Friday, 27 September 2013

Rituals of composition: the Chairman's desk

"He demanded from his underlings the strictest observance of infinitesimal minutiae.  For instance, every object on his desk had to be arranged each morning with meticulous exactitude.  The edges of the in-tray must be flush with those of the out-tray.  The silver calendar, turned for the day, two inches to the left of the clock.  Pencils, newly sharpened, and clean nibs in pen-holders.  The penwiper at right angles to the blotter, freshly filled.  Telephones and inter-communicator slightly staggered at an angle of, say, 22 degrees from the chair.  Envelope rack within easy reach without necessitating undue stretching, yet not so close that the elbow had to be unnaturally crooked.  If the softest of the three India rubbers was not found on the left-hand side of the row on the allotted tray and adjacent to the red (not blue) sealing wax, Sir Roderick's displeasure could be terrible."

Another Self   James Lees-Milne
(on the desk arrangement of Sir Roderick Jones, Chairman of Reuters)

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