Dog watches dog 27.03.03

Akin to the blend of vomit and pears

Dog has no idea what to make of a communication from freelance Andrew Don, who e-mails wondering if there’s something fishing going on at The Guardian. “I pick up the broadsheets every morning from Burnt Oak station at 5am,” writes Don. “My sense of smell is particularly heightened at that time of the morning and I have noticed in the last week a nasty odour coming from The Guardian. It is akin to a blend of vomit and rotten pears.

“In case there was something stuck up my nose, I conducted a smell test and can confirm that the pungent perfume is absent from the FT, Telegraph, Times and Independent. The reek coming from The Guardian is so nasty that I have to wear gloves and cover my nose.”

Well Dog has just conducted an independent smell test (mush to the bemusement of certain members of the kennel) and found precisely no aromatic difference between any of the papers. Perhaps its just the kennel rarely opens for business anywhere near 5am and so any foul odour has evaporated by the time its occupants stir.

Or perhaps its because it’s a phenomenon particular to Burnt Oak. Either way, Dog would like to hear if any other readers suffer from the same nasal discomfort as Don. E-mail

Live to US from Fleet shed

Surrey & Hants Star editor Alan Franklin is developing an unlikely new career from the shed at the bottom of his garden. He’s becoming a radio star…in America.

Franklin has been filling regular broadcasting slots for local and network radio stations since 2000, sometimes taking part in discussions and phone-ins for anything up to three hours at a time –usually in the evening for daytime shows in the US.

Alan says: “It’s bizarre really, when you think about it. I am talking to thousands of Americans on a live radio link –all from the shed that I use as an office at the bottom of my garden in Fleet, In Hampshire.”

Recently, Keith Miller, London correspondent for NBC Nightly News turned up at the Aldershot offices of the Star to interview Alan about the Build-up to war in Iraq. The result was a “famous for 15 seconds” slot just after Tony Blair on the main US news bulletin of the day –America’s equivalent of News at 10.

Now a US TV programme-maker has asked him to go to Dallas in the summer to make a documentary.

It’s a paper, but is it art?

The kennel is indebted to Catherine Braithwaite PR for the following press release. Not wishing to appear a philistine, Dog passes no comment on the artistic merit of the venture, but wishes it well during Art Sheffield, which is taking place until 19 April.

The press release says: “In Sheffield’s Millenium galleries, works are installed in the foyer and in the walkway through to the Winter gardens. The video work ArtStar features a woman at various key locations in the city. As she waves a copy of the Sheffield Star in the air, as if to try and sell it passers by, instead of hearing the familiar cry of ‘Star’, we hear a faint cry that sounds suspiciously like the word, ‘art’! The expected palimdrome of ‘Star’ should be ‘rats’; yet, when reversed the familiar newspaper vendor’s cry of ‘star’ in fact is transformed into the faint cry of ‘art’.” Er, right. Dog would pay good money to hear what the Star’s real news vendors make of it all.

Copy for sequel is a coincidence

Rummaging through an open-air book market at the small Spanish resort of Nerja, travel writer Perrot Phillips spotted a selection of second hand books.

One title stuck out. It was The Funny Side of the Street, the autobiography of ex-Mail editor Mike Randall, and old drinking pal of Phillips’ when he was on the Mirror. The volume next to it rand a bell too –Getting Away With It, a crime novel by former Expressman Victor Davies, with whom Phillips started on local newspapers and had spoken to a few days before.

But he really couldn’t believe his eyes when he picked up a third book. It was his own When the Impossible Happens, a study of…coincidences.

Perhaps it’s time for an update.


The art of the billboard writer is one that is sadly unsung, so Dog was delighted to see a category for precisely that at the Newspaper Society’s slaes and marketing awards this week. These were two examples that caught Dog’s eye:

RSPCA froze my cat

Hamster caught speeding on prom

but for the record the winner was from the Evening Times, Glasgow:

Amazing story of a man chopped into four.


Etymological note: New York Times man William Safir has been delving into the antecendents of the term “embedding”. Turns out that it was a British naturalist, back in 1794, who is credited with first using the word when he noted that “calcareous substances are in general found where flints are embedded”. It was later defined to mean “to stick into so deeply that it’s hard to get out”. That was before the Pentagon got hold of the expression.


The Sun and News of the World held separate awards dinners for their staff after withdrawing from the British Press Awards. Last week Press Gazette called them “niche” awards. They were more niche than Dog thought. Each dinner was by invitation only which left those left out a trifle less appreciative of awards nights in general.


Dog’s spotter in Cheshire came across this gem of a headline from Knutsford Guardian, 19 March: “Massage parlour: no charges.”


In common with most newspapers, the Harborough Mail went for a war theme with its splash headline on the day war broke out last week. But rather than concentrating on the Gulf, it chose a more local approach: “D-DAY TIME IN WAR ON LITTER”.

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