"SUB" Readers MY day begins at night. Sit down at desk and set out stall ---gun pot, old razor blade, battery of pencils, crooked spike, paper. Also put down, optimistically, volume of Crashaw (may be an odd few minutes later on).
Chief sub throws a wad at me wad turns out to be miscellaneous collection of " copy." Here's an alderman who's spent a. lifetime collecting stamps. Hate stamp collecting. Decide alderman shall
have a few lines. Decide am allowing personal prejudice to enter. Give alderman special little headline. Next few pars deal with Gary Cooper's next picture, 's latest way with sewage, Rumania's oil, and the faint beginning of the next Russian attack on Viborg (office have decided against Vipuriiwhich reminds me, must have another overhaul of vast schedule collected from Ministry on what can and what can not be given).
Having bitten my teeth, night's work begins with the "big" news. Atmosphere becomes thick; much smoke (wish " X" didn't have to smoke black twist). Get piece of " sticky" copy—hidden libel in it : hold piece of copy on one side; hope chief sub will forget about it.
ELOODS of copy descend. Spend ten I– minutes putting Russia and Finland in order; get few lines which mean it's all got to be pulled down and the nice new " angle " put on it. Just manage to invoke St. Francis de Sates. Curse craze for having everything "new." Note am smoking twenty cigarettes in first three hours. No wonder atmosphere gets thick—but it wouldn't be so bad but for " X's " blasted twist. . . .
That story I did early on—did I spell Major Elliot with one "t" or two?
Search through proofs. Can't find mine. Make a note of it. Look up "Who's Who"; call down anathema on people who think they're a "Who," anyway.
Send boy out for another ten Players. Boy brings Capstan; swear; another new angle on Russia—Finns deny latest Soviet claim. Undo whole story for second time. Think chief sub must have forgotten "sticky" copy. Mr Welles has arrived in Italy and every scribe in every capital of the world is pouring out his daft speculations from his eternal " well-informed high circles." Murder as much as I can.
G0 through speech on education by M.P. Disagree with every word of it. Apply Thomism to it; get angry. Throw down pencil and go to "have one " at the pub round the corner. Better. See story in proof attacking " squeamish people " who won't bomb civilians. Dash off letter.
Find " Elliot" proof. Name O.K.
Find chief sub has retrieved "sticky" copy from under my pad and set it out accusingly before me. Deal with it. Invoke de Sales. Spend final two hours scribbling furiously about Welles and what he said to "Musso " and what " Musso" said to him and what Hitler thinks of it. Am told London office is doing the whole story. Curse London office. Am wanted on the " stone "—fly down ; everyone gets in the way. Ten lines wanted out of " Welles "—Russia won't fit—does the story about Russian atrocities in Poland go with Finland? How the deuce do I know? Ask the chief. General cursing breaks out; pandemonium for ten minutes; paper gets to "bed"; plod back to desk; find yet another " new angle " on Russia waiting for next edition.
Decide Belloe was right about journalism . , . " journalists, who know nothing of morning save that it is a time of jaded emptiness when jiou have just done prophesying (for the hundredth time) the approaching end of the world, when the floors aro beginning to tremble with machinery, and when, in a weary kind of way, one feels hungry and alone: a nasty life, and usually a short one!'
WALK home. Pass gasworks. Reach " digs." Too weary to eat. Manage to get through an " Our Father" and a general recollection. Clamber into bed, Sleep.
Wake up at 10 a.m. Drink much tea. Make morning offering and hope it " will do."
Decide to cut down cigarettes after finishing this packet.
Wander aimlessly about house. Decide at last to get dressed.
" Have one " at the "local"; find " Z" there; argue with him about Communism; begin to liven up. Get on to " Church "—begin to have appetite;; " Z" says truth doesn't exist. Spread myself proving it does. We go out over moors to moorland pub; stay there all day drinking and smoking and talking; life is worth living, after all.
Manage to slip into church—want to get up and go out as soon as I get there, Hope it " will do."
Get back to office. Am asked Why, opposition had this point and we didn't. Decide journalism is a dog's life, a place for half-wits.
Decide it's time I quitted. Am quitting next September. Where to? For once that's something which the great public shall not know; I'm going to find myself again after fifteen years of hectic wastage.