DEREK HAS just gone way over his budget for renovating a two-bed terrace in Chorley on Homes Under the Hammer (the survey failed to pick up the extent of subsidence in a party wall) when the telephone begins to ring. In quick succession I take calls from my entire PR roster of Cupcake Woman, Party Bag Lady and Artisan Jewellery Nutter.
They all have one thing in common – Royal baby themed products – and all want some publicity for their stunningly unoriginal ideas. Cupcake Woman has come up with the notion of using – wait for it – ‘Royal icing’ on her latest batch of inedible fancies, Party Bag Lady is going to glitterise the word ‘Prince’ onto her paper bags and include a plastic helicopter from Poundland, and the clearly deluded Artisan Jewellery Nutter has ‘invented’ a string of beads on a bit of old leather which spell out the name ‘George’, although in her case it will probably spell ‘Goerge’.
I try to suggest to each that they might just have missed the boat and would probably be better off doing something involving Simon Cowell or Pandas, but to no avail. So there is only one thing for it. I phone up the local weekly and blag a ‘content-curating’ Sunday shift on the sports desk. Once there, I shall lovingly craft 600 words on these enterprising local mumpreneurs, stick a heading on it, attach a picture and park the piece in the newdesk folder, from whence it will go straight into next week’s paper because it’ll make an effortless page lead. And when you’ve got no staff, those are hard to come by.
THE pathetic NUJ lurches from bad to worse. Hot on the heels of opposing restrictions on the publication of council ‘newspapers’ – propaganda sheets that constantly threaten to deprive proper newspapers of public notice advertising revenue – the union is now exposed as not even being able to organise an industrial action ballot.
Staff at The Herald and the Evening Times in Glasgow had voted overwhelmingly for action in the face of another round of compulsory redundancies. Unfortunately, the inept union had failed to draw up the ballot paper correctly by using the wrong company name, so allowing owners Newsquest to mount a successful legal challenge.
Now this is obviously a delaying tactic by the bastard bosses, but shouldn’t the NUJ have been a bit more careful? I’m sure they came unstuck in similar circumstances when dealing with a Johnson Press dispute not so long ago.
It costs a regional journalist £13.49 a month or £161.88 a year to be a member of the NUJ. That equates to nine bottles of Famous Grouse whisky, which would probably be more useful in bringing solace to Glasgow’s beleaguered hacks.
DEAR PR person. Thank you for your email telling me that you are moving on “to pastures new” where you will face “a whole heap of lovely new challenges”.
Unfortunately, as I have never heard of you before, have never knowingly corresponded with you, and have never written about any of the people you represent, your presence in my inbox is more irritating than informative. Do one, you daft bint.
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