In the Golden Age of the Age, when Graham Perkin was not only its editor but arguably
the most famous newspaper editor of the modern era I was not merely a columnist but
an editorial advisor. I pointed out to Perkin that newspapers had to evolve into
viewspapers as a matter of urgency – that that lump of damp newsprint lobbed on the
lawn at dawn's early light contained news that was already at least 12 hours out
of date. That the urgency of broadcasting, via both radio and television, meant the
newspaper was losing its traditional role. The viewspaper would succeed it, but by
placing greater emphasis on interpretation, context, analysis and, yes, entertainment.
Newspaper columns like mine were comparatively rare at the time but, pretty soon,
papers were responding to the promise – to what has become a terminal problem – by
adding immensely to the number of pundits. I also argue that the newspapers had to
look different – that news photographs were no longer enough. That one daily cartoon
(and a few comic strips up the back) were insufficient to enable newspapers to compete
with the visual medium of TV. I talked to Graham about the need to have marvellous
illustrators who would provide graphics that were not simply illustrations of a given
text but enrichments. And I urged Perkin to add to the Age's team the extraordinarily
gifted Arthur Horner. Having marvelled at his artistic skills I didn't simply urge
that Perkin hired Horner – I demanded that he do so. And I'd negotiated a contract
with Perkin that meant that every column I wrote had to have a graphic arts component.
So my reward for pushing Horner's barrow was that, quite often, he shared my space.
And, as I recall, he also helped illustrate at least one of my books.
Given that I'd been lured into the Australian by my old friend Bruce Petty, I would
later persuade the Age to hire him at a time when he'd fallen foul of Rupert Murdoch.
As I had myself. So I've always regarded my greatest contributions to the Age as
the recruiting of Bruce…and the incomparable Arthur.
Some observations on Arthur Horner by: Phillip Adams and Terry Lane.
And others as I contact them
From Terry Lane:
I have been agonising over your request and this is what I think...
I have re-read
the introduction to Uriel and, although I shouldn't say it, I am sufficiently pleased
with it not to want to add or subtract a word. I am certainly happy to let you use
it either in its entirety or edited.
However, I had attached an alternative -- or
supplementary -- piece. Use it or not as the mood takes you.
I have also attached
two Uriel panels that relate to either or both articles.
Somewhere I have a drawing
of me that Horner did when I was removed from 3LO in 1977. It is a Green Guide newsagents
poster. I have hunted high and low and can't find it, but if it turns up I will scan
it and send it to you.
Congratulations on doing such a wonderful thing. May your name
be praised in Ironicus forever!
Terry’s Note follows.
Arthur Horner was a great artist, but being a graphic artist of the cartooning type
there was always the danger that his work would be under-rated and lost. How many
dead cartoonists get the retrospective they deserve, so that generations that never
knew the first interations of their work get the chance to appreciate essentially
ephemeral works of genius – here today, in the newspaper, gone tomorrow, in the garbage.
The preserve-absolutely-everything interweb is the great gallery in the Cloud and
it is wonderful to see the works of Horner hung on its walls.
Like most of my generation I met Horner in the fantastic world of Colonel Pewter.
I didn’t know that Arthur was Australian at the time, and I certainly was in no position
to meet him in person. But one of the great privileges of working as a radio interviewer
is that, if you sit still long enough, eventually every person you have ever admired
will come into the studio for a chat.
Arthur was of that cohort of expatriates who were lured back to Australia by the
cultural and political promises of the Whitlam era. Not surprisingly his disappointment
at subsequent events coloured his Australian work. Malcolm Fraser lurks in background
as the squire/dictator of Nareen. I wish that Arthur were alive today to see the
astonishing transformation of politics that places Mr Fraser well to the left of
the Australian Labor Party. Even Uriel, the minor recording angel, could not have
predicted that in 1977.
It was an honour to know Arthur Horner and to have been the subject of some of his
drawings. This delightful interweb gallery will keep his art and name alive, I hope