BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for September 12, 2010 - September 18, 2010

10 things we didn't know last week

15:52 UK time, Friday, 17 September 2010

Snippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. Cancer patients typically make 53 visits to hospital during treatment.
More details

2. Bubbles lives in Florida.
More details (The Sun)

3. DJ Paul Oakenfold made about £20,000 a year from the Big Brother theme tune.
More details (The Guardian)

4. Tony Blair has not watched The Queen, in which he features.
More details

5. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, invented bifocal glasses.
More details

6. When people fall in love they lose on average two close friends.
More details

7. Subbuteo has a rugby version.
More details

8. The Pope's aircraft is known as "Shepherd One".
More details

9. Humans could not digest milk 10,000 years ago.
More details

10. Oxford University doesn't care whether you can play the flute.
More details

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to Vic Barton-Walderstadt for this week's picture of 10 pink roses.

Your Letters

14:34 UK time, Friday, 17 September 2010

To Adrian in London (Letters, Thursday) - I predict the Meddle table top three to be 1. USA, 2. UK, 3. Scooby-Gang.
Graham, Frome

Aaron in Lowesoft (Letters, Thursday), I think you'll find that as 1992 was a leap year there are a few people born in that year who will only be four this year.
Colin, London

Is someone at the BBC going out of their way to write headlines that disappoint?
Rik Alewijnse, Feering, UK

What with everything on the front pages I misread "US peace envoy George Mitchell" and thought he'd had a pretty swift turnaround.
Basil Long, Nottingham

I am surely not alone in wishing to express my deep gratitude for this article. The step-by-step "What Is A Pie?" guide is invaluable.
Neil Franklin, Chandlers Ford, UK

It's not fair! I got the first three questions right on the 7 days quiz - I was really on a roll - then you made the questions harder!

Hoorah. Frabtious joy! High euphoria! Aged 60 next week, and scored an average of 32 on the mental agility test. Then did the 7 days quiz and turned out to be a Wibbly Pig. Euphoria deflated. Grumpy old age returned. I'll get my galoshes - as soon as I can find my glasses.
Paul Morris, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon, UK

It's easy to get a low score on the mental agilty tests. I just said "Whatever" when each screen came up and clicked to the next one, and got a score of 15 on all of them.
Graham, Purmerend

Caption Competition

12:43 UK time, Friday, 17 September 2010


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

This week it was people taking part in Mexico's bicentennial parade in Mexico City.

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

6. Candace
When Damien Hirst dreams

5. MightyGiddyUpGal
Brides-dead revisited

4. Nick Fowler
Deadpan's People

3. Rob Falconer
Don't acid rain on my parade

2. RoseSelavy
The unfortunate consequence of arsenic and old lace

1. bennym22
Seven Brides for Seven Riders of the Apocalypse

Paper Monitor

09:45 UK time, Friday, 17 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

One story dominates all others: the kicking-off of Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.

Consequently, Paper Monitor is rebranded, for one day only, as Papal Monitor.

With so much Roman Catholic protocol to explain, the coverage is deeply educational.
The Daily Telegraph tells us that the pontiff is keen on buffalo mozzarella cheese. Many of the papers point out that his aircraft is officially known as "Shepherd One". And the Daily Mirror says his red shoes symbolise the blood of martyrs.

Each paper, of course, has its own take on the success or otherwise of the visit.

For the Daily Telegraph, it was a "once in a lifetime experience", an "unabashed celebration of Catholicism" as a crowd of 65,000 gathered in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park.

The Daily Mail notes with approval the Pope's warning about the dangers of "aggressive forms of secularism". Its leader says this is a message that will "strike a chord with many of us".

Aggressive secularists might prefer the coverage in the Independent, which on its front page highlights the Church's abuse scandals and asks whether the Pope's message is "doomed to fall on stony ground".

Not every paper is so ponderous. The Sun, as usual, refers to the man formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger by the title "Papa Ratzi"; its main story leads off on the revelation that he drank Fanta while meeting the Queen.

The Times, likewise, despatches its chief rock critic Pete Paphides to review the open-air Mass in Glasgow as though it were a Coldplay gig. "Like Bono," Paphides deadpans, the Pope "certainly knows a thing or two about making an entrance".

Interestingly, the paper which takes the visit most seriously is not any of the heavies but the red-top, left-of-centre Daily Mirror.

Aware that its core readership in the north-west of England will contain a goodly proportion of RCs, it devotes no fewer than seven pages to the visit, including op-eds from the likes of Edward Stourton, Peter Tatchell and Rev Richard Coles.

Friday's Quote of the Day

09:07 UK time, Friday, 17 September 2010

"It was a very small car you arrived in, wasn't it? Very tight squeeze?" - Queen's first words to the Pope

As the pontiff arrived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, he was greeted by the Queen, who has a reputation for being adept at small talk.

More details (Guardian)

Your Letters

15:47 UK time, Thursday, 16 September 2010

Regarding George Michael's induction question (Thursday's Paper Monitor), would I be correct in assuming that had he got it right he would have been turned away?
Carl Evans, Crepy-en-Valois, France

Sports people, beware. Play badly and you can expect to be arrested. Let this be your warning, we the people of the UK, have given you fair warning of our attitude to a low meddle score in 2012. This is very silly, now no-one can have an off day.
Adrian, London, UK

Re: the papal advisor's ill health, it sounds like Cardinal Kasper is suffering from a disease more commonly found in politicians, foot-in-mouth syndrome.
Andrew, London

Troy in Oz, please do tell us of that thought that one cannot think in French. I am intrigued.
Charlie, Cambridge

"Someone born in 1992 will be 18 this year." Actually, I think all of them will.
Aaron, Lowestoft, UK

My scores in order were 18, 28, 18 and 18. So the inside is working fine (seeing as I'm 40). Now just got to get the outside back to being youthful, which is considerably harder to do.
Carey, Woking, Surrey

I just scored 18, 18, 18, and 18 on your mental agility tests... I'm 50 next month. Does this mean I'm immature.
Rob, London, UK

Andrew (Wednesday's letters), did you really wear a MATCHING tie with your nice blue shirt? That transported me back to the very early seventies, when it was, inexplicably, deemed appropriate for a 10 year old boy-about-town's parents to buy him shirt and tie sets, where the blinkin' tie was made of absolutely the same material as the shirt! And, yes, I had pink and turquoise, both with swirly flowery patterns. I'll get me frock coat.
Neil Franklin, Chandlers Ford, UK

Paper Monitor

11:35 UK time, Thursday, 16 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Mr and Mrs Rooney will be grateful to be off the tabloid front pages for the first time in weeks.

Help has come from an unlikely quarter - the imprisonment of singer George Michael, which caught many commentators by surprise.

His first night in Pentonville Prison has the tabs scrambling for evidence of how he is settling into his new home.

The Sun and the Star emphasise how "tough" life is in this particular prison, which might come as some surprise to their readers, who are constantly being told how indulged inmates are these days.

The Sun quotes an "insider" and a "source" who explained that Michael was greeted with cruel taunts from his new neighbours singing lyrics from songs like "Freedom" and "Faith".

Apparently Michael realised he had hit rock bottom when, as part of his prison induction, he had to answer the question: "If Peter had four apples and Paul had three, how many apples would there be in total?"

His 25-year back-catalogue gives the sub-editors plenty of punning mileage - some clever, some distasteful, some just rubbish, like "CLUB TRAP-A-CANER"

Monitor note: A "caner" is defined on urban dictionary as one who smokes much marijuana.

If only they had been as inspired as Magazine readers who paid homage this week to the long-departed Punorama.

Thursday's Quote of the Day

09:09 UK time, Thursday, 16 September 2010

''Celebrity does not sit that well on Swallow's shoulders" - Caroline Ryder, owner of the world's smallest cow

Is that a sheep or a cow? Swallow, a Dexter cow reared in West Yorkshire, stands 33.5in (0.8m) tall from hind to foot - shorter than most sheep. But it doesn't like the limelight, it seems, and is content to hang out in the cowshed with its larger friends, listening to Radio 2.

More details (Telegraph)

Your Letters

15:52 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I don't think I have ever been more disappointed with a headline: "Cannibal star gobbles neighbour".
SAS, High Wycombe

Anyone else think of Anthony Hopkins first?
Sukie, Loughborough

"Cannibal star gobbles neighbour". I assume I wasn't the only one expecting something much more gruesome?
Phil, Oxford

Will spectacles be obsolete in 10 years? Misread this as "Will testicles be obsolete ..."
simon_watkins @BBC News Magazine

Re the mental agility tests in Can you trick your ageing body into feeling younger?, the worst for me is the spotting the difference between two photos test. It tells me I'm 63, double my age now.
Hafizi Azmal @BBC News Magazine

Monitor note: The Magazine came out as 75 on that one. But 18 on Ugly Mugs and 39 on Spacehopper...

In order, 51, 26, 27, 52 and I'm pushing 60, so no flies on me (yet) mate.
Ian William Johnson @BBC News Magazine

Well, I managed 18, 27, 23 and 25, which is something of a comfort given that I actually am 27. Although the fact that I got all the way to work this morning and then realised I'd forgotten my work passes probably means the rot is setting in.
Lucy Smith @BBC News Magazine

The link to this article claims Mexico's planning its largest bicentennial ever (screenshot). I'm really wondering when their other bicentennial was...
Nadja, Bostonian in Moscow, Russia

Gaga: "I am not a piece of meat" she says. Haha. She's a mere product of the pop industry and not much more. Dont look for depth where there are only shallow publicity stunts. Soon her PR managers are going to run out of those and she'll be another ridiculous has-been in a rehab.
Greg Ler @BBC News Magazine

Haven't you heard? Today is "Let's NOT discuss ‎Lady Gaga's Stoopid Meat Dress". Tomorrow is "Let's not discuss anything Lady Gaga" day. Day after is "Please bring back Octomom, so we can talk nonsense about her again" day.
Ginou InGinouity Meijer @BBC News Magazine

Just thought everybody would like to know that I wore a nice blue shirt with matching tie to work today. Less newsworthy than Lady GaGa, but will smell a lot better tomorrow.
Andrew, Malvern, UK

Phew! Thanks for the clarification. I'll get my moat...
Jenn, Porthcawl, Bridgend

Paper Monitor

10:35 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Nestled deep, deep within the salmon pink pages of the Financial Times there lies a hidden gem. It is a column entitled "Dear Lucy - work problems answered" (subscription required).

No! Wait! Come back!

The Lucy in question is one Lucy Kellaway, the woman behind Paper Monitor's very favourite Point of View, Are you going forward? Then stop now. (Her hatred of management-speak obviously struck a chord, because so many of you responded we put together this list of 50 office-speak phrases you love to hate.)

Anyway, to the task in hand. Seeking advice is "Lawyer, male, 62" who is about to retire, but has decided instead to work part-time on a consultancy basis.

"I've rejected the idea of having any sort of dinner/presentation/drinks, since I don't want to send out the message that I'm any less of serious or committed to the job. But I have a lingering sense of resentment that nothing is being done to mark my sterling efforts over the years."

Lucy, sharp as a tack, instantly spots this as a cake-and-eat-it-too scenario.

"You say you want your 'sterling efforts' to be marked. The modern way of doing this is through a monthly pay cheque; if in addition one gets the odd 'good job', then that's as much as can be hoped for... At 62 isn't it good to be headed for a siding? Instead you are still being paid (and collecting a pension, too, which is very nice) and in return are quite happy to contribute your experience and wisdom; but displays of ostentatious, super-keenness should not be expected. They should be reserved for the young."

As an aside, she points out that he is well out of a retirement party with its fake jollity and perfunctory or patronising speeches.

"Everyone asks what [the retiree is] going to do, and they have to pretend to have an active future lined up... And then everyone says how much they'll be missed, but they know that they will probably never see any of their colleagues again."

Once he's gone part-time, Lawyer, male, 62 may like to read today's Magazine article, Can you trick your ageing body into feeling younger? Or test his mental agility with these mind games.

And finally, Paper Monitor yesterday invoked its dearly departed colleague Punorama, spurred by a flurry of word play in the headlines.

Our Facebook fans also got in on the act, such as:

  • Niall Matthews' I put Lady Gaga through a spam filter and she came out naked.
  • Iain F MacMillan's That her taste is offal?
  • Pix Mueller's I ham what I ham. Pleased to meat you.
  • Alan Foley's I went to the local butcher and said: "Fancy a wager? I'll bet you £200 that you can't reach those beef sirloins on the top shelf!"
    He replied: "No, the steaks are too high!"

Uncut diamonds or small, dirty-looking stones? Over to you to decide.

Wednesday's Quote of the Day

09:01 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

"He should get a driver or go to Amsterdam where pot is legal" - Mark Wahlberg on George Michael's jail sentence for driving under the influence of cannabis.

Wahlberg, in the UK for a film premiere, said he would pray for anyone sent to prison. In his youth, he was locked up after admitting assault. "I was 16 when I went to prison but he's been busted a couple of times." In a further show of support for the former Wham! singer, Wahlberg and co-stars Will Ferrell and Eva Mendes said Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go as they introduced their film.
More details (Guardian)

Your Letters

14:26 UK time, Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Could glasses soon be history? No.....spectacles make us look so intelligent & cute.
Wendy Crossley @BBC_Magazine

To Kevin Friery (Monday's letters). In the instance you cite, the woman's religion was relevant to the story. She herself explained that the motivation for her newsworthy actions sprang from her Christian convictions. If she had been an atheist, acting on atheistic principles, then I'm sure the reporter would have mentioned that fact.
James, Stockport

Are this and this connected?
MCK, Stevenage

Re Monday's quote of the day - What about Cheeta from the Tarzan franchise? His name was in all the films and the TV series (but not in the books), trumping the Johnny-come-Lately that is Bubbles.
PollySaxon, Lichfield

Re: Gaga puns. Perhaps Meat the Frockers?
Candace, New Jersey, US

Re the video at the top of Building a bomber plane in just a day, the commercial for us overseas readers is for Mercedes Benz.
William Crawley, Winnipeg Canada

Paper Monitor

12:48 UK time, Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's a pun-fest in the papers, thanks to two stories that simply beg the sub-editors to razzle-dazzle us with their word wizardry (and a treat for those readers who miss Punorama).

First, there's THAT dress:

"MEAT IS MADDER" - Guardian

Then there's the return to the Man Utd team of the man with the most versatile surname in Fleet Street.

Rooney is a word mangled to cover multiple syllables such as re and you. Hence...


And in the Coleen and Wayne saga, we've got:

Have we forgotten anyone?

Oh yes, the Independent, which prefers to use the Ronseal Method and just tell it like it is:

Tuesday's Quote of the Day

11:28 UK time, Tuesday, 14 September 2010

"Let's cover the bodice with sequins, add rhinestones, then sew Swarovski crystals on top of that" - Overheard at Pamela Stephenson Connolly's first fitting for Strictly Come Dancing.

There can never be enough glitter and glitz in a ballroom dancing/popularity contest, as the comedian turned psychologist found when she reported for duty at the costume department.

But it hasn't taken long to get acclimatised - she says she's suddenly become awfully fond of false eyelashes and the backstage spray tan booth.

More details (Guardian)

Your Letters

15:32 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

What has this woman's religion got to do with anything? Would the reporter have written "...who is also an atheist" in similar circumstances? Just stop it.
Kevin Friery, portsmouth UK

Surely I can't be the only one who wants to nominate Betty Weaver for Quote of the Week?
David, Romford, UK

Re: today's Quote Of The Day, if Bubbles was the world's most famous chimpanzee "for a while", who is the most famous now? And how is this title awarded? I think we deserve to be told.
Francis, Watford

I'm not surprised that 'happy people give more to charity' when the 'salary with optimum happiness is £50,000' - so they should. Hmph.
Jim, London, United Kingdom

This weeks 10 things. No. 10. happy people give more to charity. I assume that this is directly related to No. 1 The salary with optimum happiness is £50,000. If I earnt £50k I would definitely be more charitable!
Hannah , St. Albans

Sir Alex said: "Let's put it to bed straightaway. I am not discussing any of my players' personal lives." An ironic choice of words, "put it to bed" given the context. Sir Alex manages to discuss it whilst saying he won't!
Carol, Bangalore, India

"Firm handshake link to long life". Hmmm. I don't like shaking hands at all (you know, germs n' stuff!). Shall I start preparing for my early demise?
JennyT, NY Brit

Re 10 things item no 4: perhaps the fact that until 2001, the largest known spider was the Goliath -Bird-eater-spider might have been a give away for some of us, even prior to last week.
Ray, Truku, Finland

Paper Monitor

11:38 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press

Sarah Palin beams out from the front of the Guardian above speculation about a possible presidential run, a prospect to strike terror among the paper's liberal readership.

The rest of Fleet Street, however, is more interested in a very different comeback by another female politician from the right of the political spectrum.

Anne Widdecombe's appearance on the BBC's premier celebrity dancing competition is, according to the Daily Mail's Claudia Connell, the sole reason that "anybody will tune into Strictly Come Dancing this year".

Indeed, the prospect of watching the former shadow home secretary cutting a rug intrigued Paper Monitor too, since learning that she apparently informed producers: "What I wouldn't show the pope, I won't show the audience. And I would show the pope very little."

His Holiness, one hopes, was rooting for the Roman Catholic convert regardless. Which is more than can be said for Ms Connell, who describes Miss Widdecombe's outfit as "a brave, if slightly unfortunate, purple chiffon number - as wide as she is tall". Meow.

The Daily Telegraph, too, appears oddly affronted by this most Tory of matron's appearance on the programme. The broadsheet devotes page three, no less, to an apparent wave of anger by Strictly fans about the fact that Miss Widdecombe has been paired with dancer Anton Du Beke.

It claims that "BBC message boards have been besieged" with complaints amid suspicions that producers have paired Mr Du Beke with a contestant expected to be voted out early - perhaps, some darkly mutter, because of a 2009 race row in which he was forced to apologise for remarks about his then-dance partner.

TV reviewer Michael Hogan says being partnered with a woman "20 years his senior, over a foot shorter, and, let's say, not a natural mover. As well as a slapped wrist, Du Beke can now expect a bent ear and trodden-on toes".

Paper Monitor is disappointed by the lack of gallantry. So two cheers for Jim Shelley of the Daily Mirror, who - surprisingly, given that paper's political inclination - looks for a victim elsewhere.

"Ballroom dancing with Peter Shilton", he suggests, "sounds like an idea from the same brainstorming meeting that inspired Alan Partridge to come up with Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank".

Paper Monitor wouldn't knock it. Before reshaping the US political landscape, was the Barracuda herself not the beneficiary of such blue-skies thinking when she was made the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate from out of nowhere?

Is this not an example to which Miss Widdecombe must surely look as she bids to win Strictly's own electoral college? You betcha.

Monday's Quote of the Day

09:14 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

"Do you remember me, Bubbles?" - La Toya Jackson is reunited with brother Michael's chimp

For a while, he was the world's most famous chimpanzee, adopted by Michael Jackson in 1983 and treated like a human friend, dressed in designer clothes and eating with a knife and fork. But a new documentary on Channel 4 reveals Bubbles is now living at a centre for apes in Florida, and hadn't seen Michael for many years before his death.

Full details (Sun)

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.