Dog watches dog 30.10.03

Observer doctor reveals barefaced front online

The Observer’s alternative health columnist may be known as the Barefoot Doctor, but that didn’t stop him getting a “good shoeing” when he took part in a live Q&A on the paper’s website.

Here’s a flavour of the exchange:

Sammy: “Do you really believe everything you recommend or do you think ‘lumme, I’ve no idea, you’re probably dead meat’ and then recommend a good rubdown with a spiritual pebble or something because that’s what you DO.”

Barefoot Doctor: “Yes, I believe every bit of advice I give, thanks for checking.”

Tommydgnr8: “Given that 95 per cent of what you preach is superstitious nonsense and that The Observer effectively pays you to plug your products (available at an incredibly over-inflated price at a Boots near you!), how do you sleep at night?”

Barefoot Doctor: “Thank you for asking – generally on my right side so the blood can go more easily into my liver, there to be purified as I sleep – this is the taoist sleeping position known as coiling of the five dragons – it’s advisable as it tends to prevent an overload of blood to the heart, which would produce unsettling dreams and possibly even waking delusions the next day.”

Johnknoxlives: “A case study, Mr Barefoot: my bus has crashed – I’ve got a compound fracture in my right leg, the bone is sticking out from under the skin and is wedged into the ‘Used Tickets’ receptacle, my skull has had a good old thump against the seat in front and is impersonating a boiled egg after the first thump with the teaspoon, and my ribs have been broken into bits like a packet of smokey bacon crisps someone has stood on. What herbs and aromatic oils would you recommend?”

Barefoot Doctor: “You may jest – however, aromatic oils or potions can be extremely effective in speeding the healing process eg – manuka honey, lavender, marigold etc – thanks for bringing it up.”

To read more of the same go to: talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?128@17.x XFsbWmZJRi.2@.685e9480

Orc comparisons worth the money

Iain Thomas, from VNU News Centre, contacts the kennel with a classic example of something we’ve all had our suspicions about – that standards of press office training seem to go down and down.

“I’ve just got off the phone with a PR who has a client in a leading computer software company,” says Thomas, who was after a photo to illustrate a piece, but the PR hesitated.

“He’s a bit odd looking, are you sure you want a photo?” said the PR.

“We do need one. What do you mean odd looking?” inquired Thomas.

“You’ve seen Lord of the Rings? Well he looks a bit like an orc; long straggly hair, discoloured teeth and heavy on the piercing,” came the reply.

Doubtless the computer wizards would be delighted to know their PR money is being so well spent.

Clydebank Post exposed by Daly

With praise flooding in for Mark Daly’s exposé of deeprooted racism among recruits to police forces in England and Wales, two of his former employers – The Scotsman and the Daily Record – were claiming credit for their protégé.

But Alan Taylor, associate editor of the Sunday Herald, was unimpressed with the dailies claiming the credit for Daly’s journalistic prowess, and set the record straight in his weekly diary: “His true alma mater can be revealed. All hail the Clydebank Post.”

Scotland on Sunday revealed that The Scotsman was given an exclusive advance of Daly’s findings three days before the BBC broadcast the investigation – a reward for providing Daly with a false reference, describing him as having worked there as a “marketing assistant” to help him bluff his way into police college.

SoS columnist Clype reported: “This provoked much gnashing of teeth at the Daily Record, which had been offered the same deal, but bottled out of making up a reference.”

Red Devil Nick’s Arsenal agenda

If you Google the name of ITV’s political editor, you could read all about the achievements of a Nick Robinson who is a big shot in the National Origami Society. But rest assured, the Robinson who appears on our TV screens is not a secret expert in the art of paper folding.

But the Nick Robinson, pictured, lumped with the “daft” people criticised for “scaremongering” over Arsenal FC’s plans for a new stadium in Ashburton Grove on the club’s site, Arseweb? That’s our man, apparently.

The former BBC journalist insists it was his wife who volunteered him to be chairman of a residents’ group opposing the plan.

Robinson also says he told local reporters that he was part of the committee – but the papers didn’t use the story until after the Arsenal fans cottoned on, writing on the site about: “a quote from one Nick Robinson suggesting that residents in favour of Arsenal’s expansion don’t realise what it means.

Someone please correct us if we’re wrong, but isn’t this the same Nick Robinson who is a Five Live presenter and dedicated Man United fan? Nimbyism is one (bad) thing, but could there be other motives operating here?” Robinson says he told the papers about his allegiances: “I don’t want to embarrass the people involved, but if there was ever proof that journalists only like a story when it’s a leak, then that was it. Week after week they did reports about the committee without mentioning me, until the Arsenal fans picked up on it.”

Eh-oh, Alex’s secret is out

Dog has finally worked out what was missing from Alex Pascall’s biography (PG, 3 October) after weeks of its canine brain being bugged.

As well as working for the BBC programme Black Londoners, it seems Pascall’s happy face is better known to thousands of proud parents for his starring role in another BBC show – Teletubbies.

Alex pops up in many a Teletubby tummy doing fantastic songs like “Hands, hands, handy handy hands…”, singing “Good Morning” to everyone he meets on the street and jazz versions of nursery rhymes.

So, for anyone else who was losing sleep over it; there you have it! Oh, and for the record, Dog does not idle away his time watching CBeebies instead of slaving over his keyboard; he just happens to see it when the puppies are watching it on the kennel’s new widescreen TV.

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