|Richard Ingrams on the cover|
of The Oldie
He told us that he does not recognise any of the celebrities in the newspapers these days and that a great many stories are duplicated throughout the media from a 'central source'. Journalism was made to sound like battery farming. The Oldie's publisher had got rid of him because he (Ingrams) had asked some awkward questions - 'But you can't just sack people now,' he said not entirely correctly, alluding to the disciplinary hearing Oldie owner James Pembroke had summoned him to. This tended to confirm Madame's speculation that his departure was expedited by invoking legislated procedure as a gesture of intent (in itself illegal technically, if true). Ingrams had simply jumped before he was booted. A shameful way to treat a nat tresh.
Ingrams bemoaned the power of publishers to appoint editors. Why, when he was Private Eye editor, he'd selected Ian Hislop as replacement. He freely admitted that this probably broke the law (or something) - perhaps an ad should have been placed in Media Guardian (as was): 'Lord Gnome seeks to adopt scion - we are not an equal opportunities employer.' That last bit is just me extemporising; allowing the imagination free interpretation. These days an editor can't just draw on his own judgement and cherry-pick a mini-moi in his own image. Publishers now do this - one of the reasons why newspapers and magazines are being homogenised and robbed of uniqueness.
When Ian Hislop decides to move on, I wonder how his replacement will be selected. Is his successor (probably testiculared) already close by toiling on the satire when not moonlighting for the Mail? Or in the second year of his degree course at Oxbridge as I write? Questions, questions.
Ingrams still pulsates and glows despite every sign of imminent stroke. I see no reason why he should not found another mag or do something naughty. At the end of the TV chat, the interviewer paid Ingrams handsome compliments, wishing him to endure forever (I paraphrase). The old satirist looked quite disapproving or alarmed or suspicious, a refreshing reflex to ghastly arslikhan - perhaps fearing appearances while the inner furnace was nonetheless restoked.