Saturday, 30 March 2013

Who has sharp brows, anyway?



Character description from 'Candida', a play by George Bernard Shaw:

"He has a healthy complexion, a good forehead, with the brows somewhat blunt, and the eyes bright and eager, a mouth resolute, but not particularly well cut, and a substantial nose, with the mobile, spreading nostrils of the dramatic orator, but, like all his features, void of subtlety."

I can't help thinking the auditions for the first production must have dragged on a bit.

'Yes, thank you, we'll let you know. Well… what did you think, Mr Shaw?'

'Hmm. Not bad. His brows were blunt enough, and his mouth was just the right amount not particularly well cut. But... I'm not sure about his nostrils…'

'Really? I thought he had the most mobile, spreading nostrils we've seen.'

'Oh, I agree. But I'm just not sure they were void of subtlety.'

'Yes, they definitely were…'

'I'm afraid not. I think his nostrils were a tiny bit subtle. And I believe I've made it clear how important it is to me that all his features be void of subtlety.'

'Yes. Yes, you have. Next!'

36 comments:

Sam. said...

It's Robert Downey Jr he wants.

Luna said...

This rather reminds me of the ridiculously abstract descriptions in A Streetcar Named Desire - 'But is animal joy implicit in ALL his being, though?' 'No, Mr. Williams, I suppose not.'

cabin-pressure said...

Hello John,

I love Cabin Pressure. I am soo addicted to it that I've created a blog in memory. To find it click on this: http://cabin-pressur-e.blogspot.co.uk/

You are a great comedy author and have loved Cabin Pressure since it started!

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Lillian Bellamy said...

Thus it was that no man can fit the description built in man's imagination unless, of course, the man he imagines is before him...

Therefore it is best not to see Martin or Douglas but to imagine what they look like, the radio does have the best pictures.

Anna said...

Ha! That's hilarious, some tea just came out of my nose then coz it made me laugh in the middle of a sip heehee! You're so funny :)

Anonymous said...

Vulcans? .... I was going to say Dr Spock, but then I thought hold on do I mean Mr Spock??? As you can see I'm a real Star Trek fan ... okay shutting up now!

Kaitebon said...

JACK NICHOLSON!

(One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest was on TV this afternoon, and I kept staring at his eyebrows. No joke.)

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jack-nicholson-1.jpg

Indy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indy said...

It made me think of Chris Barry...

Indy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indy said...

...nope - his brow is too sharp.

Marissa said...

There WAS a man who matched this description. Every feature was void subtlety and he possessed eager eyes (which rather contrasted with the resolute cut of his mouth). Unfortunately, he was recovering from a stomach bug on the day of his audition and had a rather sickly pallor.

Marissa said...

There WAS a man who matched this description. Every feature was void subtlety and he possessed eager eyes (which rather contrasted with the resolute cut of his mouth). Unfortunately, he was recovering from a stomach bug on the day of his audition and had a rather sickly pallor.

Marissa said...

There WAS a man who matched this description. Every feature was void subtlety and he possessed eager eyes (which rather contrasted with the resolute cut of his mouth). Unfortunately, he was recovering from a stomach bug on the day of his audition and had a rather sickly pallor.

Anonymous said...

Your composite drawing brings actor Steve Buscemi to mind; would he have made the cut, I wonder?

Cheryl from Orange County, CA

Joanna Walton said...

John Happy Easter.

I started a "Cabin Pressure" page on Facebook.

Today I put up "What is your Easter bunny Name". I thought you would like this.

Captain Martin Crieff = Clumsy Doodles
First Officer Douglas Richardson = Sparkle Lemon Drop
Carolyn Knapp-Shappey = Candy Lollipop- Sunshine
Arthur Shappey = Lily Sunshine

And

Benedict Cumberbatch = Whisper Doodles
Roger Allam = Loco Snuggle Bunny
Stephanie Cole = Smartie Doodles
John Finnemore = Daffodil Happy Feet

Love Jo

Bean said...

Sounds like a Neanderthal man to me. Might have problems learning the lines, especially as extinct.

On second thoughts I am sure I have seen a few walking around locally (I don't live in Essex...honestly!)

Oh...Hoppy Easter!

:))

Andrew Bossom said...

Oh, but have ever read anything by Émile Zola? I had to work my way through Thérèse Raquin for A-level French.

The problem is, Zola was of a school of thought that said that every smallest physical feature related directly to a person's character. And so all the important figures in the book had entire pages devoted to a meticulous description of every centimetre of their face.

It put me off French literature for life.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever see the Jack Black movie "Shallow Hal?" His character has a really, REALLY specific list of features he'd like on his significant other. I think Hal & Shaw might have something in common... Happy Easter!

--ks from Illinois

Indy said...

Such feature specify may not be beyond some actors. Alec Guinness could pass into shadow and on his return appear 20 years older, or quite physically altered.

Eclectic Man said...

As for flaring nostrils, can anyone beat the late Kenneth Williams?

(PS, it is just a hunch, but I'm not convinced that all of the postings so far have been from people who have actually read your blog, the two Anonymous postings at 7.47 (Telefonsex) and 8.10 include links I suggest you delete, just in case.)

JoAnne said...

"He has all of the qualities we are looking for!"

No, I'm sorry, but he has the spreading nostrils of an angry bull, not a dramatic orator. Totally different effect."

"...next"

Johnny E said...

"Your composite drawing brings actor Steve Buscemi to mind; would he have made the cut, I wonder?

Cheryl from Orange County, CA"

Hmm... I don't think so. But there's a character in Pygmalion who's described as "kinda funny-lookin'," he'd be perfect for that.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of this Jam sketch. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1rEBtpWQ7x8

fliss said...

It's Robert Downey Jr! Spooky!

Pipit said...

But what about his hair?

Been listening to the last series of Cabin Pressure for about the 20th time. I have to say, Mr. Finnemore, your writing just gets better and better all the time. I can't wait to see what happens in the Z episode!

Thanks for the enjoyment you provide to listeners the world over!

Tara said...

Dear John F.,

I just happened to look at images of Mr Shaw while reading his character's description. Well. Talk about the writer's blind spot. Maybe it's just me.

Stuart Bushell said...

I've only just discovered Cabin Pressure and only because it was mentioned in an interview with BC (I say BC because I cant spell Benedict Cumberbatch. It's brilliant - and I agree that I think it's a show that is ideal for Radio as it treats the listeners as intelligent - the case in point being the Uniform joke. TV would spoil the show I think - any way I've brought all the series from Audio Books so I can listen to them at my leisure. Well done John Finnemore (not JF as I can spell Jin Funnamore)

Helena said...

Hello John.
I am a relative latecomer to your works, having encountered Cabin Pressure and Souvenir Programme as repeats on Radio 4Extra on Series 3 and 2 respectively. I am now working through series 1 and 2 of CP on CD. Whilst lamenting the end of series 4 on the District Line on my way home today, however, I was treated to a tannoy address worthy of Douglas Richardson:
"It's make-your-mind-up time, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. If you are going to Richmond, Kew Gardens or Gunnersbury, then this is the train for you! If, however, you are going to Ealing Broadway, Ealing Common, Acton Town or Chiswick Park, please alight at Turnham Green and catch the Ealing Broadway train, which will be along very soon."
*Sigh*
"Probably."

Incidentally, I (whisper it) attend a girls' public school in West London, which unfortunately is not the most fertile of breeding grounds for lovers of Radio 4 comedy. Here I am regarded as something of a mutant sub-species, as, whilst I can recite Douglas' pre-sig 'Fly Me to the Moon' cabin address from Cremona, I cannot recognise more than one member of One Direction in a line-up.
However, I have, against the odds, found kin. I have a test for spotting them, and it is this: if someone goes to Current Affairs Society or its ilk and knows who the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is, it is a very safe bet that they listen to Cabin Pressure and love it.
Go figure.

Marissa said...

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To the oddly poetic: "The projection in the rain ever hung her natural die." (Not that it really makes any sense, but I don't know, it just has that FEEL to it...)

To the terrifying: "it was in a bottle discussed still on their earth humans with the sure glance, saying his as the dinner," which seems to imply that the "earth humans" belong to something that might just eat them.

Or the ambiguously creepy:"allow washington of the smile beneath my breakfast" I really don't want there to be smile under my breakfast...it seems wrong.

My favorite was by and far: "it's in the first copilot against his government slice," which seems like a fascinating, if nonsensical, story in its own right.

LynneM said...

In similar vein,in (I think) one of the wonderful "I Love Lucy" shows, replying to a comment about thinning hair, Lucille Ball retorted "Well..who wants FAT HAIR?!"

Anonymous said...

Are you, by chance, a They Might Be Giants fan? They have a song where they call him Dr. Spock. Perhaps that was playing in the back of your mind...

Anonymous said...

My name is Candida - Do I look like that ???? God I hope not! Will rush down to the bathroom and check straight away.......

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