Grey Cardigan 7 March DO NOT LIVE

I’M SUMMONED into the presence of Crystal Tits. It’s a rare honour, her excursions on to the floor of the Evening Beast newsroom are becoming rarer and rarer since the latest disastrous ABC figures leaked out.

I enter her office and stand to attention. She sits behind a magnificent desk, rumoured to have been imported from Milan. A bowl of flowers, changed daily, sits to one side; a pile of expensive wallpaper samples, destined for the office walls, sits to the other. Her impressive embonpoint advances menacingly across the desk towards me. The air is thick with a perfume I later discover to be Poison, in many senses.

‘Ah, Grey.’It’s the husky voice, so she obviously wants something. She glances down at a piece of paper. ‘Throughout 2008, the editorial discipline will concentrate on crucial audience-building initiatives designed to drill deep into

our communities.”

I look at her blankly. I haven’t got a fucking clue what she’s on about. Neither, I suspect, has she.

‘We have to make our brands the hub of local life,’she continues. ‘It is expected that every centre will have signed up at least 30 community correspondents, who will upload their own information on to the web by 31 December, 2008. It is suggested that by July all centres should have achieved 50 per cent of these.”

Right, I can see where this is going.

‘And you, Grey, are the man to

sign them up.”

I try not to sigh too loudly. ‘So these 30 untrained correspondents. They’ll presumably have access to our

website?’I ask.

‘Well, yes,’she replies. ‘How else are they going to upload stories?”

‘I see. And who will monitor their contributions 24 hours a day… you know, just in case of something patently stupid or, even worse, libellous, appears?”

‘Oh I don’t think we need worry too much about that,’she says, and reaches for her bottle of Peruvian mineral water. ‘It’ll just be little people uploading

little stories.”

‘And will they be paid?’I ask. ‘Will their broadband service or computer kit be provided?”

‘Don’t be silly,’Crystal Tits purrs, and dismisses me with a wave of a perfectly manicured claw.

I retreat, dragging this poisoned chalice behind me. Technology – it’s the future, don’t you know…

AN EARLY setback for the Daily Mail’s war on plastic carrier bags. Despite

Marks & Spencer getting onside by deciding to charge 5p a bag in future (for something that costs 0.5p?), an uncaring – nay reckless – organisation wantonly distributed almost 2.5 million plastic bags across the country on Sunday morning.

The criminally negligent organisation? The Mail on Sunday, which enclosed its You and Live! magazines in a turtle-choking plastic skin.

AN EMAIL arrives from an old person

(I can tell because the spelling is spot-on). ‘Dear Grey,’it reads. ‘Forget about Topman.  Bridlington Indoor Market is the place for grey cardigans. I was passing through last month and went in search of a place that sold proper cups of tea instead of just nancy boys’ coffee at two-and-a-half quid a shot.

‘And there in the market was a sight to gladden an old sub’s heart. Row upon row of chunky cardies. Some of them had poncy designs, but most of them were honest-to-goodness Philippino knitwear. At £9 a time, who could resist?”

Bridlington, eh? I think I’d rather shiver.

FOR THE second week running, Prof Ray Snoddy used his 7.45am Saturday morning Newswatch slot to lambast

the failings of the corporation that

employs him.

First we had the announcement of the Northern Rock nationalisation, where Sky News beat BBC News 24 by a full 20 minutes. Next up was the earthquake tale, up and running on Sky News at 1.10am, but not appearing on BBC News 24 until the 1.30am bulletin.

A Beeb suit was paraded in front of the cameras to claim that ‘a few chimney pots being shaken in Grimsby’wasn’t really an important story, but you could see in his eyes the fear of failure. Must do better, chaps.

THE PROBLEM of binge drinking is now a permanent tabloid obsession, with the ready availability of cheap booze being vilified across the popular press. The Daily Mail, as ever, leads the way, but The Sun isn’t far behind, particularly when it comes to pictures of befuddled young ladies squatting in the gutter

legs akimbo.

But, as we all know, publishing also involves commercial considerations if we’re all going to be able to afford that nice bottle of Burgundy on a Friday night. Which makes the appearance in

The Sun of a full-page £50,000 colour ad for Morrisons, advertising 40 cans of brand-name lager for just £15, only slightly embarrassing.

THE MORONIC Kiss N Sell website, which encourages greedy members of the public to post their stories on which desperate newsdesks can bid, batters my inbox with 13 emails.

I have to say that I doubt a single story has ever been sold using this method. If I give you a flavour of

their ‘service”, you can make up your

own minds…

‘Kiss and tell,’posts someone called Jodie Farrell, ‘On someone famous that i was with, and want to no how much i would get payed if its not a lot i will

not sell the story.i have got pictures

to prove.”

So far the maximum bid for this Pulitzer Prize winner is just £1. I suspect that’s pushing it.

You can contact me, should you be minded, at thegreycardigan@gmail.com

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