Sir: There was a time, two or three years ago,
when sturdier constables from London's police force used to be sent out to the further and darker reaches of Wandsworth Common in nightly attempts to prevent the loonier Members of our society from queer-bashing; are they now to report to Gower Street? Lurking behind the Waspe pseudonym someoody in your March 31 issue (and I would dearly like to think it was not Mr Gale or Mr Hurren) has produced a diatribe cf such Incredible tastelessness and venom that it would,. were it to be taken for real, have set back the cause of serious theatrical journalism by about thirty years. It is a little late in the day to start concerning ourselves with the intimate private lives of either Sir Noel or Mr Beaumont but if the accusation levelled against them is one of power (the argument in the original piece gets a little confused around this Point) then it would presumably, given the comparable musical influence of Lord Harewood, be as well to rid this country of aristocratic musicians . . . a suggestion I fully expect to read in a forthcoming edition of The Spectator just before the mysterious Mr Waspe retires to his bunker to start work on the final solution.
If the accusation against Mr Beaumont is that he failed to give sufficient employment to one particular director, then that seems a somewhat slender justification for a piece which would, if published a week earlier, have brought punitive and highly justified damages; if it is that his taste in pyjamas was exotic, then there again I can't help thinking there are more important things to be said about a man who, for better or worse, shaped almost alone the post-war British theatre. Incidentally, one of the hallmarks of Beaumont's management was a determination to use established ' names ' in all possible roles — those names being by definition of people long past the need to tout for employment in the curiously lurid manner envisaged by ' Waspe' who presumably made an excuse and left Lord North Street to attend to the workings of his own fevered imagination.
I am only too well aware that a paper in circulation trouble needs to publish pieces that are liable to provoke some kind of reaction; but need they be so desperately reactionary in themselves? The News of the World circa 1956 would have had grave doubts about running so vicious a .postmortem, and I can only wish that some at Gower Street had shared those doubts.
Sheridan Morley T'Gallant House, Waltham St Lawrence, Berks.