The Grey Cardigan 19.05.06

AS AN industry, we agonise for hours, weeks and days over our key columnists. Are they right for the market? Will they stay fresh so we can get at least a year out of them? Can they be relied upon to hit the spot week after week? And then when we occasionally get it right, it looks so natural that you wonder what all the fuss was about.

So let's welcome ‘Sir' Kelvin MacKenzie back to the pages of The Sun. Never can there have been a finer "debut" than last Thursday's effort. There was none of the overblown shillyshallying and laborious, overwritten set-ups that bedevil most writers who've had a go at that slot (and there can't be many who haven't in the past year).

It was waspish, to the point, effective, in questionable taste, funny — and bang on-market. Hence Sir Paul McCartney's dalliance with the "monopod model" is going to cost him an arm and a leg. It's not big and it's not necessarily clever, but it's what The Sun desperately needed.

BUT FOR every diamond, there's a dog's egg. Step forward Mr Simon Carr, author of what is clearly the World's Worst Column in the pages of Monday's Independent for what seems like the past 50 years.

For those of us who only buy the paper on that day for the media section, the words: "The author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune…" strike gloom and despondency. It is a column in which nothing happens. It makes Waiting For Godot read like John Grisham. Harold Pinter would find it tediously slow. It is truly terrible.

We can only hope and pray that Mr Carr's mysterious device (is a Gobbling Teasmade too much to hope for?) eventually arrives. And doesn't break until after his column has ridden off into the sunset.

CAN ANYONE at BBC News explain the farcical decision to find the money, the crew and the high-profile presenter to cover a lost dog story for the six o'clock bulletin last week?

OK, so the dogs in question belonged to Bruce Forsyth. And yes, Widget and Gizmo are the kind of cute celebrity canines that wear red bandanas and diamond dog tags. But the Six O'Clock News, for fuck's sake?

I thought that shameful Gary Glitter interview was the bottom of the Beeb barrel. Clearly someone has found a new shovel. The next thing you know, they'll be getting taxi drivers to stand in for bona fide guests.

A CURIOUS free wallchart promotion in theguardian this week.

Garden birds I can understand. Butterflies and fungi tick all the boxes.

Sea fish are a little less I Spy-able. But sharks? Whither the Guardian reader who needs a wallchart of sharks? What next — tanks and Nazis?

WAS MARK Oaten (pictured) wise to take "his side of the story" to The Sunday Times? I ask because he makes himself look an even bigger nutcase than we'd already presumed.

Take this: "It was clear to me that I would need help sleeping, so I contacted my psychiatrist…"

"My psychiatrist"?

How many of us have one of those logged in our mobiles? And what's all this nonsense about being driven to an affair with a male prostitute by the onset of baldness?

What tosh. I've been going bald since I was 15 and I've never felt the need to pay a rent boy to poo on me.

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