BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for February 24, 2013 - March 2, 2013

Your Letters

15:31 UK time, Friday, 1 March 2013

All the whisky down the drain gives new meaning to drunken rat!
Adrian, Wednesbury

As someone who has lived in Italy for over twenty years, I am happy to inform Matthew Fort, that Italians DO eat spaghetti with bolognese sauce. It's just that they don't CALL it bolognese sauce, they call it RAGU. My (Italian) mother-in-law makes a fine ragu sauce, Mr Fort is invited to come and try it, with spaghetti, any time he likes.
Liam, Brescia, Italy

I would be more worried about the fact that the segregated frozen burger in this story appears be able to talk rather than the fact that it contained horse-meat!
Henna, Aberdeen

10 things we didn't know last week

12:45 UK time, Friday, 1 March 2013

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

1. In Brazil barbecuing is a form of public protest.
More details (Financial Times)

2. Sarah Greene used to bite Peter Duncan's ankles to distract him during Blue Peter cookery demos.
More details (The Guardian)

3. Haribos are so-named because of founder Hans Riegel and his hometown Bonn.
More details (Monocle)

4. Dido's refrain "No freedom without love" has been adopted by rebel groups in Syria.
More details

5. In North Korea, women are "encouraged" to choose from 18 officially sanctioned hairstyles.
More details (Daily Mail)

6. While North Korean men have 10 options.
More details (Daily Mail)

7. It takes a Parisian bistro about three weeks to get through a horse carcass.
More details (Financial Times)

8. Cristiano Ronaldo has a naked picture of himself on the walls of his Madrid house.
More details (The Sun)

9. Drone operators experience post-traumatic stress at the same rate as combat pilots.
More details (New York Times)

10. Rats can communicate with each other via cables.
More details

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

Paper Monitor

11:54 UK time, Friday, 1 March 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's boob war in tabloidland.

The red tops have leapt on a bosom spat ignited on the sofa of This Morning when Philip Schofield, addressing Holly Willoughby and Kelly Brook, said "Is there any competition in the bosom-age area?"

"Boob wars" is how the Daily Star describes it.

Paper Monitor wonders how Neville Chamberlain might have put it had he morphed into the curvaceous body of Willoughby.

"I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently my bosom is at war with Miss Brook's."

Back in the real world - well tabloidland - hostilities were swiftly averted as Willoughby performed a graceful diplomatic manoeuvre. "I am more than happy to play second fiddle in the boob area because she is amazing."

But of course the phoney war - as some might be calling it - allowed the Star and competitors to run ample pictures of the two women's decolletage, appropriately captioned eg "Bust the job".

There was no sign of the story in the Daily Mail. But lo and behold, there it was on the paper's website.

A case of "breast is best". But only for online readers, mind. Translation: having your cake and eating it.

One story the Mail hasn't been ducking is Mo Farah's wife. "Mo, his VERY ambitious wife and the dash for cash that risks tarnishing an Olympic hero."

The piece takes up almost two pages but contains few zingers. There's the suggestion his manager is trying to trademark the Mobot. The sense that Mo and wife Tania have let the side down by moving to Portland, Oregon. And that Tania is really, really ambitious.

"Already, 26-year old Tania has negotiated a six-figure deal with Hello! Magazine, in which the babies were paraded before the camera for the first time."

The weirdest thing, though, we already knew - that Mo plans to run only half the London marathon. A "senior figure" tells the paper: "It's pure showboating and has nothing to do with the long-held spirit of the marathon."

The paper performs a rapid reverse ferret in the last par to show its support for this "charming and brilliantly talented man". It merely wants him to concentrate on what he does best - running. Ah, the Mail as well meaning friend. Nicely done.

So who's next in the Great Olympian Backlash? Wiggo can't be safe for much longer...

Your Letters

16:48 UK time, Thursday, 28 February 2013

Don't tell me they are checking it for horse meat!
Di, The Castleton, North Yorkshire

Can I propose "I'm not worried about an imminent invasion of 'rat multiborgs'" as Quote of the Day. I wasn't worried before now, but now the idea has been planted in my mind. Come to think of it, how was it planted in my mind?
Ian, Bristol

I'm sure it can't have been just me who assumed that the front-page link, 'Rat brains linked across continents' was another part of the pan-European meat crisis - especially so close to that photo of those sausages.
Saffron Garey, working from home, Southampton

You know it's bad when sewage workers complain about the smell.
Judith, Weybridge, Surrey

I'm not sure what this aims to prove.
Ready meals aren't as good as freshly cooked meals? Shock horror. He hasn't even cooked the first one before decreeing it looks a mess. And why is he so shocked that Spaghetti Bolognese is served with Spaghetti? The clue is surely in the title! I'll get me parmesan.
Barry, Basildon

Paper Monitor

14:21 UK time, Thursday, 28 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The fashion police have been busy, and their charge sheets are spread across the papers for all to see.

A BBC Breakfast presenter has been charged with one count of wearing her dress the wrong way round on air.

And no-one really noticed, not even a fashion commentator drafted in as an expert witness for the prosecution (aka the Daily Express):

"On closer inspection, the neckline is too high."


And an APB has been put out for Prince Harry, snapped in a pinny. The Sun, and others, carry photographic evidence.

The defence might argue that he is fully dressed underneath. But so too might the prosecution.

Another mitigating factor that may find favour with the judge is that he seems at last to have ditched that leather necklace of the type so beloved by gap-year "travellers" and university rugby types. The necklace that identified him as the naked strip billiards player that time in Vegas.

Or maybe not. Turning to the Daily Star, which has a double-page picture extravaganza of Harry-in-a-pinny, close inspection shows he may just have tucked it inside his shirt.

The necklace is said to have been given to him by a Botswanan shaman to protect him from evil spirits. Like, say, a press pack?

Caption Competition

12:58 UK time, Thursday, 28 February 2013

Comments (168)

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

Massive rice paper

This week workers put the finishing touches to an artist's massive rice paper boat. Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. Kudoless:
Can you build a cage at that end? I've just seen Life of Pi

5. Candace9839:
Italians unveil new warship, defend right to cream filling.

4. Grazvalentine:
"Hello, Rentokill? We may have a wasps' nest at Olympia..."

3. Bellhouse Hartwell:
The artist regretted going into a Chinese restaurant and ordering rice and ships

2. SimonRooke:
It was all going so well until they tested the sprinkler system

1. John_Sevenoaks:
"Is that to eat here or tack away?"

Your Letters

16:18 UK time, Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Re this, of course, one of the hardest aspects of working from home is self discipline. Just ask anyone who regularly gets letters published on this page. *ahem*.
Sue, working from home, London

British Gas profits boosted by cold weather... and presumably by people taking photos of burning gas hobs with nothing cooking.
Michael, Edinburgh, UK

"Random stat - 51 per cent of meat-eaters would eat horsemeat if properly labelled." They're probably just trying to get revenge for all the money they've lost betting.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Ten Things about the Pope's retirement #6. He loves cats.
I thought it was essential to his job that he was a cat-aholic.
Steve, Aberdeen, UK

Colin Edwards (Tuesday's letters) I'm sure the babies in Stockholm SWEDEN won't notice a slightly wamer temperature in Hammerfest NORWAY, some 800 miles away. Are Exeter babies affected by changes to the weather in Prague?
Steven, Adelaide, Australia

Paper Monitor

13:53 UK time, Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

How might one describe the Lib Dems? Not, if this week's papers are anything to go by, how the party might describe itself.

"A party of two and a half people and a dog" - The Times, on Tuesday.

The ouchiness continues:

Lord Rennard may not be a household name - few Liberal Democrats acquire that distinction before going to prison

And there's more today from Daniel Finkelstein:

The sad truth, of course, is that most people just notice it is another politician in trouble without caring much which party. When Robin Cook's affair was revealed, pollsters discovered that few voters thought that sleaze had caught up with Labour. As many of them hadn't much heard of Cook, they just assumed that since he was having an extramarital relationship he must be a Tory.

In the Independent, Matthew Norman muses on the plot and casting of a possible future Oscar contender, Scandals in Sandals: The Lib-Dem Musical, with Paul Rudd as Nick Clegg.

The year is 2006, and at a karaoke party at the home of Lembit Opik (Charles Hawtrey), fiancée Gabriela Irimia and twin sister Monica (Jedward) reprise a poignant ballad. "I never ask where do you go/ I never ask what do you do," they trill, "Come and smile, don't be shy/ Touch my bum, this is life." Encouraged to shrug off the coyness of which so much has been latterly been heard, Lord Rennard (Richard Griffiths) swigs deeply from Charlie Kennedy's intravenous drip for Dutch courage, and takes the Cheekies' invitation at face value.

Sounds like a shoo-in come awards season, at the Razzies at least.

Sticking with politics, picture of the day is of a reluctant Tory canvassing in Eastleigh. A reluctant four-legged Tory.

Paper Monitor

16:09 UK time, Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There's nothing like a US awards ceremony to make a physical newspaper seem outmoded.

On Monday Britain woke up to the Oscar headlines. The TV, radio and internet ones. Another gong for Day-Lewis, a funny joke about Chris Brown and Rihanna, an award and more brownie points for soon-to-be national treasure Adele. And another charming mishap for Jennifer Lawrence.

The Monday papers' deadlines missed all that. It was all over their websites of course.

But the papyrus media still feel they have to cover the biggest film night of the year. So on Tuesday morning here it is splashed across the inside pages a bit like day old fish and chips. Soggy and a bit rancid but somehow still edible thanks to a generous helping of salt and vinegar.

And Paper Monitor enjoys seeing them working the angles to come up with something only half stale.

The Daily Telegraph considers whether Day-Lewis' third best actor award makes him the best of all time. "It's daft to call me the greatest, says Day-Lewis."

The Guardian gives it a double page spread with much of it taken up by photos of the stars' outfits. "The battle of the ballgowns: a very European triumph", writes Jess Cartner-Morley.

But award for most ingenious angle has to go to the Daily Mail. It found its perfect line for Argo.

"An Oscar for sneering at the British" is the headline on Guy Walters' feature.

Just when you thought there was nothing left to say about a film that has been out for months, the Mail digs up middle England gold. "The sad irony is that what really happened in Tehran in 1979 is just as thrilling as Argo, if not more so - and it involved astonishing British pluck," it says.

Respect is due - it can't be easy selling news on actual paper these days. And if you listen carefully you can just about hear a bunch of grizzled news editors saying "I think we got away with it." Again.

There's life in the old inkies yet.

Your Letters

16:07 UK time, Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Was I the only one who read this, "Maize was key in early Andean civilisation", expecting the discovery of a complex road system?
Graham, Hayle, Cornwall

Having found out that the "grave crisis" didn't refer to a lack of space to bury people, I was, however, tickled to see Prof Devine commenting on... well, divine matters.
Basil Long, Nottingham

Norway warm for the time of year, Paper Monitor? Oh dear - I hope that heat doesn't keep the babies awake...
Colin Edwards, Exeter

Your Letters

14:42 UK time, Monday, 25 February 2013

"Seafarer science: Sailors asked to help measure plankton"Join the Navy! See the world! Measure plankton! (It doesn't really work, does it?)
Nigel Macarthur, London, England

"Seafarer science: Sailors asked to help measure plankton"
This article forgot to mention that phytplankton are plankton that are microscopic plants, as opposed to zooplankton (microscopic animals). Still, it will allow sailors to be the first since the choir of HMS Ark Royal to release a disk!
Nigel Macarthur, London, England

Could a new phonetic alphabet promote world peace?' You've got to be @#*!&*# joking. Mark, Reading, UK

I'm not sure where your correspondent Madeline Morris was shopping for her $2.25 limes but at my local supermarket they're 35 cents (about 21p)each, cheaper at the local fruit and veg shop. However, they're cheaper still when picked from my neighbour's tree!
Bob Howes, Toowoomba, Australia

Re the article "Where are all the women F1 drivers?". You may be interested to know that Desiree Wilson won an F1 race at Brands Hatch in 1980 and has a Grandstand named after her. It was a domestic F1 race and not part of the International World Championship-but an F1 race nevertheless...
Neil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Paper Monitor

12:26 UK time, Monday, 25 February 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Brrrr. Cold enough for you?

"BRITAIN'S COLDER THAN THE ARCTIC" bellows the Daily Express Weather™.

Interesting. Really?

As snow and sleet hit parts of the country over the weekend, icy winds saw temperatures hover around freezing, making most of Britain chillier than Hammerfest in Norway. The world's most northerly city, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is expected to hit a balmy 8C today.

And Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts tells the Express the icy bite is largely down to wind chill from gusts whistling in from Russia and Scandinavia.

The Norwegian city proves to be a popular comparison. The Daily Telegraph - in an article that went online Sunday afternoon - notes:

Britain will be colder than Hammerfest, Norway, the world's most northerly city - 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle - which will enjoy 5C highs.

Apart from the 8C or 5C conundrum, the question that first occurs to Paper Monitor is what is the average temperature for this time of year in Hammerfest? Perhaps, as the UK shivers in the teeth of Nordic winds, it is enjoying an unusually balmy spell and the local papers crow about Hammerfest being warmer than Hartlepool, or Norway warmer than Newquay.

Sure enough, its average temperature in February is -6C, with average highs of -4C.


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