Cuts by the Score
Far be it from us to attempt to disparage or belittle the worthy labours of "Organisation and Methods" men, "efficiency experts" and other of like ilk, but it must be admitted that most businessmen of the old-fashioned, common-or-garden brand are apt to relish some mild fun at the former's expense, and consequently we feel that no apology is called for in reprinting the following skit, originally published in the staff journal of the British Ministry of Transport. The reader who kindly favoured us with the clipping suggests that it might have been written by one of the delegates to the recent Congress of Labour Organisation and Relations, held at the "Facultad de Derecho" and who absent-mindedly wandered into a "Radio del Estado" concert on the same premises by mistake.
The following extracts from a report by an Organization and Methods expert after a visit to the Royal Festival Hall may interest our readers:
"For considerable periods the four oboe players have nothing to do. The numbers should be reduced, and the work spread more evenly over the whole of the concert thus eliminating peaks of activity.
"All the twelve first violins were playing identical notes. This seems unnecessary duplication. The staff of this section should be drastically cut; if a large volume of sound is required, it could be obtained by means of electronic amplifier apparatus. Much effort was absorbed in the playing of demi-semi-quavers. This seems an excessive refinement. It is recommended that all notes should be rounded up to nearest semi-quaver. If this were done, it would be possible to use trainees and lower grade operatives more extensively.
"There seems to be too much repetition of some musical passages. Scores should be drastically pruned. No useful purpose is served by repeating on the horns a passage which has already been handled by the strings, it is estimated that if all redundant passages were eliminated the whole concert time of two hours could be reduced to twenty minutes, and there would be no need for an interval.
"The conductor agrees generally with these recommendations, but expresses the opinion that there might be some falling-off in box-office receipts. In that unlikely event it should be possible to close sections of the auditorium entirely, with a consequential saving of overhead expense--lighting attendance, etc.
"If the worst came to the worst, the whole thing could be abandoned, and the public could go to the Albert Hall instead."
(The Review of the River Plate, 21 September 1954.)