Dispatches from down table

BORED WITH laying out yet another spread on the season’s latest nail varnish colours (unsurprisingly featuring the woman who does the manicures of Crystal Tits, our editor), I wander down the desk and end up talking to Gordon Geeko, the Mac jockey who does the Evening Beast website.

He’s the same bloke who I thought was deaf for the first six months he was here. It was only later that I realised that the rude bastard wore iPod headphones while at work rather than having to talk to the rest of us.

‘You must be pleased then?’I say. He removes his earphones, clearly peeved that someone has entered his comfort zone. ‘You must be pleased then?’I repeat. ‘Why?’he asks, brushing oatmeal bar crumbs and dandruff from his T-shirt. ‘Well, these great figures the website’s been getting. All those hits, all those page impressions, all those unique users.’By now I’ve completely exhausted my electronic terms of reference.

‘It’s all bollocks,’he says. ‘One third of the users are ex-pats, who are no use whatsoever commercially, and over another third are just spiders.’

‘Spiders?’I ask, utterly baffled.

‘Yeah, spiders. Search engines, crawling around the internet doing searches and looking for key words. Not real people at all.’

‘Err … and the people who shout about our great figures from the rooftops know about this?’I ask.

‘Well, they’ve been told,’says Geeko, ‘But they’re still counting them.’He wanders off to reconstitute a Pot Noodle at the sink.

I return to the debate over the contrasting advantages of Hot Pink and Ruby Red, smiling as I remember all the bent circulation managers we’ve sacked down the years for getting caught fiddling the ABC figure. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

AN EMAIL arrives from an aggrieved Guardian sub: ‘Why are you always picking on us? We’re journalists just like you.’

‘Fraid not, sonny. You’re nothing like the rest of us. We don’t live a pampered lifestyle in a profit-free bubble funded by a second-hand car magazine in Reading. We don’t have the money to spunk away on idiot supplements and daft posters. We don’t have jobs for life.

Did I say jobs for life? Maybe not. Just like at the equally unreal BBC, the gravy train is heading for the buffers. I know I shouldn’t take any pleasure in the thought of fellow hacks losing their jobs, but sometimes it’s hard not to indulge in a spot of selfish schadenfreude.

I SUPPOSE, for the purposes of the joke, that we might once have been able to describe the Daily Telegraph as ‘Calvinist”. Sadly, these days, it could better be described as ‘Kelvinist”.

The Rugby World Cup has for some reason magnified the Telegraph’s in-bred boorishness in a very unpleasant way. Thus we have stupidly patronising pieces about women and rugby followed by an astonishing ’30 Reasons why we hate the French’feature the day before the semi-final that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Mr Mackenzie’s Sun.

Out came the usual suspects: Napoleon, yappy dogs, rude waiters, pissoirs, berets (rib-ticklingly compared to cow pats), foie gras, sex, unemployment, their consumption of song birds, the fact that they don’t bathe every day and the Marquis de Sade.

It’s pathetic, sub-playground stuff and entirely in keeping with the hideous comic that this newspaper is rapidly becoming. I suppose we should only be thankful that there wasn’t an invitation to ‘Tell us your Parisian toilet stories at www.telegraph.co.uk/splashmyshoes.’

MY CONTINUING disenchantment with the Telegraph is probably fuelled by the fact that some red-socked twat at Victoria Plaza has been allowed to mess about with the Letters Page. The comment piece has been expanded and moved to the top of the page while the spiritual home of Sir Herbert Gusset has been diminished and demoted.

It’s almost as if those pitifully few Luddites who still resist the computer as a means of communication, preferring pen and paper, are being punished for their recalcitrance. It’s all right, Will. We’re getting the message.

EVEN WHEN you’re doing a lazy quotes job, it’s best to make sure you get the right lazy quote. So we all know where to go when Kate Middleton gets papped taking a shooting lesson near Balmoral while William was off stalking deer.

Enter stage left, the animal rights nutters, who can usually be relied on to fulminate against the death of an innocent animal murdered for the purpose of a rich man’s entertainment. So why then did the News of the World phone up anti-gun campaigners Mothers Against Guns?

‘She needs to realise she is a role model to millions of her impressionable young fans,’said Iffat Ravzi, whose daughter was caught in crossfire and killed during a Mitcham gang shootout. ‘To be pictured carrying a gun and possibly shooting an animal just sends out the wrong message to teenagers who don’t know any better.’

I never realised that gangs of feral hoodies were roaming the streets of south London downing passing deer with a sniper’s rifle. And my invitation to the Peckham Posse’s pheasant shoot (sawn-offs only; no ground game) must be lost in the post.

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