25 SEPTEMBER 1936, Page 13


By E. L. WOODWARD "THE B.B.C. invites applications for the appointment of a Director of Talks." . . . He who runs may read this invitation, and he who reads may apply. Well, what about it ? Age, not less than 35. This suits me. Minimum starting salary £1,200. Not at all bad. Qualifications : " candidates must . have a knowledge of world affairs, be well read and ha-Ve a wide range of contacts." 1. Knowledge of world affairs. I have listened to B.B.C. talks ever since the days when you put spongy clappers to your ears. 2. Reading. I have read the plays of Shakespeare, the whole of Harnaek's History of Dogma, large chunks of Das Kapital, and smaller, though meatier, fragments of Kant. I have read nearly every one else of note except Tasso, whom I am keeping for my old age. I also read The Listener, The Radio Times, and World Radio. I cannot be caught out in the matter of reading. 3. Contacts. A high proportion of the leading figures who broadcast talks are personally known to me. I once suggested something for a talk about art in which a friend of mine acted as the booby, and had to say that he could make nothing of art, ancient or modern.

" The work demands imagination, an open mind, balanced and sober judgement, and a capacity for leader- ship and stimulation." You earn your minimum starting salary. And I dare say that if you knew how to cure stammering, or a few Yogi tricks about deep breathing, you would not find it amiss. Also a wide experience of cough lozenges would be a great help. Also a certain familiarity with the Sunday School manner. I have an open mind. Consider how I am weighing up the pros and cons of my fitness for the job. I have a balanced and sober judgement ; otherwise I should not be deciding in this balanced and sober way that I have the qualities necessary for the work. I also have the capacity for making instant decisions. I should know at , once when to switch a man off. Leadership and stimulation. Every one has these qualities nowadays. I read a good many testimonials. I have never come across anyone who was not a good leader and a good stimulus. Indeed you get these qualities by passing the London Matric- ulation examination, as every employer knows. If you have not passed this examination, you watch the staff of Selfridge's—leaders, every one of them—or you go to a psycho-analyst, or you join the Groups. Within a week I should be stimulating every one at Broadcasting House ; within a month, I should have changed all the internal decoration of the building.

I have a good many other qualifications up my sleeve.

I will keep them for the interview ; a right and left- hander for the heavy-weights present. There are some people whom it would be impertinent to lead or stimulate. Princes of the Blood, the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster, Cabinet Ministers talk at times. Clearly, a certain amount of blandness and sera,- faire must be wanted. And is there an entertainment allow- ance ?

I think I have summed it up in an open-minded way.

I might add a few quotations to show my reading (" where from all these voices there is peace," and so on). I might suggest a few good candidates for broad- casting. Polonius ; but he is a regular feature. Rosen- crantz and Guildenstern; but they already take most of the duologues. Hippoeleides ; not to be relied upon for television.

Yet, anyone as gifted as the B.B.C. requires might, ,ns well wait for the next vacancy in the Governorship of the Bank of England ; the starting salary might be larger. He might become the • abbot of a Trappist monastery, Or the Delphic Oracle.