TO NUMBER 10 Downing Street, for a reception for regional newspaper editors in our group.
Now while I understand the need for security, is it absolutely necessary for the hard-faced copper on the gate to frisk leading members of the Fourth Estate with quite such vigour? If the editor of the Evening Beast really wanted to assassinate the Prime Minister, he would do it with words, not a fucking Kalashnikov.
Once inside the rather unprepossessing building we’re relieved of our mobile phones, which have a Post-It note with our name on it stuck to them and are then deposited on a desk inside the door. I’m running late (Ukranians on the line at Peterborough) so there are a dozen or so phones already on the desk. And, because of a group purchasing deal, each one is identical. The opportunity is too good to miss.
While no-one is looking, I quickly swap around the Post-It notes with the names on.
The evening is dull. The politicians fail to impress, my colleagues constantly whine about budget cuts and the stupidity of management, and things only liven up when we escape to the Red Lion over the road. And what does every single editor do after taking the top off their first pint? They summon up ‘Newsdesk’ in their phone’s address book and press the button.
Unfortunately, due to the Post-It swapping, it isn’t their Newdesk but someone else’s. I stand there, much amused, as puzzled hacks listen to strange editors barking orders at them. You can imagine the thought process: ‘Is he pissed again? Is it really him? Dare I tell this bloke who’s asking me what we’re doing about a story 150 miles from my patch to fuck off?”
It was a most gratifying experience. Almost made the Ukranians on the line at Peterborough worth it.
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