'I'HE SENIOR CIRCLE
Secretary and Treasurer: D. B. Tillyer.
Flushed with the success of the meetings of the Autumn Term 1958, the Society entered this year with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately only two independent Society meetings could be held during the term. The first of these was a visit to the Whitehall Theatre to see the farce Simple Spymen. The Society thoroughly enjoyed this evening out despite one certain member's raucous laughter, which could be heard all evening high above the others. The other meeting was a debate proposing unilateral nuclear disarmament. This aroused much interest and a large audience was present to hear the arguments for both sides. After a vigorous and lively debate the motion was defeated.
The other meetings of the term were taken up with the Allpass Debating Competition and the School showed practically no interest in it (as was reported in the last edition of The Monovian). At one debate there were only seven members present and the highest number at any of them was sixteen. Surely this is an indictment of the competition. It is obvious that the School is not interested in this form of debating competition with its necessarily childish motions. The School will only support debates with motions of sufficient moment to draw them, such as the unilateral nuclear disarmament debate mentioned above. The School no longer wants this dreary, protracted competition. The Society is nevertheless saddled with running the whole affair and has to give up meetings, which the members want, to accommodate a dead competition, which the School does not support.
However, after a rest in the Summer Term, the Society began afresh in the autumn with an extremely spirited business meeting at which a very strong movement developed for the abolition of the Committee since the Secretary did all the work and the Committee no work at all. The suggestion was that the Secretary should not be appointed from the Committee by the Committee and he responsible to the Society only through the Committee, but that he should be elected by the assembly and should be directly responsible to it. This idea gained much support in the meeting and a motion proposing the change was defeated by only one vote. The Committee was then elected and at its subsequent meeting, Tillyer was once again elected to the post of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer.
The term started well with a Staff Brains Trust at which there were nearly fifty members present. As usual, the questions varied, to quote a phrase, from the sublime to the ridiculous; that is from a comment on Samuel Johnson's remark that "Celibacy has no pleasures" via the School election to the much publicised Liberal revival. Perhaps three comments in particular from the meeting, deserve to go down to posterity in the sacred annals of The Monovian as well as in the Society records:
Mr. Marshall: "Celibacy? I don't remember it."
Mr. Hyde: "The best description I can give of the attitude of boys to girls in co-educational schools is 'delicate respect'. That's how I treat Mrs. Wright!"
Mr. Smith: "I am afraid I have never seen Miss Bardot, how do you say it, in the flesh, or on the screen."
Needless to say, the Brains Trust, which also included Dr. Warschauer and Mr. Piercy, was a riotous success.
Thus the Society is well set for another highly successful and varied year's activities and it is pleasing to see so many in the Senior School taking such a keen interest.
Editor's Footaote :
P.S.C. and D.C. who assist Tillyer to run the Senior Circle wish to make the following points:
(a) Most of the people who take part in the House Debating Competition are members of the Senior Circle, but the Committee, of the Society has never been "saddled with the organisation of the competition."
(b) In such obviously overlapping activities it is undesirable that there should be a clash of meetings. Generally the Senior Circle has only wanted to meet once per fortnight and the four competition heats have been held in alternate weeks.
(c) The small attendance at preliminary rounds is deplored and the Committee of the Senior Circle has been invited to offer suggestions for increasing the popularity of the competition. This year the whole School has been invited to submit subjects for debate. Criticism should be directed at the Houses for failing to support their teams.
(d) Speaking in public is an art, which all boys should attempt to master and the debating competition provides an excellent opportunity to do this. It is partly responsible for the improvement in standards noted in recent years.
Honorary Secretary and Treasurer: D. B. Tillyer.
Following the success of the initial meeting of the autumn term, a Staff brains trust, reported in the last Monovian, the society enjoyed a full and varied term's activities. The next meeting after the brains trust was a lively discussion that, "The best things in life are unobtainable". This was followed by a balloon debate. In the balloon were Michael Faraday, Tony Hancock, Mrs. Khrus'hchev, Spike Milligan, T. C. Mits and Sabrina. Surprisingly, Spike Milligan won the debate. Mlle. Lajous, the French assistante, gave a talk entitled "Youth in France". The meeting was not as well attended as we had hoped, but this was mainly because the girls' high schools were unable to send anyone at the last minute. The final meeting of the term was a talk by Mr. Yu Chih-Chung, a representative of the charge d'affaires of the People's Republic of China on "China To-day". This evening meeting was an immense success with Members of Chingford and Woodford County High Schools present.
The spring term was mainly taken up with theatre visits. The society went to see Rosmersholm, The Aspern Papers, The Hostage, and a revue, Pieces of Eight. However, towards the end of the term, two very important evening meetings were held. To follow up the meeting with Mr. Yu, the previous term, we invited Dr. Y. S. C'hcn the director of the Free China Information Agency, to give a talk to the society. His talk on Free China generally and Taiwan (Formosa) in particular and the Communist threat in Asia was very interesting and enlightening. The other meeting was a talk by Mr. Intze, a Hungarian Refugee, who gave a brilliant account of the Hungarian uprising of 1956, and the conditions of the oppressed countries of Eastern Europe. Bath these meetings were among the best the society has ever held. The latter was held in conjunction with the European Club, and the girls of Chingford, Walthamstow and Woodford County High Schools attended both.
At the end of the spring term the society suffered a serious set-back when Mr. Chapman left Monoux for "pastures new". The society will miss his keen interest and participation in its activities. His eager and ready wit, and his chairman's remarks, will be sorely missed when the society starts a new season next autumn. Thank you, Mr. Chapman, for helping the Senior Circle to grow into one of the most active and influential societies in the Monoux family. Some measure of the success with which he and Mr. Couch have helped the society lies in the society's membership, which now nears seventy and the average attendance at meetings, which is about forty.