The Grey Cardigan 10.08.06

AFTER UPSETTING them for two weeks running, I'm now banned from writing about the News of the World. So many inaccuracies, false accusations and gross errors have crept into this column of late that I'm thinking of taking on a sub.

But we cannot let pass an important newspaper milestone, so I refer you to the tawdry tale of George Best's grandchild. The offspring of "model" Lorna Hogan and, allegedly, Best's son Calum, the unborn infant was the subject of a routine "he's never been in touch after our one-night stand" story in last Sunday's publication.

But wait — what's this? The piece is illustrated with a scan of the female foetus, four months before it is due to make its debut. So does this count as the world's earliest ever doorstep? I hesitate, after all, to call it a snatch pic.

SPEAKING OF doorsteps, The Sunday Times seems to have got itself a little confused when trying to establish the identity of the anonymous author described as "an erotic Bridget Jones".

Having established beyond reasonable doubt that Harry Potter film assistant Zoe Margolis is the potty-mouthed strumpet behind a blog-turned-book that details the sexual adventures of a 32-year-old singleton, the Sunday Times snappers fell back on the old gutter press tactic of luring her to her doorstep by sending her a bunch of flowers (known in the trade as a "Cherie").

So why then did someone decide that the poor woman's face should be pixellated before her appearance on Page Three? The phrase "What's the fucking point?" springs to mind.

MORE PHOTOGRAPHIC shenanigans at The Mail on Sunday, where a story about a woman who had sunbathed topless with Gary Lineker subsequently getting a divorce was illustrated with the crucial picture carefully cropped to remove any semblance of nipple.

(Again the phrase "What's the fucking point?" springs to mind.)

Such precious propriety. What careful coyness. I wonder if editor Peter Wright is familiar with the lyrics of one of The Stranglers' songs on the CD given away free with the newspaper in which the word "clitoris" features prominently? There's a joke here somewhere about Lord Dacre's stimulating organ, but frankly I can't be bothered making it.

STILL WITH Gary "Mr Nice Guy" Lineker, I have yet to meet a tabloid hack who isn't desperate to portray the poor man as some kind of jug-eared gigolo.

The Daily Mail is the latest to have a go with a spread entitled "Lineker the Ladykiller". It really is an appalling bag of shite. Having assured us that "there is no suggestion that the demise of [his] marriage was caused by any infidelities", Natalie Clarke goes on to drag several women into the frame, including serial shagger Ulrika Jonsson and actress Cherie Lunghi. A thousand words later we are assured that such rumours are "all utterly laughable". Yes, well so is Ms Clarke's shabby effort.

Now I have no idea whether or not Gary Lineker is a licentious lothario. Given my recent track record, one of the Sundays could already be laying out the pages of doom. But is it too much to ask for the occasional fact in these in-depth investigations? Or is the plan to provoke him into legal rebuttal?

ANOTHER CLASSIC Guardian correction: "Chris Whatmore, winner of prize crossword No 23,819 had his name misspelled as Watmore on the website and Whitmore in the paper (page 33, July 24). Apologies."

Thanks, chaps. An absolute belter.

I AM not one to fall back on lazy stereotypes, but are Daily Star readers really the right people to be given a free CD promising to teach them Greek in just one day?

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