Axe grinder 14.04.06

From pop artist tot take-the-piss artist

EVENING Standard arts correspondent Tom Teodorczuk was initially delighted when a letter arrived from lawyers representing the Andy Warhol estate. At first, the highly–rated writer thought he was being handed an exclusive story.

But as he read on, Teodorczuk's excitement turned to horror. He and his US fiancée, Dierdra, were being threatened with legal action.

As is the custom in the US, couples set up a wedding website and in this case they had used a snap of themselves which was, according to the nasty letter, based on Andy Warhol's 1973 work, Marilyn, and therefore a breach of copyright.

The letter stated: "In order to prevent further action, we require you to remove this image from your internet site, , with immediate effect. To protect our client's commercial integrity, we also require you to submit a written guarantee that it will not be used to promote, produce or otherwise endorse any public event scheduled to take place during a six-month cooling-off period. This will run until 7 October, 2006."

And then the chilling words: "We are not at present seeking a cancellation of the event, Tom and Deirdra's Wedding. However, should you agree to the sixmonth cooling-off period, we will require postpone ment of the event until on or after 7 October 2006."

Teodorczuk spent a day with lawyers discussing defence tactics. Only then did his "friend", Guy Adams, the mischievous editor of The Independent's Pandora diary, own up to being the creator of this practical joke. The Standard man has told the diarist he needs "to get out more".

Sands may be more dabbling than directing

AXEGRINDER'S old friend Sarah Sands started "work" at the Daily Mail this week. Wicked staff are calling her Boomerang Sands because of her frequent returns to Associated.

The Guardian's Cristina Odone quotes an unnamed source saying that Sands — who is four-day-a-week consulting editor — is "Dacre's dream come true… a posh woman at his right hand".

And Odone states with authority that: "Dacre values her sense of style and wealth of ideas, and it is not inconceivable that the stint at the Mail, under his tutelage, will be used as training ground for bigger things — maybe even editorship of the Evening Standard?"

Odone's sources predict there will be a tug-of-war between Sands and Lisa Collins, editor of the Femail section.

Should we believe the hype about Sands and her new position?

I learn she is not in fact going in as the right-hand woman but will dabble in features. What's more, she is on a salary way below £100K, which suggests that her role is not considered significant.

Editorial intelligence or interference?

LEADING the charge against Julia Hobsbawm's venture Editorial Intelligence in recent days has been the Evening Standard.

What has the Standard got against Hobsbawm?

Conspiracy theorists point out — and this is plainly ridiculous — that its deputy editor, Anne McElvoy, is forever trying to schmooze the Chancellor's wife, Sarah Brown, who used to be a business partner of Hobsbawm until they fell out.

Could Hobsbawm maybe also have done more to support McElvoy's long campaigns to become editor of the New Statesman?

Auntie doesn't take kindly to moonlighters

A WORD to the wise. If you are a BBC TV reporter (no names mentioned… yet) who is moonlighting with a bit of media training, I'd advise you to brush up on the Beeb's rules on the subject.

"It may be appropriate for BBC presenters, editorial people or programme makers to speak publicly at conferences or to interested bodies about broadcasting.

"However, there are considerable dangers of a conflict of interest if BBC people train individuals or organisations in how to present themselves on television, radio or online.

"Producers, editors and journalistic staff must obtain permission from their manager before undertaking any outside training work.

"Presenters, producers and editors should not train people they are likely to interview or who are likely to appear on the programmes for which they are responsible.

"We should ask freelance presenters about their commitments in this area to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

Presenters involved in news, current affairs, topical programmes or consumer programmes should not interview anyone they have trained and it is very unlikely that it will be acceptable for producers or editorial people in these areas to undertake any outside coaching on how to appear on air."

Pay-off line puts paid to love poem

WHAT a fantastic response Axegrinder has had after publishing the final two verses of Jonathan Isaby's inspiring love poem.

Readers have been pleading to see the preceding four verses which Isaby — The Daily Telegraph's deputy diary editor — wrote for Oliver Letwin's researcher, Martha.

You'll recall that Isaby's stanzas failed to win Martha's heart (she had to take time off work). Sadly, Isaby is now full of regret.

As he told me last week: "I'd clearly had a few, but I thought I would send it to her nevertheless. It's embarrassing all round. Someone told me she has a boyfriend."

The bard might like to look away now, as others settle back to savour his profound and stirring first four verses…

"Martha My Dear" was a Beatles song
About Paul McCartney's dog — it's true;
But this Martha deserves a tribute of her own
So this is mine from me to you;

We went to university at the same institution
In the wonderful city of York;
It's a place full of history and culture and pubs
And has walls upon which you can walk.

Your political judgment is second to none
Since you supported DC from the start;
I guess that makes you an original ‘Dave Babe' —
A true believer from the heart;

Yet they say the Tory Party lacks women these days
But I believe it's quality that counts;
As quality goes you score an A+
And I feel the urge to pounce.

Jon Isaby

(Could have been the final word that did the damage.)

Will Neil daily be eight-day wonder?

BITCHINESS over at London-based free daily newspaper City AM following the news that Andrew Neil is to launch a paper in Dubai.

City AM's diary, The Capitalist, points out to readers that Neil was the man who once predicted that City AM wouldn't last eight days. It is now in its eighth month.

And of Neil's Dubai plans, The Capitalist adds: "So far unnamed, it is to be a free daily business paper. Now where can the inspiration for that have come from, I wonder?"

Midgley defies sceptics with marathon feat

MEANWHILE City AM associate editor Dominic Midgley ran in the Paris Marathon last weekend and managed to reach the finishing post.

This has astonished everyone who knows him because he is a serial luncher and wasn't deemed fit enough to bend down and put on his trainers, let alone run in them. Until Sunday, he believed a marathon was something with which to line the stomach before a heavy sesh.

When he texted old friend and most senior sceptic Brendan Carlin, Daily Telegraph political correspondent, with the simple message: "4hrs 51mins", Carlin swiftly sent back a message: "Bloody Eurostar. Make sure you get your money back."

It's far from tickety-boo at The Sun

STAFF ON the Irish edition of the Daily Mirror might "love" rival Sun editor Mike McNiffe, as Axegrinder reported last week. But things haven't been quite so tickety-boo over at the Irish Sun's Bishop's Square headquarters since Mikey and sidekick, Craig Mackenzie, took over.

All the reporters from previous editor Danny Gallagher's era, bar news desk operator Miles McEntree, have fled.

So too has one of the paper's two snappers, and now veteran former "chef-de-bureau", columnist and legendary leader writer, Paddy Clancy, is on his bike.

Meanwhile up in Belfast the sole Northern Ireland hack, Patrick Griffin, is nervously watching his back and morale among the sub-editors still left in Wapping is also said to be plummeting.

Sun's Camilla strategy puts Mark in shade

CAMILLA, wife of Prince Charles, had a good week with The Sun lending her its support. This is surprising on two counts. First, the Currant Bun has long been keen on the late Princess Diana (maybe for republican reasons).

Second, Sun editress Rebekah Wade is often described as a "best friend" of PR flunky Mark Bolland, who has so ingloriously fallen out with Charles and Camilla. Is Bolland's influence at The Sun on the wane?

Hotmail helps Standard to be hot off press

A SYSTEMS crash at the Evening Standard last Friday brought things to a standstill.

The paper's parliamentary team were forced to file their copy to an exec's personal Hotmail address rather than to the usual email address. Some say the newspaper very nearly failed to reach the streets. "Ridiculous in this day and age," mutters one member of the Westminster brigade.

Avian moniker for Indy boss

INDEPENDENT editor Simon Kelner has a new nickname — Bird Flu. Why? Explains an Indy hack: "He swans in to the office then swans off to the Groucho."

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