not one-roomed houses because there is a scullery and three bedrooms. That is merely playing with words, for the fact remains that there is only one living room, which, after all, is what is meant by describing them as one-roomed houses. Naturally, the unhappy people who occupy them will be grateful for the scullery thrown in, and will probably offer up a prayer for Dr. Addison, the builder of the heroes' houses, at least once a day. It is useless for the Margam Councillors, who are in agreement with the scheme, to point out that this type of house will be reserved for old-age pensioners and others in straitened circumstances. But will they? There are people who have to be protected against them- selvesâpeople who will crowd into those houses with large families for the sake of their cheapness; young married couples who do not ijant to start their matrimonial career with the handicap of a large house rent. All these will rush for the class "A" house for the sake of its cheapness, and, in due course the sanitary authorities will have to enquire once more into a squalid case of over- crowding. i WHY OLD-AGE PENSIONERS? I it we come back to hard facts once more, why should old-age pensioners be condemned to live in hovels of this kind? Is that the best the nation can do for its old people, many of whom have fought its earlier battles in i times of war. Most of us look forward to the day when some more tender consideration for I these old people will move the hearts of the politicians to deprive some of the gilded lim- pets of Whitehall of the nation's wealth, and give it to the really deserving poor. One year of strict economy in Government depart-I' ments, one year of payment to Governm<,?nt officials in high quarters on the basis of what they really earn, would provide a fund that would maintain our old people in a manner that would reflect more worthily upon their I sons. THE ST. DYFRIG'S CONCERT. I My attention has been drawn to an over- sight in drafting out my report of the St. j Dyfrig's concert last week. Apparently, I omitted to give the name of the accompanist, I and I hasten to make reparation to the little lady in question, dho, I understand, was Miss j Edith Morgans, the daughter of Mr. Mor- gan, of Lady Jane Street. Miss Morgans, it appears, is also the deputy-organist at St. Paul's. COUNTY SCHOOL RE-UNION. I I would call the attention of all old County I School students to the advertisement of the re-union which appears in another column. The event takes place on Tuesday December 23rd, and the programme will consist of a reception and business meeting, followed by whist and dancing. School re-unions are generally very happy events-ifnlen it is the re-union that follows the long summer vaea-I tion and weeks of weary work before Christ- mas lie aheadâbut this particular re-union should be one of exceptional gaiety if only by I reason of its proximity to the festive season, although there must necessarily arise moments I of sadness when a missing face or two mater- ialises into tTie memory of a gallant scholar who did "his bit" even to his life's blood on the plains of battle. TIJE ARCADE SHOPS. I Whatever prompted the Aberavon Council to increase the rent of Mr. Abel Jones's "show case" in the Arcade Buildings to the extraordinary extent of 115 per cent it is difficult to say, but the fact remains that some little consideration might have been shown to a tradesman who came forward at a time when the shops were a glut on the market. Mr. Jones, iat his own expense, spent R120,on the betterment of the promises, thereby enhancing their value, and eventu- ally was forced to abandon the premises as a shop on the ground that no public con- veniences were provided for the use of his staff, and convert it merely into a "show case." This question of lack of public con- ¡ veniences applies with equal force to all I the shops in the Arcade, and it seems strange that they should have been passed by the Local Government Board-ever ready to find any flaw-under the circumstances. There is a certain amount of justice due to a pub- lic-spirited tradesman of the type which Mr. I Abel Jones represents, and I can only point j in comparison that were a member of the Labour Party asked to pay an increall'}/bft 4 his house rent of a mere sixpence a week he would rouse Heaven and earth with his cries. Yet, Labour, as represented by the Aberavon Council, feels no compunction in I raising the rent of a heavy taxpayer, not six- pence, but 115 per cent!


OVER THE WALL Being the Highly…