Another day we went to a small book fair in Tenterden, a very pretty little town I bought a couple of old magazines there, including an issue of Britannia & Eve from December 1930.
|Britannia & Eve, December 1930|
There are two articles on Hollywood and the current films - it seems that the "Talkies" were just taking over from silent films, and so this is commented on in a couple of places. There is a page of stills in a new film in which "Miss Evelyn Laye makes her talking debut". (According to Wikipedia, Evelyn Laye was British and had appeared in plays and musical comedies. In the new film, she plays a flower-seller in a cafe in Hungary, and also a famous singer who she agrees to impersonate, and a captive in a nobleman's castle. It was a Samuel Goldwyn film and, says Wikipedia, a huge flop.) Elsewhere, one of the magazine's writers speculates, "I am not sure that we are not altering our voices and that the Talkies are not responsible for new intonations, new phrases".
There are are also several articles on fashion, and others on Christmas decor and cookery, that you would think would be aimed more at woman readers than men.
Because it's a Christmas issue, the fashion pages present evening gowns (though there is another article on what to wear for a winter sports holiday in Switzerland). The fashions are all illustrated with drawings rather than photos, and women were evidently supposed to be tall, slim and willowy.
|A Lovely Gown in which to Celebrate Christmas Festivities|
Of course, no real woman looks like the drawings - it would be grotesque if she did. Elsewhere in the magazine is an article on women's golf, illustrated with several photos of real women looking far from slim and willowy - in fact, rather frumpy.
Women always wore a hat when out of doors, and a close-fitting beret was popular for golfers. An ad shows another style of hat favoured by some of the golfers, and that it could look attractive (but not if you sit slumped like a sack of potatoes, like one or two of the women in the photo above).
|"An attractive small felt for all weathers"|
The ads are fascinating, as usual in old magazines. I was intrigued to see the range of electrical goods you could buy for your home, even in 1930s - a toaster, a vacuum cleaner, an iron, an electric kettle, a coffee percolator,...
|Electrical Christmas Gifts|
Another ad shows a range of radios and gramophones (and a combination 'graphophone').
|Columbia Radios and Gramophones|
I was astonished at the prices - the cheapest 'radio table model' in the ad is 20 gns. (A guinea was £1 1s, so 20 guineas was £21). The equivalent today, from the Bank of England's historic inflation calculator, is over £1200. That's partly because it's designed to be a smart piece of furniture, in a wooden cabinet, but even so, that's huge amount of money for a radio. (And there weren't many programmes to listen to, anyway.)
There are several car ads in the magazine, and the cheapest is the Austin 7 at £122 10s. - only 6 times the cost of a radio.
|"The New Austin 7"|
But my favourite ad is this one for Dolcis shoes. I love the Art Deco styling, and the shoes are very stylish - though the evening shoes in crepe de chine and velvet wouldn't last long.
|"For Day or Evening - Dolcis"|
Unfortunately, although the magazine is 170 pages long, there are some missing at the end, as I found when I tried reading one of the stories. So now I shall never know the ending of 'Shane of the Sorrowful Islands', by Beatrice Grimshaw, a 'drama of mutiny in the Solomons'. Very disappointing.
Evelyn Laye was a big variety star in the 20s - I have a CD of her stuff, though I admit it's rather too 'operetta' in style for me, so I don't often listen to it. They liked 'em high-pitched back then.ReplyDelete
That's fascinating, Mim. I imagine something like Snow White's singing voice in the Walt Disney cartoon - high and sort of warbly?Delete