The Grey Cardigan 23.02.2007

I SHOULD imagine that if you did a search, the words used most often in the week's newspapers and magazines wouldn't be bird 'flu or Britney Shears but the phrase "with apologies to Hogarth".

With the Unicef report into child poverty and the imminent collapse of the Blair Empire, the arrival of a major exhibition of Hogarth's brilliant works at Tate Britain has been manna from heaven for the nation's cartoonists. Those who couldn't resist updating Gin Lane or the latter stages of The Rake's Progress were Heath in The Spectator and Martin Rawson in The Guardian, among many others.

I suppose we should just be glad that Hogarth's series of paintings entitled The Harlot's Progress was lost in a fire 250 years ago. Well, Heather Mills McCartney should be glad, anyway.

PAGE ONE of last week's Press Gazette details allegations that Newsquest managers told journalists in Gloucestershire who couldn't get into the office because of heavy snowfall that they'd have to take the time off as holiday or work it in lieu.

Page 11 of last week's Press Gazette carries an innocuous story from the Stroud News & Journal — one of the titles presumably involved — illustrated by a picture of the front page carrying a puff panel reading "Beat the bad weather! Win a warming £50 off your winter fuel bill!"

Perhaps, in this instance, management could waive normal competition rules and allow the company's hard-up employees to enter?

A MISCHIEVOUS young lady writes: "Hello, Mr Cardigan. I really love your columns… so I thought I'd try and tap you for a word of advice.

"You've obviously enjoyed your career in newspapers but, like all of us, despair for the future. What would you do if you were at the start of your career and enjoyed finding stories and writing them very much, but didn't like videovoxpopcams and your bosses not authorising the purchase of 50p diaries for reporters?

"What would you do if you were 25 and trying to make a career in papers? Would you have stuck with it all regardless, do you think?

Or would you have struck up an affair with Piers Morgan and let him take pictures of you frolicking in foreign sand and a bikini for GQ magazine?"

Steady on, girl. No need for such bitchiness, even if Mr Morgan does still owe me two grand.

I AM taken to task by the eminent Walter Greenwood, of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, over my comments regarding the reporting of arrests under the Terrorism Act and the 10 points of Section 8 of the Magistrates Court Act 1980.

He points out that contrary to my suggestion, such restrictions do not apply at arrest but only when a case arrives before the bench.

I stand corrected.

However, I would make one point in my own defence. Being a man of mainly regional grounding, I would much rather our reporters — and subs — bore in mind the 10 points from the kick-off.

Out here in the sticks we have neither the budget nor the inclination to employ expensive lawyers to argue the finer points of the contempt law before an irritable judge.

A POIGNANT correction in The Guardian. "A recipe for the Yew Tree's fish pie, G2 page 20, 31 January, gave no instructions for the grated gruyere listed in the ingredients. It should have been sprinkled over the filling before the potato topping is added."

I just have this plaintively sad image of two black-clad outreach workers in their forties, stood forlornly in their Magnet kitchen (as advertised by Liz-fucking-Jones), with a brimming pie dish to their left and a heap of grated gruyere to their right, scratching their heads and wondering where it all went wrong.

Betrayed by Blair, menaced by global warming, and now this.

Life can be hard sometimes.

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

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