Sunday, 8 September 2013

It's a Battlefield

"Condor opened one of the sound-proof boxes on the top floor and closed the door.  Immediately all the typewriters in the room became silent, the keys dropped as softly as feathers.  The chief reporter sitting on his desk with his knees pressed under his chin was interrupted in mid-sentence :  'I was waiting at Winston's all the morning and when he came out with his head all bandaged up, he only said --'   On the floor below the leader-writers sat in little studies and smoked cigarettes and chewed toffee, held up for the right word, looking in dictionaries, leading public opinion.  On the floor below, the sub-editors sat at long tables and ran their blue pencils over the copy, scrawled headlines on scraps of paper, screwed the whole bunch into a metal shell, and sent it hurtling with a whine and a rattle to the composing-room.

On the floor below the swing door turned and turned and the porter sat in his box asking: 'Have you an appointment?';  the rolls of paper were wheeled like marble monuments towards the engines which turned and turned, spitting out the Evening Watch pressed and folded:  'Mr. Macdonald Flies Home to Lossiemouth.  Are you Insured?', packing them up in piles of a hundred, spinning them down a steel incline, through a patch of darkness, into the waiting van."

It's a Battlefield   Graham Greene

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