Dog watches dog 10.04.03

The face that sold a hundred T-shirts

Dog noted last week how the BBC’s Rageh Omaar was finding himself the subject of gushingly excited girly tributes from unlikely sources, The Times in particular. But it seems the cult of Rageh extends even further than we thought. It found this exciting item at, the self-styled “world’s biggest T-shirt shop”, alongside bestsellers such as Gianfranco Zola, Bobby Robson and of course wonderkid Wayne Rooney.

But what exactly is the Beau of Baghdad doing on a range of merchandise aimed at the aficionados of the beautiful game? The site’s Paul Goodmaker explained to the kennel: “One of our readers asked if we could do one as he is a bit of a cult hero on the Footbal365 Discussion Forum. We have sold well over 100 T-shirts since we launched it, so he is clearly very popular and fits in with our ever expanding legends range.”

Dog wonders if anyone has sent one to John Simpson.

You’re joking right?

Blushed all round at BBC Radio Orkney after an April Fools malarkey spectacularly misfired.

The radio station announced that, refuse bags would have now have to be labelled with their contents, and failing to do so could result in a £50 fine from the local council.

Later that day Orkney Islands Council announced that the station had been “grossly irresponsible” and said it was going to report the station to the broadcasting watchdog for causing so much anguish to the public.

It was only when the station considered pulling in its lawyers to defend its position, that the council revealed that their pronouncement was also an April Fool’s jape.

Stop it guys, you’re killing me.

Wheally funny…

Our hound embedded at the oh-so politically correct NUJ conference in Llandudno at the weekend couldn’t believe his ears. Cheekie chappie Chris Wheal must have cracked the worst taste joke in the history of the union’s end of conference cabaret.

Doing a mockney-cockney routine on how conference business should be translated into minority languages, Wheal came up with an East End version of the “diversity council” which had been proposed to look at equality, gay and disability issues.

Wheal translated this as being for “birds, ginger beers and raspberry ripples”.

Rather than immediate execution at the hands of the NUJ Ethics Council, Wheal was greeted with hoots of laughter.

Must be the way he tells them.

Catch it if you can

Dog has been sniffing around Britain’s publishing houses and found some exciting news: unpublished work by Catch 22 author Joseph Heller will be in the bookshops in July. Heller, along with JP Donleavy, Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon, is recommended reading in journalism schools. But unlike the others, he is actually read.

The stories and essays collected in the new work, Catch As Catch Can (Simon & Schuster), show the evolution of the writer. There are quite a few treats: two missing chapters from Catch 22 and a coruscating look at Hollywood. Catch 22 was embraced by the anti-war movement in the Sixties, and enriched the language with notions like “those in authority have the right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing”.

Could have been written yesterday.

Out of touch with the boy band scene? Don’t know your Westlifes from your Boyzones? Fortunately the hip London Metro is on hand to guide you. So, Shane Filan is from Boyzone if you read the page one blurb. And, er Westlife if you turn to page 10. That’s cleared that one up then.

This picture, left, popped into the kennel in box courtesy of freelance, raconteur and all round dodgy geezer Garth Gibbs. Iraqi resistance continues, said the subject line. In true Gibbsian style, he insists on its authenticity: “It came from a mate in Zambia who got it from a mate in America who was sent it by a mate in Australia. so it must be for real. Anyway, it’s too good not to print, isn’t it?” he’s right, of course.

Europe minister Denis MacShane, former president and leading firebrand of the NUJ in the Seventies, is trying to get the Parliamentary Lobby to sponsor him in the London Marathon. In a begging letter he has told them: “The rules of fundraising are that you touch everyone for a small donation and since I spent part of my life struggling for decent pay for journalists I hope you can help out.” But one Lobby journalist with a long memory tells Dog: “I remember going on strike in the Seventies about the time MacShane was president. It was a totally unnecessary strike and appallingly led. It cost me £1,000 so I don’t think I’ll be giving MacShane a penny.”

Quick quiz. One of these is the oldest dress in the world, about to go on display in a museum at the University College London. But which? Is it the ragged old bit of linen shown in last Wednesday’s Times, or the rather more daring see-through chain-mail number with the, ahem, nipple protectors depicted in the same day’s Guardian? Although no correction has appeared in the Guardian’s famous Corrections and Clarifications column, Dog humbly suggests the former may be the real McCoy. The museum’s curator said the dress “provided an insight into the clothing worn by the Egyptians”. Anyone wearing the Guardian’s version would have provided insight into a lot more than that.

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