Grey Cardigan
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Let’s Wage A War Against Useless Press Releases…

IT’S TAKEN me decades, but I’ve finally discovered the ‘block’ tab on my email account. I don’t like using it. It goes against all I’ve been taught – listen to everything and everyone; you never know where the next good story is coming from. But I’ve been so relentlessly bombarded with useless and irrelevant messages from PR companies that it really is an act of desperation.

I’m sorry, little rich girl ‘interns’ called Poppy and Hannah, but I really don’t want to be invited to an “iconic bespoke carpet launch” in London. I don’t need to learn about your “sumptuous inspiring new towel design”. And I really don’t want to know about the introduction of Air China flights from Frankfurt to Chengdu. I have no current plans to travel to the Orient. I don’t even have any plans to travel to Leyton Orient, so kindly go to the gate marked Deleted Items.

The most infuriating messages are those that might possibly be of interest, but then leave you to do the leg-work. I swear I will put my foot through my monitor the next time I get a potentially interesting press release about a company or product launch which contains no clue about the location of the individual or business and only contains a mobile phone number.

Now I am a mere provincial hack. I’m unlikely to be pitching stories to national newspapers unless you’ve found Lord Lucan hiding in your shed, in which case I presume you’d contact the Sunday Sport direct. So it is rather important to know whether or not your life-changing message falls within my regional remit. Yet you presumably expect me to ring you up to find out basic information at my own cost? Bollocks – you’re blocked.

You do wonder if clients know that their money is being wasted this way. Yes, all it involves is one mouse-click to bombard an entire mailing list, but I bet a fee is factored in for this useless ‘service’. Surely the real value in PR is effective targeting? One day I’ll phone up a client and tell them how their PR agency is not only wasting their money, but is annoying and alienating contacts at the same time. One day…

I HAVE a significant success to report. My role as reputation manager for the nervous 1970s DJ and potential Operation Yewtree participant has paid off with a high-profile gig as a judge at the village dog show.

I’m not entirely irresponsible. I did check with the organiser if any children were involved, just to be on the safe side, but the Adult Hound Class was deemed to be safe ground.

When I tell him, he is ecstatic, and immediately rushes off to order industrial quantities of hair dye and fake tan. Result! Just call me Max fucking Clifford. Oh, hang on, don’t…

I REALLY don’t like the Guardian, or the sinister organisation that runs it. Not content with wrecking the entire publishing industry by giving away all their content for free – easy to do when you’re protected from dirty words like profit – they’re now just taking the piss by playing with Lego, opening a coffee shop and running courses for people who want to be food bloggers.

Of course, that’s just what the world needs – more fucking food bloggers. Though if you’re daft enough to give the Guardian £400 just to learn how to take pictures of your dinner, you probably sincerely believe that the world is waiting with bated breath for your clichéd culinary crap-spittle.

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Grey Cardigan

Written by Grey Cardigan

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

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