Wednesday, March 19, 2008

For Mark Skipworth

I don't mix much with journalists. I go into The Sunday Times offices about once a year and I rarely attend gatherings of hacks unless not to do so would have career implications. But last night I went to a farewell party for Mark Skipworth, head of news at the ST, who is going to the Telegraph. I couldn't call Skip a friend, I can only remember a couple of non-professional conversations with him - one involving Emmylou Harris. Skip likes Schubert and Emmylou, as do I, as do all sensitive people. I haven't worked with him that much, since I don't work for news that often, but he has been involved as, so to speak, master of ceremonies for some of my most satisfying assignments - the Pope's funeral, the '03 Rugby World Cup Final and Diana's funeral. I'll always remember the measured tone of his phone calls - carefully balancing his awareness of the constant possibility that I might crack and fail to meet his terrifying deadlines with his need to convey the appalling consequences if I did. Skip, you will gather, smells of journalism. He talks excitedly of scams, scoops and stunts. He ran the news show with benign scepticism - benign because he loves journalism, sceptical because he knows journalists. Like all truly serious people, he finds life and people funny. Skip is old school, a man from the great days before marketing and advertising tightened their grip on the business. I shall miss him. I hope the Telegraph people know what they've got.

18 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Bryan. Thanks Bryan

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  2. Can i recommend an alter-ego for when you need to give feedback for yourself? He could be just 'Brian', but i think there's plenty of scope for fun...he could well be someone who already exists, e.g. Ed Balls, or a fictive brute of some sort, with a name like Spoorman or Felpberg? You could also use him to attack anyone you don't like. Bryan could then intervene trying to calm Felpberg down but to no avail, Bryan's reasonableness would only spur Felpberg on to utter convincingly detailed death threats and 1000-word long rants of hatred against anyone who dares criticise Bryan.

    However in the end Felpberg would assume his own corporeal identity - as a Gordon Brown-looking burly fat man with black soulless eyes and no fondness for Schubert. He would confront you in public and there could be a great Highlander style showdown:

    Felpberg: Bryan...you belong to me, I must...eat you...

    Bryan: No! I created you! You don't exist!

    Felpberg: They all say that. It is I who create you.

    Bryan: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    It would all end messily and if you survive you'd have learnt a valuable lesson, namely not to mess about with the internet.

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  3. Fucking fantastic post, Bry. Though you hate me I love you - that's how hot I am for you - even your casual disdain for my foul ilk does not deter me from reading your blog every day and here (for the first time) announcing my open admiration.

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  4. Fuck off Balls you fucking don't have a clue you pansy-ass ho'. You should read in fucking silence, bitch.

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  5. You made many worthwile and sound points, Bryan. If you're interested in working as my speechwriter, please contact me via the usual parties.

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  6. As a chemist I have to say this post sent a special frisson of physical pleasure through my ankles and calves. Not as far as my thighs but keep trying, Mr Appleyard.

    If you ever tried 'spin', Mr Yard, be sure it would be 'nuclear spin'. A chemist's in-joke. We have a sense of humour, Mr Yard.

    Ho ho ho.

    Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho.

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  7. You have vim and spunk, shoot it over our faces as you will. We will take the money shot with glee.

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  8. Not bad, Yard, but what will you do about the Normans?

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  9. Silence, wolfshead.

    Bryan won't lift a finger against the Norman overlords. He knows his place. No one dares defy the Normans save filthy Saxons who will be castrated.

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  10. If any Saxon dog among you dares say a word, just one word, I'll have the fat flesh flayed from your hides and put your heads on pikes!

    For I am the Sheriff of Nottingham!

    Oh yes, Saxon filth, there is still room in my dungeons!

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  11. Alas, will no goodly Saxon speak up against these Norman bullies? I faint! I faint!

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  12. Shake not, lass, I, Friar Tuck, will stand by thee! Death to Normans and shame to Tony Blair!

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  13. I, Little John, will smite the Normans and knock the teeth down their Norman throats! We'll set aboot ye!

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  14. Aye and Billy and Kes'll stand by thee when ye take it to the Sheriff, Bryan! Kes'll pluck his bastard eyes out so he will!

    Ee, gee o'er, Jed', you're breakin' me arm!

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  15. Garth Knight is on your side, Bryan - against the Normans and against Michael Knight. As the last & rarely acknowledged Merry Man of Sherwood, Garth Knight is proud to lend his might and his huge black truck, Goliath, to your cause.

    Remember, Bryan: Goliath eats road blocks for breakfast.

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  16. Would you lot pipe down, i`m trying to listen to my Judy Tzuke CD.....Where are you ?

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  17. I've often had the feeling that only one lunatic ever comments on my blog. This feeling now approaches certainty.

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  18. But Bryan, it was you all along.

    Now wake up Bryan.

    Bryan...

    Bryan...

    Bryan...

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