The Grey Cardigan: 2 February 2007

IN THE fast-moving world of daily newspapers, mistakes are almost certain to happen.

Pictures can be a particular problem. Which one of us can claim, hand on heart, that when faced with a late-breaking court case we’ve never delved into the photo files and inserted a head and shoulders of Fred Smith, innocent local driving instructor, where a mugshot of Fred Smith, guilty local serial rapist, should have been? I know I have.

It’s the downpage par the following day that makes every sub wince: ‘We have been asked to point out… blah blah… Fred Smith… blah blah… picture supplied by a reputable agency… blah blah.’And kerching goes the till, as a hand-rubbing lawyer is presented with an open goal.

Although I seem to recall The Sun being the most recent national title to fall foul in this manner, the posh papers are not immune. Only last week The Guardian tried and convicted an innocent party, before prominently publishing his picture in full colour. I refer, of course, to that noble creature The Ferret.

Including the ferret in the Pet Rodents and Rabbits wallchart was a disgraceful slur not worthy of a newspaper of such repute. The ferret, as later pointed out in the Corrections and Clarifications column, is a member of the mustelid family, akin to weasels, badgers and otters: a higher calling indeed.

Of course, this crass mistake wouldn’t have happened if it was still the Manchester Guardian. Geographic knowledge and all that…

THE CORRECTIONS and Clarifications column is the only place to be during a free wallchart week. However many experts cast their educated eyes over the text and pictures, you just know that the hostage to fortune is already gagged and bound to the metaphorical radiator by his contextual kidnappers.

Not content with attempting to kill off readers by declaring in last year’s series that a toxic mushroom was edible, The Guardian has again been suffering from the customary cock-ups this time around. Even if we forgive them for misspelling Melanotaenia trifasciata, Puntius conchonious, Xiphophorus maculatus and Metynnis argenteus on the Pet Tropical Fish wallchart, it doesn’t excuse the litany of literals on the Dogs wallchart.

Bichon frise, dalmatian, dachshund, foxhound, miniature schnauzer and miniature poodle were all misspelt. Oh, and the Boston terrier was classified as a terrier when, as eny fule knos, it’s a utility class.

I shall leave the final comment to reader Roddy Campbell, who writes to say that he is looking forward to ‘the wallchart of corrections to the mistakes on the wallcharts”.

I THINK we’ve ascertained by now that we’re all being taken for a ride by Liz-fucking-Jones and her interminable war of attrition with her sloth-like husband. But is the lethargy spreading?

Last Sunday’s You magazine, dated 28 January, 2007, carried the day-by-day account of her marriage during the week commencing 20 December, 2006. For God’s sake woman, do get a grip. For all we know, the inert Nirpal could be buried under the patio by now.

MORE MARITAL strife. Mail on Sunday book reviewer Simon Humphreys wipes out a full page with a dreary piece about how his wife surprised him by writing a novel featuring a useless husband, clearly based on himself.

It’s not a review, nor is it very interesting – although he wisely decides that he likes the book – but as one of my Derry Street snouts points out, how much would that page have cost with the word ‘advertisement’at the top of it?

I THINK I may have mentioned before that one of my favourite publications is the American crime magazine True Police Cases, mainly for its wonderful 1950s artwork and photographic style.

I was therefore delighted to see the News of the World continuing this tradition with its brilliant ‘picture posed by models’illustration of the 322 Sex Fiends On The Loose story.

Excellent stuff, Col. Keep it up.

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

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