Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Saturday 30 July 2011

Letters to Lillys.

TIME to catch up with the mailbag, as it's been a couple of weeks since the last round-up. And what a few weeks.

First there was a stream of resignations over the hacking scandal, which despite allegations of paying police officers has yet to become the corruption scandal which would carry far stronger penalties. This post pointed out that Dishface was the ultimate target of the story and could well be gone by Christmas.

Tom said:
"I'd say Cameron could still brazen it out, given Labour's utter complicity in all this, were it not for the fact that (a) the BBC will never, ever report this evenly, (b) he's not got any real personal support among the Tory press and (c) that he is and always has been a total c*nt."
Colin added: "First Sir Paul Stephenson. Now Yates of the Yard. By tonight, Inspector Fowler and Constable Goody from The Thin Blue Line will be running the Met."

A promise about the journalistic ethics of this blog produced a mixed response, with Freddie saying: "The British public needs to lose its obsession with gutter news."

Louise added:
"Sorry but your claim that the BBC is the only journalistic organisation that has its own code of ethics is simply not true. The Guardian's Editorial Code is published on its website and is not so hard to find. And there is, of course, also the National Union of Journalists' own Code of Conduct, which is more rigorous in many respects than the PCC's."
Ed: Having experience of the Guardian, I wish their code of conduct included 'paying people on time'. Bloody hippies.

Then there was the facepalm moment when Posh Spice designed a naff handbag with a £8,995 price tag and a handwritten note from her ladyship in it. Max said: "Ah but when we will see the FoxBag?" John added: "She is such an unfortunate event in the history of humanity." And Pyers said: "A fool and their money..."

Ed: FoxBag? Brilliant idea.

Then Amy Winehouse died, as many famous people seem to do, in time for the Sunday papers. This post about the effects of addiction on those who love an addict seemed to strike a chord.

Doodah said: "My family has been living with my brother's addictions and their effects for 20+ years. Your piece was spot on, thank you. Scotia said: "Foxy, that's a very personal and powerful piece of writing."

Gillian added: "For me you said it all, I am the daughter of an alcoholic father who died aged 52, anger is still part of my life 10yrs on." Richard said: "Thought your blog post was the best thing I've read over the past few days about Amy Winehouse and her death." Slay added: "Unfortunately, only someone who has seen it / done it can tell a tale so well. An inspired blog. A tragedy." And Pamela said: "8 years into recovery, only after 4 did i realize how selfish i had been.. great blog." Paul added: "Your piece 'Life is a losing game' has an existential weight and daylight clarity which I found arresting and refreshing. I have read it again and again. I guess that makes me a fan."

Issy was one of a handful to take exception: "Your piece on Amy is incredibly narrow-minded & naive. It's like telling someone who is suicidal to 'pull their socks up'."

Enid added:
"A lot of very creative people are emotionally fragile and unable to cope with the pressures that come with fame/notoriety. Unfortunately, Winehouse's premature death was the obvious outcome of her extreme lifestyle."
Ed: I very intentionally didn't venture into a debate on legalisation or cures - I wrote only about how it felt to be me. Whether addiction is a disease or affliction is hard to say, because it's not like a virus you just contract; you have to invite it in. Many people have stood on that threshold and said 'no' - myself included - and others, once across it, have had the strength of mind it takes to come back. I do not like romanticising addiction by saying "oh but they were too fragile to cope without" because if that were true the physically and mentally disabled would be most likely to succumb, and they're not. Addicts are generally highly intelligent but get trapped in a spiral very hard to break out of. I have a lot of sympathy for addicts but far more for the people who try to help them.

A simple explanation of economics for dummies caused David to say: "Stuff like this blog is why, despite our differences, I love you." Rachael added: "V clever piece. Now, I'm off to sign on..." John said: "I am disappointed in George, who I had always thought an astute operator. Blaming the royal wedding! Honestly, what he does he take people for?"

Then a lady let her boyfriend cover her in tattoos, causing Ray to ask: "If they split up will she spend a fortune on laser removal?" Ian added: "I consider a suntan self-mutilation." And Matthew pointed out: "Tarantulas aren't poisonous. they are venomous to other smaller spiders, their prey, but not humans."

Ed: They certainly look homicidal. Ugh.

And finally the week ended with the news that the gods of publishing had finally granted a book deal to Yours Truly. Lee said: "At last. Hoorah! It was the Fox Ball branding campaign that swang it. Clever girl." Philip said: "Splendid news, foxy. Well done, girl. Licks lips at the thought of vaguely true stories and vile encounters in the great Metropolis." Harry said: "Turns out you can get it if you really want." Olivia said: "Congratulations to @fleetstreetfox who I hear has a book deal. Thoroughly and foxily deserved. Can't wait to read it." Minx added: "Congratulations!!! Yr tweets & blogs make me pmsl & u even made me cry once. I'll buy yr book!"

Which is a nice end to the week. Enjoy the weekend folks - I'm certainly going to!

Foxy out.

Friday 29 July 2011

* Cue samba band *

IT'S taken two years, two literary agents, loads of hair-pulling and an untold amount of bitching to anyone who would listen...

... but finally I have a book deal!

The rather fabulous people at one of Britain's oldest independent publishing houses, Constable&Robinson, will be putting out The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox next summer.

It's about tabloid newspapers, a divorce, and all the sex and scandal journalists don't want to tell you about. There are hacks, twats, celebrities and other assorted ne'er-do-wells and it's ALL TRUE.

Plus it's funny. I think.

I had a call about it a couple of weeks ago but couldn't tell anyone because we were waiting for the details to be agreed. So I've been sitting on my paws, jiggling up and down and biting my lip, and being secretly really, really excited.

I've wanted to write books ever since I was a little girl, so this is a dream come true for me. I'll keep you updated as we go and hopefully this is just the first instalment, with more to come.

I hope you like it - it is my recent life story, after all. In the meantime, I'm about as happy as a fox can be.

"Did someone say free pasties?"

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Tattoo much.

TATTOOS are not everyone's cup of tea.

There's nice ones and cute ones and pointless stupid drunk ones, and the nasty little 'tramp stamps' of the kind favoured by my favourite definitely-not-a-racist Cheryl 'jiggaboo' Tweedy.

Mum says if I ever get one she'll disown me, but I've never felt the urge because getting a tattoo is a lot like wearing jeans: once seen as rebellious, and now frankly just boring.

Except for Jacqui Moore, 41, who has covered 85 per cent of her body in ink after falling in love with - you guessed it - a tattooist.

Fair enough. She's gone to a lot of effort and pain and he's had a practice at drawing dragonflies on her back, swirly flowers on her leg, and an open eye in her right armpit. Not a piece of naff barbed wire or 'Mrs C' to be seen anywhere.

But one thing bothers me about this. Why, in the name of all that's holy, has he also drawn a series of tarantulas crawling over her stomach down towards her lady parts?

Spiders are bad enough, horrible great big hairy poisonous ones are even worse and the thought of one anywhere near my bits is enough to make me take a bath with wire wool and some bleach.

It's the work of a diseased mind. The man's a psychopath and wants locking up. DON'T SAY YOU WEREN'T WARNED.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Bathtime for Gideon.

THE best analogy I've heard for our economy is that the national debt is like a bath filled with water, and the deficit is like leaving the taps on.

The spending cuts the Coalition has made - the warships scrapped, the coppers sacked, the day care centres closed - amount to trying to empty that bath with an egg cup.

And today we're told that the economy has flatlined at 0.2% growth, which is barely within shouting distance of what the Government predicted and which Gideon was praying for.

Gideon has blamed it on the Royal Wedding and the 12-day holiday most of us took. The last time there was a problem with figures he blamed it on the snow. Next time, I expect, he'll point the finger at Andy Coulson or not getting enough greens or, I don't know, the wrong kind of sunshine.

When the wedding was announced it was going to boost tourism and bring in millions of pounds. Heston's trifle sold out at Waitrose, the plastic flag factories went into overdrive, and didn't Wills and Kate look happy?

Trouble is, the flag factories were in China, trifle is never going to shore up a nation's finances and happiness is free. So those taps are still on, Vodafone, Google and Sir Philip Green still pay their taxes abroad, and now Gideon's sacked a shedload of people there's more claiming benefits and fewer with cash to spend.

The Royal Wedding was like Gideon jumping into that bath, splashing around for a bit with his yellow duckie, and then wondering why the floor is wet.

In the meantime, gas has gone up 18%, around £6bn was taken out of the economy by the spending cuts, the wedding probably cost us another £3bn and next year's Olympics are shaping up to be a bloody expensive trip to the gym.

I'm no economist but a blind man can see that we're in the shit. Everything - and I mean everything - Gideon has done, from more tax on North Sea oil to cancelling defence contracts which provide the only jobs available in some parts of the country, has been a disaster. He won't cut VAT, which would get spending up, and the only job he's created was for Coulson - a decision which has so far cost 500 jobs, closed a £160m newspaper and may even bring down the Government.

I had expected so much more of a 2:1 history graduate and career politician with the face of an 18th Century French aristocrat whose defining achievement in life, at the age of 40, is that he changed his name because it didn't sound Prime Ministerial enough.

I had expected he'd screw things up over several years, rather than just the one. Now, can anyone explain why he's still in a job?

Keeps him off the streets, I suppose.

Monday 25 July 2011

Life is a losing game.

WHEN a celebrity junkie dies they are lionised, no matter how senseless or stupid their death.

That's why fans of Amy Winehouse have left bottles of vodka outside her home in the past few days, why Kurt Cobain's house was surrounded with candles after he blew his brains out, why Michael Jackson is believed by some to have faked his own death and to still be alive.

When every other addict dies, without the blessing of a talent to make them special, everyone sees them as 'just' a junkie. And aside from the wealth there is little to separate Jacko, Kurt and Amy from any other substance abuser.

I have lost count of the number of junkies I've dealt with. I don't need to tell you those stories, because you can imagine what they're like.

What you can't imagine until you've experienced it is what it's like to love someone with a problem. Which is why it took a while to realise that what my then-husband was doing to himself was also being done to me.

Only I didn't get the high: I got the waiting. The waiting, awake, for his heart to stop in his sleep. The waiting through the night for him to come home, wondering when calling round the hospitals didn't seem like a mad idea. The waiting for his anger which always flared exactly 72 hours after a bender and which made him flip out, scream and throw me into the walls if I did something wrong. The waiting for things to calm down, for me to have a quiet hour to search the flat and find his stash, the waiting for it to happen all over again.

It wasn't very nice, but it could have been worse and I had it only for a year or so. The affair which brought an end to our marriage was agony but pretty much the nicest thing he could have done because it meant I was happy to finally let go, and now his problems are no longer mine. Amy Winehouse's parents have had it for 10 years. I can't imagine how it feels to see your child - the most beautiful and fascinating thing a parent ever sees - kill themselves, and to do it so slowly, determinedly, and without caring how it feels to those who watch.

There are around 200,000 people in the UK with a recognised addiction. They've all got loved ones. And every single one of them is as selfish as hell.

They all know it's wrong, they've all got an excuse, and in the early stages they all think it affects only them.

There is of course a difference between a user and an abuser, but only in terms of quantity. Both have the selfish belief that it's their choice, their fun, or their pain.

But every addict has loved ones who are equally abused and damaged by the addiction as they. When I think back to that year all I can really remember is a constant sense of low-grade terror - that the next call would be from the hospital, or that I might end up in one myself - and I still feel its repercussions.

Every recreational user, even those who like my ex say it's just a bit of fun, is paying money to nasty people who murder, rape, beat and intimidate on a global scale in order to maintain their grasp on a criminal network that does zero good for anyone, anywhere.

It's impossible to make every pound you spend a clean one - for it not, in some part, to go to a country or company that does things which we don't like, even if you're buying only broccoli. But there are not many ways I can think of to make that pound as dirty as you do by giving it to drug lords.

And all to feel like slightly less of a prat for a few minutes. For the sense of imperfection, of ugliness or stupidity or pain or bad memories that we all have to recede for a while and to get the ability to pretend they were never there at all.

I don't want this to read like I hate addicts or users, not least because I know quite a few of both. All I really know is that those who stop it do so only when they put someone else first. When they decide that they do not want to hurt their parents or partners any more, when they realise that they can do without something which will kill everything in their life if they don't.

And, frankly, when they decide to toughen up.

Life is not fair. It is hard, and painful at times, and full of people who will not always be kind to you. We all wish we were prettier and wittier, that we farted only roses and had better teeth and no-one ever broke our hearts.

But I would rather have loved all the people I have than not, to have experienced each blow and boost that life has brought. Hurt is how we know we're alive: Amy used to sing about that, and it made a lot of other people feel better about themselves, but sadly she didn't hear the same thing.

Whatever the official verdict turns out to be the real cause of her death is that she didn't see any reason not to die. That's the tragedy - that with a loving family, wealth, millions of fans and people who loved her, she still felt that they weren't worth more than the worst she could do to herself.

There are millions of people without Amy's luck who've fought an addiction and won, because in the end it comes down to stopping the excuses and asking a very simple question: do you want to take life on the chin, or in the arm?

Amy Winehouse in 2002, aged 18

* You can ring UK Narcotics Anonymous on 0300 999 1212.

Friday 22 July 2011

Face, meet palm.

POSH Spice has designed a new handbag which comes with two things no-one really wants.

The first is a pricetag of £8,995, and the second is a handwritten note from Posh which probably says: "HA HA HA SUKKER!"

There are only a limited number of people in the world who have both that kind of money to waste and the inversely proportionate number of brain cells you would need to make the purchase. They would also need the taste and style for which Marlene out of Only Fools And Horses was renowned in order to find a white crocodile skin handbag with a gold chain remotely desirable.

That said, idiots exist and the limited number of bags Selfridge's were able to get before Posh's writing arm got a bit tired will probably fly off the shelves. But here's a quick list of what you could get if you had the same money, and slightly more good sense:

  • 14,991 jam doughnuts
  • 8,995 lottery tickets
  • 300 slightly less tacky handbags from Primark
  • A shitload of books
  • One years' tuition fees at a top university 
  • Two bunionectomies
  • A week of 5* luxury in the Maldives
  • Three hours of David Beckham's time

I know which of them I'd be spending the money on.


Tuesday 19 July 2011

A foxy code of conduct.

NO-ONE taught me about journalistic ethics.

I had to pass tests in law and public affairs, understand how government was organised, get 100 words a minute shorthand and have my story-writing and interviewing skills tested by seasoned old hacks.

In all, I had to sit and pass seven exams in order to get a trade qualification known as the NCE, but not once did I have to prove that I knew what my moral responsibilities were.

Those were formed by colleagues and editors at a dozen different publications over the years, most of whom were good and some of whom were bad, and my own experiences of getting in trouble and trying to avoid repeating my mistakes.

Each employer insisted I sign up to the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice, something which is fairly thorough and complete and, if you stick to it, does its job pretty well. It's a source of pride that I have never been found to have broken any of its rules.

The problems come when people do break them - sometimes accidentally, other times legitimately, and occasionally without caring. The PCC, as good as it can be, has limited powers to punish bad journalists or make sure the slapdash try harder next time.

It plainly needs an overhaul, a rethink, and the teeth it needs to be a watchdog even the unscrupulous are scared of.

We also have the laws of defamation, contempt, BLOODY Article 8 of the Human Rights Act and various other bits of law which should keep the Press, while not in thrall, at least on the leash. We don't need any more legislation.

But in the meantime, eight million people buy a tabloid newspaper every day in the UK. Each is read by between two and four people, depending on the paper and the day of the week. That means roughly 20million people - a third of the population - read what we write, or at least look at the pictures. And some of them don't trust what they see.

The BBC, love it or loathe it, is the only journalistic organisation in the UK to have its own code of ethics. It's long and boring and I recommend not reading it, but how long will it be until every newspaper and TV station - come to that, every police force - feels the need to make its principles part of its brand?

Not long, I think. Those that abide by the PCC, Ofcom and other regulators will want to distance themselves from the bad eggs whose stink is permeating not just my trade but other professions too. Not least because if we don't set ourselves new standards someone else will do it for us. I don't want a media which is told what to do by politicians, or the courts, or Hugh flippin' Grant. Over my dead body.

But I also don't want one which isn't trusted. So for the avoidance of doubt, here is my personal code of conduct which you can hold me to, if you wish:

  • I will never lie
  • I will always respect The Reader
  • I cannot be bought (although the phone app can, only 69p, see tab above, also mugs and t-shirts)
  • I will always be polite
  • I will stand my round even if I can't get a receipt
  • I will use subterfuge only if there is no other way 
  • I will always ask why
  • I will neither corrupt nor be corrupted
  • I will not break the law unless I think the story is worth the punishment
  • I will never spell it any way but "all right"
  • I will always protect my sources and my trade
  • I will accept the consequences of my actions

Of course, there's no formal organisation for you to take a complaint to if you feel I've crossed the line; but you can quote me. And a journo without readers is no journo at all.

"Well, Dishface, I'm fairly certain this isn't ethical behaviour. And could you tell Rex to knob off?"

Monday 18 July 2011

Watch the mighty fall.

MORE resignations, more arrests. More unanswered questions about who knew what about whom and how.

The hacking scandal - which a year ago was just a snoresheet fretting over Sienna Miller - is now a summer storm drenching everybody in public life with a goodly dose of ordure.

There'll be more to come, inevitably. And there is one head with a pole ready and waiting for it, and whose removal I predict will be the only way this story will ever end.

As the controversy has grown those responsible have slithered, wriggled, flipped and flopped as the hunters closed in, retrenching and firewalling, denying and stalling until eventually they were trapped. And there is just one big fish yet to be caught in the nets: the Prime Minister.

It was Dishface* who sparked this scandal. He employed a man loathed by his opponents as well as his own side in the belief he would be useful. Had Andy Coulson got a job with absolutely anyone else - the Labour Party, or a City bank - phone-hacking would have faded away like a lover's regrets. It would have been recalled now and again, but cheerily swept under the carpet as people carried on with their everyday lives.

Although Coulson was tainted, Dishface gave him a job and in so doing painted a big red target in the middle of his own forehead. As a direct result of that decision journalists started going back over the story, reworking their contacts, re-asking the questions. I do not understand Dishface's reasoning, because as a former PR man himself he must have known that scandal is contagious. But it reeks of arrogance, of an overbearing sense of superiority which has been unpleasantly manifest in all of the drama's culprits.

The arrogance of bad journalists who thought they could get away with it. The arrogance of a few police officers who thought there would never be a price to pay for a free lunch. The arrogance of politicians think they can climb into bed with whoever they please, of a disgraced editor who thought he could become a puppetmaster. The arrogance of a media mogul who one day says there were "only minor mistakes" and the next expects us to believe his apology to Milly Dowler's grieving family was heartfelt.

The arrogance of closing a 168-year-old newspaper to save a TV deal 10 times its value, sacking its staff and the same day heading out for dinner with a big smile on your face, knowing those will be the pictures in the next day's papers.

The arrogance of those who reached the top of the tree and thought no-one could ever drag them down.

Well, trees can be felled. The storm that's whipping about us now won't go away when Parliament has recess, more are arrested, or charges brought. The questions won't stop.

My first chief reporter told me the most important thing any journalist can ask is "why?" Why did Dishface employ Coulson in the first place? Why didn't he sack him? Why didn't the first police inquiry go into all this? Why did the Met Police Commissioner resign for apparently doing nothing wrong? Why are some of these people being protected? Why did any of this happen in the first place?

All it needs is a single email: a note between Coulson and Dishface, something which shows the PM knew. Then he's gone, the Coalition will crumble, and the Government will fall.

And if that happens, a former footballer's almost-autistic level of note-keeping will have brought down the most powerful people in the land. Glenn Mulcaire was known as 'Trigger' before he became a private detective and started to hack phones - and never has a nickname been more apt.

Those notes are a bullet that has Dishface's name written on it. Maybe he'll scrape through, maybe he's nothing to hide, but I'll bet my brush the PM will be gone by Christmas.

* Dishface, not cos of his forehead, but cos if you twiddle his left ear you can pick up SkySports.

"Ed Miliband? Are you joking?"

Sunday 17 July 2011

Is that a fox in your pocket?

HERE we go - the official phone app for!

Whether you're a new visitor or a long-time fan you (hopefully) like to hear the insights of an anonymous tabloid reporter on everything from super-injunctions to the X Factor, as well as exactly which kind of train station-based foodstuffs are best for a hack on the go.

Now for the first time I am at your beck and call, any hour of the day or night.

It's very simple - download the app, ask Foxy a question, shake your phone, and she'll pour you a drink and tell you what she's thinking.

If you've ever wondered 'What would Foxy do?' then this is the app for you. There'll be regular updates of Foxy sayings, and the home screen links back to this website if you click on the name at the side.

I absolutely promise not to listen to any of your voicemails, but cannot be held in any way responsible for the results of you actually following my advice.

Click here to download the app now!

Saturday 16 July 2011

Letters to Lillys.

THAT was the week that brought down the most powerful woman in Fleet Street and had Rupert Murdoch crawling on his hands and knees to apologise to Milly Dowler's family.

A few people were arrested, some policemen looked pretty bad and lots of other stories continued to not get quite as much attention as the phone-hacking scandal.

This post on the imagined voicemails being exchanged between Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch, Dishface et al was the most popular of the week.

Jerry said: "You need to be writing comedy." Nicola added: "Oh another classic post from Foxy.... very very funny."

Jed said:
"That was bloody brilliant. Wish my mum would leave me voicemails about hats and stuff. That's the only thing I envy about Rebekah Brooks (as portrayed in that post) that I envy. She can keep the rest of the stuff going on in her life. I'm good."
The week's next post on Kate Middleton's appearance - I still can't call her Duchess of Cambridge, it sounds weird - during the Royal visit stateside drew more criticism.

The Itch said: "Possibly. But I'm not sure comparing her to the dead mother of her new husband is the way to break it to her." Lucy added: "Ffs Foxy - so what?!? Jeez." Joanne chipped in: "Protruding bones just ain't healthy or attractive." And Lisa wrote: "Oh yay! Another 'Ben & Jerry' blog."

Lucinda said: 
"Stress and excitement plus nervous anticipation makes weight fall off me, unintentionally. I guess that's what is happening to Kate, she has been thrown into the A list spotlight and appears to be having a great time!"
Howard added:
"I think you've picked the wrong target. You're doing a great job but stop banging on about the 'Duchess' and her weight - she's doing her best in a very difficult job. Slag her off at your peril! As my Dad used to say, 'If you can't say anything nice about someone, keep your mouth shut'."
Ed: Jeez, then where would newspapers be? In all seriousness I wasn't picking on her size so much - she's a naturally skinny girl, fair enough - as the fact that she's now plainly unwell. Whatever the cause, metabolic or psychological, the girl needs to have some of the pressure taken off her and tuck into a nice healthy pasty. Of course such comment adds to the pressure - but the alternative is keeping your mouth shut about something that doesn't seem right. Not what I do.

As the phone-hacking scandal continued this post pointed out that responsibility is being dodged while the bandwagon rumbles ever on.

Robbie said: "Spot on." Kev said: "Eloquently put, as ever." Caroline added: "Smashing stuff, foxy." But Colin pointed out: "Vengeful fantasy? Not buying that."

Then a judge said divorce was easier than getting a driving licence and this post explained why it perhaps marriage ought to involve sitting some exams first.

A rather cynical Richard said: "No-one has ever convinced me that marriage is anything better than a moment of smugness, followed by a lifetime of regret." Moungder said: "I couldn't agree more - and I'm just about to his 15 years of marriage next month!" Ruth added: "I've ALWAYS thought exactly the same thing. Having done both, it always hacks me off when people say how divorce is so easy when the sanctimonious feckers have never done it."

Bryan disagreed:
"My 1st wife left on a Sunday, came back Tuesday to say it was 'too hard to talk about' and did the unreasonable behaviour option, she never told me why, would never discuss it. Moved in with her boyfriend and 16yrs later I've still not had any explanation as to what built up to it. So, for her, it was easy, too damn easy. Like telling some kid in a schoolyard that you are no longer 'going out'. So from my experience IT IS EASY, too easy. All she had to do was sign a letter full of lies."
Ed: QED - If getting the marriage licence was harder work, perhaps that wouldn't have happened.

At the end of the week lots of things happened, but one of them was the blog hit its three-month birthday and 300,344 readers, all on the same day.

Lime said: "It's all my doing, of course. Without me, it would only have had 300,343 different visitors. You're welcome." Jones said: "Three months? Is that all?! You seem to have been around forever!"

Ed: No, I just look that way.

Looks like the weekend will be a bit of a washout - enjoy it best you can, anyway.

Foxy out.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Licence to grill.

WHEN I heard Mr Justice Coleridge's comments that "divorce is easier than getting a driving licence" I had my normal spurt of righteous anger.

I am tired of hearing people who have never been through the process implying it's a doddle, and something done for a laugh or because you're bored. My marriage was pretty good to start with and then fairly grim, but even its worst moments paled by comparison with the 16 months it took to end the union.

It was not a decision I made lightly, it was no fun, and it took me a good couple of years before I felt like I was back on my feet. To have that dismissed as 'easy' or the cause of social breakdown - when I regard it as a great social freedom - sends me into a fury, every time.

But then a driving test has a course of lessons and several exams. Getting divorced comes down in the end to filling in a bunch of forms which, in theory and if you're not married to a twat like I was, can end your marriage in six weeks.

What the good judge failed to mention is that getting married is simpler still. There are only two forms to fill in and the basic fees are a lot cheaper, if you don't insist on a three-day festival with marquees and foreign heads of state.

So why not make it harder to get married in the first place? All couples could have a course of lessons in the rules of the road they're about to start down. A relationship counsellor teaches them to recognise the hazards and how to navigate them, what is safe and what's ridiculously dangerous.

After that each party has to do a theory test on the basic standards of behaviour, the correct way to deal with problems and a computer simulation in which they are grilled on what might happen:
  • Are you prepared to put up with the public humiliation of your partner sleeping with prostitutes? a) yes b) no c) maybe, so long as I get a £4,000 handbag once a week and some hair extensions
  • You've been caught with two lapdancers and some cocaine in a hotel room 18 months after your marriage to the granddaughter of the leader of the Catholic Church in the UK. Do you a) blame the newspapers b) shout 'AHA!' c) get a second series?
  • If you take a holiday with your partner to India will you a) visit the Taj Mahal together b) visit the Taj Mahal alone?
  • Has every first-born male in your partner's family since 1066 had a mistress? a) yes b) no c) shit
  • Your partner likes cats and hates dogs, and you like dogs and hate cats. What are the chances of your marriage lasting more than two years, nine months, and three weeks? a) 100% b) 50% c) 20% d) 0%
  • Your mother sends your partner an email outlining their faults. Do you a) hide b) emigrate c) talk to both parties in an effort at reconciliation d) post it on the internet
There are no right answers and you pass the test only if your responses are the same as your partner's more than 50 per cent of the time. Then you can go on to the practical exam, which lasts a month, and at the end of it if you still have a 51 per cent agreement rate and haven't totally lost the will to live you can get married.

If I'd been asked some of those questions before I wed, I might have realised before the ring went on that not only were we ill-matched the man was a dog-hating idiot capable of making Steve Coogan look committed and mature.

As for who should be the instructors - that's obvious. The divorced.

Fancy a ride?

Wednesday 13 July 2011

All aboard.

ON the one hand, we have responsibility, (noun): the state or fact of being answerable or accountable for something within your power, control, or management.

And on the other, we have a bandwagon, (noun): a transport, usually large and ornately decorated, for carrying a musical band, as in a circus parade or to a political rally; a party, cause, movement, that by its mass appeal or strength attracts many followers.

Amazingly, in the teeth of an international scandal people happily dodge one and jump on the other. Who'da thunk it?

So Dishface won't turn up to the hacking debate in the House of Commons, even though he employed a man now up to his neck in trouble. The chief executive of a company that's had £4bn wiped off its shares and sacked 500 people sees no reason for concern. And the police officers who plainly did not investigate the whole mess properly blame the criminals for not co-operating.

Meanwhile a former Prime Minister throws around accusations of stealing medical files of his sick son in what later turns out to be some kind of vengeful fantasy, the House of Commons which has perhaps the greatest concentration of fraudsters in Britain loudly accuses others of misbehaving, and Anne Diamond has suddenly claimed, 20 years after the fact, that condolence bouquets from journalists given after the tragic cot death of her son may have contained listening devices.

FYI, Anne, in 1991 any such devices would have needed a battery pack the size of a housebrick. Added to which, no-one needs to bug you when you're so keen to talk. And for Keith Vaz, one of the oiliest politicians ever to crawl into Parliament, to start asking other people about abuse of power is mind-shatteringly ironic.

While, quite plainly, there needs to be a clean-out of the Met, new rules that politicians might actually stick to and stronger, better powers for the Press Complaints Commission, we're now being confronted with a celebrity campaign whose ultimate aim is that we get a media which meets with the approval of Hugh Grant, Max Mosley and Steve Coogan.

Presumably they'll demand every newspaper runs consumer campaigns on the hookers that give real value for money.

As appalling as some aspects of the scandal are, there's not a lot of firm evidence yet and plenty of people throwing mud. The story's changing several times a day, everyone involved is going to need to take a long cold bath, and by the end of it things are going to look very different.

I just hope someone, at some point, puts their hand up and admits responsibility for their own actions, like a real, proper grown-up. And that we don't all end up printing a version of Celebrity Razzle.

Toot toot!

Tuesday 12 July 2011

A waist of French toast.

WHENEVER I go to America I tell myself I won't put on any weight.

Then I see French toast and maple syrup for breakfast, fab hamburgers for lunch and a big juicy steak for dinner, and I say "oh sod it" and just accept I'll be fat until I come home and get back to eating normally.

America is the land where portions are four times the size of ours, the calories are (I'm certain) some kind of super-molecule thirty times more powerful than normal and no-one walks anywhere, ever.

So I'd just like to point out that after two weeks across the pond - involving a three or four course, public dinner almost every night - the Duchess of Cambridge has become the first tourist in its history to get thinner. She's even managed to make Nicole Kidman look curvy.

Ms Kidman, for reference, is about 5'10'' and eight-and-a-half stone, or thereabouts. That in itself is normally considered unhealthy.

Kate either has worms, raging bulimia, or a serious laxative addiction. Or perhaps she's discovered a way to turn calories into a negative - in which case we've all missed the story and the woman's a scientific genius.

But whatever it is, she's about to snap in half.

Royals. They never learn, do they?

Monday 11 July 2011

You have one new voicemail.

"Hi, Beks, Andy here. Can you give us a bell when you've got a mo? Cheers."

You have one new voicemail.

"Rebekah, hi, it's Dave. Think we've got a spot of bother. Could we have a chat? This one can't wait til Sunday lunch. Sam says love to Charlie."

You have one new voicemail.

"It's mum. Do you know you're on the news? You need a haircut. I'm posting you a nice hat I found."

You have one new voicemail.

"Beks, Andy here. I know you're busy but things are going a bit tits-up here. Call me mate, yeah?"

You have one new voicemail.

"This is a message for Rebekah. Mr Murdoch would like a word. Can you call him on his personal line? Thank you."

You have one new voicemail.

"Rupert! Hi, Rebekah. Looks like we're playing telephone tennis. Everything here completely under control, we're going to throw Coulson under the bus and sack 500 people. That should get the Press off our backs. Journalists, eh? Ha ha! Byeeeee."

You have one new voicemail.

"It's mum. You're on the news again, can't you stop wearing black? Makes you look old. I've got to go to the hairdressers' but I wondered if you'd got the hat yet. Lots of love."

You have one new voicemail.

"Hello Rebekah, this is Martin. It was a pleasure to meet you earlier and I hope my advice was of some use to you. Like I said, if you want to go ahead my fees are £600 an hour but I am fairly sure that we can settle these matters with your employers out of court. If they do terminate employment we can make a strong unfair dismissal suit especially as you've not been convicted of anything. It's called the Sharon Shoesmith defence. Speak soon."

You have one new voicemail.

"One has to leave a message? Now? Oh. Hellehhh? ONE WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO REBEKAH. One understands she has my number. Which button now? Ehhh."

You have one new voicemail.

"It's Andy. This is getting serious. I've just had the Old Bill round. What the fuck is this about emails being handed over? I thought they'd been lost in Delhi! Christ Rebekah, this is getting hairy. CALL ME."

You have one new voicemail.

"Philip here. Just wanted to say don't let the buggers get yer down, yer still a very fine filly in my book even though Her Maj says I shouldn't tell people I've got a book. There's a whole section on redheads, but I've had to bump Fergie down the "mad and dirty" list this week. You're at the top! Heh, heh. Now, any time you fancy a gin and tonic, or an old codger to whip those Titian tresses at, yer know where I am. Oh, and er, anything you've got off Fergie's phones... well, I'm sure we can come to an arrangement! Tally ho."

You have one new voicemail.

"It's Rupert. I'm coming over, angelface. Dinner? We'll make a show of it."

You have one new voicemail.

"Look, we've been mates for years. I thought you had my back. I thought this had gone away. I've resigned twice, for fuck's sake! I can't believe you've dumped me. Call me, let's sort it out!"

You have one new voicemail.

"It's Rupert. Great to see you, don't forget you're my number one girl! This will all blow over. If any of those 500 journalists we sacked start mouthing off we'll refuse to pay them redundancy. And Dave's an idiot, I'll handle him. Keep your pretty chin up!"

You have one new voicemail.

"Dave, it's Barack. What the hell's going on over there? Your dinner party pals ringing up private tecs to pull mobile phone records of people crushed and burned to death in the Twin Towers? Seriously? That's not what the special relationship's all about. I am so pissed at you. Oh, and thanks for the tip about buying NewsInt stock - that was the retirement fund, Michelle's furious! She says you're not invited to The Hamptons this year. Sort your shit out."

You have one new voicemail.

"Hi! It's Dave! Great to hear from you! Listen, I am as SHOCKED and APPALLED as you are. I hardly know what to think. Andy told me he was a good guy! Obviously we're going to have to stamp all over this story. I've ordered some inquiries which will take months but make me look good. We're going to find a way to blame the previous administration, that's worked with everything else up til now. Anyway, great chatting and really hope to see you soon! Sam says love to Michelle! We ought to chat about Afghanistan too, but, you know, when you're not so busy. Byeeeee!"

You have one new voicemail.

"Rupert, it's Joe Ratzinger. What the fuck? Call me."

You have one new voicemail.

"Well, long time no talk! It's Tony. How are you doing? Dreadful times, of course. I just wanted to let you know you've my full support, and Cherie's too of course. She says do you need a lawyer? Ha ha, only joking. Well, a bit. Look, it's clear. Mistakes. Have been. Made. Thefactremains. You. Were the. PEOPLE'S. Editor. And therefore not responsible for whatever may have happened at the News of the World! Ha ha, Alistair told me to say that. He thought it was funny. Did you like it? Ought to look like I'm doing something in the Middle East this week, but tea soon, yeah? Ciao."

You have one new voicemail.

"This is Andy's lawyer. We'd like to take a statement from you. Please ring us back."

You have one new voicemail.

"Hi Rebekah. You're going to need to come down the Yard and answer some questions. Can we arrange some time this week? Obviously you'll need a lawyer. Oh, and by the way, don't worry too much - I paid it all into my wife's account."

You have one new voicemail.

"It's mum. You never ring me. I saw you on the news having dinner with someone. Is he your new boyfriend? He looks a bit old for you. Seeing as you obviously don't like the hat I've posted you something I found in Oxfam the other day. I don't know if it's a cape or a burqa, but it's got a big hood, looks very chic I thought. Do you know what you're doing for Christmas yet? Love mum."

You have one new voicemail.

"Beks, it's Dave. Look, sorry about this but I don't think we can do Sunday lunch. Sam's got one of her migraines coming on and Steve keeps talking about you being 'toxic'. I think he's singing a Britney Spears song but it doesn't sound good. Let's put it in the diary for another time, yeah? Maybe, I don't know, after the Olympics. I'm kind of busy til then. Er. Bye."

You have one new voicemail.

"Zis vill serve you reich! I mean right! You naughty, naughty girly. I sink you need ze spanking, yes? I sink all zat hair needs checking for ze lice. Dirty birdy. You do not deserve ze job! You vill come to vork for Uncle Max in his dungeon! Zere are lovely stripy uniforms and all is gut. Sehr gut. Ve vill correct you! You need ze punishment! Whoops, wife's home, bye..."

You have one new voicemail.

"Rupert, it's Alan. Magna cadunt, inflata crepant, tumefacta premuntur. Or pride comes before a fall, if you're Aussie. I'd just like to point out that we brought down the most popular English-language paper in the world, despite being one of the least popular. But don't worry, there's always bar work."

You have one new voicemail.

"Hey, gorgeous, Hugh here. I wish you'd been on Question Time with me. You're much prettier than that Harriet sort! Look, why don't we have a little dinner, talk about things, you can wear a nurse's uniform, maybe bring along a friend. Be fun. Talk soon. PS love you in that skirt."

You have one new voicemail.

"I was only the deputy editor, you cow."

You have one new voicemail.

"I am the Metatron, the voice of God. Yes, I know I sound like Alan Rickman, very funny. This is to let you know your service has been disconnected. It will take about six months. Not because it needs to, but because the Almighty enjoys dragging the pain out for as long as possible. In the meantime a variety of people will be charged, probably with corruption and perjury. Oh, and the Almighty can't come to this year's Christmas party, as She's going to be painting her nails. I would say 'see you around', but I don't think you'll be coming up here..."

You have one new voicemail.

"Eesh, I invented these things and I still can't get to grips with them... this is Beelzebub. I'll catch you later."

You have no more voicemails.

(With apologies to any semblance of reality.)

Saturday 9 July 2011

Letters to Lillys.

WELL, where the hell to start?

What a week in news it's been. Let's take it chronologically. Our mailbag begins with a totally gratuitous picture of male totty of the kind that really ought to be in newspapers more often.

Whoopsy, done it again. (This may be the moment to remind you all of the international rules of bagsy, and that I've already called it.)

Lucy said: "That's what I'm talking about..." Lesley added: "Oh my *swoons*" and Silver said: "Rawr!" Colin wisely decided to capitalise by saying: "I bet he smells of spitfire fuel and punching. I'm going to email that picture to the missus an hour before I go home."

Brian said:
"I don't see why a chap would be upset by your blog post. Blokes know that women want ...a man that smells like a James Hetfield chord progression, while giving them a fantastic, never ending seeing too, having just stomped the snot out of an aggressor, before making breakfast while discussing Camus' experience prior to writing The Rebel. Shortly before fixing any broken machinery in the house and then sorting out another vigorous seeing to. It is, after all, 2011, and I'd like to think that with that model of behaviour I was somehow getting something right."
Ed: Sorry, still thinking about the soldier. Spitfire fuel, you say? Mmm.

Then journalism had an embolism and we found out the News of the World's freelance private investigator Glenn Mulcaire had hacked into, and deleted messages from, missing schoolgirl Missy Dowler's voicemail. This defence of a reporter's rights - and responsibilities - in using the dark arts was fiercely debated.

Andrew said: "It's very complex maybe to complex for me. I can see it both ways, I want it to be done in some circumstances but not in others so who watches the watchers???" Liz said: "Just for once I don't agree with Foxy's blog." Nosk added: "Don't really have a problem with hacks and techniques, do have a problem with editors with no judgement or moral compass." Louise said: "I think the public concern is in trusting journos to make moral judgements on their behalf." And John added: "A news sub here. You're doing a good job; doing the right thing. I feel certain that many people feel this way."

But Ian said: "Journalists are not a state-sponsored federal agency, you bloody reporters are not above the law. Would you break into their house to get their answering machine?" Lucy said: "Your moral compass is very skewed, I would not hack the phone, I would try to get the evidence another way, a legal way." Emma added: "I usually agree with you...this time I'm afraid I don't...well you can't get on all the time!" And Louise pointed out: "No other profession is allowed to make moral judgements outside of law."

John said:
"Your stance on the NOTW story has massively disappointed me and in many ways angered me... Tobacco companies kill people and include a non-essential addictive ingredient. I would therefore never work for a tobacco company. If they tried to clean up their act I still could not work for a company that is effectively a mass murderer in the same way I could never join a newer, cuddlier version of the Nazi party. Some things are beyond contempt... The tabloids are so powerful that politicians were afraid to stop the illegal practices because of the threat of retribution - against them, their wives, their kids, or anyone close... Your one-eyed, self-serving, well-written articulate defence of people working in this field lessen you."
Sharon differed:
"What is really sad about all this is how it's very fast become an excuse for politicians (many of them still wearing red-faces from their last press/PR disaster) to spout hysterical outrage and call for the tabloid press to burned at the stake. A fuck up is a fuck up and, yes, it's a bad one. But the gutter press has its place - and it's down in the gutters looking for the things people have tried to flush away."
Ed: As the story moves more things will come to light which will, I'm sure, help us all to form views which at the moment can only be reactive. But I would say that, no matter how appalling the actions of a few may prove to be, they've not yet been linked to any deaths.

A few noticed an important date passed this week, marking the sixth anniversary of the 7/7 bomb attacks on London.

Tallulah said: "This is why I follow you. Don't always agree with you but every now & then you produce a GEM! Thnks."

Nerina said: "Damn, you've made me cry again." Josh added: "Anything with the tags 'fuck you, terror' is worth a read. Amazing article." Grumpy Old Woman said: "Neither is it cool to cry while at work but anyone I show your piece to will do the same if they've an ounce of that spirit."

Kyle had a bone to pick:
"Not even a mention of inaccuracies in the official report, or the families and victims' pleas for an independent inquest."
Ed: Can't please everyone, but I was gratified to see as many people read the 7/7 post as they did the one on the phone-hacking scandal. The world's not always shit.

And so we come to Saturday July 9, 2011, and today a 168-year-old newspaper is publishing its last-ever edition.

I think we can all agree that its final chapter has been one which tarnishes Fleet Street and its reputation. Whatever your opinion of the News of the World, the tabloids or Press in general, it was the English-speaking world's most successful newspaper and was read by millions who had a healthy human appetite for the stories it produced.

Had it not been so successful at entertaining us it could not have afforded the resources to throw into investigations and campaigns, from John Profumo in the 1960s to the Pakistan cricket scandal this summer, all of which have in some way been undeniably for the public good.

Maybe it could never have recovered; and then again, perhaps its owners should have tried.

Legendary newspaper editor Harold Evans used to tell his staff: "Don’t do anything to get a story you would be ashamed to tell your readers about afterwards."

In the midst of all the argument about who and how to regulate the Press, that rule seems to me to be the best we could possibly follow.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Foxy out.

Thursday 7 July 2011


SIX years ago today, during the morning rush hour, fifty-two innocent people were blown to pieces.

Dying alongside them were four British men who carried home-made bombs onto underground trains and buses and detonated them in the belief it would help their cause.

Around 700 people were injured. Some with just cuts and bruises, others using their own clothing as tourniquets after their limbs had been shattered, and hundreds more whose memories were scarred forever.

Many good people - police, doctors, nurses, firemen, bystanders, commuters - gave first aid and held the hands of the dying. The emergency services' radios did not work underground, and many were left to suffer, scared, alone and in the dark, without the help they should have had.

I was in central London on that day, but a long way from the explosions. I came out of a meeting and rang the office to say I was on my way back in, and was angry that my mobile kept dropping the call. It was only when I finally got through to the newsroom and was told "there's been a bomb, stay where you are" that I realised the telephone networks were under strain, and noticed the sound of sirens in the distance. I rang my mum to tell her I was fine and headed to the scene, and then the hospitals.

In the weeks that followed, four more men tried and failed to set off bombs, and innocent Jean Charles de Menezes was gunned down on the Tube by Security Services who wrongly thought he was a terrorist.

Reporters scrabbled to cover the story - to define the culprits, name the heroes, and find the words to explain. Politicians called for action although they could not say what and the police tried to find what had gone wrong. We now know that a private detective found - and maybe used - the mobile numbers of the victims and probably the bombers too, presumably with the intention of listening to their voicemails.

It has since been found that a series of failings by the Security Services had allowed those four killers to slip under the radar. It is difficult to know what any of us could have done over all the years of those men's lives to convince them that their hatred of their countrymen was unfounded; but obviously, somewhere, we failed too.

Six years on, the bombers have failed. Their attempt to bring terror produced astonishing heroism, created friendships among the survivors and their families, and did not stop survivors like Gill Hicks and Danny Biddle from walking down the aisle at their respective weddings, or Martine Wright hoping to enter the 2012 Paralympics, despite the fact their legs had been blown off. It made all those people determined to prove the world is still a bright and beautiful place.

If the men who detonated those bombs could see what they have wrought, they might have thought twice. Because they did not make any wars shorter, they did not stop any governments, and they did not prove their point.

All they proved is that the human spirit can triumph over pretty much anything.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Get your Fox on.

WHAT are you doing next Wednesday night?

Because I'd like to invite you to something.

You don't need to get dressed up, or talk to anyone, or even to leave the house. All you need is a computer - I know you have one of those - and a phone. And no, I am not going to listen to any of your voicemails.

It's an online party for the launch of something new and quite fun - the FoxBall. A few people have had a play with it already and think it's pretty good, so I hope you'll like it too.

I don't want to give too much away, because like me it's a secret. But if you have ever wished you had a fox in your pocket, then this is for you.

Put your favourite music on, have a couple of glasses, and please join me next Wednesday, July 13, right here at 10pm.

And all - well, most - will be revealed.

What she said ^

Monday 4 July 2011

Dear newspaper editors...

MEN get to look at Page Three. They get a variety of ladies pictured in bikinis and included in newspapers for the very good reason that lots of people will buy a copy in order to look at them.

The brief, failed experiment with a Page Seven Fella went phut not because women don't like the same thing, but because a poncey model with a pair of socks in his smalls is of limited interest to those of us whose sexual urges start in our brains.

I've seen this picture in a few places now, and probably shouldn't reproduce it as the New Zealand Special Forces soldiers in it would rather remain anonymous for safety reasons. But they're already all over the internet and if they just shave no-one will recognise them again, so I'm going to.

This is the kind of picture lots of women would buy lots of newspapers to see more of. In their MILLIONS. It should illustrate articles on handbags, the menopause, the horoscope column, care home initiatives and the latest Coalition policy u-turn, never mind just the reports of how these guys helped retake the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul from some suicide bombers.

This chap is as far from ponce as it's possible to get. He is the embodiment of what Bonnie Tyler was on about and the lyrics a thousand hen nights still blare out at the karaoke: he's a good man, looks like a streetwise Hercules, and not only is he fresh from the fight but the other bloke's blood is still on his knuckles.

I know that most males in Fleet Street are soft of belly and palm, and like women who appreciate them for their witticisms and ability to claim the cost of a meal out. But trust me when I tell you: this is what we women want.

If he turned up on my doorstep looking like this I'd be in a nurse's uniform quicker'n you could say "can I kiss it better?"

Bagsy, he's mine.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Letters to Lillys.

OUR week began with a denunciation of Glastonbury for being about as cool as Jesus sandals on your dad.

Dave said: "Agreed, Glastonbury is about as edgy as a tartan rug on the back shelf of a Volvo." Peter added: "Glasto is poseur land. All that self conscious chilling. Caitlin Moran just gets embarrassing when she raves about it. Plus all that coverage in the press. Counter culture was wanky enough before - but now..." And Mark pointed out: "Want to know who goes to Glasto? When Beyoncé headlined last night there were more black people on stage than in the audience."

Then Johann Hari admitted nicking other people's quotes and pretending they were part of his own interviews and the internet convulsed with a cliched loathing of journalists, which provoked this explanation of how, exactly, one would have to go about publishing a lie in a newspaper.

It produced a quite startling number of positive responses, from hacks and civilians alike.

Jon said: "Why journalists don't lie - If only more people understood this process!" Victoria added: "Never a truer word written - and I'm an ex tabloid hack - well done you." While Kat said: "Is a truly brilliant and necessary piece, thank you." And Emma added: "You don't know me but I'm a reporter, and after reading your blog post from yesterday I quite wanted to stand up and cheer."

Carl said:
"Bloody loved it. Thanks for that. You've summed up a lot of my frustrations with the anti-journalist blogging brigade who've used Hari as yet another stick to beat us with. Cheers."
Euan added:
"I really enjoyed reading your blog... it describes my own experiences, and I'm sure many others', perfectly. And crucially it's a really good piece of writing. Thanks for putting a smile on my face."
Gary summed it up by saying:
"Mr Hari would have us believe that what he has undertaken to do, on occasion, is the linguisitic equivalent of airbrushing... in my opinion it's all about integrity. I love the band Pearl Jam. I don't read Rolling Stone interviews to have Eddie Vedder's quoted remarks replaced by cut and paste lyrics from his songs - however accurately or concisely they portray his sentiments at the time."
Not everyone agreed - George got in touch with his own first-hand experiences of a journalist who had reported an opposing view of an event to his own, in too much detail to report here. "It undermined my faith in the newspaper industry," he said.

Then there was Adrian, who said:
"I spent my entire tabloid career makng up stories, and we always contrived the photos to go with them. It was like taking candy from a dead baby. As soon as you twig that the newsdesks are fucking retards you are home and dry."
David added:
"I've watched a well known BBC Radio journalist walk round to other offices/bureaux in a press building and get voxpops from his colleagues who were all happy to pretend to be locals - even faking accents - and giving 'first hand accounts' about an event happening outside the building - journalists don't lie? please..."
And Vicky chimed in:
"Great article - although I really struggle to believe 'showbiz' journos tell the gods honest truth, a lot of what they write does seem to be utter garbage, with no actual 'evidence' to back up the story. Just a load of 'sources'."
Ed: I was touched at the number of people - too many to quote here - who said not only 'thank you' as journalists but 'I believe you' as non-journos. Part of my aim is to show you the stereotype does not reflect my experience although, as I am sure is the case in any job, there is a handful of twats all doing their worst.

Charlene Wittstock drew attention by reportedly trying to flee Monaco on the eve of her wedding to Prince Humperdinck Albert, only to have her passport confiscated and be "persuaded" to go through with the £50m ceremony.

Bill may have found the reason why - aside from international embarrassment - the playboy prince was so keen to press ahead with the wedding.

He said:
"If he cannot procreate within matrimony the Grimaldi clan will be forced to cede Monaco to France and lose a territory they have held since 1297. That's old skool, by which I mean 'medieval'. He'd better watch out for Sarkozy's DGSE goons, armed with scalpels... It would make a great plot-line for a Carry On movie."
The summer wedding season seems to have hit a peak, what with Monaco's Royal marriage, Kate Moss taking three days to tie the knot and the astonishing email from Carolyn Bourne to prospective stepdaughter-in-law Heidi Withers which made headlines. At the same time yours truly had a dig at Lily Allen for changing her name to Mrs Cooper, which prompted what can only be described as a deluge of responses.

There were far, far too many to mention here but they split fairly evenly into thirds. One third wanted to berate the Fox for being a femiNazi being mean to poor Mrs C, another third vowed they never had nor would change their name on marriage "BECAUSE I AM NO MAN'S PROPERTY", and the remaining third had either happily double-barrelled, or weren't much bothered but still wanted to say so.

Mrs C herself took exception to "I thought you would have had more spine" to respond: "I never liked Allen, and it marks a new chapter of my life. I have spine, thanking you." Ben said: "You can't have a conversation or 'row' with her without tons of people weighing in or attacking you (which sometimes, she provokes)." Sam said: "It was you being a twat. If Lily and thousands more women want to change to their husband's surname then let them do it. Lily has every right to do what she wants. Who the hell are you to dictate?" And Lucy said: "I think Lily's mad - she had all that great assonance in her name."

Ed: I find it amazing the former Miss A stuck with her famous dad's name for so long if she hated it so much... but perhaps my choice of words was unwise. I should have said 'gumption' rather than 'spine'.

Then we had the latest pictures of Nick Clegg, the only high-profile figure in Britain to put on weight and apparently not merit a double-page spread in every national newspaper as a result.

Martin said: "After losing his deposit yesterday, could be facing cuts himself - pork chop cuts that is!" And Dave added: "Nick actually enjoys widespread support (from his belt)." Lewis said: "Not being funny, but is that the best story you have?"

Ed: A story no-one else has got? Yes.

Phew. It's been a long week; now for a short weekend. Have a good one y'all.

Foxy out.

Friday 1 July 2011

Fat cat? Moi?

NEWSPAPERS are full of stories about how women look, but it's time someone did a tale of the tapes on poor old Nick Clegg.

I don't know if it's the power lunches, the free food at Downing Street or the Lib Dem propensity to elect leaders who like a tipple. But this is him during the pre-election televised debates:

This is him at the Royal Wedding in April:

And this is him at a Buckingham Palace reception yesterday (note the table looks almost empty):

 Dishface: Who ate all the canapĂ©s?

Perhaps, like Prescott and his bulimia, he's got things only half right. When fagging for Dave you're supposed to let HIM eat the crumpets!