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Friday, 29 March 2013

Understanding Einstein

Tuesday, March 29th., Cadogan Square, London.

I went by bus to Trafalgar Square, and into the National Gallery, and stayed there for an hour, and greatly enjoyed Nicholas Poussin's "Nativity", which is the most amusing "Nativity" I have ever seen; and I came out with the required idea, which I shall begin to write tomorrow.

James O'Connor came in. I walked up to Piccadilly with him. He said: I only heard indirectly of the change in your circumstances, my dear Arnold. My wife would much like to call. She is very fond of babies." We travelled by bus together to Sloane Street.  

The Rt. Hon. Sir James O'Connor, PC (1872 – 1931), was an Irish barrister and judge He was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1914, and Attorney-General for Ireland in 1917. He served briefly as a High Court judge, then as a Lord Justice of the Irish Court of Appeal from 1918 to his enforced retirement in 1924. After a period of practice at the English Bar he returned to Ireland and was admitted as a solicitor, a decision which caused some controversy. Maurice Healy described him as a man of great ability but with no respect for the traditions of the Irish Bar: a failure as a Law Officer, but a good High Court judge and even better as an appeal judge.

Home at 2.45. Corrected a Sunday Pictorial article. Decent sleep. I then wrote 400 words of an Evening Standard article by 4 o'clock.

This article will start from a reflection that the centenaries of Newton and Beethoven are now safely over. I dislike centenaries which are dangerous to one's peace of mind, as they give rise to a stream of twaddle, the sight and sound of which make one feel awkward, constrained, and lower one's estimate of human nature. Reading some of the tributes to Beethoven , I had some of the terrible qualms of humiliation and self-consciousness which visit me when I have to cross arms and join hands and sing Auld Land Syne. Newton was better handled and his centenary leads me to thinking about Einstein. I could desire to assist at the centenary of Einstein, but heaven will no doubt decide against me. Here I am, violent but grey-haired, endowed with a fair sanity and general intelligence, and a passion for knowledge - and after all these years I understand little more of the relativity theory than a clever hall-porter.

Then Michael Morton called by appointment. He told me that he thought he could sell the film rights of "Riceyman Steps" to the Gainsborough people (Hitchcock, producer) for £2,500. I told him to go away and do it. 

Gainsborough Pictures was founded in 1924 by Michael Balcon and was a sister company to the Gaumont British from 1927, with Balcon as Director of Production for both studios. Whilst Gaumont-British, based at Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush produced the 'quality' pictures, Gainsborough mainly produced 'B' movies and melodramas at its Islington Studios. Both studios used continental film practices, especially those from Germany, with Alfred Hitchcock being encouraged by Balcon -- who had links with UFA -- to study there and make multilingual co-production films with UFA.

This morning I read a Russian short story before leaving the house on the idea-quest, to inspire me. It did inspire me. Dorothy and I played Haydn after dinner.

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