Broadsheets | Anorak - Part 78

Broadsheets Category

Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers

Taking Provisionals

‘IF this carries on for very much longer, we’re going to have to close our Irish office down.

‘Shhh! I think I hear his mobile phone ringing…’

Already down to a skeleton staff, following the disappearances of Kevin Fulton, Brian Nelson and Martin Ingram – all of whom are profiled in the Independent as ‘agents and whistleblowers’ – we now can’t find Alfredo ‘Freddie’ Scappaticci anywhere.

The good news is that Freddie should turn up somewhere soon, as all the papers lead with the news that, like us, the IRA and possibly the British secret services are looking for our man in the field, or holding up a bridge.

The times says that Scappaticci is now in hiding, following an expose in newspapers in Dublin and Belfast which claimed he has been a double agent, killing and torturing for the Provisionals for 25 years while supplying intelligence to the British security services.

Being so gregarious, you’d suppose that most of us would already know what Freddie looks like, which makes us wonder why the Times has frosted over an image of the writer, torturer and alleged informant’s face.

It could be that this is how Freddie looks now, as the man the paper calls the ‘jewel’ in Britain’s intelligence crown opts for some reconstructive surgery.

The Guardian, though, is behind the Times and is stuck with showing the world Scappaticci’s full face as was.

That paper also tells us that his nickname is ‘Stakeknife’ and that he once headed the IRA’s internal security unit, known as the Nutting Squad.

But we remember Freddie as an honest hard-working hack, albeit one that has not returned his laptop. If you’re listening, Freddie, can we have it back, mate?

Posted: 12th, May 2003 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

The Teeth Have It

‘THE jelly is ready. The fondant fancies are sitting prettily on a doily. And the invitations have been despatched to all corners of the palace.

Yours to lick for 27p

Things are moving on apace in the preparations for Prince William’s 21st birthday on June 21.

The Times also spots some commemorative Royal Mint coins being pressed for the occasion and a set of four Royal Mail stamps, each featuring a picture of the Prince.

One such shot, designed from a portrait taken by Royal photographer Tim Graham, and reproduced in the paper, has Wills simmering out of the page.

And he can be yours for a mere 37p. Which is a bargain, especially compared with the 47p and 68p strains.

There is one cheaper stamp, on offer for 27p, which may or may not have been based on a photo taken by a Brendan Beine, a paparazzo photographer who used to follow the Prince’s mummy around.

There is no sign of a battered white Fiat Uno in the picture, but the coins do show something interesting: the Prince’s teeth.

David Cornell, who designed the coins, tells the Times that it was a tough job.

‘He insisted on using images of himself smiling, which made it difficult for me,’ says Cornell. ‘It is hard to produce a smiling coin because it is tricky to do the teeth.’

As such the coin is now the size of a dinner plate, and will be released to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Epsom Derby.

Posted: 12th, May 2003 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Going To Potteries

‘FOR some years now the north of England has been blowing its own euphonium.

‘Got any more of that funny roe, ma’am?’

The people are more friendly than in the south, so the hype goes, the houses are more affordable and the people want for nowt.

But, as the Guardian reveals, plans are afoot to return the north to its grim industrial past, to bury it under a mountain of rubbish collected in the green pastures of Sussex.

It seems that the rich south is so full of empty cartons of foie gras and Harvey Nichols own-brand salmon that East Sussex and Brighton and Hove councils are looking for new places to dump their waste. And Stoke-on-Trent is on the list.

Nothing is heard from the people of Stoke, although they must surely be excited that they might soon be in touching and sniffing distance of some of what the south has to offer.

Indeed, any Stoke resident wishing to upgrade their rubbish bin to reflect a more sophisticated palate, can contact us and, for a small fee, we will send them our weekly special, which this week is an empty bottle of mineral water.

Posted: 12th, May 2003 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Short Straw

‘AFTER sacrificing her credibility with one of the most staggering U-turns ever seen over the war in Iraq, Clare Short’s Cabinet career could soon be at an end.

You still here?

This morning’s papers suggest the International Development Secretary is facing the sack – not for opposing the Government on a point of principle, but for playing hookey.

The Telegraph says Tony Blair is under mounting pressure to fire Short after she failed to turn up for Wednesday night’s crucial vote on foundation hospitals.

Officials in her department claim that she got in a muddle over the timing of the three-line whip vote.

‘They said she had wanted to be there and had fully intended to support the Government,’ it says.

However, the Guardian agrees that her ministerial career is hanging by a thread after she also missed yesterday’s Cabinet meeting because of a ‘competing engagement’.

It apparently clashed with a particularly good episode of Trisha yesterday.

One senior Labour source tells the paper: ‘Yet again by her own actions, Clare Short is making it very easy for the Prime Minister to remove her.

‘The hangman has opened the hatch – and she has acted as judge, jury and executioner.’

Also missing from yesterday’s Cabinet meeting were Gordon Brown (who sent a note from his mum) and Alan Milburn (who hadn’t brought his proper kit).

David Blunkett was given a detention for not having done his homework and Jack Straw was told off for pulling Tessa Jowell’s hair.

Posted: 9th, May 2003 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Waive Goodbye

‘GAZA is probably not high on most people’s list of holiday destinations – and the latest move by the Israeli army is hardly going to boost visitor numbers.

‘What d’ya mean ‘strip’?

According to the Guardian, it is now obliging foreigners entering the occupied territory to sign a waiver absolving the army of blame if it shoots them.

Visitors, it says, must also declare that they are not peace activists.

Tom Hurndall, a peace activist, was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier in Gaza last month and is now in a coma with severe brain damage.

His crime? Trying to protect a small child from gunfire.

Another Brit, cameraman James Miller, was killed in a Gaza refugee camp – almost certainly, according to an autopsy, by an Israeli soldier.

The British Government is demanding a criminal investigation into both shootings.

In the meantime, the indiscriminate shooting of Palestinians continues. They don’t even get to sign waiver forms.

Posted: 9th, May 2003 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Aisle Be Back

‘HUNDREDS of churches are to be literally wiped off the map in what the Times describes as ‘an act of cartographic deconsecration’ by the Ordnance Survey.

‘We are not gathered here today…’

The Government’s map-maker is to remove symbols of churches which are no longer used as places of worship.

Given the parlous state of the Church Of England, that should just about put paid to every church in the country – including the ones which still have regular services.

But the move has been attacked by archaeologists, historians and conservation groups.

‘It’s crazy. It’s crackers,’ says church historian Richard Morris.

‘Maps are not just about getting from A to B, they’re about understanding where we live.’

Well, at least we now understand where we live – in a godless world.

Posted: 9th, May 2003 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

On The Placards

‘HANDS up who wants to hear from the Liberal democrats party conference in Brighton. Don’t worry, we can wait… Waiting… Still waiting…

Kennedy shows his true colours

So that’s Mr and Mrs Charles Kennedy, the parents of Mr and Mrs Charles Kennedy and Simon Hughes. Anyone else? No.

The Telegraph and its readers are more interested in seeing eight pages of snaps from the day the country came to London, ”a day for 815,582 sensible shoes”, and rack upon rack of Comfi-Slax.

”Give farming a future,” says the red and white banned being held limply aloft by a small mousy-haired girl.

”HUNT,” says the banner one page in, illustrated as it is by a hideous image of a grinning Blair-styled fox.

”Hunting forever,” says former Olympic horse rider Lucinda Green. ”Leave cowshit in the country and bullshit in Parliament,” says a campaigner for cleaner Wellington boots.

”This cow isn’t mad she’s bloody livid,” says a protestor, wearing a ”You don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps” T-shirt and showing everyone her hilarious singing fish.

It’s a sure thing that Tony B. would see the funny side in that. Although finding the humour in a shot of 12-month-old Sophie Large sleeping beneath a banner is harder.

”When I grow up I want to go hunting with my daddy,” reads the charming message. And doubtless on the other side it says: ”For paedos, weirdos and people who leave the gate open.”

Ah, from the mouths of babes…’

Posted: 24th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Clean And Serene

‘WOULDN’T it be just dandy if we were all happy! How great it would be if we could just learn to get along!

The photographer struggles in vain to capture Hitler’s good side

There would be no violence, no hatred and no explicit shots of Kate Winslet’s breasts.

It’s something John Dixon dreamt about. And his dreams led him to open CleanFlicks, a video retailer in Utah where, says the Guardian, what he calls ”unpleasant surprises” are cut from tapes.

So out go Winslet’s breasts in Titanic, followed by Tom Cruise’s love scene in the erotic thriller Top Gun and in comes a battle-free battle scene in Saving Private Ryan, in which no-one dies and the Germans challenge the Americans to help them build a daisy chain to wrap around the world.

It’s springtime for Hitler and Germany all over again.

Posted: 24th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Jenny In A Spin

‘SINCE ”damn” and ”oh, my God” are also purged from the CleanFlicks collection, chances are that the average episode of Friends lasts but two minutes in Utah’s holy backwaters.

Two world wars, you say. And how many World Cups?

So it must come as something of a shock to CleanFlicks’ customers to hear that Friends has just won an Emmy for being the best comedy series on American TV.

And the show’s Jennifer Aniston got the award for being the best actress in a comedy series.

And the Telegraph hears her speak (excerpt brought to you by CleanPapers and Anorak digital dubbing).

”Oh my goodness gracious me,” says Jen. ”Hot diggity dog. Oh my goodness gracious me. Hot diggity dog. Repeat endlessly.)

Nice speech, Jennifer, but when it comes to oratory there can be few to match Winston Churchill. And so it was that Gathering Storm, the television portrayal of Churchill’s ”wilderness years”, won three Emmys, including a gong for Albert Finney’s performance in the lead role.

Enthusiasts can watch the Utah version, in which the celery chomping former librarian takes on the world at crown green bowls – and wins!

Posted: 24th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Rambling On

‘THEY came in their thousands. Whether by train, cow or combine harvester, 407,791 protestors from the countryside descended on London yesterday to complain about their lot.

”When we grow up, we want to be ripped apart by hounds”

It’s a definite number, isn’t it – and the Telegraph has done well to be so precise.

Like a farmer counting his sheep as they jump over the fence, through the ring of fire and then into the pit, the paper chews its pen and watches the masses walk through the capital on their way to Parliament Square.

And what a motley crew they were! There was Elle McPherson, saying ”no more” to something or other on her way to the just-outside-the-seat-of-power, a stone’s throw from the shops.

And that’s Vinnie Jones, giving it to the city slickers with both barrels as he autographs a ”Save Our Countryside” placard.

And the paper also spots Edward Fox and television chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright in her trademark woman-in-sensible-shoes garb.

As the Telegraph gawps, spotting such and such, Mr Gaskell, a van driver no less, taps the paper’s man on the scene on the shoulder and says: ”There are no toffs in our hunt.”

But there are ferrets on your walk, and the Guardian spots one perched on his owner’s shoulder.

The little fella’s even got badge on. ”March for LIBERTY & LIVLIHOOD,” it says, which gives the Guardian’s right-on thinkers something furry to look at over their morning mueseli, and rabbits something to read before their throats are ripped out.

But there is a picture missing, and we can only lament the lack of foresight by the Times’ snapper.

In among the big names, and even bigger double-barrel names, was John McCririck, the Channel 4 racing pundit and resident of the country idyll of Primrose Hill, Camdenshire, walking around with a dead fox on his head.

Which is another example of a second-rate celebrity jumping on a passing haywain.

Posted: 23rd, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Parking Life

‘IT’S lucky for the London-based celebs on show that the countryside marchers decided to ramble in London and not, say, in Ludlow or Taunton.

”Sorry, guv. Your ticket expired two minutes ago.”

And if the Sloane Rangers wanted to return the favour, they would have watched Seth and Jethro park their tractors and then told them in an empathetically rich comedy West Country burr: ”You can’t be paarkin’ thar, mate. That be what we calls a residents only paarkin’ bay.”

Before adding a hearty ”Ooooo-Ahhhh” to give added credibility to their Barbour and green wellies.

And had they been further up on the rights of London’s by-ways, they would have told the visitors, as the Times tells us, that motorists who fail to pay Ken Livingstone’s £5 daily toll for driving into London’s heartlands, and have been sent three or more £80 penalty notices for non-payment, will have their cars impounded.

And that’s legislation that could see yet more people marching on London – as thousands of disgruntled office workers, forced to leave their cars, take to the streets – because the buses are full, the Tubes are bursting with backpackers and the pavements are covered in dog, horse and fox crap.

Posted: 23rd, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Fruits Of The Forest

‘BUT what’s that growing up from the ground? Why, it’s a pseudotrametes gibbosa. Now, if we could just reach down and pick it up…

Fungal felon caught in the act

Ooer, here come the law, reaching out with his long arm to grap us by the collar and ask us to show our license to hunt…mushrooms.

Yes, that’s right, mushrooms have rights too, and although they might not complain and go on fancy marches, they are living things that demand respect.

And so it is that the authorities who run Epping Forest in the north-east of London, have declared that foragers can only pick the 1,2000 species of fungi that grow in the area on one visit per season.

Says Tricia Moxley, information services manager for Epping Forest: ”Licensing gives people a chance to indulge their passion in a controlled way.”

Because without control where would be? Out of control, that’s where. And that is no way to live.

Posted: 23rd, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Screen Test

‘IF most of us would flunk our A-levels if we had to take them again, how do you think we would fare in our driving test?

”Congratulations, Ms Morris. You have passed.”

It’s nice to know that we will never be 17 again, especially with the Times reporting on a new innovation in the driving test – a virtual exam that tests students’ awareness of potential hazards on the roads.

The 15-minute test uses film footage of a woman running across the road to catch a bus, a lorry turning off a busy highway, lollipop ladies shepherding schoolchildren across the road etc.

Predictably, the Times correspondent failed miserably, scoring a pathetic 12 out of 25.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, who admitted that he had had a practice run, got a much more impressive 21/25 (and, consummate politician that he is, only knocked down those who were too young to vote).

However, the winner was Estelle Morris, whose score of 11/25 equates to 97% – and an A-grade. Congratulations! A seat in Cabinet awaits.

Posted: 20th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Grade Escape

‘SO, it turns out that GCSE/O-levels and A-levels have been rigged for the past 40 years, with examiners routinely awarding grades according to whim or the throw of a special ‘exam dice’ (whose six faces were marked A, B, C, D, E and U).

A is for Umbrella

The upshot is that everyone who left school after 1961 will receive a letter in the post over the next few days with instructions on retaking the disputed papers.

A Government spokesman warned that, although these retakes were not compulsory, people refusing to resit the exams would be considered to have failed all their public exams (including university and professional exams).

”It is inequitable that someone who might only have got into university because their grades were inflated should reap the benefits in the form of a degree,” he told the Independent.

Although the Government did not have the power to order recusants to surrender their jobs, it said CVs containing references to exam results should be considered fraudulent, and urged firms to take action accordingly.

None of which has in fact happened yet, although it would almost be worth it to see the look on the faces of those who have made a career of complaining that A-levels aren’t what they used to be.

But Education Secretary Estelle Morris has ordered not one, but two new inquiries into the exam shambles, with a former head of Ofsted charged with investigating head teachers’ complaints that grades have been manipulated.

The Times has a picture of Ms Morris, clearly fretting that her A-level in PE might be in danger, in what it describes as a ”tortured posture” at a press conference yesterday and it invites body language experts to offer their opinion.

”Self-touching gives confidence,” remarks Dr Sean Neill, although it must be pointed out that the only obvious self-touching in the picture is Ms Morris clasping her hands together.

”The double crossed legs are a defence mechanism,” opines Tracey Cox. That or she just doesn’t mean a word of what she’s saying.

Posted: 20th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Mein Kampf David

‘A BIT of boot polish in the hair, a little moustache on the top lip… No, we can’t quite see it.

”Say, Dick, what’s all those folks doin’ down there?”

But German justice minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin can, as she caused outrage yesterday by comparing George Bush with Adolf Hitler. And not approvingly, we should point out.

If George Bush had known who Adolf Hitler was and not mistaken him for Charlie Chaplin when shown a picture, he would have been pleased to hear his oratorical skills compared with the man who would draw a full house in Nuremberg every time he played there.

But other comparisons might not have struck such a pleasant chord.

Frau Daeubler-Gmelin made her remarks, says the Guardian, in an interview with a regional newspaper, accusing President Bush of using the possibility of war with Iraq to divert from his domestic problems.

”Such diversionary measures have been a popular method since Hitler,” she said – remarks which White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called ”outrageous and inexplicable”.

Not content to stop there, the good frau also told an election meeting that because of tighter US insider dealing laws, if the President were a businessman in the oil industry, he ”would be sitting in prison today”. And wondering where the arrows on his uniform were pointing.

Posted: 20th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Better Safe Than Sorry

‘BURIED deep on page 10 of the Telegraph is news of Tory shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin’s new plans for paedophiles, which consists of tracking them by satellite.

Noncebuster I

He describes them as ”careful and measured” and does not want them to lead to ”a slippery slope where everyone is tracked every minute of our working day”.

But why not? After all, the current system doesn’t work, does it?

As things stand, the paedo monsters are required to report regularly to police stations, which was convenient and discreet, given that they were all employed there anyway.

The problem came with the 50 per cent of the police force who are on sick leave at any particular time. How do we monitor them?

This problem is illustrated by the case of Sgt Nigel Miller, the police officer who hit the headlines by running the line at the Leeds v Man United match last week while on sick leave from work.

There is of course no suggestion that Sgt Miller is a paedophile, but there is a clear danger that the public might jump to the wrong conclusion if they were to discover his profession.

The Times reports that the Football Association has sensibly decided to take him off this weekend’s Newcastle v Sunderland derby, where a large and emotional mob is sure to gather.

He will officiate at a more low-profile fixture instead, with Peterborough United the most likely venue.

Posted: 19th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Cold Comfort

‘WHEN Trevor Perry sued Dr Helen Young for (inadvertently) passing on a cold while treating him, he must have been over the moon at pocketing £227 in damages.

”Anyway, you’re not even a real doctor”

But now he is coughing up himself: £931.25 to be precise. The Telegraph reports that he was ordered to pay £881.25 plus £50 costs after Salisbury Health Care Trust successfully applied for the initial ruling to be overturned.

After the ruling, Mr Perry ”ran from the court with his jacket over his head”.

Why? To hide a six-inch growth on his neck he claims he contracted from drinking McDonald’s coffee.

Posted: 19th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Loud And Proud

‘TECHNOLOGICAL innovations often come from unlikely sources. Never forget, without space travel, scientists would never have invented the non-stick frying pan.

With an engine like a Renault Twingo

(The preceding fascinating fact is one of thousands from the forthcoming Anorak Bumper Book Of Facts And Figures For Young People.)

Now Jay and Jason Plugge, two inventors from California, have introduced a new twist into an old lemon.

They have built a contraption that, in the careful words of the Telegraph, ”could soon be able to recreate the throaty roar of a Ferrari Testarossa inside a Mini Metro”.

Great, think the teenage boy racers of Essex, now we can install this device in our rust-buckets and drive the local population mad!

Only problem is, the noise is channelled into the car itself, and can only be played inside the car itself.

Thus giving an ideal excuse to crank that in-car hi-fi system up from 11 to 12. Sorted!

Posted: 19th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Alpha Test

‘MARGARET Cook, the former wife of bearded heartthrob Robin, ”has been studying ‘the nature of power, sexuality and government”’, according to the Telegraph. And we have to admit that, judging by the accompanying picture, she’s looking well on it.

Robin gets ready to shake his fishing rod in a really nasty way

With her casual ethnic T-shirt, youthful hairdo and sunny smile, she looks like a woman without a care in the world. But the conclusions of her study, which has taken her the best part of three years, are of an altogether darker nature.

Based on a detailed examination of the lives of Mao, Hitler, Kennedy and others, she has come to the conclusion that men are bastards.

This, of course, was the message of Margaret’s last book, which detailed the break-up of her marriage to the ginger sex-machine, and, as the Telegraph comments, she ”appears to be warming to the theme”.

Male leaders, she contends, fall into two categories: alpha male gorillas who impregnate as many women as possible, and those who channel their aggression into sabre-rattlers.

And then there are those who grow beards, go horseracing and get off with their secretary. ”I think he was trying to fit into the first type but with varying degrees of success,” says Margaret of her former hubby. ”He is definitely not a sabre-rattler.”

Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

One Of Us?

‘BRIDGET Jones had her own theories about men, of course, and she wasn’t averse to the occasional bunk-up with a powerful man. But not just any old world leader, though.

Is David ready to settle down with Mr Right?

”Tony Blair is the first Prime Minister I can imagine having voluntary sex with,” she confessed after Our Leader’s 1997 election victory – a day greeted with cries of ”Hurrah!” by the most irritating fictional character of the past decade.

One might conclude that Tony and Bridget deserve one another, but shadow Work and Pensions Secretary David Willetts begs to differ. In his view, expressed in today’s Independent, Bridget is ”one of us” (a Tory) because she yearns to find a man and settle down.

Now, far be it from us to comment on Mr Willetts’ private life, but isn’t he being a little short-sighted here? We’re all for the Conservative Party’s new ”come one come all” attitude to sexual diversity but we’re not sure that it is necessarily the solution to their current electoral difficulties.

All the same, we hope Mr Willetts finds his man, and a safe seat in which they will both be comfortable.

Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Forces Majeure

‘THE army is always complaining about being undermanned, and has tried various methods to boost recruitment, such as letting overweight cry-baby teenagers into the parachute regiment and allowing pregnant grandmothers to join frontline troops.

”One second he was there,” says Sgt Alan Bark of Private ‘Vanishing’ John Tench, ” and the next he wasn’t”

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the latest cunning plan is a real cracker. The Times reports that soldiers who go absent without leave will now be allowed back in the army, in a move that ”aims to reconnect the runaway soldier and the military”.

There are thought to be about 600,000 deserters, many of whom live in rural communities, where they sleep in trees and live off the carcasses of sheep slaughtered during the foot-and-mouth epidemic. Others work as consultants on reality TV shows.

Most leave the forces for relatively trivial reasons, it transpires. ”Sometimes soldiers go Awol because they have overslept and missed a train at the end of their leave,” explains Colonel Eccles, of the Army personnel unit at the Adjutant General’s office.

And others, such as those in the Territorials, enjoy the uniforms and the camping, but make themselves scarce when a war comes along.

But if any old soldiers out there are reading this, and you fancy three square meals a day and football every afternoon, then do get in touch. They miss you, you know. They really do.

Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

A Rose By Any Other Name?

‘A FILM’S title is seldom a reliable indication of its contents, any more than the judiciously edited quotes on the poster (unless, of course, the phrase ”one of the best foreign films of the year” is used – translation: avoid at all costs).

Fat Bird Sinks Big Ship

But when a movie transfers to foreign shores, the Guardian reports that it isn’t just a question of subtitles and dubbing: the title itself must be changed too.

Out go the euphemism and whimsy of precious Hollywood. In comes the bracing literalism of the Chinese market, where a film is expected to do exactly what it says on the tin.

Boogie Nights thus finds itself rejoicing in the title His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous. Dumb and Dumber becomes Two Stupid Stupid People, while Pretty Woman is known to millions of Eastern punters as I’m Rich But I Like Prostitutes.

Even art house stalwarts don’t escape the brutal Eastern logic – Wretch! Let Me Chop Off Your Finger! is better known as The Piano among the carrot cake crowd.

Here at Anorak we can only applaud such frankness, and remind readers not to miss Channel 4’s major new literary adaptation tonight, Over-Hyped Re-Run of Kureishi, Rushdie and Amis.

Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

Grade Expectations

‘IT’S hardly surprising that kids can’t tell the time any more, given that our educators have difficulty recognising even two-digit numbers.

New Oxford & Cambridge examiners’ guide

”Exam board misread 41 marks as just 14” says the Times. The story concerns the fate of Jennifer Brown, whose efforts in economics were rewarded with a ”U” grade after getting 41 marks out of a possible 45, which should have received an ”A”.

Jennifer discovered the mistake when she asked to see her paper, and saw the mark at the top. And it turns out that she is not alone.

Louis Gearing, who was head boy at the Knights Templar School in Bladock, has just received a ”U” for his history coursework, and thus missing out on the overall ”B” that he required to get into Oxford.

His work was shown to another examiner, who professed himself extremely surprised by the ”U” grade, which he believed should have been a ”D” if not a ”C”.

It’s a sorry state of affairs, to be sure. Here at Anorak, we suggest that every student’s work should be automatically raised by two grades, just to be on the safe side.

That would bring the average score up to a ”B” – the equivalent of the old ”U” grade back in the days when A-Levels were worth the payper they was ritten on.

Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

The Good Old Days

‘THE Times indulges in a little harmless nostalgia today, as it looks back on the days when public schoolboys got their kicks swinging truncheons at the heads of striking ”workers”.

”Oi, common people. Tristram here’s got a joke for you…”

”The interest from the public schools in encouraging participation in the countryside march calls to mind a previous occasion when livelihoods were at stake and the country’s famous educational institutions rushed to be a part of the action,” muses the former paper of record.

”Spending a few days as a ‘scab’ worker during the 1926 General Strike was one of the most fondly remembered rites of passage for those just emerging from an expensive education.”

Having scrutinised this article carefully, and noted its appearance on the page 2, under the heading ”NEWS”, we confess that we are mystified by its appearance, given the complete absence of any discernible news content.

Delighted and entertained by this agreeable morsel, as all those of good breeding will be, but baffled nonetheless.

Posted: 17th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment

DIY Babies

‘SHOPPING list: A dozen eggs, a litre of milk (semi-skinned), two packs of cheese slices and a cucumber. Oh, and a blonde, blue-eyed baby girl. After all, why have a boy when men will so very soon be completely redundant?

”All men are bastards!” Little Joyce says her first words

The Telegraph this morning reports on the opening of Europe’s first fertility centre solely for lesbians and single women wanting a DIY baby.

The Women’s New Life Centre opens today on Harley Street in response to what founder John Gonzales describes as ”the insensitive way in which lesbians and single women are treated by a number of clinics due to social prejudice”.

After all, when two lesbians have sex, it is only social prejudice that prevents one – or indeed both – partners conceiving. And it is social prejudice that is responsible for the low incidence of virgin births in the last two millennia.

If Gonzales, who has already set up a website – – to help lesbians find sperm donors, is successful in getting a licence, then it is surely only a matter of time before man becomes extinct (or used only to reach tins on high shelves and take the rubbish out).

Which would be a classic example of a turkey voting for Christmas.

Posted: 16th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets | Comment