All, er, total b******s of course. But I would say that wouldn't I?
I'd be intrigued to know if the ever-expanding jimmy Savile file includes an incident in 1976 in which he visited the Cornish gateway town on Launceston.
Not many celebs went that far for charity visits in those days so, having woken up to it a tad late, it was natural for the Cornwall Courier to rouse its snapper early to get a shot of him leaving town.
And so it was that an early right hand page carried a picture of the tracksuited star in the back seat of his car as it sat outside the White Hart Hotel in the Market square.
I, like a BBC executive or a Grateful charity beneficiary, did not give it a thought when the editor asked casually of the snapper: "I don’t suppose you got one of the bird?” (apology: this was the seventies)
He didn't because she was presumably long gone by the time the car arrived and presumably getting ready for school.
Either way, unless my memory is playing tricks, it was apparent we knew the identity of his guest as did a great number in what was, after all, a small and close community.
Worse still, it was all a bit too dog-bites-man to warrant a local paper’s attention.
Every year for a handful of consecutive Fridays I teach second year media students the fundamentals of subbing, a skill usually developed over years of hacking, slashing, honing and sculpting everything from wedding captions and WI reports to splashes that can change governments and leaders that tell millions what to think.
It's not the easiest job in the world to get across just what the role is all about when so much communication is instant, not to say roughly-hewn, these days.
So, where to start.
Is it about the churn of dozens of stories a day, shifts that go through the night, lawyers on your shoulder, updates, adds and corrections coming at you every time you finally squeeze the gist of something you barely understand into half a dozen pars - and a late train home full of drunks.
Or is it the chance to engage today with the issues we’ll be talking about tomorrow, polishing raw facts filed under duress from news's front line and relishing in the sheer variety of a night that can embroil you in the adrenalin rush of crime, the intrigue of politics, and the glamour of showbiz, before unwinding with a leisurely drive home through near-deserted streets to the sound of Carmen on the CD?
Answers on a postcard. Thing is, it's important that it is taught, and as thoroughly as it should be practised.
Which is why every week, alongside all the fun stuff such as how newsrooms function, what style is all about, the clever devices that pull spreads together, I throw them column inch after column inch of text to (you guessed it) hack, slash, hone and sculpt until it resembles something worthy of a place on a page.
With a big screen on the wall and 40-odd students plugged into row upon row of Apple Macs, we learn to be as cynical as Paxman, as fastidious as Victor Meldrew and as poetic as Martin Amis.
Okay, bit of an exaggeration, but it's enough to know you just may have set the odd one on their way to becoming the next Leslie Sellers.
Why is that important to me? Because a few weeks after each course completes, I turn up at any one of several other venues, most recently Roehampton University and Greenwich College, to talk about media careers to students from some of the UK’s most prestigious schools.
They bring with them their local papers for discussion, many of which do serious credit to the communities they serve. As I’ve posted countless times, I’m a serious defender of the role of local papers.
But each time I ask: have they had the benefit of a sub's red pen?
Sadly, too often, it's clear they haven't. Which is a shame when you pick up something packed to the rafters with real local news and the message is lost among phrasing more Leslie Neilson than Leslie Sellers.
With new entrants getting fewer and younger, and with more of them filing remotely and often in abundance to meet quotas, surely it’s worth dropping a few self-indulgent columns just to restore the odd shift as press day approaches.
Sad to say Roger Hussey, the Jewish Chronicle's IT manager, died last week at his home in Essex. He was 57 years old - 55 when doctors told him he had cancer and 56 when they told him there was nothing more they could do. I was his boss. I had to step out of a reader event in Manchester, wine glass in hand, when he rang to tell me the news.
He spoke as if explaining how to defrag a PC, going into some detail about the diagnosis and the likely surgical scenarios. He was a mathematician, and despite what must have been a hammer blow of a shock, acutely alive to the logic of it all and chillingly analytical.
Surrounded by cardboard boxes of cables, half-built PCs, CDS and old fashioned lever arch files, there was a man who knew the fuse rating of every plug in the building, the longevity and serial number of every server and the state of every data point.
With his somewhat shambling gait, lank blond hair and often reflective demeanour, he personified the quirky blend of mathematician and nutty professor that define the most imaginative IT brains; the sort that never take risks, value data as currency but have enough Robot Wars about them to keep you going when all you have is a looming deadline, a U2 battery and a coathanger.
He was an old school liquid luncher, more than once an after-work bon viveur who could catch the last train out of Fenchurch Street for the coast and be back at his desk by 9.30 without a flinch. No doubt hacks on the Basildon Echo will recognise that.
Once, when staff arrived at the office to find it barricaded by the National Grid because of a gas leak in the road, he appeared at my side as I looked down on the throng from the window. How did he get in? Best you don’t know, he said.
Here was an unflappable cryptic crossword of a man; loyal, brutally honest, fun-loving in an almost childlike way, yet stubborn to the point of arrogance when defending what needed defending. Never afraid to tell senior management they were (with respect, squire) not totally correct sometimes, he would follow a brief to the letter once a decision had been made.
He was strictly server-side. Engaging with a luddite public was never part of his job description (and yes, he did show me) nor was “wiping the a** of those who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a keyboard”. When one did get the past the human firewalls he'd lined up, he was charming and informative. Not so, when demanding to know why it had happened.
No better example of his complexity came when he did what Special Branch and the police cyber-crime unit (PC PCs to him) failed to do – locate the identity of someone who had attempted to hack the JC website. Asked to come down to the editorial conference to tell us how he did it, his explanation was indecypheraby Cantona. Two and a half years on I'm none the wiser.
After his diagnosis, he worked for months as if nothing had happened, dutifully booking time off for “medical reasons” and passing off major surgery as someone in “a surgical mask turning him off and turning him on again.”
He managed a performance or two with Rostock, a rock group in which he played bass and was still pushing for one last gig before it became physically impossible. A couple he did manage were for his children, both of whom brought their weddings forward so he could attend - and sing.
Throughout his “Uncle Dick leave”, he was never more than an email away, constantly reminding, suggesting, advising, first from a PC, then a laptop, and finally an iphone when he could no longer sit or stand. I'd say: “You're supposed to be convalescing.” He'd reply: “You're supposed to be doing it right!”
The mischievous humour he brought into the office – key passwords were often clever corruptions of 70s sitcom sketches – never left him. He would email with details of appointments with his “Uncle Ologist”, or talk about being injected with “paint thinners”.
His 56th birthday party included a pop quiz. I couldn't stay till the end but, having bored everyone with tales of my days as a teenage stringer for NME in the 70s, claimed to have been well ahead by the time I left, having casually boasted about how “I was there” when a song was recorded or a concert played.
He humoured me for months until the day he was whisked to hospital. I sent a text to ask why and he replied: “Pink Floyd song.”
I had to trawl Wikipedia to realise he was having breathing difficulties. I later asked how I was expected to know that, he told me: “I thought you'd have been there.”
He didn't suffer fools. I'm just glad he suffers no more.
He was a one-off. A lovely man, a consumate professional and the dearest of friends.
IT is worse off for having to evolve without him.
Just when I thought Leveson was the final nail in the coffin of journalism's reputation, along comes ITV’s The Exclusives, the Fleet Street’s Got Talent for youngsters who want to make the grade live on TV.
For those who didn’t see it last night - and it was flogged to death in the run-up - six wannabes were chosen from an X-factor style queue of hopefuls, put into an Apprentice-style house and thrown in at the deep end like Celebs in a jungle.
They comprised a typical researchers shopping list .. a glamour model called Hayley, a nerd called Chris, someone who never went to uni but lives to write … a toxic mix guaranteed to so we give us rows, tears, handbags and elbows while we watch them grow and mature under the watchful eye of editors thrust into the limelight because bosses at Bauer know the marketing value of reality TV.
But did they kick off by learning some journalistic basics to set them on heir way? Something to redress the balance of the past few months and show we're not all obsessed with celebrity tittle-tattle? Nope, the deep end consisted of typical intern work of returning shoot-loan clothes to PRs and transcribing interviews before being told to force their way to the red carpet and blag the odd quote from, yes, D-list celebs.
It was fun to see one of them snatch three or four words from one then ask her to repeat them gain because he didn’t get all of five words on tape, and annoying to see one of the transcribers looking so bored when he may have actually learned something about conducting an interview. Then there was a gaffe-prone chat with Amy Winehouse’s dad and the shame a lad called Stuart felt when he didn’t recognise the cast of Made in Chelsea.
But wore was to come when the big assignment meant going out on to the streets to identify blokes who wouldn’t mind taking their tops of for a photoshoot.
Not only did we witness then wandering the streets like Apprentice candidates flogging their last biro as a deadline loomed, shouting “Are there any men here who are Scottish, Irish or Welsh?” but they'd enjoyed a briefing that involved dragging a fit lad from the editorial floor in front of them and getting him to take his shirt off, just in case there was any doubt.
And there was me thinking the industry was in trouble.