BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for August 19, 2012 - August 25, 2012

10 things we didn't know last week

15:25 UK time, Friday, 24 August 2012

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

1. People hate Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as much as Mondays.
More details

2. Alcoholics Anonymous's co-founder believed that LSD could cure alcoholism.
More details (The Guardian)

3. Gibbons on helium use the same techniques as human soprano singers.
More details

4. Insects sunbathe.
More details

5. When a player signs for Man City, the club already knows his girlfriend's taste in restaurants.
More details (Financial Times)

6.Cucumber sandwiches regulate body temperature in a heatwave.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

7. Mo Farah has an identical brother - who ran faster than he did in childhood.
More details (The Times)

8. Ants can be electronically tagged.
More details

9. The Home Guard was more like a lad's than a dad's army.
More details (Daily Express)

10. Healthy lungs brush themselves clean.
More details

Seen a thing? Tell @BBC_magazine on Twitter using the hashtag #thingIdidntknowlastweek

Your Letters

14:04 UK time, Friday, 24 August 2012

I'd be interested to read what he was driving.
Mike, Newcastle upon Tyne

Is it just me or is that incompetent "restoration" of the Spanish fresco near Zaragoza really a skilful portrait of Gary Lineker wearing a balaclava?
Mark, Reading, UK

Given that this gentleman is going to be in jail for the next nine years, was a four year driving ban really that much of an inconvenience?
Angus Gafraidh, London

Caption Competition

13:26 UK time, Friday, 24 August 2012


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash meets conservationist Bob Irwin at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia

This week, former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash meets conservationist Bob Irwin at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia.

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

6. ARoseByAnyOther:
Of course he likes you. Just don't exhale too deeply.

5. MagnumCarter:
"...And yet ironically Whitesnake was a real pain in the neck for you."

4. BeckySnow:
Welcome to the man-made jungle.

3. throbgusset:
Snake: I recognise those boots... that's my big brother!

2. Filboid:
Of course, he'd be coiled anti-clockwise if we were in the northern hemisphere.

1. scriveyn:
The brochure hadn't lied. All residents at the Sunnybrook Retirement Home are allowed to keep their own pets.

Paper Monitor

11:09 UK time, Friday, 24 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It is in the public interest that this column today tackles the particulars of Prince Harry's privacy.

After getting its (un)dressed rehearsal out of the way yesterday, the Sun today publishes the genuine pictures of Harry. He looks like a footballer in defensive wall pose - protecting his vitals with his hands - albeit with no clothes on and with a diminutive brunette striker hiding goalside of him.

"Heir It Is! Pic of naked Harry you've already seen on the internet", the paper asserts. Can there ever have been such a modest tabloid boast before, akin to nailing on the masthead: "Not a world exclusive: inside the pictures that are 72 hours old and you've all seen online already!"

The Sun warms to its campaigning theme inside - Lord Leveson take note. "Naked Vegas pics swept the world on web. Now it's vital you see them here."

The other tabloids are left trailing in the Sun's wake. The Daily Mirror opts for punning paternal disapproval "Charles tears strip off Harry", although its source hardly backs up the notion that Prince Charles gave him both barrels. "He gave him a talking to and told him to lie low."

The Daily Star copies the Sun... of yesterday. It brings in "lookalike photographic ace" Alison Jackson to recreate the Prince's nudity using a Harry doppelganger and a strategically placed crown.

The Daily Express unearths a dastardly plot. "Harry tricked into naked 'honey trap' in Las Vegas". The paper reveals evidence of American female treachery. "We heard girls in bar plotting to get into Harry's hotel room."

The Daily Mail is always keen to point a helpful finger, asking "Why did Harry's minders drop their guard?"

Meanwhile the Times prints tweets from a group of Essex lads who were with Harry in the pool. "He kissed me on the lips. Ha Ha!" tweets Adam Aley. "I can't describe how this night was with harry!! I thru him in the pool."

It's left to the paper's columnist Ben Macintyre to bring some much needed historical perspective:

Times change, but playboy princes do not. Replace hunting matches with 'strip billiards' and les dames with what TMZ, the gossip website hosting pictures of the naked prince, describes as "a bunch of hot chicks" and you have a 21st-century reprise of the wayward prince story, a tale that is deeply embedded in, and central to, the history of British monarchy.

Your Letters

16:53 UK time, Thursday, 23 August 2012

Is anyone else disappointed that this story doesn't have comments on it? I was waiting for countless tales of "one time I go sooooo bamboozled I left my shorts in a nightclub" and the like.
Jo , London

Is this teen really drunk girl's - aka bench girl - previously spotted daughter taking the next step to media notoriety?
Matt, Hove

Surely the issue here is one of timing and company? Most days end up with me doing certainly one, if not both, of these things. I assume I'm not alone.?
LC, London

Is this the real reason for the occasional missing letters page?
Ralph, Cumbria

I think this is the news we have all been waiting for, though one does have to wonder what the scientist was doing in a lab with a gibbon and a canister of helium - well, unless it was the Christmas party, obviously.
Basil Long, Nottingham

I'm more surprised that nine people (for whom I suspect money is not a big problem) would only run up a bill for £220 in a curry house.
Sue, London

Thanks for this answer, it's saved me a lot of head scratching.
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

Paper Monitor

09:26 UK time, Thursday, 23 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

That's not Harry-in-the-nuddy on the front page of The Sun. It's Harry, a Sun staffer, posing in his altogether.

A naked man called Harry clasps his crown jewels as he parties with a nude girl. It looks exactly like one of the pics of Prince Harry that shocked the world yesterday. But it's not. It's Sun man Harry Miller copying the Royal pose during a "strip pool" party in Las Vegas. Buckingham Palace asked us not to use the real photo.

Paper Monitor mused on Wednesday on what Fleet Street might do about the photos of what happened in Vegas. But the thought that an editor might dispense even with a lookalike and simply get a staff member with the same name to stand in never crossed your humble correspondent's mind.

(Getting the features picture editor, 31, to pose naked is one thing. But is it not rather ungentlemanly to ask a 21-year-old intern to act as the nude girl?)

As one's own editor picked up the Sun and clocked this new tactic, nearby colleagues began to twitch uneasily.

If this is indeed a new benchmark for illustrating the private moments of those in the public eye, those at Magazine Towers pray the following celebs don't find themselves at a Vegas pool party that gets out of hand:

  • Toms Cruise or Hanks
  • Emmas Watson or Thompson
  • Vanessas Hudgens or Paradis
  • Matt Damon
  • Jons Bon Jovi or Stewart
  • Megan Fox
  • Stephen Segal
  • Denise Lewis
  • Keith Urban
  • Kathryn, er, Bigelow
  • and Finlo... er... er...

Your Letters

15:56 UK time, Wednesday, 22 August 2012

By the time I'd read the headline "Star is caught devouring..." I was so convinced it was celebrity tittle-tattle that the word "planet" completely confused me and made me click the link just to find out what it could possibly mean. Ohhhhhh. Astronomy.
David Richerby, Liverpool

Saw headline 'Star is caught devouring planet ' and rather than the astronomical explanation, Eammon Holmes came to mind.
Peter, Pershore

Re "Star is caught devouring planet". Was I the only one to think, "Eammon Holmes?"
GDW, Edinburgh

That's nothing, I once had an entire Milky Way on the bus home.
Ian, Redditch

Altogether now: A Mars a day...(Other confectionery items are available)
Simon Robinson, Birmingham

Oh dear. It's the first time I think I've ever scored 7/7 on one of the BBC Magazine's quizzes and it was about status symbols. I hate bling. However, now perhaps I could have my score engraved on a huge gold-plated neck-chain, or is there something equally subtle you could suggest?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

(Hands on hips, taps foot) Oh dearie, dearie me, fellow Monitorites - all our erudition goes West as soon as there's the chance of making a smutty joke on the BBC!
And you're no better, MM, so don't sit in the corner looking smug ...
Fee Lock, Hastings, East Sussex

Re. all of Tuesday's letters: okay we've got the point (or not).
Mark Esdale, Bridge

I don't get it. Why is 'wang' nominative determinism? Does my slang lexicon need updating?
Kate, York

The clarity of the Rover's picture of an engineer up there fixing the wind sensor is amazing. And proof, for any remaining doubters, that Mars can support life.
David, Romford, UK

Does anyone else play the "Most popular" article game? I always click on the first 10 stories on the BBC homepage that interest me most, and then compare this to the 10 most popular "read" stories in the handy box on the right. 5 out of 10 today, and my record is 9 - still waiting for that clean sweep!
Joe A, London

Dear everyone,
Re: Nominative determinism, do you think we could just accept that every time an example of this is published (see, for example, Dr Wang) that everyone will note the appropriateness of the name, and just move on with their lives? That way, we could skip the requirement for EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD to write to the monitor to point it out. Ta,
Alex, Durham

Paper Monitor

13:10 UK time, Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.


Prince Harry.

In the nuddy.

After a game of strip billiards in Vegas.


Obviously your humble correspondent can't show you the pictures.

Nor can Fleet Street's finest. Not only did this momentous news break after the printers had already commenced rolling, it's unlikely in this post-Leveson world that even the most rapacious of tabloids would reprint the grainy images of a man who looks rather like the third in line for the throne, naked but for his own cupped hands protecting the modesty of his crown jewels. (But maybe they will tomorrow... after much hand-wringing.)

The Daily Mail does manage to squeeze in earlier reports from the desert city that never sleeps of the young royal challenging Rrrrrrrrrr!-yan Lochte to a race after a chance encounter at a posh nightclub. (Its website goes into waaaay more detail about what happened in Vegas, but stops short of depicting the prince - or his doppelganger? - in anything less than red swimming shorts and a natty hat.)

Ditto the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Sun.

And the Times, augmenting its coverage online with a one-photo slideshow of the Wales v Lochte swimming race and a no-comment from the royals:

St James Palace officially refused to comment on the photographs, which were published on the celebrity gossip website
But it made clear that the Prince enjoyed a right to privacy and it did not expect the photographs to appear in any British newspaper.

Do any papers resist the temptation? Why yes. Step forward the Indy... although it carries details on its website, illustrated with a photo of the young prince buttoned up in a suit. At least he didn't get it wet in that Vegas pool.

Your Letters

17:07 UK time, Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Dr Marvin Wang does his bit for Nominative Determinism...
Wiggles, Bristol

This article has to contain the best example of nominative determinism to date.
Paul, Isle of Man

Having lurked around these pages for several months now I feel my first attempt at having a letter published should be in keeping with the strong traditions, and what better than this for a case of nominative determinism?! With apologies to Dr Wang for exposing him like this.
Paul, Langport, Somerset

Lovely nominative determinism in this article, Dr Marvin Wang commenting on circumcision...
James, Arbroath

An excellent example of nominative determinism in this article. It also works if you read "doctor" as a verb...
Jack, Manchester

I have regretfully neglected MM since moving the other side of the pond. But poor Dr. Marvin's nominative determinism is too good to resist. In fact, I wonder if the whole article was written just to pass that off?
James O, Detroit, USA

Dr Wang? Really? Nominative determinism strikes again...
Claire, Leighton Buzzard, UK

Paper Monitor

11:16 UK time, Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

So you're Madonna. The Queen of Pop. You're in the south of France, it's scorchio, the waters are azure. It's dip time. And you're not un-fond of flashing the flesh. What to wear (if anything at all)?

A high-necked, long-sleeved top and trousers, of course! And a snazzy baseball cap. Oh, and trainers.

Apparently the Queen of Pop was probably donning a white UV-protection swimsuit - and it leaves the papers perplexed.

"She must be bathing, Mad", ventures the Daily Mirror on page three - a speech bubble extending from her lover's head concludes "That's way too much material, girl".

The Mirror's fashion and beauty director Amber Morales is a bit discombobulated:

"I just can't figure Madonna out. She can't wait to get her kit off on stage and is flashing her nipples and bottom at random recently", she cogitates. "It's really not a flattering look, Madge. You spend your life in the gym and have a penchant for flashing your rock-hard body - this is the perfect opportunity to do just that."

The Daily Mail is similarly concerned (speculating that the attire might be white as Kabbalah believers think white clothing attracts "positive energy") - although the Sun's Bizarre columnist Gordon Smart seems relieved that the Queen of Pop "has finally managed to cover herself up". Smart reminds readers that "it's just weeks since Bizarre created a fake jumper for the singer to protect her modesty on stage - but now she's gone to the other extreme with her beach wear".

But he admits: "That's one way to get her washing done".

Real-life royalty in the shape of Prince Harry has been donning some swimwear. His choice of attire? A pair of snazzy patterned red trunks.

Accessories include shades, a hat, trendy necklace and a batch of bikini-clad women. "Girls and booze galore as the news hits Vegas that the party prince is in town," squeals the Mail, which features the story on its front page. "It's a hard life, isn't it, Harry?" sighs the paper inside.

And don't forget our penguin friends, also fond of water-based activities. Choice of swimwear: a thick layer of mud - at least for the little critters featured on page 29 of the Mail, who got caught in a lake of the brown stuff while en route to the ocean in south Georgia.

Something to try next time, Madonna?

Your Letters

16:32 UK time, Monday, 20 August 2012

Apparently, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson derived his pen-name by translating his first two names into Latin to obtain Carolus Ludovicus, and then, possibly via the French, into Carol Lewis, which might have been the subject of numerous learned treatises, so he switched them around to Lewis Carroll. Well, he must have been on something.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

"MoD reveals design of new stealth warship". WOW! I didn't see that one coming!
Graham, Hayle, Cornwall

The man queuing behind the winner of the EuroMillions is an interesting story, and represents a conundrum that has occasionally troubled my lotto winning daydreams. If the person ahead of me in a queue buys a lucky dip and wins a fortune, then good luck to him indeed. But if that person decides to buy a paper instead of a lottery ticket, and I, being next in the queue, buy a lucky dip, will I get the numbers he would have received? Or will someone shopping two hundred miles away get that those lucky dip numbers, or will no-one get those numbers? Say I bought a lucky dip at exactly 6.00pm on a Friday, would my numbers be the same if I had hesitated for just a millisecond before buying them? Most weeks I am a substantial 5 to 6 numbers away from winning a fortune, but the truth of the matter may be that I have sometimes been within a nano-second of winning a life changing sum - or maybe not! Either way, dear Monitor, can you lend me a fiver until payday?
Richard Martin, Doncaster, UK

I was just reading your article on Ayn Rand when then thought popped into my head "Ayn Rand is the reason for Joey Barton." Then, LO AND BEHOLD! the first link at the end of the article is a picture of Joey Barton and how everyone despises "big-time Charlie" footballers. Coincidence?
Brian Loughlin, Slough

Paper Monitor

12:26 UK time, Monday, 20 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

A man. A balcony. But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

It is the east, and Julian - not Juliet - is the sun.

Cue the Shakespearean headline:

"The balcony scene: Julian appears above at a window. 'Ay me!'" - The Times (with the footnote "headline with apologies to Romeo and Juliet, Act II scene II", and an inside page headline about "theatre of the absurd".)

The Daily Mail prefers to draw parallels with Eva Peron, who was also fond of addressing supporters from balconies.

But the Sun and the Independent prefer to point out the resemblance between the Wikileaks founder and John Inman of Are You Being Served? fame.

Yes. You read that right. The Independent. Quite what the paper's associate editor Jemima Khan - a prominent supporter of Julian Assange - might make of this comparison is anyone's guess.

And finally, a question Paper Monitor rarely asks itself, but often finds the answer to be the same, whatever the season or news agenda.

What is the Daily Star for? Today, as every day, the answer is football and stories about Simon Cowell's love life.

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