BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for February 17, 2013 - February 23, 2013

Your Letters

16:16 UK time, Friday, 22 February 2013

Nice article on dubbing vs subtitles. So what I want to know now is whether Sandra Bullock, fluent in German thanks to a German-speaking American father and a German mother, has ever 'dubbed herself' in the German version of one of her films...
James Reid, Stockport

Your article on dubbing reminded me of possibly the funniest example I've ever heard, which is the voice used for Jeremy Clarkson in the Russian dubbing of Top Gear - he practically growls he's trying so hard to sound like a "real man" (a common Russian phrase).
Gregory Pearson, Oxford

Thursday and no letters again. I wonder who is having a holiday and calling it a strike this time.
Malcolm, Wrexham, Wales

Re: those that believe their "difficult" Anglo-sounding name deserve some form of particular recognition. Compare these experiences with others that do not share the same luxury option to shorten theirs to a friendly Ben or Kate/Katie/Katy etc. And the difference is..?
R.G, Watford, Herts

On the subject of mispronouncing names, i was asked my name in a well known coffee shop (which has put me off going for life), and was surprised when they wrote 'Michael' on the cup! Not only very wrong, but totally pointless as i was the only one in the shop!
Ed, Wakefield

Tax dodgers named on HMRC list. Phew! All 9 of them! The country really is in trouble.
Graham, Hayle, Cornwall

Re: Thursday's Quote of the Day, nice to see Prince Philip back on form.
Dec, Belfast

Re: Puns for Prince Harry's new love interest. Your love keeps lifting me, Sire.
Candace, New Jersey, US

You asked for it. Had Prince Harry borrowed a tray from his hotel and slid down the piste on it alongside his gal, falling off along the way, the headline would surely have read, 'Trayless and Cressida'. I expect an equally-contrived headline from the reptiles within the next month.
Phil Warne, Nelson, NZ

Just so long as they don't make a habit out of it.
Ralph, Cumbria

So 1 in 50 Britons has a double-barrelled name? How many of these are a result of (gasp! )births out of wedlock, and the child is registered with both parents' surnames?Ruaraidh Gillies, Wirral

10 things we didn't know last week

14:31 UK time, Friday, 22 February 2013

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

1. William is the surname that has decreased the most since 1901.
More details (Daily Express)

2. Penis size matters to female golden moles.
More details

3. 1980s pop star Glenn Medeiros is the vice principal of a high school in Hawaii.
More details (Daily Mail)

4. Chimps have the mental recall ability of people with savant syndrome.
More details (Financial Times)

5. Car stickers of "Greater Hungary", incorporating parts of Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine and Croatia, are a common sight in Budapest.
More details (Economist)

6. The Swedes put their kids out in the snow to nap.
More details

7. Women's brains have more language proteins than men's.
More details (Science Daily)

8. France has more citizens being held hostage than any other country.
More details (France 24)

9. Some Norwegians feel strongly about whether firewood is stacked bark up or bark down.
More details (New York Times)

10. The average porn star is a California-born brunette named Nikki with a 34B cup size.
More details (Daily Mail)

Correction: An earlier version of 10 things contained an incorrect thing at number 9.

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

Paper Monitor

11:38 UK time, Friday, 22 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The Daily Mail looks at the enigma behind Borat and Bruno. "A recluse who guards his privacy obsessively, Sacha Baron Cohen has made a fortune out of exposing others to very public ridicule."

He's the highest paid Brit in Hollywood but remains "tortured and perturbed" by fame, the paper says. As an example it recounts how at the end of a night "carousing" in London's Embassy club, he went to the toilets, changed into "mangy-looking" clothes and got through the cordon of photographers unnoticed.

To this observer, it smacks of cunning rather than angst. But one keeps reading, hoping for signs of a tortured soul. Instead there is a description of his booming business. He is to play Freddie Mercury next year. He's also working on a comedy called The Lesbian about the Hong Kong dad offering £40 million to any man who marries his gay daughter.

The rest of the piece could appear in the property section. There's the £12.6m home he owns in the Hollywood Hills.

"The secluded English-country-style manor, with a driveway planted with bougainvillea and geraniums, has seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a guest house, detached movie theatre, swimming pool and spa. Its walls are hung with modern art, and Baron Cohen has quietly become a noted collector, lavishing millions on his passion."

He's put another home in the Hollywood Hills on the market for £1.7m. Then there's the £24,000 a-month, five storey townhouse he and wife Isla Fisher rent in New York's SoHo.

The couple also paid £6,500 a week for a six-bedroom home overlooking Sydney Harbour while Isla was filming the Great Gatsby. Hope you're taking notes at the back.

What else? Well, there's the £75,000 Jaguar XJ...

In an only tenuously connected news story, it emerges that the number of people with the surname Cohen has dropped by 42% since 1901. "It's Goodbye Mr Chips" the Mail headline sighs. Chips, Hatman, Temples are three that have gone "extinct". Pober, Mirren and Febland are deemed "extremely rare".

One in 50 Britons now has a double-barrelled name. No mention of the proudly hyphen-less Paper Monitor though.

Paper Monitor

16:08 UK time, Thursday, 21 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The red-tops greet news of Prince Harry's latest romance in the only way they know how. With puns.

And when those puns have run out. More puns.

The Sun splashes with a slightly clunky, underpowered effort: "Harry's Slopey Kiss" (the couple are pictured together on a ski slope).

Things turn a bit racier on Pages 4 and 5, however.

"Harry is like a dog with a Bonas".

There is always the suspicion that the headline on a spread is the one the subs really wanted for the splash before being over-ruled by a cautious editor.

Not here though. It only really works if you already know Cressida Bonas's surname.

It also sounds a bit lewd. Perhaps that would explain the softer strap above it: "Cressida seems like such an ice girl."

Given Harry's prickly relationship with the tabloids, the uneven tone (Too cheeky? Not cheeky enough?) is understandable.

The Mirror plays it safe with Harry's Gal, but pulls something a bit classier out of the pun cupboard for pages 4 and 5: "The Prince & the Snowgirl".

Only the Daily Star, which clearly sees boozy, blokeish Harry as one of its own, manages any real consistency.

Flirty Harry, winks the splash. Harry Is A Lucky Hugger, it continues inside - matey without being rude. Job done.

But Paper Monitor sees these opening salvos as "sighters" in what is likely to be a long campaign.

Perhaps Harry and Cressida could play their part by relocating to an equally pun rich environment for their next encounter with a long lens.

Any suggestions, readers?

Caption Competition

12:49 UK time, Thursday, 21 February 2013

Comments (169)

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

Costumed people

This week some fans get tied up at a Comic Convention. Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. BaldoBingham:

CSI and flash mobs just don't mix

5. MorningGlories:

Well, on the upside, we've made it through all the red tape

4. abz:

When I said, tape Children in Need, I meant...

3. Graham:

Government relaxes child-minding rules

2. Gray Gable:

The fans of Danny Dyer, who spent £602 to watch his latest film are led to safety for their own good...

1. Mad hatter:

Police regret holding a "Bring your child to work" day

Your Letters

16:00 UK time, Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Regarding the supposedly phonetic alphabet. "Exit" should not be pronounced "egzit". It drives me wild when the sat-nav does it. I would agsept "eksit" though...
Caroline Brown, Rochester

Interested to see the BBC is now stating the Daily Mail as a source of scientific information.
Duncan, Hurstpierpoint

With so many cookery shows on TV I can't help but wonder how many people eat their ready meal TV dinners while watching one of them.
Jan Podsiadly, Croydon

Is it "Spot the Tongue Twister Day" by any chance? If so, I win with: "'Fibbing' fish supper fighter fined", spotted in the most read stories. Here's another one: "Writs risk recedes as Ritz row resolved". Either that or someone has been on the sherry left over from Christmas!
Fi, Gloucestershire

Kate/Katy/Catriona, just consider yourself fortunate to be able to shorten your first name to make your life easier. Have some sympathy for those of us with distinctive last names, who have had to tolerate (or not) widespread mispronunciation, and don't have the option of shortening it - although at school it gave rise to many, many amusing variations. As it's an Anglo Saxon name (from the 7th century), the 'a' is pronounced as an 'o'. Please.
John Whapshott, Bath

Regarding Kate from Bath's comment yesterday, I used to work in a clinic where trying to find people on a database took forever because they always seemed to have the most obscure spelling possible. Kates and Catrionas, etc, were the worst for the sheer variety around a few base names. PS, Benedict can also be spelt as Benedykt.
Paul, Glasgow

If we're going to discuss mispronunciations and misspellings of names, then I should get some sort of award. Despite being only four letters long, and with the bonus of a fada on the "A" (like an acute accent in French), I've run the full gamut of both. A real low point was being called "Ariel".
Aine, London

Paper Monitor

11:38 UK time, Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's Horrible Hilary today. And bumpy Kate.

"Lay off Princess Kate" screams the Daily Mirror. "Cameron fury after pregnant Duchess attacked as 'plastic'".

The Sun has a double page spread. "Bump..1 Grump..0".

It's the story of double Booker prize winner Hilary Mantel's "sneering" attack on Kate Middleton. And of Kate's baby bump being revealed.

Paper Monitor suspects it's the first time a lecture for the London Review of Books ended up splashed across the tabloids. Experts are drafted in to stick up for Horrible Hilary before their arguments are royally disembowelled.

"She was actually trying to defend Kate - saying we should not look at Royal consorts like animals in the zoo," royal historian Kate Williams tells The Sun.

Oh no she wasn't, says Sun columnist Louise Mensch.

"Shrieking lefties said we misunderstood the best-selling novelist." But Mensch says she's read the whole LRB piece and is not impressed. "We really don't need such sexist, sneering nonsense from a novelist - Booker prize or no."

Mensch then applies the coup de grace. While Kate is never allowed an angry word, an extra glass of wine, a hair out of place, Mantel can spend all day in her pyjamas.

The Daily Mail takes a similar adversarial approach. "A bitter salvo against a textbook royal who's done no harm to anyone," thunders AN Wilson.

Julie Burchill is wheeled in like some ageing but still potent Howitzer on the facing page. "Sorry, Kate is just Diana Lite - a simpering and prissy princess."

The Daily Telegraph plays these things with a predictably straight bat. Historian Alison Weir's feature is fitted out with the anything but ambiguous headline "The perfect royal consort".

Matt's cartoon is more entertaining. A couple of drinkers are pictured in the pub studying a newspaper with the headline "Mantel Row". One says to the other: "Unfortunately, I had a fiver on Kate's baby being called Hilary".

Your Letters

17:08 UK time, Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Whilst I enjoyed Vanessa Barford's article on student digs, I'd be grateful if you could point out that things do not reoccur. They occur or recur.
Tom Hewitt, Llandysul, Cymru

When I saw this headline "Blue-screen effects pioneer dies", I immediately assumed he must be from Microsoft...
Fi, Gloucestershire

But I like mine rare.
Rusty, Montreal, Canada

Regardless of gender, surely PM is not American and observing a Bank Holiday yesterday?
Joseph, London

Strange isn't it. BBC journalists go on strike and the only thing I really miss are the letters.
What does that say about my level of synicism regarding 'News' output I wonder.
Peter , Pershore, Worcs

On reading "The rise of the ready meal" and how they are still popular even if there is enough time to cook, brings me to this point. I grow fresh organic fruit and vegetables and sell them at local farmers markets in the USA. I found out when I first started that a lot of people did not know what I was selling or if they did know, did not know how to use it or knew only one recipe for it. When talking to my customers about people not knowing how to use things, they have come to the general conclusion that the USA has lost a generation and a half of cooks. This might show that even though there is enough time for people to cook they still prefer ready meals might be they can not cook.
Andrew Glover, Bradner, Ohio, USA

Baked bean tins.. trains.. cars.. but how many london buses?
Ross McLaughlin, Belfast

Kate in Bromley, I'm a fellow Kate-to-make-life-easier, named Catriona which everyone mispronounces (Cat-Tree-Yanna for those of you interested). My parents settled on shortening to Katy which is easier to pronounce, and which everyone misspells (Y, it's after Katy Carr in the book, not an ie) and I have finally settled on Kate. So, Benedict Milne, be pleased your name has only one spelling and is fairly easy to pronounce, we Kate's of the world have a lot to deal with.
Kate, Bath

I think Tesco Value Burgers have become part of my stable diet.
Mike, Cheltenham

According to this the new Triple E class container ship can carry 863 million tins of baked bins. Any chance the ship is gas powered?
Dec, Belfast

Paper Monitor

12:14 UK time, Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Paper Monitor loves a nice cliche. Especially when so artfully realised by the national press.

"Lies" may be too harsh in this instance, but articles in the Daily Mail and the Huffington Post show what flexible friends statistics can be.

"Just one in seven want drugs laws liberalised and majority say possession should remain criminal offence," trumpets the Mail.

"Just 14 per cent endorse decriminalising drugs," it continues just below the headline.

But HuffPo has a different take.

"Legalised cannabis supported by more than more than half of Britons," it counters.

That's right. Even more than more than half. By Paper Monitor's calculations that must make it somewhere in the region of... more than half, albeit not quite as much as "less than all".

"Just one in seven support heavier penalties and more being spent on enforcement for cannabis offences," the article continues.

Of course it is natural to assume that the Mail readership may produce a wildly different survey than that of HuffPo.

But some spectacularly inventive Paper Monitor sleuth work - such as reading both articles - shows that they are using the exact same set of statistics, from a survey conducted on behalf of the charity Transform Drug Policy.

Following more advanced sleuth work, including a perilous encounter with Google, Paper Monitor found that Transform Drug Policy ran with the same pro-change headline as HuffPo. Surprising.

Helpfully, though, they also provide a breakdown of Daily Mail readers, 46% of whom support cannabis decriminalisation - just below Conservatives (50%) and Labour supporters (55%).

Ah, how Paper Monitor loves surveys.

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