The Grey Cardigan 14.10.05

THE
BOY wonder, our recently appointed editor, fizzes around the newsroom,
effervescent with his own importance. It really is difficult not to
picture him in short trousers, school cap and prefect’s badge.

In his over-excited wake trails a marketing person clutching a ring binder of research.

This is never, ever a good sign.

Today’s
edict is handed down, with all the certainty of ill-informed youth.
Apparently we have a “paradigm schism in our core demographic”.

This
eventually translates into the instruction that there are too many
pictures of old people in the paper. We need to attract a young, lively
readership, therefore in future we are only to use pictures of young,
lively people.

I glance down at my screen, where our weekly
“diamond weddings” double-page spread is nearing completion, only
minutes from deadline. I have two choices: advise the Boy Wonder of the
situation, or pretend to faint. I close my eyes and slowly topple
backwards off my chair.

 

THE
MORNING pipe of ready-rubbed St Bruno used to be a gentle start to the
day, but that was before the advent of breakfast television, and the
reliance on attractive young women as “sports reporters”.

Who are
they trying to kid? These vacuous bimbos who recite the lines from the
autocue haven’t got the faintest idea what they’re saying, or what
those words mean. You can see the terror in their eyes as unknown terms
like “diamond formation” and “reverse swing” loom up in front of them.

You
just know that even with the help of a full set of condiments, you’d
never get one of these pancake-faced ornaments to understand the
offside law. Whatever happened to real men as sports reporters, men who
smell of Spitfire bitter and Old Spice?

At least Clare Balding
(pictured) knows her stuff. Even if she is, by repute, one of those
ladies who bats for the other side. And consequently smells of Spitfire
bitter and Old Spice.

 

I BLAME Piers Morgan. I
suspect that it was he who introduced the much-imitated “Wicked
Whispers” panel of scurrilous but anonymous gossip to the showbiz pages
of The Mirror.

One can understand its value as a device to sneak
out those stories that give the lawyers a fit, and there may be fun to
be had for readers in trying to identify the guilty parties, but you
have to be able to get close to the culprit for it to work.

The
Daily Mail, an early-adopter of the gimmick in its now deceased gossip
column, recently introduced a similar panel to its sports pages
entitled “Have You Heard?” It is completely and utterly pointless.
Recent highlights include the “information” that a certain Premiership
manager temporarily mislaid his mobile phone at an airport and, on
another day, that a certain Premiership player had bought two expensive
watches – from a watch shop.

No, I hadn’t heard, and frankly I don’t fucking care.

 

IT
WASN’T a difficult story to write. The BSE-inspired ban on T-bone
steaks was about to be lifted. Most nationals managed it in a simple
nib.

But not theguardian, as we now must call it. There, the
ordinary man’s T-bone miraculously metamorphosed into something called
the “Fiorentina”, a delicacy of (guess where?) Tuscany.

Pretension or parody? You decide.

IT IS a brave decision of Sir David Frost to join the Arabic-language TV station al-Jazeera.

After all, if viewing figures fall, heads might roll.

What’s happening in your newsroom?

Contact me at thegreycardigan@gmail.com

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