Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Heather Mills McCartney and GMTV

Heather Mills McCartney plans to use the European Court of Human Rights to make the press more accountable, she announced this morning during a gripping 10-minute tirade on the GMTV sofa.

She's been so abused by the press since her split with Paul she has contemplated suicide and even handed a dossier of evidence to a pal to make public in the event of a death threat against her being carried out.

She revealed this to a clearly embarrassed Fiona Phillips who struggled to introduce "balance" by hinting that some of the attention may have been down to her. But She swept it aside, producing scrapbooks the size of windows, strong anecdotal evidence and the kind of controlled emotion and salient detail, the most seasoned interviewer would be pleased to extract.

She rebuffed allegations about killing a neighbour's dog, demanding millions in her divorce settlement, citing 4,400 'abusive artciles', rubbishing claims about her glamour-model past and citing uncomfortable truths in the Tabloid anticents from Hillsborough to Diana to the McCanns.

Phillips shuffled a lot, clearly under pressure to shut her up, not because much of it was uncomfortable lisening, but they needed an ad break.

Mills closed by predicting the press will now have more of a go at her for speaking out and she may well be right. But if she performs like this. certainly in PR terms, she'll make a formidable opponent. And I'll bet hits to Enough is Enough campaign , go through the roof as a result.

I did wonder when the GMTV site, would bother to mention it. It took three hours. Not exactly a breaking news operation, but the videos were well worth a look, until they mysteriously disappeared from view again.

Odd. This'll be all over the nationals tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fleet Street and memory lanes

I was chuffed to bits to get a mention in Patrick Stoddart's speech at the recent Echo and Post reunion in Hemel Hempstead.

Why? Not because I was a star feature writer being courted by Fleet Street like him, but it was where I got my first break in newspapers - as a tea boy.

Yes, I made tea, fetched expenses, ran copy to the composing room and generally ran errands for most of the big names who gathered at Hemel Hempstead football club for what was a decent hours of nostalgia. I once even washed the news editor's car, made the odd trip to the dry cleaners and even played in goal for the work's team.

It was the politically-incorrect seventies and I had the sort of haircut you see on old match of the day clips. Some of the subs took the piss out of my tie-dye T-shirt, Mike Ryder (chief sub) got my name wrong for about nine months and Eric Harris (sports desk) never referred to me as anything other than the "curly-headed twat".

I once nearly stopped the paper coming out when one of the print unions threatened to strike because I swept up cat droppings in the loading bay in breach of some demarkation and was "caught" returning a dustpan to a maintenance locker.

Like I said, this was the seventies. I briefly joined Natsopa to appease the militants baying for blood. Just as well because a week later, I was passing the composing room when I spotted a strip of headline (waxed bromide to anyone under 50) that had come away from a page and was lying sticky-side up on the floor.

The page had been 'rolled' and was ready for plating so I, helpfully, stuck it back at the top of the page - just as the FoC rounded the corner and threatened to convene, there and then, in the car park.

Another time, the chief reporter asked me to fetch a back copy so he could complete a backgrounder. It was urgent, he was on deadline so I legged to stores where an old tosser called Arthur, who sat among six months' worth in a wooden hut, steadfastly refused to part with anything until he'd had his tea break.

Great days for a young blood watching and waiting for his chance.

But it does seem I'm not the only one who's moved on.