Vol. 4, Issue 6, July 11, 2006
A Face for Radio
I am a man of Letters, primarily; which is to say, I earn my living through their Arrangement (and not just in Alphabetical Order) and their Composition. My physiology is Well-Suited to this way of life: for while I take care to assiduously maintain a fresh Visage for each Issue of our Paper, my features are best served in a surrounding Blanket of text. To be sure, I believe my Whiskers and the dome of my Fore-head speak well of my character, years, and strict routines of Healthy Potation; the genial map of my Facial wrinkles bespeaks a dignity suitable to both the Editorial Page and the Court-room where I still occasionally ply my craft.
But it so happens from Time to Time that I am called upon to make a more Public showing, Beyond the bounds of either the Courts or the Club. Such was the case during my recent interview upon the Webamagraph Wireless. There were Publicity photo-graphs to be taken at the event, of course; and so I ensured that my beard was Exceptionally well-brushed, that my Spectacles were spotless, and that my Waistcoat showed no lingering signs of my Luncheon. I was ready, in Short, for my Close-Up.
But while the interview was Most delightful, I found that the Photographer was for some reason not Entranced with my appearance. I doffed my very best Silk Hat and gazed firmly into the Distance, adopting my most Engagingly patrician pose. A brief Snap of light, and we are finished, no? - No: the grimace upon the young photographer's face says Otherwise.
"Could we get another shot, Mr. Watley?" he inquires with a grin. And so it goes again; pose Number Two this time: much more Thoughtful, I think, with a hint of Insouciance about the Whiskers. But for some Reason that too falls Flat with the young gentleman.
"Mister Watley, we're looking for something more animated, something that will grab people. Think comical interludes, think ribald jokes, think something other than whatever it is you're thinking!"
With diligence do I apply myself: Pose number Three (the Continental Thinker)! Pose number Four (Inspired by Nature's Beauty)! Pose number Five (Astonished at the Last Decision of the Supreme Court)! In due course we run through All Forty-Eight of the poses I have carefully Cultivated during a lifetime of perfunctory Snap-Shots. None, alas, was suitable for a Publicity Poster.
Eventually, I simply had to Stop, for my Best silk hat can only take so much extra Light: the incessant action of the Flash-Bulb was like a photonic Hammer pounding the delicately dyed and crafted fabric covering its Frame. Alas, with no suitable Picture in the lot, the photographer was tearing his Hair out.
Most fortunately, I had brought along a cabinet portrait, a copy of the one we use at the Paper for use on this very Editorial page. Reluctantly, he took it, grumbling about the lack of Glamor and Animation. To show there were no hard Feelings, I had also brought along a spare bottle of 15 year old Bowmore scotch. His mood improved Immeasurably once that was produced, I can assure you.
As I walked cheerfully home, looking forward to hearing the Radio broadcast on my upgraded Mahogany "Symphony Seven" bureau receiver, I could not help but wonder if the photography would have gone Better had I introduced the Scotch at the outset. Well, I suppose there was no harm done in using the News-paper portrait for the Publicity shot. Some people just do not have a face for radio.