STAR’S FLEET STREET FLOP
It’s a little known fact that comedian Dave Allen, who died last
week aged 68, had a failed career in newspapers to thank for his rise
Allen’s father was the general manager of the Irish Times, and he
would take him into the office at times – where he would be greeted by
his friend and drinking companion, the legendary editor Bertie Smylie.
Allen recalled that he would be taken to the compositors’ room where he would watch the presses going.
“Some of the old machine men would type out my name in hot metal so that I could use it as a stamp,” he said later.
grandmother Norah Tynan was the first woman’s features editor of the
famous Dublin daily, the Freeman’s Journal, while his aunt Katherine
Tynan was a reputable poet.
Journalism, however, wasn’t to be a
career for Allen. He did work for a spell on the commercial staff of
Independent Newspapers where those who knew him say he displayed a
rather mordant sense of humour.
He left Dublin for a leading
provincial newspaper, the Drogheda Argus, but left after a short period
and moved to London hoping for a break in Fleet Street. When nothing
came his way, he ended up playing a minor role in a London show, where
his real talent was spotted.
Dog can think of a few Fleet Street
jokers he’d like to suggest would have been better suited to a
different form of entertainment.
But he’ll keep them to himself for now.
When sorry seems to be the hardest word
Dog has become something of a fan of a web site called Regret The
Error, which reproduces editorial climbdowns from around the globe.
This absolute classic caught our eye in particular this week: “The
Ottawa Citizen and Southam News wish to apologize for our apology to
Mark Steyn, published 22 October. In correcting the incorrect
statements about Mr Steyn published 15 October, we incorrectly
published the incorrect correction. We accept and regret that our
original regrets were unacceptable and we apologize to Mr Steyn for any
distress caused by our previous apology.”
Paper takes its eye off the ball
In the Daily Star Sunday for 20 March the Chelsea v Crystal Palace
match report contains the following; “The England man (Frank Lampard)
showed he is fallible after all, allowing the ball through to Aki
Riihilahti. The Icelandic midfielder, cool as you like, snapped up the
Trouble is, Riihilahti has more than 60 caps for FINLAND.
there’s more. On another page of the same issue there is a report of
Charlton v West Bromwich Albion bylined Paul Brown at the Hawthorns.
Trouble is, this match was played at The Valley.
Paul Brown is Aki Riihilahti’s cousin.
Does the Daily Star Sunday have a grudge against the family ?
Not such a warm welcome
Scotland’s new pro-independent national weekly, the Scottish Standard, is hopping mad with The Scotsman.
In its comment column in its second issue, the Standard reports:
“While colleagues on most papers were generally supportive of the
Scottish Standard’s launch – mixing praise and good wishes with
constructive criticism – the arch-Unionist Scotsman had nothing better
to do with two pages than to unleash a vitriolic assault on the quality
of our journalism. Being lectured on bad journalism by Andrew Neil’s
Hootsman is in many ways a tribute. They are, after all, experts on the
Standard editor Alex MacLeod is also none too pleased with a tabloid fellow newspaper.
comment column waspishly points out: “The ‘Scottish’ Mirror also showed
the visionary skills of their editor by predicting this edition would
never make it to the streets. Doh.”
Let’s scratch that idea
Spare a thought for the Daily News in Staten Island, which came up
with the idea of a “Scratch ‘n’ Match” game card, offering readers
the chance to win up to $100,000.
The management found themselves deluged with more than 3,000 phone
calls claiming a win. Far more than they had expected. It turns out
that one of the numbers on the scratch card was incorrect.
Have a guess at the number that was wrong.
Yep, it was 13.
Nothing to crow about
Correction from last week’s Observer which no doubt had the errant
sub murmuring “Oh bullocks!”: “Sheep might be dumb… but they’re not
(News, last week) said that studies in Oxford showed that a
Caledonian heifer called Betty had managed to bend a piece of wire to
construct a hook and retrieve food from a jar. Betty is, in fact, a New
Caledonian crow, a creature perhaps better adapted to bending wire than
The purrfect epitaph for Gibbs’ Barra boy
Former Daily Mirror hack Garth Gibbs has always maintained that his
best relationship with any other life form on this planet has been with
his cat, Lord Kismul of Barra. His several ex-wives would probably
Kismul, feral and as white as a snow goose, was rescued from Barra,
the Scottish island made famous in the film Whisky Galore. Bootleggers
wanted to drown him as a four-week-old kitten.
feline was flown first-class to Heathrow and then taken to the spacious
outer reaches of Islington where he was raised on organic chicken, wild
salmon and monk fish, poached lightly in herbs with a dash of
Gibbs and Kismul later moved to a remote spot on the
Isle of Wight. Alas, it wasn’t remote enough. A year ago Kismul
wandered on to a main road and was killed. But he lives on. Gibbs has
just been made editor of a glossy magazine, Quicksilver (in competition
to Saga), and the byline on new column Potpourri reads: By Kismul Jones.
Too much of a coincidence not to be Lord Kismul of Barra.
The Scotsman’s diarist Simon Pia has revealed why he furtively nipped out to buy the latest copy of Sports Illustrated.
His man in Seattle had reported that the eagerly-awaited annual
swimsuit edition of the mag hit the newsstands with a new gimmick –
trading cards of models.
Reports Pia: “Purely in the interests of research I found myself purchasing a copy to see what all the fuss was about.
this bumper issue are the first nine of 18 trading cards of young women
in swimsuits, and, on the back, their vital statistics, etc.”
It seems The Scotsman perceives that its own readers are not quite so adventurous as those of Sports Illustrated.
paper carries on the same page a large house ad promoting its own
offering of a free Scottish lochs and rivers map, and a free glossy
walking cards series.
Very douce, these readers of the Edinburgh national daily.