LONG-STANDING readers of my work will know that I am not a fan of Liz-fucking-Jones. Indeed, I was preaching several years ago the truth that the rest of the world only now seems to be waking up to, namely that once you get over the car-crash self-pity, she just isn’t very good. She has little wit, no humour, struggles with any narrative apart from the stream of cry-baby consciousness and increasingly appears to be ‘phoning it in’ as lazy hacks do.
And to be honest, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. There is only so much dabbling you can do in someone else’s misery before the nasty novelty wears off. Even in her natural home of the Daily Mail, the newspaper for women who don’t like other women, she’s looking increasingly desperate. As she admitted to the admirable Lynn Barber in last week’s Sunday Times, the column is everything. There is nothing she won’t do to keep the bandwagon rolling and the wages coming in. She complains that she has no friends, yet anyone foolish enough to enter into her circle of misery is immediately betrayed in print. She complains about her unhelpful family, yet denounces her sister in public as a feckless alcoholic. Anyone and anything is useful material, and beggar the consequences.
Even the Rock Star boyfriend, whose appearances have kept the column staggering along for the past couple of years is, I suspect, a mere literary invention; more grist to the weekly mill. (It should be noted that many readers believe this character to be Jim Kerr, and I must admit that you’d have to be of Simple Mind to find attractive a woman whose face looks like a crow that’s flown into a cliff. Bit of old-fashioned sexism there, folks.)
I had been pondering just how low this appalling woman would stoop in pursuit of saleable copy when she surprised even me. Over a spread in the Mail on Tuesday, Ms Jones described in gleeful horror the difficulties of spending a day ‘caring’ for her bedridden and semi-comatose 93-year-old mother.
“I scrape the goo from her whiskery face with the spoon.” “I wish she would die before I have to give her the next bowl.” “I roll her over but have forgotten to place the pillow on the beside cabinet so her forehead hits the hard wooden surface.”
And there, for our delectation, is a double column picture of the spoon-faced witch posing by the bedside of her terminally-ill mother, also pictured.
I’ve just read the piece again and I’m even more angry this time around. How can a child, however self-obsessed and deranged – however desperate for money – do this to their own mother?
Enough is enough. The only way to halt this narcissist nut-job is to stop reading her. Don’t dip into You magazine; bin the Mail on the days she ventures off the fashion pages. And let Lord Dacre know what you’re doing. Who knows? Once the mad woman is freed from the need to self-harm in print, perhaps she might be able to restore some normality to her pitiful life.
I NOTICE that the London Evening Standard has reported a profit, albeit a very modest £82,000. I’m pleased for them, and not surprised. I picked a copy up at King’s Cross last Friday and it was a bit of a stonker – a classy 92-page free newspaper.
OK, it wasn’t exactly a ‘news’ newspaper. You won’t find shed thefts in Surbiton or flashers in Finchley besmirching its metropolitan pages, but for a London-centric features package it was a bit of a belter.
The only bum note came in the form of the Londoner’s Diary, written by Russian owner Evgeny Lebedev and primarily concerned with his father’s trial in a Moscow court. But hey, press barons from Beaverbrook to Rothermere, from Murdoch to the disgraceful Maxwell, have always known that there’s no point in owning a newspaper unless you can have bit of a play with it from time to time. Why should the chap who seems to be making a decent fist of running the Independents and the Standard be any different?
The Grey Cardigan has been in newspapers since the days of hot metal and expense accounts. After a lengthy career as chief sub on several regional newspapers, plus a multitude of shifts on the nationals, he was appointed editor of the Evening Beast in 2009 before being ignominiously 'rationalised' last year. He is currently collecting gas in jam jars in case the Russians cut us off. @thegreycardigan