One in the Eye 1984

Grovel

13th January 1984

Although he has twice been divorced the Evening Standard’s lousy editor Lou Kirby somehow managed to marry Mrs Kirby III (formerly Heather McGlone) with the full blessing of the church.

The nuptials, complete with choir and harpist, took place in the chapel of Mill Hill School.

Rumour has it that it was arranged by the Rev Dewi Morgan, vicar of St Brides.

*****

24th February 1984

Grovel

The day after the Sunday Express carried a fulsome apology for a Lady Olga Maitland article on Gambia’s unimpeachable President Jawara, editor Sir John Junor was en route for his annual freebie to the West African paradise where local lovelies gambol topless.

Expect a fulsome puff in Sir Jonah’s column not only for the Gambia but also for Sir Adam Thompson, chief of British Caledonian, whose tartan-clad air hostesses waited on him hand and foot on the flight there and back.

23rd March 1984

Grovel

The Honourable Winkle has at last found a bride! Now planning to launch himself as a racehorse trainer, Lord Matthews’ only son and heir, Ian, 25, has become engaged to comely divorcee Mrs Helen Cooke who hails from Frimley, Surrey.The betrothal will come as a relief to women employed at Express Newspapers whom Winkle has been pursuing, without success, while occupying the sinecure of managing director of the Sunday Express Magazine. Complaints by them of sexual harassment were hushed up by the union.

Should Winkle’s ambitions on the Turf fail, it is unlikely that he will be able to take over the Express empire from Whelks. Robert Holmes a’Court, who has built up a 10 per cent stake in the business, has no plans to keep Whelks on, even as honorary President, a post formerly held by Sir Max Aitken.

20th April 1984

Grovel

Poor Sid Yobbo, having lost his disastrous libel action against the BBC and lumbered himself with a bill of costs for approximately £60,000, he has now announced his decision to appeal.

Everyone knows that it is virtually unheard of to get a jury verdict in a libel action overturned on appeal.

I feel sure that Sid’s legal adviser, Mr Peter Carter-Fuck, who has considerable experience of these matters, advised Mr Yobbo strongly against incurring more expenses with a fruitless appeal case.

*****

Brutally dismissed from the Getsworse by Sir Larry Lamb, the effervescent theatre critic, David Roper, has made something of a comeback at the Garrick. The languishing hack was thrilled and overjoyed to receive an invitation from the club secretary, one Barrington-Fiske, asking to speak “impromptu and without notes” at a private dinner party attended by the cream of the theatrical world. The theme of his address was to be “The Green Room”.

Delighted that his talents were at last to be recognised, the emotional but socially gauche Roper telephoned the Garrick and asked to speak to “Barrington-Fiske”. On being told no such person existed, the determined Roper insisted that he was nevertheless quite prepared to speak, until one of his colleagues in the Critics’ Circle explained that he had been the victim of a cruel and heartless joke.

13th July 1984

Grovel

What news of Christopher Ward, briefly editor of the Daily Express before making way for “Sir” Larold Lamb in April last year?

He has been reunited with his wife Fanny after a traumatic parting when she danced off with his best friend!

Now working on a computer magazine, Ward, 41, always used to regale friends with the intimate details of his sex life. When Fanny decamped he told one pal with obvious puzzlement: “I can’t understand it. We were doing it three times a night.”

27th July 1984

Grovel

What news of Derek Jameson as he attempts to earn back the £70,000 that his ludicrous action against the BBC set him back earlier this year?

A glittering new editorship seems in store for Sid Yobbo, courtesy of “Lord” Maxwell of Headington, following his briefing of the great man about the many excesses of Mirror Group Newspapers of which Sid used to be an editor. Iago-like, Jameson has been constantly closeted with Maxwell, pointing out the fat in the organisation – secretaries for instance have been drawing £2,000 a year in overtime without working an extra hour – but has made no mention so far of the “Wainwright Factor”.

This refers to Mirror hacks whose bylines never appear in the paper yet go on drawing salaries of £25,000 a year and expenses of around £150 a week. Such a man was the redoubtable Eric Wainwright who, on his retirement a year or so ago, was given a glittering farewell party at the Ritz by the then chairman Tony Miles and the Mirror editor Mike Molloy. The occasion, it was explained, was for Eric to meet his colleagues!

For his trouble, Jameson has been promised the new London evening which will be launched this autumn.

7th September 1984

Grovel

Following his appointment as Rector of the Royal College of Art, Jocelyn “Piranha Teeth” Stevens has resigned the editorship of The Magazine, his vapid freebie, and installed David Thomas, bespectacled heir to the Nicholas Coleridge title of Young Snobbish Drivel Writer of the Year.

Piranha’s parting words to his successor were: “I shan’t be convinced you’re an editor until you’ve blood on your hands.”

21st September 1984

On the eve of the TUC conference in Brighton the front page of Sir Larold Lamb’s Daily Getsworse reported that the town had “braced itself for a tide of violence”. However, the most appalling incident of violence at the conference, which went unreported in the Getsworse, concerned one of Sir Larold’s own reporters, Alun Rees.

Ensconced in the bar of the Hotel Metropole on the first night, Rees happened to overhear a conversation between one male and one female member of the NGA [a print union], lamenting the outcome of the Warrington dispute earlier this year.

Determined to set the record straight, the tired and emotional Rees weighed in with a series of insulting and offensive remarks until he received a slap across the cheek from the NGA girl. His response was to punch her full in the face, knocking her to the floor. When he next began to pummel her male companion, it required three bystanders to separate Rees from his hapless victim.

Immediately, the hotel banned the fist-happy troublemaker from the building, but without realising he was a resident. Consequently Rees spent the remainder of the week creeping in and out of the hotel through the discreet back entrance. When challenged on the final day by one of the staff, he made good his escape, leaving his bill to be paid by a colleague.

30th November 1984

World of Books

Silver-haired Uriah Heep Bob Edwards is not the only Fleet Street editor to take exception to Henry Porter’s new book about the Street of Shame, Lies Damned Lies.

Now the editor of the prestigious News of the World, Nick Lloyd, is threatening writs against the publishers, Chatto.

Among the serious libels to which this very distinguished journalist takes exception is a statement that his background is “comfortable middle class”.

Lloyd insists that he is working class and is asking for a correction to be made in the book to this effect.

He also denies that he had anything to do with the fact that when he was editor of the People his wife, gorgeous pouting Eve Pollard, was given a job on the same paper. Lloyd wants it to be made clear that she was given her job by Tony Miles – and that he had nothing to do with her appointment.

The pompous little jerk is now threatening to instruct his solicitors unless Chatto’s make some suitably grovelling apology.

14th December 1984

Sporting Life

These are dark days for the racing correspondents of the Daily Express, whose proprietor Lord “Fingers” Matthews thinks he knows more about the sport than the combined 75 years experience of the tipsters. Only the other day he went on record in the Sporting Life criticising Charles “The Scout” Benson. “I don’t rate him,” opined Fingers. “When he tips my horses they lose and when he doesn’t they win.”

The simple fact is that Matthews, who has a 30-odd string of thoroughbreds, has an unusual trainer – his son The Hon Winkle. Because he is not qualified to be granted a licence to train by the Jockey Club, the horses are nominally trained by widow Mrs Jocelyn Reavey and if, by fluke, they find the winner’s enclosure, it is usually at the odds of 33-1, which is a fair reflection of their chances and makes it difficult for tipsters to forecast the result.

The Hon Winkle, 25, who once wanted to be a professional golfer despite the drawback of a four handicap, will take over the stables in a couple of years. But Brenda [the Queen] has no need to be nervous at the thought of handing over the Derby Cup in either the near or distant future.

*****

Britain’s richest journalist, former Beaverbrook New York chief Brian Vine, who is now a features writer for the Daily Mail, has horses in training both here and in America. But he made an expensive mistake in paying $50,000 for Rosy Gleam, a handsome chestnut bred in the United States.

He sent the horse to Wantage wizard David Gandolfo, who came to the rapid conclusion that it would fare better on the Didcot-London railway line because it sounded like a tank engine on the gallops. El Vino cut his losses and sold the animal for $500. Imagine his shock when Rosy Gleam actually appeared on a racecourse at Cheltenham last Friday in the prestigious televised Embassy Premier Chase Qualifier, trained by Herbert Manners, known as “Bad’ Manners for vaulting on to the track when one of his horses was winning at Cheltenham a few seasons back. 

Much to Vino’s relief the nag, now hobdayed*, did not win – which is just as well as the grossly overweight Vine might have suffered a thrombosis.

*An operation on a horse to improve its breathing - Ed.

28th December 1984

Street of Shame

Alarmed by the Daily Maxwell’s floundering attempts to entice “star” writers from other papers, Lord Whelks has decided it is time to give his own organ a new look.

He plans a “spring offensive” for the Getsworse, which will transform the paper with a new format and a galaxy of famous writers.

Lord Whelks has ordered his editor, Sir Larold Lamb, to poach the Mirror’s “stars”. On his list of Maxwell has-beens are photographer Kent Gavin, the gorgeous pouting hackette Noreen Taylor and – legendary bow-tied Old Etonian Paul Callan, who is to be offered £40,000 to join the Getsworse.

© 2005-2017 Alastair McIntyre