The Grey Cardigan: 29 June

WHILE SOME of our colleagues on The Sun never shrink from a creative opportunity (not least with those stomach-turning ‘funny’song titles that sometimes accompany stories), I never expected them to come up with an invention that could change the publishing industry as we know it – bring on the single, one-sided page.

The Fourth Estate’s dalliance with the fifth dimension was revealed in a story about the programme for the Princess Diana memorial concert headed: ‘127-page glossy for Di’s show”.

The physics-warping claim was also repeated in the intro. Now you have to admit, that’s something special.

My only fear is that amid the current round of cost-cutting at News International, a smart bean-counter (oxymoron alert) might have noticed the story and subsequently come up with a plan for a 63-page issue of The Sun.

On a serious note, what kind of idiot could write something like this? And, more to the point, who fucking subbed it? Perhaps they’ve already paid off anyone with any brains – or self-respect.

MORE FROM the News Shopper, subject of a bucketful here last week for allowing its tame psychic to ‘reveal’that Madeleine McCann was alive and well and living in a plastic bag factory in Yemen.

The day after Press Gazette emerged, the publication’s website was updated as follows: ‘Because of the nature of the criticism levelled at the article and the volume of insensitive comments posted on the story, we feel it is appropriate to remove the story from the website.

‘There has been a lot of interest in the story, with some very positive comments, but we want to be careful not to cause any offence at a sensitive time.”

The story is bylined Simon Bull. I’d make a puerile joke about his name, but this column isn’t the intellectual equal of The Guardian Diary.

A READER writes: ‘Thank you for the Tanya Gold update the other week. I have been missing her too. Despite the Big Brother rejection, I still want to see Tanya on telly in any way shape or form.

‘I was hoping she might pop up on Britain’s Got Talent, playing a ukelele or tap-dancing in clogs. In the meantime, I can’t work out if John Travolta as a woman in his new film looks more like her or like me. Her, on balance!”

Women. They’re such bitches.

WHILE WE’RE on the subject of this column’s bête noires, our old friend Liz-fucking-Jones, denied the opportunity to rubbish her husband in print after he sensibly fled, decides instead to publicly humiliate her elderly and infirm mother in the Mail on Sunday.

‘I have cared full-time for my 90-year-old mother… and I wonder that more people don’t abuse their parents,’reads the characteristically charming heading. Beneath that we are treated to a detailed and debasing examination of the poor woman’s medical condition (‘She is not able to make herself a cup of tea… or pull up her own knickers”) while Liz assures us that she always thought herself a good daughter: ‘I have always visited my mum once a week and bought her lovely cashmere cardigans from Marks & Spencer.”

Finding her mother in tears on Christmas Eve, good old Liz ‘hired a private ambulance’and installed her at Chez Jones.

But sadly it is not long before the experience palls: ‘I began to worry about the marks her wheelchair was making on my oak floor. And she always woke up so damned early; I would hear this faint little voice at 7am going, ‘Lizzie, are you awake? I would love a cup of tea!”

Before long the private ambulance had been booked to take dear old mum back home, where she is now being cared for, at Liz’s expense, by ‘Africans”.

Now despite my potty-mouthed tendencies, I’ve never had to resort to the C-word in this august journal. But much more of this shite and I’m afraid we’ll have to summon it out of necessity.

IT’S ALWAYS good to see the industry looking after its own. Another snout mails me a correction from the Sheffield Star: ‘The funeral of former Star editor Tom Watson will take place on 18 June, not today, as was reported in The Star on Saturday.”

It’s what he would have wanted.

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