If only Vladimir Nabokov were alive at this time. The BBC could ask his opinion about Sir Jimmy’s antics.
That said, Bill Wyman’s still around, isn’t he? I know he’s more into older artefacts these days, being interested in archaeology and selling metal detectors and all, but I’m sure he could provide a few interesting anecdotes about the time when he was interested in uncovering fresher meat than Roman Republic Silver Denarius coins.
Today I watched John Prescott appear giving “testimony” to the Leveson “Inquiry into Media Ethics”.
Last week it was Cherie Blair. Cherie Blair? Ethics?
Time to wrap up this media-lawyer circus.
Am I the only one who considers the “star” witnesses appearing on BBC News-24 etc at the Leveson enquiry tend to be rather faded stars who once quite famous, but are no longer so? Are they seeking, as faded stars often do, to add lustre to their less then lustrous persona. Hello, and fellatio to you, Hugh Grant!.
They also seem to be people caught doing naughty things. Why is their testimony so insipid? Is Leveson, basically, a government-approved tufty hunter? I rather fear he is.
Oh dear. Polly Dutt-Pauker does not like the idea of the Sun on Sunday at all.
Guess Rupert must be doing something right…at last. But please, spare us the Yellandist “isn’t this boy who’s been forced to dress like a girl by his mad parents just toooo cute” stuff, will you?
WEATHER: It is currently 16-deg C in Tuscany, misty, but with a sunny day with low cloud promised for tomorrow. Forecast for SUNDAY: 15-deg C, with 90 per cent chance of grumpy frosted clouds and wild, violent outbursts of tacks, razorblades and hellfire, giving way to scattered servants and free-ranging, scudding interns. A low-level depression named MARR descends over an unknown Tory MP who doesn’t go to church. Scattered things. MONDAY: Settled boredom, with John Humphreys tweeting Alan Rusbridger about how awful the weather from Italy has been on Today (lowlights repeated ad nauseum on BBC News 24).
Keen-eyed readers will have noticed I’ve given the blog a make-over and have added a new section of book reviews, called Scribble, scribble, scribble, which can be accessed here or from the link at the top of this page.
The first entry is my book of the year, Judith Flander’s excellent The Invention of Murder. Published at the beginning of the year, it was thus forgotten by the time most “literary critics” – whose memory spans would flatter a goldfish – came to write their interminable “Books of the Year” column which add much misery to the nation at this time of the year.
If you have been given a book token, or have a spare tenner or so to spare, I highly recommend this book. I’ve read it three time this year. I shall read it again.
I sincerely hope Judith Flanders writes a follow-up, covering murders in the 20th century.
The Leveson hearing continues to Bore On for Britain, with live coverage on both BBC News 24 and Sky News, for heaven’s sake. As if anyone apart from Guido Fawkes and the usual politico-journo junkie suspects are really interested in watching minute-by-minute coverage from that sweaty oak-panelled room in the Royal Courts of Justice, where the testimony can hardly be heard above the ticking of the lawyers’ taximeters.
I’ve taken up watching Russia Today and Al-Jazeera to get my afternoon’s news fix. At least you get an idea that something important is happening outside in the real world.
It’s not as though we haven’t been here before. Whatever Leveson decides, we know what’s going to happen. Indeed, I’ve tried to interest Laurence Rees in a blockbuster TV series, tentatively titled The Calcutt Committee: A Lesson From History, but so far he’s not answered a single one of my emails. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t bring Nazis into it in a meaningful way.
Still, it’s good to see Fleet Street’s Finest have got their heads down and are still digging up the Stories That Really Matter:
Full story here.
I quite like Fleet Street Blues: it’s published some of my stuff in the past and it’s generally on top of what’s going on in the print press world. But I can’t forgive its churnalistic response to the latest Harmanesque Guardian nonsense about sex bias in the national press: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/dec/04/why-british-public-life-dominated-men?CMP=twt_gu
Forgive me if I’ve rudely awoken you by returning here after reading all that turgid, statistical onania. Here is how Fleet Street Blues interprets it, with a lovely chart brought to you in full Adobe Illustrator technicolor:
I’ve noticed that FSB, bless him, is a sucker for graphics – the shinier the better (we all know what to get him for Christmas), and he writes:
Overall though, if the methodology is right – and we have no reason to think it isn’t – then the chart above seems pretty conclusive. Fleet Street is still very much a man’s world.
If the methodology is right...If the methodology is right…?
Well, no, the methodology is plainly not right. You only need to take a second or two to see that it isn’t.
1) Whyfore the critereon of a byline – generally given only to the lead story of a national newspaper page and rarely to downpage stories – be an indication of anything other than that was the person who wrote the strongest story for that particular place at that particular time? The news editor (more of which later) plainly decided was the strongest story and should be the lead. I would defy Kira Cochrane or FSB to argue against that decision, on a basis of sex discrimination, at that place and at that time it was made. Within deadline, please.
2) I can’t help but get the feeling that the original survey concentrates on the news, news comment and sports pages of national papers. Ms Cochrane and FSB do not seem to stray into the arts pages. This surprises me as far as Ms Cochrane is concerned, though not FSB , since he always struck me as a supporter of one of the more struggling football clubs, and in which the papers’ inside-page mires his interest more probably lies. But if Ms Cochrane is going to claim that the national papers’ Arts pages are regularly given over to a male hegemony, then I say it is a sylvan pond into which she, and her intern researchers, have yet to dip their painted toes. They will find many other females doing likewise – though not all to their political liking, of course. There’s no accounting for taste when it comes to painted toenails, as the bishop said to Marilyn Monroe. There’s a lesson there, if only we knew what it was.
3) Nothing appears in a newspaper – or a newspaper blog – without going through about three or four people. You know that FSB. How many of those people are female? The news editors, the sub-editors, the deputy editors, proofreaders – need I go on? None of them are accounted for in Cochrane’s analysis.
The worst thing about these Harmanesque “equality” analyses is that they ignore women doing essential things that are below whatever line the surveyors claim is the one that matters, as though they don’t matter. They also ignore men, those who also are doing essential things, who are also below that line. They apparently don’t count either. We – who occasionally do get the bylines – know they do, FSB.
By now you will have read the latest instalment in the rollicking pre-Christmas pantomime, Snow Beardies and the 40 Pampered Middle-class Shitheads, which has been playing to sell-out crowds at that traditional Home of High-Priced Farce, St Paul’s Cathedral, and which has been adding so much to the gaiety of the nation over the last week or so: the Dean of St Paul’s, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, has resigned.
By chance, I happen to be re-reading The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh (fantastic value at £2.50 with free p&p from Amazon).
The entry for 1 April – 11 April 1942 reads:
… Next day I was due to speak at the BBC as guest of the Brains Trust… The other guests were Sir William Beveridge, don-civl servant, and an inconsiderable clergyman, the Dean of St Paul’s [the Very Revd W R Matthews].
Being inconsiderable* has remained an essential “skill” needed on the CV for anyone applying for a job in the higher echelons of Wren’s masterpiece, it seems.
* OED: inconsiderable: Not to be considered; unworthy of consideration; beneath notice; of no consequence, unimportant; insignificant, trifling. The opposite of considerable (1712 Steele Spectator. No. 302 A trifling inconsiderable Circumstance.)