‘Balanced’ Roy rocked
It was a trip down memory lane for some of Fleet Street’s finest on Monday night.
The launch bash for Roy Greenslade’s new book on newspapers, Press Gang, was appropriately held at El Vino’s. Present were a clutch of former Fleet Street editors – Eve Pollard, Nick Lloyd, Richard Stott, Charles Wilson, Peter Stothard and Brian MacArthur. The assembled guests showed typical Fleet Street respect when the opinionated Greenslade was introduced by the earnest editor of his book as being renowned for his “balanced” journalism. The remark was greeted with hoots of laughter, catcalls and general derision, drowning out the rest of the introduction.
It must have seemed just like the old days.
Every now and then a picture falls into Dog’s paws that just cries out to be printed.
Tom Welsh, founder of Media Lawyer and the man responsible for setting up City University’s journalism courses, found these three eager young wannabes staring up at him from a box of old prints he took in his days teaching at Harlow College in the late Sixties.
So who is the cross between DH Lawrence and Robin Cook on the left, with the unfeasible gravity-defying hairflick, learning the tricks of the trade from a linotype operator? And what of the smug-looking chap on the right? Quick clue: he performed most nights at the local pub as Rusty Crowbar.
Give up? See the bottom right of this page to see whether they managed to make their mark in this cut-throat industry.
Overheard at St Bride’s last week, venue for PCC chairman Sir Christopher Meyer’s “take your medicine” speech to the Society of Editors: “There haven’t been so many sinners in a church since Reggie Kray’s funeral.”
“Yeah, but they were gangsters – this lot are merely fallen angels.”
Why Hezza gave Tel the brush-off
Had he been anything less than the perfect gentleman that he undoubtedly is, National Magazine Company boss Terry Mansfield might have used the chance to take something of a dig at Lord Heseltine as he gave him the citation for one of the magazine industry’s most prestigious gongs, the PPA’s Marcus Morris Award for outstanding achievement.
Having picked up his award, the suave Heseltine recalled a job interview he had conducted back in 1964 with a bright-eyed young hopeful for a sales job on Topic magazine, one of the early titles published by his nascent Haymarket group.
“Here was this young man, about to make his mark in this industry of ours, explaining that all he wanted to do was be given the chance to work on Topic. Wellâ€¦ I knew for a fact that this magazine was going to fold. And I thought to myself, ‘I cannot destroy this young man’s career by letting him be associated with this one-way ticket to disasterâ€¦ so I turned him down’.”
The identity of this dapper young candidate? A certain Terry Mansfield.
A further secret disclosed by Heseltine that Fleet Street would have killed for during his time in Cabinet: “I haven’t revealed this before,” said the confirmed Europhile. “But my grandmother was French. I had to keep quiet about it or the Daily Mail would have crucified me.”
Herald reveals Maples plot farce
Kafkaesque isn’t a word that often features in local paper headlines.
But for Stratford upon Avon Herald editor Preston Witts it was the only way to describe the role of local MP John Maples in the Conservative leadership challenge saga. Maples resolutely denied being a “plotter” seeking to dethrone Iain Duncan Smith but still found the finger of suspicion being cast over him in a mysterious way.
When last week he turned up to a meeting with Tory chief whip David Maclean he was surprised to find a reporter and photographer from The Times waiting outside a hotel for him. A photo of him talking into a mobile phone appeared on the front page of The Times the next day under the word “plotter”.
But according to Witts, far from speaking to a fellow conspirator, Maples was calling the chief whip to find out who had tipped off the press about their meeting. He wrote: “Like a character out of a Kafka novel, he was accused – but wasn’t sure what he was accused of or why he was accused.” Witts said: “Since the timing and location of their meeting were so secret, Mr Maples is curious about how the press found out about it.
There is a widespread suspicion that he was set up.”