Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notes for editors

1. You all know perfectly well that there isn't a single paper on Fleet Street in the moment that has anything even close to £300,000 in readies to spend on anything, let alone a political story. If there was, Jade Goody wouldn't have gone to OK! magazine.

2. The "mole hunt" story rests on you accepting at face value a sum submitted by an MP. See any irony there?

3. It couldn't be clearer which side you're on in the mole v. government equation, even if you did lose your heads in the excitement over the whole Dr David Kelly thing a while back.

4. Stop falling for the spin, you credulous cretins. This isn't moving the story on, its moving the story away.

5. They're on the back foot here. And this one of the very, very rare occasions where you actually do have the moral high ground.


Monday, March 30, 2009

-Ka-ka-ka-ka oh stop repeating yourself

Heck of a scoop in the Mail on Sunday yesterday about Ulrika Jonsson's affair with Prince Edward.

For the past 20 years she has resolutely refused to reveal the nature of their relationship. Now, Ms Jonsson has admitted she was romantically involved with the Prince. In an interview tonight with Mail on Sunday columnist Piers Morgan for his ITV chat show Life Stories, Ms Jonsson denies sleeping with the Queen’s youngest son.

Asked by Morgan: ‘Did you or did you not sleep with Prince Edward?’ she replies: ‘I did not sleep with Prince Edward.’

But she admits: ‘There were a few dates, a bit of a slap and tickle.’

But hang on, didn't she say something similar to the paper which seralised her autobiography way back in October 2002?

"She met Prince Edward through an old friend of his who worked at TVam, but they never actually slept together. "We did nigh on the full works,' she says, 'but absolutely not that, which was my decision. I just wasn't hugely attracted to him.'"

And which paper was that? Oh, yeah, that's right. The Mail on Sunday.

(I only remember this because it allowed me to get the phrase "gob jobs with Prince Edward" into Private Eye...)

Harness your inner secret millionaire!

G20 leaders will be rocking up to the Excel - sorry, ExCeL - Centre on Thursday for their summit.

It might be worth them sticking around for this the following day...

Jacqui n'off

We've had plenty of cabinet ministers forced to resign in the past because they've been having sex with other people while their spouses sat at home in the constituency.

Are we really going to see the first cabinet resignation because their spouse sat at home in the constituency and had a wank instead?*

From Private Eye 1106, May 2004:


1986: BBC announces that Leslie Grantham's conviction for murder is a 'private matter'.

2004: BBC forces Leslie Grantham to make public apology for 'deplorable action' of masturbating in dressing room.

*Alright, two wanks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't worry: quangos still know how to spend your money

Recession-tastic quote in today's Guardian from the 'head of culture, ceremonies and education' at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (funding: c.£50million):

"I wouldn't want you to think we haven't been having a lot of lunches with people."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blog off

Stuff related to the book I'm working on - the history of Private Eye, to be published for the magazine's 50th anniversary in 2011 - will now be appearing over here, in the hope that people will contribute interesting ideas, memories and suggestions.

It includes the first appearance of our glorious leader, profiled in the "New Boys" column in HP Sauce in May 1984.

Other stuff - including occasional bits and pieces I've written myself for the Eye, unless I think they're particularly "historic", will still turn up here.

Why not check both blogs regularly? It's safer than leaving the house.

... on acid.

Fancy seeing New Boy, the play based on that rather good (but not his best) book by William Sutcliffe? The Daily Mail says it's

"the story of a schoolboy crush billed as Hamlet for the Skins generation."

Yes. I think if I'd written that I'd insist on just being credited as "Daily Mail Reporter" too...

Rage, Rage against the dying of the sales boost

So the Sun's joined the outrage over the OK! "tribute issue":

Fury as mag kills off battling Jade Goody

Some of the Sun's and its sister paper's front-page headlines over the past three weeks:

“Jade Says Goodbye” – 24 February

“Jack’s bedside confessions as Jade weakens” – 5 March

“Jade battles for baptism – too ill to talk” – 7 March

“Jade: The Last Kiss Goodbye” – News of the World, 8 March

“Jade’s Final Battle” – 11 March

“Going home to die” – 12 March

“Hubby Dashes to Jade bedside” – 14 March

“Jade hours from death” – News of the World, 15 March

“Jade tells youngest son: The Angels are Calling Mummy” – 16 March

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"And this clause says you agree to die just before our press deadline, or the kids go hungry..."

A while back I did a Hackwatch for Private Eye of OK! Cover Lies - the promises slapped on the front of Richard Desmond's magazine which turn out to be complete nonsense when you look inside. Or fraud, as we used to call it in the old days.

Today, however, they've surpassed themselves. The black border, the dates, the "final words", the "in loving memory" strapline.


Monday, March 16, 2009

You think you've got problems...

I can't help feeling the Sunday People's split front-page yesterday was a bit unfair in assuming Kerry Katona's sense of priorities:

Left-hand side: "JADE - 'Mummy is going to heaven now...'"
Right-hand side: "KERRY - 'I can't afford a pint of milk...'"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Your friday, er, treat?

The things you come across when compiling the Obamaballs column... so to speak.

This week's problem page in the East Bay Express. Dear Deirdre it ain't.

Eye'll have that

I haven't been putting much of the stuff I've done for the Eye up on this blog lately. Because, er, I can't be bothered.

But never mind, look, here's a site which helpfully scans in and posts loads of my stories online, like this one and this one and this one and these ones and this one and this one.

Helpfully, they also provide you with some overlong, overwritten, hectoring and humourless versions of their own so you can experience what it would be like to have Flat Earth News recounted to you from memory at high volume by a not very bright student you were trapped next to on a long bus journey.

Subscriptions to Private Eye are available here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My, er, son

I'm thinking about having a kid.

UK and Commonwealth rights available; US and translation rights by negotiation.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Joining Sky and Select on the great shelf in the Sky

Cover line on Arena, January 2009: Britain's Fastest-Growing Men's Magazine.

Cover line on Arena, March 2009: Welcome to the Future.

News about Arena, today: it's closing.

Monday, March 02, 2009

At this time, in a very real sense

It's not surprising local newspapers think sub editors are a needless extravagance if their trade body, the Newspaper Society, believes this to be an acceptable sentence:

"This is partly due to current market conditions and partly because we want to look at improving the format of our awards going forward."

To quote Auberon Waugh: "I thought I understood the English language well enough, but just what the fucking, sodding, shitting hell is this idiotic sentence trying to tell us?"