Grey Cardigan: From the horse's mouth

This is an abbreviated version of the Grey Cardigan column that appeared in the October issue of Press Gazette magazine. For the full version of November’s column, subscribe now by going to the home page.


IN TIMES of trouble, it’s always best to seek out the advice of the people who really know what’s happening in the boardroom of your newspaper – the secretaries, the cleaners and the van drivers.

How have your newspaper consumption habits changed during the pandemic/lockdown, and do you think this will last?

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My newsman’s nose had already been twitching for a few days, so I decided to devote a couple of hours visiting contacts assiduously cultivated over many years. It turns out that the latest ABC figures haven’t gone down well. In fact, with the Evening Beast shedding another six per cent, there are mutterings from the suits about the stewardship of our editor, dear Crystal Tits. Perhaps all those features on bikini waxing, which £800 dress to buy, and the problems of female circumcision in the Kalahari haven’t gone down too well with our predominantly 50-plus parochial, provincial readership.


And, as one of the van drivers – a nice Polish chap – informed me, ‘Web traffic has failed to migrate sufficient core revenue to mitigate the downturn in the traditional business model causing a fiscal imbalance in our product portfolio”.


There was better news, of sorts, from one of the secretaries. Although some of our subbing and layout work is going to be outsourced to Bhupendra from Bangalore and his mates, it appears that redundancies will be on a ‘last in, first out’ basis. My job is safe, as is that of Mungo, our peripatetic Glaswegian sub who keeps a house brick in his desk drawer ‘just in case”. How good to hear that from an authoritative source.


The clincher comes from one of the family of Azerbaijani cleaners who rule the roost out of hours. As my friend Murtuza explained as I pretended to consider buying one of the bootleg DVDs he carries on his cleaning trolley, Crystal Tits had apparently ordered a new Italian leather wing-back chair for her office at eye-watering expense. The order has been cancelled, the chair now languishes at Milan airport, and no-one has yet told the good lady.


‘Dead feesh, Grey,’he chortles, dragging an imaginary knife across his throat.


Well, as the Chinese proverb goes: ‘May you live in interesting times”.



You can contact me, should you be minded at, or via the Press Gazette website. 



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