Dog watches dog 13.11.03



Woodward turns bleu over press situation

England’s rugby World Cup coach, Clive Woodward, has courageously tried to pull rank over the media corps Down Under… but predictably lost out.

Woodward was reportedly furious when he discovered the hacks were situated in the same hotel as the English players in the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane. An England management representative complained to the travel agents who pointed out that they had the right to place clients in any available accommodation.

He then approached one of the senior journalists who indicated the hacks would be willing to move, but only if they received £2,000 compensation each. According to the Sunday Herald: “Woodward was tempted by the offer but eventually common sense prevailed.”

England meet France in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Bowen stays cool when heat is on

BBC foreign correspondent Jeremy Bowen, cranking up the publicity tour for his book Six Days: How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East, has been telling audiences that in his 15 years reporting wars he has developed a couple of useful talents.

One is the skill of staying alive. The other, expertise in buying things on the black market. However, he has had moments when it has been wiser to keep quiet about these activities.

In Sarajevo, at one point the electricity went off. It turned out to be because someone had stolen the coolant from the power station generator. It was only then that he registered where the stuff he had been pouring into the radiator of the BBC Land Rover must have come from.


Nepotism: Murdoch, right, gave Jackson and Brampton, left, little choice

Why the Pru joined Elle

Publishing consultant Peter Jackson was not surprised by the inevitability of Murdoch Junior’s installation as head of BSkyB despite of fierce opposition from City investors.

During his time as managing director of News International-Hachette and publisher of Elle magazine, Jackson took a Friday afternoon call from his proprietor in New York. The subject was Prudence Murdoch, daughter of Rupert’s first marriage.

“Pru is keen on fashion and wants to get into the business,” Murdoch said.

“I’d like you to take her on board.”

Jackson immediately sensed trouble with Elle editor Sally Brampton, recruited from The Observer, where she was regarded as a strong-willed, leftwing feminist. Not the sort of woman to take kindly to having the boss’s daughter foisted on her otherwise hand-picked staff.

“I’m sure that can be arranged,” said Jackson, “but I don’t think we should rush into this. I’d like to give Sally time to get used to the idea, to meet Pru and see what a bright girl she is.

“Perhaps I’ll arrange for them to meet up over lunch so that they can gradually build up a relationship. That way, it will seem a natural process for her eventually to be invited to join the staff.

“I really do think that would be in Pru’s best interests – making it so much easier for her to be accepted by everybody in the office.”

“Take as long as you like,” growled Murdoch, “but she starts on Monday.”


Dog demise didn’t deter picture pro

From the “Surely this must be an urban myth” files. At the Daily Mirror’s centenary birthday bash last week, editor Piers Morgan gave his speech surrounded by classic Mirror front pages at the exhibition in London’s Science Museum.

One front page unsurprisingly missing from that collection involved the newspaper’s legendary photographer Kent Gavin. Sent on assignment to interview actress Doris Day in the US, Gavin sat chatting with her in her hotel suite. They weren’t alone, however.

Day never went anywhere without her pet pooch, which Gavin amused by throwing a small ball for it to retrieve. But as he continued to do this while Day went to powder her nose, disaster struck.

Gavin threw the ball a little too hard, it flew out of the open window and he watched in horror as the dog sailed out after it, to fall eight floors to its death on the pavement below.

But seasoned pro that he was – and of course still is – Gavin was not deterred. The following day’s front page read: DORIS DAY’S DOG HORROR Exclusive pictures by Kent Gavin

Phonelines not up to Standard

With the Evening Standard on Monday, readers were given booklets proclaiming the wonders of Wireless London, the brave new tech world of wireless laptopping.

At the back, after being thrilled by the possibilities, there was a chance to win your own Hewlett-Packard laptop.

Except that between Monday evening and 11am on Tuesday the phoneline didn’t work. Would be wi-fi surfers got a confusing message saying “sorry, the phonelines are closed”.

It seems the world of high technology is still vulnerable to low-tech cock-ups. Intel’s spokesperson blamed a “technical hitch”, but Dog wonders why no one had tried the line themselves.

One can only imagine the conversations between the Standard’s promotions people and the Intel promotions people. But at 25p a time, someone had been coining it in every time the caller had failed to register their entry.



Yuletide return for ‘absolute rubbish’

They’re back. The crack team of journalists behind the legendary Framley Examiner – Pigshit Nelson, Jesus Chigley, Stan Rubbish, Taunton Mishap et al – have once again turned their not-inconsiderable talents to bear on the world of book publishing.

Following the highly successful publication of a compilation of pages from the mythical newspaper (sample headline: “Now massive Eccles cake blocks M-way – MoD put on alert”), the team has published a book, Historic Framley, presumably to blatantly cash in on the Christmas market.

Historic Framley, produced in association with the Framley Museum, is as loving a chronicle of the utterly nonsensical history of a town that doesn’t actually exist that you’ll find this side of Shillingbury Lillingbury.

Highlights include a detailed history of the town’s fluff industry and the missing chapters of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, in which the pilgrims take a detour to Framley.

It is, as Professor Stephen Hawking attests on the book cover, absolute rubbish.

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