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Friday, 3 May 2013

Bothersome interference

Thursday, May3rd., Cadogan Square, London.

Not much doing yesterday.
I got some ideas in the morning walking to Piccadilly, and saw an exhibition of 1860 "Art" (costume) at 18, Cork Street. Not good.
Then to the Retrospective Exhibition of the London Group in Burlington Gardens. (I lent four pictures to this show). It had considerable interest.

The London Group was an artist-run society based in London. Formed in 1913, its aim was 'to advance public awareness of contemporary visual art by holding exhibitions annually'. The London Group championed modern styles of art. Its radical young artists opposed the conservatism and power of the Royal Academy. The group was at the forefront of modernism in Britain and welcomed new European developments in painting and sculpture, especially from France. It provoked heated controversy. Its strength was that it embraced the whole spectrum of modern British art movements at the time. Harold Gilman, a leading Camden Town painter, was the London Group's first chairman. Other founder members included Walter Sickert, Spencer Gore, Robert Bevan, Duncan Grant and (Percy) Wyndham Lewis.The London Group survived the First World War and the early death of Harold Gilman from influenza in 1919. It flourished in the 1920s, developing into a progressive and critically acclaimed group of contemporary artists. The Group's 1928 retrospective exhibition of its first 15 years was held at the New Burlington Galleries.

Lunch at the Reform with Gardiner, Page, Leif Jones, Hedley etc.

I have had a wireless receiver installed by the B.B.C. at a cost of £60. It is not working satisfactorily and I am unhappy.
For example, last evening we wanted to listen to a performance of the Second Act of Die Walkure, but found it impossible to get an uninterrupted transmission of the opera. Another programme, and perhaps two other programmes, kept breaking in with more or less comic music of a violently anti-Wagnerian character, and no amount of adjustment would prevent this. Also a long speech. The Wagner would go on excellently for a few minutes , and then, for no apparent reason, it would be drowned by something else. All attempts at re-adjustment only resulted in whistling and various other strange noises.
This receiving set is admirable within certain limits, but I consider that the limits are far too narrow. An instrument which will neither get Continental stations, nor a Daventry station without mingling it with London or some other place, must surely be classed as extremely unsatisfactory.
I have written to the B.B.C. to complain.

August 1927 had seen the introduction of a new high-powered radio transmitter at Daventry which allowed the BBC to provide a national service (the BBC National Programme) for the majority of the population, in addition to the pre-existing local stations. This would remain the only national network (although Scotland had its own Scottish National Programme from Glasgow) until 1939 when the services were combined to make the BBC Home Service. The number of Wireless Licences issued by the Post Office had grown from 200,000 in 1923 to 2.2 million by the end of 1927, and demand was increasing exponentially. Back in the 1920s, wireless sets were much more complicated and temperamental devices which required specialist installation and maintenance. A brief  official guide to the key components of a receiver gave purchasers tips and pointers on how to get the best reception. There are some key points under the title “Twelve Don’ts For Listeners” which can be best summarised as “don’t fiddle with it”. Incorrect tuning of a wireless set could result in the receiver turning into a transmitter, causing interference with not only your own set but also those of your neighbours. This was down to oscillation, which was such a problem that the BBC issued free pamphlets advising listeners on how best to avoid it (“don’t fiddle...”), and reminding them that the Postmaster General could cancel their Wireless Licence if they were found to be causing a nuisance.

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