Monday, September 18, 2006

variable resource, six men and a hole, framed

In an obituary of the arts administator, Sir John Drummond, I read that John Birt, when he was director general of the BBC, replied as follows to a question put by Drummond about the BBC's orchestras: "They are a variable resource centre whose viability depends on the business plan of the controller of Radio 3". Apparently Birt said later that he had been joking, but Drummond, says the obituarist, was not convinced.

In Mount Pleasant six men are trying, with difficulty, to move a cash dispensing machine into the new premises of the Royal Bank of Scotland. A hole in the wall awaits the success of their manoeuvres.

Framed by two windows of a stationary bus are the head and shoulders of two old men, one in each fame, the one behind the other. One has plump, rather florid features, the other a thin and lined face. They present portraits in profile. Each stares straight ahead, never looking out of the window; and each, in his different way, has the bleak, empty stare of someone going nowhere.

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