1 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 12


THE siege of London has been waged now for nearly two months. Theatres and cinemas in the West End have been destroyed by bombs, publishing houses have lost their stocks of books, museums have been temporarily closed But as this page will show entertainment goes on : in the daylight hours we can still watch ballet, hear music, visit the latest film. The glass may be out of the gallery windows, but the paintings are inside. We can be proud of this : that the human spirit insists on time to flower between work and the shelter. Perhaps, if the siege is long drawn-out, a special art may emerge : an art known no longer needs to be escapist, because the audience has known the worst the enemy can do and has become accustomed to ideas of pain and death. That time hasn't come yet, these are still fragments of the old-time that we shore against our ruins, and, while he salutes the gallantry of those who maintain the arts of entertainment, the critic, too, must be allowed to carry on in his old way, carping sometimes and hopeful always.