29 MAY 1964, Page 15

The extraordinary reversal of this comes only when someone has

managed to break into their territory. He or she then automatically becomes a fully paid-up member of the conspiraiy. By getting the title to any job you are immediately held to have all the knowledge and experience to go with it. My first job as a journalist was on a magazine where within a matter of days I found myself appointed travel editOr. Not even the fact that the very week of my appointment I advised someone that the most direct route to Bristol from London was via Oxford, nor that in the first issue under my control I described Israel as being in Africa, could deter my col- leagues. Surrounded by some of the most ex- perienced season ticket holders in the jet set, 1 was constantly being consulted about cruising places. At ohe of my first editorial conferences I was asked about winter travel and, saved by a calendar picture over the editor's desk, blurted out, 'Spas.' We were soon up to our ears in spa living, and modest mid-European spas which usually closed in the winter were amazed, or so we hoped, by requests for accommodation.

It is a pattern which repeats itself even when machines like tape-recorders are involved. Once you have a job you find that the very people who were impressing all the difficulties of tech- nique on you prior to your appointment immedi- ately take it for granted that you have all the technical skill you need.

How very different this is from unskilled