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I noticed that Tyler Brûlé looked quite a lot older in the photograph taken of him at the FT Weekend Live Festival than in the header on his weekly column. Is your photo header recent and a fair representation?
My photograph in this column is a relatively recent one from a couple of years ago, kindly commissioned by the FT. I have certainly never insisted on using any of my own, especially not one from my younger days. But I suspect quite a few columnists would not mind posting much younger photographs of themselves. In general, the majority of people, especially women, regard any “official” photograph of themselves as a question of vanity, rather than verisimilitude. My wife, at the age of 40, used for her passport a photograph of herself when she was just over 25, looking gorgeous. Needless to say, she had problems at many immigration counters. Entering China, she was always stopped by an officer who would invariably hold up her passport with stretched arm and squinting eyes, followed by a frown. Often, other officers would be invited to check on the resemblance and there would be a lot of shaking heads. Eventually, she realised she had to reduce her vanity, increase her verisimilitude and revert to a contemporaneous photograph.
I imagine men and women use flattering photographs of themselves on dating sites. How many times have couples met for the first time, with one thinking that the other looks nothing as good as their photograph?
And how about police mug shots? Isn’t this an instance where the portrait is always utterly dreadful? It was a French policeman, Alphonse Bertillon, who standardised the frontal and profile shots in 1888. Bertillon was also famous for being the writing expert for the prosecution in the Dreyfus affair, when he was not a writing expert. His evidence was critical in sending Dreyfus to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island. Bertillon also featured in The Hound of the Baskervilles, in which Sherlock Holmes was described by one of his clients as “the second highest expert in Europe” after Bertillon.
The reason for this note is a small detail, but it seems to endure. In the photo used for your column you are shown with a pocket handkerchief on the right-hand side. I know you would never do this in reality so I assume the photo is transposed. Not a big deal but, as a stickler for detail, I thought you’d want to know. It has been going on for many months.
People regularly write in to complain about my photograph because I seem to have the top pocket of my jacket on the right-hand side and not the usual left. This inevitably leads to an accusation of carelessness on the part of FT photo editors. But may I say, for the umpteenth time, that the photo has not be transposed or reversed. I deliberately have my pocket like this in order to try to feel different from the other 3.5bn or so men who wear jackets with a monotonous left-hand pocket.
I think the trend towards using glass doors and walls to separate hotel bedrooms from their bathrooms is utterly inexecrable, don’t you?
For a moment, given your context, I thought you were going to commit a malapropism by the use of the word inexecrable. Thankfully you did not fall into that trap. En pointe, I think it is not a bad idea to join a standard hotel bedroom and its en-suite bathroom by a glass partition. It certainly diminishes the tedious feeling of encountering yet another hotel room that opens on to a corridor with a bathroom on one side, leading inexorably into a space that is the bedroom. It feels roomier for a start if the bedroom and the bathroom spaces are contiguous, visually and physically. At home, I have a bedroom and bathroom separated by a set of sliding glass doors with a fireplace in the bathroom. This way, I can enjoy the fire while in bed or in my bath.
Do you think Lada is a discredited brand. Would it better to rename the cars after their parent group Vaz?
One has to admit that the Lada brand exudes hideousness. The Lada Niva 4x4 must rank as one of the ugliest cars ever made, although I have always fantasised about using one on a grouse moor and driving it straight into a butt. But I am not sure if the name Vaz is much better. One other thing about Vaz: in 1974, it was given the licence to make Wankel engines. So Vaz and Wankel have worked well.
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