25 February 2012

On The Way to California

Lord Dunsany, whose poem written aboard the Queen Mary apparently remains unpublished.

On this day in 1954:

From Our New York Staff

NEW YORK, February 25 -- Lord Dunsany, 75-year-old Irish poet, came to New York to-day to clear up the mysteries of modern poetry for Americans. He roared at reporters: "It's bunk. All bunk."

"Fear makes people read modern poetry," he snorted. "Fear of being called a low-brow, fear of being pushed out of cocktail parties if one admits he does not understand it.

"I deny utterly the message of a chaotic age must be chaotic. In a chaotic time people need a message other than chaotic from a poet."

Attacks 'master'

The 6ft. 4in. poet, Americans' favourite lord, then carried the attack to T. S. Eliot, acknowledged master of the moderns.

Eliot's "Confidential Clerk," the current enigma of Broadway, has been accused by critics of being both "too light" and "too deep."

"Listen to this," said Lord Dunsany indignantly, "'Garlic and sapphires in the mud obscure the bedded axle wheel.' That's Eliot.

T. S. Eliot aboard the Queen Mary

"Garlic and sapphires in the mud, indeed. Did you ever see any sapphires in the mud? Why can't they write their philosophy clearly?"

Lord Dunsay then read his own latest poem, "On the Way to California," written on board the Queen Mary.

"There," he bellowed happily, "no garlic, no sapphires in the mud."

Source: The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

15 February 2012

Meet Me in the Tepidarium After Temple

On this day in 1936:



The larger private suites on the main deck of the Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary, which will sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton on 27th May, will be of the most elaborate character. They will comprise--

Two sets of double bedrooms, sitting room, dining room, lobby, halls, pantry and other space.

On C deck near one of the swimming pools, are the special baths. They include--

Frigidarium (cold chamber), tepidarium (warm chamber), calidarium (hot chamber), steamroom, massage rooms, electric baths.

On the same deck is the first class restaurant, seating some 830 persons. Private dining rooms, giving off the main restaurant, are situated in each corner.

On the sports deck are a squash racket court, spaces for deck tennis and other games, and the kennels. On the sun deck is a gymnasium, a verandah lounge, grill and cocktail bar.

Plans of eight decks of the giant liner show smoke rooms, galleries, covered and opened promenades, lounges, shops, a lecture room, children's play room, drawing rooms, studio, library, ballroom, observation lounge, and cocktail bar on the promenade deck. Beauty parlors are on B deck.

The Queen Mary will be the first ship in the world to have a synagogue.

Other ships have rooms which are sometimes temporarily converted to synagogues but in the Queen Mary, the synagogue will be permanent and the space will be used for no other purpose except Jewish religious worship.

Mr. J. C. Eprile, F. R. I. B. A., who has designed the temple said: "The synagogue will hold about 50 worshippers.

"It will be about 20 feet square and although in miniature, will be complete in every detail.

"The walls will be panelled in English oak and maccassar, with in ebony bandings. The pews will be oak.

"Inscriptions in Hebrew will be laid in wooden letters round of the panelling. Special wood has been brought from the Dominion for this purpose.

"The ceiling of the synagogue will be in cerulean blue picked out in [illegible].

"The fittings will include a shulchan, or reading desk, which was made from oak, maccassar and ebony.

"The ark contains the scrolls of the law, which are the Five Books of Moses in the Old Testament, written by hand on parchment by Jewish scribes. This task, by the [illegible] they have to do from memory.

"The Queen Mary's engineers arranged for the Jewish Nair-Tomid, or perpetual Light of Remembrance, to be lit electrically on a special circuit so that it will never go out. The fitting holding the light is to be hand-wrought bronze.

"The temple is being arranged so that high festivals as well as ordinary sabbath services can be celebrated."

The synagogue will be on B deck amidships.

The design has been passed [illegible] Jewish council of Beth-din as [illegible] the Cunard-White Star authority.

Source: The Longreach Leader (Queensland, Australia)

04 February 2012

It Should Be Cunard...

On this day in 1966:

Cunard Has A Pair of Queens That Sail In A Red Ink Sea

LONDON (AP) -- Cunard, one of the world's most famous shipping companies, is fighting for survival in a tide of red ink that is blamed mainly on two proud but aging passenger liners -- the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

A new and younger management team is trying to turn this tide through an air-age diversification. They hope one day to make Cunard as famous for profitable air links, hotels and even ski lodges as it has been for ships.

The present management took over at the end of 1965 under new chairman Sir Basil Smallpiece. Smallpiece, 59, said that a $3,186,000 loss in the first half of the year made it imperative "to get ourselves on a paying basis."

"The time has come," he added, "to give our younger men their head -- men who will know that their own future in the company will depend on the success of their own efforts and will realize that for them it is a case of do or die."

The first half report for the 125-year-old company showed that not a single Cunard passenger liner was making a profit. And the company's profitable partnership with British Overseas Airways Corp. (BOAC) was under attack by some labor government officials aiming to force a divorce.

Sir Basil's first step was to swing company control toward Southampton from Liverpool and to tighten that control. He brought his sea dogs and landlubbers together.

One of the reorganized company's five new operating divisions has been christened the "hotel division."

In Smallpiece's view, ships can no longer profitably compete in passenger transport. Jet planes have taken over the business of just getting people from place to place. Now it is best for ship lines to offer more comfortable travel -- to make their ships serve as floating hotels or holiday resorts and to specialize in cruises.

Cunard has already announced plans to cut its winter Atlantic service sharply and increase its bid for more cruise business.

The smaller new liners with which Cunard plans eventually to replace the "Queens" are being designed for comfort first. It is reported one of them may never ply the Atlantic in the traditional way.

Cunard is apparently pointing at a long-term future that leads to the hotel business -- afloat and ashore.  The 25-year-old Queen Elizabeth, in a Scottish drydock for a four-month refit and facelift costing $2.8-million, is adding "cruise amenities" like outdoor swimming pools.

That's how the "Queens" may wind up -- as cruise liners or floating hotels.

To make money on the cruise circuit, a liner has to be modern and efficient. Last December Cunard decided that 26-year-old Mauretania, once an Atlantic queen, wasn't making it as a cruise ship. So she was scrapped. And Cunard made sure the Mauretania was broken up -- and not sold to Japanese bidders who wanted to make it a floating hotel. If anybody's going to do that with Cunard ships, the line has apparently concluded, it should be Cunard.

Source: St. Petersburg Times (Florida USA)