Passport to Ridicule

Well, who needs fun house mirrors? When it comes to deriving amusement from staring at distorted reflections of yourself, there is nothing like the jack-in-the-box of old photographs. However familiar, they still manage to surprise. Sometimes, those snapshots of your past take on lives of their own as, in the eyes of others, they begin to resemble the faces of strangers. It becomes rather trying when you begin to think of your former self as a latter-day Frankenstein who, attempting to create life in his image, unwittingly gave birth to something monstrous beyond his control.

Owing to a current television program, I am the subject of much joshing here at Ty Newydd, our home (“ty” being Welsh for house). Once again, we are tuning in to The X Factor, one of those illegitimate, hyperactive offspring of the aforementioned Major Bowes so eagerly adopted these days and brought into the homes of an adoring public. And until such time as the show’s televoting devotees decide they have had their fill and be rid of him, I must expect to be mocked each Saturday evening for allegedly resembling the decidedly odd Rhydian Roberts, one of the two Welsh contestants in this year’s competition.

Each week, Rhydian is making a spectacle of himself as he appears before a panel of judges (the cocky Simon Cowell, the confidently second-rate Dannii Minogue, the feisty Sharon Osborne, and the amiable Irishman Louis Walsh) to take on a duet from The Phantom of the Opera or take the stage like an ice-sculptured Liberace in sequins and faux furs, belting like Welsh pop icon Shirley Bassey to the bewilderment of the British people who never beheld anyone quite like him.

Remote and humorless, Rhydian seems to come to life only on the stage. Thus far, he has remained an impenetrable mystery. Too straight for camp, he has a discipline and drive more chilling than the ambitions of Eve Harrington. He is a regular storm-trouper. It is no less disconcerting to be likened to him. Fortunately, the theatrical one can carry a tune, which is where any comparisons between us two, unwarrantable as they are to begin with, must most assuredly come to an end. In the words of frustrated blues singer Eve Peabody, “mine is strictly a bathtub voice.”

No, I don’t mind making a display of myself (as I have done here on numerous occasions). In fact, before I made up my mind that one journal was quite enough of me, I briefly contemplated dedicating one to the history of my hair, an autobiographical venture I intended to call The Shoulderpadded Atlas (for which this picture might have qualified). It would have been another argument for the non-visual arts, no doubt, which is better put forward here on broadcastellan. That said, it is just as well that I share my life here, given that the past preserved on my old computer seems to have been lost in yesterday’s crash.

Since then, I have had as much reason to cheer as I have sense not to burst into song. It was determined this morning that I shall have to dig up my passport again. Another trip to the old haunts of Gotham is in the offing. Considering that the above picture has changed more accurately to reflect my present exterior, I shall probably get through immigrations without suffering much ridicule (let alone comparisons to a man as yet unknown stateside). Of course, that also means I am going to miss the season finale of X Factor. Not a void a bottle of Aqua Net can’t fill.

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