Dog watches dog 24.06.04

Perfect play for the c-word critics

The row between Sheridan Morley and Michael Coveney over who used the “c-word” first – or at all – rumbles on in the letters page of The Stage.

A week after Morley wrote to the theatrical weekly denying ever having called Coveney “a cunt”, actress Nichola McAuliffe, who has reviewed for the Daily Mail following Coveney’s departure, has put forward an interesting proposal. “Perhaps, given the vocabulary, they should do a tour of The Vagina Monologues,” she writes in this week’s Stage.

The paper had previously reported that Coveney had replied to Morley’s insult thus: “At least I am not a fat cunt.” This week, Coveney tells Stage readers: “My use of the c-word was, I’m afraid, prompted by his use of it first.”

Book gives fresh spin on Campbell

The strains of bagpipes led guests arriving at the launch this week of a none-too-flattering biography of Alastair Campbell to wonder if the PM’s former spinmeister was picketing the event.

But no, the piper was not the occasional bagpipe-blowing Campbell, though he did make an entrance in time for the speeches – at least, his cardboard photograph did, backed by an artfully-edited electronic voice appearing to confess to distorting British intelligence and admitting: “There are many good journalists.” The one-dimensional Campbell was created by the book’s authors, Peter Oborne and Simon Walters, political editors of The Spectator and The Mail on Sunday. They had chosen the home of the Foreign Press Association for the launch, the very venue Campbell used to give briefings to Lobby journalists.

Gee gee joy for the racing hacks

There may be some glum faces over at The Times as a result of recent cost-cutting and job losses but at least one member of staff is smiling – racing editor Rob Wright.

He is part of the six-man partnership which owns Lafi (right) who, on Saturday, ran away with the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot and, according to press reports, cost the bookies more than £2.5m.

When Dog tried to contact Wright on Monday, we were told he had left the country. Is he coming back or did he win so much he doesn’t need to? “Oh he’s coming back. The holiday was all planned in advance,” says co-owner Henry Rix, former racing journalist on the now-defunct Today newspaper and the Racing Post, and now a successful telephone tipster.

So just how much did they win on Saturday thanks to the victory of 6-1 favourite Lafi? “Put it this way. We won enough to put food and drink on the table for a few weeks.

“Some of the lads had bets at 20-1 and 25-1 well before the race. Once the draw was made, and we were happy with it, I think there were a lot more bets placed at 12-1,” said Rix.


Are these Aberdeen shoppers wondering, “Is that really Elton John?” or “Who’s the wee prat in the dodgy suit?” On the eve of Elton’s appearance at the city’s Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen Evening Express entertainments editor Scott Begbie was given the unenviable task of dressing up as the flamboyant singer and parading up and down Union Street. His task? To see if he could fool the public into believing he was the real thing.

Begbie also entered a well-known candle store to ask for … one that doesn’t blow out in gale-force conditions.

Begbie told Dog: “The best part of the day was the reaction from Aberdonians. They all smiled and joined in the joke.”

 The Ipswich Evening Star went to great lengths to avoid offending readers in the run-up to Elton John’s appearance at the Portman Road football stadium. The story – beneath a headline “Shock It Man – carried pictures of Elton at a recent gig in Bristol, when he wore a necklace bearing the words “Fuck Off”. The front-page picture had a “censored” banner over the offending necklace. Pity that the paper failed to spot that in the same photo, dangling from his right ear, Elton was wearing a rather rude earring – showing an erect penis and a pair of testicles.

Ascot’s answer to Trinny and Tranny

Royal Ascot may have witnessed the birth of a glamorous new TV star – fashion journalist James Sherwood.

Well-turned-out man-about-town Sherwood, who makes Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen look like a bouncer, stunned BBC viewers by delivering a series of acid-tipped putdowns when describing racegoers at Royal Ascot.

“You’ve got to have standards. The minute you let people in the Royal Enclosure with a bare midriff, well it’s the end,” bitched Sherwood, a regular writer on sartorial matters for The Independent.

He wasn’t always sounding a negative note, however. “We’re not seeing too many footballers’ wives, which is a good thing.” Dog urges the BBC to send Sherwood to Portugal and let him loose on the England supporters.


Press Gazette revealed some time ago that Reed Business Information had decided to charge some of its freelance subs £60 for a days’s training in Adobe InDesign.

Even though this is less than the going rate for a day’s training (up to £250) it struck some that this was rather mean – especially from such a profitable company.

Now Dog hears some heartwarming news: GNL, which publishes The Guardian and The Observer, plans to retrain its freelance subs – at no charge. Better not tell the accountants.


EU summit safety fears quelled by chocolate

“Journalists raise fears of ‘death trap’ room at Brussels summit,” screamed a headline in European Voice last week.

“If there was an explosion it would be like the Twin Towers,” an unnamed Spanish journalist said.

Dutch journalist Jan Werts even called on correspondents to stage a demonstration during the summit .

So did hacks from all over the EU join hands on a picket line outside the Justus Lipsius building ? Not exactly.

BBC Online’s Guto Harro provided a clue as to why: “They’re almost all hunched over desks or hanging around bars in a heavily guarded press centre. You pick up accreditation, you pick up free coffee, croissants, baguettes, chocolate and water.”

Bought off by croissants and chocolate!

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