Dog watches dog 30.01.03

Scoop exclusively disappointing

“Zoe’s Lover Talks to the Mirror” screamed the blurb on the front page of Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper, luring all those desperate to know more about the affair between Zo’ Ball and the man alleged to have caused the split between her and her DJ husband Fatboy Slim. Are they still together? Does he love her? When did they meet? But the exclusive on page three, in which “DJ Dan breaks his silence”, was slightly disappointing. He broke his silence to say: “I’m not going to make a comment at all. I’m not going to categorically say anything.”

Thompson’s move signals hard times ahead for Pierce

Dog has picked up a little disquiet among certain Wapping circles at Times editor Robert Thomson’s decision to move the editor’s office down on to the same floor that houses the news operation.

“He’ll be able to see what everyone gets up to now,” said an ashen-faced source, noting that ‘People’ columnist Andrew Pierce is particularly vexed.

“He’ll have to find a way to fill the half of his day that’s usually spent flicking bits of paper at colleagues.”

Houston comes up trumps in war pool problem

Mystical tales are emerging from deepest Glasgow as to how Scottish Daily Record man Simon Houston was chosen by the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society to represent its interests, if the MoD offers a place in the reporting pool for the putative war in Iraq.

It seems a vote was taken, resulting in a tie between the Daily Record and The Herald. When it was decreed a toss of the coin should decide, the Daily Record representative had a reporter seek advice from Gordon Smith, also known as the “Psychic Barber”, who runs Gentry’s barber shop in Glasgow.

Psychic Gordon, who communicates with the departed, ultimately plumped for tails, and, the Record, guessing correctly, emerged triumphant.

According to The Scotsman columnist Simon Pia: “Now Gordon’s star is rocketing and, we are told, he is now assured a long and illustrious career with Trinity Mirror.”

Benny doea his bit for the Tykes

Dog has a tribute to pay to Benny Hill. No, not mystifyingly the popular comedian of the Seventies and Eighties, but the former sports editor of the Sheffield Morning Telegraph. Now retired, Hill nonetheless continues to contribute the “Stop Press” column in Barnsley FC’s match day programme – a task he has stuck to for 29 seasons.

When the club went into administration, Hill wrote more than 200 letters to those connected with the club – among them a number of media names – asking them to join the “Sponsor A Seat” initiative. The result is a “Stop Press” block booking of 111 seats in the main stand at Oakwell.

A number of football writers from national dailies and Sunday newspapers pledged money, as did broadcasters including John Motson, Jon Champion, Peter Drury and John Helm. Michael Parkinson also chipped in towards the £2,400 total, which has helped the club tick over during its period of administration.

Dead cert? No

A spectacular demonstration of Murphy’s Law – what can go wrong, will go wrong – from the Racing Post. Under the headline “Sports broadcasting’s ‘Mr Fixit’ Mike Murphy is dead”, the paper reported the death at the age of 51 of the Dublin-based journalist who had at one time edited BBC’s Grandstand. The picture was correctly captioned – Mike Murphy: “Such an enthusiast.” Unfortunately, the Mike Murphy pictured was the former RTE radio and TV presenter Ð who is very much alive and kicking. What would Mark Twain say?

Bad news for the amphibious population of Hull.

And an intriguing witness-call from a daily news briefing from the West Mercia Constabulary:

“Police are investigating an incident in which two teenage girls were approached by a man who indecently exposed himself, in Paddock Mount, Dawley. The man was believed to be wearing a cream coloured jacket and a dark T-shirt, but more distinctively, he was wearing a blue carrier bag on his head when he shouted out to the girls and exposed himself. Police are appealing to anyone who thinks they may have seen this man, who would have had a blue carrier bag with him at the time.”

The silent roar

Dog’s spotter in Swindon picked out this puzzling detail from the Evening Advertiser’s report of soldier Neil Thomas’s world record attempt to lift his own body weight 33 times. “The gym became silent as a group of army colleagues, friends, family and wellwishers cheered Neil on.” Perhaps it’s a Zen thing, like the sound of one hand clapping.

Stan “The Man”

These pants look even bigger than their owner’s name. They belong to Stan “The Man” Szecowka, deputy editor of the Bristol Evening Post. They are being auctioned for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre on Valentine’s Day, along with those of lesser known stars such as Gareth Gates and Linford Christie.

Bidding for the pants in the “Star Draws” auction starts at a bargain £50 – enough to make Dog discard his Calvins.

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