THE Prince of Darkness has found himself in a battle that he may not win. He has taken on the Beautiful People in a byline war that wouldn't look out of place in Lord of the Rings.
The scenario goes something like this... Not knowing which of the Beautiful People had written which features for this week's Wales on Sunday the Prince had a novel idea. It involved putting all the names in a hat, throwing the hat in the air and catching individual monikers as they came to land. A bit like a lottery, really.
The result: Everyone had the wrong bylines on the wrong pieces and there was grumblings of great discontent around in the features hub. So much so that Princess Margaret of O'Reillyshire was straight on to us at Mission Control.
"Where's our 'preshhhhious' bylines?" she inquired in the manner of Gollum of Rings fame.
Behind her the cries of anguish could be heard. "Yessh, where's our precious? We loves our precious."
Unfortunately the Prince had retired to his lair for the day and so yours truly had to appease the Beautiful Ones. "You'd better speak to the Prince," I said keenly. "He's in tomorrow."
On Tuesday night the war nearly broke out at the NUJ yearly party - or wake would probably be more to the point.
Somehow the Wonderful Withers, back from his trip to Corsica (not Sardinia, as previously stated on these pages) managed to persuade myself and the Prince to step into the Enemy's den. The Prince, appreciating the fact Zync was dark and dingy and sold alcohol, didn't take too much persuading and I tagged along dutifully with Smashy.
Those great Union men the honorable Viscount Shippo and the freeloading Sniffer, along with Steve "Flanders" Jones were dancing their hearts out at Zync. Um, well, maybe not. They were, in fact, huddled in a corner muttering about injustice for the workers and sowing dark seeks of rebellion.
And the first people we bumped into were the ones the Prince had so badly wronged.
It must be said the flame-haired Claire Voyant and her goth-like mysterious mate Morticia Richards look worthy adversaries. I can just imagine them now, standing around the cauldron, throwing in eye of toad and tail of Newt, and whisking up a potion to send the Prince into a coma. Come to think of it, looking at him today I think it has worked already.
My lovely wife-to-be Wren made me a terrific shepherd's pie on Monday while I was in work, and there was a whole load of it. I ate half on Monday night for my tea and put the other half in the fridge.
Returning home far too late from the NUJ do, I decided I would reheat said pie and put it in the oven for 15 minutes.
Did I say 15 minutes? Well, that was the intention. I thought I would just relax on the sofa in the meantime and listen to my latest CD purchase, the first Editors album.
Four hours later I woke to the sound of Run DMC, the discs on my CD player having gone around in a loop three or four times. What was I doing still up? Why hadn't I come straight in and gone to bed. Then a nagging thought crossed my alcohol-saturated brain. I wonder...
When I got to the kitchen my Wren's lovely pie had been well and truly cremated. Feeling guilty though, I tried to eat as much as I could. Putting aside the bitter taste of charcoal I think I could detect the odd bit of carrot and potato.
Having gnawed my way through three quarters of it, leaving the bits that were too hard to swallow, I finally gave up and went to bed.