The Grey Cardigan: 26 January 2007

OH, THE relish with which the posh papers descended upon events in the Celebrity Big Brother house. Nothing pleases the snootier hacks more than a seemingly justifiable opportunity to join their tabloid colleagues in the muck-throwing gutter.

Thus the very hint of possibly racist behaviour lets slip the dogs of bore, even though the kerfuffle had more to do with the ignorance, envy, resentment and insecurity of our ill-educated underclass rather than the out-and-out, send-them-home nastiness you’d expect from a BNP ballerina.

Top marks in all this go to The Sunday Times, worth two quid alone for the downpage think piece by Adrian Anthony Gill that referred to Jade Goody’s ‘gurning face, grabbed at its most unattractive from the screen, staring out from every paper’just beneath a picture of Jade Goody’s gurning face, grabbed at its most unattractive from the screen, staring out from The Sunday Times. Excellent effort by the design wonks, I’m sure you’ll agree.

PIERS MORGAN, former co-proprietor of Press Gazette and the man who owes me two grand, occupies the coveted Diary slot of The Spectator. It is not a total success.

Over half of his contribution is a puff for an article on Gordon Brown that he’s written for another magazine; a second piece lauds his summer spent in Los Angeles as a judge on a TV talent contest; a third makes an observation illustrated by reference to the dyslexia of one of his own sons (he named him, I won’t); while the last piece – regarding Kate Middleton and the paparazzi – could comfortably have run as third leader in any red-top tabloid.

Frankly, all things considered, I think Joan Collins has more intellectual depth.

DURING THIS magnificent organ’s recent difficulties, much was made of the supposed supremacy of MediaGuardian.co.uk in terms of bringing newspaper news to we huddled masses. Now this isn’t a strictly scientific survey but, Professor Greenslade’s blog excepted, I have seen only three regional press stories either online or in print in the principal publication since mid-December – fewer than one a week.

The heart of this industry beats not in London’s medialand, but in the meticulously moral training grounds of the regions. That’s something for you all to ponder the next time it’s suggested that Press Gazette doesn’t matter anymore.

THE CHAPS at News International are certainly getting value for money from their Rose West snout. (Prison officer, fellow inmate or weasel letter-writing correspondent? You decide.)

First we had the scandal of the fancy foodstuffs, then the advice to her daughter to cash in on her notoriety by selling her wedding ring and the door key to 25 Cromwell Street (both in The Sun), then the jolly News of the World page lead about how dear Rose hates watching movies … about serial killers (their dots, not mine).

As ever, it’s the wonderfully archaic language that the subs deploy which fascinates me. There must be a special box of it in the bottom drawer labelled ‘Paedophiles and Serial Killers: adjectives for the use of”. So Rose West enjoyed ‘international cuisine”, a ‘gourmet feast’and ‘gorged on exotic foreign food’the day the prison canteen had the temerity to serve lasagne.

Brilliant stuff. Bring on a ‘romping vicar’and my week will be complete.

DEAR GOD, the wallcharts are back. While The Guardian continues its assault on the bare classroom walls of the nation with dogs, cats and pet rodents (and a dead whale in the foyer), The Independent hits back with postcards of birds.

I have an idea. How about a wallchart on recycling, detailing how the acres of trees sacrificed for this expensive vanity will be replaced? Or why not a line-up of national newspaper editors ranked by annual salary and bonuses? I’m sure readers would like to be reassured that their leader can empathise with their own financial frailties.

You can contact me, should you be minded,at thegreycardigan@gmail.com

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