Dear Priests & Podiatrists, it’s time you got together to discuss your roots.

Faithlessly yours

The Manaccan Congregation


Journalists should know better. They tear into celebrities for their inane addiction to fame, yet slowly, their own persona is rampant.

The disturbing part of this story is not that they do not deserve to air their voice (assuming of course that they write something worth reading). Indeed, let them express their bollocks off.

The thing that worries me is their column photo. And the more relaxed and trivial the subject matter, the larger the mugshot. For mugshot, read over-made-up, heavily-styled, showing-my-best-side portrait.

Take today’s Times 2. Turn to pages 2 & 3. The 5 hacks straddle 7 columns-worth of flesh. They stand 31 lines high, that’s a third of the page to you and me. And their poses are as self-conscious as any A-lister at a premiere. Even dear old Rod Stewart and his loverly Penny come across as relatively normal in comparison.

So, what control do they have over these pictures? Photographic house style permitting, I can’t believe they feel completely at ease with the way they are portrayed. The Guardian at least tries to get their folk to smile without starting into Jack Nicholson country. While the people who make us laugh insist on the angst-iest expressions. Charlie Brooker hates his self-hate shot, while the recent news of a terminal illness is written all over David Mitchell’s face in The Observer. As for Tim Dowling, let’s just apologise to castrated spaniels the world over.

We also get deluded into thinking these writers are still looking great, when in fact, they went to seed 90,000 words ago.

The Drawbridge, a now-dead lefty broadsheet that made Unison Weekly feel like Nick Griffin’s Autobiography, used to paint its authors in gouache and watercolour. The artist, a gentle ginger genial giant by the name of Dan Williams, would spend several hours on each of his victims, I mean sitters, although Hugo Chavez and many others sent a photo instead.

Which brings us back to the camera.

It never tells the truth.