Axe grinder 07.07.06 - Press Gazette

Axe grinder 07.07.06

England footballers are the write stuff

MISTY-EYED members of the England football squad can console themselves — they have the next issue of Icon magazine to look forward to.

Icon is the glossy publication, produced by former England footballer Jamie Redknapp and his wife Louise, aimed at footballers and their WAGs.

You really have to know the right people to get a copy, but Axegrinder has obtained a couple of back issues and the editorial is a must-read. It's Hello! meets Loaded — a sheer joy because of its saccharine sweet approach to the hardmen of soccer.

One of the highlights has to be Jamie Redknapp's interview with Frank Lampard. Remember these two guys are supposed to be tough nuts. But when they come face to face in a Chelsea restaurant they chat like a couple of ladies who lunch… Take a sip of latte decaff and settle back for Redknapp's report, which is accompanied, incidentally, by snaps of Lampard in a Vinnie Jones pose.

"As I sat by the window in Scalini, our family's favourite restaurant, Frank strolled in looking every inch the footballing icon that he is. Even though he looked immaculate in his sharp tailored suit, it was his beaming smile that instantly caught the eye… The conversation was soon flowing… ‘I suppose this year has had everything really,'

admits Frank. ‘First of all having the baby is the most important thing and easily the best thing that has ever happened to me.'

His face visibly lit up as he talked about his baby daughter, Luna, and he can't quite believe what an impact fatherhood has made on his life."

The Hello! style interview continues and then Redknapp delivers a penetrating and provocative question.

"‘What about nappy changing?'

I asked."

Lampard skilfully dodges the question ("I don't want to be the sort of Dad that doesn't share any of the everyday chores."), but Redknapp isn't done yet.

"As Frank tucks into his favourite grilled chicken and penne arrabiata, I'm eager to delve deeper into his career."

There follows some quotes from Lampard about how he decided "I wasn't going to let anything stop me". And then the two bruisers are stopped — by a waiter with a menu.

"We paused momentarily to cast our eyes over Scalini's dessert menu, but by now I'm embroiled in our interview… We both just ordered a cappuccino… Frank burst into infectious giggles when I told him just how much he'd given me the run around last year."

Lampard then reveals that after a match he has "one or two drinks… I eat pretty well… outside of training I'm either at home or shopping." The waiter brings the bill and Redknapp bangs this pay-off into the back of the net: "As Frankie took one last sip of his cappuccino, I couldn't help but think it won't be the only cup he gets his hands on this season."

Battle of Hastings and Moore rumbles on…

TWO terribly grand former editors of The Daily Telegraph are at each others' throats.

Max Hastings and his sometime deputy "Sir" Charles
Moore (this column noted his suitability for a knighthood only last
week) are fighting publicly over housing policy for the countryside.

Max, who is president of the CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural
England) made an all-gunsblazing attack on a right-wing think-tank,
Policy Exchange, which is run by… C. Moore.

Sir Max was
infuriated by a paper in which the think-tank, known in the trade as
the Needle Exchange, laid out its free-market ideas on rural housing.

It took the old Thatcherite line which is, in short: bulldoze the countryside to smithereens!

responded in his column in The Daily Telegraph last Saturday, saying
that Hastings had got it all completely wrong and that the countryside
should be pathetically grateful for a few more million houses.

Moore particularly wants to see more spacious homes built, perhaps of the type inhabited by aristocratic friends of his.

his article, Moore described his old boss Hastings as having "the
longest legs and shortest conversational attention span" of anyone he
has ever met. A former colleague of the two men says that this row has,
one way or another, been going on for years, adding: "Max is a
broad-brush romantic while Charles is a meticulous free-market nut who
completely fails to appreciate that big business can be a force for

Amazing to think that they once worked together on the same paper.


Mirror man's U-turn over resignation

LIFE-LONG Labour supporter, Daily Mirror columnist Paul Routledge, shocked everyone by announcing his intention to resign as a party member.

"I have gone off Gordon. The political love affair is over," he told readers.

"He has left me for George Dubya Bush.

Sad, really, that a lifetime of support for the Labour Party should end like this, but there's no point in faffing about.

You have to accept reality, whether you like it or not."

But no one would have been more surprised by his resignation than former Daily Mirror health editor Jill Palmer.

On 10 July 2003, Palmer used the pages of her paper to announce that she would be ending her membership of the Labour Party over Blair's NHS policies.

The following day, Routledge told her — via his column in the paper — that she was wrong. "Please think again, Jill," pleaded Routers. "It is not the same party you joined, but it never will be if people like you quit. Your departure is just what Blairites want. Don't give them the satisfaction."

3am girls search for boy (on the cheap)

FURTHER developments at the Daily Mirror's 3am gossip column… Axegrinder learns that the two girls — Eva Simpson and Caroline Hedley — are searching for a boy to be their gofer.

As mentioned here recently, following the departure of Kiki King it has been decreed that from now on there will not be another face at the top of the page.

There are three reasons for this: research has shown that the readers aren't particularly bothered if there are only two girls; not employing a third "star" helps with the budget; the job of the third 3am girl is considered cursed — whoever gets it simply doesn't last the distance.

Simpson and Hedley already have two (female) assistants who help to compile the column, but I am told: "The plan is to bring in a boy, someone who is charming and very good looking.

He'd be able to schmooze, but would certainly not have his picture at the top of the page, otherwise he'd have to be paid well."

Gilchrist goes from frontline to first course

WHAT news of that seasoned wit and charmer, Rod Gilchrist, following his departure as deputy editor of the Mail on Sunday?

Although he has been offered a number of high-profile positions on other titles, I learn he is pursuing a career as an after-dinner speaker, hoping to wow audiences with his hilarious tales of life at the helm of Associated Newspapers.

Sue Ayton, of Knight Ayton Management, tells Axegrinder that after-dinner speaking is merely one of the many projects that she has in the pipeline for her new client. "Rod is multi-talented. I've just fixed up an interview for him in a Five documentary which is coming out in September. And we're looking at other TV work that he can do."

The Knight Ayton website includes a Gilchrist biog, which is written with the same level of excitement that he used to inject into his stories. He is described as "one of Fleet Street's most experienced professionals… a frontline reporter who has covered international events from Black September's massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games to the suicide of Iraq weapons expert David Kelly…"

He has "held many key executive policy-making executive [sic] positions".

And his "extensive experience also encompasses the entertainment industry, both as an acerbic observer of the celebrity scene and producer of television programmes". What's more, he has also found time to "produce lifestyle programmes for satellite TV" and "written for The Guardian".

What next? Speaking on cruise ships?

A local paper…

Not always by local people

THE Nottingham Evening Post doesn't wander out of town too often nowadays, having closed its district offices.

The result is that when it does, a lack of local knowledge means it has to tread very carefully.

On Tuesday, it led on the news that the luxury home of a millionaire criminal from Newark was being sold to repay some of his ill-gotten gains.

The crook, who has a gipsy background, always claimed to outsiders that his house was called Latcham Hall.

As Newark has a big gipsy population, the locals have become well-versed in the argot, so they smiled wryly when visitors sought the address, which means, er, well: "F*** 'em all".

Unfortunately, the Evening Post's staff did not have the benefit of local guidance, and they splashed the message on their front page.

Newsagents were faced with the quandary of startling customers, or turning the papers upside down.

Kampfner gets wrists slapped by the FO

JUST when New Statesman editor John Kampfner was receiving glowing reviews and heaps of publicity, one of his mag's "exclusives" brings in a rebuttal from the Foreign Office.

The Foreign Office is usually pretty reluctant when it comes to getting drawn into rows over stories, but it has made an exception for the Statesman and sent out this announcement, headlined: "Statement from a Foreign Office Spokesman on an article by the New Statesman…"

Marie Claire's number's down

AND the correction in the June issue of Marie Claire makes for compelling reading.

"In Sexism and the City (May) we wrongly stated that Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is being sued by 506 female employees for £800 million," it tells readers. "We accept that the number of actual claims is six and the value is therefore much less…"

Big cat walkout leaves Mail out of pocket

REGULAR readers may recall Axegrinder's item last November about Associated's spat with Jaguar.

The up-market car company decided to stop advertising in Associated's national newspapers — problem with the demographics — and has since taken its business to other nationals.

Now I am told that as a result, the Daily Mail's bean counters calculate that they have so far lost as much as £4 million in advertising revenue which would have otherwise come in from Jaguar.

Observer left out in the cold

SPOTTED in the front-door window of a home in Whitchurch, Bristol: "If you are one of the following: 1. Carol singers 2. Bristol Observer delivery person Don't bother — try next door.

1. I don't celebrate Christmas.

2. The Bristol Observer is just crap."

Perhaps the occupier was one of the many embittered Observer staff axed by Northcliffe last year.

Hacks' brief NYC encounter

THE Evening Standard's arts correspondent Tom Teodorczuk recently married his bride Deirdra, but it wasn't just a very special day for the happy couple.

The romance of the occasion — they got married in New York — clearly had an intoxicating effect on other journalists who were present. The slow dance award should go to Harry Mount, The Daily Telegraph's New York correspondent, and the lady he met at the nuptials, Olivia Cole, a hackette on the Evening Standard's diary and a creator of love poems.

Gentleman that he is, Mount even escorted Ms Cole back to her hotel.