BARRY FOSTER... more decorative than anything

I once had the following conversation with a village shopkeeper. Shopkeeper: (in very tragic tones) Mrs Brown’s dying. Me: After all she’s well over ninety and she’s been dying for years. She: Ah, yes, but especially lately. The arts in England, if we are to believe all we read and hear, have been especially dying lately.

I don’t myself believe it. The arts seem to me to be in somewhat the same rather exciting and hopeful state of flourishing neglect by public patrons and government alike, that I remember for the last thirty years. Indeed as with most chronic invalids, there is always one branch of the arts that is making a surprising recovery. So it is now, for, if poetry is moribund, the novel shaky, theatre and music propped up only by subsidy’s crutches, painting, as we all know, has found a fresh lease of life thanks to the new investment treatment.

Nevertheless in a society where growing affluence is the distinguishing feature of life, artists (except for some painters) share with the old and the widowed an embarrassing tendency to remain poor. Gone are the days when Bernard Shaw occupied a Beatle prominence in those popular newspapers which allocate celebrity space according to earning capacity. Unlike old people and widows, however, the plight of the artist in England has become a well known conversational gambit. What the arts do not receive in financial support they at least get in commiserating mention — usually by the very sort of people who in other European countries would read books or go to theatres and art galleries or attend concerts. This commiserating English public however has no intention of doing these things, so they have to find some scapegoats for their neglect of the arts. The usual cliche is to say that it’s all the fault of television.

To its infamous destruction of the nation’s moral fibre and its sinister incitement of British youth to violence, television, it seems, must also add responsibility for the smug, philistinism of the mass of the English public of all classes. Television’s real crime, of course, for most of these critics is that such a lot of people enjoy viewing.

If, in fact, any generalisation about the effects of television is possible, it must surely be that millions more people in this country have become familiar with the arts (if only to be given the chance to reject them) than have ever been wooed away from them. Television plays, serialisation of novels, occasional concerts, or talks on painting must at the very least have converted some thousands previously living in unregenerate ignorance — not all viewers switch off immediately they see the unfamiliar. But, oppressed perhaps by being made the scapegoat for arts’ decline, television planners have tried to do more — they have organised programmes solely concerned with presenting the arts and artists to the public. Prominent among these has been Tempo. The present volume illustrating the highlights of Tempo programmes seems a suitable place to inquire what television can do to foster pleasure in music, painting, poetry, drama, ballet and architecture. And, quite as important, what have the arts as a subject matter to offer to television producers that will allow them to use the medium in new, exciting and pleasurable ways. Perhaps the successes and failures of such a programme as Tempo may even throw some light on whether television, apart from fostering other arts, has any creative originality to offer, is not in short only a medium but itself an art.

FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI - Othello, the tragedy of all V.I.P.'s

To many readers this may seem an unimportant question. Television brings them the plays and serials and variety they ask for and that is enough. Others will claim quite j ustly that television has revolutionised journalism, has added a whole dimension to documentary and, by bringing popular sociology into the home, introduced the British public to itself. This is quite true and by itself it is sufficient to give television a justification over and above its immediate powers of entertainment. But to recruit not only intelligent but sensitive and imaginative people to work for television, more is demanded. Ultimately such recruits will want to feel that television can create new forms, make statements in ways that no other medium can. And if the imagination of the British public is to keep pace with its growing education and knowledge — something that seems to me vital to our society — they are quite right: all the potentialities of television to become an independent creative art must be explored. Tempo has made some of the most interesting of such explorations that I have seen — not least because the producers, in largely foregoing, for various reasons, the use of cinema, have confined themselves to the scope of the television camera. Only by such disciplines can we ever know whether television has anything to offer which is not a mish-mash of cinema, theatre and magic lantern.

What emerges, I think, is exciting. Tempo is always at its best when exploring the processes of creation, finding out exactly how a new production of a play comes into being, how a ballet is imagined and set going, how a choir is brought into unity and so on. It is least successful when it offers us the straight performance of some musician or actor as though we were confronting them in the theatre or concert hall.

The finished work of art seems if anything diminished, certainly made flat by presentation on the telescreen; the mechanisms, the assembling of the pieces, even when the process is a familiar one like the rehearsal of a play, acquire a new and detailed significance as the camera plays upon them. It is in fact by examining the act of creation that television most successfully exalts the finished work of art; it is also in probing and presenting the creative imagination at work that the television producer seems to come nearest to producing something original of his own, a work of art. With varying degrees of success between these two extremes of ends and means Tempo has used its television cameras to throw all sorts of new lights upon finished works of art, even more upon the personalities of great performers and the means they use to project themselves (but then this too is in another way an exploration of the process of creation).

Of all Tempo programmes ‘The Bundle’ seems to me the most suggestive and the most visually exciting. The subject like all worthwhile themes in art is beset with dangers. To show the liberation of secondary modem school children through classes in dramatic self-expression! — the very words as I write them seem to bristle with potential sentimentality, folksiness or moral priggishness. Tempo entirely avoids all these. Indeed it was only when I reflected upon what might have gone wrong with such a programme — the exploitation of child photography, the homilies upon the training of the young mind, the whimsical patronage of its subject — that I even realised what horrors I had escaped, so completely were they absent from ‘The Bundle’.

The programme opens with a group of boys (twelve or thirteen years old) on what seems to be wasteland beside a footpath along which adults pass by unnoticed. The boys engage in a free for all or ‘bundle’, beginning in ballet-like slow motion (giving that strange sense of an aquarium tank as bodies, heads, legs, arms all swim up and down the screen) the film is speeded up until the fight is fast and furious. Above this fight-dance sequence we hear the words of an authentic small boy’s poem, a prize-winning entry in the competition of a national daily newspaper. ‘A strange place, a place unknown, only a stone’s throw from the Human Race…. This place you shall never find for it is mine and mine alone, strangest of all no place is so unknown’.

Visually this prelude is as mysterious as it is delightful to watch, the poem’s words add to the mystery a sense of some private ritual invaded — as all our knowledge of children must be an invasion either of their close-kept secret society or of our own memories equally sealed by unspoken secret oath. But apart from the powerful effect of the scene and words, this prelude gives an ambiguity to the whole programme that follows which (whether intended by the producers or not) adds a whole dimension of meaning to what would otherwise be a first-rate piece of social documentary but perhaps no more.

A strange place. A place unknown... 'The Bundle' - an exploration of children's imagination

For now the camera moves to the drama — expression class at Markfield Secondary Modern School, Tottenham. The mistress is Miss Sigley and she immediately dominates the scene. Many of the best programmes in Tempo are dominated by a single individual in this way — Zeffirelli, Gordon Craig — but Miss Sigley is more effective than them, for not being a well known person, the force of her personality is doubled by surprising us. The boys and girls are improvising movements to a jazz tune. Some faces, especially of the girls, are a little self-conscious and genteel, but as a whole the faces and bodies of the children express satisfaction and release so that the patterns they offer us are in turn satisfactory. A negro boy’s face attracts again and again, partly because in his absorption he is so completely unselfconscious, partly because (as I notice so many times in Tempo programmes) black faces are always pleasing on the black and white telescreen. As the children improvise, Miss Sigley moves to the rhythm, precise and jerky, her fingers snap ‘flick, flick’. She is commanding and yet she is also the young games mistress that Joyce Grenfell might so well ‘take off’. I imagine that Miss Sigley would laugh at any mimicry of herself but, even if she did not, one would not be embarrassed, because she is so entirely given to her job, so integrally involved as to need to wear no self-conscious sense of mission on her face. ‘Make it do something’, she calls to the children, ‘Use it. Use the space. Dialogue mime. Fight mime.’ Flick, flick go her fingers.

Now as the children’s dance continues we hear her voice over the pictures, explaining the purpose of her classes. The phrases, as I have noted some of them down, have a faintly uplifting sound — ‘We all start equal in drama. We’re all people. Build up a visual memory that can be called upon in work. Not cissy, not art, just making life’ and so on. But this ‘uplift’ was not apparent in the programme, I think because of the quick camera work from children to mistress and because we saw her absorbed in her job, not speaking her message. So we avoided that slight touch of selling her mission that creeps into Miss Joan Littlewood’s appearances on television — yet Miss Sigley in her own field is very much a Miss Littlewood.

Now we see the children act out a supermarket scene — the shop opening, boys and girls in pairs (husband and wife) coming in as shoppers. Then they gather round the teacher to discuss what they have done — ‘It needs a climax, Miss — tragedy in a supermarket — all the shelves could collapse’, ‘Nickin’ all the beans off the shelf, Miss’, and the boy who has acted a nagging husband explains that he was saying no words, ‘No, Miss, I was just muttering.’ Once again it is skilled camera direction that takes away any suggestion of exploiting the charm or beauty of the children. We know that this group of school-children calls forth less spiritual exhaustion, less sense of defeated hopes than would a group of middle-aged men and women making a comparable imaginative revelation. But that is all; indeed when Miss Sigley moves on to ‘work out character points’, one is depressed by the sad stereotypes of adult married life that the children suggest in their portrayal of the shoppers. As she talks on, once more her views are conveyed to us over the pictures of the classroom; and once again we

find her ‘Aggression and moodiness tend to take over as childhood goes’ and her ‘Self-discipline is a must’ less portentous, less dictatorial than we would in an interview where the teacher is shown divorced from the scene of her work, mouthing theory into the unco-operative emptiness of the television studio.

And now we come to the culmination of the drama class — a scene in a barber’s shop in which the boys act out the aggressions which we have seen at the beginning released in the conventional, casual, uncontrolled, street scene, ‘bundle’. This barber’s shop play with its rhythmic musical accompaniment and its gay, jerky movement as of some silent film comedy ends appropriately in a free for all Keystone Cops mess of lather and shaving brushes and custard-pie faces.

The aggression has been released in farce, but that it is still the same aggression we can see from the faces of the girls who watch both aghast and admiring at this scene of comic virility put on for them by the boys.

Miss Sigley’s purpose is achieved, the childrens’ imaginations and bodies freed, our sense of social responsibility satisfied. Or is it? For this is where the ambiguity of the opening passage makes its mark. Of the integrity and humanity of Miss Sigley’s aims we can have no doubt, of the genuine imaginative impulses released in the children we can feel assured. Perhaps this is how aimless violence may be avoided. And yet this has been, for all its improvisation, an adult organised release of the child imagination. What of the small boy’s poem with which we started? ‘This place you shall never find for it is mine and mine alone. Strangest of all no place is so unknown.’ As a citizen I admired and approved Miss Sigley’s course. As a novelist, I wondered — isn’t this just another benevolent editor or publisher directing the creator’s images ?

Whatever the answer, the programme really arouses thought about creative imagination. It works visually and aurally with the minimum of verbal interpretation and with the maximum of camera playing freely upon the free play of children. It is this technical aptitude, this verbal economy which is the most striking feature of the progress that Tempo programmes have made from their beginnings in 1961. Perhaps the only programme at all comparable with ‘The Bundle’ is an early venture called ‘Mental Health’ which discussed the aesthetic validity of the paintings of psychotic patients. Both subjects are on the surface sociological and therapeutic, but both in fact dig deep beneath the roots of creative imagination. The fantasies played out by the children in ‘The Bundle’ are not such Blakean songs of innocence that we can entirely separate them from the aggressive fantasies of some of the paintings shown in ‘Mental Health’. We may prefer to side with Wordsworth against Freud, but few of us would be astonished now to find in children’s games and art the seeds of the strange schizoid painting of one patient with its secret, separate castle (‘This place you shall never find’) or even the horrible ordered symmetry and flat patterns of the paranoid. Potentially ‘Mental Health’ had as much to offer although more sensationally than ‘The Bundle’, but it was loaded with verbal interpretation — narrator, commentator, and at last the familiar neutralising tones of expert critics as Herbert Read, Francis Haskell and Way land Young sat before us asking, can a man be both patient and artist? The opinions were neither worse nor better than in most such discussions — ‘All art is a form of escape from hell’ and so on; but as that familiar sentence, ‘At that point I’m afraid we must leave….’ sounded in my ears I rejoiced, as later when I saw ‘The Bundle’ come to an end I longed for more. Those two programmes on the sources of imagination are divided, I think, by a whole ocean of television imaginative production.

Creation and Direction

‘A Vision of England’, Tempo’s homage to Shakespeare

Trevor Howard and Leo McKern
Donald Houston in the hands of the make-up artist

‘The Bundle’ succeeds admirably, but it may well be objected that whether or not the paintings of psychotics can be considered art, the free expression of twelve-year-olds is no more than an improvised school play. Art, not the untutored imagination, is the subject of Tempo, and art is altogether more difficult than camera-trapping children, however dexterously their secret wonderings may have been caught. The objection has some force, for ‘The Bundle’ (though, in fact, far more) gains by its strong element of sociology; and documentary, as I have suggested, is television’s one certain, overwhelming victory. What about trapping the artist, the adult sane creative imagination? Has television the art to do it?

There immediately springs to mind the Tempo programme — ‘The Medium-Sized Cage’, the story of the inventing and making of a television comment by a group of students at the Film and T.V. Design Section of the Royal College of Art. I write ‘comment’ for the invention was neither play nor documentary nor plain performance, it was something moving between all three, peculiarly designed by the students I suppose, to illustrate the special properties of that medium-sized cage — the television box. The title comes from Samuel Beckett’s Murphy where it is used to describe the desolate, anonymous yet enclosing qualities of the typical bedsitting room. The programme takes us from a group of students devising the programme to the comment itself — the picture internal and external of a young man (art student — one time would be sculptor) ‘moving digs’. With the background sound of a jazz group and the foreground details of empty bedsitters changing from anonymity to obsession as they fill up with the possessions (pinups, health and strength, comic-photo montage, ton-up equipment, skull and crossbones, science-fiction masks, and above all, shiny black leather boots) which give our hero his existence, we hear him — ‘outsider’, provincial, nearly twenty-four years old, everyman’s Albert Finney — in interior monologue over the detailed camera work. ‘Interests — sex, being alive and myself’, ‘War and death relate to myself’, ‘I wonder who lived here and collected all this junk?’ ‘Organs, religion, churches repel me’, ‘I could make some of these working class films, give me the money’ — the thoughts, if now familiar, are authentic. And so he could make one of these working class films, but what is made in ‘The Medium-Sized Cage’ is the distillation of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning or This Sporting Life, reduced to this single figure and his stream of consciousness, with his every associated object lovingly caressed in turn by the television cameras. The combination discloses a whole world of lusts, fantasies, ambitions and frustrations in a single set with a single actor, by using, as only television can, voice and pictures to combine the literary techniques of the naturalist like Zola with those of Joyce. This double technique is television’s greatest gift to artistic economy. Here the process can be peculiarly brief, for we know the young man’s type so well before the action starts. Publicity today has already reduced him to self-parody. As he says, with the inverted commas of self-consciousness, ‘My philosophy — anarchism!’ So far has the outsider travestied himself since Colin Wilson first burst forth upon the English scene.

Perriot, too moonstruck to shove the narrator out of camera

I have written that the camera dwells most lovingly upon the objects, the junk of the young man’s life and sequences of his daydreams, but this is perhaps not quite accurate, for it is above all upon the young man himself as he stretches on his dreary bed — ‘the boxer must have a dressing room to relax in’ — that the camera descends, catching all his drifting daydreams and the self-mockery with which he protects himself from them. Each line of his body seems to suggest an aimless wandering that mocks those flashing jackboots, symbol of his cherished toughness and virility, to which the camera turns again and again in ironic comment.

There is nothing here, of course, that cinema could not do, but the mammoth scope of cinema could never content itself with caressing so limited an area of physical reality, so confined and repetitious a consciousness, nor probe so deeply, even for the short-running time of ‘The Medium-Sized Cage’.

The programme ends with a return to the students telling us of their social backgrounds and ambitions. Once again this emphasis on the creators seems an intrusion on what they have created. However, at least, they are not indulging in commentary on their work; they are telling us of themselves, and their accents proudly proclaiming almost every region of Great Britain offer authenticity for the portrait of youth on the move that they have offered us. The only puzzle that remains is why students of television should produce something so exact and sufficient, and television companies produce such…. But there is no mystery really. One can imagine exactly the kind of overplotted, socially significant play into which this comment would be blown up by most drama departments. And one knows exactly the many spurious pressures that would make for such inflation.

With ‘The Medium-Sized Cage’, however, we are still with one foot in documentary, and the other foot in television itself, which, alas, is a tautology if we wish to show that television is an art. There are two immediate directions by which we can find our way out of television into older means of expression — by way of cinema or by way of theatre.

Tempo has largely avoided programmes about cinema (though there was at least one notable one about Polish film acting marred only by the tedium of listening to an interpreter). I am sure that this has been a wise decision. The love-hate relationship of television and cinema is demonstrated in the mixture of dependence and contempt with which television planners use old films to fill in programme gaps. The public, shrewdly as usual, exactly echoes this mood in the loving grumbling with which it greets these substituted old cinema favourites. Cinema in space and motion can do so much more than television; television, by way of revenge, seems to reduce the films it presents to a kind of animated magic lantern show. As for tracing the processes of cinema creation, these, where they are not too technical for the average viewer to follow, are too close to those of television itself. The viewer would only be presented with an enormously magnified version of that studio scenery and life which, since someone brightly thought of doing without props, has been the increasingly deadening and monotonous background to so many television programmes, from interviews to variety.

False premise? The American show 'The Premise' revealed its secret to Tempo but standing up or lying down they were equally flat

‘The Scapegoat’

Lloyd Reckord and Anthony Nicholls in a programme for Easter
The guard pleads for the life of the victim

The relationship between television and live theatre is a far more subtle one and Tempo has made many attempts, some excellent, others less good, to get at some of the facts that lie behind the mystique of ‘good theatre’ so strongly adhered to by that intuitive profession. The least successful programmes about theatre were those which attempted to give the flavour of a current show in excerpt, such as ‘Lions led by Donkeys’, the programme about Oh, What a Lovely War. I write ‘about’, but this was really the trouble; I do not think that a viewer who had not seen the show on the stage would have really known from the television programme what it was about, except in the most general terms. The commentator kept his explanations to the minimum. In general this is the greatest virtue that a commentator can show — and even here it was not perhaps more explanation that was needed but more passion in explaining. Of course, I was at a disadvantage in knowing the stage original well, but it seemed to me that the shot of the wonderfully funny ‘Roses are Blooming in Picardy’ or the deeply moving Christmas 1914 in the trenches failed to convey the emotions that came off the stage. There were Murray Melvin and Victor Spinetti doing their stuff and yet somehow the life had gone from it; I could only be excited by remembering what I had felt in the theatre. There was not enough of the show, nor enough coherence in the excerpts to convey Miss Littlewood’s peculiarly powerful propaganda, so powerful because of the very over-simplifying that makes it so infuriating, or her wonderful mockery of fruity music hall. A more passionate commentary might have welded it together; but the subject that demands passionate commentary is, I think, wrongly chosen for television. Which is not to say that it should not have been shown — one of television’s functions is to give a taste of contemporary plays or books for those who would not otherwise see them — but only that it was good entertainment but uninteresting television.

Something of the same difficulty attended the two programmes ‘Ad Absurdum’ about the theatre of the absurd. Yet here the excerpts and discussions based on Martin Esslin’s book had such variety of laughter and gloom that the viewer, who was not amazed and shocked by the outrageous novelty of it all (and thousands of viewers must have been), could be kept alert by the sheer jolting as he swung on the maniac-depressive pendulum from Ionesco to Beckett to Pinter to Simpson. Yet, if it had not been for the wonderful virtuoso acting of Kenneth Griffith — television more even than the stage showed what a lively actor can get in sheer liberation from talking nonsense — ‘Ad Absurdum’ would have primarily served to show how, if cinema evades television through movement, the theatre (particularly the verbose theatre of Waiting for Godot) weighs the television screen down with its static inertia. In Ionesco’s famous play Amédée the corpse of the lover grows and grows until it fills the flat — he is suffering from ‘geometrical progression — the incurable disease of the dead’. Even this slow morbid growth seems lively beside the stillness of Beckett’s tramps and dustbins and rubbish heaps.

Laszlo Heltay - Hungarian conductor - shows us that 'Carols mean Christmas'

No, once again, it is the making of the play, not the play itself, that television can bring alive. With the right personality, it must at once be said. From the earliest days of Tempo (as one might expect with Kenneth Tynan, the original inspiration of the programme) theatrical production and acting had a front place. The first of such programmes used interviews with cut-ins of filmed live productions or of stills to illustrate theatrical reminiscence. Interview has its faults, but they are perhaps exaggerated in television circles nowadays. It is primarily on interview surely that television’s brilliant journalistic achievement has been built up. The faulty development has been to overpower the personalities of the interviewed by the creation of celebrated interviewers (whether wreathed in smoke like Muggeridge or frozen into ice blocks like Freeman). The theatrical interviews on Tempo told me a lot about the effects of interviewing on television. The interview between Dan Farson and Gordon Craig at the old man’s home in Vence was one of the most memorable I have seen on television. Farson seemed quite obliterated (as an interviewer should be) by the force of the ninety-year-old Craig’s personality — so reminiscent of the Yellow Book era in his mixture of elaborate imagery (‘Irving’s voice was like a leopard’s smile’) and epigrammatic malice (‘Stanislavsky’s method? I don’t think I really know it. He was not very serious over it, I think’).

After Gordon Craig’s performance, Elia Kazan’s New York serious ‘theatre’ manner (the New York intelligentsia is often portentous, theatre people being serious are always heavy-handed, but the combination!) seemed like an embarrassingly sincere undergraduate talking his way through a tutorial for which he’d done no reading. Yet in the end I was to discover that it was not Gordon Craig’s personality that made Farson’s interview with him so excellent; it was rather that Farson was literally not there. He had arrived at Vence with a cold and the old man’s nonagenarian caution had rightly excluded him. Recipe, then, for a really good interview. Let the interviewee talk and mix afterwards with a few shots of the interviewer.

Another personality interviewed early on (by Tynan himself and very skilfully) was Franco Zeffirelli. His mixture of overpowering boyish charm, tenacity and toughness, and his original views that hang dangerously between the sublime and the vulgar made him even in that interview, where the formidable Joan Littlewood was third party, the figure that mattered. Miss Littlewood, using all her zany little-girl tricks, tried to hammer Zeffirelli on his Othello production. ‘First thing I’d do,’ she told him, ‘is clear the stage … make the audience work … cut psychology, cut character analysis.’ All good straight left stuff that we have heard her dish up before. In fact, I agree with it. But it somehow seems empty when Zeffirelli (tough-charm boy any time to match Joan Littlewood’s little-girl stuff) tells us that he has set out to give the ‘pompous state life of Venice’, to show in Othello ‘the tragedy of all V.I.P. men’. The reasoning is good, however much it is only an excuse for the high romanticism he craves. The resulting Othello may veer from the highest poetic tragedy to a suggestion of what Duse would have been like produced by Tree, but in a theatre world dedicated to improvisation Zeffirelli’s extravagances are intensely exciting.

Bedsitter manhood - the mask...
...and the boots



It was then a splendid inspiration of the Tempo producers to show Zeffirelli rehearsing John Stride as Hamlet and Pamela Brown as Gertrude in the closet scene. An even better inspiration to call it ‘A Wind of Change’. Zeffirelli in interview, of course, was only an hors d’oeuvre to Zeffirelli in rehearsal. The mobility of his face is of a very unusual kind. Most men with conventional good looks (and Zeffirelli is very good-looking) can look noble or sentimental as required. Zeffirelli’s version of nobility is somehow savage and violent, his version of softer emotions is just on the edge of the clown. Since he mimes every gesture his actors make, the rehearsal would be a magnificent show if nothing else. But it is, in fact, much more, for Zeffirelli’s method of instruction, for all his charm, is steely rather than silken. From the beginning of the act until at any rate the murder of Polonius we saw conflict in the making of art — conflict between Zeffirelli and John Stride as Hamlet — conflict in which, despite an obvious real friendliness between the two men, Stride clearly found the producer’s ideas doubtful and alien to him. Zeffirelli made it clear that what thought was ‘what happened in Hamlet’. He posited at least three unorthodox views. Hamlet, when he kills Polonius, is relieved for he believes that he has killed the King and solved his dilemma; Hamlet hated his father who had sent him to Wittenburg because he did not think him a suitable heir to the throne; no ghost appears in the closet scene. Of these three propositions Stride sensibly seized on the second, for it is certainly the most outrageous. But Zeffirelli, for all his limited command of English and his boyish manner, won the day by aggression, determination and belief in himself. The film of the Italian production of Hamlet that followed seemed a slight anticlimax. It was a relief to see giant romantic acting again — Gordon Craig would have loved it. But the really exciting moment had been the conflict that went into its making — the short, fierce clash of wills between producer and actor. And its resolution in Zeffirelli’s favour. Too often on television the arts appear to be all sweetness and light, but art is founded on conflict and tension, and for a moment we had seen the very core of creative conflict in action.