One in the Eye 1983

Street of Shame

14th January 1983

Brian ‘Benito’ Hitchin [sic] the obese, bald, odious London editor of the Daily Star, is really living up to his US National Enquirer background.

The sewer-press Enquirer taught Hitchin how to get the very worst out of his fear-ridden staff before sensibly getting rid of him to Talbot! [James Goldsmith’s short-lived news magazine Now!]

Latest casualty of Hitchin’s editorial excesses was a picture executive who courageously told him to ‘piss off’.

Hitchin had insisted that a photographer find a limbless Falklands hero and take him to a London mainline railway station on a typical strike day.

The pitiful soldier could be seen trying to board public transport in our wonderful democratic society while the evil union barons were holding the country to ransom.

This was too much even for the Smut’s NUJ chapel who politely advised Hitchin to get knotted.

The folly of telling Hitchin what to do with his bodily functions, however, cost the picture man his job and Lord Finger’s failing rag a severance payment of £40,000.

28th January 1983

Auberon Waugh’s Diary

TUESDAY

A nasty photograph in today’s newspaper shows “Sir” Eucalyptus Ukelele Maffews, the East End “businessman” who has become chairman of Express Newspapers, handing a cheque for £2 million to Jimmy Savile.

It has been collected by Daily Express readers for Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and will soon be handed back to Maffews in his other capacity as chairman of Trafalgar House, which has the contract for building a new wing at the hospital.

Well done Jimmy. Great jobs. Well done Uky. Well done all those Daily Express readers, many of them old-age pensioners, or suffering from incurable hepatitis, or mad. “Sir” E U Maffews is rumoured to keep jellied eels in his bath at the Daily Express’s Black Lubayanka building in Fleet Street, but I do not know if this is true.

11th February 1983

Street of Shame

Jean Rook, First Lady of Fleet Street, has made her mark in Miami, Florida. She informed the management of Air Florida, at the pitch of her voice down the telephone, that their business was as good as over after her suitcases went missing.

“Who are you?’ asked the shocked Air Florida PR man.

“I am Jean Rook, a very big name in England, and you are ruined,” cried the Siren of Sewer Street.

On investigation, two things became clear to Air Florida men:

Rook had not ticketed her luggage, and it eventually turned up; and the entire Rook swarm – Jean, husband Jeff, and son Gresby – were flying on freebie tickets.

The Rook fury was only partly due to the misplaced luggage. She was also incandescent with rage because a limousine was not on hand to whisk them away from Miami.

22nd April 1983

Grovel

The latest editor of the Daily Express, £65,000-a-year Sir Albert “Larry” Lamb, is suing Tatler and writer James Fox for libel over a February article which alleged that he was known for “swilling expensive Burgundy and talking three-hour lunches”.

How the egregious Lamb thinks he can refute this is beyond me – and the minions of his erstwhile employer, Robert Holmes a Court, who were astounded at Lamb’s knowledge and penchant for the most expensive red wines of France – a taste gained during a free rein of Rupert Murdoch’s expense account while Larry was editor of The Sun.

Lamb’s refusal to drink anything but the best came to a head when his deputy at The Sun , Nick Lloyd (now editor of the Sunday People) gave a farewell party to the Mirror Group three years ago. Lloyd could only afford ersatz champagne for the hacks but Lamb made it known that he would only attend if “the right stuff” was available. Thus Lloyd had to put three bottles of Roederer Crystal aside for his boss whose glass was replenished with the £30-a-bottle bubbly throughout the evening!

Lord Drone remembers: This brings to mind a diktat by Sir Larry that champagne should never be referred to as “bubbly” in the columns of the Daily Express.

6th May 1983

Auberon Waugh’s Diary

TUESDAY

A runner from the village bears news that somebody called Christopher Ward has been sacked as editor of the Daily Express, to be replaced by Sir Larry “Albert” Lamb, the Australian jackaroo who found four million morons across Britain to buy The Sun.

I know nothing about “Sir” Larry – at any rate nothing to his credit – except that he has a weakness for fine and expensive wines. If so, his first task must be to sack Kingsley Amis who writes his pathetic travesty of a wine column in the Daily Express.

Kingsley says he never buys French wines because they are too expensive, but finds everything he needs in vile, pasteurised Italian whites. That is his idea of a wine column.

Of course it is true that the readership of the Express is composed for the most part of yobboes, louts, crooks and skinheads. But it also includes a fair number of would-be social climbers on the first hazardous rungs of their climb. If the Express persists in rubbing their noses in this proletarian filth they will desert en masse for The Sun, and another great little British institution will have bitten the dust.

20th May 1983

Grovel

It may now be revealed how Sir Albert “Larry” Lamb, the fearless libel writ-bearing Editor of the Daily Getsevenworse, secured his return to Fleet Street.

After two years in the Antipodes, Sir “Larold” advertised his return to London by writing personally to Fleet Street proprietors, his eventual boss Lord Matthews included. However, he failed to research the Associated Newspapers combine correctly and mis-directed his job application to Lord Harmsworth and not Daily Mail owner Viscount Rothermere (formerly the Hon Vere Harmsworth).

By coincidence there is a Lord Harmsworth, a cousin of Rothervere, who just happens to be a gifted artist and author, to whom the letter and cv was passed.

He is today mulling over why Sir “Larold” should be asking him for a job.

3rd June 1983

Street of Shame

A painful scene at the Getsworse has marred the arrival of its new editor Sir “Larold” Lamb. One of his first acts was to issue a brave and revolutionary decree that, from now on, no one’s copy should be “immune” from the sub-editors.

With unrestrained delight, the subs promptly applied themselves to the illiterate ramblings of Jean Rook and left hardly a word unscathed.

On discovering what had happened, Rook immediately became hysterical, resigned on the spot and went home. Sir Larold promptly revoked his decree and coaxed the old harpie back with champagne, flowers and grovelling flattery.

*****

Grovel

Sir Jonah, ascending in a lift at the Express last week, continued to stare at his Hush Puppies when a messenger boy got in with an enormous bouquet of flowers.

The flowers caused much comment in the lift, though Junor only had eyes for his shoes. Finally, someone asked: “Who are they for?”

Opening the card on the bouquet, another passenger read out gleefully: “Felicity Green.”

Without raising his eyes from the study of his Hush Puppies, Sir Jonah was heard to mutter: “Ah, so it’s a wreath then.”

1st July 1983

Grovel

What does Lord Matthews think of his new editor, “Sir” Larold Lamb? “I likes ‘im and trusts ‘im so much that I don’t ‘ave to read the newspaper any more,” said a happy Lord Whelks at Ascot.

12th August 1983

Street of Shame

There are increasing signs that Kelvin McKenzie, Rupert Murdoch’s temporary editor of the lying Sun, has finally contracted megalomania.

One morning Tom Petrie, his petrified lapdog news editor, was attempting as dual to answer about six phones at once.

McKenzie picked up one as he passed by and said pompously into the mouthpiece: “This is the editor himself speaking.”

To McKenzie’s amazement the caller identified himself as a reader wishing to complain about The Sun’s appalling news coverage and distortions.

“What is your name and the name and address of your newsagent?” barked McKenzie.

When the man told him McKenzie yelled: “I will personally see to it that you are banned permanently from reading The Sun!”

He then hung up and informed the awe-struck newsroom: “Who needs readers like that idiot?”

Imagine McKenzie’s astonishment when the reader’s wife rang straight back and asked tearfully: “Does this mean I am banned as well?”

*****

Grovel

Where is the Greatest Living Shareholder, Sir Nigel Dempster?

Spies tell me he has gone to ground in Aspen, Colorado, where he is plotting the downfall of the editor of the Daily Express Sir Larold Lamb.

Dempster hopes in due course to be appointed his successor by Lord Whelks.

7th October 1983

Grovel

It is no concern of mine that at 2am a couple of weekends ago Sir John Junor, the Prime Minister’s pet Fleet Street poodle, chose to tryst with a gorgeous, pouting blonde at Kate’s Kitchen, a Gatwick Airport hideaway.

But when I learn that Sir John was casually clothed wearing a pair of old plimsolls on his feet but no socks, I must pose a question.

Surely Auchtermuchty’s favourite son should have learned by now not to go out squaring lassies without being properly attired?

Do you find the absence of socks as suspicious as I do? I think we should be told.

Auberon Waugh’s Diary

Strange letters arrive by every post promising me a million pounds if I agree to buy the Daily Express. At first this seems quite a generous offer until I reflect that its proprietor, the Elephant Man lookalike “Lord” Maffews of Kilimanjaro, really must be desperate for someone to read his rotten newspaper.

He has already appointed “Sir” Barry Lamb, the Australian counter-tenor who first introduced topless photographs in Fleet Street, to edit the miserable rag. Now “Sir” Barry is suing Lord Gnome for libel over some alleged inaccuracy or other, so we can all imagine what will happen to him.

On reflection I decide not to buy the Daily Express. It is a disgusting, ignorant and lower-class newspaper which I would not like my children to see; it might also inflame the sexual passions of my dear little Filipino servants.

The money might be quite convenient – some of my picture frames need reguilding and the 1982 clarets are proving horribly expensive – but we must all make sacrifices in these difficult times, and I expect I shall manage somehow.

4th November 1883

Grovel

Plans for The Honourable Winkle (aka The Hon Ian Matthews) to set himself up as a racehorse trainer at Newmarket are being greeted with disbelief by those who know the workshy lad well.

Having risen sharply from being an Express “rep” to Deputy Managing Director of the Sunday Express Magazine (a job created specially for his talents), Winkle has been sighted at the Black Lubyanka in Fleet Street just twice this year.

Calls to his home are not put though until lunchtime as he “likes to lie in”. Most days, weather permitting, Winkle can be found on a golf course trying to better his handicap of four. An earlier ambition was to be a pro.

Several Newmarket stables have been looked over, exploratory bids, made but so far no deals clinched leaving Winkle with the prospect of another year’s loafing while dad, Lord Maffews, adds to the family’s £8 million fortune.

18th November 1983

Jocelyn Stevens

In our issue No 517 Grovel made the serious allegation that Mr Jocelyn Stevens had “cheerily” spoken of the enormous losses being made by the Sunday Express Magazine. Private Eye now accepts that this report was pure invention, that the Magazine was in fact making a profit and that there was no truth whatever in the allegations made.

Auberon Waugh’s Diary

FRIDAY

Any doubts I ever had that the Daily Express is doomed roll away and the sun shines again. Mr Bernard Shrimsley has joined the paper at last.

Bernard or “Slimy” is famous for being the first man in the history of the world to have tried to sue this column for alleged “libel”. His new position on the Daily Express may be a comparatively humble one, but the man who succeeded in losing 2,000,000 readers as editor of the News of the World and nearly closed the Mail on Sunday after 10 weeks will surely work his magic anew at the Black Lubyanka.

If “Lord” Maffews has any sense he will close all his newspapers as soon as he gets his hands on the £40,000,000 coming his way from the Reuters share out. Unless he moves fast the printers will have it off him. But to keep up morale, “Lord” Maffews has offered to give Daily Express readers the chance to own their own racehorse.

Here it is. I suppose someone must want it.

2nd December 1983

Grovel

The Honourable Winkle, aka Lord Matthews’ son and heir Ian, 26, has badly let down Newmarket assistant trainer Bill Mather.

As Grovel revealed, Winkle has evinced an ambition to become a racehorse trainer. To this end Lord Whelks bought the lad a £300,000 stables at Newmarket. As Winkle has little or no experience of the game he cannot get a licence to train from the Jockey Club. So he needed a professional to apply and ostensibly run things.

Father of two Mather, 46, answered an ad in the Sporting Life and says he came to a verbal agreement with Winkle. Certainly he duly resigned from his post as assistant to the great Bruce Hobbs, only to discover that Whelks and Winkle have hired another trainer.

Mather says: “This will certainly be a bleak Christmas.” Not so, however, at Whelks Towers.

16th December 1983

Grovel

What makes Sir Jonah Junor so benign of late?

How does one explain his new-found air of bonhomie?

Can there be any truth in the rumour at the Lubyanka that Sir Jonah is to be elevated even further and be made LORD Junor in the New Year’s Honours List?

I think we should be told.

30th December 1983

After selling his chunk of Cherkley, the Surrey estate near Leatherhead bought by his grotesque grandfather Lord Beaverbrook, the Hon Maxwell Aitken has moved to Oxfordshire, pocketing his share of the £1 million (plus) sale of the 359-acre spread.

Since Maxwell’s father, the libidinous Sir Max, sold Express Newspapers in 1977 for £14 million, gaining a mere fraction for the family, the going has been hard for all Aitkens, not least for the future Lord Beaverbrook, who has dropped £350,000 on various business ventures, notably a Welsh factory manufacturing bedheads.

Surprisingly the house he has bought was sold by “retired” stockbroker Sandy Gilmour, old Etonian half-brother of ex-Cabinet Minister Ian Gilmour. When Sandy was senior partner of stockbrokers Carr, Sebag he managed to raise £1.2 million of venture capital for Maxwell and “Captain Foulenough” Johnny Elliott, to buy a give-away Beverly Hills freesheet. Needless to say the venture went bust within a year and a half and its demise precipitated that of Carr, Sebag (RIP).

*****

Who is the dark , voluptuous lady who has designs on the legendary but satanic Editor of the Sunday Express? Sir John Junor tells me he has no plans to marry again, that he has turned down the offer of a peerage and, on the eve of his 65th birthday, any talk of retirement has been “put on ice”.

Lord Whelks, the aristocratic proprietor of Sir Jonah’s newspaper, is also approaching 65 – and to forestall any attempts to oust him from the Black Lubyanka, has arbitrarily raised the official retirement age to 70!

Drone note: Junor remained as editor until 1986 when he was succeeded by Robin Esser.

© 2005-2017 Alastair McIntyre