Dog watches dog 24.04.03

A horror-scope

Since one of the kennel’s all time favourite movies is Groundhog day, Dog remains tickled by the on-going tale of the Lynn News horoscope page. Just as Bill Murray’s character woke every morning to the sounds of “I Got You Babe” on his clock radio, readers in Norfolk found a certain repetitive quality to Russell Grant’s predictions throughout the whole of March.

Finally, after a month in which Cancerians have had to go for a walk four Fridays running, Sagittarians bought up the country’s supplies of bubble bath and joss sticks and Pisceans found themselves guest of honour at a number of parties, the message finally got through. The 4 April column realigned itself with the stars and all was well in the astrological heavens. Not for long, though. That copy was evidently so good, Lynn News gave it a reprise on 11 April.

Dog suspects the sub responsible for the page may be a Taurean. “A busy week when you have too much to do and too little time to do it,” predicts Grant. Again.

Quote of the week: At his farewell party, Art Cooper, retiring editor of GQ, paraphrasing General Douglas MacArthur: “Old editors never die. They just lose their expense accounts.”

Clearing by halves

The Times has got rid of its fruit flies. Now it wants to exterminate its filing cabinets. So anxious for a clear-out is the deputy managing editor that he is offering champagne prizes for the number of metal cabinets binned to provide more space in the office.

Not magnums, mind. Half a bottle or a bottle depending on how many cabinets are removed.

Hoarders that journalists are by nature, they aren’t likely to be rushing to raid his hoard of bubbly.

It’s an Open and Close case for IPC launch projects

Dog was privileged to b invited to IPC’s stellar awards event evening at the Grosvenor Hotel just before Easter (note to kennel members: always check whether the dress code is “black tie” before setting off in a dinner jacket), at which Now and Chat were among the big winners.

Editorial director Mike Soutar had interrupted his holiday to be there, so Dog took the opportunity to pump him for information of the top secret launch project’s he’s overseeing. Such top-level investigative journalism was rewarded with a genuine scoop.

So taken is he with his new remote control blinds on Kings Reach Tower’s 17th floor, Soutar has opted to spend some of the launch fund millions on a unique twice weekly title devoted to such gadgets.

“The Wednesday edition will be called Open,” he confided, “while the Saturday edition will be called Close. It’ll be huge.”

Remember where you heard it first.

Police voice bank exclusive from Mrs Smith’s leak

Reporter Anders Larssen volunteered to hold the fort in the offices of The Clarion, Yeovil over the Easter weekend.

With things looking quiet, he put a call in to the local police voice bank.

“The Avon and Somerset Constabulary don’t usually pack the voice bank with exciting stuff, but I thought I’d better check just in case,” he said. He was rewarded with the two messages from an elderly lady, Mrs Smith. In the first she can be heard asking for assistance because there is a leaking pipe under her sink.

In the second, some three hours later, she is rather more annoyed, presumably as the levels of water in her kitchen are now resembling the lower decks of the Titanic just after the iceberg incident.

“It is quite hilarious,” says Larssen, “although I feel sorry for other journalists working over the weekend as we are missing out on any potential real crime stories.”

Read is blessed with a great view at enthronement

And lo, it came to pass that Ian Read, newly appointed news editor of the Whitstable Times, did find himself turned into a media star.

Having been dispatched to cover the enthronement of the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury he was duly ushered into a seat less than five feet from the throne of St Augustine and all the action.

Many people opened their national papers the next morning unaware that reporter Read was staring out at them just to the right of Dr Rowan Williams.

He turned up in Paul Grover’s picture on page four of The Daily Telegraph, on the front page of The Times and appeared on TV news bulletins both here and abroad.

Read says: “I just sat where I was told to. But the best bit was seeing Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith and Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy ushered away from the best seats. Somehow I ended up with the best seat in the house.”

His vantage point helped him put together a 16-page souvenir supplement given away with the following week’s Whitstable Times ad its free sister paper the Canterbury Adscene.

The Lord moves in mysterious ways.

Bhs boss shows green side

It would seem that Phillip Green, the multi-billionaire boss of the Bhs stores, has started some serious bridge building with the Irish community.

Green recently hit the headlines for an outburst against The Guardian’s financial editor Paul Murphy. In an interview Green suggested that Murphy couldn’t read English which he qualified with “mind you he is a fucking Irishman.”

In another conversation with the editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, about the interpretation of a set of financial figures, Green suggested that “even an Irishman like Paul Murphy ought to be able to understand that.”

Under threat of an Irish consumer boycott of his stores Green began a damage limitation exercise.

He claimed to have made the comments in the heat of the moment adding that “some of my best friends are Irish –Michael Smurfit, Dermot Desmond, JP McManus.”

Now, the latest act in the charm offensive has seen Green donate £500 in sponsorship for Donegal-born Cathy Girvan who ran in the London Marathon for the Catholic Children’s Society.

The news of this magnanimous gesture by the billionaire appeared in The Irish Post under the banner headline “Bhs boss is a real hero says marathon woman”.

Not surprising, perhaps, that it should be given such prominence given that The Irish Post is owned by none other than Green’s best mate Michael Smurfit.

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