Dog watches dog 25.03.04

BPA becomes arena for Fight Club

“This is the British Press Awards. Or, as it’s occasionally known in the Press Gazette office, Fight Club.” So said the editor (surely that’s ‘esteemed editor’?: Ed) of Press Gazette in his welcoming speech at the Hilton last week.

There’s always a couple of naughty boys who take the joke too far, though. This year it was the editor of the Daily Mirror and the presenter of Top Gear who thought they could be Brad Pitt and Ed Norton. The resulting “scrap” was, well, about as impressive as you’d expect when the protagonists are called Piers and Jeremy. Handbags at two paces.

Anyway, for next year’s BPA attendees, Dog feels a refresher on the rules from the film is in order: FIRST RULE: Do not talk about Fight Club (broken by both Morgan and Clarkson, who blabbed to various diarists afterwards).

SECOND RULE: Do not talk about Fight Club (especially not on Question Time, Jeremy).

THIRD RULE: When someone says “stop” or goes limp, the fight is over. (Morgan seems to have opted for the latter method.) FOURTH RULE: Only two to a fight.

FIFTH RULE: One fight at a time.

SIXTH RULE: No shirts, no shoes.

SEVENTH RULE: Fights go on as long as they have to (not very long at all, in this case).

EIGHTH RULE: If it’s your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.

(Let’s hope Richard Desmond remembers this if he ends the Expresses boycott next year).

As Michael Buerk stormed the British Press Awards crowd with his alternative awards – memorably including the Shrinking Violet Award for edging humbly into the limelight (Alastair Campbell) and the CRE Award for their contribution to ethnic harmony (jointly to Richard Desmond and Robert Kilroy-Silk) – Dog couldn’t help but wonder whether one of them might not come back to haunt him.

Buerk gave the Jonathan Aitken Sword of Truth Award to The Sunday Times for its “courage in breaking with tradition and printing on the front page of an edition in October, to the surprise of its millions of readers, a story that was actually true.” Ouch.

But with which newspaper is Buerk’s agent currently negotiating a deal for the serialisation of his autobiography, due to be published in September? That would be The Sunday Times, then.


Hairdo does it for Mike

The Guardian’s Michael White characteristically demonstrated his generous nature after becoming the first winner of I’m a Lobby Hack… Get Me Out Of Here! In true Fleet Street style he collected his prize – a House of Commons bottle of champagne – then bought a drink for everyone in the Press Gallery bar.

The Guardian political editor secured 32 votes to defeat the Daily Mail’s Paul Eastham, who came second with 26 votes, and Kirsty Walker of the Daily Express with 18.

Seven others were eliminated in earlier rounds in the Parliamentary Press Gallery competition inspired by the reality television show.

White, whose bonus prize was the granting of a one-year amnesty from taking part in any future contests, was not beyond using his charm and cunning to gain votes.

One fellow hack confessed: “I was swaying with voting for Kirsty, but then I bumped into Mike and he complimented me on my hairstyle.

That won me over.”

White said: “I hope nobody thinks I was cheating. I actually did like the young lady’s hair.”

Inside Edge is key

Poker-faced John McCririck

Inside Edge, the UK’s first dedicated gambling magazine, launched last Wednesday with a 50-man poker tournament held at Shaftesbury Avenue’s Century Club.

Entrants came from the world of sport, music and media – with such luminaries as John McCririck,

All in: Wooldridge and Five’s Scott

Scott from boyband Five, former rogue trader Nick Leeson and Daily Telegraph media correspondent Matt Born fighting it out to win entry to the British Poker Open, worth £1,300.

In such a testosterone-filled atmosphere the competition was fierce.

However, perhaps fittingly, the ultimate victor was the publishing director of Inside Edge, Warren Wooldridge.

He commented: “All the hints that I’ve been picking up reading Inside Edge obviously gave me the inside edge when I needed it most.”

A flat note from the Gloucestershire Echo the day before its county’s premier sporting event. There have been some major developments at Cheltenham racecourse – but they don’t include removing the fences.

From the “what the hell werethey thinking of” files. Let’s hope the Oldham Evening Chronicle’s good taste sensors have been recalibrated.

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