The Grey Cardigan 07.10.05

IT CAN get rather lonely down this end of the subs’ desk.

They don’t seem to want my thoughts on front-page headings.

certainly don’t want my thoughts on split infinitives, up with which I
will not put. And the last time I tried to teach a young buck about
casting off, he just laughed at me and pressed a magic button on his

Still, they tend to leave me alone as long as I churn
out the routine pages they give me. Although I’m not entirely sure that
I’m the right man to be subbing the drum and bass listings, whatever
drum and bass might be.

It wasn’t always this way. I’ve chased
Ronnie Biggs around Rio, I got the second interview with Terry Waite
and I was on the back bench the night Kelvin decided “Gotcha” was an
appropriate way to mark the deaths of 368 Argentine sailors. After
dropping to the regions, I’ve survived pods, modules and no-sub

And I’m still here. For another two years, anyway.
Unless the management consultants find my hiding place, I’m not ready
to fall on my spike just yet.

THERE ARE two kinds of newspaper designers.

first are genuine newspapermen who have a natural talent for typography
and shape, and who understand how to lead readers around a page. The
second are the expensive red-socked twats who have a morbid fear of
upper case and apostrophes.

Given recent events, The Guardian (or should I say theguardian) has escaped lightly.

from the emasculation of its titlepiece, the switch to Berliner works
remarkably well. But can the content live up to the design?

bringing back Pass Notes would be a start. That Chatroom column was a
hoot as well (and may even still be in there, it’s just that I can’t
bloody well find it). But the biggest disappointment is the “new” Diary.

former version was waspish, malicious, imaginative, nasty and
vindictive – everything a diary should be. The current version is dire:
a hotch-potch of uninteresting, unrelated waffle illustrated by a line
drawing of a man who is obviously so ugly that not even a camera can
capture his pointlessness. You can almost smell the sandals, impotence
and damp. Please, please, put him out of his misery.

THE TIMES, by comparison, is having a nightmare.

doesn’t know where to go with its front page, and the redesign of the
T2 supplement was clearly carried out by one of the aforementioned
red-socked designers.

There is no form, rhyme nor reason to its
pages. The huge typography is all over the place, the justification is
unjustifiable and the target market appears to be young, shortsighted

To be brutally frank, it looks similar to a Janet and John book.

Sort it out, please.

NEVER had a great deal of time for David Frost (not as clever as he
thinks he is, Peter Cook used to tell me), but at least his Sunday
morning programme used to set some kind of agenda for the week.

I turned
on this weekend to watch Andrew Marr (pictured) and was greeted with,
well, brown. Everything was brown – the set, the guests, the
conversation. It was awful. And brown.

I fear that Mr Marr
might be the first celebrity whose fame is eclipsed by his own hamster
since those utterly ridiculous stories about Richard Gere.

closing scene of singer Katie Melua, performing while perched
uncomfortably on the sofa alongside Alan Johnson, David Davies, the
German Ambassador and Anthony Minghella was the worst TV moment I have
experienced since… ooh, Sir Trevor McDonald asked me to vote for the
Twin Towers, The Death of Princess Diana or Liverpool’s Champions’
League victory as my Greatest TV Moment.

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

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