The Satur­day brief­ing

Daily Express - - INSIDE POLITICS -

IS THERE any­thing you are des­per­ately yearn­ing to know? Are there any press­ing fac­tual dis­putes you would like us to help re­solve? This is the page where we shall do our best to an­swer any ques­tions you throw at us, what­ever the sub­ject.

CAN you tell me the ori­gin of the phrase “kan­ga­roo court”?

Bar­bara Parkins, Hat­field, Hert­ford­shire THE phrase orig­i­nated not, as one might sur­mise, in Aus­tralia but in the United States in the mid-19th cen­tury.

Fron­tier towns at the time re­lied on itin­er­ant judges who wan­dered from town to town mak­ing hasty judg­ments as their fees de­pended on how many tri­als they con­ducted and some­times even on the size of the fines they im­posed.

The name “kan­ga­roo court” de­rives from the im­age of these judges hop­ping as fast as they could from court to court and it was soon ex­tended to any hasty pseudo-ju­di­cial pro­ce­dure of­ten end­ing in harsh pun­ish­ment.

I WOULD be very in­ter­ested to know whether poet lau­re­ate Sir John Bet­je­man was the voice-over for the film about the Night Mail, fea­tur­ing a poem of that name by WH Au­den.

LC Hol­lier, Birm­ing­ham THE clas­sic Night Mail film fea­tur­ing WH Au­den’s poem, which had been spe­cially writ­ten for it, was made by the GPO (Gen­eral Post Of­fice) in 1936 in praise of the nightly mail-car­ry­ing train from Lon­don Eus­ton to Ed­in­burgh and Aberdeen.

The mu­sic for the film was writ­ten by Ben­jamin Brit­ten and the voice-over was not John Bet­je­man but was mainly the great doc­u­men­tary film-maker John Gri­er­son, with some pas­sages nar­rated by Stu­art Legg.

CAN you tell me when the 11-plus ex­am­i­na­tion was in­tro­duced and when it was abol­ished? I took the exam in the au­tumn of 1944 and heard that I had passed in May 1945 around VE Day.

Mrs D How­son, Water­houses, Stafford­shire YOU must have been one of the first to take the 11-plus. It was in­tro­duced in 1944 af­ter be­ing cre­ated in the But­ler Ed­u­ca­tion Act of that year to de­ter­mine whether chil­dren aged 11 should go on to a gram­mar school, sec­ondary modern or tech­ni­cal school.

There are still 164 gram­mar schools in Eng­land and an­other 69 in Northern Ire­land and the 11-plus is still used as an en­trance test for many of these. As a manda­tory test used through­out the na­tion how­ever it had been phased out by 1976.

IN the 1950s the au­thor Dorn­ford Yates had to change the cho­sen ti­tle of his novel Lady-in-Wait­ing to Wife Ap­par­ent as his orig­i­nal ti­tle had been used by an­other au­thor.

I re­cently read in the Daily Ex­press that Stu­art Smith is pub­lish­ing a book en­ti­tled The Devil’s Dis­ci­ple but I know that was the ti­tle of a Den­nis Wheat­ley book

years ago. Has the copy­right law on book ti­tles changed?

Mar­garet Brakell, Hor­ley, Sur­rey IN gen­eral, book ti­tles have never been sub­ject to copy­right law as they are too short to be con­sid­ered in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty. The de­ci­sion of Dorn­ford Yates to change his ti­tle at the last mo­ment came when he dis­cov­ered that the other Lady-in-Wait­ing book was sched­uled to come out at the same time as his own and he wanted to avoid con­fu­sion.

In some cir­cum­stances how­ever a book ti­tle can be trade­marked to stop oth­ers who might, de­lib­er­ately or ac­ci­den­tally, cash in on the suc­cess of the first work.

No­body now can write a book called The Da Vinci Code or any­thing with Harry Pot­ter in its ti­tle with­out risk­ing some very nasty lawyers’ let­ters. As for The Devil’s Dis­ci­ple, that was the ti­tle of a play by Ge­orge Bernard Shaw writ­ten in 1897, which was the year Den­nis Wheat­ley was born.

Wheat­ley wrote The Devil Rides Out and used The Devil’s Dis­ci­ple as the work­ing ti­tle of the book that even­tu­ally ap­peared as They Used Dark Forces.

IT has been sug­gested to me that black and white are not colours be­cause they can­not be made from pri­mary colours. If they are not colours, what should they be clas­si­fied as and why?

Will Heyes, Wigan, Lan­cashire THERE are many dif­fer­ent an­swers to this ques­tion. If we are talk­ing about the colours of light, ev­ery colour is a com­bi­na­tion of the three pri­mary colours red, green and blue. Shine by three spot­lights of those colours on to a screen and the re­gion in which they over­lap will ap­pear white. White light con­tains all wave­lengths of light so you could say that white is the supreme, all-en­com­pass­ing colour.

Black, on the other hand, is the ab­sence of light so you could say black isn’t a colour at all. On the other hand, if we are talk­ing about colour as pig­ment, then the pri­mary colours are red, yellow and blue, which can be mixed to­gether to cre­ate all the other colours ex­cept white. Mix them all to­gether and you get a murky black­ish ap­pear­ance.

So by that cri­te­rion we might say black is a colour but white isn’t. The whole ques­tion how­ever is heav­ily tinted by the in­flu­ence of pho­tog­ra­phy and film.

His­tor­i­cally we have black-and-white or colour pic­tures. By that stan­dard both black and white aren’t colours. So you may feel free to take your pick over whether white, black, both or nei­ther are colours.

AS I watched the Ry­der Cup re­cently I won­dered how the strange names for scor­ing came about: ea­gle, bo­gey, etc. I know the game has a long his­tory and would be in­ter­ested to know how it has evolved from its an­cient be­gin­nings in Scot­land.

Lynne Rhodes, Hull BOTH bo­gey and birdie date back to the 1890s with their ori­gins re­spec­tively in Scot­land and the US. Bo­gey was a ref­er­ence to the elu­sive and fright­en­ing bo­gey man who lurked in the shad­ows and fright­ened chil­dren. Oddly enough a bo­gey score orig­i­nally de­scribed what is now known as a par score. As in the child-scar­ing mantra “I’m the bo­gey man, catch me if you can”, a bo­gey was a score peo­ple wanted to catch.

When the term par came in, the word bo­gey took on its more sin­is­ter side as some­thing to be avoided.

Birdie came from the Amer­i­can use of the word bird for any­thing com­mend­able. An Amer­i­can player named Ab Smith is said to have de­scribed a fine golf stroke as “a bird of a shot” in 1899 and this turned into birdie for a hole played un­der par.

The At­lantic City Coun­try Club even has a plaque on its golf course to mark the first use of the term birdie, which it says was in 1903.

Once birdie was es­tab­lished, it was nat­u­ral to call two un­der par by the name of a large bird, the ea­gle. Three un­der par was first known as a dou­ble-ea­gle un­til some­one in the 1920s called it an al­ba­tross.

TOUGH JUS­TICE: A kan­ga­roo court fea­tured in the Western Santa Fe Stam­pede star­ring John Wayne, cen­tre

BOR­DER CROSS­ING: John Gri­er­son’s voice was heard in the 1936 film

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.