Grey Cardigan

WE USED to have a decent canteen at the Evening Beast. Tea and toast on tap, first edition fry-ups delivered to your desk, and all subsidised by a generous management. But no more.

The canteen is now a ‘bistro'(although in name only), the fry-ups have been replaced by focaccia and anchovy wraps and the generous subsidy has been wiped from the balance sheet and a company of contract caterers appointed to feed the hungry masses.

The prices, for not very nice food, are eye-watering, particularly as our location on a God-forsaken, out-of-town industrial estate offers no alternatives beyond a greasy burger van, notorious for advertising during the Mad Cow crisis the fact that ‘Our burgers are 100 per cent beef free”.

The change has been particularly traumatic for Mungo, our peripatetic Glaswegian sub. The old canteen appeared to be his only source of solids; now he’s reduced to self-catering, which has led to an unfortunate incident involving a Fray Bentos tinned pie and a microwave. An unopened tinned pie.

And so a further 5.5 per cent increase in prices at the Bistro á la Beast, along with the abandonment on cost grounds of the trolley service, has proven rather unpalatable. A letter is drafted to the Eminence Grease that is our managing director.

The 5.5 per cent price rise is contrasted with the 7.5 percent increase in the cover price of the newspaper and the derisory 2.3 per cent pay offer to journalists currently on the table to include all the extra work we’re doing uploading stories to the website for freeloading ex-pats to read. He helpfully points out that ‘bistro’prices are a matter for the caterers, cost of raw materials, market forces blah blah blah.

Our piss-poor FoC is despatched to complain about the situation to Crystal Tits, but is fobbed off in a ‘let them eat cake’manner. Her egg-white omelettes with an undressed green salad are cooked and delivered by the so-called chef in person. Oh, that one of us should get the chance to prepare her food. Just once.

AN EXCITING new talent pops up in The Sun standing in for regular columnist Jane Moore. Julie Burchill is her name: clearly one to watch.

Actually, the Media Guardian website also spotted the return of the not-long-retired Brighton belle, reminding readers of her emotional withdrawal from the front lines of journalism last year and asking: ‘Is she missing the buzz of being a hackette? Burchill will be back as a regular columnist at a national newspaper before the year is out. Just wait and see.’

Prescient indeed, for within a fortnight Ms Burchill was indeed appearing on the pages of a national newspaper – in the Guardian G2 section, to be exact.

I THINK we can all agree that the News of the World’s new sketch of the Maddie abduction suspect was suitably scary (although I do hope that Slade guitarist Dave Hill has an alibi for the night in question).

RADIO 4, Friday afternoon. During his excellent Feedback programme, Roger Bolton hosts a discussion on whether or not the station’s programming is too gloomy and miserable… followed shortly afterwards by the Afternoon Play, in which a woman and her three teenage children attempt to find a new normality after her husband takes his own life.

Similarly, ‘My darling daughter was killed by a drunk driver’reported one daily, trailing what they then describe as one of their writer’s ‘inspirational column”. Splendid stuff, chaps.

MANY THANKS to the Sunday Times Magazine for informing us that Lord Rogers (the red-socked twat’s red-socked twat) has three children from his first wife, named Ben, Zad and Ab; and two sons with his second wife, named Roo and Bo.

What a preposterous, preening, pretentious prat.

You can contact me, should you be minded, at thegreycardigan@gmail.com

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