Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Wild   party  in  Pommie  literary  Garden  of   Eden 

The international literary review monthly Adam, published in English and French , edited  by  Miron  Grindea , celebrated its  21st birthday in 1953 . An important   announcement  in  the magazine issued  an  invitation to   a  coming   of  age   party-in fitting style-which  would be held  for the  youngster. 

 The  purely  private  gathering would be  held  at the  Institut  Francais  in  South Kensington on January 30 ,  many  distinguished  writers  from  Britain and the Continent  had  promised  to  attend  .

These included   T.S.Eliot, O.M., Bertrand Russell,O.M., Jean Cocteau, Cyril Connolly , John Hayward, Alan Dent, Nicolas Bentley, Ronald Searle , and others.  Peter  Ustinov   would  play the  cello (with Franz Osborn at the  piano ) in a sui-generis way.

Ustinov was also expected   to make  stirring  revelations  on the Forbidden Fruit  and  Miss  Hermione  Gingold  would also offer  her own  views  on the subject . So would  George Mikes, author of  "How to be  an alien ".

And Miss Claire Bloom , of the Old Vic,  would recite a poem by Walter de la Mare , entitled "Adam".  Adam's health would be drunk in 10  bottles of   donated  champagne .   
Little Darwin  received  a  belated  invitation  to the party via   a  bound in volume of  the magazine   from 1952-1959 , ex  University  of  Queensland  Library , the  gift  of  a  kind  benefactor   clearing   out   her   stunning   book collection  in  North  Queensland .  
Taped into  one  issue , on  the actual  party invite , was  a  short , yellowed ,   torn newspaper  clipping,  headed  Tame lions , mocking   Adam's   party.
It read  : An entirely different  lot of  lions attended  the 21st  birthday of a small (600 subscribers) highbrow  magazine. A well-dined, comfortably  seated audience in  evening dress goggled respectfully at Mr T. S. Eliot, O.M., and wriggled  in  delicious  guilt  at  Rumanian  born  editor  Miron Grindea  who  told  them of "young  poets  and  literary critics  starving ."
Someone sang some Mozart . Mr Larry Adler  toyed with  some Bach , Bertrand Russell ,O.M., spoke  with  some  bite. Some one described how  the magazine  devoted a whole  issue to young Ecuadorian poets-as if to prove  that editor Grindea  knew a hot  story when  he saw one .  Peter Ustinov did a  turn .
Finally  the sort of audience  that stared longer  at Rose Macaulay  than at  Claire  Bloom  fell  to- on Barsac ( French  wine )  , instead  of  bubbly .  
 'Er, I am afraid you won't know me from Adam '.