Grey Cardigan: extract from the April column

IN THESE difficult times, when we’re engaged in a debilitating war with an Orc-like army of beancounters, we have to take our small victories where we can. Which brings us to the Evening Beast’s oleaginous managing director, the Eminence Grease.


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Now when you’re constantly cost-cutting and making people redundant, you do tend to try to reign in your own perceived extravagance. That’s why I turned down invitations to the Cheltenham Festival last year. I just felt it would send the wrong message to staff, even if it wasn’t costing the company a penny.


Not so our great leader. Amid the wreckage of a once-great newspaper, now underfunded and understaffed, with editions axed, district offices closed and a ludicrous reliance on ‘citizen journalism’ to fill our pathetically thin pages, the Eminence Grease has decided that this is an appropriate time to have a new ‘management toiletry facility’ built.


This pampering pissoir is apparently for his personal use, the implication being that he’s far too posh to push if any hoi polloi are within earshot. I know not what it has cost, but I do know that a team of Polish builders have been laying marble for the past three weeks. And that’s before the expensive, perfumed products are shipped in. Let’s just call it the price of at least two trainee reporters. What a twat.


To an old school activist like myself, such aberrant behaviour cannot be allowed to go unpunished. So, late one night, when the Azerbaijani cleaners are reading Razzle in their fetid store room, I strike.


The porcelain Armitage & Shanks shitter is adorned with a ludicrously expensive mahogany toilet seat; a thing of burnished beauty. This cannot be allowed. So I get to work with the emergency corkscrew all editors have in their desk drawer and soon remove it.


I am happy to tell you it now hangs on the wall of the Shivering Whippet, a boozer the Eminence Grease would never frequent in a month of Sundays, but where our young reporters can see evidence that some of us are still prepared to kick against the pricks. Literally.



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