The recent events concerning phone hacking, bent coppers and dodgy MPs has led to me rather neglecting Beestonia of late; while I would be normally out on the streets of our fair town sniffing my not inconsiderable snout into the news nooks and crannies, I have instead prostrated myself on my sofa and been main-lining BBC Parliament, BBC News, SKY News and the odd dip into Radios four and five. I’m now an expert of media corporate governance, the ins and out of the Met’s procurement policy and other subjects I like to bellow out at glassy-eyed fellow drinkers in the Crown before they pretend to have to slip away for a just-remembered pressing engagement..
Of course, I’ve found a way to shoe-horn Beestonia into the whole scandal, but that can wait. How good a crisis has this all been for our attention-craving, front-bench-longing Member of Parliament, Anna ‘Mapperley Top’ Soubry?
She didn’t disappoint. Getting her self sat near the equally publicity shy Louise Mensch MP was a good move, and the cameras didn’t take long to pick her out when she gave the House her two-bob on Hackgate. The flow of debate at the time was generally non-partisan: only the LibDems can say that they haven’t been brown-nosing Murdoch since Thatcher first clapped eyes on her Aussie mogul dreamboat. But of course, everything is politics to Anna so we got some shrill finger-pointing:
No party cosied up to the Murdoch press as much as the Labour party (11th July)
Cheers Anna, that was productive. A few days later, when the depth of shit Cameron was in for his close links to Coulson and News International was revealed, this line was patently redundant, so she did what Anna does best, and directly contradict herself, a mere nine days later:
…like many Members, I was struck by the desire on both sides of the House that we work together in the spirit that was properly and well outlined by Chris Bryant, who talked about the need for honesty and courage. (20th July)
Yep honesty is important, as long as you’re not talking about the Royal Mail or your living arrangements.
The best was to come though. She then segued into a bizarre speech about her old employers, ITV, and more specifically, Central News. This threw in the usual dig at the BBC (Tories generally hate it as its good proof, like the NHS, that when we work together without having to chase profit, rather quality, the result is a national institution). She called for investment to be put into ITV to ‘level the playing field’, and restore a dedicated Central News East: as anyone unlucky enough to stumble across ITV local news will have seen, it comes from Birmingham, with stories about burglaries in Shropshire, arsons in Stoke and church fete’s in Dudley. Is this Anna blatantly making sure she has a career to return to should the next election see Dr Palmer retaking the seat? Granted, she did declare an interest, but it was totally irrelevant to the debate and a wee bit self-serving.
However, there’s an interesting angle to this. Central TV’s demise has one factor greater than all others: it’s take over in 1994 by Carlton TV, which proceeded to shut down a lot of its interests, including the Lenton Lane studios that once stood proudly on the Beeston borders: within these walls such epoch-defining programming was made: Blockbusters, Bullseye, Boon, The Price is Right and the sublime Emu’s Pink Windmill. To
make shed loads of money for share-holders maximise assets and increase efficiency blah blah blah, we lost our own news room as a result, now having to rely on the BBC and its eternally brilliant East Midland’s Today, which is in no way mentioned so I can put up a picture of the divine Kylie Pentelow.
Mmmm. Anyhow, I digress. Central News East was fatally wounded once Carlton got its grubby mitts on it, not because, as Soubry claimed, the BBC has created a unlevel playing field. And who was Carlton’s Director of Corporate Affairs during the nineties? Why, it’s a small world, as it seems to be her present boss, Mr David Cameron MP. But best not mention anything about this role. His advocacy of an unregulated broadcast market at the time, coupled with Carlton joining forces with BSKYB to form British Digital Broadcasting in 1997 looks rather grubby right now, and surely he’d quite like people not to know how much in bed he once was with Uncle Rupert.
I have no love for the News of the World, and not just because it was the epitome of scuzzy prurient journalism and un disguised far-right xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic froth-sheet. And not because Mystic Meg once got the lottery numbers wrong in her prediction and cost me a quid. Nope, it goes further.
Many years ago, before I returned to Beeston to reclaim my crown, I was exiled in the hinterlands of the South East, namely the Kentish spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. I was happily employed at the BBC there, but due to the low-wage Auntie provided coupled with house prices that would fall off the end of a standard calculator, I was forced to take work in the towns only club, a pit of horribleness called Da Vinchis due to it being full of artistic polymaths and not the dregs of the town who had to keep drinking past 11pm. Every few weeks, on a Tuesday afternoon, we’d play host to a group of NOTW journos who would be out with the editor and a couple of execs. They’d sit at the bar, bark cockneyisms at each other: ‘You CAHHHNNT! You’re having a GIRRRAFFFE! PONY mate totally PONY’ and other such witticisms they’d cribbed from a Guy Ritchie film to mask their middle class upbringing.
They’d neck flaming Sambucas, salt lemon and lime tequilas, disappear to the toilets for suspiciously long durations and emerge powdered-of-nose, grab and grope any female that was unfortunate enough to come into their considerable orbits and make sure I knew my place by informing how I was born out of wedlock; was several pieces of female genitalia; a piece of male genitalia; and other such terms of endearment. They’d flash their wads of notes like it was the eighties again, get drunker and more abusive, tell anyone walking by who they worked for and why that made them brilliant, fight, vomit and eventually threaten to have my knee-caps blasted off when I’d eventually refuse to serve them and waved the bouncers over.
I’ know that its doubtful these same idiots were still at the NOTW when it shut, and that there were bound to be some absolutely innocent people who had their jobs sacrificed on the altar of Murdoch. But for a paper that has long held that life on the dole means you instantly get a London ten-bedroomed town house and a sack of diamonds at the same time as your P45, I’m not feeling any lumps in my throat. Good riddance, the UK just got marginally less crap.
Wheres the fish gone?
Its disappeared! Anyone chancing into the Rylands via the station bridge of late cannot have failed to notice that the bright tropical fish that adorned the wall of Beeston Business park has gone AWOL. Remember? It looked like this:
Awww, a lovely fish, that must be a lovely company, right? Wrong. Atos are presently employed by the Department of Work and Pensions to assess who deserves disability payments and who doesn’t. And they’ve been extraordinarily crap at doing so, which is excusable of your incompetence didn’t directly harm some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Theres lots of testimonies on the internet to their awfulness, heres just one snippet:
The fine people at Notts SOS have long been campaigning with other groups, often at the Beeston office. So what does a company with a burgeoning bad image problem do? Improve its methods? Take on more staff/train them up better? Say to the DWP that they’d rather not tainted with this insidious policy?Nah, simply spend millions on a rebrand.
And that’s why the fish has swam. It’ll be replaced in time with the new branding, but until then, I’m sure it’s not regretting flagging up its whereabouts to anyone with a justifiable grudge.
Remember the SEGA Megadrive? How could you not? Those halcyon days when Sonic the Hedgehog was bigger than Justin Bieber, such innocent, pre Playstation days. I’m sure you’d like to revisit them, and see how well your thumbs fare. If only there was some sort of international, long running tournament that does just that. There is? Wow, but I bet I’d have to travel all the way to London to partake, wouldn’t I? No, because it’s in Bramcote? Are you sure? You are? And when can I drop this conceit of pretending I’m having a conversation with an unseen third-person? Now? Really? Great!
Although it doesn’t actually say so on the website; http://www.megadrivechamps.org/index.html , it’s being held in Bramcote Memorial Hall, Church Street, Bramcote Village, this Sunday. The Top House pub is just round the corner, but I believe lots of coffee is made available to keep players thumbs suitably manic. For more info, give the organiser, Chris, a call on 07784685890. Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT leave him a voice mail.