Broadsheets | Anorak - Part 83

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

Scoth Red Mist

‘TALKING of heavy drinking, Charles Kennedy is in the news today, as the recipient of a rare apology from Jeremy Paxman. The Independent reports that the grand inquisitor was adjudged to have overstepped the mark during a routine ‘Paxoing’ of the red-headed Liberal Democrat leader on Newsnight.

Another stuffing from Paxo

‘How much do you drink?’ asked Paxman, a trifle impertinently. ‘Moderately, socially, as well you know,’ replied Kennedy. ‘I’ll be the judge of that, ginger nut,’ interrupted Paxman, ‘I hear you put away at least a bottle of Teacher’s every night.’

At this point things deteriorated rapidly, as Paxo eventually got off the subject of drinking, and started to quiz the young supremo on his impending nuptials. ‘Why have you decided to get married?’ he asked. ‘Because I’m in love,’ replied Kennedy coolly. Red rag to a bull, that. Paxo was off again. ‘Where did you find her? A blind school?’ he sneered. ‘Bit of a dog is she?’

What followed was too distressing to repeat for a family audience. ‘I am sorry if any offence has been caused,’ said Paxman. ‘Maybe there was one question too many about drink.’ Nonsense. You stick to your guns, man. The public has a right to know. ‘

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

Benny Is Innocent

‘PASSING the buck is nothing new in government, as anyone with a passing interest in our current leaders will know. But the Daily Telegraph carries a story that surely trumps the feeble efforts of Jo Moore and her pals.

No Angel

‘The Government is blaming Benny Hill, the comedian famous for his sketches involving scantily-clad girls, for its failure to cut teenage pregnancies,’ the story begins.

At which point one waits for the weasel words that show that the facts have been twisted for the sake of a delicious headline. But the weasel words don’t come. Indeed, the phrase ‘Benny Hill culture’ comes straight from the mouth of Cathy Hamlyn, the head of the Government’s Teenage Pregnancy Unit.

There’s no answer to that, so we won’t bother trying. Instead, we shall devote what little space remains to a curious paragraph tacked on the end of the report. According to his biography, Hill, who died in 1992, maintained a ‘firm distaste for intercourse’.

The paper offers no comment, but adds that his father sold condoms for a living. With Hill setting his cap against carnality, and his old dad in the prophylactic trade, it is hard – though enjoyable – to imagine a less likely scapegoat.

But rest assured, that won’t stop the government trying.

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

In A Hole

‘THE TIMES has long ploughed its own furrow when it comes to selecting its lead stories. It likes to give space to the arcane, the idiosyncratic, and, occasionally, the downright baffling.

One of them is still a little woosie

But it’s not for us to speculate on their reasons; we are simply here to report upon the news according to Wapping. And today, the former paper of record chooses to lament the fate of ‘Notorious caddie stuck in his bunker at 19th hole’.

The words ‘notorious caddie’ immediately narrows down the field to one name: Miles Byrne. He is the man whose fortunes took a sharp dip when he packed Ian Woosnam’s bag incorrectly, and included an illegal number of clubs – an error widely thought to have cost Woosie last year’s Open.

When he then overslept two weeks later during another tournament, it was the last straw for his long-suffering employer, and he was given a one-way ticket to… Well, to the Boomerang pub in Bray, since you ask. That’s where he goes for his R’n’R, when he’s not earning a living as a labourer.

He occasionally interrupts his drinking to nip round to the bookies’. ‘Locals say he is going through a hard time,’ remarks the paper, a trifle unnecessarily. And that’s it.

Labourer drinks in public house and frequents local bookmakers – news wires will be buzzing all over the world.

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

Never Hurry A Surrey

‘CIVILISATION is continually being traced back to earlier and earlier periods of history, through the discovery of human-style skulls, early tools and metals, and all manner of pots, paintings and other artefacts.

Scientists display new Mayan find

But the Guardian carries news of the most extraordinary discovery yet. ‘Frothy chocolate ‘dates back to Mayans’,’ announces the headline, and the report goes on to say that crusty smears of hot chocolate have been discovered on the bottom of cooking pots in Colha in Belize.

The pots are dated as around 900 – 250 BC. This is clearly the earliest known example of what we now know as Terry and June culture – the agreeably refined rival to the ‘Benny Hill culture’ that co-existed alongside it in ancient times.

‘The discovery pushes back the use of chocolate as food by about 1,000 years,’ the paper concludes. All very impressive, but there’s more. The find also drives back the use of doilies, tartan shortbread tins and laminated hot drinks coasters by a staggering 2,873 years.

Warm salutations then to the agreeable Mayan people, whose solid domesticity has been proved right in the best way possible – by withstanding the ruthless march of so-called ‘progress’ and reaching its apogee in the leafy civilisation of mid-20th-century Surrey. ‘

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