Axe grinder 18.11.05

THE DAILY Mail – once regarded as the newspaper that is read by the
gin-and-Jag set – has just lost the Jag bit. Associated Newspapers, I
learn, has fallen out with Jaguar, one its major advertising clients.

Just
like columnist Simon Heffer and a posse of the Mail’s management staff,
the car company is zooming from Kensington to Canary Wharf, where it
will place more business with the Telegraph.

Jaguar executives
believe that the Daily Mail – as well as Associated’s other big titles,
The Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard – is not always the right
outlet for the sort of punters who might splash out on the luxury car.

A senior Derry Street source has told Axegrinder that the Jaguar account has created “almighty quarrels”

behind the scenes.

“It’s
caused a headache like no other headache,” I am informed. “Poor old
[Associated managing director] Guy Zitter could be singlehandedly
responsible for doubling the sales of Anadin.”

My source
continues: “Guy is very worried, not least because Jaguar is the type
of aspirational ad client that every newspaper likes to have. Jaguar
want to go with the Telegraph, as well as The Times and The Independent.

We have lost a lot of lucrative full-colour pages from Jaguar. Guy has been pleading but it’s all been in vain.”

It
gets worse. “The spat has now escalated, with Guy writing to them and
telling them if that’s the way they feel, Associated will no longer buy
Jags for the company fleet.” Jaguar, not noticeably shaken by the loss
of five orders a year from the Rothermere empire, would only tell me it
“constantly reviews the titles it advertises in”.

TROUBLEMAKER
SIR Christopher Meyer is unlikely to be fazed by the strong language
that has been used to describe him following publication of his
controversial memoirs, DC Confidential.

In fact, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission enjoys nothing more than listening to foul language.

Devotees
of Desert Island Discs are unlikely to know this, but when Meyer was
asked to appear on Sue Lawley’s BBC Radio 4 show two years ago, he
picked “Black Shuck”, by panto rockers The Darkness, as one of his
eight favourite tracks.

Before the former ambassador to the US
pitched up at the studio, cautious producers listened to the track in
astonishment, reaching for their earplugs as they heard the lyrics:
“Black Shuck, Black Shuck/ That dog don’t give a fuck.”

The f-word features eight times.

Lawley’s
shaken team told Meyer that this was not the sort of music that could
be broadcast on a Sunday morning, when Radio 4 followers are returning
from church or basting the chicken.

Meyer was forced to pick a
different song. He opted for another Darkness number, the shock-free
track “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”.

In these difficult
times, surely Meyer will adopt Black Shuck as his theme tune. He is,
after all, that press watchdog that does give a fuck.

Grigolo has
hidden depths IS THERE no limit to the energy of showbiz publicist Gary
Farrow; friend of the stars (Elton John was his best man); husband of
the rich and famous (Sun columnist Jane Moore shares his bed)?

After
helping Sharon Osborne choose her contenders for The X-Factor, Farrow
and his company, The Corporation, are now promoting a promising Italian
singer – “the opera singer’s singer” – called Vittorio Grigolo. Every
showbiz reporter in the land is now taking an interest in this
beautiful, 28-year-old Roman. In his biog notes Grigolo reveals [adopt
Italian accent before reading on]… Cracking stuff.

Grigolo’s
tanned, casual exterior will be plastered across the interiors of every
newspaper come March when the lad’s album is released.

Porn Wars hero is transferring his loyalties DURING SEPTEMBER’S “Porn Wars”

dust-up
between Lord Rothermere and Richard Desmond there was one lieutenant
who stood out as the chap who deserved to be awarded all the medals.

Alex Bannister, group managing editor of Express Newspapers, was the only man in this war to air his views publicly.

Just
to recap… the Daily Mail’s Matt Born described Desmond’s six sex
channels as dominating the UK porn market so the Express hit back with
a front-page snap of Rothers and his wife Claudia alongside the
headline, “Lord Porn – how the Daily Mail’s proprietor makes a fortune
from ads selling filth”, a reference to the fruity ads in the
Rothermere-owned Loot mag.

The truce between the two groups was well and truly broken, as my colleague Jean Morgan pointed out at the time.

Lord Rothermere and the Daily Mail refused to comment, as did Desmond.

It
was left to Bannister, who defended the actions of the Express,
declaring: “We honoured the truce. It was the Daily Mail that broke it.
They hit out at us so we hit back, simple as that. We will not just sit
back and be sniped at. If we are attacked, we will retaliate.”

No
doubt, he will show equal loyalty to his new master – Bannister, I am
told, has landed a managing editor-type job at, erm, Lord Rothermere’s
Associated group of newspapers.

Stressed staff work harder,
apparently A PECULIAR new item has appeared in the “trophy cabinet” on
The Sun’s editorial floor. Nestling among the various golfing cups,
“Gotcha” front pages and other souvenirs of the tabloid’s distinguished
history there is now a little bright yellow book by Howard Edwards
entitled Stress in the Workplace – How to CAUSE it.

In smaller print, the jacket trumpets: “This book explodes the myth that a happy company is a productive one.”

A
synopsis on the Amazon site expands further. The book, it says, “shows
how to avoid the complacency and inefficiency that follow a sense of
wellbeing and job security.

“Arguing that the feel-good factor
actually makes a business more placid and less competitive, the author
observes that stress at an unacceptable level has a vital role to play
in a company’s success.

“Full of inventive and imaginative ways
to ensure your colleagues perform to their full potential and that your
work environment is bereft of comfort and languor, here is a complete
strategy for creating and managing a more productive and profitable
organisation through the thoughtful creation of stress.”

The
cover bears the stamp of the executive editor Chris Roycroft-Davis’s
office. Unfortunately Roycroft-Davis has spent recent weeks not in the
office but in a private clinic, undergoing treatment for “stress”.

Nicknames get Mart smartin’

MARTIN TOWNSEND, the genial editor of the Sunday Express, revealed to his readers last Sunday that he loathes nicknames.

“Even
more than the nickname itself I loathe the notion that it can be
repeated, endlessly, as if each time it’s a fresh and funny idea,”
wrote Townsend in a lengthy article, adding that over the years he has
been known as “Mart, Marty, Marto, Smartin… Towno, Country-Begin…
Wondermash.”

“Playing fast and loose with people’s full given
names has always irritated me,” he continued. He added that “there must
also be a special place in hell reserved for those football
com-mentators and writers who shorten [or] bastardise” surnames.

Townsend
would have been alarmed therefore that the pages of the same paper were
peppered with bastardised names. Page 111 ran a headline about “Fergie”
(Sir Alex Ferguson) above sports reporter Paul Hetherington’s report,
which had two mentions of “Fergie”. The same page carried another piece
that referred to Man United boss “Fergie”.

The next page
contained Steve Millar’s match report of England versus Argentina in
Geneva. Millar chucked in a “Becks and Roo” reference before writing
about how “Becks led the goal celebrations” and that Roberto Ayala
“enjoyed a bit of Becks-baiting”.

On the political front, Cross
Bencher authors Julia Hartley-Brewer and Kirsty Buchanan described
Labour Whip Thomas Watson as Tommy “Two Dinners” Watson; David
Stephenson’s centre-spread feature mentioned “Mad”

Frankie
Fraser; while the pub quiz on page 74 had a question about Robert de
Niro’s character in Once Upon a Time in America – David “Noodles”
Aaronson.

After reading his own paper, Mart must have been Smartin.

A
different way to pay through the nose ACCORDING TO his chatty mates in
the wacky world of lads’ mags, former Front editor Piers Hernu is
hoping to have a facelift. However, he has come up with an ingenious
way of having the nips and the tucks done without having to take a
scalpel to his bank balance.

“Piers reckons he can get it paid
for by a magazine, if he writes a feature about it. He might even find
a clinic that will do it for free in return for a good plug,” says a
Hernu chum.

“People talk about having cosmetic surgery on the NHS
but this is a bit like getting it done on the MHS – the Magazine Health
Service.”

Hernu is currently entrenched at The Mail on Sunday’s live magazine. Will he be able to blag a new nose as a perk of the job?

NEWS
INTERNATIONAL bosses have already booked their annual team-building
outing for next year. Executives at The Sun and News of the World have
been told they will be required to take part in a long weekend of
mountain climbing for the Three Peaks Challenge, unless they can
provide medical reasons why they can’t do it. Apparently they will also
have to share tents. Very cosy.

FLEET STREET’S dowager duchess,
the Evening Standard critic Brian Sewell, was on top form when
interviewed by The Observer last week. He talked about The Grand Tour,
his new travelogue TV series for Five and how it offended the channel’s
“prudish” censors.

“…when in Turin, I talked about Boswell having
had a spontaneous ejaculation in his trousers after playing kneesy with
a young woman at the opera… well, I’ve never seen such distress. ‘Can’t
you find another word for spontaneous ejaculation?’ they said.”

The
interview took up a full page in The Observer. Yet while there was room
to chat about the unplanned loss of semen, there was no mention of
Sewell’s sour relationship with Evening Standard editor Veronica
Wadley. Perhaps that’s because the interview was conducted by Rachel
Cooke, who also works for Wadley’s Standard.

Don’t bite the hand, and all that.

WHEN
SARAH Sands was appointed editor of The Sunday Telegraph, she spoke
about her relaxed attitude to lunches. It did not matter how long her
journalists spent away from their desks, she said, as long as they
helped her produce a great newspaper. Don’t forget, Sands was once a
gossip columnist so she knew the best stories were picked up while out
and about.

Lunching at Canary Wharf with a Sunday Telegraph
staffer the other day, the meal is interrupted by a mobile phone. My
friend has to return to the office, pronto.

Why? Because Sands
has sent her secretary to scour the 14th floor and find out where hacks
have gone, what time they left the building, when they will return… The
honeymoon period is over.

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