25 JULY 1931, Page 11


A gentleman is making his will on a gramophone record, in his own voice. This is an excellent idea. The most maddening thing about all legal documents—especially those involving the transfer of money—is their impersonality. Even the drawing up of a cheque is far too noncommittal for our liking. How much less irksome we should find our debts if we could pay them orally, expressing by the inflections of our voice something of what we feel about the creditor I

At present only the barest indication of our state of mind can be given by penning a few words of invective after his

name : as, for instance, Pay to the order of John Smith (curse him !), Tailor (I don't think),the sum of fifteen guineas." But this form of self-expression, though we have often found a certain solace in it, is cruelly limited and perhaps not alto- gether dignified. As a first step towards something better we welcome the substitution of discs for documents in the making of wills. It will be good to have the crude statistics of testamentary dispositions translated into emotional terms by all the arts of the diseur—to underline, for example, with a sneering intonation the perfunctory nature of one's bequest to a hated nephew. Moreover, it will be possible to infuriate one's heirs by interspersing among their legacies snatches of song, guffaws, shouts of glee, cries of " Suck it, Auntie Maud ! " and even by reading, in a loud, booming voice, selections from one's own very inferior verse.