BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for July 6, 2008 - July 12, 2008

10 things we didn't know last week

18:17 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008

10ducks_johnmurray.jpgSnippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. A monsoon is a wind, rather than rain.
More details

2. More than 12,000 laptops a week go missing at US airports.
More details (the Guardian)

3. Synod is pronounced SIN-uhd, and Sentamu (as in John) is pronounced with a stress on the first syllable - SENT-uh-moo.
More details

4. Women with large breasts pay more for their bras at Marks & Spencer than their smaller chested counterparts.
More details

5. Some slugs are carnivores, and have razor-sharp teeth.
More details

6. The average UK household bins £8-worth of leftovers a week.
More details

7. Pears sink while apples float.
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8. One in 20 of Britain's population will attend a summer festival.
More details

9. One in three tickets sold at London theatres are for musicals.
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10. Whipping someone until they bleed - even if they encourage it - is a criminal offence.
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Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to John Murray for this week's picture of 10 female mallard ducks on a swan's nest on the River Dee. The swans had actually built their nest on the edge of the weir that separates the tidal section from freshwater, he says.

Your Letters

16:13 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008

Is Ping pong sparks prison ding dong the headline of the year so far?
Graeme, Dundee

Thinking about what character in fiction best represents Gordon Brown, I happened to read this description of Sweeney Todd in the Sondheim musical. Never mind images of Johnny Depp, at his first appearance it's noted "Todd is a heavy-set, saturnine man in his forties who might, say, be a blacksmith or dockhand. There is about him an air of brooding, slightly nerve-chilling self-absorption."
Michael Hall, Croydon, UK

Re Anglican pronunciation guide: it's ROH - won, not ROH-uhn. I should know, I've been correcting people's mispronunciation for the best part of 30 years, and no-one ever gets my gender right (female, for those wondering).
Rowan Morgan-Odell, Hastings, UK

Seeing your pronunciation guide for Episcopal reminded me of choir practice at primary school. Our teacher once told us to put more "piss" in "pistol" - you can imagine what the reaction of a group of 10-year-olds was to that.
Paul, Isle of Man

Paul, Rochdale (Wednesday letters), I've never understood this misconception that sexual relationship figures should add up. Lets say we have 100 men, and 100 women (and for the easily grossed out among us, lets assume were talking about old people holding hands for a second here), and 1 of those men held hands with 50 of those women. Then 1% of men have held hands with another whilst 50% of women have. What is funny is stereotypically you would expect to see a lower number for men than women. What this proves is 16% of women over 70 hold hands far to readily and that there should be a drive to wear gloves whilst holding hands.
Matt Copp, London, UK

Paul, there's no need to assume lying or infidelity. It may simply be that a significant proportion of those married men over 70 who are still having sex happen to be married to women under 70. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Hogan, Isle of Mull

Erm, look. I didn't really want to do this, Paul of Rochdale, but "begging the question" really doesn't mean what you think it does. It's a logical term for when someone assumes his intended conclusion as one of his premises - fire engines are red, therefore fire engines are red. What YOU meant was "asks the question". Let that be a lesson to all of you.
Samuel, Leeds

In an attempt to put the sex in public place debate to bed once and for all, I gallantly offer myself - purely in the name of science, mind - as a guinea pig. Should any Monitorites find themselves in the vicinity of the Sainsbury's car park this evening, I shall be the man standing in the far corner wearing the pink carnation and the "I love Interrobanging in public" T-shirt.
Dylan, Reading, UK

So, there's a film being released across the UK titled on all the posters as "Journey to the Center of the Earth". Is it me..?
Ian, Redditch

The BBC's gone bra mad! First yesterday's story about the bat, now M&S defends 'tax on bigger bras'. It's getting as bad as all the sex stories a few months back.
Basil Long, Leicester

Only a man (Mike Thomas, Wednesday letters) could ask why a big bra would need padding - it's for support. A single layer of cloth has it's limits, y'know.
Caroline Brown, Rochester, UK

What a bizarre name for Carla Bruni's new album. My limited French translates the title as "Like if nothing wasn't". Huh!? Could a clever Magazine reader help me out with this one? I have to know...
Vicky, Brisbane, Australia

Is this where the term "Honey Trap" comes from? Or is it just a case of semi-nominative determinism?
Jim, Crowborough

ghostslug.gifFriday's Quote of the Day further confirms my suspicions that Welsh is not a language, but rather a noise.
Ben, Bristol

Friday's Quote of the Day says: "It is apparently a rarity for Welsh words to be included in the scientific names of animals." You seem to have forgotten the penguin - Welsh for "black head" I believe - although I do concede that it is the common name, rather than the scientific name.
David, Bentley, UK

Is it bad that I presumed Weak US dollar hits papal profits had a typo in it referring to the online payment company? The image of the pope helps clear it up though - he loves eBay.
Jinja, Edinburgh

In Jolie hospital 'beats paparazzi', it says "windows had been coated with a material which prevented lenses seeing through them" They've closed the curtains then?
Thomas, Maidstone, UK

Re Sir Bobby given road name honour. That's nothing, when David Cross played for West Ham there were junctions named after him all over Newham.
MJ, Ingatestone

I wonder if any other early letter submitters are feeling suspicious about your Heathcliff the Cat gag in Thursday 's Paper Monitor? Not that I am accusing the Magazine of lacking in original thought... oh wait, yes I am.
Sarah, Uxbridge
The Monitor: No letters were read in preparation for either article. It's just great minds, Sarah...

How can I enter the caption competition? All I can see is the winners' list.
GG, Fullerton, US
The Monitor: Too late, sir. Each week's entry opens on Thursday. Just don't send a caption in via the "Send us a letter" form. Or we'll ignore it.

Caption Competition

13:11 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008


Winning entries in the now-returned Caption Competition.


Natalie Bent, of Kent, in action at the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling Championships. But what's being said?

The competition is now closed. Full rules can be seen here [PDF].

Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. youngWillz
"Wader, there's a girl in the soup."

5. Dodie_James
"And that, ladies and gentleman of the jury, is how my client came to be arrested for impersonating a High Court Judge."

4. jellyba
2012 not ready.
Told you.

3. KieranOx
"Timothy Barnes, I presume."

2. hairyairey
The Church of England reveals its selection process for women bishops.

1. CairngormMcWomble
Teething problems at the inaugral Venice triathlon.

Paper Monitor

11:56 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor wonders what one's ageing silver-haired relative, a passionate Daily Mail reader for many years, will make of the front page story today that "Google spies at your door". One suspects not much, and that it will all go over the silver head.

The Google Streetview (where they offer 360 degree photos of street-level scenes) has in the past run into privacy concerns because it photographed people going into strip clubs and women inadvertently showing their underwear when getting out of a car. But worse than that, it is a charter for burglars. It means escape routes can be planned, apparently.

Should this whole newspaper reviewing business go down the drain, and Paper Monitor happens to turn to a life of housebreaking, one hopes one will not be relying on Google Streetview to case joints.

Silver-haired relative likely to be much more impressed with the paper's offering of a DVD with Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. Can this be what it seems? We know the Mail has developed a line in offering films starring people you've heard of, but not actually in films you've heard of. We will wait and see.

Wouldn't it have been marvellous though if it had been Wuthering Heights? Would have gone down well in Downing Street.

Friday's Quote of the Day

11:38 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008

See the Quote of the Day every morning on the Magazine index.

"ysbryd" - Welsh for "ghost" and name given to all-white slug


It is apparently a rarity for Welsh words to be included in the scientific names of animals. But this extraordinary worm-chomping translucent slug deserves the honour.
More details

Your Letters

18:15 UK time, Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Monitor regrets to inform readers that it's just been one of those Thursdays, and in the interests of regulating the service, to echo the catch-all excuse of public transport providers these days, Your Letters have been held over to Friday.

Paper Monitor

11:07 UK time, Thursday, 10 July 2008

model203.jpgA service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

WARNING: This entry contains a plot spoiler, spoiler.

One of those dilemmas today... HOW to illustrate a story about an M&S shareholder who complains its current range of women's underwear reveals too much cleavage. Now that's a tricky one... let's see... how about... no, that wouldn't work.... what if?.... no, scotch that. I know. I've got it. Let's have pictures of models in their underwear!

Well done the Daily Mail (and Telegraph - and see picture, above, for Paper Monitor's suggestion fo a more responsible means of illustrating the story). Especially since it has put so much energy today into pictures of the "preacher of hate" Abu Qatada, recently released and now seen doing his shopping. And he wasn't just holding his prayer beads as he went out, the paper says he was "fondling" them, which sounds really vile. It also points out that he was clutching "a bumper-pack of toilet rolls", and adds the detail that he used to be 20 stone but lost weight on prison food. Not a nice image for breakfast time.

Anyway, it's all all right because the Sun reports on a man who has found an image of the Queen in a tree trunk, which has to add to the gaiety of the nation. Now one comes to think about it, we've had images of famous people in unlikely places, sightings of UFOs and crop circles all making a return. It's suddenly feeling like the Nineties again.

But before you dig out your baggies and revert to your curtain haircut, what's all this about Gordon Brown comparing himself to Heathcliff? No, not the irritable Garfield-like cartoon cat Heathcliff, the "It's me, Cathy, I've come ho-wooo-oohh-ohhh-me" Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights fame.

Paper Monitor must confess it has never got round to reading Bronte's classic novel - so many books (next up, the Lewis Hamilton autobiography), so little time - but in likening himself to Heathcliff, the Prime Minister set off a spark of interest in one day getting round to this literary classic.

Yet in its bid to unpick the PM's analysis, the Telegraph proceeds to blow the gaff on the entire plot - telling how Cathy Earnshaw meets an untimely death and "for 18 years Heathcliff is haunted by her".

Well, thanks aplenty guys. Even Kate Bush had the good grace not to go that far.

Thursday's Quote of the Day

09:50 UK time, Thursday, 10 July 2008

"I'm offering you the time of cherries and roses, the time of silky caresses" - lyrics from new Carla Bruni album


It's hard to tire of the Carla Bruni/Nicolas Sarkozy saga, particularly when France's first lady is lyrically laying it on with a trowel. The new album Comme Si Rien N'etait is out on Monday.
More details (The Guardian)

Your Letters

15:54 UK time, Wednesday, 9 July 2008

In Hydrogen refuel station unveiled, it says: "The car needed three pieces of hardware to make it petrol-free - a hydrogen tank, which cost around £3000, four hydrogen injectors (about £100 each) and a chip to allow the conversion." My maths may be bad, but surely that's six pieces of hardware?
Remy, Cumbria

Re Theatre too expensive, says Tate. First I thought it was a ploy by a leading group of museums to lure customers to a different field of the arts. However, the theatre is obviously resisting this learned lure as "the West End had its most successful year since records began in 2007". So they beat last year then?
Mat Davies, Overseal, UK

Re Dr Who-watch (Tuesday Letters) and the photo of Donna in the children at wedding story; personally I'd be thrilled to bits if the Timelord turned up to my wedding. Not sure the groom would be so impressed.
Sarah B, Isle of Wight

Re Being too fat 'can damage sperm': Not sure what is worse - the picture used in this article, or the picture it's left in my mind...
Eddie, Haywards Heath

I know that bats are small, but this lady must have a rather ill-fitting bra.
Lucy, Ashford, Kent

What I find strange is that a woman with a 34FF size bust needs a padded bra at all, with or without bat accessories.
Mike Thomas, Wirral

I read in an article that a survey of over 70s has discovered that 68% of married men said they had sex while only 52% of married women did so. This begs the question of whether this is due to boasting by the men and coyness by the women or some of the women having sex with men they are not married to as well as their husbands.
Paul, Rochdale

Wahey! BBC users are slightly smarter than children when it comes to owl identification (Daily Mini-Quiz).
Alan, Dunbar

Arthus (Letters, Tues) is actually wrong there is still an offence of 'Outraging public decency' which is one of very few common law offences remaining in the criminal justice system:
It is an offence to commit an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature, which is capable of outraging public decency, in a public place where at least two members of the public could have witnessed it. I rather think that covers it.
Jo, Lichfield

In Scotland "public indecency", which can include a wide range of behaviour from "flashing" to full intercourse carried out in a public place, is definitely illegal and can be prosecuted, with the potential for imprisonment in serious cases, and registration on the Sex Offenders Register. So there.
Ann, Stirling

How to Say: Anglican terms

15:14 UK time, Wednesday, 9 July 2008

An occasional guide to the words and names in the news from Jo Kim of the BBC Pronunciation Unit.

The Church of England's ruling General Synod met at the Lambeth conference this week and several related words and names have been in the news. Some of our recommended pronunciations are given below. Stressed syllables are shown in upper case.

1. The Christian name of Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is pronounced ROH-uhn (-oh as in no).

2. The family name of Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York is pronounced SENT-uh-moo (-e as in bet, uh as a in ago), with stress on the first syllable. Back in the late 80s, Dr. Sentamu was a contributor to the World Service Religions programmes and told the BBC with regards to the pronunciation of his name, "left moo, right moo, Sentamu."

3. DIOCESE is pronounced DY-uh-sis (-y as in sky). The plural DIOCESES is a little bit more controversial. Dictionaries give several pronunciations such as DY-uh-siss-iz (-y as in sky), DY-uh-seez (-y as in sky, -ee as in meet) and DY-uh-seez-iz (-y as in sky). The word has generally been pronounced DY-uh-seez (-y as in sky, -ee as in meet) by members of the General Synod during the recent Lambeth conference, although a few DY-uh-seez-iz (-y as in sky) could be heard.

4. EPISCOPAL is pronounced uh-PISS-kuh-puhl (-uh as a in ago).

5. The word 'synod' is given as SIN-uhd (-i as in bit, uh as a in ago) in Oxford English dictionary and Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. SIN-od (-o as in hot) is sometimes given as a variant pronunciation in dictionaries.

To download the BBC Pronunciation Unit's guide to text spelling, click here.

Paper Monitor

11:58 UK time, Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Sometimes journalism is a bit tricky. Sometimes it is like taking confectionery from an infant.

Take the case of Sophie King, who has won compensation of £7,000 after the heel snapped off a new shoe from Dolcis, causing her ankle to break.

Pretty good story you might think. And you'd be right.

There you are, sitting in your newsroom of a middle market newspaper, and you get the pictures of Ms King. Then klaxons go off. For she is a statuesque blonde 20-something. Add into the mix that she is from leafy Knutsford in Cheshire and is at Durham University and you can sense scribblers salivating.

The Guardian carries a mere thumbnail photo. In the Daily Express there's a big side-on view with plenty of décolletage. In the Daily Mail a different shot, with the plaintiff posing with one hand behind her head. In the Daily Telegraph there's a Vaseline-on-the-lens type professional shot which dominates page 14.

Elsewhere in the papers, Paper Monitor tips its hat to the Sun subs' ability to take a news story and boil it down to the pithiest of headlines.

It's hard to argue with the likes of "Fat kids' free fruit" or "Cop blitz on metal blaggers" or "OSAMA's MINI-ME".

And as for a sub-head on a Concorde story - "Nose bust off, vandalised and coated in bird poo" - or the splash - "Boozed-up brunette banged up for bunk-up on beach in Dubai" - you simply have to remove your hat altogether.


Wednesday's Quote of the Day

09:23 UK time, Wednesday, 9 July 2008

"When I was driving to work I felt a slight vibration but I thought it was just my mobile" - Abbie Hawkins, 19, finds a bat nestling in her bra.

For four-and-a-half hours a baby bat was nesting in Miss Hawkins' bra without her knowing.hawkins.gif

By midday the hotel receptionist could bear the tickling no longer and a quick rummage in front of stunned colleagues produced the small animal.

The bat possibly found its new home when the bra was hanging on Miss Hawkins' washing line.

And its strange journey continues - Miss Hawkins' manager released the bat in the garden of the Holiday Inn, near Norwich airport.

More details

Your Letters

17:14 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2008

To Lucy (Outraged of Maidstone). The merits of tree-cutting aside, sex in public itself isn't actually illegal, as a quick search on the Interwebs might have informed you (but heaven forbid putting research ahead of righteous indignation, eh?).
Arthus, London

Sorry I missed the festivities yesterday! Can it be noted PM shares his/her birthday with the likes of Angelica Huston, Kevin Bacon and the newborn daughter of Nicole Kidman, Sunday Rose. How wonderful for you. Although I share mine with The Fonz (Henry Winkler) and that beats the lot, so there! Many belated Happy returns!
Felicity, Cheltenham

My first day off in 2008. No seriously. My first day off and I miss the Magazine's Birthday Party? How convenient. And I thought we were friends. I won't pretend not to be offended. Hope you all had fun without me!!
Ally, Cheltenham

Sorry I missed your birthday party. Sadly, I was worried How to Say was going to be there, and after our uncomfortable moment in the broom cupboard at last year's Christmas party, I felt it wiser not to attend. I am such a sucker for a French/German/Chinese/ZImbabwean/Russian/Burmese/Polish accent.
Dylan, Reading, UK

Surprise! Happy Birthd... where is everyone? Sorry, did I get the worng day for the party? Oh look, an abandoned bowl of crisps...
Howard, London, UK

Dear MM, being somewhat still in the first heady flushes of adulthood and therefore paid office employment where one can spend blissful periods of time in the Magazine section I have found that there are often 'in-jokes' that I have no insight too. Following the party yesterday I have just had the most delightful time following all the links back to the original Judy Cabbages letter and tried to come up with my own non-phonetical alphabet. I am now off to attempt the 5 clicks game. Oh how proud and 'hip' I feel!
Molly, Dorking

How can Paper Monitor have a hangover? (S)he was "sitting at home in a non-gender determining pink tux..." Are we being deceived?
Mark Perryman, Maidstone, Kent

So sorry to have missed the wonderful party - I was completely tied up.
Timothy Barnes, Monaco

So, Max Mosley's Nazi-themed orgy was actually more of a Barnes dance then?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Now that Brentwatch appears to have slipped quietly into oblivion can we start a Dr Who-watch for spurious pictures of Tardis-related characters in BBC news stories? If so can I nominate this one?James Dawkins, Reading

Is this a bizarre twist of nominative determinism? It's made my day anyway.
(US man makes balloon chair trip)
Kazbat, Merseyside

Was that really the best picture to illustrate the story?
Dan, London

Paper Monitor

13:14 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

No need to apologise for tardiness on this occasion, Paper Monitor was merely holding back details of the Daily Mirror's interview with Julie Walters for readers who otherwise would be enjoying their daily porridge ration. (NB Paper Monitor strenuously denies all rumours of a hangover after yesterday's festivities.)

"I've been having hot flushes for eight years but it hasn't hurt my sex life!"

For those who haven't guessed, this is no ordinary, superficial sleb interview - rather, the theme is auntie Julie's menopause. "It started then and grew to ginormous proportions. And at night it was terrible - I have never felt so hot."

As if that wasn't enough, flicking back a few pages, to p10, the paper presents us with a full-page diagrammatic "truth about your body clock" feature, "as science shows that dads become less fertile too".

Which is fair enough, until, four pages further on, we're presented with "veteran rocker Rick Parfitt (59) proudly [showing] off his baby twins".

It's all a bit unsettling - a response Daily Mail readers may be able to understand should they decide to get into the nitty-gritty of today's leader column.

Typically portrayed as a bastion of right-wing reactionary-dom, one might expect the Mail to sign up wholeheartedly to the idea, mooted by David Cameron, for example, that anyone caught carrying a knife ought to face a mandatory jail term. Not so, it seems. The Mail accepts there are "no easy answers" in this matter and that banging up youths with knives would be a "sure way of criminalising them for life".

Then there's the Mail's take on the idea that Shakespeare - a name always invoked by traditionalists in the teaching world - should be taught to six-year-olds. It's about as far as you can get from namby, pamby modern teaching methods. So surely the Mail's on board on this one...

Again, no. "The Bard has a place in education" the paper says, but couldn't it wait a few years while "our children enjoy their all too precious years of innocence".

All of which is enough to bring Paper Monitor out in something of a hot flush of its own.

Tuesday's Quote of the Day

09:59 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2008

"Timothy Barnes" - Max Mosley's S&M roleplay name.
Timothy Barnes

The problem with going to court to claim your privacy has been invaded, is how much of your personal life you have to expose in the process. It's something motor racing boss Max Mosley found out on Monday, in the opening day of his action against the News of the World - which claims he took part in a Nazi-themed orgy. Admitting a 45-year "unfortunate interest" in sadomasochism, Mosley also revealed that in the scenario in which the Sunday tabloid claimed he was playing a Nazi concentration camp guard, he'd actually been pretending to be someone called Timothy Barnes.
More details (Guardian)

Five Letters

16:15 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

In keeping with the theme of the day...

"A child plays marbles in Saint-Malo, France, as the third stage of the Tour de France begins a short distance away." (Day in pictures) Are you sure that's the Tour de France?
Nich Hill, Portsmouth, UK

Re Concern over scrub clearance work: I am very surprised to see that the council may not cut down trees because gay men use the area for sex. Now it may be just me, but I was of the understanding that sex in a public place was against the law. If it were a heterosexual couple using the area in this manner, they would probably risk being charged by the local police. How then is the council at risk of discriminating if they remove the trees - surely they would be helping the local police clear up ILLEGAL behaviour?
Lucy, Maidstone, Kent

Well, that was certainly the best party I've been to in years. Er no, I don't get out much these days.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

I think the poor weather put off the strip-o-gram. If you see anyone dressed like a gorilla tell them that I want my money back.
Mike Thomas, Wirral

Hello? Is anyone there? Someone at the party locked me in this cupboard. Hello? Hello? I promise I won't mention coats again, promise. Hello.. anyone?
Stig, London, UK

Magazine 5th birthday invite

10:56 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

mag_5th_203x152.gifTO: All Magazine readers

DATE: Monday, 7 July

TIME: 1130 - 1330 BST

PLACE: Here, on the Magazine Monitor

Monday 7 July marks the 5th anniversary of the Magazine, and Monitor readers are invited to celebrate at a special lunchtime live letters party. Between 1130 and 1330 today, the Monitor will be hosting a constantly updated conversation in which everyone is welcome to pitch in with their t'penneth worth. Everyone - toddlers included - is welcome. When it's all over, we'll move to the lounge and dance into the small hours of the afternoon.

---POSTED AT 1330 BST---

Can I get my coat now?
Stig, London, UK

---POSTED AT 1328 BST---

I'm meant to be doing some work at the moment but seeing as all the managers here have chosen this moment to go to lunch and everyone else in the office has gone outside for a cigarette I thought I'd drop a quick line to say a very Happy 5th Birthday to you! And now I'll get back to work, honest...
Lewis W, Sutton, Surrey

So where do we queue for the goodie bags? You didn't forget them did you? did you?
Pix6, Vienna, Austria

I see the celebs have started arriving - Louise (how is Jamie by the way), Jordan (you looked fabulous outside court the other day) and Corey the Australian Party King. Who's next I ask myself!
Mike Thomas, Wirral

Sally, I don't think we'll get party bags, just kudos...

Elaine, Cardiff

Now that we're all in a fit of drunken sugar rush from too much champagne and cake, I think it's time for...the Conga!!!
Louisa, Leicester

This is certainly a lot more interesting in work... May I suggest parties on a more regular basis? It certainly seems to encourage PM to post more promptly! Now where is the cake...
Clair, N. Ireland

I found my treasured LBQ keyring and got here just before the party finished.
O.G.Nash, Doha, Qatar

Hi Monitor, Happy Birthday, Hope i'm not too late for the party. Me and Sarah have bought baked cheesecake!!
jackie Short, west midlands

---POSTED AT 1324 BST---

MONITOR: Hey groovsters, does everyone here know Twitter feed?

---POSTED AT 1321 BST---

I've just checked my window Mike, everyone here is quite selfishly still fully clothed, whatever happened to the party spirit?
Neil, The Wirral

Do we have to pay royalties if we want to sing Happy Birthday?
Lee Richards, Teesside, UK

Oh dear! As I had one of my captions returned as being unsuitable for the eyes of the public, am I banned from the party too?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

MONITOR: Just keep away from weepy girls in the corner, and be careful what you say to Glenn

---POSTED AT 1316 BST---

The monitor never posts any of my letters! And I have spent more time on the monitor than I have on any job, today has been a trip down memory lane....
Andrew, Liverpool

Thanks for the invite, I've not been to a 5th birthday party for a while now. I brought a rabbit-shaped jelly.
And the word for a kiss from an elderly relative could be 'kistle' - close enough to 'kiss', but with unpleasant connotations of 'gristle'.
Steve, Southampton UK

What, even if I promise not to inhale?
David Dee, Matola Mozambique

MONITOR: Only in Amsterdam Dave... and tobacco's a no-no.

---POSTED AT 1309 BST---

I'm partying in my dressing gown - fantastic! There are a few defining moments when you stop being a full time student and realise you are actually now just unemployed. I think this is one of them. hmmm.
Sian, Reading

So, we've had cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, a lovely piece of BakerCake and a small glass (or three) of reasonably priced sparkling wine... there's an MC Hammer-themed musical statues competition in the living room (holding still mid running-man is especially tricky) and MySpace gatecrashers are prowling the outskirts looking for a way in. The big question: where are the party bags and is there anything good in them? I've got my finders crosses for a balloon, a Drumstick lolly and a miniature pack of playing cards.
Sally, London

Party clothes from newspaper. The Monitor does surprise me. Do your talents never end? Now, who's up for a game of Spin The Bottle?
Talia, Bristol

Can we have a game of pass the parcel?
Princess, Newmarket

Caroline: have you bumped into Judy Cabbages yet? Does she look anything like you expected?

James Russell, Birmingham

Anyone fancy a game of drinking cabbaging? You take a drink for every link you click before you get back to the 90's...
The Bob, Glasgow

Is someone attempting the Macarena?
Phil, Cardiff

It's all gone terribly quiet. We haven't had a visit from the police, have we?
Sharon, King's Lynn

Oh dear, I've spent so long reading all the '5 Things' articles that i've missed out on all the fun! Bet there are only cheese sandwiches and Tab left now...
Molly, Dorking

MONITOR: No Tab, but a dusty old can of Quattro.

---POSTED AT 1304 BST---

Jimmy Savile once found my mum's dog after it escaped the house! I think that trumps meeting Michael Fish in the scrum for the VIP department? Hapyp birthday by the way, dear Magazine Monitor!
Louise, Bedfordshire>

Call this a party? You only had to ask & I'd have helped organise it.

Corey Delaney, Melbourne

The trains were late this morning, it's a Monday and I'm working hard ... apologies if I'm not on form, but I've not had a letter published in 5 years and then you don't invite me to your birthday party. Is there some kind of national tribunal I can take this issue to?
Jordan D, London, UK

Has the strip-o-gram I ordered arrived yet?
Mike Thomas, Wirral

MONITOR: Who could that be at the door? Talk about fashionably late...

Grrr. I missed the party. That'll teach me to go spinning whilst on holiday. Happy Birthday anyway MM/PM!!!
Candace, New Jersey, US

MONITOR: Ahh Candace. Mwah.

---POSTED AT 1300 BST---

My colleague says as she didn't get a personalised invite she's going to complain to the Swedish Parliament...but I'm sure a small slice of cake and a balloon will pacify her.
Janey, Edinburgh

Hi Craig - I've already asked when PM became MM but I can't find anybody sober enough to give me an answer. Maybe you have found the solution and they are two different people.

Thank heavens for this party, and the champagne. Can i bring the 4 batchelors i work with ? i am hoping someone will take them off my hands. please, someone !!
Paula, maidenhead

Craig (1241): I think you will find that Monitor, Paper is Monitor, Magazine's non gender specific sibling. PM is clearly the younger, more party loving of the two given her consistently tardy time-keeping.

Danny C, London

MONITOR: Oh dear, spinning head syndrome.

---POSTED AT 1256 BST---

Hi. I just wanted to let you know that my mate thinks you're quite cute.
Liz, Maidstone

MONITOR: [Blush... in a saturated teal sense]. Uh-oh, the neighbours are complaining...

My divorce came through today. Don't feel like celebrating so keep the noise down please
Glenn, London

---POSTED AT 1252 BST---

One wonders whether we will get cake wrapped up in copies of old newspapers. What else does the Monitor do with them?
Talia, Bristol

MONITOR: Fashion them into non-gender-determinative party clothes... at a guess.

Thanks for the invite, sorry I'm late. Is there anything left? And I'm sooooo very chuffed about my Caption Comp. 1st place mention! (Had to get that in!)
sarah, trieste, italy, Trieste, Italy

---POSTED AT 1246 BST---

Re: Emma at 1221 Do you mean this character

Danny C, London

Bagsy I be the wallflower sobbing in a corner for no discernable reason...
Sharon, King's Lynn

MONITOR: Hold on, we can't have two sobbing girls...

Do you have any pictures of you as a baby?
Belinda Walker, Devon

Where is the VIP area? Don't you know who I am? I once met Michael Fish! No, that's the way to the exit! Put me down...
Nigel Macarthur, London, England

---POSTED AT 1241 BST---

So the Paper Monitor just heard from the Paper Monitor. Either PM likes referring to oneself as an outer being, or there is more than one PM and we have all had the wool pulled over our eyes for the last 5 years.
Craig, Dorset

Sorry I'm late...I got caught in the torrential rain and my T-shirt was totally see-through so I had to go home and change...what do you mean that was unnecessary...?
Sam, Waddesdon, Nr Aylesbury, UK

Hmmm... unwelcome kisses from elderly relatives. Isn't that a peshwari nan?
Sharon, King's Lynn

---POSTED AT 1239 BST---

Can someone pass me the Tunnock's please?! I've had enough Monstor munch for now...
Caroline, Nottingham

Let your lady appreciate the lengths you'll go to please her.

MONITOR: Spam canapé anyone?

Are we following the 10 Golden Rules for this party Monitor? Oh wait...I suppose we're not children really...
Talia, Bristol

I love Monster Munch! Well done MM! Are you having a nice time? Kitchen is where the party's at. I've brought Twiglets. Can we jive though? I love to dance!
Dunky R, Edinburgh

Partying is such sweet sorrow...
Will Shakespeare, Stratford-on-Avon

Congrats, You are doing wonderfully well.
adebayo bakenne, Nigeria

I knew there was a reason I'd taken the day off today! Happy Birthday.
Camilla, Cambridge

---POSTED AT 1231 BST---

It should be pointed out that other 5th birthday parties are available.
Tim Miller, London, UK

I always end up sat on my own in the corner.
Frank, Bristol

MONITOR: Have you met the weepy, willowy girl?

---POSTED AT 1229 BST---

MONITOR: Just heard from Paper Monitor, who is being a real stick in the mud. Says (s)he is sitting at home in a non-gender determining pink tux waiting for an invite from the Times' People column. Hello Hugo... hello... hello...

---POSTED AT 1227 BST---

Is this a queue for the toilet?
The Bob, Glasgow

I've brought bunting to decorate the party! Hope you like it.
Mairi, Edinburgh

Is it OK if I plug in my iPod? I brought all the Steps albums.
Tim Miller, London, UK

Oh dear. MM has had too much to drink already. 12011BST?
Gareth, Tokyo, Japan

MONITOR: Sorry, retrospective corrections have been made.

---POSTED AT 1221 BST---

Can someone direct me towards the champagne please?
Eleanor, Liverpool, England

If James is being the drunk uncle, can I be the girl who ends up in a corner crying. I'm really good at it, and even have non-waterproof mascara on today!

MONITOR: By all means. Every party needs a weepy, willowy sort to add existential depth to the superficial frivolity.

I've brought you a present Magazine (or Monitor. Or both? Whose birthday is this anyway?) - your own personalised bound copy of the most up to date Flexicon. I particularly like the latest entry, inpspired by James/ Ted in Bristol - drunkle. This may also be used as a verb, ie "i'm going to do some serious drunkling at that wedding". See also: pancing (embarrassing dad dancing) - I'm also trying to think of one for unwelcome kisses from an elderly female (not necessarily related)
Sally, London

MONITOR: Ahh, now that's the spirit... in an entirely enjoying drink responsibly sort of way.

---POSTED AT 1218 BST---

Oh God, there's always one who has to sit on the photocopier isn't there....
Pink elephant, London

Lunchtime live? I thought you said jive!
Simon Rooke, Nottingham UK

Happy Birthday Magazine, 5 today! Did you get some nice presents?
Helen C-W, North yorks

Monitor: Nope, still waiting. But hold on, why are you grabbing my legs and arms... guys... guys...

Bumps!!!! One..... Two...... Three...... Four..... FIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!
and one for luck!
Robert, Surrey

---POSTED AT 1213 BST---

What a WONDERFUL excuse to start drinking at 4 AM!!!
roarshock, Oregon USA

MONITOR: Ahhh, hello Oregon. Have you brought any helium balloons - we hear they are in plentiful supply over there.

---POSTED AT 1211BST---

What's a pretty girl like you doing at a party like this?
Anton, Farnham

What's this? I have to sign a non-disclosure agreement not to release details of paper monitor's gender when we meet him/her/it? Oh all right then, why not?
Lester Mak, London, UK

Hi! This is nice.. Can newbies join the fun?
Zee1, London UK

MONITOR: Of course, Zee1 - everyone's welcome... you are with present, presumably.

---POSTED AT 1207 BST---

Having managed to get through the traffic and find somewhere to leave my coat, I'm really looking forward to meeting the PM... (Is the colour of the cake a clue to his/her gender?)
Sarah, France

MONITOR: (S)he's running late... you won't be surprised to hear.

---POSTED AT 1205 BST---

Are we going to be having party games? I especially like musical statues...
Trish, Scotland

MONITOR: Bagsy be the Angel of the North.

---POSTED AT 1202 BST---

Excuse me a moment whilst I move my laptop into the kitchen. Everyone knows that's where the best parties happen.
Deborah, Surrey

MONITOR: Good point Deborah. Everyone out of the master bedroom.

---POSTED AT 1159 BST---

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Monitor
Happy Birthday to you!
Ruth, Scotland

Are Caption Competition and Punorama invited?
Elanor, Loughborough

Has anyone else claimed the role of the uncle who gets overly drunk and embarrasses everyone at this party yet? If not can I stake a claim for this coveted position, I do so like a drink in the morning.
James, Bristol

Monitor: By all means James, although you'd need to adopt a more suitable drunk uncle moniker - Uncle Ted perhaps.

---POSTED AT 1156 BST---

I'm only staying if LBQ is turning up...
Al Newell, Bournemouth, UK

What a fantastic place you've got here - must be the size of two olympic swimming pools...
William, Bracknell

Monitor: More like three football pitches.

---POSTED AT 1153 BST---

Why, MM, I do believe I am not sufficiently inebriated for that. Also, I appear to have ingested a dictionary!
Estrella, Brum

Thanks for inviting me to your party MM! Are you serving nibbles? I'll have some VAT free, non-potato based Pringle crisps please...
Fiona, Glasgow, Scotland

Monitor: Sorry Fiona, it's Skips or pickled onion Monster Munch for the moment.

---POSTED AT 1148 BST---

Sorry i'm late - the weather on the solent is abysmal!
sarah b, isle o'wight

Helen O, Falkirk

Where are the Twiglets?
Robert, Surrey

In a fit of nominative determinism, I have made you a cake. Enjoy!
Mrs Baker, Cambridge

Stevie Wonder's Happy Birthday is a bit cliched. Have you no techno?
Mike Thomas, Wirral

---POSTED AT 1145 BST---

I just *knew* you'd be classy enough to include cheesy pineapple sticks, the spread looks simply marvellous...
Daniel, London

---POSTED AT 1141 BST---

MONITOR: Yes, Pixie, it's been incredible - the number of people visiting the Magazine over the past five years. Oh, sorry, you didn't mean internet traffic. THE music is very loud in here.

---POSTED AT 1143 BST---

How many buses did you have to take to get here?
Mike Thomas, Wirral

Would you mind keeping it down, I work nights you see...
Tim , London

---POSTED AT 1137 BST---

Happy birthday, magazine. May you have a long and fruitful life, and plenty more news quizzes.
Emma, London

You wouldn't believe the traffic...
Pixie, Berlin

---POSTED AT 1134 BST---
Are you published here often?
Pix6, Vienna, Austria

---POSTED AT 1130 BST---
Where do we leave our coats?
Stig, London, UK

MONITOR: Oh hello! So lovely to see you. Mwah, mwah,

Magazine on Twitter

10:48 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

The Magazine's Twitter feed has been described as "a thing of beauty", "a rare treat", "a wonderful way of getting an extra shot of Magazineyness whenever you want it" and "something else to update" - yes, all by members of the Magazine team.

It's conventional at these times to explain what Twitter is. That can become very tedious - so putting it briefly, it's a bit like Facebook status - a way of sending one-sentence updates. Wikipedia has more about it here.

To follow the Magazine on Twitter, you can click here. If you want to follow it regularly, the easiest way is to sign up for a Twitter account. We're working on ways of making it available via other routes too. We'll let you know about that. And perhaps it should be pointed out that other micro-blogging services are available.

If you feel this is all over your head, don't worry Iggle Piggle. It's just an added extra - you can still enjoy all your Magazine goodness in the way you always have - good old hypertext transfer protocol. Ahhh....

Paper Monitor

09:30 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Somebody should coin a word - or draw our attention to a previous coinage - for the dark tabloid art of sticking a head on top of someone else's body.

The photos are accompanied by a caption saying "what x would look like if he..." They're a staple of sports stories. But they're also a common occurrence in the news pages.

In the Daily Mirror there's a feature headlined "Royality TV" that is a multiple offender. It's asking what the royal family might be like as presenters of reality TV stars. The Duchess of Cornwall has her head superimposed on the body of Carol Thatcher in I'm a Celebrity, while the Duke of Edinburgh's ends up on a Newsnight presenter.

On page 19 of the Sun there's an even worse example. Members of the wealthy Bin Laden family are being linked with the purchase of Newcastle United. The Bin Laden family disowned Osama some years ago for his activities. How to illustrate this story?

A picture of Osama in a Newcastle strip with the club crest on his turban.

It's not big or clever.

And on the occasion of the Magazine's fifth birthday, Paper Monitor feels compelled to note that having lost, Roger Federer will be able to use his cardigan with the RF5 buttons again next year.

The joy of recycling...

Monday's Quote of the Day

09:27 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

"I thought I was going to be sick when I walked on to court" - Wimbledon girls' champion Laura Robson

laurarobson.gifAt last, a British winner at Wimbledon. Aged just 14, home fans will be hoping that she will have plenty of time to repeat that feat in the years to come. Australian-born Laura, who now lives in SW19, said she was too nervous to sleep before Saturday's big match on Court One.

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