BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for August 10, 2008 - August 16, 2008

10 things we didn't know last week

17:42 UK time, Friday, 15 August 2008

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

1. Olympic swimmers can consume more than 12,000 calories a day while training. And not get fat.
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2. Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson was once ranked seventh in the UK at fencing (men's foil).
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3. There were 1,048 babies named Gertrude in 1907 but none in 2005.
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4. Octopuses do not have eight legs. They have six arms and two legs.
More details (Times)

5. The number of farmland birds in the UK is about half of what it was in the 1970s.
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6. Penguins receive knighthoods.
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7. Ear infections can affect the risk of being obese because they influence the nerves governing taste.
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8. A rooftop luggage carrier increases fuel consumption by 20%.
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9. Mills and Boon still publish at least one sheikh romance a month.
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10. Buying oil only requires a 10% deposit of the market price.
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Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to Kirsten Elliott for this week's picture of 10 flags at Trowbridge Village Pump Festival).

Your Letters

17:27 UK time, Friday, 15 August 2008

The other day on the bus, I heard a woman chatting away on her mobile phone in Polish, when she suddenly said the phrase "Health and Safety" in English, with a sigh. Is there no direct translation of "Health and Safety" in Polish, or does the Polish phrase not quite have the same frisson of disillusionment as the English?
Michael Hall, Croydon, UK

Dan from Cambridge (Thursday's Letters), your assumption is not entirely correct. As a man, I would love a body like Michael Phelps, but, so would my girlfriend.
Cornish Bob, Truro

I'm a girl but I find myself also desiring Michael Phelps' hull shaped body like the man/lady PM. Currently I'm stuck with what can only be described as dinghy-like.
Bobbie, Ponteract, West Yorkshure

Are the experts mentioned in this story coffin boffins?
Michael, Rockville, MD, USA

Studying the A-level results and applying the conventional analysis of the number of A grades, I am glad to see that the easiest subject is Further Maths (57.5% with A grades) which is harder than Maths (still an easy choice at 44%). The foreign languages, which everyone agrees are so badly taught, are the next easiest group (around 38%), followed by serious science subjects. The hardest subjects include Media Studies (13.7%), Performing Arts (16.7%) and Sport (16%). Oh dear. Perhaps we should think a little harder before throwing our hands up in horror at these "easy" exams.
Jo Edkins, Cambridge

I'm not going mad, am I? Random Stat seems to be appearing on the Magazine homepage at random, but links through to the Magazine Monitor (or a bookmark on that page called a020650). Two different stats spotted so far today.
Ed, Clacton, UK

Caption Competition

13:06 UK time, Friday, 15 August 2008

Winning entries in the caption competition.

georgeandbill424getty.jpgGeorge Bush chats with former Microsoft boss Bill Gates at the National Aquatic Centre in Beijing. But what's being said?

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

There is still no prize, except the traditional small quantity of kudos.

6. Fauconnier
"Yeah I get all my trousers made for me by Getty Images."

5. Kjabooti
"Hey Bill, Windows said I performed an illegal operation and had to shut down. Who are you guys, the United Nations?"

4. Rob Falconer
"I sure love candy, Bill. I'm hoping to try some of these Chinese Wispas I've heard about."

3. Tremorman
Hi Bill, those iPhones are a great invention, I mean who would have thought you could make a call with your eye?"

2. CoasterCowboy
"Honest Bill, little guy on the way in, got two tickets for the swimming, two Xbox360 games and a copy of Vista for $10."

1. planetmarshalluk
"Have you tried turning it off and on?"

Paper Monitor

10:43 UK time, Friday, 15 August 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

She has on occasion been deemed the greatest feminist writer of her generation. She has on other occasions been described as "a great big hard-boiled prat".

But it is hard to imagine that the two-page Madonna cuts job [an article miraculously constructed without the use of telephone, car, train or Shanks' pony] that Germaine Greer has knocked out for the Sun will ever sit among her career highlights.

Appearing under the extraordinary banner "WHEN FEMINIST PROFESSORS WRITE... THEY WRITE FOR THE SUN", it is not immediately obvious what the appeal of the subject matter is.

But she gets stuck in with her usual idiosyncratic gusto, dubbing Madonna a "streetwise midget" in the first par. It's a bit harsh as a quick googling of "Madonna" and "height" produces an average result of 5ft 4ins. One has to suppose that the Amazonian six-footer from Melbourne probably looks on many people as midgets, both physical and mental.

Anyway, Greer's analysis, that Madonna is a marketing expert always changing her image, is possibly the least surprising of the Australian's writing career.

Elsewhere on the same page there's more extraordinary Sun headlineage. Story about a Chinese-born man jailed for smuggling fake trainers? "Jail for Fu Man Shoe".

A passing mention must be made of the A-level results. There are usually only two stories in town the day after the results. One: they've got so easy it's now little more than multiple choice/scratch-and-sniff/fit-the-shape-in-the-hole. Two: look at all the pretty 18-year-old girls jumping for joy.

This year does not disappoint. And there's relief across all of the papers that Alex Griffiths - an A and two Bs, plus BB in two AS levels - turns out to be rather bonny. She's plastered across the front of the Times and Daily Telegraph. This is the girl who was kidnapped as a newborn baby from a hospital in 1990. Her mother selling her story for a reported six-figure sum helped pay for the girl's private education.

The successful 18-year-old says: "Strangely, I probably wouldn't have done as well as I did if I hadn't been kidnapped."

A touching tribute to chequebook journalism.

Friday's Quote of the Day

09:27 UK time, Friday, 15 August 2008

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

"I am afraid I find the Scottish national poet no more than a king of sentimental doggerel" - Jeremy Paxman takes a controversial view of Robert Burns

It's not the first time that the BBC's Jeremy Paxman has offended Scottish sentiment and it's unlikely to be the last. His contribution to the introduction for the new edition
of the Chambers Dictionary has already drawn ire.
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Your Letters

15:04 UK time, Thursday, 14 August 2008

I would like to take the gold medal for having the most published letters, however I have only ever had one published (two if everyone is reading this). I therefore suspect that there is more than one Adam from London, which has skewed your calculations.
Adam, London

A bronze! I had no idea I'd been so prolific in my time wasting! This is one of the proudest days of my life... sniff. (Note to MM: if this gets published, that makes it 27 and puts me on a par with Stig, okay??)
Sue, London

Re most published letters, I do believe that Sue, London, is actually two people. My mum (Sue, London)who used to send in and have published the odd humurous letter no longer can (due to something called work?). However the majority of letters and certainly the more recent ones from Sue, London, are from a different Sue who isn't my mum - I think. (Gosh my head hurts and I sort of understand this!) Do we need a recount?
Chick , Gatwick

Oh dear, you've really done it, haven't you, publishing that letter from James G? Doubtless Thursday's letters will be crammed with more mind-numbing demographic trivia. It's all too awful to contemplate. Anybody fancy a pint?
David Dee, Matola Mozambique

Wow! I never realised that kudos was available in different colours. Gold, silver and bronze.
Gordon, Newcastle

Good grief, was James G having an extremely slack day at work? Or is he currently a gentleman of leisure? And VERY bored?
Sharon, Portsmouth, UK

Re: the Magazine Monitor Olympic Games... having had only one thing I've ever sent to MM published (a caption in a caption competition last year) and studiously missing every other attempt at publication, I can only hope to assume an Eddie the Eagle style 'so bad it's good' position in the rankings...
Daniel, London

Ah ha! So Paper Monitor wants a body like Michael Phelps (and not like, say, Becky Adlington) - I think that conclusively answers the question of PM's sex.
Dan, Cambridge

Is it just me or is sending out 1000s of leaflets to thank people for recycling a tad ironic? what are they supposed to do with these thank you leaflets? Recycle them I guess. How ridiculous.
Naomi P, Sussex, UK

Couldn't help but notice this man's car changed colour some time this morning!
Steve S, Lincs

Am I the only one who finds the irony in this story?
For a man that hates paper money, he still writes a cheque...
Jay Saunders, Shrivenham

The A level results are out today. That means that all the photogenic girls have passed again, and will be seen all over the TV and - oh look, they're on this site already!
John Whapshott, Westbury, England

Two errors in Maths made interesting. (1) It would have to be a very small child to crawl under a 16cm high string. (2) There are also locations near the South Pole, where going S, E, N takes you back to where you started (because the east step takes you right round the pole!) Of course there are no bears down there, so perhaps he spotted a penguin?
Hamish McGlobbie, Leeds

I proclaim this story a lie. It wasn't more interesting.
Dan, London

Me and My Lunch

12:40 UK time, Thursday, 14 August 2008

This week, the Magazine is looking at how readers spend their lunchtimes.

Following Monday's feature, which assessed why fewer of us are taking proper lunchbreaks, people have been telling us what they get up to in that precious 30 minutes or - if they're lucky - that hour.

katie_203.jpgTHURSDAY: Katie Betts, 36, who works for an international tyre manufacturer in Cumbria, takes her huskies (Sola and Ciela, pictured) into work so she can walk them in her half-hour lunch break.

They stay in her van, which has a cooling system, but she only brings them to work if the weather isn't too warm. Come lunch, it's walkies in the Caldew River valley.

"I see a few other workers from other companies down by the river 'escaping' too but generally it is very peaceful.

"We watch the herons, buzzards, red kites, weasels, mice, and otters (occasionally) and it brings me back to reality and allows me breathing space with those that appreciate me not for targets, savings, volumes, scrap reduction and product quality but just for being with them enjoying life."

peter_203.jpgWEDNESDAY: One man who does manage to get away from his desk is Peter Etherington, 33, who works as a software developer for SSP in the Dean Clough mills in Halifax.

He walks into Halifax town centre, a route that takes him underneath the beautiful, wrought iron North Bridge, to the Cinnamon Cafe, where he enjoys one of the menu's specials, such as cottage pie with a carrot mash or a Yorkshire Pasty containing minced meat and minty peas.

"I do a bit of reading while I have my meal. I'm currently having a go at The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. Not the most relaxing read - I normally read something a bit less heavy, like The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M Auel, which was my last 'cafe-book'.

"Overall, the walk and the meal with a good book gets me out the office. It helps me switch off for an hour and the change of scenery is welcome.

"I'd feel the day was much longer if I just popped to the shop for a sandwich and came back to eat at my desk, like some people in the office do. Plus I get some fresh air. All in all, it's much more preferable to a deskbound lunch hour."

What do you do at lunchtime? Tell us by clicking on the "Monday's feature" link above and using the form at the bottom of the story.

cynthia_203.jpgTUESDAY: The designer lunchbox on the right belongs to Cynthia Leon, a 26-year-old Canadian (pictured below) who teaches English at a school about 150km north of Tokyo.

The snazzy box is by Paul Smith X, and its equally impressive contents are parsley salad, dates, crackers and proscuitto ham.

Cynthia's lunchtime is an hour from 12.35pm but for the first half-hour she may be monitoring the students having their lunch.

"The Japanese lunches are prepared by the school, by a local food centre or restaurant. Small teams of students take turns to serve lunch to their classmates.

cynthia_66.jpg"School lunches contain a rich variety of healthy and nutritious foods, and students look forward to lunchtime.

"People always say "Itadakimasu -- いただきます" (let's eat) before each meal. When the meal is done: Gochisousama deshita -- ごちそうさまでした (Good food, good meal).

"Japanese people love their curry and rice. My predecessor is from London and claims that Japanese curry is not curry. Nothing beats a good British curry!"

cynthia2_203.jpgThe students and teachers typically eat milk, rice or noodles, bread or cake, soup and meat or fish.

But Cynthia prepares her own lunch and for the last half-hour she often goes for a walk along the river, listening on her iPod to music by Fabio, Mary Ann Hobbs and Gilles Peterson.

Paper Monitor

12:32 UK time, Thursday, 14 August 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Michael Phelps, eh? He's a big bloke. Muscular too. And Paper Monitor doubts that its own diet of porridge for breakfast, the odd jog about the park and sprint training (ie: running for the bus) will ever result in a bod to rival that of the man some call the greatest Olympian of all time.

So it's time to ditch the oats and eat like an Olympian. The Guardian, handily, details his 12,000 calorie a day diet. Once Paper Monitor has gone a couple of weeks on this eating regime, Phelps better watch his back.

BREAKFAST: "Three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes, fried onions and mayo. Then he has a five egg omelette, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast and three pancakes with chocolate chips."

Chocolate chip pancakes! For breakfast! That man has all the fun.

But he does wear baseball caps back-to-front - in public. Which is surely too high a price to pay.

He's on the front page of the Daily Telegraph too. And what's this? A Telegraph tradition lies shattered in the dust. Today is the day A-level students get their results. Which means tomorrow's papers will be covered in photos of attractive young fillies in summery tops hugging each other.

To get in early with a pic of jubilant pupil, the paper has an eight-page guide for those about to embark on life after school. Their chosen student has all the usual attributes present and correct, except for one. T-shirt? Check. Beaming smile? Check. Easy on the eye? Check. Female? Uh-uh. It's a young man.

Bet the picture editor reverts to type for tomorrow's editions. Watch this space.

Thursday's Quote of the Day

11:24 UK time, Thursday, 14 August 2008

"Croquet" - What John Prescott misses most about no longer being the Deputy Prime Minister.

prescott_isfphoto.jpgSay what you will about the MP for Twojagsshire, he knows how to send himself up. While nominally in charge of the country during Tony Blair's 2006 summer holiday, long lense photographers snapped Mr Prescott weilding a croquet mallet at Dorneywood, his grace-and-favour residence.
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Crunch Creep

11:18 UK time, Thursday, 14 August 2008

Strange, tangential and often unlikely events laid at the door of the credit crunch.

The city weekend break to mainland Europe appears to be a victim of the tighter family budgets, says Thomas Cook. But sales of longer foreign holidays are increasing as people prioritise the main summer getaway. (More details, Daily Telegraph)

Senior company executives are quitting the UK to further their careers abroad, with Switzerland the biggest beneficiary, according to a recruitment website. (More details, Daily Telegraph)

Airlines are reducing the weight of passenger meals and making cutlery and trolleys lighter, in an attempt to knock off those expensive ounces and save fuel. (More details, Daily Telegraph)

Your Letters - Special Edition

16:13 UK time, Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Monitor note: Just the one letter today. But what a letter...

In honour of the Olympics, I thought it would be nice to have our very own Magazine Monitor Games. I have completed an arduous and often soul-destroying adventure through the Monitor archive and can inform you that the following people are our first medal winners (apologies for any inaccuracies, as it took a long time and I'm woefully human):

Most Published Letters:
Adam, London, UK - 72
Basil Long, Leicester (Newark), Notts - 43
Robin, Edinburgh (Glasgow) - 29
Ed, Clacton, UK - 29
MJ Simpson, Leicester, UK - 28
Kip, Norwich, UK - 28
Christian Cook, Epsom - 27
Stig, London, UK - 27
Dylan, Reading, UK - 27
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales - 26
Sue, London, UK - 26
Stuart, Croydon - 26

For the record, some other factoids:

Men published: 66%
Women published: 34%

Top Towns (number of posters by population):
Cambridge: Astonishingly it appears one in every 2,358 people in Cambridge has had a letter published on the Monitor.
Oxford: 1/4809
Bath: 1/6667

Top Home Nation:
England: 1/38,024
Scotland: 1/44,111
Wales: 1/60,092
N Ireland: 1/72567

Top Nation (outside the UK):

Top Non-English Speaking Nation (Scotland not included):

And just for fun (they do have beach volleyball in the Olympics after all):

Top Man's Name:

Top Woman's Name:

There are of course many other events, but should this get published (and that would put me on one - only 71 to go) I would like to see what the rest of you can come up with.
James G, London

Paper Monitor

12:14 UK time, Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The journalists get all the headlines (and bylines), but they don't write them. That's the job of sub-editors, who also correct, chop, check and lay out the copy.

But subs are not the only unsung heroes in the newsroom. Indeed, we regularly highlight some of their best headlines in these pages.

So today Paper Monitor tips its hat (a snappy trilby, if you're asking) to another neglected breed, the graphic designers. They are thinkers and technical artists rolled into one.

Tuesday's story about rising food inflation offered them a rare opportunity to shine. Did they?

Daily Express and Daily Mail - Designers must be on a beach somewhere. 0/10

Daily Mirror - Simple graphs, no pictures. The paper's more concerned with the price of Peaches than eggs. 1/10

Independent - Slightly better. Faded black and white image of a trolley, accompanied by bar charts for each food. 3/10

Sun - Four tiny pictures (meat, bread, gas and electricity) with a graph. 4/10

Daily Telegraph - Images of food, transport and pretty blonde in M&S T-shirt. All with percentage increases. 5/10

Financial Times - Nice colour pics of food, furniture and a BA plane. Accompanied by graphs. But illustrating the 11% rise in vegetable prices with pictures of potatoes misfires slightly. Especially with the knowledge that new potatoes have actually gone up 50% in price. 8/10

Times - Top of the class. A colour picture from above a breakfast table with fry-up, toast, cereal, tea and juice clearly annotated with percentage figures. Give these guys an inflation-busting pay rise. 9/10

Paper Monitor apologises that it was unable to illustrate this battle of the designers with a clever graphical image.

Wednesday's Quote of the Day

09:42 UK time, Wednesday, 13 August 2008

"The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression" - Music director Chen Qigang on why a more photogenic child lip-synced the song at the opening ceremony.

chinasinger_afp_ap.jpgLittle Yang Peiyi, left, can perhaps take solace in the fact that she has the most perfect singing voice in China. But when Communist Party officials watched her in rehearsal, they asked for a prettier substitute. So nine-year-old Lin Miaoke - pictured right, ready of smile and long of hair - mimed along to Peiyi singing Ode to the Motherland.
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Your Letters

15:39 UK time, Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Re. Public memorials, There's a plaque in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral, which just says "Father forgive". As an atheist, all the other stuff with nails and crosses does nothing for me, but I find the plaque incredibly moving.
Alexander Lewis Jones, Nottingham, UK

I thoroughly enjoyed last night's Britain from above' - the same high quality as Andrew Marr's A History of Modern Britain - but why wasn't it simply called A Geography of Modern Britain? The word geography was barely mentioned, yet that was the topic under discussion.
Charles Rawding, Clitheroe, Lancashire, UK

I like the manner in which this story describes the Star Wars films as a "cult sci-fi series". Given that the Star Wars films are some of the most commercial successful and widely seen pieces of cinema of all time, I am left slightly baffled by the description.
Jacob, London

Re. Empty Olympic seats cause concern, can you "hire" a volunteer?
Sophie, London

In the article Sky-High system to aid soldiers it says "Instead of lenses the imaging system uses an array of microscopic sensors in front of which is a specially made "mask" randomly punctured with holes in a particular pattern." That's very clever - randomly but in a pattern!
Alan, Ramsey

No, no, no, Magazine. "Prosciutto" is Italian for "ham" (see Me and My Lunch). This is the equivalent of the "HIV virus" or "SATS tests". If PM wished to tell us that the ham was Italian in style or origin then "prosciutto" would have sufficed.
Andrew Cullum, London

My nomination for the most hard-to-believe fact on the BBC news website is "The UK's annual rate of inflation rose to 4.4% in July, its highest level since records began in 1997." (UK inflation up to 4.4% in July) 1997? Are you seriously trying to tell me that we have no records of what inflation was doing in, say, the 1980s?
Adam, London, UK

Well Nigel Macarthur (Letters, Monday) I suggest you find it be looking in the last place you didn't see it.
Dave, Greenford, UK

Nigel (Letters, Monday), you write your name on the back.
Barry, London

As I look at the BBC News homepage, I see that the two most popular e-mailed stories are: 1) Running 'can slow aging process' 2) 'Sexcercise' yourself into shape. I hope the two stories are not related - even here in tolerant Holland, this would still probably get you arrested!
Paul, The Hague, The Netherlands

See the BBC online is right up to date with the Olympics. Search for "Olympic news BBC" on google and you get the games 2004 site at the top...
Adrian, whitehaven

Nominative Determinism strikes again in Author's novel invitation to home
Vincent, Worthing

Paper Monitor

11:37 UK time, Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Having been the golden boy of the British press only days ago, Tom Daley's "flop" from grace has come hard and fast. The story of his "bust-up" with diving partner Blake Aldridge dominates not just the back but also the front pages of nearly all the papers (bar the Daily Star, which is above such trivialites, concentrating instead on the more important news of "Big Bro Rex's live sex show").

The pictures of the moody 14-year-old glaring at his team-mate are in direct contrast to those of the smiling swimming medallists Rebecca Adlington and Joanne Jackson. However, being typically British and "bah humbug", the papers are more interested in the former. Who wants to read about a cheerful happy win (and bronze) when you can concentrate on the scowling sulk of the previously cheeky, grinning, boy wonder?

In fact, nearly all of the press pack, with the exception of the three red tops, has chosen the prized spot of page three for the tale of Tom Daley's Olympic row.

The headlines are comfortably predictable in their use of diving/water-related lingo: "Belly strop" (Daily Mirror), "Swearing, rows and sour grapes. Daley's dream takes a tumble" (Times), "Teenage diver in row as medal hopes sink" (Telegraph) "An untimely phone call, a poolside row and medal hopes end in a belly flop" (Guardian). The Sun has chosen to rise above such aquatic jargon though, preferring the ever so suggestive "Girls on top... boys in strop". Ooh er.

On to other matters, and at a time of such rebellion in the ranks poolside, it's good to see the Times standing by its stable-mate. The plug for the Sun's freebie later this week is big, bright and unmissable. Ah... such unity makes the world seem a better place after all.

Tuesday's Quote of the Day

10:06 UK time, Tuesday, 12 August 2008

"This is supposed to be a centre of excellence. To have an indictment drawn up by some illiterate idiot is just not good enough." - Judge David Paget is unimpressed by charges drawn up by the Crown Prosecution Service

At Wood Green Crown Court, the judge balked at a charge of "greivous" bodily harm, and was appalled by another accusing the defendant of using an offensive weapon, "namely axe", instead of "an axe".

"It's quite disgraceful," the judge judged, throwing the paper down on his bench.
More details

Your Letters

14:51 UK time, Monday, 11 August 2008

How fascinating to hear that kangaroo meat "tastes excellent, not unlike venison - only a different flavour". Am I missing something, or could pretty much everything else you eat be described as tasting not unlike venison, as long as you allow that the flavour might not be the same?
Adam, London, UK

If your cloak of invisibility blows away, or you lose it, how do you find it again?
Nigel Macarthur, London, England

I thought of the Monitor this weekend when I saw a drive-in diner advertising the Credit Crunch Brunch. (At £5, I'm thinking the customers are the ones feeling the crunch.)
Susannah, Northampton

I think "Credit Crunch Bites" could catch a starter obviously. "Slump Steak" as a main course, and "No-profit-eroles" for dessert.
Doug B, Caerphilly, Wales

As your recent piece listing particularly acerbic criticisms didn't mention AA Gill I am forced to criticise it, even though I know where that will lead. Apologies.

Mike, London

Here is not only a fine display of the modern and liberal attitudes that can still prevail in my hometown, but also a reasonable example of nominative determinism (if my patronymic pronunciation hasn't gone south just as I did).
Jamie Wright, Brixton, UK

Paper Monitor

11:03 UK time, Monday, 11 August 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The following story involves a serious and unacceptable alleged assault on an animal. There is nothing amusing about it.

A "pensioner" has been arrested for having sex with a horse, the Sun reports.

The newspaper has a small picture of a white horse with the "black bar of anonymity" over its eyes. The caption says: "'Attractive'... horse". There is nothing amusing about this.

Also reading the Sun, Paper Monitor spots what should have been Monday's quote of the day. Darn it.

A man, Karl Wiosna, from South Wales, has had his CDs, cassettes, record decks and stereo destroyed by magistrates after he drove neighbours mad playing Cher's dancey 90s hit Believe at full volume every day. In his defence, Wiosna says: "It wasn't just Cher - I used to play heavy metal too." Not quite getting the point there, I fear.

Over in the Independent there's another quote that puzzles. In the Pandora column, Konnie Huq is reported as saying: "That's how I started out. I was in the National Youth Music Theatre with Jude Law, Matt Lucas - those sorts of people - about 10 years ago."

It's a little strange, because Huq became a full-time Blue Peter presenter on 1 December 1997. How did she find time for the youth theatre. And how heartening that Law found time for the youth theatre at the same time as he was making The Talented Mr Ripley.

It's curious, because the wise Wikipedia says Jude Law was in the National Youth Music Theatre in 1987 and of course, in 1989, Huq appeared on Blue Peter to sing a song while a member.

Moving on, it's time to feel sorry for the newspapers with their tough deadlines.

How dare the Olympic organisers schedule a swimming event with a chance of British medals at 0419 BST? British women win gold and bronze and there's not a thing the newspapers can do about it.

The only thing they can run with is Nicole Cooke's gold in the cycling which is from 24 hours ago. They can't go big on it, except the Daily Mirror which splashes on this day-old news.

And both the Mirror and the Sun go for variations of "Gold Pedal"/"Gold Pedallist". You can even see it on the BBC News frontpage.

Ah, great minds.

Monday's Quote of the Day

09:16 UK time, Monday, 11 August 2008

"I don't pray and I don't go to church but I'm intrigued by it, I dig it. I'm into the idea that there could be a god and aliens and reincarnation" - Liam Gallagher shows a mixed understanding of the mainstream church

Whenever a great mind speaks on the topic of spirituality, the world listens. And the Oasis frontman's musings have already been discussed in the blogosphere.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

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