Tuesday, February 16, 2010

John Terry? Privacy?

When the John Terry story broke, one of our juniors insisted the coverage was OTT and complained that even footballers deserve a private life.

Bit of a red rag to a bull, to be honest. Footballers? Private lives?

Listen, I said. Anyone who earns in a week four times what the average fan who follows them all over the country pockets in a year, who creams off as much again in marketing and sponsorship deals and reaps every reward imaginable just for (clich├ęd, but true) turning out for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon, doesn’t deserve so much as an ex-directory listing.

Footballers are millionaires for one reason: media money. They are media property for the use and abuse of the aforesaid. His role is twofold: to win the World Cup and to keep us entertained.

Helping us sell papers is their way of giving something back.

One PS though: What were the Mirror and Sun doing on Saturday, with the Terry and wife Dubai snog? Page One headlines: Healed with a kiss? and JT’s got wahey with it?

It took the Mail to get it right: Terry and his wife kiss for the cameras. Back of the net.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Laying down the law

Things haven’t been getting any better at the Telegraph subs’ desk of late, judging by Simon Heffer’s latest round-robin bollocking to staff.

It includes the usual spelling howlers (TV program, neighbor and not knowing whether practice is a noun or a verb), but also a classic he calls a “24 carrot gold” cock-up: “hospital patience”, which anyone who has been one will confirm is wrong on many counts.

He also moans about confusing “insight” and “incite”, the misuse of apostrophes - “how soldier’s found Hitler’s body” – and the fact that there is no such word as adaption

But these stood out:

The terms “rifle” and “shotgun” are not interchangeable. A rifle is a precision weapon that fires bullets. A shotgun fires cartridges loaded with shot that scatters in a pattern and kills or wounds anything in its path. Gourmand and gourmet are not interchangeable either. The latter is a connoisseur of food and the former simply greedy. Buckinghamshire is not in the Cotswolds.


Lay is a transitive verb (I lay down a case of claret every month; she laid the table).

When I joined the subs’ desk there in 1991, I would cringe at the disdain with which the middle aged gents alongside me treated anything they saw as “pop” culture (the chief parly sub had never heard of Sigourney Weaver and the chief revise sub didn’t know why anyone would be interested in a nib on Guns ‘n Roses).

But to a cardigan, they would all have known how to lay down a case of claret.